Thursday, May 24, 2012

Will LinkedIn Help You Find Your Dream Job?

LinkedIn is, well, let's just see what Wikipedia has to say.
LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) is a business-related social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of 9 February 2012, LinkedIn reports more than 150 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories.  The site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Czech and Polish. Quantcast reports LinkedIn has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally. In June 2011, LinkedIn had 33.9 million unique visitors, up 63 percent from a year earlier and surpassing MySpace. LinkedIn filed for an initial public offering in January 2011 and traded its first shares on May 19, 2011, under the NYSE symbol "LNKD".
What a mouth full.  I should have just typed it's an (a)social networking job site.  Many people have profiles on this site, and like many, I did too.  Well, until about five minutes ago. I never really used the site, nor did I find my dream job from it, but I had an account nonetheless.  I decided it was silly, however, and got rid of it.  

Is my life any better now that I got rid of it?  Not really.  But it's no worse either.  You see, I never really expected to find my dream job (or any other job) from the site, even though at one time I spent some time making an in depth resume and adding a few of my friends and college classmates to my contacts. However, that being said, I have never been asked at an interview about my presence on the site, nor did I ever get an interview or job lead from LinkedIn.  I never found much use out of the site and I never could understand how it could be the job magnet that morning news shows tried to make it out to be.

According to Wikipedia: LinkedIn has also been praised for its usefulness in fostering business relationships. That's great!  However, to me it was just another (a)social networking site, and for that reason I let it go.  I do not know a single person who has used it to get a job, or has been helped by LinkedIn in finding a job.  Perhaps I am friends with people in the wrong field?  However, that being said, I think LinkedIn - like other (a)social networking sites on the internet, having a profile there, and making a profile (and babysitting that profile) - is a huge waste of time.

Most people would agree that making a resume is important in a job hunt.  Many also agree that a good cover letter is important.  Some would say that spelling words correctly on an application and not using textspeak is also something one should do when job hunting.  Some people even may go as far as to say that researching the company you are applying for is important.  Myths and legends speak of people who dress up for an interview and have rehearsed the interview in advance.  However, should one also keep their LinkedIn profile current, just in case?  Perhaps this is a waste of time that could be devoted to another job-hunting task.  Perhaps the marginal cost of being on LinkedIn is too high, and the marginal benefit of having a profile set up and checked in on is too low?

Could it be argued that being on LinkedIn may hurt some applicants?  Well, if someone has information or writings on the internet they are embarrassed of, they may not want to be on LinkedIn.  It is said that a person should always search their name or their internet screen names.  It is a good idea to make sure that your presence on the internet is clean.  Many things on the internet can be a pain in the rear to get rid of, and if a prospective employer finds uncouth media placed by thou on the internet, you may lose the chance of a very lucrative position.  I have heard stories of things posted on sites such as Facebook and Myspace disqualifying people from jobs and college admissions.  People feel invincible on the internet.  You can be whoever you want to be.  You may say something that would have got you punched in the face had it been a face-to-face conversation.  You can lie about how great you are, because nobody can see that you are a pale and frail 23 year old kid who is clad only in Spongebob Boxers behind that faint computer screen glow.

The verdict is still out whether if LinkedIn is good for job hunting.  I never saw it as anything more than a professional (a)social networking site.  I even heard of it called an "Adult Facebook".  I don't know what exactly that means, but if it's compared to Facebook, it can't be too good, right?

Have you had any luck being LinkedIn?  If so, share with us in the comments below.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Advice for Investing in Facebook: Don't!

Q:  Should I invest in Facebook?

As of now, Stock of Facebook is valued at $34.03 according to NASDAQ.  Yesterday it was valued at $38.23 when the market closed.  Today it fell $4.20 (a loss of 10.99%).  People are going to have to realize that just because something is popular, it does not make a good investment.  Facebook, unlike many other products, is an intangible item.  Unlike minerals, computers, vehicles, and home cleaners, Facebook can not be touched.  Instead, it is a virtual item that can gain and lose popularity according to a person's/society's whims.  Further, it is not a necessity.  You do not need it to run your heat, get from one place to another, compute, or stay clean.  Unlike companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Procter and Gamble, AT&T, Conoco-Phillips, Starbucks, etc., Facebook is not something that one can expect to be around for at least another decade or two.  Facebook also only has one major product, and that is social networking.  I ask then, why would a person find this to be a sound investment?

