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The False Intimacy of Twitter

by Dawn Lacallade

With a cross between the harsh economy and the surge of new networking tools, the web is a key component of the job hunt. People are using search engines (monster; yahoo, careerbuilder, etc.) as well as networking tools (linkedin, plaxio, twitter, facebook, etc.) With thesetools comes a whole new realm of social norms and rules that we are making up as we go. In the past two weeks, I have had two such interactions that solidified my understanding of one HUGE potential pitfall.

In the first instance the job seeker tweeted generically looking for someone from my company. I responded and we took it offline to a quick call. The applicant was interested in an open position and wanted to gauge the climate here before applying. I completely enjoyed the conversation and thought it might be a strong fit with the company, so I sent my thoughts over with the resume to the hiring VP. This applicant kept the entire exchange fairly formal and very relevant to the position at hand.

The Second person contacted me directly via linked in and asked if we could chat about a position. This person and I have been following each other on twitter within the Social Media Twitter Pack. In the back and forth conversation this applicant went so far to the informal that he actually ended up insulting me while giving me a hard time. In retrospect, I think he had a perceived intimacy because of the twitter relationship that (for me) did not directly translate to a personal relationship. Mye lesson learned was a strong reminder to maintain that professional stance even in these less formal vehicles when you are using them as a direct source of leads on positions.

Anyone else had an experience like this?

DawnL

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3 comments:

Andalyn said...

This is a very good point. I would think it would be common sense. But I guess not everyone thinks alike.

Z said...

I've had Twitter relationships turn into connections on other sites like LinkedIn, and a couple of my Twitter buddies and I started playing an online game together. I would agree that you have to remember that these people are acquaintances, and not close friends... but who says that it can't turn into something more socially intimate? Your experience sounds like one person taking it too far in a certain way, perhaps trying to impress you in a way that he falsely thought you would respond to... but crossing the friend-employee barrier is awkward even with RL friends... not sure the event is really evidence of a false intimacy on Twitter, rather than just an awkwardness with that one person. I had a person who asked to hook up with me on Linked In, and assumed because I accepted that I would help promote his business, and that we were now buddies... you are always going to have people like that, who try to use a connection with you to promote products... but how different is it from a neighbor who invites you to a Pampered Chef "party" or something... trying to get you to buy something based on your tentative relationship? I think it is just people, not technology.

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