Social Honesty: Do What You Say and Say What You Do!

I think if all of you are co-workers with me and we’re all connected on LinkedIn, I have less wiggle room to be creative on a resume… [T]he transparency of it will keep candidates honest.” Kris Dunn

Social Media has significantly shifted the nuclei of reputation from a limited circle to all those who are connected with you on the social web. You are no longer the sole spokesperson of your own brand. The power shift in your reputation has already happened from “You” to the “Social Network”.

The issues

In our everyday lives we make an extraordinary number of decisions about people. These range from who to hire for a specific job to whom to let into a certain college. Billions of dollars are spent daily on making decisions about people and the costs of poor decisions are tremendous. And yet, the “science” through which we make these decisions is far from perfect.

College admissions committees use GPA, SAT scores, applications and a whole host of other data to try to do the best job possible; and yet everyone who attended a university can name scores of people who shouldn’t have been there. And anyone who has spent anytime inside a large company can think of numerous examples of colleagues who should not have been hired in the organization. These situations arise from vastly imperfect data about the people who we are making decisions about.

Behavioral patterns on the social Web

Increasingly, your online reputation is becoming a deciding factor in whether you get that job, or get approved for that car loan. Simplistically put, when you modify your LinkedIn work history (e.g., title, duties, timeframe, etc.) all of your LinkedIn contacts will be notified of the change and perhaps click through to see what you’ve written.

This, in turn, says Kris Dunn, is likely to keep you honest since your current or former coworkers will know if you’re overtly misrepresenting yourself. It’s a very interesting concept and one worth thinking through.

Social honesty may have more to do with deterrence than anything else. Perhaps the fear of being discovered prevents you from giving false information about yourself at the outset. As John Wooden aptly puts it, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Say What You Do and Do What You Say

Do you want your followers, friends and potential employers to interpret the things you don’t say? Do you want people to examine your activities that are unexplained and contrary to what you are saying? Worse still, do you want them to feel there is no connection between what you say and what you do?

Just as Google is a voracious indexer of all things on the Internet, social technologies and platforms like Facebook have made many users more acutely aware of what information is available about them on the Internet. However, your online reputation is being used in ways you may not be aware of, and could cost you. You should at least be aware of those you are connected with online, and what they say. There may be potential employers watching you!

Reputation Graphs is the next BIG thing happening on the social web. The new rules of Social Endorsements / Reference Checks, Authentication and Validation are being written now. Companies like Klout and Peer Index are innovating in this space.

Your social capital index is being calculated based on what you are saying you do and doing what you are saying! Be Socially Honest!


Dheeraj has been a Community and Organization Builder and has successfully led transformational startups like Andale Inc. in India and also led large Global Enterprise Services teams in technology majors like Symantec Corporation and Microsoft Corporation. In his most recent role, he was heading the education business segment at Microsoft – India. He is currently innovating as Managing Director – BraveNewTalent a Web 2.0 technology platform company into building Talent Communities for Employers to attract, engage, educate and socially recruit Gen Y talent. He was awarded by Microsoft with a MVP Award for Management Excellence for his contributions in strategic thinking and deployment of Management Development initiatives and building the Community for Management Excellence.


Related posts:

  1. Leveraging Social Media in Your Job Search
  2. Social Networks and Your Job Search (Part 2)
  3. Social Networks and Your Job Search (Part 3)

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