posted by on Opinions, perserverance

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Life is not fair.

How many times did we hear that growing up? I can still hear my mother admonishing me to accept this as fact every time something in my universe went awry – whenever an event unfolded that held no apparent remedy, or no other explanation that would fit over the long term, except that one. Even now, and hopefully much wiser and circumspect about life’s twists and turns, I still cringe at these words whenever I hear them. There’s still a part of my brain unwilling to accept this mantra as a universal truth over which I – we – have no control. More often than not, the thought that comes to mind is: “Life may not be fair, but people should be.” Because let’s face it: Barring random accidents or illness, when something unfair happens to us, it usually involves other people who have hurt us in some way.

I guess part of my reaction to the notion that life isn’t fair stems from my own strong sense of fair play and justice. On some idyllic level, I believe that many, if not most, of life’s unfair events can be prevented or remedied; few things get me more fired up than stories of people being treated unfairly. In the workplace. In relationships. Yet at the same time, I know we can’t control how others treat us, and that people have different perceptions of what “fair” means. If everyone could agree on that one concept alone, what a different world we would inhabit!  I’m forced to acknowledge – albeit reluctantly – that even in cases of being wronged, the idea that life is not fair, fits. It can even bring a certain peace to the equation.

And so, with each unfair event life hands me, I’m still learning to reframe. Redefine. That my father died when I was nine? An early lesson on the fragility of life.  The friends who betray me? Continuing Ed to choose friends more wisely. The jobs lost through layoff or other circumstances? Opportunities to learn, grow, and be a better boss and person. Unfortunate random occurrences that defy rational explanation? Resilience and a sense of humor.

Could it be, then, that the most unfair – and even cruel –  of life’s events and circumstances  hold more promise and opportunity than we dare to believe?  Is life therefore  fair – perhaps more than fair – even when it isn’t? What do you think?



posted by on blogging, FaceBook, Online Reputation Management, Opinions, Social Media, Twitter, YouTube

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My last Blog post was about the Maryland Department of Corrections story in which an officer re-applying for his job  was requested to surrender his Facebook log-in info as a precondition for employment.  The officer complied, albeit reluctantly. Shortly thereafter, the Maryland ACLU filed a formal complaint. This article is a recent update which offers an explanation of, and recent changes to, this policy. I’ll say again that I think any employer who requires such a thing has completely overstepped their legal and ethical bounds.

But what about simply wanting to connect with a prospective employee online? Are employers within their bounds to ask for that privilege?  Many companies now look at social profiles as part of their screening process,  and stories abound about employees who have lost their jobs over something said or done on social sites which employers felt reflected negatively on them. These include, but are not limited to: Criticizing a company and/or its employees by name or inference, and behaving in a manner considered detrimental to the company by way of comments or images posted.  A whole new avenue of litigation has opened, with more to come as social sites continue to draw more individual and business users.  At issue are questions such as whether employers should have the right to fire based on these circumstances, and determining the degree and manner in which people may express themselves without crossing the nefarious line into libelous or threatening behavior.

Obviously, I leave it to the judges, attorneys and juries of one’s peers to figure out these weighty issues for those cases that go to trial. What I do know is this:  A little common sense should prevail.  Even if you aren’t connected to prospective or current employers through social networks, chances are someone you know is somehow.  If you don’t have the good judgment and maturity to keep those risqué party pictures or negative sentiments about your company,  boss, neighbors, or others you know off of your Facebook page, you shouldn’t expect one ounce of sympathy when these things come back to bite you on the proverbial butt.  Like it or not, we  live in a more or less transparent online world; the exercise of discretion while there can make or break your personal and professional reputation.  Case in point: I know a realtor who posts frequently about how heavily and frequently they imbibe.  Think I’ll hire them to sell my house? No, and I’m no teetotaler myself,  but  I question their common sense, good judgment, and how a lack thereof may affect their ability to represent me in the best possible manner.   Harsh? I don’t think so.

So what do you think? Do companies go too far when they fire people for speaking negatively about them online? Are you connected to your co-workers and employers on social networks? Why or why not? Should I rethink my own personal views on common sense online behavior?


posted by on FaceBook, Opinions, Social Media


If you’ve been on Facebook in the last few days, you’ve probably heard a report about the Maryland Department of Correction’s controversial policy of asking job applicants to submit their Facebook passwords and log-in info to conduct background checks. This was prompted by the re-hire of a corrections officer who was told he needed to submit this information to be reinstated after returning from a personal leave. He contacted the ACLU, who is now conducting an inquiry.

What is the Maryland COD thinking? That they should be able to log on to people’s personal accounts AS THOSE PEOPLE, just to see what they’re up to? And access private messages and info of friends? Social Media Today offers this thoughtful analysis. My question: Why not just request a friend confirmation from applicants to see their profiles? If the request is denied, infer what you will from that.

Amazingly, the officer gave them his information, albeit not without protest. How could anyone be naïve enough to do that?

