I am lost. The sound around me disappears. Everyone around seems to be blurs in the open void. I can barely see the wall in front of me, even though it is just 3 meters away. Perspiration, increased heart rate, shaking, and irregular breathing manifest all over my numb body. Then the only voice I expect and dread resonates across the hall. “Mr. Masaquel, the director is ready for you. Good luck!”…
Good luck it is. Hopefully, I will be graduating next year, and the possibility of having my first real job interview is just across the horizon. It will probably be more terrifying than the interrogation that I underwent for my on-the-job training (OJT). With a regular job interview, much more are at stake; my career, my dreams, my expectations. Corporations and their living minions will be facing me like hungry suited sharks, wanting to get chunks of information from me as if I am an alleged criminal.
The terrors of the interview are real. In fact, it is now more real than any employee-to-be could imagine. Now, managers can get answers to questions on their job applicants even before the interview actually happens. And this is possible because of the thing that is ever-present in all my posts: the Net.
Ok, You Caught Me.
The ‘Net’ or ‘Web’ can now be used by managers in the words’ plain meaning: something used to catch stuff. (Fish and insects are the usual catches.) Through the Internet, employers can get significant and trivial information about possible co-workers, without needing to face them personally or by phone. If the supervisor knows how to search the Net, he or she can basically get the information from any site with the identity of the person of interest. It may be from a hate blog made by a former girlfriend of the applicant, where he is said to be a two-timer and an inconsistent lover. Social networking sites, such as Multiply and Facebook, are also good sources of information for the manager. The manager may have a glimpse of how creative and computer-literate future employees are by looking at the design layout of their profile, or how articulate they are by the comments and blogs that they post on their and others’ pages. Any particulars that can be read, seen, or heard through the Web can be “caught” by the employer, which can then be used during the actual interview of the candidate. If the data present in the Web are sufficient to ascertain the liability of an aspirant, then the company can immediately reject or disregard the application, instead of meeting him or her in person and just waste time and effort.
Am I Toast?
This method certainly gives companies an easy way of dealing with applicants, but it gives a heavy burden on soon-to-be employees. Because of “online applicant research,” job seekers can no longer just fool around Friendster or scream and rant in Blogspot. They must now be more careful of everything that is ‘them’ on the Web; profiles, memberships, discussions, etc. A single negative feedback of a person on the Internet can be read and understood by interviewers as a bad sign. In short, online criticism and reputation can be really seen as reality; the problem is whether that online identity is generally negative or positive.
It is up to future workers to maintain a constructive and appropriate identity online. I probably would not sweat and shake so much during a serious interview if I am certain that I have nothing to be afraid of; which means I am confident of my identity in both the real and cyber world. Whatever the employer sees online will reflect one’s image at actual face-to-face interview, which is why everyone, even those who are already employed, should take care of their reputation online. Good reputation results in boosted confidence and increased chances of getting hired. It’s as simple as that.
…“Thank you Ma’am,” I respond to the HR Assistant. I shake off the sweat, breathe deep, and smile at the intimidating person in front of me. She smiles in return. The chatting behind me vanishes with the closing of the door. “Good morning,” says the HR director, and I respond with a firm shake accompanied by a “good morning to you too.” I’m back.
Imagine a world full of color. Everyone would feel drastically happier than if it were just black and white. Everything would look more vibrant and more attractive. Food will be a lot more scrumptious, cars would not look like hearses, trees would look far healthier, and the sun would be smiling. All in all, people would be more connected to the world around them.
Now, I would like to think of color as brands and their quest to seek online profit, reputation, and world domination. (The last one is just a joke.) There are some aspects of color that seem to mirror how companies and brands work and should work on the Internet, and I would like to explain this in three, hopefully easy-to-understand ideas:
1.) Red : Violet Red :: Market : Brand
The thing about color is that there might be this one generic color and then there are its many variations, and these variations may be mixed with other generic colors. For the analogy given above, violet red slightly touches the shade of blue. That is basically the same for brands. A certain field or market can be simultaneously occupied by many brands, and a certain brand can occupy a single or several markets at a given point in time. As of now, I do not know any brand which encompasses all possible niches in the online world, but I know of some which currently are in several markets. Google, for example, is in search engines, messaging, and topography. That is three markets at once for a single brand. This versatility allows companies (and their respective brands) to have wider public coverage, more recall, and eventually, bigger profit.
