Category Archives: Social Networking

“Like me on Facebook”..

Join my network on Linkedin, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat……

Social media has become the new personal ad agency for millions. They no longer use social media to stay in touch with distant or lost friends, but now it has become an exercise in absolute hype, with certain people adding everyone they meet, and everywhere they go, and everything they hear about to make themselves appear more ‘hip’ and popular.

We hear more and more about “ Click Agencies” where you pay a fee to have incremental ‘clicks’ or ‘likes’ in order to appear more popular or even more fabulous, and some are paying even more to be selected to go to the top of Google Searches through Google Analytics.

For some individuals, life has become nothing more than an endless stream of shallowness, photos taken trying on fabulous clothes, shoes or handbags in high end shops that are never purchased, which is grotesquely cruel to the shop clerk working on commission, and spending their time on someone who has neither the money nor intention to actually purchase the goods, but simply wasting their time trying to look fabulous for the 15 seconds required to take a selfie and post it on social media.

Photos of cocktails in posh clubs, dinner plates in fabulous restaurants, in doorways of private clubs…all to enhance one’s perceived fabulousness….all fake, all shallow, all over in 15 seconds, but with a photo which lives on forever….

So, are they really trying to impress us or themselves? Certainly, I have asked numerous people about some of their so-called ‘friends’, and have been repeatedly told that they have no idea who the individual is, however as they were asked to be ‘friends’ they added them to increase their public footprint and media presence…….seriously???!!??

I receive an endless stream of invitations to add people on Linkedin due to my International network, when I invariably email those I know personally to advise that I do not participate, it is fascinating to see how few actually reach out to say hello. Most never reply. So it is painfully obvious that they were fishing for my contacts and were caught……..one or two inadvertently admitted it………

There is a dark side to this behaviour, these people have shown their true colours, and I know truly they are, and they will be avoided.

The latest buzzwords are ‘Transparency” and “ Authenticity” ….but the reality is that the large majority of people blasting these concepts around are anything but.

Like most things in life, there has to be a balance, if one is a student of human behaviour, which clearly I am, I tend to monitor trends, behaviour, speech patterns, body language, and actions over words. Invariably people get found out. …

“Thou doest protest too much…..” if someone has to post endlessly about their “ Authenticity” , fabulousness, or brag about their sheer volume of followers, there is something fundamentally wrong…..

Life is to be lived, with real live humans, for more than 15 second installments, and ideally in private….

The Collapse of Newsprint

Over the last several months we have read repeatedly about the impending collapse of newsprint, however, other than blaming the explosion of digital media, no one has taken a step back to look at the bigger picture.

From my perspective, I see a much larger and more frightening issue, and that is the utter failure of our educators to instill the interest or ability to read.

Students arrive in classrooms with mobile phones, laptops, and iPads, and are constantly distracted by the never ending streams of nothingness on their phones. There appears to be no attempt to silence the noise, to insist that phones not only be turned off, but placed where they cannot be seen during class.

In the past, students were taught history, literature, English composition and current events. Reading newspapers was actually part of the curriculum, as well as the ability to communicate with others. Everyone of a certain age and education remembers the horrors of being obliged to stand in front of the class and make a presentation. From early days in school, no matter how shy or insecure the student, everyone was forced to stand in front of the class and speak.

If later on one read Law, then Moot Court ensured that everyone was able to defend themselves verbally, and the weakest did not survive.

Today one wonders if any social skills are taught either in homes or educational facilities, and more importantly, the ability to write or interest to read. If no one teaches current affaires as an adjunct to history, being that it is history in the making, how are the youth to be even remotely interested in reading a newspaper or magazine??

If life is lived in nanoseconds through Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, surely there is more to life than seeing some pretend celebrity taking selfie’s in a posh Hotel lobby or trying on expensive shoes in a high end shop……life experienced in microseconds and then it is over……..
It is neither real nor news, nor even remotely important, yet the ability to quote the fabulously ‘famous’ seems to imply their own ‘fabulousness’.
Even more frightening, is the ability to purchase ‘followers’ to make oneself appear more important or popular, which sends a frightening example to an impressionable youth.

But to know what is actually happening in the real world is of little interest unless there are multiple deaths and breath taking explosions, at which point their so called ‘friends’ are reposting the images, in which case they instantly jump on the band wagon and post something, anything, to feel they are part of the crowd, and their word is heard. Image is everything, as well as being perceived as cool, hip and aware. Otherwise, real world news is of little interest or consequence in their sad little lives.

When life is lived through the eyes of others, and the perceived acceptance of others, whether or not they actually know who you are, it is a very sad existence.

