In my research for this post I came across this from Steven Dutch who teaches Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay:
A Note to Visitors
I will respond to questions and comments as time permits, but if you want to take issue with any position expressed here, you first have to answer this question:
What evidence would it take to prove your beliefs wrong
I simply will not reply to challenges that do not address this question. Refutability is one of the classic determinants of whether a theory can be called scientific. Moreover, I have found it to be a great general-purpose cut-through-the-crap question to determine whether somebody is interested in serious intellectual inquiry or just playing mind games. Note, by the way, that I am assuming the burden of proof here – all you have to do is commit to a criterion for testing. It’s easy to criticize science for being “closed-minded”. Are you open-minded enough to consider whether your ideas might be wrong?
I do like that, it’s good isn’t it?
This is a rather long post. I don’t care. If you decide to read it, I have tried to make it entertaining enough to keep you engaged although my purpose—as always—is quite serious. I shall attempt to reconcile what has been described as my clumsy blogging with my personal view that your reading of this blogger is, perversely, none of my business. I am not a reporter. I am not a thought leader. I am not an expert with five ways to do this and ten ways to do that. I am not a vendor selling things. I am an individual who happens to be intrigued by the recruiting bubble and blogging and other things. From this post forward, I shall start referring to myself as “The Naked Blogger” in deference to another “inadequately informed amateur” who so influenced me as a childish boy: Dr. Desmond Morris.
Anyone who has the patience to go through my Monday posts will be able to put the pieces together as to why I write this blog. If you are missing one of the corners to the jigsaw that’s because one Monday I posted Spin the Bottle on Recruiting.com. That post marked the beginning of my participation in the Blog Swap. As I read it again, it’s quite funny. At least, I think so.
When the Blog Swap started the participants had agreed. We would post in deference to our host blogger, their subject matter and in the spirit of their gig. For my part, I made it clear up-front:
Important! My daughter’s cat has a habit of bringing her dead, half-eaten mice, lizards, frogs, etc. which the cat drops on her pillow as tokens of affection and respect. Invariably, my daughter wakes up and freaks out! But, she loves and cares for her cat understanding the cat doesn’t know any better. Similarly, with my blog, I see myself playing the role of the cat. I will write for you with affection and respect. However, if you are in the slightest bit squeamish about what I might leave on your pillow, let me know beforehand and I will do my best to please you, as you like.
After an exchange of emails on silly things, the group squabbling as I remember, I later went on to explain the cat is rabid. As if to contrast our puny contribution to humanity, the space shuttle launched that day. It was the July 4th weekend and I was musing on matters of good citizenship and blowing things up in celebration of my own independence.
I have come a long way since my youth, playing spin the bottle, swallowing my tongue in an awkward effort to kiss and be kissed. The Recruiting Animal’s flat out rejection of my recent proposal that we partner in some fashion, you know, like the Recruitosphere’s Siegfried and Roy, simply left me wondering if perhaps he was displeased with my practicing how to write a three-minute post, commenting on his site too often. Or maybe, ironically, he suffers from ailurophobia? Whatever, we agreed, no hard feelings.
With this in mind, last week I was delighted to be posting on the Recruiting Animal’s site for the Blog Swap. I produced three short skits for posting the same day, as is the Recruiting Animal’s practice. I chose to revisit bloggers who he has parodied: Shannon Seary Gude who writes for the EXCELER8ion blog and occasionally tinkles with other peoples sites; Joel Cheesman who did for online recruitment marketing what Al Gore did for the internet; John Sumser who some affectionately call “Papa”; and Dave Mendoza who recently launched a blog called Six Degrees from Dave. I also referenced the latest in vertical blog-search—RecruitingFly—but only because I like it so much. At the same time on Recruitomatic I published a response to the Recruiting Animal’s Advice for a Young Blogger with my Three Ways to Clever Recruitment Blogging.
Are you following all this? If so, you now have the setting for what then unfolded, unraveled rather. But, before sanctifying the “cat fight” between Dave Mendoza and Tiffany of Magic Pot of Jobs fame, a word to the revered Recruiting Animal:
As someone who has been so generous in their mentoring, and who typifies an aspect of bona fide blogging that I aspire to—you have left me confused, disappointed. We have discussed my being an “evangelical” blogger. For example I believe there is a world that exists for recruiting bloggers after life in the Recruitosphere. I also believe in the Father (the post) The Son (the comment) and the Holy Ghost (the thread). So, your wholesale censoring of comments on my Blog Swap post “Third Degree Burns” is, in my considered opinion, a disgrace. I am sure that you can justify pandering to peer pressure. After all, I did it in my prepubescent spinning of bottles. I can only assume that you are right and I am wrong. You are the master. I am the grasshopper. No need to discuss it then. No need for comments in reply. Of course, anyone reading that post now will know by the obvious dislocation of comments that they have been shortchanged. What you have decided to leave them with is nothing more than hanging chad. You spat in the chalice.
