Friday, 11 September 2015


I thought that might get your attention.

It hopefully won't have escaped your attention that there has been somewhat of a media storm in the last few days about someone using LinkedIn in perhaps the way its creators didn't intend.

If you don't know what I'm on about, read THIS, to save me summarising what seems to have happened.

And then all hell has broken loose, with as many people criticising the victim as the perpetrator.

Frankly, its got a bit out of proportion now.

Look at THIS article from The Telegraph which outlines how the storm has since developed, and which highlights further unsavoury developments on both sides.

And then The Daily Mail, often considered a bastion of common sense and objectivity, entered the fray with THIS article in order to pour more oil on the burning fire.

What this tells me is that NOTHING, absolutely nothing, is safe or considered a no-go area by the media chasing a story.  The Mail article goes back ten years into the woman's past to dig up stories about parking tickets in order to justify their angle on her.  And various people have accessed Facebook comments that both parties have made about other people - presumably on private accounts.

If you haven't Googled yourself recently, I'd suggest you do.  And not just the first page either, or the second, get through pages 1-10 and see what's out there.  And then do pages 11-20.  And you're still not truly safe, because a reporter would find more.

Anyway, what about the use of LinkedIn to pass on compliments to another person?

Now, I realise I used my last blog to talk about gender imbalance in HR.  So apologies if this touches a little on the same area.

But sex sells.  Or sells newspapers at least.

The perpetrator in the LinkedIn storm says that he was merely passing on positive comments about the professional and well-photographed nature of the victim's profile picture as opposed to the poorly photographed ones presented by others, presumably.

That sound you hear is the sound of straws being clutched at.

I think the man sent the woman a compliment because he liked her picture, fancied her even.

But does that make it right?

Certainly there's enough people defending him, saying that he meant it in good faith. But it strikes me that he was trying to use LinkedIn like a dating site.  That's not to take either side, that's just how it looks to me.

As pointed out in some of the media articles, there are dating sites for professionals.  There are dating sites for non-professionals too, and I've experience of both during my phase as @Single_Man_75 and in my previous blog.  Tinder, POF,, and the more professional sites - I tried them all in that phase.  I wrote a blog about it twice a week for 18 months that was read by 4,000 people at one point.

But never did I think to use LinkedIn for that type of thing.  Twitter and Facebook, yes, but not LinkedIn. There's got to be a line.

And yet...and yet...I've had it done to me via LinkedIn.  Once someone tracked me down via LinkedIn (the only way I could be easily found apparently) to ask me out - and we did go out, but that's all I will say as that's a very sensitive (and explosive) story.  And very very recently I met someone for coffee whose opening line was "you've got a lovely profile picture on LinkedIn".

Now, isn't the latter more or less what the perpetrator did on LinkedIn this week?

I was a bit flustered because I hadn't expected it.  My profile picture is a professional one done by The Headshot Guy (freebie at a conference), which I think is a good one considering, well, you know, but never did I think someone would pay me a compliment over it.

And when they did, my reaction was initially confusion, and then vague embarrassment.  I didn't think to do what this weeks' victim did.

But if I had, I might have had the media attention myself, just a few days earlier.

I think my experience shows that the case this week isn't an isolated one.  Again though that's not to suggest its right, and maybe the victim was doing society a favour by highlighting that it does go on in the hope that making it visible stops it.

But sex does sell, so maybe an attractive profile picture does garner more views.  I don't get many on LinkedIn, and views seem to be split 50/50 men to women, but then maybe I appeal to both sexes.  Now and again I will post a picture of myself in my tight lycra trisuit on Twitter, no-one comments though but who knows what they do in the privacy of their own house?

So where does this leave us?

I think people will use LinkedIn as a substitute dating site, though I don't condone this.  Hopefully this weeks' story will prevent it happening again, because to upset people in doing so isn't good.  And as we all know in HR, its the perception of the comment, not the intention, that matters.

And you'd think a lawyer would know that better than most.

I'll leave you with the thought that there are plenty of people who would love to be paid a compliment, and would welcome it too, but who just don't get any.  You never know when you've received your last compliment, so my view is to treasure them when they do come.

Just stay on the right side of the line.

Till next time.


PS in other news, a busy period for me triathlon-wise as I've got 3 races in 21 days.  I may be tired at the end of that...

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