My mother may not realize it, but her Facebook profile — what she posts, what she likes and what she shares — is part of her “personal brand.” Through this week’s readings, I’ve learned her lack of other social accounts also says something about her brand.

If she were a potential job candidate, apparently some hiring departments may equate her not having a Twitter or LinkedIn account as having something to hide. Since I know her personally, I know this is not the case.

It makes sense that recruiters are paying more attention to a candidate’s social accounts. Let’s be honest: When we want to know more about someone we haven’t yet met in person (like a friend’s boyfriend), we social-stalk them. We do the same thing with companies we patronize or want to patronize. If I look up a company and find they have little to no social media presence, I see them as not being ahead of the curve, and apparently, I’m not alone. But I did not think that individuals like my mom could be viewed in the same way.

It is interesting — and kind of scary — that your social influence, or your “Klout,” will be carrying more weight in the real world and your paper resume will go the way of the dinosaurs and typewriters. Where does this practice leave candidates of my mother’s generation: Baby boomers who have a lot to offer and may not even know that they were rejected because they didn’t have a Google+ account?

But it is important that companies and individuals start somewhere, which is what Mom has done with her Facebook account: find a venue. She has an updated profile and she interacts in the community she’s chosen, following the Law of Accessibility and the Law of Acknowledgement, albeit on a smaller scale.

Unlike Generation Y, which grew up constantly adapting to new methods of interaction, some Baby Boomers may be psyched out by social media because it is seen as scary “technology” rather than what it is: a tool for people to connect with people (and businesses, who happen to be run by people as well).

Listening up on Twitter
Speaking of businesses run by people, here are two that are listening to customers on Twitter and in turn making the customers the stars of their ads.

With its #PretzelLoveSongs campaign, Wendy’s is connecting with a core function of being human: needing to eat and wanting to talk about the food you’ve just eaten.

In turn, the hamburger chain featured the best responses in a string of videos featuring their Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, the last of which featured 98 degrees singer Nick Lachey.

Also jumping on the hashtag bandwagon is Honda, reaching out to potential customers who are using hashtags like #stupidcar and using the opportunity to highlight its Summer Clearance Event.

But by using or creating a hashtag, businesses could end up wading through unproductive responses like this one:

hashtagtakeover

What do you think? Is hashtag marketing a good idea or should it be used with caution?

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