When I rewrite Tongue-tied there will be some special cat-nippy gift for you—a hairball, perhaps. In the meantime, remember, there is no “easy button”. You can sanitize the crime scene but nothing on the internet is really scrubbed clean, hidden from forensics and luminol. Remember, you cannot stuff a spitting cat in a box and expect kitty-kitty to be so easily tamed.
For the record, this is what happened:
1. My Blog Swap post Three Degree Burns went up and Dave Mendoza saw it. He became infuriated, not at the content—after all, he begrudgingly conceded my points and I begrudgingly conceded usng the wrong example of his work to illustrate my point, although you would never know that because the comments are gone—but rather his sudden realization that in the blogosphere, farts don’t always smell like potpourri. I also think he felt I had besmirched Shannon Seery Gude in my post EXCELER8ion Blog Defrocked and felt obligated to defend her honor, Zorro-style. Note: “Defrocking”, David, is a something that happens to priests not women of repute.
2. Tiffany made a comment about Dave Mendoza being a spammer—a jibe that perhaps only Dave Mendoza would understand. I certainly didn’t get it. No one I’ve spoken to got it either. It was obviously a private matter between David Mendoza and Tiffany but which he decided to publicly, and rather foolishly, take issue with. Well, all hell broke loose. I figured whatever Tiffany had said, this was not the kind of thread I had hoped the post would spawn, but the ensuing cat fight was, for me, an interesting study in shit-stirring and narcissism. If anyone wants a transcript of the actual posts that have been axed, I have them all. They are available via email for $9.99 for each unedited comment. There are eight available. Buy all eight, pay for six. Sorry, no refunds, paid in advance please.
3. I reached out to Dave Mendoza to apologize for his upset and when we finally connected—literally and figuratively—we agreed to be friends. I listened to his Recruiters’ Lounge podcast, twice—I made my wife and children listen to it too—and now I have a photo of the real Dave Mendoza in my wallet. Seeing that he is not a three hundred pound gorilla after all, I shall now refer to Dave Mendoza affectionately as “Desi” to save his professional brand being taken out of context, and to avoid future embarrassment for him among his friends or colleagues who might just be googling about God, chimpanzees, quantum physics, psychology, manure, blogging and other things I find to be fascinating portals to the worlds of talent management and business, and where his name might otherwise be mentioned.
4. I sent Desi a copy of a retracted comment—withdrawn because I refuse to participate in the Recruiting Animal’s horrid revisionism, confusion—and suggested if he wanted to draw his own post from it, I would reply in my missive today. In It’s About Professional Conduct, Stupid!—with the clever use of oxymoronic titling to give the post an erudite flavor a la Recruitomatique—Desi sets out his personal view of what recruitment blogging should be, most of which I agree with. It also reflects some of what we had discussed on the telephone and encapsulates the advice he gave to me on how to conduct myself, professionally.
Let me draw this post to a close by making the following points:
1. I came to blogging for the express purpose of trying to understand the medium. I believe it serves my current interests to identify and appreciate what possibilities exist for me to communicate more effectively as a marketer. I do not want to be a “late adopter” for this medium. I want to be a part of its research and development. This thing called blogging, as an element of an emerging web 2:0 reality, is moving so fast there will be no time for late adopters anyway. There will just be victors, wounded and dead. I want to be a victor.
2. I am a citizen-blogger. I do not represent my business or any other commerce. How could I? The Recruitosphere has been my laboratory, a place where I can combine dangerous elements and blow things up without doing too much damage. I had more traffic to my booth at the Park City, Utah Career Fair for Minorities & Women than I get to my blog, so where’s the harm? Of course, I didn’t know about “personal brands” and “online personas” and other works of fiction when I came to this, and I’ll talk to that in a moment. But, I have been very open about my purpose, I invited debate, I have documented my findings, I have published my theses, I have commented on other blogs. I have been honest, sincere and generally well accepted.
My satire may be irritating to some. My criticism of others’ noble efforts is not meant to score points at their expense, belittle them in any way. My posts and comments add to the wider debate in which we are all involved – like it or not. Also, as a longtime consumer of recruiting and related content, I found my own desperate need for authenticity, originality and substance so lacking that I decided to fill the void for myself. There is a didactic and corrective purpose in my blog. But you don’t have to like it or agree with it or want it. You might even wish it would go away. But many readers will keep coming back because this space lacks what I bring to the forum—a strong opinion and an unafraid voice with which to speak it. Unlike others who believe the majority of readers in the recruiting bubble are too dumb to get it, I don’t. That said I am happy if just one or two people get it. Ultimately, I get it and that is who I am blogging for—me. If there are some who don’t like it much, if there is a general disdain for someone who doesn’t quite conform, well, in the nicest possible way—as we say in the places where I hail from—bugger off.
