Monday, March 28, 2011

Social Media Low Roaders

Don't you love social media? All the good communication that takes place, day to day, the broadcast, the outreach. All that allows for the overlay of information from one person to groups of others. I find it interesting and try to stay up on the change. I find it a topic to speak on, to write on, to converse about. Because it is a phenomena. The same goes for texting, emailing, any type of communication that provides one person a means to communicate...without being in front of the person whom they communicate with. I am convinced that there are a lot less bloody noses due to the calling out of people being done online instead of being in front of the person.

I do speak about personal branding a lot; the importance of identifying and broadcasting the imagery and foundation for ones personal distinction, the stockpiling of storytelling on blogs, facebook, twitter, the images and connections to certain things that provide anyone wanting to be within your social network, a beacon; a place to go to find information that is strategically placed. Did you guys get that? Especially you young folks.

Some people forget that it is part of a very important conventional system, the social media process. It is something that needs to be understood, because mistakes can be made. That is why I do a lot of speaking on the topic. I do it for free too, which is becoming more frequent for whatever reason. Because when I speak, I usually reference the goods and bads of the social media phenom. Those things that can cause you harm, along with what can be sort of a weird dependence. Over use and the wrong type of use will have an opposite effect. Collect your friends and feed them the wrong information, and you lose friends.

I asked the intern the other day why he didn't have a Facebook page. He wouldn't tell me why, but I suspect that it has something to do with the way that it was used during a period of his life that was less than centered on success planning. To remove oneself from he grid is to discipline one from the do's and don'ts. But it will be necesary in some form later. Kind of makes sense, but, to be honest (and here is the indulgent part), I want to make use of his social network like everyone elses.

Frankly, I want all of my employees social networks to be connected to mine, and the musicians I hire to perform, the vendors that I use, the people I know and come in contact with. I want all of my people broadcasting how there life unfolds while being connected with me, because that is really what we are saying/doing by being connected and sharing information. Even if contact happens just every now and then, a photo or a communication of some kind shared with the others, a comment, a "like", we know that they are there, and "in" the social network. This is the benefit that one gets from social media and the use of other peoples social media.

Listen here, and this is what our young folks don't understand yet, there is (or should be) a commodity at the tail end of every post, even if it is simply the commodity of a job or a lead for a job, or an eventual "conditional betterment" of some kind. And advertising by posting is a don't, don't advertise. Providing relevant information is at the center of your broadcast to your people.

So here is how things can work against you. I own a couple businesses, an unfortunatly, an employee gets terminated for whatever reason. The employee is pissed off and runs to the arms of her desktop friends and starts to shred her former employer through a litany of personal attacks. A couple other friends and supporters of the former employee chime in and the group dynamic takes place, the smearing of a business and often the owner of the business from a group of people who have basically taken on the personality of a rioting, roving terror group. People get caught up in this all the time.

They urge each other on, posting inflammatory things about the employer, the manager, the families of the people working there, then usually a handful of other former employees chime in. It's like a social looting, from the safety of a bedroom computor.

It's usually teenagers, but not always. Lots of cuss words, drunken typing and stuff late night. I had one kid friend me so he could show me what he wrote on his wall. He took it down the next morning after I explained to him that I didn't really even know that he was not working for us anymore, and that I always thought he was a pretty good kid, a little too busy for his schedule, but a good kid. And he is a good kid.

Sometimes its adults who don't think before they trash. Like a gal I know who trashed her soon to be ex husband and got slapped down by her attorney for divulging information to the masses, she pretty much got owned.

Hey, I am used to the trashing and the fallout from assorted employees who have moved on for whatever reason. Statistically, I have employed cumulatively over 10,000employees through my career. My numbers are actually pretty good. But one thing is for certain. A certain percentage of people who waved the proverbial middle finger while walking out the door, the same ones who trashed me and my family, the business, the others who continued on...a very high percentage come back in to my life with a sense of understanding years later. And you know friggin what? I am there with warm smiles and a handshake. Darn near every time.

Not always back to work, mind you, but back to that which is within the same acceptable standard of human warmth and understanding. In other words, people may not like what I (or my managers) have to tell them, and it may be necessary for them to go, but sooner or later they might gain a little wisdom and take the high road. I know this. I am a former terminated employee. Yup, Columbia Country Club, 1977.

Kids, parents, you should never trash anyone online or send off masterpiece emails to the owner of a business. You only make an ass out of yourself, and create a record that can be referenced someday. And parents running to the rescue of your child, spouting off an email masterpiece on best practices, institutional management pontifications, and opinionated undertones aimed at whatever issue that screwed your kid out of a job, for the purpose of your own proverbial finger wave, you only make it worse.

I love the fact that I get to play a role in the intellectual maturity of young people while their parents provide a safety net. It is a recipe for failure in the short term. The long term provides wisdom. I earned my stripes by the stupid mistakes made in my career and now choose to transfer most of it to real life opportunity for those who want it, including friends kids. My lord it gets stupid sometimes. I have learned to take the high road, because it is less about bad energy and more about setting a standard for my village. My village wants people who are up for the challenge. Period.

The fallout from a former employee who feels they have something to gain by trashing me on the Internet is short lived. About 10 minutes in the cyber community. The memory of that persons actions within my social network can last forever. Same goes for the parents. Kind of a shame. All in the day of the life...ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.


Trail Monster said...

"My village wants people who are up for the challenge. Period."


Carolyn Bodkin said...

I consider myself a pretty good mentor after being crazy stupid in the late 70s and early 80s. I'm glad some of the young people in my life are wiser at my age than I was and actually listen to their elders! Great post, Ralph. It's a lot easier to have compassion and give that warm handshake down the road when you've been the recipient of the same. You're making an impact! Keep it up. :-)