Social Media Can Kill Your Job Prospects

Monday, March 19th, 2012

A quick way to kill your job hunting: be an idiot on social media:

One in five technology firms has rejected a job applicant because of his or her social media profile, according to a Eurocom Worldwide Survey.

The annual study had previously found that almost 40 percent of respondents checked out potential employee’s profiles on social media sites, but this is the first year that companies had confirmed that they had rejected applicants based on their digital presence.

“The 21st century human is learning that every action leaves an indelible digital trail. In the years ahead many of us will be challenged by what we are making public in various social forums today,” said Mads Christensen, network director at Eurocom Worldwide.

“The face the one in five applicants disqualify themselves from an interview because of content in the social media sphere is a warning to job seekers and a true indicator of the digital reality we now live in.”

Don’t be a social media dummy. It could cost you.

Via @sistertoldjah

My Hierarchy of New Media: How I Use Social Media These Days

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

So many choices, but really, only a few matter.

Too much media? Maybe. More like too much noise and not enough sound.

Since I consume vast amounts of noise and sound, you might wonder what I consider to be the best media and how I take it all in. Or not.

Anyway, media power users have their own methods of choosing, consuming, and digesting media. It’s probably not the same for most people.

Here’s most people: I use Facebook. Also, I check my email. And if I’m savvier than 3/4’s of my friends I Twitter. And Skype to call the kids. Sometimes, if I remember, I use Foursquare. And if I’m kinda diligent, but if I’m the majority (92%) I’m not, I use LinkedIn.

Clearly, that’s not me. Please know that I haven’t actually audited my life. This is just a survey of how I perceive my own use. Reality might have different percents of time, but this is how my mind works when choosing my media.

So, most mornings, I check my email–usually in fear. I hate email. There’s too much of it and no matter how many Gmail filters I create, there’s too much crap. The “Mute” feature has been helpful for all the chains of email I get.

While I’m packing my kids lunches, getting them ready for school, I might check Twitter and fire off a couple RTs of good stories. Because of the news cycle, many journalists have their stories go up early on East Coast Time which is an hour before me. So, if I check things at 7 am my time, it’s still 8 on the East Coast. This is all done on my iPhone, unless I am printing homework or something for the kids at the computer.

Aside: I own a Mac i7, MacBook Air 11″, iPad 1.0, iPhone 4G.

By about 8 most mornings, I’m at my desk. I throw on my Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 Headset
(doubles as back up microphone for podcasting–I’m looking to buy some sweet cans) and fire up Spotify. I don’t effectively use Spotify–a social music sharing app. I haven’t got my full music library uploaded from iTunes yet. It takes some time that I haven’t made for it. I have followed a couple friends who also use it, but haven’t explored their music choices nearly enough. I get into music ruts and play stuff to death depending on the mood I’m in. Still, Spotify has better sound quality than iTunes (yes, I can hear it). No, I don’t use a media player like this. I don’t even open iTunes, really, unless I want to buy something or upload something, etc.

A note about Spotify. Sometimes I spam my Facebook followers and sometimes, I don’t. Set your listening session to “private” if you don’t want to share it with Facebook, or just don’t link the two.

I check my email again.

I check Twitter again. Speaking of Twitter, I don’t use the native Twitter, I use old-school Tweetdeck v.038.1. No, I haven’t updated. Twitter, who now also owns Tweetdeck, seems intent on committing user interface suicide. They hate their users, especially their power users. I find this irritating. The new Tweetdeck is native and not based on Adobe Air. Air is definitely a resource hog. Still, I’ve heard nightmares about the new version. Other power users use Seesmic. Again, I got in a tech rut and like it.

For those who don’t follow too many people and who like seeing a stream of tweets, but like a pleasant UI, download Echofon Pro for your desktop.

For Twitter on my iPad I use Echofon Pro and for pleasure, use Zite or Flipboard–both fun interfaces that are easier to read. I find that they bring my attention to different media in different ways.

It’s important to keep in mind that with all the customization, we’re limiting our own point of view. If keeping the big picture is your priority, make sure you follow diverse people and keep your interests broad. If you don’t care about having tunnel vision because your social media intake is purely for pleasure, just be self-aware. There’s lots you are not seeing.

Speaking of new versions that suck: Skype did the same thing with their upgrade. So, I roll old-school with Skype, too. I’m using Version Skype is a free internet-based phone and messaging app. I use it almost daily but almost exclusively for my podasts.

