Every now and then social media experts have to remind their followers that the fundamentals matter: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
An East coast professional recently decided to return to California. To ease the transition, she decided to reach out to a fellow alumni who has a formidable LinkedIn network. Apparently, the woman wanted to land a job at a particular Silicon Valley company and for whatever reason she resolved that her fellow alumni was going to get her the job. Her LinkedIn message essentially said, “I want a job at Company X, you know someone there, I want you to introduce me. P.S. How have you been over the past few years?”
“John,” the message recipient, chuckled and deleted the message. For one thing, he didn’t particularly like the tone of the message. Second, the P.S. was problematic.
In a past life, John spent over a decade working in the high tech field as a public relations executive which meant he had been paid to be a professional networker. In that line of work he learned that networking depends on relationships and relationships require care and feeding. Experience taught him that 1) demanding favors is a bad idea; 2) asking for favors is more effective if you’ve done the person a favor first; and 3) asking for favors is more effective if you’ve developed some sort of rapport with the other person. In this case, none of those factors were present.
He went back to work and weeks passed. Then, a second, more demanding message arrived. He deleted it. More weeks passed. A third message arrived. Deleted. Apparently, he’d thought about responding to the first and second messages but then decided against it. They didn’t really know each other, she had impressed him in the past but not in a good way, and he had no idea how competent she was professionally. Bottom line, he couldn’t recommend her with a clean conscience.
Another professional just discovered Facebook. Like many people she’s taking a scattershot approach to it, sharing other people’s pet stuff, some political stuff, some mildly offensive comedy stuff, and some professional stuff. She’s interacting with people here and there but all it takes is one misstep and unfriending happens.
One of her Facebook friends is a former colleague. This gentleman is connected to college buddies, high school friends, a growing list of customers, and a few people he met in passing.
“Matt” changed jobs a few months ago and has been adding more customers as Facebook friends. He was a regional sales manager at one company and is now a regional sales manager for a different company. He posted a note about how happy he was at his new company and then “it” hit the fan. The lady who is new to Facebook publicly commented that it was a travesty his new position didn’t come with a new and better title. In the interest of damage control, Matt deleted his post (which hides her comment). Then he unfriended her for exercising poor judgment.
While none of the above exemplifies the soundest judgment, they do serve as a reminder to think before acting. Professional connections can be fragile things, particularly if they’re mishandled.