Category Archives: Leadership

Google Thyself Again

It might be time to Google yourself again. Things change. You’ve done a lot on the web. It’s time to see what Google knows and what others are going to see (especially if you’re searching for a new job, as I am) when they punch up your name. Here’s my latest page 1 results. I’m using Google Chrome’s Incognito feature so no history or localization information was used in these results.

A few things to remember about your online reputation and Googling yourself.

  • You need to get a handle on your search results page long before there’s an issue, if there ever is an issue.
  • You want to make sure you’re showing up on Google in the appropriate places
  • You want to look for bad content, odd content, or pirated content (when they use your writing but don’t attribute it or pay you for its use)
  • If you control the pages that show up in the first few search engine results pages, you’re golden. If you don’t show up at all, it’s time to get started on your online portfolio.

Today the resume is important. LinkedIn is more important. And before hiring you for a top position, Google may be the most important at all. Are you posting political rants? Is your content relevant? Do you have any authority on the subject you are hoping to get a leadership position in?

But can a large social media footprint also work against you in the hiring game? Does my large Twitter following make me a threat? Or the fact that I keep my Facebook page private? What about the fact that I write, have written, for the Huffington Post? (I was fired on the second day from a job, when they Googled me and found my Huff Po author’s page.) What is your online search results page saying about you and your online reputation?

I like what I see when I Google myself. I found some sites that have syndicated my content from The Good Men Project. I find that I’m burying the more famous McElhenney, Rob. (He doesn’t show up until page 3. And if you want to know about me from Google, 99% of the content is stuff that I’ve written myself. I want you to find me, but I want you to find what I want you to find. No, I don’t have any lingering secrets on the dark internet, but I am controlling the conversation about me online.

What can your Google search tell you about your online content? Will you find some random stuff from a long time ago, stuff you might not be so proud of? It’s time to start Googling today, so you can be proactive in building your online reputation. LinkedIn and your resume only tell part of the story, Google tells the rest.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me

The State of Mobile Marketing 2017 – Overview

Sometimes downloading a white paper or study is a waste of time. I have downloaded hundreds of lead-generating ebooks and have found very few of them to be worth the time. Occasionally, a big study or survey piece will reveal some salient points, and I’m glad to have read it, but really it’s about 10% of the overall content. Here in a severaly abbreviated form is The State of Mobile Marketing 2017 from Incite Group and OpenMobile Media.

Here are the most important mobile challenges as outlined by the study.

Content and Context and Relevance are the top two challenges. How do you build a mobile app or platform that is relevant and valuable to your customers? Tons of businesses are creating apps that do nothing well. They are simply entries into the crowded mobile space. If you don’t understand the content part of the equation, it does not matter if you have an app or not.

Creating a personalized customer experience. That’s the top potential. How do you go about doing that? What mobile feature has not been covered? How does your app or program provide something new, something useful, something unique?

Make note that brand awareness and increased engagement are the top two objectives of mobile marketing. Sales is not the primary goal. When building a mobile program are you concentrating too much on sales? Do you have the budget to build something for brand awareness that does not drive sales?

The mobile marketing space is hard and apps are expensive to produce. And if they don’t increase revenue, what is the point?

Maybe you should concentrate on how well you site performs in the mobile browsing experience. Well over half your audience is viewing your site on their phone. And that includes B2B sites as well.

Get your mobile act together before you consider a mobile app. And make sure you understand the content that your audience would find valuable. Sales messaging is not going to fly and will get your app dropped, ignored, and deleted.

Go mobile, but go about it smartly.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

PS: Yes, I know this post is not going to get me a lot of bonus points with future recruiters, but if I get a little bit more information, I’m up for it. Still looking for my next FT position.

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me

HR Feeback: Do Recruiters Owe Sourced Candidates Feedback?

I’ve been hit up by a ton of recruiters lately. Seems like every time Dell opens up a new rec a handful of contract recruiters hit me up via email and telephone. I can see the calls coming in from all over the country and I skip them. “I’ll get the email,” I say to myself.

