Use Your Influence To Get A Job

So often we talk about the people we know and the influence we have. We just like to feel important. Well, why not use that supposed influence for good? Or at least help yourself.

Social media has become a key factor in most aspects of our daily lives. One aspect that I think too many people overlook (yes, even the “connected” generation) is how to utilize your online presence to find a job or build professional connections. Obviously, this is the point of LinkedIn but there are a lot of avenues to start and build those relationships. Just make sure you have something to offer in return.

Recently I was contacted about my thoughts on this subject based off of a post I wrote in summer 2011 after my most recent job search. I was shown an interesting info graphic, which I think is worth sharing:


Social Score Infographic

What I’m Reading & Doing

Ever interested in continuous learning and engaging with others, I subscribe to Fast CompanyFortuneThe EconomistEntertainment Weekly (for a little fun), Harvard Business Review emails and articles, and The Wall Street Journal. I regularly read Time and The New York Times online and on my cell phone. I also follow blogs such as those by Ezra Klein, Nick Kristoff, and Mashable. Further, I regularly use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Instagram. I also use Google+, Flickr, Stumbleupon, and others, but don’t find them to be incredible relevant.

Twitter Solves Customer Service Ridiculousness

I’ve heard stories about how Twitter can be used to address customer service complaints, but had never experienced it first hand until last week (I know this post is a bit late to the show, but it’s been very busy around here).  Here’s a synopsis of what happened:

On March 13, I ordered a Visa reward card from U.S. bank to use credit card reward points.  After a month, I had not received it.  I called U.S. Bank customer service to find out about the status of my card.  I ended up getting transferred five times and spent 40 minutes on the phone – just to reach the person I needed to ask the question to because apparently no one knew and no one knew how to transfer me directly!  I told the same story to every person.  In the process, I got transferred once to someone trying to sell me something and had several of my waiting transfer calls dropped.

When I finally got to the correct person, they said they would resend my card.  I would receive it in 7-10 days and they would even waive the $15 fee since I had not lost the card.  Needless to say, I was not happy.  I vented on Twitter using the hash tags “usbank” and “horribleservice”.  The next day, @AskUSBank was following me and had replied to my post asking me to direct message them my contact information so they could get in touch with me about my problem.

I replied to U.S. Bank via direct message and later that day got a call from someone at U.S. Bank who wanted to look into my situation.  It’s a good thing he did because he said he could not find any record of what I had been told.  He wanted to research the issue and call me back.  He called back within two hours and said that my original card had been returned (still don’t know why – and still don’t know why I was never contacted).  He said he would have the card resent and if I did not have it within four mail days, to call him directly.  I got the card two days early.

Overall, there are clearly some major customer service and operational gaps in this process.  I am, however, happy that Twitter helped solve my problem and that Ryan (the person I spoke with) took the initiative to be proactive about what should have never been an issue for me.

Global Diversity and Inclusion Foundation

Since it seems I never posted anything about this: In January I became a Board Member of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Foundation (GDIF), a 501(c)3 non-profit.  It is an organization that is doing some great work in the diversity and inclusion arena.  I am privileged to be associated with such an organization and the leaders who comprise its board.  Here is some information of the organization and I suggest reading more on their website:

The Global Diversity & Inclusion Foundation (GDIF) is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit.  We are much more than simply a list of best practices, Global Diversity & Inclusion Foundation leads the pack with standing out above the rest.  The way we do this is to understand and address diversity & inclusion by focusing on Business Cultural Intelligence in everything we do.  That means we help develop a mind-set that can be applied to any number of countries, cultures, and business situations. It is a systematic way to approach the tremendous variety of interactions and challenges that business people must face around the world – much easier and more realistic than documenting every trait of every culture and preparing to cater to each. We apply all our divisions’ activities in a three-stage process for becoming culturally intelligent. These steps involve learning the fundamental principles of cross-cultural interactions, such as what cultures are, how they might vary, and how they affect behavior; practicing mindfulness and paying attention in a reflective and creative way to cues; and developing a collection of behavioral skills that can be adapted to different situations.  This value helps us to understand diversity while working towards inclusion, especially how it affects the bottom-line of all organizations.