2.) Yellow : Canary Yellow and Lemon Yellow :: Messaging : Gmail and Yahoo! Mail
If I would ask persons to choose which among the two yellows above is more appealing, some would tell me Canary and others would tell me Lemon Yellow. Personally, I think Lemon Yellow is better, since it is not too flashy, and it suits men more compared to Canary Yellow. This is my personal judgment.
Because of the attractiveness of social media and the “e-workplace”(a term I like to use when talking about companies connected online), many new and old corporations are entering the markets of cyberspace. This creates a highly competitive environment where companies are aiming to gain advantage over other brands of the same market. The main problem for companies nowadays is not whether to enter industries online, but how to stay there. Companies should make it a point to establish their individuality amidst monotony: how they are different from other competing brands of the similar industry. Furthermore, companies should make a name for themselves with the individual specifically in mind. Catching the attention of the consumer is key, and consumers have different criteria for a good brand. If companies want to succeed, satisfying these standards must always be considered. Just like personal color choices, people also have preferences for brands.
Facebook seems to be a winner among teenagers, and the brand probably provides something worth the time of these youth, something that makes this networking site stand out from the rest. (I say ‘seems’ and ‘probably’ since I still haven’t tried it out myself.) As for messaging, I am still undecided between Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. This means that Gmail and Yahoo! Mail still have to prove to me who among them deserves to be called ‘better’ than the other brand.
3.) Pearl White : Dirty White :: Multiply : Facebook
Not all colors are always attractive. Some are even not attractive at all. If you are asked to choose between two new plain shirts, one with a bright pearl white color, the other with a dirty white shade, which would you choose? Most likely it would be the one with the pearl white color. (I asked my family which between the two will they choose, all of them said the pearl white colored one.) Even if both shirts are truly brand new, the former is chosen because dirty white shirts do not look as bright and as clean as the other one.
Ok, so a company had already established itself online. But is their reputation actually good and profitable? If not, it should be. Online reputation is everything for a company; it can spell continued success, meager endurance, or abrupt closure altogether. A brand with good reputation is sure to gain more revenue and support compared to a competing brand with a tainted record. For example, Multiply is preferred by some instead of Facebook because there have been discussions about deleted Facebook accounts with its content still lasting in the website’s databases. Companies must avoid receiving negative feedback by constantly checking on their reputation online. Some ways on how companies can do this are by monitoring customer discussions and feedback, analyzing website statistics such as page hits and comments count, and comparing the brand to others in the industry.
Taking this all into account, companies and their brands have a lot of things to consider. Entering online markets and obtaining a permanent niche in it is necessary for companies to prosper in the 21st century. A world full of color is there in the Internet, and companies must strive to determine the specific hues, shades, and mixtures they need to stay competitive.
Note: This entry is inspired by the Conversation Prism and its multitude of “pretty and wonderful” colors. BTW, black looks good, really.
“No company today, no matter how large or how global, can innovate fast enough or big enough by itself.” A.G. Lafley, CEO, Proctor & Gamble
Lafley’s statement is the reality in today’s competitive economy. The usefulness of the Internet has never been so apparent, and companies should learn how to handle this and apply it to their organizations before they get left behind. In the business world, collaborative systems are in, and old-fashioned bureaucracy is out.
E-mployee, E-ngagement, E-nthusiasm
Wikinomics of Tapscott and Williams provided new and significant ideas as to how companies are affected by the development of the Internet. Because of the Internet, the top-down approach of management is no longer as applicable and acceptable as it was several years ago. The Net gave ordinary employees a new way of contributing to their company: a chance to be heard, to be recognized, to be accepted as “an important part of the family.” Managers and their subordinates can now talk to each other face-to-face but still be miles from each other, using videoconferencing. Paper and ink are also not as needed as before, since e-mailing, chatting, and intranets are now available to employees. Working is no longer limited to the cubicle or workstation; with a computer and internet connection, employees can now access basically the entire world.
