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Social Media as a Means for Reference Checking

September 9th, 2011 by Matt Segall

Nowadays, it seems more and more people are turning to social media as a reference check.  Whether hiring a new employee or researching a franchise opportunity, a lot of people are turning to twitter, facebook, and linkedin to make a decision.  How credible is everything on the internet?  Well, to some they seem to think whatever they read is etched in stone and absolutely true.  This is a huge mistake!

Just as I am writing this post, anyone can write whatever they think, say, and feel with a few keystrokes and a clear purpose in mind.  A few key points to consider when researching are as follows:

  1. Who is the reader?
  2. Do you know them personally or is this just someone who is anonymously posting their emotions?
  3. What is their purpose?
  4. Are they stating the facts or an emotionally backed twist to an actual series of events?
  5. Can you trust them?
  6. What is the setting of the post?

It is important to consider the context of where a post or comment is made.  Facebook is a primary platform for personal use; privacy settings and user interaction indicate that this is a closed and trusted circle of known acquaintances.  Linkedin, however, is a professional networking setting, much more open to the community of colleagues and business members who very much have their suit and tie on when engaging in group discussions and conversations.  Twitter is a mix between the two, with a clear purpose for crowd sourcing opinions, news, events, etc.

In my opinion, using all of these tools to investigate a person or a business is a great way to learn more and to help make an educated, well-referenced decision!

 

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