26 March, 2010

Why The Professional Risks Of Not Having A Robust And Professional Internet Presence Outweigh Any Privacy Risks

Before I spoke at the ISA symposium, while I was still getting my name badge made at the registration table, people were asking me questions about the comparative risks and advantages of having a robust internet presence.

I countered this way: have you considered what NOT having an internet presence says about you?

First of all, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile you aren’t going to show up in LinkedIn searches. Recruiters and headhunters use LinkedIn, not Myspace and Facebook, to identify possible candidates because, in LinkedIn, they can search by job title, by industry, by geography, by key word, by employer or by almost any other parameter. You can’t do that in Facebook or Myspace.

I told the ISA folks that, honestly, if you aren’t using social media while it’s still free to users (a subscriber-paid business model may be coming but nobody wants to be the first to defect from the “culture of free”) employers and recruiters are right to question your wisdom and your business sense. If you already pay an ISP for Internet access then you’re already paying for access to free professional networking platforms like LinkedIn so what does it say about your business sense when you pay for a service and then don’t use it?

Or maybe the recruiter wonders if you’re not using these free platforms to promote your career, your business or your cause, because you’re a Luddite or a technophobe.

If you don’t have a blog, that is, if you are one of the few people on the planet who no longer has any unpublished thoughts, is it because you don’t have any thoughts? Is it because you can’t write?

If you aren’t using social media is it because you don’t have any friends? Don’t want any friends? Why would an employer want to hire somebody who might be a misanthrope or a hermit? Don’t people understand that part of their value to an employer is the ability to network and create connections to prospective vendors, customers, employees and partners?

OK, I’ll say it: I can’t help noticing that some of the people who don’t have an Internet presence have something to hide.

I told the ISA folks that unless they plan to put their social security numbers, PIN numbers and their kids’ school addresses on the internet, the professional risks associated with not having a robust and professional internet presence far outweigh the privacy risks.

And, of course, I had a lot to say about why a job candidate with a great resume is no match for a job candidate with great connections. And I had a lot to say about what I call "The Co-Signer Effect". I may need to write about the co-signer effect in a future post.

Coming Soon In Higginbotham At Large:

"A LinkedIn Tutorial"

"The Co-Signer Effect"

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