This new means of communication opens a greater opportunity for engagement, not only for top management and the people they handle, but also for the people they rely on outside of the organization. The spending public now has greater capability to select and determine what they want, and in the process, shape the market which they prefer. Organizations which harness this ocean of ideas can and will definitely gain an advantage over their competitors.
But who said that the public is only the source of new insights? As it turns out for many companies, by giving their managers and frontline employees the flexibility of new media, they can gain new, innovative (and sometimes best) ideas in return. An example is Orkut, one of many popular social networking sites, which was created not by top-level managers but by Orkut Büyükkökten, one of many Google engineers. Decision making is also no longer restricted to executives. Product and service development and modification is now easier and more satisfactory because of the involvement of employees and consumers alike. Back then, it was only the managers who decided whether to change or scrap a product or service.
With the increase in the engagement of employees and customers, interest in the organization and its brands has never been higher. Employees work much more effectively since they have more room to be creative, to interact with their peers, and to contribute to business processes. This is basically the same for consumers.
E-verything and E-veryone?
A major question now stands: with all the collaboration going on inside and outside companies, should every organization do the same? In my honest opinion, definitely. As a result of the advancement of the Internet, companies and us, the general public, are now in a period where economies and market trends change indefinitely, rapidly, and outstandingly at any point in time. One day you are at the top 50 of the Forbes 500, and the next thing you know you are in the mid-range 200. The fact is that for a company to remain competitive, it should understand, accept, and utilize the possibilities that new collaborative technologies present. Organizations should grab this chance to work together, pool near-limitless resources, develop solid partnerships, improve morale, and ultimately, accomplish what they are working for in the first place.
It is natural for people to think of the Internet as the foundation for people to interact with one another. With sites such as Facebook, Friendster, Multiply, and Twitter (to name a few), persons from around the world can talk to each other, gaining additional friends and contacts as time progresses. All this chatting and bonding happens online; through the Net. But what I experienced last week was slightly different.
A few weeks ago, I, along with four other classmates, spent a night at one of my classmate’s home to create a video blog (vlog) about the history of communication. The six of us had individual things to do, but we worked as a group, contributing to the completion of the vlog. Our primary objective was to do as much as we can for the vlog with the time available, but the occurrences on the side made the task lighter and more fun. We took frequent breaks from work, which were usually as long as doing the task itself. A lot of chatting and passing of jokes ensued, which kept the pressure or tension to finish at a manageable level. Because of all the conversation and enjoyment, we as a group ended up becoming closer to one another after the night.
Now, I woud like to introduce the Internet as a “seventh friend.” Why is this so? In the first paragraph, I said that all the chatting and bonding happens through the Net. But with what happened a few nights ago, it did not happen through the Net; it happened with the Net.
The Internet became a friend to us owing to two reasons. First, it was our main resource in creating the video blog. Most (if not all) of the research and sounds were provided by the Net. Because of the many sources from the Net, we acquired a relatively precise account of the evolution of communication in the shortest time. If this were to be done using books, ‘short’ would not be used to describe the duration of research. Everything we needed was available online, from the images to the programs, from the soundtrack to the necessary information.
Secondly, if not for the Internet, which is the reason why video blogging is possible, the six of us could not have bonded, since no group will be needed to create a vlog in the first place. If not for this unwitting, invisible “friend,” I could not have known my classmates any better. (Not to mention having the delicious food and revealed secrets during the sleepover.) Because of the Internet, and a lot of effort from the six of us, we were able to produce this video blog:
The Internet has never been this much connected to me until several weeks ago. It made me view it in wholly different perspective. Cheers to Pangaea Solutions. Cheers to the Internet.
Note: Pangaea Solutions is a concocted name for our group of six. It originated from the idea of using Adam and Eve and the Pangaea, the first landmass, in the video blog.