Friday, 22 July 2011

Virtual Reality Check

You can only go so far up ones own backside before you emerge into the same world at the other end. I made that and I am proud of it.

Online reputations are a wonderful thing if you are interested in them. I have no doubt that activities online will augment the standing you have in your business world and you can create wider and richer social networks. I am bought into all that. But if the current vogue of measuring your online reputation gets beyond the faddy fun scenario then we are in danger of promoting the wrong behaviour as drivers for future success.

You see one of the main drivers in the online world has been the urge to quench people's desires to be recognised for more fundamental reasons like love, relationships and sex plus for the business of basic hoodwinking. Yes we now have more business recognition sites like LinkedIn which helped people widen business networks and I have picked up several contracts from LinkedIn. But that changed about two years ago and now LinkedIn is the defacto research engine of choice for the recruiting world. People can advertise availability against which their profile can be matched for current jobs. And most of what goes on there is just that now.
There are many other business to business platforms but most are recognition seeking too. The Ecademy stands out as one site where business people are trying to do business with one another but most of that currently centres around networking itself which is fine.

What you cannot get around is that relationships have to be formed in the real world. Violent people can appear angels on the web. I pose the question that if Al Capone and Mother Theresa were alive today and actually used the web, who would have more Klout or value on Empire Avenue? It's obvious what the answer would be and is that a good thing?

You want to really influence people? Go learn from Rupert Murdoch. He doesn't Twitter people he goes see them or sends his agents. Google spent $2.06m on Government lobbying last year, yet they own Google Plus. The real world has not changed. You cannot cover up rubbish service by sweet talking Twitter accounts at the Carphone Warehouse, but you can win more sales by having a cool website and natty Twitter manner. Reality bites in the end.

People need to learn that ultimately you will be judged by who you really are, not who you virtually pretend to be and that's where reality is the best checker. Fancy CVs no longer impress me, interviewing people finds out what really makes them tick - even over the phone. The last batches of LinkedIn recruits I saw at one company were the lowest calibre I have seen yet their profiles spoke volumes of achievements.

My advice. Trust your instincts. Check people out. Don't give more credence to online reputations without checking as anything goes on the web and the most influential person could be the clown of the web who just posts heavily on Facebook in work time or 'a happy go-lucky girl' who might or might not have stuck insulin into saline drips killing 4 people or someone who has convictions for violent relationships and appears so sweet.

Reality check - you know it makes sense.

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