Earlier this year, I posed a question on LinkedIn via a poll. I asked if people saw a job advertised, what would their first ‘go to’ be as a research tool?
It is probably important to point out that 78% of my first degree connections are Nigerian, so this would be reflected in the result.
60% said they would look for a website.
The remaining 40% comprised 25% said they would look for the LinkedIn profile (some may say it had an unfair weighting, since the question was actually posed on LinkedIn)… 8% said they would look on ‘Social Media’ (this would be taken to mean platforms to include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and TikTok (for example).
7% said Glassdoor (known for its employer rating feature).
LinkedIn only allows four options in polls… were there to be less limit to the options, I might have included Fiverr and Upwork.
Now, you may think that LinkedIn, Social Media and some other online platforms would reveal more impartial opinion than a company’s website, so what could the reason be for 60% of people wanting to look for a website, while only 40% pursue all other options combined?
Getting a wide birth of opinion about a company, may clarify one’s own questions about company culture, corporate behavioural expectations and other things, but it doesn’t tell anything about the kind of employee or business partner they want people to be.
A LinkedIn Corporate page is a help, but the world is not the ‘LinkedIn Nation’
Companies have their own perception of themselves.. where they feel they fit in the world, where they feel they fit in markets, where they are and want to be with products and services, and importantly, who they see as a prospect to be one of their people.
Only their website has potential to tell you this.
VISIBLITY, TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABLITY.
One of the problems with online platforms and social media is the potential to create people that really don’t exist, or to create counterfeit accounts of people who do.
I like to throw random questions to professionals in my network about technological advancements. If there is something new or cutting edge going on, and I want to know more about it, I will do a search on LinkedIn, pick the top 5 first level contacts who seem SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) and fire off a few DM questions and see what comes back.
Within three months, one person had a strong profile against five different inquiry scenarios, but their responses were weak and evasive as against others whose profiles were a weaker fit, but provided much more meaningful replies.
On looking at LinkedIn participation, I also noticed the person frequently commented about ‘being human’ , trying to ‘inspire and motivate’, looked to resonate emotionally, and frequently gave opinions on HR issues, but never mentioned anything technical, in line with the profile.
The person had 70k followers, and over 300 common contacts with me, but when I reached out to my contacts, nobody actually knew this person.
It is very easy to get a web based email address and create online identities without proving who you are. This is because most web-based emails, social media, and other platforms, all work on a ‘fremium’ model. (A fremium model involves a basic service for free, with additional services that come at a cost). As long as services are kept at free use level (no card payment involved), it is possible a person can create a whole online ecosystem around them without ever proving who they are.
Owning a website leaves a clear transaction chain of custody via payment to the web hosting service provider. The registrar can be identified by conducting a ‘who-is’ online search. Both civil and criminal courts, along with other authorities, depending on country, can compel a registrar to reveal a website owners identity.
It is so much harder for an entity with a website presence to completely vanish without a trace following fraudulent behaviour. The existence of a website is the ‘Gold Standard’ in believability for online presence.
Are Web 3.0 (i.e. blockchain) websites likely to offer the same lack of traceability that is possible with Social Media and Online Platforms?
The simple answer is no. There are basically three types of Web3 domain operators:
There is an endless supply of Web 2.0 domain hosting and domain sellers, and none have a monopoly over selling ‘.com’ or ‘.net’ etc domains. This is why the ‘Who-is’ system has to be used to find who the registrar is. Blockchain (Web3) TLDs (Top Level Domains) however are unique to the provider, and are easily identified using a simple online search.
Web3 domains are very cutting edge and not yet commonplace. This makes their owners conspicuous, something those intent on fraud would be keen to avoid.
Also see: johnmckeown.tiny.us/web3-domains
Building fraudulent capacity online starts with using an untraceable web based email address to sign up for services, and then using those, such as Google or Facebook etc accounts to then sign up for further ‘freemium’ online services. The lack of confidence is rooted in the ‘freemium’ nature of the services as long as the participant never pays for anything.
Traceability comes the moment the participant opts for paid services in any part of their online ecosystem. However, because of the conspicuous nature of a website, it is the best tool for confidence building among online/remote associates or peers, and the broader metaverse.
Are there other conclusions and lessons businesses can glean from the poll?
As people, we generally have common practices when we think about the believability of others… validating things.. doing due diligence.
This transcends across whether we are scoping out a new employer, seeking a business partner, or looking to source products or services.
Mostly a website will form part of their checklist, but won’t be the decider. A business without a website may be seen as below some sense of corporate maturity at a very basic level, and can’t be relied upon. It doesn’t make every website owning trader or business a winner though. Everybody has to fashion their own ‘silver bullet’
It also means that a business’s own website is its own best advertising agency. Businesses with a promo budget should try to look at how to empower their own online ecosystem with its website at the epicentre.
This also raises issues around why companies bother paying influencers, and even if they do, how they choose them.
I was once asked who is an example of a great influencer in Africa?
I paused for a bit, and then said:
‘A person whose ranting and rebuking of somebody else’s pet hyena causes it to do their bidding’
Please visit johnmckeown.eu
YouTube Video – Influencers have no value – ‘Truly Strategic’ – Tara Hunt.
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