Predictably, there has been a backlash to this and other efforts seen as egregious intrusions of privacy. Case law on the issue is sparse, and if this policy is duplicated, it will face court challenges, and legal precedent will be set. As I see it, there is no middle ground here: Being asked to surrender personal login information for Facebook or anything else, as a precondition of employment, is 100% wrong. Period.

And then it hit me. Either the Maryland DOC consists of ignorant boneheads, or they’re brilliant.

The pdf from the ACLU to the Maryland DOC looks official enough. Still, I can’t help but wonder: Have we all been snookered? Was this actually a process of elimination test to weed out applicants? As in: If you are dumb enough to actually comply with such a request, we sure don’t want you working for us.

I’ll tell you this: I wouldn’t want someone that “compliant” working for me. Would you?

Update 2/22, 5:11 PM: The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has suspended the practice of asking for Facebook login information for 45 days, according to an email they sent to The Atlantic. See full story on the development.

Ok, so maybe my “theory” is most likely wrong. But you know what?  I think I’d respect the Maryland DOC a whole lot more if I was right.

Liz DeLoach is a Social Media Consultant, Les Mills Fitness Trainer, wife and mom of two teens (help!) in Charleston, SC. Follow her on Twitter @lizdeloach. And, be sure to stop by her page at Social Moms.

posted by on FaceBook, marketing, Social Media, social media marketing

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Wow. What a day in the Social Media world. Facebook has launched some pretty hefty changes to its Business Page format. They’re great changes, too – all of which in essence allow pages to act as people – liking other pages, commenting as the page’s identity on other “liked” pages, and so forth.  I’m not going to detail those here. Others already have, and quite well, I might add.

Instead, I want to focus on one of the key features and offer some ideas on ways to use it that can be great for your page’s ability to add ‘likes,’ build relationships, and promote cross marketing.  I’m referring to the ability to comment, as a page, on other pages that your page likes. This one development alone is huge! Here are some thoughts to get you going on how to use it:

  • If your Facebook page is for a restaurant, you can find businesses or organizations in close proximity and post about your fare and services. What a great way to help drive traffic to your door. Then try a post on your own page promoting that business or organization in a helpful and conversational way.
  • Sponsoring a big event with a Facebook presence? Weigh in with a “thank you” and let them know, for example, that you’ll be tweeting and posting updates to help publicize that event.
  • What about pages for locations? Here in Charleston there is a page called “Charleston.” For a location page, you could offer info about an upcoming event, interesting historical tidbits, etc. If you happen to be a local touring company, a couple of tips on “must see” sites would be great on a location page.

One concern I do have about this feature is whether or not it could promote “spamminess.” I do want to caution great care, consideration, and selectiveness in the types of posts you put out there, and where. Don’t run out and post broadcast type ads. When in doubt, contact the business and ask permission to post on the page, offering first to promote them in some way. Think in terms of giving away great info, not advertising for sales.

Here’s a link to a great article on  “Ten Things Admins Should Do Right Now” with the new format. Great stuff!

So what do you think of these changes? I’d love to hear your ideas on ways you plan to use the one I highlighted, or any of the other new features.

Liz DeLoach is a Social Media Consultant, Les Mills Fitness Trainer, wife and mom of two teens (help!) in Charleston, SC. Follow her on Twitter @lizdeloach. And, be sure to stop by her page at Social Moms.

posted by on FaceBook, marketing, Opinions, Social Media, social media marketing, Twitter

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Last week, I offered six crucial questions that businesses should consider before they delve into a social media presence. Question one involves figuring out what you want your presence to accomplish for your business. Which begs an even more basic question: How do you decide what those things are?

As with most marketing endeavors, it’s always sound to start with a back-to-basics mindset. Let this philosophy form the framework of your approach to social media. I have two great answers to the “What should my presence accomplish” question that apply to every business:

1. Your social presence should create greater awareness within each community of your business and brand

2. You want this presence to build trust

Seem obvious? You’d be surprised at the number of businesses that start a Facebook page and Twitter account with the intention of using each as a one way platform to broadcast specials and deals. They learn that social sites are free, and in their minds, that translates into “free advertising platform.” They view social media marketing as the latest and greatest shiny new tool to boost sales.

That’s the wrong approach entirely.

The rationale for starting with 1 and 2 above is simple: There will be people out there who do not know about your business, and social media is a great way to change that. But don’t tell them what you’ve got – Show them who you are. You do this in large measure by simply talking to people just to share info and get to know them. Over time, once they come to know and trust you, what started as conversation may result in sales. Or it may not. And that’s OK – because boosting sales is what your traditional advertising is designed to do. Sales can happen eventually as a result of a good social presence, but should not be its focus. Ever.

After all, it’s called social media, as opposed to self promotional media – for a reason.

Liz DeLoach is a Social Media Consultant, Les Mills Fitness Trainer, wife and mom of two teens (help!) in Charleston, SC. Follow her on Twitter @lizdeloach. And, be sure to stop by her page at Social Moms.