Monday, July 06, 2009

Use Twitter and Facebook "not to get laid off"! Oh, really?

While the news about layoffs continues to accumulate, the Wall Street Journal today (Monday July 6) led off with a story “Companies, Workers Tangle Over Law to Curb Layoffs,” by Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, link here. The article concerns the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires 60 days notice of layoffs in certain situations where communities are heaving affected.

Then today AOL, in a column called “How Not to Get Laid Off”, Managing your career: Ariane de Bonvoisin and John Kilcullen provided a column “Identify 10 Skills You Need to Survive the Next Round of Layoffs at your Job”, link here. A lot of it was cowtowing and nose-holding and self-sacrifice around the margins, proving you can give away a little more effort than your coworkers who might have more family responsibilities. That is, lowball your coworkers. (Forget solidarity.) But it was tip #9 that got my attention: “Start Tweeting or Start Packing.”

I note this quote from the article:

“’No time for "I don't do Twitter or Facebook.’" Acquaint yourself with social networks, mobile applications, and commerce platforms to remain relevant. Let them intimidate you and you give your boss reasons to replace you with someone younger and more in the game.”

Note how you read this: It’s important to use the free-entry mechanisms, but now it’s important to brand yourself online for the work you are going to do. That certainly makes sense for younger people, coming out of college. Now, I branded myself a dozen years ago as a social activist (regarding “don’t ask don’t tell” among other things) so it’s a little late to think that Twitter could rebrand me as a mainframe programmer. Of course, my self-branding branches out. On one of my blogs, for example, I've identified "young composers" and "pianists" as categories, encouraging them to learn of each other's work. In my position, I don't think it hurts to be a 66-year-old Ryan Seacrest.

More and more, a unified web presence is becoming necessary for self-branding. Nobody understood this even five years ago.

Or is a "diverse" presence a good thing after all? Do you need to focus on narrow expertise, or do you need to diversity and move in several directions? Ten years ago, we thought the latter; we have narrowed our expectations from self-expression, as an antidote to unreliable corporate and labor paternalism, somewhat.

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