Today Facebook fell by a decent margin.  10% is a big deal, especially for a person who had a million or more invested.  If you had $1000 invested in Facebook, you would have lost over $100.  If you had a million invested, you would have lost over $100,000.  Of course, the stock could rebound and become worth more than it is worth today.  However, I think that it's a fad stock that will probably eventually tank.  Remember AOL?  It was, at one time, the gateway to the internet for many, and a very valuable stock to hold.  However, fast forward a few years later and AOL declined greatly.  Like AOL, Facebook is trying to become the 'gateway to the internet' and while Facebook is seen as something that people enjoy showing their lives off on, it will not be the universal gateway to the internet.

I have a feeling we are going to see the same thing with Facebook that we saw with AOL.  However, many people who know little about investing are likely to buy some Facebook stock.  Some people may buy thousands of dollars worth because they think that since everyone uses Facebook, Facebook just must be so valuable.  However, that is not how it works.  Facebook is a site that many people use multiple times a day, however, it's main form of revenue is from advertising.  If people became sick of using Facebook, or if Facebook makes a wrong move, or if a new social networking platform comes out (or something else is invented that people spend their online time using), Facebook will tank.  Facebook will tank -- it's only a matter of time.


If I owned stock in Facebook, or was one of those cheeky "kids' who ended up multi-millionaires, I would have sold it the same day I got stock.  Of course, I imagine they were told not to, as such an exodus could have easily brought the stock price further down.  Plus, everyone was oh-so-very excited to be rollin' in the wealth.  However, money is serious business, and one must be smart with their money if the expect to keep it.  A fool and their money soon are parted they say, and I am willing to bet that Facebook is a losing (and foolish) investment.  A sinking ship.  The flavor of the month in the investment world.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Communication in the Facebook Age

Today the Facebook IPO comes out, an overvalued investment that is sure to make some people richer and a lot of others poorer.  I will say right now, Facebook is NOT worth $100 billion.  Facebook, it seems, is trying so hard to be the only way in which people communicate and sadly, for many families (some who are obsessed) it is working.  If you are not on Facebook, don't expect to be contacted.  Lucky for us, I think the day will come where Facebook will become like AOL, a once overvalued investment that eventually becomes correctly valued.  And if society wishes to progress past this point, Facebook will have to cease to become an obsession.

I also think that Facebook is making people's communication skills become worse.  In a day and age with so many ways in which people could communicate with each other, one would think that people would have better communication skills.  I am realizing that this is not the case.  In fact, I am noticing that people's communication skills are seriously lacking.  In fact, I have noticed that some who people I know have lost almost every ability to communicate with each other.  It's quite scary, because, communication is something that is central to a well developed society.  Yet so many are lacking, and I think that Facebook is part to blame.

In the past few years I have heard a lot of people saying they want to be closer to others, make friends, and want to have better relationships, yet they give no effort.  A relationship, many feel, is something that is built an fostered merely through Facebook.  If you are not on Facebook, you are left out.  And I am starting to realize that my wife and I are going to be left out of a lot of some of the relationships with others unless we sign back up, and we are not going to.  Further, I have heard that some people in my life are actually angry that I left Facebook, as if I had a type of duty to be on the site!  Can you honestly believe that?  They are angry at me for having deactivated my account, as if by leaving Facebook I have left them.  But, they have shown me that they can't communicate with out it, and it makes me honestly wonder, is it worth trying any longer?

I am sure there are many people out there who are sick of wondering why people say they want a relationship but don't do their part to foster a relationship -- a real relationship. People complain that they have no friends or lose friends all the time. I know why though, they don't put in the work. They will NEVER have close relationships with people if they can't do their own part. How hard is it to answer a text message? It's a shame, because there are some people we have not seen in over five years and I don't feel that they even want to be visited.  Yet, these same people claimed to have 'missed us so much' while we were on Facebook. Would have they answered if I put a status update on Facebook, or wrote on their wall, or poked them?  I don't know for sure, but my guess is they likely would have.

