Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online
There was an inflammatory article earlier last weekend on LinkedIn titled “Why We No Longer Need HR Departments”. There were a few decent suggestions in the article, but the majority of the author’s assumptions showed a decided lack of understanding of just what HR *does*. I saw it late last Sunday and wrote a rebuttal from an HR point of view. The result? Over 2000 “likes” and agreements with my comment, 108 replies (both agreeing and disagreeing) and over 30 LinkedIn requests to me based on my reply.
This is one way you can build your professional online brand. Dissenting with someone that takes a stand on something you disagree with, and supporting your side of the argument professionally shows a Subject Matter Expertise that gets noticed, and is at the heart of having “social influence”, which can also be translated as “your reputation”.
Dissenting with such an obviously provocative statement or theory does carry risks. Upsetting the status quo or having the appearance of trying to persuade people to change their thinking can be detrimental to your online reputation if you are not confident in your assertions and able to back up your own statements with data and anecdotal evidence.
For those professionals with a lot of experience in the field but that are still trying to get a handle on social media, start small. You don’t have to take a diametric opposition to an online piece like I did. You can disagree with points, or even question some of the assumptions the writer is making. The point is just to show an intelligent response to the original piece that offers a different viewpoint. Your goal is to get noticed and attract like-minded individuals (such as hiring managers and industry leaders) to want to know more about you.
This week my favorite radio station was talking about how poorly Lady Gaga’s current album is doing in relation to her last one, and one of the DJ’s attributes her success directly to a fallout she had with Perez Hilton in the last year or two. He called for a boycott of her latest album, and her sales are much weaker. This is an extreme example of how social influence can affect a career, and a good model to learn from.