- Be selective. Each has different pros/cons, so use only the media you like best.
- Be genuine. This is the most important piece of advice I have for all participants. Phoniness is a turnoff.
- Interact. This is the second most important advice. Follow others and comment on their posts. One-way communication is out-of-date.
- Be useful. People are more interested in a recipe for success than in what you had for lunch.
- Be humble. Posting only accomplishments will be as annoying as those braggadocios holiday letters.
Facebook, however, appears to be disinterested in stakeholder alignment.
You've already heard about, or have been involved in, Facebook's IPO debacle. Some fault for that fiasco rests outside of Facebook, but much of it rests inside. In mid-May, the stock was expected to trade at $38. It was higher than that for a short time on opening day but has been nowhere near $38 since. The stock has risen in the last two weeks, closing yesterday at $32.06, down 16% from IPO price. However, even as the stock trends upward, Facebook and its investment banks are being sued by dozens of shareholders who allege that financial forecasts for Facebook were cut prior to the IPO but the change was not publicized.
Facebook contends it did nothing illegal with regard to changing its forecasts or how it announced the changes. Companies truly concerned with stakeholder alignment care when their stakeholders, including shareholders, are angry and feel cheated. Facebook has shown it does not care, as long as what it did was legal. Shareholders don't care much about the touchy-feely side of business, as long as they are making money. However, since they are obviously not making money, they will scrutinize (and sue!) Facebook until they are compensated and do not feel duped.
Duped investors are not the foundation of long-term success.
On to the next action that shows Facebook's blatant disregard for its stakeholders...
Yesterday, Facebook changed its users/customers' email addresses to the ones Facebook created for them. In 2010, Facebook introduced its own email service but it was not widely used. Yesterday, without any notification to its users, Facebook changed users' profiles to have their Facebook-created-whether-you-want-it-or-not email address as the primary email on the account. They did not change the way they reach users, just the way users could reach each other.
Facebook's customers do not want another email account and they certainly do not want Facebook changing their accounts without notification. In response to the outrage yesterday, Facebook did not explain or even admit to altering the default account settings. Facebook has made similar changes to accounts without notification. They continue to show lack of respect for their customers.
What Facebook should recognize is: they need its stakeholders more than we need Facebook.
Investors can make money elsewhere and users can be in touch with friends on other sites, and most are. If Facebook continues to show disregard for its investors and users, two primary stakeholders, they will erode the trust necessary for long-term sustainability. If Facebook continues to dupe investors and users, another social site can take its place. Get ready, that's what is likely to happen.
Does that cross the line? What would you have done if you were being interviewed and your login information was requested?
I realize employees spending company time on social sites could be problematic on several levels--poor work performance, lack of teamwork, low productivity. But, is it the company's business how employees spend their non-company time?
If you don't want your coworkers or employer to know about your kids, hobbies, vacation, friends, friends' kids, family, family issues, is it their business to force you to reveal such things?
My perspective is that the issue really is about the company and its culture.
First, if company were utilizing the employees' skills well, there would be no time for Facebook during the work day. Also, the employees would not be interested in wasting time if their time were being used well.
Second, if the managers knew their people better, demanding logins would be unnecessary. Managers who show interest in their people can learn about kids, family, friends, hobbies, interests, etc. If employees feel the need to keep their lives secret, that says something about the lack of trust for their managers and the organization. Or, perhaps the employee's hobbies are illegal or immoral?
Third, as a manager or employer, once you learn private information, you may be responsible for it. You might shoulder the burden of an employee's sick grandparent now that you know there is a big fundraiser. Or, you might become witness to legal battles between exes. Or, you might learn about lifestyles that are not common in your organization. Learning more than people want to reveal is not always advantageous for the company.
If an interviewer asked me for my Facebook login, I would request theirs first. After all, I would want to see just who I would be working with and how they spend their time. Do you think the interviewer would provide it? Me either.
What do you think?
Is requiring Facebook login information from job candidates and current employees over the line?