Getting Bitchy on LinkedIn: Another Social Media Cock-up - Utter Digital
aine.bermingham@utterdigital.com
LinkedIn Logo Fail

LinkedIn Logo Fail

The power and influence of social media still seems to have passed some people by, even those who should know better, as the case of an intelligent and influential businesswoman from Cleveland, Ohio and her response to a young job seeker highlights.

Kelly Blazek runs a job centre for Marketing professionals, and has access to over 1,000 LinkedIn connections which any dynamic job seeker would be keen to unlock.

I can only imagine that someone in Blazek’s position frequently receives requests to connect from individuals she doesn’t personally know. I also imagine she understands the etiquette and potential power of LinkedIn and of any form of networking, given her position and her recent achievement of ‘Communicator of the Year’. One wonders how she managed with all this wisdom and experience at her disposal, to get it so wrong when responding to Diana Mekota, the 26 year old recent college grad.

Blazek’s reply was condescending, sarcastic, and downright rude:

We have never met. We have never worked together. You are quite young and green on how business connections work with senior professionals. Apparently you have heard that I produce a Job Bank, and decided it would be stunningly helpful for your career prospects if I shared my 960+ LinkedIn connections with you – a total stranger who has nothing to offer me.

Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 25-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. Love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy denying your invite, and giving you the dreaded ‘I Don’t Know’ [scribbled-out name] because it’s the truth.

Oh, and about your request to actually receive my Job Bank along with the 7,300 other subscribers to my service? That’s denied, too. I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh wait – there isn’t one. Don’t ever write me again.

Mekota posted the response on one of her social networks, and it has since gone viral. The story has gone global, with coverage from the likes of CNN, the BBC and The Guardian, and Blazek’s reputation has been shredded in a matter of days.

Lessons learned

There’s a feast of social media lessons and life lessons in this one. The core take-outs do not just apply to online networks, and are largely simple common sense, although they clearly need reiterating to some.

1. Never put something online you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing in tomorrow’s papers.

One of social media’s golden rules which so many haven’t managed to grasp. Living by this rule is the single most effective way of avoiding a social media crisis. What the Blazek case highlights is that this rule applies to private messages and emails as much as it does to public posts or tweets.

2. Today’s graduate may be tomorrow’s Board member – and your boss!

In other words, be careful who you offend. It’s an age old lesson, but seems even more appropriate in today’s society, where today’s innovative and hungry young student can become the CEO of a global organisation in a few short years. Not everyone will turn out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but someone will.

3. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

In this case, a polite no thanks, with some helpful direction would have been appropriate. Even ignoring the request would have been better than putting the time and effort into an insulting response.

4. NOBODY is beneath you.

Enough said on this one.

Blazek has since apologised for her response, but the damage has been done and the fall out continues.

Author: Aine Bermingham, Digital Marketing Specialist, Ireland, Northern Ireland and UK.

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