Who’s afraid of Linked In?

Who’s afraid of Linked In?

One of the scariest facts I’ve come across recently is that every second at least two more people get sucked into … Linked In.


The Linked In mindset is an example of social media as a tool in the workplace that assumes the anodyne characteristics of other personal communication tools (sociability, networking and to some degree social advancement (i.e. the number of marketable skills one has according to colleagues, employers, friends et al) and to a lesser degree, personability.

According to the report in the Australian Financial Times on 11 September, 2013, “every second at least two more people join in the network of 238 million members”, where the ambition is to offer a digital map of skills, uniting both workers and jobs around the world.

Critiquing this mode of human resource development centres on the transparency behind amassing such rich data that drives the $US364 million business which has had a sixfold increase in the stock price since 2011.

While Linked In notes what kind of job postings members view on your home page “Jobs you might be interested in” it also has an algorithm that factors in how often a user has changed jobs.

Ultimately the mining of information relates to the strategic policy decisions of corporate clients and an Orwellian view of the long-term reading of both an individual’s as well as an organisation’s history.  David Lewin from UCLA in the article said “certain characteristics are critical to one’s success in the workplace but are difficult to measure from a Linked In profile” has economic deterministic overtones.

Depending on the generation you were born in, Linked In also stands as an example of technology or privacy apartheid for those who prefer old-school approaches to job hunting or who have lived through a deluge of Linked In emails and have simply move on.

Crucial to analysis of Linked In is the question ‘Who am I really linking in with?’ and the perceived value of maintaining ‘electronic’ relationships with former colleagues, all the while personal information is stockpiled by a third party.

Having succumbed to its charmlessness a few months ago there has been a none stop barrage of emails – and I had one former colleague ring to notify me ever so politely that they didn’t need any further endorsements from my good self.  Slightly mortified, I’ve stopped using Linked In since.

Has reading or skimming  the article made you re-think why you are even on Linked In?  What are you views or experience on Linked In – is it something you rely on to get a new job, or is it just another ‘necessary evil in life’?



Is social media the new billboard for booze?

Billboards, booze and the footy season – you can now add social media into that dangerous mix.  Go to the second story down in the essentials column at   http://www.theaustralian.com.au/executive-living/personal-oz-essentials-optician-app-tech-free-holidays-and-kimonos/story-e6frg9zo-1226729464325   I’ll be interested in people’s views, as I know we have a communications person who works in the alcohol industry.   What amazes is the number of tweets posted in a six month period – 286!  They are obviously focusing on the social aspects of social marketing, and the best environment in which to spread the good news about the booze.

Is the use of alcohol in social marketing as acceptable as any other fast moving consumer good, or should there be special exceptions for a product, which if not used properly, can be lethal in a number of ways?  I’m expecting some fierce comments on this topic.  IanMc


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Guess who’s been a naughty boy then? http://www.smh.com.au/execute_search.html?text=spin+doctor+silenced&ss=smh.com.au

Despite it being one of the most odious terms of the last century, the headline “Spin doctor silenced’ caught my eye in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.  Apparently the person who looks after social media in the Immigration Department has been ‘silenced’ by the Abbot government.  Apparently he had a combative presence.

If you are working in communications at the top governmental level in this country, how combative do you think you are allowed to be – and get away with it?  I also wonder whether the desire to only “focus on good stories” is just a little bit optimistic given the number of boats heading this way?  Is silence golden when you want to rock the boats?  Ian Mc



Would I lie to you? A celebration of closed minds at the Abbatoir

SMH political journalist Paul Sheehan assesses the Facebook page which must surely make even Tony Abbott blanche at the level of dislike aimed towards him when his honeymoon period has only just begun   http://www.smh.com.au/comment/welcome-to-the-abbottoir-20130915-2tsrm.html  Welcome to the Abbottoir!

Is the “celebration of closed minds” as Sheehan describes one of the worst websites around, a sign of our social media times?  While democracy is touted as one of Facebook’s strengths has a monster been unleashed where elements of the community have lost the ability to discern what should be expressed privately as opposed to venting publicly?

Howard Rheingold forsaw huge cultural changes in the mid 1990s as the effect of internet use on the individual ” ,,, are relationships and commitment as we know them even possible in a place where identities are fluid?  We reduce and encode our identities as words on a screen, decode and unpack the identities of others.”

Mark Poster, author of The Second Media Age wrote in 1995 that many have interpreted the success of ‘virtual communities’ as an indication that ‘real’ communities are in decline.  While the vilification of an individual such as a politician is an easy kicking post for all that is wrong with social media, is the en masse denegration of an invdividual a worthy reflection of how a real community should behave?  Is the price of democracy too high as the bar of common decency is lowered ?  Do we also take it at face value that 166,000 people expressed their view of Tone, or was it just a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands?

The ‘right of reply’ with social media is an important conundrum for any professional working in communications, so if you were one of the Prime Minister’s political advisors, at what point would you consider entering the fray of ‘social’ debate?


Throughout the weary, dreary election campaign there has been no shortage of polticians trying to leverage social media.  Labor campaign strategists claimed this week http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/rudds-team-resorts-to-spoof-to-cast-a-wider-net-20130826-2sma2.html   they have reached nearly 400,000 Australians on social media “with no money spent on promotion”.  Can social media really be taken seriously when serial abusers just want to seem to devalue it?  What do you think?