Actually looking someone in the eyes and having a REAL conversation, where both parties are allowed the freedom to speak and express themselves is less frequent than walking around the streets watching a 3 inch screen.

So until people learn to read, write and actually communicate with others, and more importantly, actually LISTEN to what they say, the written word will quietly disappear, except for those few who actually choose to educate themselves both from an educational and personal improvement point of view.

Lying in the Electronic Age

Lies, Lies, Lies
There have always been a variety of types of lies, some cone from a kind and gentle  place, others are motivated by deception, greed, or from psychopaths who simply can’t tell the difference! No morality whatsoever from the liar makes it difficult for the rest of us to differentiate.
Some lies can be for self-aggrandisement, and we all know these people. Bragging endlessly about their fabulous lives and name dropping to enhance their image or perceived self importance.
The down side is that there is no consideration of the potential consequences.
The motivation can be simple or extraordinarily convoluted.
There are kind ‘white lies’ which are meant to spare the feelings of the recipient. If someone asks how something looks, telling them they look cheap, hideous, or fat will not do much to enhance the relationship. Likewise the age old ‘do I look fat in this” well, you just KNOW that you don’t want to tell the truth. It would be unkind and could result in disaster unless the person asking is secure and mature enough to handle the answer. Usually not.
There are lies of omission, to cover up incompetence, lies of one’s whereabouts, lies about one’s wealth, or lack thereof, lies regarding friends, trips, jobs, hobbies, finances, some are insignificant, and  sometimes the response can also be justified if the person asking the questions is inappropriate and rude.
In the electronic age it is even easier than ever to lie, as usually there are no witnesses to see the red flushed face, the downwards glance, the averted eyes, the twitch, the head touch, or whatever the tell. An inanimate screen can’t tell the truth from the lies.
Resumes are enhanced well beyond reality, education, titles and experience manufactured which bear no similarity to reality.
Some lies are exceptionally cruel, spreading false rumours can ruin reputations and careers, often out of sheer jealousy.
Then there is deception or misrepresentation which causes people to believe something which is not true.
Betrayal is another vicious lie. Throwing someone ‘under the bus’ to protect oneself is disgusting, and frightfully dishonest.
Plagiarism or copying someone’s works, be it music, literature, term papers, inventions and calling it one’s own.
Compulsive liars can emerge from a variety of sources. Some have extremely low self esteem and are seeking attention, others have been lying so long they no longer can tell the difference.
There are broken promises, which are a failure to honour a promise or commitment, where there was never any intention to do so. The most common of those being someone saying ‘lets get together for lunch’, or ‘I’ll call you next week’, or,  “ I”m on the phone, I’ll call you right back”, ‘please lend me the money, I will return it tomorrow’…….why say it if you have no intention of delivering?? These are hurtful lies, which other than making the person saying them feel better about themselves, actually hurt the recipient as they create a false expectation.
Fabrication is the lie of claiming a knowledge about something of which you know absolutely nothing.
Bold-faced lies are evil, everyone knows they are absolute lies and they insult the intelligence of the recipient.
There is an old expression, ‘on the internet no one knows you are a dog pretending to be a dog’ , and unfortunately on the internet, it is truer than ever, and really not as funny as it was.
Some businesses have extraordinary web presences, splashy web-sites proclaiming fabulous offices and business competencies. One individual starts a new company every January which he bankrupts every December. This has been going on for 30 years. He re-opens with a slightly different name, with virtually the same logo, but the differences are indiscernible unless you are seriously paying attention. Being an information junkie, we have his ads going back over 30 years, printed, so that it is possible to put them side by side and see the subtle changes.
He proclaims international experience, lavish offices and a vast partnership of senior executives. The truth is, he is living with his mother in law just over the border of Ontario with NO office, having escaped Quebec due to the vast number of bailiffs chasing after him.
His web site is gorgeous, it is meticulously detailed outlining his huge business acumen, however, the truth is far from what the web site portrays.
Just because a company has a fabulous web presence, does not ensure that there is anything behind it. We see many companies with extravagant web sites making claims of successes, but in fact they have $50 per month identity plans in shared offices. The addresses may be impressive, but the reality is not.
Unfortunately, like many things, it is ‘buyer beware’. Just reading the label is not enough.
Then, of course, is my favourite,  LINKEDIN. To say that people lie on that site is the understatement of the year.
We found one small local company where 6 of the 10 employees have the IDENTICAL resume, the most shocking fact is that the President also shares the same one!!! The other employees comprise a secretary, bookkeeper and sales staff.     So, if the President is complicit in this fraudulent practice, how on earth can you trust anything that anyone in this company does or says??
They claim to be Microsoft, Citrix experts……..but I would be terrified of using them.
