My friend and local attorney Jan Mostov recently posted:
“I presume there are thousands of people who can say they found their ‘dream job’ through LinkedIn.” He went on to ask his friends to “say a few words” and offer advice.
Mostov’s LinkedIn “dream job” inquiry is not uncommon.
Some who responded to his post echoed his frustration with the ability of the platform to make meaningful connections with other professionals and create opportunities.
When I saw his post, I was immediately reminded of conversations I’ve had with others about the utility of LinkedIn when it comes to career advice.
What has LinkedIn done for me lately? It’s a common refrain heard from professionals regardless of industry, education, gender, age, race and ethnicity.
Before I responded to Mostov’s post, I was reminded of conversations I’ve had with others who find LinkedIn to be a powerful professional platform.
Personally, I think Jim Cossler has the best LinkedIn advice.
Cossler is the Huntington Bank Entrepreneur in Residence at the Youngstown Business Incubator. I often refer to Cossler as a LinkedIn power user. He’s harnessed the ability to make connections with people in his industry – professionals who want to know what he knows, and get his advice.
Speaking of advice, Cossler was already responding to Mostov when I was ready to chime in.
“There is a huge difference between being ‘on’ LinkedIn and being ‘visible’ on LinkedIn,” Cossler wrote. “One way to do that is to publish or re-publish the content your target market wants. I do that for startups and entrepreneurs.”
He’s absolutely right. LinkedIn has become the “go to” social media landing spot for those seeking professional advice.
LinkedIn recently made it a lot easier to not only find that advice, but to create a mentoring profile for giving advice.
“Mentorship is an important part of developing and sustaining a satisfying career and improving your professional life, regardless of whether you’re a mentee or mentor,” LinkedIn posted in its Career Advice platform launch.
“Our research has found that more than 80 percent of professionals on LinkedIn have stated they either want to have a mentor or be one to others, but have a hard time knowing where to start.”
LinkedIn’s new service, Career Advice, makes it easier to create connections through the network with something they refer to as “lightweight mentorship opportunities.”
“Whether you’re looking for best practices for approaching a new project ... or intel on switching industries, Career Advice can help you connect with the right person,” LinkedIn posted.
To access Career Advice, visit your profile, enter your preferences, and LinkedIn will make matches for giving and receiving advice.
Interests you have in common with someone might also lead to connections with professionals outside your network.
Making these new connections will broaden your network and, possibly, lead you to that dream job.
The headline is creepy. I know it. That’s why I wrote it.
If you’re reading this online right now, I want you to stop and think about all of the websites you’ve visited in the last 24 hours.
If that’s too long a list, focus on the last few hours.
Have your list?
Okay. Now here’s the hard question. How many of those sites are tracking your every move?
Whether your list includes Amazon, Facebook, or even the trusted, award-winning journalism at Vindy.com (little plug for the newspaper in which this column appears every Wednesday), chances are you’re giving up some personal information and you don’t even know it.
Some data you give willingly. You want to be connected with friends on social media, so there’s a bit of privacy you give up to do so. You want deeper, richer information on a particular site, so you willingly share your name, an email address and maybe a birthdate to gain access.
However, it’s the other data that you’re not sacrificing willingly that is of concern to many consumers. A new report reveals the depths to which some companies are going to track your every move online.
In an article posted last week to Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy site Freedom To Tinker, Steven Englehardt and his colleagues exposed the extraordinary lengths some retailers will go to track your data.
“More and more sites use session replay scripts,” Englehardt said. “These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements and scrolling behavior, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers.”
Scripts sit behind the pictures you see on retailer websites. While the collection of that data might not surprise you, the storage of that information on third-party computers is alarming.
“These scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder,” Englehardt said.
Some of us are already giving up information, so why worry about this?
Their team uncovered several vulnerabilities recorded during these sessions including the tracking of passwords and using keystrokes or inputs to collect sensitive date (data that should have been removed).
Englehardt noted that collecting this content could lead to other information (i.e., credit-card numbers, medical reports) being leaked to the third-party, which could lead to consumer fraud.
“This may expose users to identity theft, online scams and other unwanted behavior,” Englehardt said. “The same is true for the collection of user inputs during checkout and registration processes.”
Ad-blocking list EasyList will help stop some of these activities, but it’s not a fool-proof protection measure.
Want to learn more about how these retailers are tracking you online? Check out Princeton’s Freedom To Tinker site at www.freedom-to-tinker.com. They make difficult concepts easy to comprehend, and in ways most of us can use.
It’s easy to get sucked into the negativity of social media.
But for every negative post, there’s always some quote, joke or image meant to be uplifting or funny – something to make you smile on an otherwise dreary day.
While negativity seems to permeate Twitter, we often forget how easy it is to find inspirational quotes and knee-slapping jokes, the kind that really make you LOL (i.e., laugh out loud).
If you’re on Twitter and you’re looking to elevate your mood, check out daily hashtags that are meant to inspire.
For example, tweets with hashtags like #MondayMotivation or #WednesdayWisdom often offer insights or humor that give other Twitter users real-life smiley faces.
@WilliamABurnell tweeted, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives #JFK” and included the #WednesdayWisdom hashtag. It included an image of a boardwalk over clear blue water.
It wasn’t much, and no one had liked or retweeted the post aside from me. But it was something I needed to read in that moment, even if it was only a tweet with a pretty picture.
This isn’t to suggest those who use the “motivation” or “wisdom” hashtags are 100 percent focused on productivity and positivity. Indeed, some users will co-opt a trending hashtag to go on a political rant.
But these users are easy to avoid and, of course, you can always unfollow or block someone you feel is abusing a hashtag meant to promote something positive.