After email and Twitter, I hit Pinterest and reluctantly, Facebook (this is variable as I can go days without checking it). On Facebook, I’m still slowly whittling away at acquaintances and trying to only follow people I actually know. This has caused some heartburn, but when I had “friended” 5000 people, I was hating everyone and couldn’t keep up. Am I missing some networking opportunities? Maybe, but at this point, people can find me all sorts of places, so Facebook is going back to its intended purpose for me: keeping up with actual friends.

Pinterest I’m still exploring so I’m spending more time in it. I kind of use an emersion therapy on myself to learn the language of the new media. Pinterest speaks to my OCD, my desire for categorization, and my desire for more relevant search.

For everything but news, Pinterest beats Google and even Twitter by a mile. I don’t like Twitter’s search. Pinterest is visual–humans are visual. It is easier to find a product or something I’m interested in by scanning pictures. Now, my friend Robert Scoble says Storify is better. I haven’t used it yet, but have downloaded it and am starting to play, so I’ll let you know. Pinterest does have some limitations but that’s one of its strengths–simplicity.

If I have clients, I’m checking their stuff everywhere too and monitor it via Tweetdeck. There is no multi-user monitoring device for Facebook. That’s irritating. I’m doing word searches. I’m getting Google alerts. And of course, I’m also making phone calls. Phones: the original technological social media!

If I’m focusing on blogging, I write a blogpost. I use WordPress. I still have my Blogspot blog for backup. I have plugins for YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest. Writing takes uninterrupted time. I try to get my post done and then go check on socmedia stuff again.

If I see patients, well, everything is on hold until I’m not with them.

Google+, the socmedia that Twitter fans love to hate, is still my favorite social media to learn and grow as a person. It all depends on who is curating the content and because I’ve been choosy and kinda anal about how I organize the people I follow, Google+ continues to be my “breath of fresh air” social media platform. It is where I learn new things, therefore I love it.

When I go some place and happen to remember, I check into 4Square. Meh. I check in as I’m leaving because it’s all so stalkerish. It can be helpful when I travel, though. I just don’t care to know that someone is at CVS, nor do I care to share such mundane details.

Perhaps the biggest shift in my new media consumption is to ignore most blogs unless I find the information through another media like Twitter or Pinterest or more rarely, Facebook. I still use an RSS feeder and through Flipboard on my iPad, it’s truly an enjoyable experience. But really, I read blog posts via Twitter or not at all. I am too harried to go from site to site. Ben Domenech, Jim Geraghty (and of course mine) and a few others have good wrap up emails that make my life easier. Most of the time, I am beating Drudge now, in my own Twitter feed. So why go there?

After work, if I can wrest it from my youngest’s hands, I get on the iPad and read, play Words With Friends, play cards, and do home stuff like, and play with Pinterest more.

There is rarely a time when my phone, computer, or some form of tech isn’t with me. It’s simply integrated into my life. With family obligations pressing in at certain points and little time, Twitter because a way to stay involved and continue sharing news without a huge time commitment.

So there ya go. Twitter is easiest and most mobile, thus the ubiquity of my use. People ask how I can tweet so much. It’s everywhere with me and easy to use, so why not?

A Politician’s Quick And Dirty Guide To Social Media

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Social Media: At least you don’t have to touch people

Google added it’s new social network to the interwebs two weeks ago and I considered writing a post that addresses only Google Plus. Then, I reconsidered. Google + needs to be talked about in the context of everything else out there.

First, a couple overarching principles for every social network:

1. Don’t be a jerk. It should go without saying, and yet…
2. Pretend you’re talking to a person face to face.
3. Nothing can ever be taken back ever. It’s the internet.

One big mistake politicians make is ignoring social media entirely.
A good politician will recognize that most public relations now is done through social media. That is, communication from the pol to his constituents happens on a much greater scale and more quickly and directly via social media. Yes, phone calls, hand shakes and kissing babies still matters and it matters a lot. But the fact is, politics is a lot like church: most folks hear the pastor give the sermon and never interact with him. There are a few true believers in the Amen Pew and they talk to everyone. Social media reaches the Amen Pew. Why wouldn’t a politician have a communications strategy for these true believers (and skeptics)? It’s really short-sighted and yet, many politicians still regulate their social media staff to an after-thought.

Here’s the perspective you should have on Social Media from Gary Vaynerchuk:

My suggestion? Integrate social media with communications. In fact, a comms director who is social media ignorant shouldn’t be a communications director. In the political space, a comms director who doesn’t know the major new media players like bloggers (at whatever level the politician is at) shouldn’t be employed, either.

Social media and new media relations isn’t magical, but it requires work just like it requires work to form relationships with journalists. The lines are blurring and journalism has become more democratic and diverse. A blog can be far more influential to the type of people a politician wants to reach to influence who will then influence the people he wants influenced.

