Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Communicator of the Year? Well, in a way…

Blog aside, I’m not an especially devoted user of social media.

I occasionally look at Facebook. I’ll check out Twitter when there’s something I want to track in real-time (like last April’s Marathon Bombing). And I do look up folks and make connections on LinkedIn (even if I’m kind of a slouch on keeping my info particularly up to date. (Note to self…)

I will almost always accept a LinkedIn request from someone I have worked with,or someone I know personally.

But occasionally I get requests that come out of the clear blue.

Who are you? I find myself asking. And why would I want to connect with you. Now, if these folks actually sent a note letting me know just why they wanted to link with me – maybe they like Pink Slip, or saw my articles in Pragmatic Marketing -  I would certainly consider the request. But just doing that vanilla “ask” when I have no idea who you are. Forget about it.

So I might harbor a scintilla of sympathy for Kelly Blazek, who in the harshest, and most mean-spirited way possible, rejected a LinkedIn request from someone she didn’t know. But mostly her response was over the top, nasty, and – live by social media, die by social media – now pretty widely socialized. Making her look like a colossal bee-yotch.

Here’s the story.

Diana Mekota, a recent college grad, is looking for a job in marketing in the Cleveland area.

Kelly Blazek runs a job board focusing on marketing jobs there.

Mekota had good reason to tap into the career-making tool to reach Kelly: Blazek was named "2013Communicator of the Year" by the Cleveland Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. "Blazek is not just a headhunter or a recruiter, but a senior communications executive who enjoys helping others in the profession," the IABC said in a statement at the time.  (Source, here and below: AOL)

Mekota didn’t get a gentle put down. She got a rage that would have done Joan Crawford’s wooden hanger rant proud:

We have never met. We have never worked together. You are quite young and green on how business connections work with senior professionals. Apparently you have heard that I produce a Job Bank, and decided it would be stunningly helpful for your career prospects if I shared my 960+ LinkedIn connections with you -- a total stranger who has nothing to offer me.

Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26 year old mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.

Where to begin.

First off, it’s hard to believe that all of those 960+ LinkedIn connections are “top-tier marketing connections.” It sounds more like the list encompasses an awful lot of the marketing professionals in Cleveland. So what Diana Mekota has to offer is a new and eager marketing pro in the making join a list on which someday, in the not so distant future, she might be in a position to help someone else on the list.

I love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy Denying your invite and giving you the dreaded "I don't know Diana," because it's the truth.
Oh, and about your request to actually receive my Job Bank along with the 7,300 other subscribers to my service?

That's denied, too.

Now, we don’t see Mekota’s initial request. Did it come off as entitled? Or did she merely make a request – with(good idea!) or without (not so good idea!) explaining why she wanted to connect.

I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town.
Oh wait - there isn't one.

You're welcome to your humility lesson for the year. Don't ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network.
Don't ever write me again.

I’ll repeat myself here a bit: how “carefully curated” is a list of connection with nearly one thousand names on it? Maybe I just don’t have curator chops, but I could probably vouch for somewhere between 100 and 200 marketing pros at best.

And Mekota did try to write Blazek again, to explain herself and her credentials, and got no response.

Mekota then demonstrated her superior use of social media – probably the Numero Uno skill that people are looking for in a young marketer – and started socializing Blazek’s response.

Blazek has apologized, but she’s not sitting so pretty these days. She looks nasty, old school, spiteful toward “the young.”

For Mekota, I suspect the results of this will be more mixed. Sure, she knows how to wield the power of social media. So she’ll probably get a job. Still, I’m sure that some folks will hesitate for at least a Cleveland minute before inviting  this woman scorned into their midst.

I’m plenty happy that I am neither Diana Mekota or Kelly Blazek.

As I said, live by social media, die by social media.

When will people learn?


Thanks to my brother-in-law John for the tip on this story.

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