November 27, 2012 Leave a comment
Interesting that when recently looking through odesk.com, freelancer.com and elance.com there are some unusual jobs on offer. Given the context of some jobs this would appear to mask who is doing what in the world. Do you know you candidate? Do you know your student? Do you know you know who is doing the work?
As an example, several jobs have been posted where individuals or organizations are looking for 10,000 followers on Twitter, or 10,000 followers on Facebook. Amazing in the first place that there are those who know enough about the platforms to generate that number of followers for a client. If successful in producing the correct number of followers, payment is received. One wonders why an individual would want 10,000 followers, would this be to increase influence, to boast about the number of followers, or is it simply a case of building a potential client-base? For those who genuinely follow out of shared professional interest, is there the potential to be mislead by the bought influence?
Who Is The Blogger?
Another good example is jobs that surround blogging. You may not know that these services can be bought on demand. I do understand the concept of guest blogging, but we are talking about something quite different here. In fact we are talking about an individual or organization retaining the paid services of a blogger who will write perhaps every post on a blog platform. We could look at posts on Harvard Business Review or Forbes and recognise that there are those who blog and are recognised as guest bloggers or otherwise. But here, the individual or company purchasing the services retain copyright and there is the possibility that the ‘blogger’ remains unidentified. This is a concern, perhaps more so with individual business or service blogs where we may assume that the work has been carried out by the individual. Imagine a job interview situation where an individual directs you to the quality, quantity and relevance of their blog input when they have not actually written it.
Who Is The Writer?
We are mostly aware of the fact that ghost writing is well established, this is where an experience writer according to industry may write, co-author or edit a publication without being identified. Apply this to university essays, dissertations, thesis submission, data analysis and journal publications and we can see the potential implications. This is not to ignore the fact that there are already a number of organizations out there who provide such specialist services, especially tailored to the ‘student’ market.
Do We Have A Problem, Or Do We Have A Problem?
There is a problem and it is one of identity and capability. A university student can ‘buy-in’ writing services and the expertise to conduct and analyse their research findings. They can also pay for every essay, if the budget is there. The organizations providing ‘assistance’ come from a range of sources. It is also possible to buy professional work experience. It is also possible to run a highly successful social media strategy by writing little other than a cheque. We have organizations who also specialise in the completion of resumes, application forms and preparation for interview.
So the next time you encounter someone who writes a blog post, consider if it is that individual who has written it. If you see a new social media post, consider if it is the named individual who created it. If you are assessing work within a university there may be little that you can do to identify whether or not the work genuinely belongs to the individual. Unless someone is particularly famous, think about why a company or an individual has so many followers and whether or not these are genuine and based on the individuals communication. If you are in the human resources profession, consider whether or not the achievements and claims of your candidate are accurate.
Clearly there is great potential out there for many things not to be what they appear. I take nothing away from those who are looking for contract work and indeed from the companies that provide a platform through which organisations and individuals can advertise opportunities. However, in a human resources or organisational sense there is a problem that emerges from the potential to ‘buy-in’ bespoke services that could create an unfair advantage across many scenarios. This is something that we need to be mindful of.
Perhaps the biggest question now is how do you identify who is who and what is what?