You would think that in this day and age with cell phones, social networking, and the other "advanced" ways to communicate everywhere, people would be good at communicating. But, paradoxically, many are awful at it. Facebook and similar sites have caused so many to become so self-absorbed that they don't even care, and it's just rotten.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The 'Facebook Effect'

Lately I have been lessening my online presence.  A couple weeks ago I got rid of my old blog, an internet diary if you will, which has caused some issues in my own family.  I don't think they can comprehend why I am lessening my presence on the internet.  I don't think they get it.  We are a scattered family, with members living in Florida, New York, Washington (the state), Georgia, Oregon and deep in the heart of Texas (home of the Alamo™).  As a familial unit that is scattered across the United States, many of us have turned to Facebook to keep in touch with each other.  It was originally thought that Facebook would bring us closer together even though we are all so far apart (how wrong we all were).  However, the truth is, Facebook has had a part in the rift that is developing in my family, and that I feel is going to grow larger until people start asking if Facebook is really worth it.

There is a Facebook addiction that has taken many families by storm.  Mine is no exception.  They tell each other that it's the best way to keep in touch with each other.  Is it?  Or is it a way to keep tabs on the lives of people?  Is it a control mechanism, a dark spying device, a virtual cat of nine tails? 

Not only that, but I got rid of my personal blog account (which has caused at least two members of my family much stress).  I just walked away from it one day.  I heard through the grapevine that this was not looked kindly uponWhy is s/he leaving the internet, they ask.  Why is s/he leaving us behind?  I am not leaving you behind.  I am leaving the fighting behind.  You see, there is a rift forming amongst some of the people I know and it has been forming for a while.  It's not a rift I hear about in person, but one that exists via the internet.  It's a rift that people whisper about and talk about in the dark shadows.  It's a rift that is discussed through Facebook chat and over the telephone amongst those in my family who I have dubbed 'the users'.  The 'Facebook Effect' is causing people to read themselves into everything!  As Facebook is centered around you, the user, the Facebook Effect is a symptom of seeing everything in your life as having to do with you.  Perhaps they have taken my absence from Facebook and the deletion of my blog personally.  Perhaps they truly think that I have 'unfriended' them or 'real life disliked' them (you know, being liked on Facebook is really a big deal to some people). 

The reality is, when a person focuses on every little thing they do in a day and feel compelled to share it with the rest of the world, they are going to grow somewhat more 'self centered'.  It's not a bad thing to be worried about the self and think of yourself, but it can get to a point where it is not healthy.  When one reads something on the internet that another person says and all of the sudden becomes defensive about it, the Facebook Effect has shown itself. 

I find that the internet is not a social playground.  Nor should it be (nor can it be).  That's what real life is for.  I honestly feel that the internet is best for getting information.  Social interaction online is usually phoney and awkward.  There is no way to tell if a person is being honest.  There is no reason for a person not to be honest.  Sure, liars exist everywhere, but online it's all too easy to stink up the truth.  Further, when someone says something on the internet, too much can be read into it.  For example, I once wrote a story and someone I knew could not help but see herself in the character.  I told her thrice that she was not the antagonist, but I don't think she believed me!  It was just a story about a young man and his crazy mother!  It was not about the individual in question.  As Bastian Balthazar Bux screamed in The Neverending Story: "it's only a story, it's not real!  It's only a story!" 

Members of my family can see me when I make my way back to the west coast.  They don't need to see me wasting my time on Facebook.  They don't need to see me lurking around the internet like a child predator.  There is nothing to be gained from being on that site.  They don't need to read a blog that they only become defensive about.  I won't be posting there anymore.  I think they should just all relax.  Truth is, it's important to sometimes take a step away from the internet.  Maybe go camping (I am going to post some of my most recent camping pictures below, this is something every Facebook user should think about doing (not posting camping pictures -- going camping!  It's so fun to get away from Facebook and computers and mobile phones and just enjoy nature!)

See those berries?  They were delicious.  And I rented a canoe and took it out on the lake there.  It was great.  It was in New Hampshire, here's the link:  Pillsbury State Park, NH.  We spent two nights out there, no cell phone (it was left in the car - I wish I would have just ran it over), no Facebook, no MySpace, no Pinterest (I don't think it was around then), no LinkedIn (I was LinkedOut that weekend), no Twitter (that was one trip I felt no need to Tweet about, actually I've never tweeted about a trip and I never will).  No, just myself, my significant other, and nature all around us.  It was so nice to get away from the television, the radio, the hum of electricity, and just surround ourselves with nature.  Taking a long hike into the hills, feeling that cool mountain air against us.  We got rained out the second night and ended up breaking camp very early, but overall it was worth it.  That campfire food alone was worth it.

