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Background Checks, Pandoras Box, digital espionage, or public info?

What if you could take anyone you know and ask a question about them, without them knowing it? The digital world has created a virtual version of Pandora’s box, a secret treasure trove of information and insight that only a few people know how to use. If you had keys to this vault of information, if someone gave you a map to nearly infinite knowledge… would you use it?

Probably not.

In reality, every person who lives in the modern world has access to such information. The simple fact is that many of us are completely overwhelmed by the amount of information we need to sift through… having few or non-existent methods for qualifying how we spend our time sifting through it.

It is a simple fact that hundreds of millions of people use web-enabled cell phones, and that 3G / 4G units are quickly covering the world (on June 24th, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs stated the worldwide 3G users surpassed one billion.)

Consider your network.

Imagine how much information exists for you online, created both by you, your family, your friends, your co-workers, your competitors, and everything that has been done in the past.

Now think about the people you care about: your family and friends. Multiple the information that you have online by the number of people you consider “close to you”

Now ask about Pandora’s Box.

If Pandora’s Box (the web) could answer these questions… would you want to know? is it your right to know?

  • Where was my spouse last Saturday night?
  • How many parties did my employee attend in 2010?
  • Is my new business partner in any risky groups?
  • What did this public employee do for fun yesterday?

These are all incredibly complex questions that could be rooted in entirely reasonable viewpoints… but they all define the “double edged sword” of information freedom and personal privacy. We know more about each other than we ever did… and that information is being used by our our family, our friends, the public, and our enemies.

In a perfect world many of us probably wouldn’t complain too much about our family and friends using Pandora’s box, but seeing as the profit of our personal information is being driven by the public and by our enemies… Pandora’s box has been arguably flung open by the loving term “social media.”

What do you think of Pandora’s Box?

READ MORE: Background Checks Pt II – Discrimination, privacy, accuracy and compliance.

Profanity and social media

To anyone who has met me, it probably doesn’t surprise you that I read a massive amount of information online every day. Today I came to the topic of using profanity as a leadership tool, reviewing sources around President Obama and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.

As a social media professional (AKA writer, speaker, videographer, tweeter) , I am constantly reviewing how individuals use different forms of media to distribute messages.

Technology is so inherently tied to us that it doesn’t take the act of publishing a book or being interviewed to have profanity be connected with your name or organization. In fact all we have to do is look at the casual restaurant table talk happening around the world and we find ourselves being transmitted to the world.

Sometimes this is by choice: we carry netbooks, cell phones, digital cameras and associate ourselves with people who carry the same.

Sometimes it is not by choice: Everyone carries a cell phone capable of being your best friend or enemy today. Read more

social-analysis-influencer-reports

Three degrees of separation, the new influencer model PT I

I hope you have a minute to grasp this concept and take the time to read through. If you have any questions regarding the concepts behind it, please comment below. You can also follow me @barryhurd on Twitter.

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In working with our existing influencer analysis service, I wanted to share some insight to how digital communications are changing our lives. As individuals each of us has excelled beyond singular data points. In the wired web, our technology has moved beyond our inherent physical ability to connect with other individuals and has  accelerated us into connecting with hundreds or thousands of people.

Many of us have heard the phrase “six degrees of separation” – per Wikipedia: (also referred to as the “Human Web”) refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth. Read more

I’m baffled, that doesn’t happen very often.

This is a personal insight post, with little connection to my normal topics. If you feel like reading it to gain a better perspective on my thought process or care to engage in conversation, feel free.  I apologize if the specifics of the situation are vague, but due to confidentiality and relationships I don’t have the luxury of disclosing the problem at this time.

Today I shot coffee out my nose. I wanted to laugh, but it was too painful.

In dealing with executive teams, I give expert level insight to both tactical and strategic questions. I am also usually one of the handful of voices that has the character and professional understanding to ask the really hard questions or the questions that no one knows.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the nicest guy.
I can be casual and personable, but I can also be a hatchet man (disclaimer, I am a Gemini.) Read more