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Online Stupidity...Is this YOU?


23 April 2013

For all intent purposes, to read this blog you must be willing to accept that whilst you might be a smart person, online you could be appearing pretty stupid. Don’t fear you can fix this, but be prepared that some damage may have already been done. Social Media can be our friend or foe. It’s not rocket science to manage but if you lack self-awareness then you’re in need of help. I want to put this on record. Young people around the world really need to smarten up their act, especially if they want recruiters or business partners to take notice and be willing to work with them. As Young Einsteins has branched out into Online Brand Management, it has become alarmingly clear this is a market where demand is reaching an all-time high. In recent months we have assessed several online profiles of young people in business. It’s an exercise worthy for any stage of your career, yet essential if you’re preparing to enter the job market. Employers need to open their eyes wider too. This is not just for young talent, this is for everyone. If you have someone in your business that online could cause embarrassment to your brand’s image then you need to invest in cleaning up potential disasters. It’s very much a political approach to running business. Educate yourself about who you’re getting or already in business with. So what’s the approach? We put people under the microscope. We do this by forcing individuals to share with us every social media site they actively use, those they have in the past and any other forum where they participate in sharing their views or opinions. In addition to this we surf the web matching keywords to their full name and seeing what appears. Now I want to be clear that in most cases the general result is educating people to place a more professional image on LinkedIn or change the privacy settings on their Facebook account. However for the person at fault, consider this. If you’re on LinkedIn and your profile photo is of you in all your drunken glory then you’re a person suffering from online stupidity. Now my rant on this topic isn’t to be perceived as only negative! Young Einsteins wouldn’t be successful at what we do if it was always this easy. Recently I assessed a large volume of employees and the results were highly concerning. In fact this is where I came to the conclusion that even the smartest people could in fact be stupid. One particular finding was of an individual who was on a very popular social media site targeting people unknown to them. In this particular instance, they were using lurid sexual references presumably to garner attention. Based on their choice of words there was nowhere to hide and upon finding brought regret. Was it meant to be funny or some sort of joke? Possibly but as it turned out, no one was laughing. Be honest with yourself. If you’re doing similar things, would you be embarrassed if your current or future employer raised this with you? Would you want your friends knowing this is what you get up to in your free time? If the immediate answer is no, then every minute your profile remains on the web you’re damaging your personal brand, the reputation of your employer and your future chances of getting hired. It is not uncommon for employers to canvas their staff’s profiles on the web. In fact more and more are doing exactly this as part of their pre-screening process for future employees. Maybe because I am so passionate about young people succeeding in business it bothers me more than most. However I can’t help but wonder how people can be so careless? Social Media is altering the way we exist in this world. It has radically changed the way we communicate, how we purchase consumer goods and even how we manage our money. So if our lives co-exist on the web then shouldn’t we appear to be the same person in the flesh? If after reading this you feel you’re a victim of Online Stupidity, don’t be more stupid and do nothing about it. Be smart and contact us, we can clean up your image and help you. Remember what you put on the web stays on the web.