Hey, Big Brother, over here — the copy

Below is a post I did for Digital Pivot. While there is some overlap, this blog tends to get visitors who don’t read Digital Pivot, and I think the question is a valid one for everyone, so I wanted to see if there were some folks here that would comment, too:

——————————————————————-

1984-coverI’ve had the topic of personal vs. professional online activity come up in Twitter discussions and during presentations to folks wanting to explore social media. It seems that whether we’ve been at this for a while or it’s a strange new playground, none of us are really very comfortable making a decisive argument about how your personal and professional life should or shouldn’t collide via your online activities. (I wonder how George Costanza would survive the Internet!?!)

If I make a bad pun or a risque comment on Twitter, and it’s been known to happen, should that impact how people treat me at work? If a picture of me gets posted on Facebook or Flickr for the world to see and I’m doing something that others wouldn’t agree with, is that a problem for me in a business meeting later? If a blog post I write is written specifically to provoke a discussion but someone who does business with my company disagrees, will that come back to haunt my employer?

David Mullen recently blogged about how teens and twenty-somethings may start to leave Facebook because they’re finding it too creepy to have family members befriending them, among other reasons. But as the comments responding to his blog point out, there isn’t anywhere these folks are going to go where they won’t be facing the same problem. And it’s a problem a lot of us are facing or will face at some point in our careers.

Obviously, if you do something illegal, profane or just plain idiotic and post it for the world to see, then there’s no question you’ll feel the repercussions later. But is the line between personal life and business life now blended so much that it’s becoming imaginary?

What should we be telling people looking to join us in the online universe? Is this like Big Brother watching everything we’re doing, only we’re some sort of insane masochists who volunteer to be watched?

How do we caution them about the downside without scaring them off? Should we be scaring them just enough that they think twice before posting something — or maybe even three times? Or does that defeat the whole point of the instant communication, instant reaction, instant gratification world of Web 2.0 that so many of us find attractive?

Please offer your opinions below — don’t make me write something provocative just to elicit a response. My boss might not like it.  😉

Advertisements

10 comments on “Hey, Big Brother, over here — the copy

  1. Nick, you make a good point, but it’s too simplistic. Someone over at Facebook posted, “Hide the porn!”, and they’re not thinking about the big picture enough, either.

    Folks know I have a Republican background, but I’ve become more Libertarian in my views as the years have gone by and I’ve grown frustrated with the GOP. However, from the Democrats’ perspective, I’m still branded with a giant “R” on my forehead, so sometimes it takes a few times talking to me for “them” to understand there’s more to me than a political affiliation.

    So, if I post something that is seen as more politically skewed in one direction or another, will that be held against me or my employer? I’ve often said Lansing is “the biggest small town in Michigan,” because everyone knows what everyone else is up to, and vindictiveness runs rampant. Is that going to expand and be brought to bear even more with the growth of Facebook, blogs, Twitter, etc.?

    Like

  2. You’re learning hard lessons fast in the PR business, Ari Adler.

    “If I make a bad pun or a risque comment on Twitter, and it’s been known to happen, should that impact how people treat me at work?”
    – Yes

    “If a blog post I write is written specifically to provoke a discussion but someone who does business with my company disagrees, will that come back to haunt my employer?”
    – Yes

    “Please offer your opinions below — don’t make me write something provocative just to elicit a response. My boss might not like it.”
    – No, your boss will not like this.

    See: “I will hurt you, Delta Dental”
    http://www.drbicuspid.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=646

    Let’s you and I discuss your thoughts about Delta Dental. How about it, Ari Adler? What do you really think of transparency? Darrell K. Pruitt DDS

    cc: spamgroup

    Like

  3. I would tell people to think things through before posting. You only need to ask a few simple questions: Would I want my boss to see this? Would I say this out loud? Is this written correctly? (I think if you are in PR or journalism, your credibility is shot if you misspell things often).

    I watch what I put online very carefully since I am a young professional. I comment on blogs, but I always try to be positive and add something to the discussion. I also keep my own blog, which I aim to be professional in all ways. My personal life doesn’t belong on there. I try to keep my Twitter professional, but on looser terms than my blog, because people do want to see that I’m human.

