Since social media gained popularity, employers have become obsessed with knowing what employees think, feel, and say on social media websites. It is the subject of scrutiny in pre-employment candidate reviews. What, however, does the lack of a social footprint say about someone? Consider the case of James Holmes.
Throughout my career, I have sat in countless meetings listening to employers discuss employees use of social media. Many employers feel like it is their right to know everything their employees share or say. Sure social media reveals things about us, our political and/or religious affiliations, that might indicate if a friend or employee is extremely on the left or right of any one issue, but too often even having an opinion is perceived as a liability by employers, especially when it differs from theirs. So, what of people that live ‘off the grid’?
In corporate circles an employee that offers no opinions, has no social footprint, has often been perceived as being ‘better’ than an employee who freely puts forth even a moderate opinion on key issues. All of this may change after the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado and the curious case of James Holmes, a 24-year old lone wolf, who was essentially a ‘ghost’
– having no social footprint; no Facebook page, no Twitter profile, nothing – obviously not something we expect of today’s twenty-somethings.
Many recent reports show that the majority of America’s CEOs are out-of-touch when it comes to social media
; most still don’t use social media; few seem to understand it, yet are quick to craft policies against it, or call for data-mining of employee pages to get information.
Perhaps the employee to watch isn’t the one that is using
social media, but the one who isn’t, that could be the ticking timebomb. Initial reports turned up another James Holmes
but were quickly confirmed as inaccurate. Is it easier for us to tie the label of 'radical' to someone who consistently voices opinions and occasionally blows off some steam on the issues of the day? On the other hand, should we be most concerned with those that fester, stew and ultimately commit horrific acts of violence?
My thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy
About Tim Staney
has more than ten years (since 1997) of web development experience building enterprise-grade web applications for Fortune 500, small business and not-for-profit enterprises across the United States and Canada over a wide-range of industries. Tim specializes in information architecture, content management with a keen focus on user experience, and social media integration. Tim Staney
is a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida and active member of his community. Staney
regularly presents to professional and community groups, speaking on social media, social marketing, web content management and web strategy.
Tim Staney is a member of the American Marketing Association and <uwebd />, University Web Developers as well as the St. Peter's Episcopal Cathedral Communications Task Force. Tim is the Web Content Manager at St. Petersburg College working for the Marketing and Public Information department managing content in the college's Ektron content management system. Tim also teaches courses like Social Marketing for Small Buisness and Designing Effective Websites for St. Petersburg College's Learn to Earn program.
Except where otherwise attributed, the statements, thoughts, views and beliefs in this blog post are solely those of the author.