Now, to the social networks.

I’m starting with Facebook because right now, it’s the juggernaut. Here’s a couple of rules.

1. Only follow close personal friends and family on your Facebook account.
This is yours. If you’re not into social media, don’t sweat it. Just don’t do it. There is no harm to not having a personal Facebook account. (This will cause some social media folks to howl, by the way, but my rationale is this: there are so many other social networks with which to engage people. A politician needs to have his real life too. Keep your FB account that life.)

2. Set up a public page aka Fan Page.
If you want this to grow, you have to feed it. Facebook pages are not magical wonderlands where followers just sprout out of nothing. Even the biggest named person has to give something to get something. The Fan Page is a good place to put ALL press releases. It is a good place to get feedback on certain pieces of legislation. It’s a good place to explain your rationale for a decision you’ve made.

3. Interact there.
Facebook has some nice tools for social engagement. You can create events there and schedule them that will invite your fans. You can do nice targeted advertising. You can have more inclusive and cohesive conversations then say Twitter.

All this said, Facebook is my least favorite social media application. Why? They don’t let you easily export your data. It’s clunky. But everyone is there.

Good example on Facebook: Sarah Palin.


1. Be honest about your account.
That is, if you have your own Twitter account, fine, but run it yourself. Don’t know about Twitter and don’t care? That’s okay. A Twitter account can be run by your comms director or whomever you trust, but make clear that the account is being run by that person … or a person other than you. You can also name the account @JoePoliticsNews or some such. That way, people know it’s about you but not necessary from you.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas, for example, has a bunch of accounts. His staff runs one. He has his personal account (puppies!). And there’s an election news one, etc. If you don’t know about Twitter, or are a communications person, follow his accounts to get a feel for how a major politician can use Twitter to interact.

Another example is Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey. He interacts. So does Representative Thad McCotter of Michigan. These guys use Twitter and talk to their constituents and anyone else who will listen. There are quite a few pols who do this well.

2. Either follow everyone or follow no one.
Either follow the world (highly recommended) or follow no one. I strongly advise against following porn stars, hookers and underage girls. (You’d think some things don’t need to be spelled out and yet they do.) Twitter clients allow for lists so a politician or his staff can follow journalists and influencers without offending their constituents by not following them. So, my ultimate recommendation is to follow everyone. Just because you follow them all doesn’t mean you have to pay attention to them all. It’s just polite to be friendly.

3. There’s no wrong way to tweet. Oh wait, yes there is..
Here’s some guidelines: Be friendly and helpful but not overly personal. Boundary issues? Twitter is not for you. Be honest and engaging. Every once in a while get into conversations with folks. I’ve asked Representatives and Senators questions and Twitter gives them a good forum to give unspun answers. Sick of the media twisting your words or meaning? Well, judiciously use twitter to tell people what’s up. If you are inauthentic, Twitter will reveal you. It is a social medium. It is also a really good way to provide information and to be a news stream. Use it!

Bad example: Anthony Weiner. Don’t be that guy. Please. Spare us all.

Google +

Intro: You’re asking, What the heck is Google + and why should I care? Google + is a brand new social network created by Google (duh). It is a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook in some ways and a completely new thing in others. Like Twitter as many people as want to can follow you — millions even. Like Facebook, you’re limited about who you can follow to 5,000 people. In addition, of those 5K people, you can organize these folks into circles. Just like real life, Google + allows you put people into categories and interact with them (and only them, if desired) in those circles.

Why do I love Google + for Politicians?

1. Google + lets you tailor messages to the people you want to reach.
Want to tell the whole world about your new legislation? Make that a “Public” message. Want to share a message with key activists, donors, etc? Create circles for them and communicate with them. Want to send out a press release? Create a circle for the press (I have one of about 500 people right now, myself and include bloggers in that circle, fyi) and send the press release that way. And guess what? Those people can communicate back with you easily.

2. Google + allows for this new thing called “Hangouts”.
Hangouts are like a Skype conversation but for up to (for now) 9 people. I say for now, because a business version of Google + is coming out and I’ll bet that they allow dozens if not hundreds of people on a Hangout. We’ll see. But for now, Hangouts would be a wonderful way for a politician to meet with his constituents without leaving the comfort of his office or home. You know those key activists you meet with weekly? How about having a Hangout? You know those donors in five different counties (states)? Meet in a Hangout. You know those key reporters who you want to talk to and don’t want to repeat yourself ten times? Have a Hangout and talk to them. Have a constituent group who is hopping mad about fill-in-the-blank and so much so you worry about your personal safety? Have a hangout and talk about it with people and be safe.

