Saturday, September 5, 2009

OTR: Social Media and Intelligence Gathering

Over at the Day Job, a couple of events that highlight how mainstream social media is becoming... and how what you post can come back to haunt you if you're not careful.

Yesterday morning, I was up a little earlier than usual and decided to browse my Google Alerts at home rather than first thing in the morning at the office. One of the alerts was for the Day Job and highlighted a blog posting claiming that the Day Job had a Windows Mobile 7 cell phone in development. That was interesting because all the focus now is on Android. I followed some links and the source of the blog post was a LinkedIn profile for an individual in China claiming to work for the Day Job and claiming to be working on Windows Mobile 7 code for a code-named device. Yep, in his public profile.

As I followed other links, I came to this post. Seems that a blogger had spent some time mining LinkedIn profiles and came up with numerous tidbits about potential features in Windows Mobile 7, simply based upon what various people said they were working on. Interesting stuff there.

The day before, I had a meeting with a vendor that I had never met before. As we talked, it was pretty apparent that he was familiar with my work and my blog. I asked him and he pulled out a print-out of my LinkedIn profile and commented that he had pretty much read all my blog postings. There was a sudden jolt of reality check. I'm pretty transparent. Had I ever bashed this guy's company in any of that stuff? I didn't think so....

But these two events show that the blogosphere and social media are being utilized to find out information about future plans for companies and their products as well as providing a rich source of information for vendors so they can shape their pitches. Some of that is bad; some good, I suppose. But if you ever think that what you post or Tweet or blog or whatever won't someday come back to visit you, or is just between you and your small group of trusted followers, think again. And if what you do on your day job isn't for public consumption, don't go out and highlight it online to impress people or get the eye of a recruiter -- you may find that you'll be looking for work sooner, rather than later.

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