As Facebook nears its one millionth Irish user (Irish Times today*) a timely warning from CareerBuilder that Social Media could severely damage your career prospects.
CIO Insight ** reports research from CareerBuilder*** which finds that inappropriate information posted on Social Media sites is increasingly being taken into account by potential employers.
So consider taking down those (at the time) hilarious photos of you slugging a flagon of cider by the neck. A bottle of 1984 Chateau Talbot will not do you much good either unless your interviewer is a wine snob who admires your taste in wine if not your means of imbibing it.
CareerBuilder interviewed 2,600 employers in the US. Almost half (46%) said they use Social Media sites to research job candidates - more than double last year. And IT was the sector most likely to review Social Media sites with 63% of hiring managers checking them out.
Over a third of potential employers discovered content that caused them to turn down a candidate. However, it’s not all bad news. Almost one in five surveyed said they found content which helped them hire a candidate, the most important being personality fit.
So when it comes to Social Media and business, the lesson seems to be plenty of worthy photos from your volunteering in Haiti and less from your bawdy hen/stag/divorce party in Amsterdam.
Ronnie Simpson BBS, FPRII is founder of Simpson Financial & Technology Public Relations which won the 2009 PR Excellence Award for New Media. He was one of the first Irish PR bloggers. (www.simpsonftpr.ie).
As a PR blogger I must stick to PR issues. But let me address one that makes me madder than Vincent Browne interviewing a pro or anti proponent of the Lisbon Treaty.
The (admittedly tenuous) PR link is to the image of soccer. When will FIFA insist that referees automatically book players who wave imaginary yellow cards after they have been tackled? Italian Camoranesi did it again last night after a powder puff Bulgarian tackle.
Surely it is ungentlemanly conduct of the highest order to try and get a fellow professional booked or sent off, apart from being intensely annoying to the viewer. Can you imagine Roy Keane limp wristedly gesturing to the referee after being clattered?
The authorities finally and rightly moved against diving with the unprecedented suspension of Eduardo following his deep sea frogman impression against Celtic.
I live for the day when a player receives a red card for waving two imaginary yellows.
Back from 34 degrees Algarve sunshine to find an encouraging number of new business opportunities – all in the technology sector. This upbeat atmosphere confirmed by press release which I write on first day back for the Irish Venture Capital Association on funding figures to be announced shortly. These find that VC funding has held up remarkably well for Irish tech firms in the first half of 2009 despite the global credit crunch and recession. Funding for the first half is ahead of 2008 which itself was the best year since 2002. The survey shows that there is an investor appetite for Irish tech firms not only from local VCs but international as well.
During the great tech recession following the post dot com boom, we found that tech firms did not switch off PR (apart from the doomed dot comers who switched off everything). PR represents value and even more so today if you can leverage global Online PR. Irish client StatCounter and ourselves won the 2009 PR Excellence Award for New Media in June. The programme, implemented out of Dublin, generated over 100,000 hits from over 100 countries in two weeks. The online campaign led to client interviews by New York Times, Newsweek, Reuters and others.
And a story in The Times confirms the signs of life in the technology sector. A number of Silicon Valley firms are planning IPOs. This continues a trend in which half of the 16 US IPOs in 2009 to date have been by software or technology companies.*
The good news on the Irish front is that investment in Irish technology firms is widely diversified and includes software, pharma/biotechnology, drug delivery and medical devices, telecoms, environment technology and other technology including nano technology, fibre optics, photonics and semiconductor chips.
* “Smiles return to Silicon Valley as market rediscovers taste for technology” by Mike Harvey, The Times, Monday, August, 17th, 2009
The May issue of BusinessPlus asks a number of PR people which public relations they most admire (excluding their own clients). I am quoted as being a huge fan of Ryanair as they break a lot of the rules of PR but get away with it by religiously sticking on message. But I add, “I think they may need to reconsider their attitudes to new media and bloggers.” (See earlier blog on this issue).
It is interesting to see that PR Week reports that budget rival bmibaby is embracing online PR in a bid to stand apart from Ryanair and easyJet. It has hired its first online PR agency.
Ryanair’s PR Manager was recently quoted as saying: “It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers.” Bmibaby on the other hand is looking at blogger press trips!
Ryanair defies gravity (excuse the pun) in most senses but it will be interesting to see if they soften their tone on what are the new web realities of marketing and PR.
Rob Brown in a new book Public Relations and the Social Web points out, “Ultimately the choice for organisations is a simple one: they either take part in these conversations or they don’t. What they have to realise though is that if they don’t participate in these conversations they won’t simply go away. The dialogue will go on without them. There is no choice. Brands will have to participate in dialogue in order to survive.”
My website adviser Maryrose Lyons in Brightspark Consulting advised me to start blogging as she said I had strong opinions. (Or did she say I was opinionated?). So my free (with no additional charges) PR advice to Ryanair is to start to embrace the new Social Media by getting Michael O’Leary blogging. He is witty, controversial and totally politically incorrect. I and thousands would follow him. He’s a natural for blogging and tweeting.
See his infamous : “What’s the German for ‘blow job’” on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfIY24BErBE
http://technorati.com/claim/st6e8xakve” rel=”me”>Technorati Profile
Support for my view that PR is best situated to manage the new marketing and media realities comes from no less an observer than Anthony Hilton, City commentator in the London Evening Standard.
Writing in the 24th April edition of PR Week, Hilton says, “The intriguing possibility…is the extent to which PR is being seen as a substitute for advertising, instead of suffering with it. Could it be the comms industry is holding up relatively well because what used to be advertising spend is being channelled in its direction?”
Hilton goes on to say, “The argument is with the growth of the Internet, with social networking, viral information and blogging, it has become possible for the skilled PR practitioner to deliver mass audiences, and at the same time control the message, in a way they never could when they had to rely on traditional media.”
I’m not so sure about the control bit but there is no doubt that strategic PR using Web 2.0 tools can now by pass traditional media and reach global audiences on an unprecedented scale.
A low cost PR launch out of Dublin of a new service which we did for client StatCounter in March generated over 100,000 hits to their website in two weeks from over 100 countries.
Yes, I really believe that PR’s time has come.
Ronnie Simpson is founder of Simpson Financial & Technology PR
and may be contacted at: email@example.com or + 353 1 260 5300.