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Pay attention to the facts

They might help you seem more genuine

Social media provides individuals with a sense of anonymity and the ability to play with the facts. There’s the fake news extreme, but then there’s also the subtle ability to make fun of certain standards and protocols. Like claiming you have a BSC and SSC and leading them to believe that they are academic degrees, and only later describing them as your Bronze Swimming Certificate and Silver Swimming Certificate (a Red Dwarf reference). And the point of these kinds of details is jest, and yet there are always those out there on the internet who take things out of context, or cannot see the metaphorical tongue in cheek, and take the details as serious facts.

My example: on my LinkedIn profile I have jovially included a position in my career history listing as “Acting Tooth Fairy” at “Home”. This is partially to provide others viewing my profile that my children and family are a high priority for me, and partly to poke fun at the standards that the LinkedIn platform force everyone to fit themselves into – career and education only, but not the full picture of a person. Well, as LinkedIn is wont to do, it has posted an update in a lot of news and information feeds to people who are connected to me indicating that I am having a work anniversary, and that I have been at this job for two years. So I expect a lot of people to see this and either smirk again at the silly job listing, or maybe frown at how dumb they think it is that I listed Tooth Fairy on my professional profile, or possibly not even care.

But I have received a dozen or so LinkedIn messages from people saying “Congrats on your work anniversary!” I have to assume that this is the canned message LinkedIn populates for them, since they have all said the same thing. But what it comes down to is that all these people think that they are “networking”, staying in touch with an old contact, keeping up the nice, and doing the right thing, and then moving on without another thought. Meanwhile, although I appreciate the gesture, I think that none of these people are detail-oriented enough to know that it’s not a real work anniversary.

Mine is fun, silly, less important example, but the point is to pay close attention to the facts and to figure out, even online, if someone is joking around, because you never know when something more serious might bite your back.

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