Saturday, October 18, 2014

Social Media Bootcamp for Bankers Recap and Observations

Recently, I had the privilege of presenting for the Pennsylvania Bankers Association in Harrisburg, PA and conducted a full-day social media bootcamp. Depending on when you read this blog, you can search Twitter for #PBABootcamp to get some of the feedback from the participants (and maybe you'll want to follow some of the great folks that took time out of their busy schedule to spend the day with me).

We covered a TON of information over the course of the day's session. Since this was for bankers, we of coursed talked about things like compliance, regulations and even touched on some of the legal pitfalls that banks should avoid when developing (or executing) their social media policy and engaging customers and their community online. Luckily, I had co-developed the course with my friend (and colleague), Deborah Gonzalez, the founder of Law2SM, LLC. She's an attorney who specializes in social media law and has been practicing in this space since the days of MySpace, so she's been around the social media block a few times. In fact, she just published a book that I highly recommend called Managing Online Risk: Apps, Mobile and Social Media and you can learn more at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Is LinkedIn Really Liable for Providing Professional Data to Potential Employers?

I just read an interesting article that talked about a recent class action lawsuit that has been filed against LinkedIn in California that claims LinkedIn's Job Reference Tool allows employers access to data that can be used to make hiring and firing decisions without providing notification to the LinkedIn user. While I'm not an attorney, I know there are laws that prohibit the use of some information that an employer may use or have access to.

The question I have is if we, as voluntary users of LinkedIn (or any social network, for that matter) are putting in all of this information that we don't want others to see, is it really the network's fault for making it available to the rest of the network participants. Nobody is forcing us to put all of our information online. Rather, shouldn't we be more focused on the existing rules (i.e. the Fair Credit Reporting Act, enacted in 1970) and laws related to what is (and is not) permissible in the hiring and/or firing of employees and what happens if someone violates them.

I agree it's a lot easier to go after the networks like LinkedIn and blame them for making it available. But if you're hiring and know under employment law and existing rules that you cannot base your decision on the race, sex, religion, etc... or that you have to provide notification or get consent of the applicant (and you don't) then don't put yourself in the position to be exposed to it - or suffer the consequences. I've heard there are now third-party services now that can "scrub" a social search data for applicant or employee information and provide you only with the details that you are legally able to see. If you're not doing this and you go online to find information that may sway your decision one way or another, is it the network's fault? I don't think so.

Your Thoughts?

I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. Am I totally off base and letting LinkedIn off the hook too easily or do you agree that we need to hold employers to a higher standard (or maybe a little of both)?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Some Banks Have a "Howling Good Time" on Facebook This Halloween

Isabella Bank turned their Halloween post
into a "find the logo" game and encouraged
visitors to find their logo. Heck, I was just
trying to figure out how to eat the screen!
In between visits to the candy dish to refill on candy corn (my vice this time of year - so kudos to Isabella Bank), I've been keeping an eye on my Facebook wall and noticed more banks supporting Halloween this year by dressing up at the office. Of course, it could just be that more banks are on Facebook this year and I know they are dressing up, but whatever the case it, it's good to see my banker friends get "in the spirit" (yeah, pun intended there... sorry) and have some fun this year.

I like the fact that bankers are using Facebook to show their "human" side and let their customers and community know they can have some fun. While not everything is rosy in the world of banking thanks to the increased regulatory burden many banks are having to deal with (just ask a bank president and I'm sure s/he will be happy to let you know all about it), it appears as if just for today the folks below are having more fun than usual.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Who Says Social Networking Doesn't Work?

Recently I had an experience involving LinkedIn that spurred a thought and inspired me to share the story with you here. As you may suspect from the title of this post, my story is going to have something to do with "proof" that time vested in social networking can reap rewards for you, even when you least expect it. Here's the story...

Last week a couple of my international WSI colleagues who know my love of the banking sector shared a link to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report entitled "The New Digital Tipping Point" and how banking is facing the steepest challenge in over a generation. The report suggests that a new tipping point has been reached and the fulcrum is the shift towards going digital. Great information, so I decided to share "socially" and send it along to my connections.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Support for Child Cancer Fundraiser - I Need Your Help

Below is the text of an e-mail that I just sent out to help announce/promote my fundraising effort to help keep the memory of Christi Thomas alive. Feel free to follow the links to make a donation or learn more!

Christi is my inspiration to help raise money
to find a cure to child cancer.
We miss and love you Christi!
Greetings Everyone...

This message is going out to friends and family to make sure that you're aware of my upcoming event to help raise money in the fight against childhood cancer. Many of you are familiar with Christi Thomas ( and and her fight, and eventual loss, to Neuroblastoma. This rare form of child cancer continues to rob families of their little ones and my hope is that every penny I help to raise for the cause will help to get them that much closer to a cure so nobody has to suffer the loss of their child.

Alicia and I just spent the weekend in Ohio with the "Thomas Team" and had an amazing time. Shayla, Christi's "little sister" is now 13 years old and has turned in to an amazing young lady. We spent an entire day on Kellys Island in Lake Erie with our bikes, riding around and enjoying the time together. However, each time we are together I cannot help but think what Christi would be like if she was still with us. Several times while on the Island we were able to overlook Cedar Point, which was one of our favorite spots (because I was the only one brave enough to go on all the roller coasters with Christi). It got me thinking about my upcoming event and wanted to send out a note and ask for your support.

Monday, April 02, 2012

First Race of the Season and Mobile Marketing in Seattle

This weekend I finished my first race of the season and competed in the Lowell 50 Gravel Road Race. I won't go into too much detail here, but you can hop over to the WSI Cycling site and check out my race report for the "nitty-gritty" details. All being said, I was very pleased with my results and ended up taking 5th place in my age group. Normally I race against fellow "large guys" in the Clydesdale division (200 lbs. and over), but being a relatively new race they simply don't have the numbers to justify the category. It was good to see that I can still "hold my own" - even with some of the "skinny guys" and the four of us from the team all had great showing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Getting the Most out of LinkedIn for Business Success

This past week, one of my clients (Heartland Bank) sponsored the first ever 610 WTVN Business Power Hour (news talk radio). I was the featured speaker for the event and was able to provide several tips for attendees on how to get the most out of their LinkedIn efforts. Below are just a few of the “nuggets” that I shared during my presentation. Hope you like it...

With over 135 million users registered, LinkedIn is the world’s leading social network dedicated to the success of businesses. Much like a “resume on steroids”, there are several different aspects to realizing success with your LinkedIn efforts. If you’re not using LinkedIn yet, you better get on the bandwagon. Businesses of all sizes are using this social network to connect, communicate and do business together!

Ensure that Your Profile is 100% Complete

Whether you’re just getting started or have had a LinkedIn profile for some time, be sure that your at 100% Complete. This means, according to LinkedIn, you have all the necessary information in your profile that includes things such as your current position, education, recommendations, etc. Not only will LinkedIn see you as being complete, those visiting your profile will have access to a wealth of information about you (which can help them decide if they want to connect with you down the road).