Social Networking Detritus


A colleague of mine was recently proposed on a consulting engagement but was turned down before she started. The reason, the client did a quick check on and and didn’t like what they saw. Point taken.  I decided to update my grossly out of date professional profile.  I put in the usual information and then decided to bolster my contacts and references for the 20+ years of work that I had completed.  For the most part I could find many of the people on linkedin and simply requested that they join my network. It took less than a few hours to add near 100 contacts. What was interesting though was reading some of their own profiles.

One of my contacts was the President of a $300 Million company and yet it appears nowhere in his work history. Just 10 years of “marketing director” at that same company. So I am not sure if it was embarrassment of falling from lofty presidential perches to his current humble position that cause the detuning of his profile or perhaps he felt that no one would hire an ex-president into a normal job.

Another of my contacts with whom I had worked daily with for over 3 years , had no indication at all on his work history that job had actually happened. Has was a CFO during those years according to not a database architect.  Again I wonder if the linkedin profile has been specifically crafted to generate a certain impression.

At the other end of the spectrum, the President of a $3B business unit I have worked for directly, that according to his summary; invented the internet, invented the bar code, turned around a multi-billion corporation and had 160,000 people worshipping at his feet.  Perhaps a slight exaggeration….

Now everyone has known for years that resumes are at best inaccurate representations and at worst imaginative pieces of creative writing, the same now applies to Social Networks.  In fact there is an entire CV industry out there that will help C# programmers convince prospective employers that they should be allowed to architect and design the next mission critical system the employer wants developed. Perhaps we’ll see professional polishers soon.

detritus (d-trts)

1. Loose fragments, such as sand or gravel, that have been worn away from rock.

2. Matter produced by the decay or disintegration of an organic substance.

So what should be a helpful business tool, to get a realistic picture of a professional career and establish bona fides is in danger of being just bits of truth, worn away from the actual facts and perhaps even worse crafted into some other visible object.

I am not certain why people are so afraid of the truth.

Perhaps Gowan McGland, the lead character in the black comedy “Reuben, Reueben” sums  up the best. 

“ I adore the truth, I don’t  practice it…  but I cherish the truth”

So beware of the flotsam, debris and detritus bobbing around in the social network waters.

By the way, my colleague in the introduction, was completely qualified to take on that engagement.  I’ll blog about the social/professional facebook gap  later ….

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