Famous Last Words: Never Trust the Media!
I am asked all the time by all kinds of people to be a LinkedIn buddy. My canned reply:
Many thanx for thinking of me as a LinkedIn connection. Am honored.
I am into this LinkedIn thing by accident—having once been unpaid kibitzer to the publisher of a directory, which got me free listing in this LinkedIn thing and it won't go away.
Alas, I do not understand what LinkedIn is, or how it works, or what it is supposed to do, so I simply do not
deal with it.
So let me take a pass.
If this makes me a Luddite, so be it.
Thanx again for thinking of me.
The same goes for Facebook, which has come under serious fire for invading people's privacy and turning their lives and photographs into an open book.
My life is already an open book. You can go to www.dennyhatch.com and www.businesscommonsense.com to find close to 1 million words on every conceivable subject. And unlike many people on the Internet who keep their e-mail addresses a secret, I'm reachable 24/7 wherever I am in the world. And I answer all non-spam, personal messages.
So what's my beef? Control. Here's one example. Let's say a Facebook or LinkedIn buddy does a Bernie Madoff or murders a spouse. Suddenly my name is associated with a swindler or a killer, and the media is all over me like a cheap suit asking about the connection: What do I know about this character and do I have a statement? Suddenly my life is out of my control and in the gutter. Thanks, but no thanks.
My sense is that anybody playing the LinkedIn or Facebook game is looking for trouble. And God knows what photograph will be dredged up making me look despicable.
For example, check out the first photograph (in the mediaplayer to the right)—the official government portrait of S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, former director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), who was in charge of "environmentally safe exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas" when the BP oil spill hit the Gulf of Mexico. The media had a field day digging up dirt on her. Here's what President Obama said about her at his news conference on May 26:
When Secretary Salazar took office, he found a Minerals and Management Service that had been plagued by corruption for years—this was the agency charged with not only providing permits, but also enforcing laws governing oil drilling. And the corruption was underscored by a recent Inspector General's report that covered activity which occurred prior to 2007—a report that can only be described as appalling.
My take: Birnbaum was sandbagged at an agency that is in the pockets of Big Oil, and under the thumb of congresspersons who receive huge campaign donations from Big Oil, and rendered impotent. She was fired, of course.
Now compare the first nice portrait with the next one that ran in a May 25 New York Times article. Note the huge blank space at left and the shifty-eyed, sullen subject seemingly cornered like an evil rat.
I never trust media—any of 'em; including Facebook and LinkedIn.
Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of the e-mail newsletter, Denny Hatch's Business Common Sense. Visit him at www.businesscommonsense.com or www.dennyhatch.com, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.