When is Social Media No Longer Social?

By Shaun Collins

I just came across a breaking news story about a bank executive who sent a flaming email to a prospective jobseeker, lambasting her for seeking access to the exec’s Linked in profile (and thus her contact list.)

The article can be found HERE.

Now the very nature of Social Media requires etiquette and protocol be observed.  You don’t jump into a Facebook friendship with someone just to make friends with one of their friends.  It’s uncool (and a little bit creepy) but that’s just what this jobseeker did here.  Now the polite thing to do would have been for the executive to just ignore her, or even better, explain why this is inappropriate behavior.  Instead she went way overboard in her response.  BUT, at what point did this become wrong?  The job seeker was unprofessional and out of line to begin with, and the exec responded in kind.  That should have been the end of the story, but the job seeker had to go one step farther, to then post that email on other social media sites with the caption “Let’s get her.”

Am I the only one who thinks this is the cardinal sin committed here?  The article definitely seems to take the job seeker’s side of the argument, presenting the story of a young innocent that stood up to evil corporate mentality. It’s more like yelling at a misbehaving kid in the grocery story who tried to get into your purse at the checkout line, then getting slapped with a lawsuit because you raised your voice at them.

And “Lets get her”?  That kind of lynch mob mentality is dangerous in more ways than one.

There’s a part of me that personally agrees with the executive. There is a sense of entitlement among younger people today, and it’s not fair to those of us who earned our way in, paid our dues, climbed our way to the top and most importantly, LEARNED from those experiences.

As we discussed in class earlier this week, there’s a definite move toward checking what you post on social media… and keeping it in check.  Businesses are frequently treating Facebook just as valuable as a background check or a set of references—maybe fairly, maybe not.


Photo courtesy of http://www.gordonmarcy.com

Social Media can be a minefield to navigate regarding what we share, I guess now we need to watch how we share as well.


    1. I agree, I think that there is a reason there is an age restriction on social media. It’s because you need to be mature enough to make wise decisions about what you post on the internet. Because it will be there forever

  1. After reading this post it makes me realize how social media can turn even the senior “professionals” down to a high school level. Overall, a very interesting and great post.

  2. I think this illustrates the importance of monitoring social media. As much as we want to believe we are free to post to social media, that is not the case. Future employers are within their rights to access public information and we need to remember that. We would be representing their companies and I don’t blame them for trying to find out what kind of people they would be hiring onto their staff.

  3. “The media” is quick to overreact, because sensationalism attracts audiences. The article that inspired this blog post is a great example. The executive in that case was a bit more rude than necessary… However, her main point was valid; If you work long and hard to gain something, it is an insult when someone asks for that same thing for nothing.

    1. It is to be noted that as Ian said “the media is quick to overreact,” and we need to be prepared in advance for productive ways to handle a misstep or, even better, not to make the misstep in the first place. Your fight with a corporate entity need not be aired all over the internet where there is a pool of potential employers. As there are a number of netiquette sites there are also a number of etiquette sites for LinkedIn
      It is a good idea, while preparing for the job world, to cover your bases and know what they are.


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