Details about a hangout. Google makes it so that whomever is talking has the camera on them. Anyone can share a YouTube. So, if you’re on the road and your campaign manager wants to show you the latest ad, he can. Links can be shared. The possibility for this tech and politicians is endless.

Here is Michael Dell in a Hangout. He plans to use them for customer service:

3. Google + allows for a great way to share extended thoughts.
More extensive than Twitter. Less static than Facebook. More privacy controls than all of the above. Google + has less limits and yet more controls. This is essential. Newt Gingrich has already had a hangout on Google +. Other politicians are jumping on and trying it out. Early adoption celebrities (who face many of the same security and need-to-connect-with-the-public issues) are really enjoying the medium.

All in all, though it’s early, I feel that Google + has the most to offer politicians. The short coming? While Facebook has 750 million people on it (600 million check it monthly anyway) and Twitter has around 60 million active users, Google + has probably around 15 million … after two weeks. It took Facebook and Twitter years to get that many folks. I predict serious growth right now. Google has 193 million users monthly (as of last November). That’s a lot of people. And even more use Google to search.

Google + integrates with other shared services as well. Unfortunately most government folks cannot use many of these tools, but for real life users they’re valuable and make Google products sticky.

There are other social media too.

Foursquare: Foursquare and Gowalla are location-based social media and useful for politicians who want to tell people where they are.

LinkedIn: Businesses and job seekers use LinkedIn. It’s the mature social network for business types. I haven’t seen a lot of political uses for it other than networking and following people important in the business world.

Are shaking hands, knocking on doors, kissing babies and taking pictures important? Yes. Absolutely. They’re essential especially for lesser known politicians.

Can social media make a huge different in a politician’s scope of influence, connection to constituents, and control of the message? Yes. A million times yes.

Whereas social media was a catch phrase a couple years ago, it’s real life, now. Companies are very effectively using Twitter, for example, to do consumer outreach and conduct customer service. Celebrities are very effectively using Fan groups on Facebook to give followers special deals.

There are so many innovative ways to use social media and yet, at its fundamental level, social media is all about a politician’s stock in trade: influence and talking to people.

Educate yourself. Need some help and training? Worried that the “social media expert” is hosing you? Email me at melissa.clouthier at or call me at 713-306-8867.

Social media is a really fun, direct way to communicate from the comfort of your home and jammies. Why more politicians don’t embrace it, I don’t know. But it is a natural fit for the politics business and the innovations that are coming along will make it even easier to be more efficient with your politicking.

The Face You Show: What Your Twitter & Facebook Pictures Reveal About You

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Your avatar on Twitter and your picture on Facebook matter. People make judgments based on the image they see. Here are some common weird things people do:

1. You & a buddy: I have a new friend on Twitter. In his tiny avatar picture, he’s leaning against another guy. Finally, I asked him if the picture was of his life partner. He exclaimed, “uh, no!” Well, when you have a picture of you and a bud and it’s shrunk to a centimeter, people think….life partner.

2. You & your husband/wife: You’re married. You’re in a relationship. That’s nice. When a person puts their spouse in their picture, I immediately guess that either one member is insecure or the relationship is in trouble. Whatever. It’s an individual account, not a group account.

You & your kids: Cute. On Facebook not as big of a deal, but on Twitter, the picture is so tiny, my only question is why? It’s not your kid’s account. Soon, you’ll be talking about your kid, so we’ll know you have a kid.

Your kid: Um, why would you use your kid’s picture on Facebook or Twitter? It’s confusing. When the face goes by in the stream, no one knows who is talking. It takes extra time. [Corollary here: Stupid answering machine messages by kids should be obliterated from the universe.]

Your dog: See above.

You when you were 17: Yeah, I looked better back then too. No, I don’t look the same. Neither do you. It’s no fun to have a guessing game–unless there’s a Twitter or FB guessing game as has happened on ’70s and ’80s day. Once again, it wastes time.

Cartoon characters: You’re not Superman. You’re just not.

Famous people: You’re also not Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama, unless you are, which in that case, it’s okay to use that picture.

What to use:

1. Nice, clear, close up picture.

2. An iconic image associated with you (if you’re anonymously blogging or have an anonymous online presence).

That’s it. Are you hideous? Unlikely. Will people respond better to you if you have a nice picture? Yes. Images are stored in a different part of the brain and a good image will help people identify you.

If you want to be cutesy and obscure, use MySpace. On Facebook and Twitter, clarity is prized and will get you more followers, friends, and more networking connections. The internet is a literal place.