Social Media Gaffs Cost Jobs

This was in my textbook on Project Management:

Ninety-three percent of employers check social media profiles of prospective hires. According to Money magazine here are the 10 most common reasons a candidate’s blunders on social media cost the person a job:

  1. Posting something embarrassing on the corporate Twitter feed.
  2. Sexual oversharing
  3. Revealing company secrets
  4. Blowing your own cover*
  5. Talking “smack” about a job you haven’t accepted yet
  6. Making fun of clients or donors
  7. Making fun of your boss or team
  8. Posting while you should be working
  9. Complaining about your job
  10. Drinking in a photo — even if you’re over 21

So you’ve been warned. I’m sure the sexual oversharing is not going to help anyone in the post-Harvey Weinstein-era, and it shouldn’t.

*Unless you work for the CIA, I’m not sure what’s meant by “Blowing your own cover.” Comment below if you do.


Poppick, S. (Sept. 5, 2014). “10 Social Media Blunders that Cost a Millennial a Job–or Worse. Money Magazine. Quoted in Information Technology Project Management by Kathy Schwalbe, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Why Would Someone Do This?

Today I couldn’t post to Twitter via my iPad. Later I tried to tweet on my computer and found out the account’s been disabled because someone hacked in and posted numerous tweets automatically.


To regain my account I need to verify it’s mine with a cell phone. For most people that’s simple, but I’ll have to dig out my Chinese cell, recharge it, see if it still works and then verify.

Ugh, ugh, ugh!

Musings on Digital McLuhan

While Marshall McLuhan is a well known scholar and most people have heard his phrases, “global village” and”the medium is the message” bandied about, I admit that was the extent of my knowledge. After reading our first course module, I decided to learn more. I started with Paul Levinson‘s Digitial McLuhan as an updated look at McLuhan’s ideas relate to social media.

I must thank Levinson for introducing more of McLuhan’s concepts to me. Here are a few:

  • McLuhan’s tetrad, his four questions of media:
  1. What does it enhance or amplify in the culture?
  2. What does it obsolesce or push out of prominence?
  3. What does it retrieve from the past, from the realm of the previously obsolesced?
  4. What does the medium reverse or flip into when it reaches the limits of its potential? (p.16)
  • Hot and cool: McLuhan uses hot to describe “loud, bright, clear and fixed” media or subjects (e.g. political candidates) while cool media or subjects are “soft, shadowy, blurred and changeable.” For example, movies seen in a theater are hot, while television is cool; radio is hot, while telephones are cool. Cool media engage us more because there’s more to pour over and consider.In this system, social media with its messiness and interactive possibilities are cool.
  • Discarnate: an interaction that does not involve the body (much*). This notion denotes the disconnect between the body and the message. Our voices are “disconnected” from our voices when we talk on the phone. When a dancer’s performance is uploaded to YouTube we can see the dance has been severed from the dancer in a sense. The term virtual has become the most popular expression for this idea. However, McLuhan’s discarnate seems more powerful to me because it emphasizes the message severing from the person who expressed it.
  • Light-through media: hypnotic media in which animated light comes through the media to the viewer, e.g. stained glass windows, television, computer screens, the sky. Such media hypnotize in a way and have a certain religious intensity.
  • Light-on media: light bounces off the medium so we can perceive it, e.g. books, magazines, paintings. Even the most glossy, vivid, masterfully done images and words don’t produce that little buzz that TV or computers do. It’s always easier to put down even the best book than it is to turn off an iPad that’s got a banal game or message. The iPad’s a light-through, whereas your favorite book is light-on.

These trenchant concepts help me understand my own experience using media. They explain why I can watch TV hour after hour, but can’t read all the books I’d like to in a week. I will use McLuhan’s questions in every reading and media I examine throughout the course.

Related: video interview of Digital McLuhan author, Paul Levinson.


Levinson, P. (1999). Digital McLuhan. London, UK: Routledge.

Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry


Be prepared to be blown away. Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry packs quite a punch. This documentary shows Chinese artist cum activist Ai Wei Wei as he stands up for victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and seeks justice after police break into his hotel room in Chengdu and beat him.

The film fascinated me. It follows Ai as he tries to get the government to publish the real numbers of students who died in the flimsy school buildings in Sichuan. With newsreel footage and interviews, it shows the torture and abuse his father endured in the 1950s. I’ve read several books, fiction and non-fiction, about the Anti-Rightist Campaign. The stark newsreels of neighbor denouncing neighbor deepened my understanding of this horrible period.

The documentary shows Ai in New York where he started his art career and in Europe installing current works. Filmmakers follow him as he pursues justice after being beaten by police and detained so that he was unable to testify on behalf of another Chinese activist, who was found guilty.

Ai is mesmerizing. He’s bold, audacious, brave, down-to-earth and shrewd. He’s figured out the power of social media and despite the government’s censorship has attracted a following of Chinese who share his desire for transparency and democracy. These folks aren’t just spectators as we see when Ai protests the government mandated demolition of the studio the government told him to build, hordes show up for his protest. They know they’re being watched and recorded and are willing to take that risk.

Ai knows what the government’s up to and finds clever ways to show it for what it is. Though he doubts he can win, he works within the system seeking justice from the police whom illegally knocked in his hotel room door, beat and detained him. By recording every step of his bureaucratic quest for justice, he shows the world how the government works and that all is not well in the new China.

I found the interviews with fellow artists and Evan Osnos of the New Yorker insightful and trenchant. They show how people who care about China will stick their necks out to make it better, even though they doubt they’ll see improvement.

Living in China myself, I see the good parts and know that experiences like Ai’s and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo‘s are true, but it’s so easy to forget. I’m grateful for this movie that reminds me and fleshes out Ai WeiWei’s life and work.

Never Sorry is available on Netflix.

Ai Wei Wei’s Gangnam Style Parody