So there was an interesting one that came in last week. A local company sourced me for a “strategist” level position. I was interested in the company so I took the call. As we discussed the role the recruiter started talking about a different position that would probably be a better fit for my experience. She was excited about it as she laid out the role and promised to get my resume directly to the hiring manager. She thought I was a shoe in.

Then nothing happened. I took a short homework assignment and sent it in, confident that I had passed with flying colors and I waited. From the way the recruiter had been talking I was certain I was going to hear from the hiring manager in a matter of days. At the end of the next week, I pinged the recruiter, “Just checking in, I’m still very excited about the position.”

Here’s what she wrote back:

Hey John!

Thanks for the follow-up. I was waiting to hear back from the team. Although your background is certainly impressive, it doesn’t directly align to the experience they’re looking for. That being said though, I’d love to stay in touch in case there is another role that you might be a better fit for. Would you be open to that?

Well, that’s fine, but it doesn’t give me any indication of what the miss was, hers or mine. “It doesn’t directly align to the experience they’re looking for” means what exactly? It sure did align when we were talking about the project management aspect of the role. Or the writing aspect of the role. Or the leadership aspect of the role. So I didn’t align. Is that a way of saying I’m a bit older than they had imagined this “manager” to be?

It’s true, I’m an older worker. I’ve cut my resume in half just to get call backs. And if you go to my LinkedIn profile, there it is in flying colors. See, I’m not trying to be dishonest, just realistic. If people start out with knowing I graduated from college about the time they were entering elementary school, they’re not liable to give me a shot.

So what is the responsibility of the recruiter and HR team? Do candidates that spend hours crafting their responses, and doing “homework” deserve at least a hint at what the miss was? I think the answer is yes. I know we’re all busy, but if they’ve contacted me and I’m giving them enough time to put me in their system, in their format, in their words, don’t they owe me a little time on the backend to tell me what went wrong?

I know this is not how the world works. And I know in today’s market, a hiring market they call it, recruiters and HR people hold all the cards. Getting mad about one experience is not a good strategy in the long-run. But, people, let’s remember that we’re all doing the best we can. If I give you an hour of my time, at least give me ten minutes to tell me the truth.

Respect goes both ways.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

PS: Yes, I know this post is not going to get me a lot of bonus points with future recruiters, but if I get a little bit more information, I’m up for it. Still looking for my next FT position.

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me

image: feedback, creative commons usage

How The Huffington Post Silences Writers Without Giving Any Reason (A Summary)

I’ve been a Huffington Post blogger since 11-11-2013.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-40-27-amclick to read

And I’ve still got an author’s page on The Huffington Post site.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-39-09-am

View my archive now: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post

But somehow, The Huffington Post blog team has cut off my posts and blocked me from being able to login to the new publishing platform. Here’s the top of my archive today.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-7-39-36-am

And you will notice a long gap between my last two published posts in NOV. 2014 and my most recent publications on the new Contributor Platform in OCT. 2106. I had been allowed to publish posts since NOV. 2014 but not 1 of the 70+ posts I submitted got released to the blog.

I struggled with this loss in my publishing platform. I wrote letters to Arianna, the woman who invited me into the publishing platform in the first place. I wrote letters to Brittany Wong the woman who wrote a profile about me and my journey as a positive divorced dad. I wrote letters to the email address for corrections and issues from the blog team. (blogteam@huffingtonpost.com) And for two years I got nothing.

Then The Huffington Post finally made the transition to the new platform. And in that process I was given a credential to login and create my NEW account. Which I did on October 6, 2016. I updated my profile for the new platform. I got a new author’s page http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/jm32austin-893, and was set up to finally rejoin the ranks of Huffington Post blogger.

And so I started out with a few posts in my sweet spot topics. Divorce and Health and Fitness. And to my surprise, the new Contributor Platform allows writers to push the post live without “editor” intervention. So all four of my posts went LIVE.

