Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day five - Definitely in the right place at the right time

What a difference a day makes! I thought this one would never end, but I am so satisfied. The semester is already shaping up to be all I wanted. I'm thrilled to be sharing it with you. So far, so good. I love the classes, the professors, even the schedule - which I wound up with totally by accident. I guess it's really true that things generally work out exactly as they should, for I am right where I should be.

Between my regular workout, an extra trip to the gym, an impromptu job interview, two seminars and two hours to return the day's email, I accomplished much more than I thought I could today. I have now finally attended an initial session of each of my three classes, and I know what I need to accomplish in the coming weeks. Whew! I am so ready to dive into the deep end. I must complete 20 separate assignments over the next 13 weeks, four of which are significant research papers/projects. That means my weekends will all be booked at the library.

The class I was a little apprehensive and a lot curious about was mislabeled in my online course list. Turns out, the real title is: Marketing in the Era of Social Media. I am thrilled since this falls right in line with everything I'm working on - including this blog. In fact, I've already learned an interesting tidbit. Were you aware that nearly half of today's potential employers are actually vetting new employees via social media? It was news to me.

Let's think about this. In a recent study of 2,600 hiring managers from all sizes and types of US companies, 25% regularly use Facebook to check out potential new hires; 26% are using LinkedIn; 26% are using MySpace; and 11% actually check Twitter posts. This means scanning our profiles, posts and public comments to get a feel for the type of employee we might make.

I find this incredibly telling, and it lends credence to my long-held theory that we should all be very careful about what we post online, as it may come back to haunt us. The truth is, you may never know exactly why you were turned down for any job. But why add to your risk? My ears perked up at this point in our class discussion since I was a holdout on joining the social networking craze. Don't get me wrong! I finally drank the Kool-Aid. Today, I use MySpace for music and I adore my Facebook family. I even have my own website and a Twitter account. Relocating far from family and friends, Facebook quickly became a godsend to me. I use it often and liberally, but with just the right amount of caution, or so I hope.

I will be job hunting as graduation nears, and I have as many profiles out there as the next guy. I'll think once, twice and a third time before I post my opinion on certain issues. Makes you wonder about the words, Freedom of Speech. To be honest, I am comfortable with my choices online. However, I feel that some others have clearly not thought this through. Anyone using social media sites, from Facebook and MySpace to Twitter, U-Tube, MyYearbook and the myriad of others, especially parents, may want to seriously consider just how many people can view their personal photos and comments in this venue. It never occurred to me that potential employers were watching before today.

I do have questions. For instance, how can a potential employer see a Facebook page unless they have been accepted as a "friend?" Have we been lulled into thinking - wrongly - that the web affords some level of privacy and protection it does not? It is mass media, after all, meaning communication published for a mass audience, and we have all become publishers. I'll share whatever else I learn on this. Somehow, it does not seem a stretch to learn that a motivated entrepreneur has already created an online service for Human Resource managers that will review any potential hire's online presence and generate a quick report. Interesting, indeed.

In just five short days, I've realized once again the importance of effective time management - especially as it applies to blogging. I'll limit myself to 30 minutes to complete each weekday blog going forward. Hopefully, this will also ensure you of a quick read (with substance) instead of a rambling stream of consciousness. I hope you approve!

Tomorrow: auto repair, book buying and reading...lots and lots of reading!


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