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Ask the Headhunter/ Online Media

Social Splatter: This Isn’t Marketing


by Nick Corcodilos
Contributing Writer

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How many places can I be? I’m Facebooked, Twittered, Linked, Google Plussed, and shared and socialized so thinly that I wonder what use I might be to anyone.

A tech columnist in New Jersey, Allan Hoffmann, writes that the “Bevy of online profiles can be tough to manage.” No kidding. Hoffmann says, “I don’t mean I’m overextended. I mean I am literally—well, virtually—in too many places.” And to think my wife has again and again talked me out of buying a vacation house because it would be too hard to maintain two places. But I can’t even maintain all the Nicks in my world.

Gradually, the point of all this has been revealed to my root self. It’s all about advertising. Every one of my avatars is another opportunity for a company to advertise its products—to me, around me, on me, and to those connected to me.

I can’t buy a music CD from Amazon (my other identity owner) without spawning e-mail attacks against myself. Advertisers are paying to support my virtual existence in as many venues as possible, so they’ll have more ways to sell to me and more ways to use me to sell to my friends.

Now LinkedIn, that uber-network of professionals including yours truly, has “checked off” more ways to create new avatars of Nick to be used to advertise more stuff to more avatars of others.

Blogger Steve Woodruff warns that there’s “A Box You Want To Uncheck On LinkedIn.” It turns out LinkedIn has turned on a new feature. “Apparently, LinkedIn has recently done us the ‘favor’ of having a default setting whereby our names and photos can be used for third-party advertising.”

Do I get a fee for this?

Unbeknownst to me, LinkedIn spawned more Nicks out there to do the heavy-lifting for the Web site’s advertisers. I turned off my new LinkedIn avatars, executed them, turned off their connections, and sent them to the devil. (Thanks for the heads up, Steve.)

Socially splattering me all over is not a marketing strategy. Social everything now seems to be the classic “technological solution in search of a problem.” It’s useful only if you want yourself spread all over the Internet so thinly that your root self begins to approach the state of a single-ply sheet of toilet paper: It’s useless except to the very desperate.

This isn’t marketing. But, what’s it got to do with headhunting? If I see your face in a LinkedIn ad for a brand of tissue, I will not recruit you. Come splatter your comments on the .

About Nick Corcodilos

Nick Corcodilos writes "Ask The Headhunter," a weekly blog on in which he shows you how to tackle the daunting obstacles that job hunters and managers face when trying to work together. From time to time, Corcodilos also will provide feature stories offering insights into various management career strategies, In addition, his newest books, Keep Your Salary Under Wraps, How to Work with Headhunters and How Can I Change Careers?, are available as PDFs.