And once of them, the “Dear Ex-wife” post began to trend. Within an hour I had over 3,000 views directly from The Huffington Post. And they hadn’t even added me or promoted me in a section yet. The post was taking off in the generic posting on The Blog.

Of course, I was thrilled. I looked for another post, the last Brad and Angelina post, that I could throw into the stream to up my traffic. And BOOM. It was all taken down.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-4-37-31-pm

And now none of my 2016 posts are live.

What could have happened? I speculate all the time.

  1. Someone on the blog team has suppressed my publishing back in 2014. (Without telling me why or giving me recourse to remedy my transgression.)
  2. My viral post was threatening to some editor so they took it down. And then proceeded to take all of my recent posts down, to complete the suppression.
  3. Someone on the blog team saw my posts, connected the dots with 2014’s suppression and re-killed my publishing platform.

In all of these cases there is a problem if The Huffington Post is attempting to foster a community spirit with their new Contributor Platform.

The kumbaya statement of community with the Contributor Platform looks like this,

“The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.”

And then comes the hard part,

“We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.”

And yet there is no mention of the community of editors, the conversation that should be had around any removal or suppression. So far, even on the new Contributor Platform I have been suppressed, on all of my posts, and not given any explanation or justification for what went wrong. And I don’t expect my record is going to be any better than it was since 2014. Maybe they’ll open a new platform and give me a credential to login there, who knows.

Three Rules of an Open Community

  1. The community rules.
  2. The community can discuss the rules.
  3. Questions about the rules should be allowed and discussed in the community.

When you take out the third rule, you’ve created the same problem you had with the old platform. When editors can suppress writers and not give any explanation then there is no community.

I realise there are thousands of writers who are willing to write for The Huffington Post for free. I am one of those writers. And there a thousands more asking to be let into the community every day. But if you really want to create a community you need to have a feedback mechanism. We are people. We are part of the community. And we deserve an explanation when our post or our entire publishing rights have been rescinded.

I have never gotten any explanation or response in two years of requesting feedback. I lucked into a loophole when the new system was brought online. And then I am merely suppressed again, without explanation or response to my repeated requests for information. I’m guessing, from the comments on my previous posts about this issue, that I am not alone in this.

Dear Arianna Huffington Post and The Blog Team, your Statement of Community is just pretty words. Until you provide a mechanism for feedback and give all of your writers an opportunity to communicate with you, there is no community. You have created the idea of community while behaving like the same all-ruling dictator that we have come to know. Tolerance is our only recourse.

The message of your community becomes more transparently BS when you realise there are many writers that have been cut off without explanation, like myself.

I’d love to hear what happened. I’d love to know how to get my publishing turned back on. I’d love to know if you still value the 70+ posts that are still live and still generating traffic on your blog. I know you no longer value me or my voice. But I’d at least like you to tell me why.

Sincerely,

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

PS: I’d love to hear your HuffPo shutdown story in the comments.

An Open Letter to Arianna Huffington On the New Contributor Platform

Huffington Post has launched a new publishing platform. And for part of one day I was allowed, once again to publish my articles on single parenting. And then they discovered my post going viral and they killed my account. I’m still in some odd form of stasis. I’m still ON the platform, but I’m not able to load the platform. I’m guessing the company that admins the program doesn’t have an easy way to suppress authorised users. So today, when I try to load the contributor platform it goes into some broken load/reload sequence and never escapes until I quit the browser.

Here’s what that looks like:

If you go look, my new contributor page is still online: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post. You’ll notice the last four posts, if you try to load them will result in the following screen.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-1-54-49-pm

Okay, so what can be going on here? Why won’t the Huffington Post Blog Team, the divorce editor Brittany Wong, or Arianna herself answer my question about why I would be banned from publishing on the new contributor platform.