3. Who could have known when I started this blogging thing I would end up dancing with wolves? Who could have thought that the possibilities for blogging in business far exceeded my wildest imagination? I have a use for blogging, Desi, which is not your use. I respect your purpose and will be mindful of your cause. I support it. But, I am a naked blogger and you are so fine in your crocodile shoes. Don’t confuse coexistence with cohabitation. Don’t presume to tell me what is—and what is not—professional conduct. Please don’t call me stupid even though you could well be right.
4. Closing on the subject of personal brands and online personas and all that surrendering of self and God to Google and ZoomInfo, let me quote Harry Joiner’s comment on “Third Degree Burns”—the single most destructive comment of them all, the one that resulted in the blasphemous revision of the post’s thread:
Not to take sides, but this needs to be said on the record: I spoke to Dave for the first time last week and found him to be exceptionally bright, well spoken, and above all – sincere.
Michael [Recruiting Animal] in copy, you should delete this string before it gets archived in Google or (much more formidably) in ZoomInfo.
Harry Joiner’s comments, while well intentioned, suggests he, like Desi I think, has not fully grasped the underlying power of blogging as a communications or thought-channeling medium, web-portal, research tool, social networking thing, art-form and the list could go on. He appears not to understand that once you press “publish” you are damned. Let me reply to his comments thus:
5. I blog and comment using my Jewish-sounding name. My name is Amitai Givertz. It’s the name that the good Rabbi Hoohavada Manischewitz called up as he cut off my dinky little foreskin. Circumcision is an okay biblical reference but let’s hope nobody googles that and ends up participating—even on the sidelines—in a debate over the democratization of the web, and recruiting, and blogging and what to do when your head might be firmly shoved up someone else’s search engine. If ZoomInfo picks up this thread – and that in itself impedes my prospects for getting a job – can I legitimately make an EEOC/discrimination claim against the employer for discriminating against Jews? If my blogging here—and my being Jewish—impedes my ability to forge business relationships can I blog about Company X or power-broker Y as being Jew-haters? Give me a break. If someone rejects me because they don’t like my opinions or my style or convoluted thinking, even though they may have drawn an altogether two dimensional view, I call that poor-man’s screening and assessment. Nothing wrong with that. We’re both better off for it.
6. Poor Desi and his fragile brand. Did I get upset when the Animal depicted me online as a Hasidic Jew? Why would I? Is it something to be ashamed of? The Animal’s depiction of me—like my depiction of Desi—is not meant in a harmful way or to spite me or to have someone look for me at home and throw bricks through my window. There is no hate crime here. Desi seems more concerned for his good looks and personal brand than I do for my own. But, branding, as I have said before, is more than skin deep.
Controlling perceptions in the context of blogging is virtually impossible—you cannot control it. Affect it, yes. Manage it? No. Control it? That is impossible. I’m about being myself and trusting that ZoomInfo users will care enough about their investment of time and money to get to know me, qualify me in—or out—of their purpose when searching my person/profile/name. I trust Desi will get the same treatment too.
5. Anybody, anywhere, anytime, can find me online and take what I said or blogged about of context. They can misquote me, misconstrue me, misrepresent me and even try to publicly berate, attack and hurt me. But, I am not blogging to win a popularity contest or make a bucket of money—although one day I might. When I do I’ll change my name to Norma Jean or Benny Hinn. Today—and in this context blogging is a today thing too—I am blogging because I am passionate about this recruiting/talent management space—caring enough to spank it on the bottom when I think it’s being naughty and kiss it lovingly when I think it’s being good. Who appointed me for such a “critical role?” No one did. It’s called blogging. I appointed myself. If you don’t like it, read something else.
Note: Anyone who does not want me to directly reference them ever, comment on their blog ever, remark about their projects ever—pretend as if they don’t exist—contact me and I will absolutely respect your right to try and manage something that is bigger than the both of us. Be my guest. Email me. I’ll afford you your venerated status. I shall not mention you anymore than I can utter the true name of God. You will have transcended the triangulation of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
6. I use my name and I have no problem with how it is processed and regurgitated online. That is the price I am prepared to pay for being connected as I am, for who I am, and in celebration of my profession and blogging. As long as I am authentic, honest and sincere, why do I have to worry about what some googler or ZoomInfo bushwhacker might think about me? I am not asking for anyone to agree with me. I am asking that we open all this interesting stuff up to a frank and lively debate so that we can all walk away enriched. If I am the only one to do that—leave this experience the better for it—so be it.
What is this hive mind mentality that is emerging here? The Naked Blogger shall continue to explore this space until I am good and ready to move on or morph my “brand” and “purpose” to something that conforms to the space I finally decide to occupy. In the meantime, it’s blogging. Nothing more. Nothing less.
There you have it. I am naked. The cat is out of the bag.