If Facebook has gained 20 million users in France, there are still some people in France who are recalcitrant users, wary of the platform and feel more or less forced to join (6 reasons why not to join!). But, to paraphrase Joel de Rosnay, France is not rear guard; it treads with hindsight. In turn, my own perspective on this question: within a business context, the longer one waits to take the plunge, the more one is penalized.
I attended, on Wednesday last week, the latest conference, “Napoleon Innovation”, organized by Marc Kawam and Thierry Noisette, under the title of “(A)social networks.” There were two topics that grabbed my attention at the conference: (a) a need for continuous digital education, learning of internet usage, and (b) the need to turn ideas into action.
Regarding the first point, we’re all still learning how to “do” Facebook and Twitter … It is a work in progress. Users need to be in a constant learner mode in order to better understand the functions, settings (which change regularly) and codes (social and semantic). They need to find their voice and establish a solid online presence. In short, they need to craft their online reputation. Regarding moving from idea to action, the point was raised – we may say, with vehemence – of the legitimacy of speakers to grandstand on social networks without actually ”walking the talk,” i.e., practicing what you preach. In other words, practice is the critical action. Naturally, since we were in a conference, the format lends itself better to discussion rather action, but it did make me think about how many people – in advertising agencies, for example – that give advice on digital media and create campaigns for their clients, without making (much less doing) it for themselves. When you evaluate your agency, is it not important to validate their competency, by checking their digital strategy?
Your online reputation will become your CV
Especially when a person is in the process of applying for a job, I constantly recommend to work diligently on his/her online presence. In this regard, I am less concerned about vetting your photos on Facebook, but rather (and in descending order of importance), the quality of your Linkedin/Viadeo profile, comments in forums and on blogs dealing with your particular area of expertise and, finally, to have your own blog. The quality of your writings on line is a great way to present your value added (in terms of communication skills and content). Your online presence becomes your best CV. Headhunters and Human Resource managers will understand more and more the value of this online digital fingerprint. Incidentally, it is also important to work on the quality of your network. For example, your network will increasingly help you to stay informed (via curation). The more people you have in your network the more you must sort and prioritize (via groups, filters, etc.).
High Profile (C-suite) Employees should create an online presence …
If candidates are scrutinized for their online presence, what continues to shock me is the flagrant absence on the web of executives of large companies (outside of the official, traditional PR releases and TV coverage, etc.). It is not uncommon to find influential managers who still do not have a profile on Linkedin (or Viadeo), without mentioning their absence on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks. The shock is even more intense when it comes to those who work in marketing, or worst of all, for those who work directly in the communication / digital strategy department who have opted to live in digital hiding.
Is it a matter of fear (being scrutinized by the hierarchy or worried about making a fool of themselves); a question of principle (concerned about invasion of privacy); a lack of time (not enough time allocated because it is not considered important enough); or simply because of disdain (how many times have I heard: “it’s just not serious to be on Facebook at work ‘)?
…and applicants should scan the digital standard of potential employers
Before approaching a company, candidates should scan the de facto digital level of the company. The digital presence of the executives will speak volumes about the corporate culture. Are the managers personally invested in the digital space? Do they have a real digital education (more than just some off-the-shelf e-learning course)? Do they do for themselves what they want to implement at the company for which they work? Do they understand that the walls between professional and personal life are permeable (or endangered)?
In 2011, it seems extremely difficult to justify that managers and executives, in a company that seeks to invest in the digital space, are not themselves “online,” living the live digital experience.
I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this subject!
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