Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Using social media as job search and career development business analysis resources 19: rethinking our online presence for where social media is headed

This is my nineteenth installment to a series on the points of intersection between business intelligence and its gathering, and social media and related interactive online channels as sources of actionable information and insight, as they can be applied to job search and career development (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 397 and following for Parts 1-18.) And this is also a posting that I have very specifically been building towards through the course of this series.

I began this series in its Parts 1-8 with a discussion of what we can learn about businesses that we might work for, or with, and with a goal of better advancing our jobs and careers prospects from that. And I switched from there to consider what Human Resources, hiring managers and others at those businesses can find out about us online too, and particularly through social media channels. I pursued that goal in Parts 9-17 with a focus on how we can shape our professional message as a core element to what they see about us.

And all of this second progression of installments was about how we can craft and present a carefully organized message of our own design and choosing. Then I turned directions in a very fundamental manner in Part 18, where I began to directly consider the levels and types of control that we can in fact have in that, and even just in principle in shaping and managing our own professional online image and message.

Facebook, as even just briefly discussed in Part 18, proves that even just in the context of social media as a source of active communications channels, the level of control that we can have in managing our own online presence is fundamentally limited. And this applies to all forms and formats of content, and not just to the photographic and video content that is primarily focused upon in Part 18. This applies to messages that might be shared about us through essentially any and every online social media channel and whether we actively, intentionally enter into those conversations ourselves or not.

But if I am to more fully address the set of issues that I seek to discuss here, I have to bring other online information channels into this discussion too – adding in the full range of online information gathering and sharing resources that personal individually identifiable information can be and is organized and presented through. And I have to add in the increasingly important reach of big data in this too, and both as it is used in assembling more anonymous demographic models, and for purposes of this discussion, for how it is increasingly being used in assembling demographic-of-one representations of us all as individuals too. It is not just that so much information is there and available and about all of us, but that so much of it is so systematically organized too, and as both social conversation content and as business-commoditizable product too.

• See my series Big Data (at Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time postings 177 and following for Parts 1-7, and at that directory’s continuation page, posting 207 and following for Part 8-12),
• And also my series: Big Data and the Assembly of Global Insight Out of Small Scale, Local and Micro-Local Data (at Reexamining the Fundamentals, as Topic Section IV of that directory.)

Those series address the collection and organization of big data per se. Perhaps more importantly for this context, organized and even custom organized and analyzed personal data have become a profitable industry, and one that both individuals and businesses can and do tap into to find out more about others. From a jobs and careers perspective this can and increasingly does mean hiring managers and hiring businesses buying access to widely collected data about potential new hires, of course, but this can also mean accessing a quick background check for the perhaps more casual purposes of finding out more in advance about a potential blind date. And with these reasons and uses of this type of data only representing two of the many and growing number of faces to the overall market for this type of information product, see:

• Mining and Repurposing of Raw Data into New Types of Knowledge (at Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time, postings 156 and following for its Parts 1-6.)

Social media is important, and increasingly so in all of this, as it has tremendously widened the range of original sources of information available for aggregation, analysis, and use, with personally identifiable information definitely included. And it has just as widely expanded the range of recipients and users of such information, and even just for casual purposes. But social media collectively only constitute one aspect to what should be viewed as a much larger and more open-ended New Transparency that concerns all of us. And this brings me to a key, essential question.

• If it is becoming increasingly possible, to find seemingly anything and everything about us, and easily through readily accessible online channels
• And without, I add, our necessarily having the benefit of a priori knowledge of the levels of filtering or accuracy in all of this, and without us necessarily having any editorial control over large amounts of this,
• Where does all of this leave the type of professional image and message shaping approach that I have offer here in this series?

I began to answer that question earlier on in this posting where I wrote of how we can “shape our professional message as a core element to what they see about us.” No, we cannot even begin to shape or control the entire message that appears and that will come to appear about us online and through electronic data collection, storage and analytical means. But we can organize, prepare, present and maintain a consistent professionally organized and focused message about ourselves, that other and perhaps divergent content would be evaluated against, in any reasonable review.

• Develop you professional image and message online and through social media, with an additional core goal of helping your viewers to put other messages that they capture online concerning you, into a fuller and more accurately balanced perspective.

I write this with a seeming multitude of essentially blank, and completely uninformative LinkedIn profiles in mind that I have seen over the years, where people who were seeking to pursue jobs and careers, had never bothered to offer any positive details about themselves – or any real details at all, and even as they went to the trouble of setting up a LinkedIn profile that others could find. If you do not tell your own message, and in enough detail and with enough consistency to form that core message that others would start from in deciding about you, you leave that to the vagaries and the non-professional flow of message about you that just happens to rise to the top, and from Facebook walls and whatever other resources that a viewer might seek you out through.

We are living in an increasingly transparent world, and that makes the goals and approaches that I have at least touched upon here, that much more important and certainly for how you would craft your own message and your own future.

I am going to end this posting and this series here, but it is essentially certain that I will return to issues of relevance to it in future postings. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. And you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page too.

I have focused in this series, on a set of issues that are more oriented towards finding and securing a new next job, or staying and advancing professionally at one already held. I am going to turn in my next series to this Guide, to consider what for most of us in the workforce, is our great blind spot. When would it make more sense to stay where we are, and when would it make more sense to move on and even proactively so as a career move? I am going to explore and discuss a range of issues that arise when considering this, and some of the possible courses of action that these issues can bring up for us.

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