Chris Clarke

Labels Are For Cans, Not People

Recently over lunch, a client explained to me that her company once tested its employees to find out what "type" of person each of them was. The test asked a series of hypothetical "What if..?" and multiple-choice questions (for example: "You win the lottery. What do you do first?"). How that individual answered the questions—for example, either emotionally ("Throw a party"), or analytically ("Call your accountant"), and so on—determined the person's type, particularly related to the employment. The company revealed the results to the employees, and everyone in the company learned a little bit about most of their co-workers. My client found the test to be enlightening, and talked about how she came to better understand some individuals as co-workers based on their test results.

I gave some thought to this from my perspective as an employee of a large multinational. If presented with a similar test, would I want my employer to know (or better yet, to think they know) what type of person I am based on an arbitrary test of my hypothetical reactions in differing situations? I concluded no, I'd be uncomfortable revealing personal information that might lead to my employer making a decision about me.

My thinking is simple: if I were to reveal aspects about myself to my employer that I would otherwise not reveal in a professional setting, then I might be judged on something that never happened. If a test found me to react emotionally to hypothetical questioning, who's to say that I would react emotionally in a professional setting? My employer may be making an incorrect assumption about me without basing it on my actual performance. This would trouble me as an employee, even if the test results matched my actual performance on the job.

Another fault I found was that we think we know how we would react to the news that we had just won the lottery, but until we're actually faced with that scenario, we will never actually know the correct answer. It's the Minority Report problem: until someone commits the crime, they shouldn't be convicted of it.

I took something called Myers-Briggs in college and found it to be mostly nonsense. Have you ever taken a test that revealed your "personality type"? If so, did you find it to be an accurate indicator of who you really are?

Moreover, I'd like my employer to understand me by my performance—to the point that they'd find a personality test useless after years of their own knowledge gathering. How would you feel about sharing your personality type with your employer?

5 Gems from BlogCampaigning

Well, I've been tagged by Sharon in a great little meme first thrown out there by Collin Douma. The game is two come up with 5 great examples of social media use that our peers might not have noticed.

The rules are something like this:

  1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
  2. List five Social Media projects that deserve better exposure.
  3. Tag EIGHT {as many as you’d like} “Social Media / Digital Experts” at the end of your post and list their names.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.
  5. Tag your post “Five Gems” so we can search for all of these great examples.

I'm also going to go ahead an tack on what I think should be a 6th, rule, and that is that we should all tag our posts (and examples) as 5gems on Delicious so that they are easy to find later.

1. The CNW Group Social Media release announcing the CNW Group Social Media Release - Although a bit self-referrential, I think that this is an excellent case study in how a Social Media Release can be effectively used. People left comments, bloggers embedded the video on their site (due to it being educational, rather than advertorial in nature) and one site even used the CNW logo provided with the release. (disclosure: I work for CNW, and worked directly on this).

2. Journalist Source -While they aren't using social media directly besides having their homepage built on Wordpress and using a Twitter account, they are providing a great service to writers (I'm thinking bloggers here) that might not necessairly have the kind of resources needed to research a story on their own and source experts.

3. MySpace - Look, I know that a lot of people don't care about MySpace anymore because it is just full of retina-burning designs and emo kids. But ever since I started a music blog a few months ago, I've been all over MySpace. It's where the cool stuff happens: the creative kids are on MySpace, designinging their own pages, seeing what they can do within the constraints of the site and promoting themselves. The boring kids are on Facebook, installing applications and de-tagging drunken photos of themselves.

4. I Like Totally Love It -My Blogcampaigning co-author Jens told me about this site a little while ago, and it is definitely worth checking out. I don't really know how to describe it, but they are kind of a social-voting site for products and things that you want, or I guess, things that you, like, totally love.

5. Movember - Growing moustaches for charity...what a great idea, and they've really used the online space to build traction for this. I participated last year, but I can already tell that it has grown alot since then. (if anyone is doing it this year, let me know and I'll sponsor you!).

I'm tagging Chris Clarke, Martin Waxman, Jessica Ayers, Michael Allison and Alecia O'Brien.