I have spent many years building my professional network. This network includes individuals for whom I have great respect and with whom I have worked or spent time. It also includes several people who are contacts I have made via social media; many of whom I have not officially met in real life. There are numerous professionals through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Top Recruiter, RecruitingBlogs.com, the Recruiting Animal Show, HR Tech, SHRM, and the numerous unConferences I have attended over the last 7 or 8 years. Many have become part of a trusted circle of individuals that I classify as friends. I know – quite interesting that many I have never met and yet – they are my friends.
In such a short time, many of these people have become important to me. In a matter of a few short years, I have come to consider many of them dear friends and have developed a level of professional trust that supersedes any I have ever felt before. I know this comes from the information share and easy exchange which social media allows. I am lucky enough to be someone who loves my work, who cherishes the work and business relationships I have developed, and who looks forward to the daily barter and banter that has become such a rich and important part of my work life.
Over the years, I have tried to remain as professional online as possible and have reaped the benefits. Oh sure, there are the occasional slips (some actual mistakes – others calculated) on the Recruiting Animal Show, when I let – because of my passion for either individuals, business practices, the recruiting industry or jobs market – my feelings get hurt by a very well-placed outburst or searing jab. I am a woman who likes to talk and can find humor or a gap where humor is needed rather spontaneously and I am eager to fill it. Even through all of that good-natured fun, I try to maintain a certain amount of decorum and fulfill my end of the bargain; have interesting information, education, and/or questions delivered in an interesting way.
When you put yourself out there, it is easy to feel assaulted, even cyber-assaulted when someone crosses the line. In the past, I have received messages from “fellow members” of professional networks who decided it was all right - above board – acceptable to send me degrading messages of an unkind or lewd nature. It’s not acceptable, at any time, not on a professional network – it isn’t a dating site or a lonely hearts club. I suppose I could have let those incidences go. I could have ignored them. But I have to say, I felt violated. Like someone had come into my home and rummaged through my stuff, stood in my shower, or tried on my clothes. It wasn’t, it isn’t good, clean fun. It’s degrading and debasing. It is not professional and it is not for me nor do such messages or inferences have a place in an online professional forum. These incidences are why harassment guidelines and laws were made long ago.
Online Idiots and Fools
As a mother of four who has worked her butt off to produce a huge portfolio of online work. I put myself through school to be able to provide better for my children. I love the industry where I work and what it has taught me and brought to my life. If I had received these messages on MySpace years ago, I think I could let it go and just hit the delete button. But it is a different place and time. There is no click, delete, and/or ignore. Idiots and Fools worm their way in and reside everywhere, in every forum, in every profession. Idiots who think professional networks like LinkedIn, FB,or Twitter are Tramp.com and Fools who think that a really bad pick up line will work – ever – should move on. There is no room for fools or idiots – if it didn’t work at the dive bar where you first tried it, it’s probably not going to work online either. Leave. It’s ok, shoo… you won’t be missed.
Be a positive online contributor.
Or don’t. It’s like that old line, anyone can be a father, it takes a real man to be a dad.
Or just like cancer, sometimes you just gotta Cut. It. Out. Ba-bye….