“The end product of the Industrial Revolution was the end of the connection of kinship and trust -- now, people are commodities.”
I don't have the link to the podcast the quote above came from, but it does pack a punch.
All this talk about democratization, of our ability to express ourselves with social media is still likely a gigantic illusion.
Here's why. The quote made me think about some examples from direct and indirect experiences.
Desperately seeking links
The PR pitch that demonstrates the person making it didn't bother reading the publication it seeks to get published on. This is a situation when a simple search would have resulted in finding a post about the very topic they are pitching. A missed opportunity.
That is not the most embarrassing moment.
Another PR tack is to offer an 'expert' for commentary on a timely topic when the publication does not cover that topic (there must be an over supply of experts, at the tune of about 5-7 per day.) The same agency the 'expert' hired or the 'expert' is from responds with the following:
I'm sorry, we thought you were an influencer in the marketing sector who might like a connection to one of the nation's top marketing research firms. Obviously we were way off the mark.
Would anyone enjoy being on the receiving end of such a note? A better question, yet -- is the executive who is being pitched aware of what is going on while his name and that of his firm are associated with a clear lack of professionalism?
There are plenty of stories more egregious than these. Just run a search, and bring your hard hat.
Casting a wide net in a small pond
This is a classic scenario for many job hunters I've talked with while networking over the years. A recruiter asks for all kinds of information and then either over or under sells the candidate, or not at all.
Never hearing back is another classic. Or hearing from the recruiter when the firm announces a fabulous hire for that very job a few short weeks later -- the candidate is just one more email on a list.
Another interesting scenario is when all kinds of people recommend a candidate to a recruiter and yet said recruiter never bothers to contact them. It is a small world and reputation is hard earned and quickly tarred. We are all connected to each other by less than five degrees of separation.
Word gets around fast. Yes, people learn about the details even in competitive bids for talent, offer amounts, etc. Assume everyone hears about the numbers and percentages sooner rather than later. Honesty is often just one search or call away.
Bidding for influence
I've been staying out of the more recent discussions on "online influence", because I believe that eventually things have a way of working out for the best. Smart businesses see through gimmicks, especially those that come back to haunt them.
Here are some thoughts on influence for the dedicated professionals.
Two recent posts worth reading about Klout: scoring social: the rise and fall of Klout and five questions Klout can't answer. Both allude to scoring users and profiles automatically, and the score indicating popularity, which would mean the game being played in an entirely different one.
I opted out of Klout recently. I had added my @ConversationAge Twitter profile (and no other network) to see how it was working, and I never added my @valeriamaltoni Twitter account, which nonetheless had been opted in the system, so I had to sign on Klout with it in order to opt out. A simple @ reply should suffice.
The moving line of trust/privacy and it effect on promises is already having an effect on the promises of businesses that agree to use these third party platforms and their brands.
There are intended and unintended consequences to businesses and brands based on their association with service providers.
The quote at the beginning of this post, and the scenarios above prompt me to conclude the week with the question: Are we treating people as commodities?
If so, is it any wonder that there is no trust?