    Facebook is the only place I feel is appropriate to put personal things on. I still make sure there isn’t anything especially controversial because a lot of people can see it (professionals, former supervisors, my dad, etc).

    With the Internet, everything is so permanent. You have to think twice before posting anything.

    Like

  4. Rachel, thanks for your comment. You point out a lot of good tips, especially for young professionals, on why people should be careful about what they say and when they say it. I don’t think the Internet has really changed anything in that regard, just made it more likely others will hear about or see what you’re doing — and there’s more of a permanent record.

    I guess what I’m wondering though is whether it’s right or not. Perhaps this goes back to the issue of what you do on your own time and whether that should impact how your employer treats you. I’m not counting illegal or unethical things, but what about participating in a rally, supporting a political candidate or having a personal opinion on something expressed in a letter to your local newspaper?

    On the other hand, as Dr. Pruitt points out above, that can work in the opposite direction, too — with who your employer is or what they do bouncing back and affecting your personal life.

    There’s really no right answer to this, I suppose, but there is sure to be a case study in all of this somewhere upon which someone can write a book and make money. Maybe that can be your next offering on Amazon.com. 🙂

    Like

  5. Good topic Ari.

    I’ve been struggling with the same thing, and so have my supervisors. I think there is some reality in the media that our listeners, viewers, readers…what ever, want to get to know us better. So using social media works to our advantage as a promotional tool. But we also need it as a professional tool, and the networking I’ve done on facebook has been remarkable. But we also have personal lives where we are political, swear, wear dirty shirts and tell bawdy jokes…and don’t spell correctly.

    I’m currently in the process of splitting my FB personality in three. A site for my “fans”, another for networking, and another for being Rob South. It seems the easiest, if not the most functional way to mitigate the problem.

    I suspect, however, as the generations who grow up with this stuff start coming into their own, they may be more tolerant of that “blending” of personal and professional lives than we are. They may even welcome it.

    But until then, I’ll just have to keep those pics of me in a coconut bra off line.

    Rob South
    WKAR Reporter/Producer

    Like

  6. Rob, I’m not sure how you’re going to keep up with three Facebook identities — I have a hard enough time with one. You make an interesting point about the younger generations being more comfortable with the melding of personal and professional lives on social networking sites. I wonder, though, if those same people would frown on those who have personal and professional Twitter identities or multiple pages on Facebook. Another good discussion to have some time. Maybe at the next Mid-Michigan Tweetup, I’ll start one up and see what folks think.

    Like

  7. “On the other hand, as Dr. Pruitt points out above, [transparency] can work in the opposite direction, too — with who your employer is or what they do bouncing back and affecting your personal life.” – Ari Adler 2/1/09

    Mr. Adler, I am a general dentist with in a solo practice in Fort Worth, Texas. Like you, every day I strive to provide my bosses with my very best work. If you think about it, dentistry is not an easy job. It is intricate work performed in mouths of unpredictable humans. Regardless of the time and attention I pour into my small custom pieces of durable art, sometimes my patients take care of their fillings, and sometimes they don’t.

    I was intrigued by your statements on the DrBicuspid website recently about Delta Dental’s ideas for dentistry. You were quoted in an article by Rabia Mughal titled “Dentists or patients: Who should get the insurance check?”
    http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=301436&wf=34

    Here is a promise you made about Delta Dental that in all fairness simply demands more explanation: “We put our dentists thorough a credentialing process and provide quality assurance. That means if a dentist does a filling that should last a certain amount of time and it doesn’t, they have to fix it without charging the network or the patients.”

    Did you intend to tell potential purchasers of Delta Dental plans that Delta guarantees its preferred providers’ work? Did Delta actually approve that sales pitch?

    If that is indeed Delta’s revolutionary new policy, you did your job. But since you brought it up, in the name of accountability, you owe it to naïve dental benefits purchasers to either explain how Delta dentists are credentialed or give me the name of someone who can. That is not all. I will demand, yes demand, that you or another Delta representative to explain to consumers how long fillings should last. If you remain silent about these sales points that have already used to lure purchasers to Delta, you will have committed fraud on behalf of your boss. I think you are more stand-up than that.