Well, the entire idea of “contributor” only holds together if you look at their community statement. Here’s the little part they put in about removing posts from the new platform.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

That’s all fine and dandy, but if there is no recourse, no way to ask “What happened?” then they have violated the true spirit of an open community. Apparently the blog team has oversight on the new platform. So if ONE of my posts was flagged, why were all four of them taken down? If I was given publishing credentials, why were they taken away within hours of my first post? If I had a successful post on The Huffington Post why would you suppress that post, especially if there were no clear violations of your trust agreement?

Dear Arianna,

I know you are no longer involved in the day-to-day execution of the Huffington Post. While I applaud your opening the new Contributor Platform, and even your grand gesture in the Statement of Community that surrounds and empowers the new system, I am sorry to say, the lack of transparency is death to openness. An open community means there are channels for communication when things go wrong. If your blog team never responds to a contributor and yet continues to suppress that contributor’s writing, isn’t that a violation of your own statement of community?

When you say “we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the place we are trying to create” don’t you think that information should also be made public? If the blog team suppresses material, shouldn’t they also answer requests for information about why?

If the Huffington Post wants to create an open community bounded by ethics and moral inclusiveness, they should not also engage in hidden and unfounded suppression of valuable and reasonable material.

I am optimistic that you will answer my question about why four of my posts were accepted, published, and then suppressed in a matter of hours. I am also optimistic that you will reinstate my publishing privileges, as you so warmly welcomed me to the Huffington Post publishing family over three years ago.

Yours Respectfully,

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

Huffington Post’s New Contributor Platform

Here’s the statement of community from the New Huffington Post Contributor Platform.

Statement of Community

The Huffington Post’s Contributor Network is a forum for ideas, discussion and diverse viewpoints. We offer a state-of-the-art platform that can help you bring your work to one of the internet’s largest audiences.

Be interesting, be entertaining, be provocative, have a point of view – but do it with a great respect for the readers and writers who join you on these pages. The community we are working to build here is one where diverse, vibrant and original ideas are celebrated and elevated. We welcome posts that embody that free-speech ethos, even when those viewpoints differ from our own.

We reserve our right to remove posts that abuse that spirit of community, such as hate speech, anything overtly commercial in nature and and posts that we believe may be attempting to mislead the public in some way. There may be other times when we will remove a post that has been flagged by our community for other reasons, including matters of professionalism and taste. We hope and expect those times to be rare and we will not take these decisions lightly. But in building this community, we respect the right of its members to be vocal about their objections. When those objections arise, we will leverage the sound judgement of our editors to determine what is best for the spirit of the space we’re trying to create.

All good and fine until you cross some invisible boundary and are silenced without so much as a peep about why, how you can get reinstated, or what the fuck happened. For over a year now, The Huffington Post has allowed me to POST on their internal publishing platform, but then have refused to go live with any of my content. This is while 75 or so posts are live and gaining traffic for the site on my profile page. I still get traffic from The Huffington Post every day.

But then HuffPo moved to a new platform.screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-1-50-32-pm

And the Contributor Platform was born. And last week, I used my credentials in the form above and was promptly given access and publishing rights to once again go-live on The Huffington Post.

Here’s my new contributor page: John McElhenney on The Huffington Post

There’s only one problem. When you go to the first four posts…

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-1-54-49-pm

So my question is this. What happened the first time and why didn’t the blog team respond to my 10, or so, requests for further information? What happened this time and why was my account suspended just as one of my posts was generating significant traffic? I’ve asked Brittany Wong, my old Divorce editor, as well as the blogteam@huffingtonpost.com to explain what’s happened, and to help me correct the problems so I can get back to publishing on The Huffington Post. My guess is I’ve fallen into some “contributor” slush pile and they simply ignore all requests from these “former” contributors. But why wouldn’t they come out and say that?

The statement above gives them the right to take down anything that is found too offensive or commercial. But none of my posts were self serving.

