by Kim Niemi
When you think of social networking sites likely to get you into trouble, LinkedIn probably isn't the first that comes to mind. In fact, by its very nature LinkedIn seems like it would be above the fray.
In the end, however, it’s a network made up of people. And people, as it turns out, can get themselves into trouble anywhere.
Just ask Kelly Blazek. Tired of being hit up for connections and inclusion in her private job bank Yahoo group by young job seekers that hadn't read her qualifying instructions, Blazek blasted the requester, Diana Mekota, with a vicious email.
Mekota turned around and posted the email on Reddit, Imgur and Facebook – asking her followers to “call this lady out.” Not exactly professional behavior on either woman’s part.
Anyone can have a bad day, but the Internet is never the place to air your crankiness – it’s only going to turn out worse for you in the end. And you have a reputation to consider.
Of course, in Blazek’s case it turned out to be more than one bad day. Once Mekota’s posts went viral, others who’d received similarly harsh and rude email responses from Blazek surfaced to share their stories.
The lesson here is that the Internet is only as private as the trust you have in the person you’re sharing with. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? More simply, anything you share can be shared with others. In this case, Blazek was a victim of social sabotage by Mekota – but unfortunately, Blazek handed her the ammunition.
Hiding behind email/private messages, thinking that only the intended recipient will ever see them, is a mistake. As Blazek learned the hard way.
Everything turned out relatively well, but it could as easily NOT have gone that way. Here are a few better options for responding to unsolicited requests:
Hopefully the next time someone inappropriately tries to connect, she'll write a blog post (nicely) aimed at educating young job seekers on the right way to get a foot in the door.
Ever sent an email you regretted? Was there fallout? Share your stories with us below!