Recently, I led a discussion thread on social relevancy that ultimately came up against a hard question: how do you protect yourself in the face of intractable misbehavior or indifference on the part of our institutions, be they academic, corporate or even governmental?
The previous discussion explored the rules for making our investment of time and effort in social media worthwhile. The only measure of merit that makes sense in such a calculation is “career security” – the ability always to be employed and always by an employer of your choice. That’s what we deserve and what we should expect from the use of social media.
But, how do we achieve it with Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? The short answer is that we don’t. At least, not as those and other social platforms are currently used.
As I explain in A Multitude of Hope, social media is simply entertainment unless it’s harnessed to a specific community with a specific purpose. That may be the support provided by fellow travelers in the job market or it may be a proactive campaign to become the master of one’s condition rather than its victim. While the former is clearly a beneficial antidote to the loneliness of job searching, it is not sufficient to obtain employment. Only the latter can do that.
My book describes a fictional version of just such a rebellious community. It’s called Walden 4G – a virtual assembly of career activists with deep roots in the American traditional of civil disobedience. These individuals, however, use their online connectivity and omnipresence in the workplace to conduct economic disobedience.
How? By collecting information that gives them true independence in their careers. Unlike the sites that identify bad employers and the corporate beauty pageants that pick the so-called best places to work, its members collect actionable “career intelligence.” They leverage their own experience to identify – and share with one another – which employers provide the general values all of us deserve and the specific culture each of us needs to lead a rewarding career.
Add that kind of career intelligence to a fulsome understanding of the principles and practices of career self-management and you get a social media app worthy of we the people.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about economic disobedience, join the Career Activism Group on LinkedIn.