It seems to me that someone on The Blog Team at the Huffington Post has suppressed my publishing rights. Then in jumping to the new contributor platform my credentials slipped through the cracks until that same someone noticed a post of mine going viral. Someone shut my posts off, all four of them, and they have never given me cause or reason for doing so. And in the spirit of community I would think that would be the least they could do. If you’re going to have a spirit of community, you need to be transparent about the rules and allow for questions. Then you answer the questions so the entire community can read them and abide by the updated marching orders. When the information is suppressed everyone suffers.

I’m going to continue to ask the “team” what’s up with my contributions. But I may eventually have to sue The Huffington Post to get an escalation that will get me an actual answer. But I don’t want an answer, I just want to have my publishing turned back on so I can add to my HuffPo archive. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, in the spirit of community.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth

Catch up on the entire Huffington Post story

What Will You Make Your Life About?

artist-lifeabout

Always be arcing back towards what you want to be known for, for your heart’s desire, for what gives you the most joy.

LETTER EIGHTEEN

Finding your purpose sounds like a really daunting task, and I have run away from that phrase for my entire life. But figuring out what my life is going to be about is easier to do.

Let’s do some simple math around some of the big things my life COULD be about.

  1. Marriage and Kids (or divorce and kids, as in my case)
  2. Career in… (today it’s marketing, tomorrow it’s writing)
  3. Passion doing (today it’s playing tennis and playing music)
  4. Great at doing (marketing, writing, relationship navigation)

Today I would not say that my life is About writing, but it’s going that way. Even this post is another step in that direction. I am leaving behind a trail of words, songs, phrases that I hope, in the long run, define my full and happy life. My life today IS full and happy, but I’m still “working” at a number of things I’m good at, and a little bit passionate about, but they are not my life’s work. Oh, those heavy phrases again. I’m not so much into “life’s work” as finding my passion and letting that define my purpose.

I believe that my creative life is a celebration of the spiritual life I lead. I believe in God. And in that belief comes my understanding that my celebration of the human spirit (song, poem, drawing, anagram) is a celebration of God, or my God-given talents. And, of course, it’s a lot more than talent, we’ve all got talent. My life well-lived is about commitment and tenacity. I will continue writing no matter what. And in my early 50’s I’m quite confident that I’m writing better than I ever have. Stories I wanted to tell in my 20’s and 30’s are now within my narrative powers. Reading over my first novel, I’m excited to retell the entire tale from a more mature, more convoluted perspective.

If you are the narrator of your life, what’s the first line of your movie?

Here’s a run at mine: “In 105 years, John McElhenney never quit writing songs and poems. He finished a new song hours before he fell asleep for the last time. Here’s the last recording of Mr. McElhenney, a joyous love song to his wife.”

Not bad.

What’s your narrator going to say about your life in 20 years? Can you begin working towards a few of those ideals now? Can you arc your career closer to your passion? In my case, I am a writer. And while I’ve shied away from being a copywriter, I have made a fairly good living writing words and building strategies for companies. I’d rather put my words to use for more enlightening subjects, but hey… we all gotta eat.

So how does my life stack up so far in my four categories?

  1. Marriage and Kids (35% of my time)
  2. Career in… (50% of my time, working)
  3. Passion doing (5% of my time playing or writing)
  4. Great at doing (10% of my time writing and building my empire)

It is my hope that I can continue to angle my life and work towards the 4th quadrant in my system. As I am gearing up for book proposals and screenplay submissions, it is a big harry goal to write as my job. One breakaway title and I could do it. But I must keep my momentum up even without the fame and fortune. What I have in my court is that tenacity. I’m never going to stop writing. And as long as I keep getting better, my writing in 10 years is going to be amazing.

Do what you have to do to make a living and support the lifestyle you want to live. But always be arcing back towards what you want to be known for, for your heart’s desire, for what gives you the most joy. That’s the goal in life worth pursuing.

3-09-16

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2016/03/going-make-life-about/

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image: artist at work, creative commons usage