There is so much to see in life, so much to do.  There is so much that we are missing by being on Facebook and fighting amongst each other.  I can't imagine being glued to that site now that I left.  I see and hear about others using it and I feel like there has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.  It's truly a dark place on the internet, and the internet can be an amazing tool or a horrible burden.  Like most things in life, it's truly what you make of it.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Know When To Say When.

Time goes by fast when you are drifting around aimlessly on the internet
.   I admit it, even I sometimes drift around on the internet without a path or purpose.  It's as if I will stumble upon something wonderful and all that time wasted will suddenly be worth my while.  Perhaps there is a holy grail lost on some hidden webpage or a fountain of internet youth that is waiting to be found?  But the truth is, you are wasting your youth if you are online without a purpose.  And there is, in particular, one website that many people find themselves gravitating toward, as if that site was a magnet.

They call that site Facebook.

A day can blast past you like a supernova when you are online.  One moment you are climbing out of bed.  The next moment it's sunset and the internet is where your whole day was spent.  Much of that time was probably spent on Facebook, wasn't it?  Imagine what you could have accomplished had you spent your time doing something offline?  Or maybe you could have accomplished something if your time online was planned or at least in the purposeful pursuit of some end goal?

Getting online is a dangerous game.  There is much at stake every time you sit in front of the screen.  A few years ago I had dial up and the modem sound would fill up the house.  You could not seem to turn it down.  It would beep and hiss and make all sorts of horrible noises.  It was the internet beast firing up, getting ready to 'steal' your precious time.  Back them websites loaded painfully slow and the modem would sometimes disconnect (especially if you had it set to allow incoming calls).  A disconnect, at least, was a way to exit.

Now it's all too easy.  For many people, it's just move the mouse and surf.  Avoiding real life has never been easier.  Kids crying?  Too bad, must Tweet.  Homework due?  Sorry, gotta put a status update online.  Dog needs to tinkle?  Can't do that, gotta look at pictures of other people's dogs on Pinterest.  The internet is full of dead ends and side roads.  It's very hard to get off once you get on. 

You have to know when to say when.  How can you do that though when time flies online?

Here are some (amazing) ideas:

1.  Reward yourself for going a day without using the internet.
-It can be done, even though it's hard.  When is the last time you went a day without using the internet?  Make it a goal and see if you can do it.  I bet you can't.  Want to prove me wrong?

2.  Have a contest with a fellow addict.
-Perhaps you are not alone in your internet addiction.  Maybe it's just a website such as Facebook.  See who can go the longest without going online.  Of course, you will have to take each others word for it.  Maybe the loser has to take the winner out for lunch.  Or maybe the fact that the loser got online, or got on Facebook was a big enough loss.

3.  When you go to the computer, ask yourself, what do you need to do?

-Maybe you will realize that there is little time for internet when you think of the life goals you want to accomplish.  Do you want to finish a book, a poem, a painting?  Have you always wanted to start a garden?  Got a little extra weight you are dying to lose?  Perhaps a walk or jog would be beneficial?  Dust off that gym membership you are paying for but not using.  Maybe walk that poor dog or clean that kitty litter box (truthfully, it stinks -- go clean it now).  There's so much out there to do, and Facebook is not important.  Neither is the internet.  Believe me, it can wait.

4.  Take a camping trip or go to a bed and breakfast for the weekend and leave the technology at home.
There are places out there that are more rustic and don't have electricity.  Camping is a great option as well.  Get back to nature and enjoy some time away from it all.  If you don't like to camp, take a weekend at a bed and breakfast and leave the cell phone in the glove box.  Tell yourself you won't use the internet and enjoy the company of your family or friends.  That's real social interaction, stuff that can't be matched on the internet.


There are many more ways you can get yourself off the internet for a while.  Limit yourself.  Set an alarm next to the computer.  Tell yourself only 10 minutes at a time.  Do you really need to check your e-mail twelve times a day?  Do you really need Facebook?  Twitter?  Pinterest?  Instagram?  Is that LinkedIn account really helping you find your dream job?  Highly doubtful.  Maybe you could spend your ten minutes deleting some of those old profiles or at least deactivating them.  It's time well spent, and time well spent on the internet is getting kind of rare