    From reading your other works, it appears to me that Delta Dental has sacrificed your hard work at an Internet reputation. Are you a company man now?

    Nobody would blame you for denouncing Delta Dental. Everyone knows it is a sleazy company anyway. You can do better, Ari Adler. D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    cc: spamgroup

    Like

  8. Part six: Fraud and Delta Dental

    “We put our dentists thorough a credentialing process and provide quality assurance. That means if a dentist does a filling that should last a certain amount of time and it doesn’t, they have to fix it without charging the network or the patients.” – Ari Adler, representing Delta Dental, his employer.
    http://www.drbicuspid.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=646&mpage=1&key=&#646

    How many new clients has Delta Dental already attracted with their bold guarantee of dentists’ work? As the numbers mount, I think there could soon be a class-action lawsuit spurred by angry, misled Delta Dental clients unless someone retracts Ari Adler’s sales pitch.

    As you could probably guess, for my part, I intend to spread the word about the first guarantee in dental care from a discount dentistry broker in the history of the nation. I find this an exciting frontier, especially since law enforcement lags in controlling the avarice of slow-moving opportunists. Lynchings happen. We don’ need no stinkeen’ badges.

    I can confidently say that very few dentists respect Delta Dental. Delta has been sleazy a long, long time.

    A year ago, while walking through the exhibit hall at the Southwest Dental Conference in Dallas, I noticed National Provider Identifier (NP) application forms prominently displayed at the Delta Dental booth. The Delta saleswoman who covers the east side of Fort Worth, my neighborhood, pushed me hard to fill out an application. “You don’t want to wait until the last minute. May 23rd is the [final] deadline.” (The deadline had been delayed a few times because of countless CMS blunders).

    I already knew by then that the ten-digit identifying number does nothing to improve dental care, and that once a dentist applies, one cannot back out. By Jan. 2008, I also knew that foul-ups concerning the NPI had already delayed physicians’ payments for almost a year. That means that the number which was meant to “speed” payments, doesn’t – causing harm to dentists’ patients by needlessly increasing the cost of care. Anyone can see that it is counter to the Hippocratic Oath to even listen to Delta Dental representatives.

    When I resisted applying, she and other Delta employees emphatically agreed that the NPI number will soon become a licensure requirement for all Texas dentists anyway. I later checked. She lied.

    This comment will also be submitted to Ari Adler to be posted on his blog, 5Ws. This will not end well for anyone associated with Delta Dental. I promise.

    Here is my advice: Retract the guarantee or defend it. A retraction would cut Delta’s losses, while defense from Delta would make for some swell entertainment. D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

  9. I posted this on the PennWell forum and notified Ari Adler of the notice on his 5Ws blog.
    ——————————-
    An open letter to Delta Dental Plans
    ________________________________________
    From: pruittdarrell [mailto:pruittdarrell@sbcglobal.net]
    Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 12:30 PM
    To: ‘kgerlesits@deltadental.com’
    Cc: ‘angelafeig@meyocks.com’
    Subject: Delta’s guarantee

    An open letter to Delta Dental Plans regarding guaranteed dental work.
    ————————————-
    Dear Kate Gerlesits of Delta Dental:

    On January 30, Delta Dental employee Ari Adler announced that Delta guarantees its preferred providers’ work in an article that was posted on DrBicuspid.com.

    “We put our dentists thorough a credentialing process and provide quality assurance. That means if a dentist does a filling that should last a certain amount of time and it doesn’t, they have to fix it without charging the network or the patients.”
    http://www.drbicuspid.com/forum/tm.aspx?m=646&mpage=1&key=&#646

    In the last two weeks, both Dr. David Edward Marcinko, Publisher-in-Chief of Medical Executive-Post, and I have requested an explanation from Ari Adler and Delta Dental. So far, our requests have been ignored.

    Did Delta Dental authorize Ari Adler to roll out the news of Delta’s guarantee, or was the sales pitch a product of Adler’s own initiative to attract new clients for Delta?

    Please respond promptly. D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Like

What do you think? Please let everyone know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s