Mission Statement: The Global Diversity and Inclusion Foundation enables businesses to achieve optimum revenue and market share growth while providing employees with equal opportunity to attain the highest returns on their personal talent.

As GDIF grows in the years to come, you can expect great things to come.  In addition to the standard board responsibilities involving organizational development and oversight, I am managing GDIF’s presence and growth on social media, online networking, and blogging.

How Private is Facebook?

Facebook is not private – at least not for the most part.  That’s exactly the point.  The company should make it easier for users to control their privacy settings, that goes without saying.  Nevertheless, Facebook has been up front and honest about its intent to make information widely available and connect people online.  If you use the service, you should be aware of that before signing up, or at least before providing a lot of personal information.

Today, Mark Zuckerberg offering the following op-ed in The Washington Post:

Six years ago, we built Facebook around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. If we give people control over what they share, they will want to share more. If people share more, the world will become more open and connected. And a world that’s more open and connected is a better world. These are still our core principles today.

Facebook has been growing quickly. It has become a community of more than 400 million people in just a few years. It’s a challenge to keep that many people satisfied over time, so we move quickly to serve that community with new ways to connect with the social Web and each other. Sometimes we move too fast — and after listening to recent concerns, we’re responding.

The challenge is how a network like ours facilitates sharing and innovation, offers control and choice, and makes this experience easy for everyone. These are issues we think about all the time. Whenever we make a change, we try to apply the lessons we’ve learned along the way. The biggest message we have heard recently is that people want easier control over their information. Simply put, many of you thought our controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.

We have heard the feedback. There needs to be a simpler way to control your information. In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use. We will also give you an easy way to turn off all third-party services. We are working hard to make these changes available as soon as possible. We hope you’ll be pleased with the result of our work and, as always, we’ll be eager to get your feedback.

We have also heard that some people don’t understand how their personal information is used and worry that it is shared in ways they don’t want. I’d like to clear that up now. Many people choose to make some of their information visible to everyone so people they know can find them on Facebook. We already offer controls to limit the visibility of that information and we intend to make them even stronger.

Here are the principles under which Facebook operates:

— You have control over how your information is shared.

— We do not share your personal information with people or services you don’t want.

— We do not give advertisers access to your personal information.

— We do not and never will sell any of your information to anyone.

— We will always keep Facebook a free service for everyone.

Facebook has evolved from a simple dorm-room project to a global social network connecting millions of people. We will keep building, we will keep listening and we will continue to have a dialogue with everyone who cares enough about Facebook to share their ideas. And we will keep focused on achieving our mission of giving people the power to share and making the world more open and connected.

The writer is founder and chief executive of Facebook. Washington Post Chairman Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook (Source: The Washington Post)

Later in the day, a Washington Post columnist blasted Zuckerberg for not apologizing, and it seems, also blasted Washington Post Chairman Donald E. Graham for being a part of Facebook’s board even after the privacy issues.  Oh my!  Graham should not have to resign because of concerns that Facebook is already addressing. If anything, Graham’s connection to Facebook gave Zuckerberg the impetus to write his op-ed in The Washington Post, a clear bonus for the newspaper (aka the columnist’s employer).

I almost hate to say it, but Facebook is the way of the future.  It’s exponential growth clearly shows that.  At almost 500 million users, Facebook is the equivalent of the third largest country in the world (after China and India)!  This presents fantastic business, marketing, and data opportunities.  Hopefully, these will be taken advantage of in a manner that favors Facebook’s users/consumers.

Betty White may be correct in saying that Facebook is a waste of time.  Nevertheless, it is a time waster that seems to take up a lot of my life, and possible yours as well.  Rather than becoming angry about it, let Facebook know – and also be aware of what you post online.  Far too often we post without thinking.  Zuckerberg has been clear so far about his intentions and he likely will stay that way.  Remember that when you consider your privacy settings and your posting decisions.