Other similar daily hashtags include #TuesdayThoughts, #ThursdayThoughts, #FridayFeeling, #SaturdayMotivation, and #SundayFunday.
Positive Brittany at @brittlove77 tweeted, “Spend time doing what you love. Don’t waste time living a life you don’t like. Make the change you need to, to enjoy today” with the hashtag #FridayFeeling.
Like Burnell’s tweet, Brittany’s message didn’t offer earth-shaking, life-altering advice. It wasn’t meant to. It was simply meant to be a heartening message for those who needed to read it in that moment.
And clearly someone needed Brittany’s positive message, as it was retweeted more than 80 times and received more than 200 likes.
Others who post stirring, thought-provoking messages are easy to find, and some actively engage with their Twitter followers.
New Age guru Deepak Chopra maintains a very active Twitter account with motivational posts, educational videos, and links to articles. Follow Chopra at @deepakchopra to see how he uses Twitter to promote his brand and engage followers.
I’m also a fan of Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last. He doesn’t tweet often, but when he does, it’s often profound and uplifting. Earlier this year, he tweeted, “The genius at the top doesn’t make the team look good. A good team makes the person at the top look like a genius.” You can follow Sinek at @simonsinek to see more.
As our crew of 50-some social media influencers boarded the shuttle (i.e., bus) after the tour of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope mission control, one team member quipped, “Imagine the selfie you could take with that thing.”He was, of course, referring to the awesome power of Hubble, and the incredible images the telescope has captured since its launch aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1990.
“Maybe we can. Let’s ask,” I replied with a smile, knowing full well that wasn’t a possibility (after all, Hubble’s telescope is pointing the other way, away from Earth).
I know what some of you are thinking. Why would they want a bunch of social media people like me nosing around behind the 18-foot barricades of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center?
NASA’s social media team has been doing events like this for years: inviting small groups of social media users to experience, firsthand, some of the amazing work NASA is producing.
The hope is that some influencers will walk away and, maybe, do something cool with the experience.
Of course, it’s easier to do something “cool” with the experience when the experience itself is cool.
The entire event focused on space lasers. More specifically, several NASA mission experts showed us how they use, or plan to use, lasers to measure Earth, track satellites and communicate.
Aside from our visit to Hubble’s mission control, we visited with NASA’s ICESat2SFlbengineers (launching in 2018 to measure Earth’s ice), met with GEDI mission directors (launching in 2019 to measure Earth’s terrain), and watched as NASA was preparing future robotic satellite servicing missions.
At sunset, we visited Goddard’s laser ranging facility and watched as NASA tracked satellites in orbit around Earth.
You might be curious where the whole “social media” thing fits in. I was surprised to learn the event was not just about attracting an audience on Facebook and Twitter.
It was more “social” than “social media.” And that’s a good thing.
Jason Townsend, NASA’s social media manager, suggested that these events offer a bit of give and take. NASA gives visitors a glimpse of what’s happening in terms of missions and experiments. Those who attend a NASA social get to take that information and, in Townsend’s words, “do their own thing with it.”
“A comic book illustrator came through one of our NASA social events and ended up making a 30-page comic book on what it’s like to visit NASA,” Townsend said.
For some, attending a NASA social event might lead to a job offer – at NASA. “Others decide they want to work in social media and come to work for [NASA],” Townsend added. “We have a dozen or so people who are alumni of our NASA social program.”
If I could have a second dream job, this would probably be it.
(part one of two): On a whim, I applied for social media credentials for a daylong NASA event at their Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Complete honesty: I applied and forgot about it.
Aside from maintaining an active Twitter account, sporadic postings to Facebook and other platforms, and writing a once-a-week blog, why would NASA invite the most “nonsciencey” guy to check out their new space lasers?
Yes, space lasers. Cool, right?
But, my official NASA invitation arrived a few weeks ago. To hear my wife tell it, I “totally geeked out.”
“It’s all he’s talked about for the last two weeks,” she said to a friend (with an eye roll).
Yes, I’m excited.
This Friday, I get an “inside-the-gates” look at NASA’s Goddard Center in Greenbelt, Md. I’ll be live-Tweeting, streaming, and generally geeking out all day.
This isn’t the first time NASA has hosted a social media event.
When they have something cool to share (e.g., space lasers), NASA opens its centers and facilities to give a behind-the-scenes look, or as I like to put it, how the rocket science sausage is made.
Jason Townsend, NASA’s social media Manager, explained to me that about 8,000 social media influencers and enthusiasts have attended more that 150 events over the years.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all experience,” Townsend said. “Everyone gets a slightly different perspective from the same event. And that’s the beauty of the program.”
Anyone with an active social media profile can apply to attend one of these events. Go to nasa.gov/socialmedia and click on “NASA Socials” to find a list of upcoming events for which you can apply.
“We don’t really have preset expectations for what people do at our social events other than we get to show off what we do and that people will take some of that experience and share with it others,” Townsend said. “We’re blown away with what some people come up with.”
Most NASA events are limited to 50 active social media users.
According to a recent “Social” application, NASA is looking for people who “actively use multiple social networking platforms and tools to disseminate information to a unique audience.”
This means NASA wants social media influencers who produce new content with multimedia elements, people can reach a large and “unique audience,” user with an established history of posting content on social media platforms, and with postings that are highly visible, respected and widely recognized.
See my updates and images on Twitter and Instagram at @adamearn. Use @NASAGoddard and the #NASASocial hashtag for updates from others at the event. I’ll also make public posts to my Facebook account.
Next week, I’ll share with you my experience from the trip, including how NASA’s social media team creates engaging content and gets people excited about space exploration.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.