Another small R & D company with 14 employees shows 10 with identical resumes, all claiming to be SCRUM MASTERS. Again, 10 with the IDENTICAL resume.How is that possible??
We see fabricated education, titles which were never held, jobs where the candidate was fired disappearing completely from resumes, one fellow went so far as to speak of his incredible successes in a job he had held for a mere 3 days!!  He single handedly put together a team of Enterprise Architects and delivered sensational results………..in 3 days??
There seems to be an expectation that these ‘enhancements’ be tolerated, however when someone looks you in the eye and insists that the details are true, without flinching, it is absolutely terrifying to think what else they could lie about. Lying  for some has become an art form.
A couple of years ago I re-interviewed a gentleman who I had previously interviewed on 2 separate occasions. He miraculously had a shiny new MBA on his resume, and the dates and titles did not line up. Titles and dates had morphed, likewise successes.  He lied to my face repeatedly, and was confronted repeatedly. He insisted. I persisted. Finally I took out the 2 previous resumes and showed them to him. The interview ended abruptly.
Personally, having to keep track of lies is way too much work!! I am much too lazy for that!!
We estimate that 60%, yes, indeed, 60% of the resumes posted on LINKEDIN are fraudulent. Unfortunately most of the people doing the first interview do not have the experience or maturity to catch these lies.
As we only work through word of mouth, we have references on the individuals we meet before we meet them, and we do additional personal references afterwards, sometimes as many as 5 if there is any doubt at all.
Dating sites, well I have heard so many horror stories and misrepresentations about these sites it is incredible. One woman actually posted someone else’s photograph. Two men who both know each other were at a party and people were talking about their dating stories. They both met the same woman at different times, only to discover the tall slim blonde was a shorter brunette. She claimed to be a University Professor, and her excuse was that she didn’t want her students to see her photo on the site. This is complete and utter fraud.
So, each of these men took time to go downtown to meet her, paid for gas, parking, cocktails, lost the time,  to meet someone who was not even remotely what they expected.
Co-incidenttally, both men were at the same dinner party discussing their dating disasters, and her name and profile came up. So, everyone at the party heard about this woman’s lies, and learnt her name. Incredibly embarrassing, but very entertaining for the rest of us.
We hear of men posting photographs of themselves from 20 years earlier, women claiming to own huge successful businesses who are seeking a man to pay their rent, it is endless.
The other big lie is Real Estate agents. There are some who spend tens of thousands of dollars advertising themselves in every print form imaginable. Every newspaper, web site, magazine shows their mugs smiling their fake smiles, proclaiming their successes. The give-away is that they hop from agency to agency as they do not actually sell anything, and end up scrapping with the other agents.
One local woman is so unpleasant no will buy from her, but she has become a listing agent due to her endless advertising. She snaps up listings from unsuspecting people who see her face everywhere thinking that she must be incredible. She is. Rude, vulgar and dishonest.
Unfortunately there are many of them out there, it is absolutely mandatory to do research BEFORE signing the listing agreement, otherwise you might find yourself with a house on the market for over a year with no visits whatsoever. The longer it is on the market, the more questionable it is to potential buyers. The market jargon is that the house listing is ‘burned’.
The online presence of many of these agents suggests something far different than the truth. Once again, you can’t believe everything you read.
It is not hard to find a PR company who will enhance your web presence and your web appeal.
Increasingly, many executives, musicians, movie people and others pay a fortune to have an exquisite web presence. For someone in the industry, we know that they embed keywords so that the names of these individuals always turn up in searches.
Their smiling faces and supposed successes are repeated over and over, the poor unsuspecting reader thinking that because it is on line it must be the truth. Unfortunately  it usually is not.
The sad irony is that many highly successful companies and individuals who are highly discreet are overlooked as they refuse to participate in the hype.
Lastly, FACEBOOK. How many people do we all know who have hundreds of FACEBOOK friends but no real friends?? Once again, they have manufactured an image of themselves which is fictitious  but extraordinarily appealing.
One local woman has literally hundreds of friends on Facebook. I actually confronted her one day about it, and inquired where she had met a couple of people she claims are her friends. It did not make any sense to me that they knew one another.   They DON”T.     Whenever she hears a name of someone she thinks is socially important, she immediately sends them a request to be friends, and many people simply accept.  They have never met, probably never will, and would walk by each other on the street.
Apparently this is commonplace, however I find it extremely sad.
Just think how pathetic this appears to the people who are really friends with these individuals, when they inquire where they met so and so, and are told that they don’t know each other. Oops.!!!
So, be careful out there. You could be talking to a dog pretending to be a dog, or worst, you could hire one!!!