I think it’s an understatement to say the world has changed due to social technologies. If you’ve think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t seen anything yet! Two weeks ago, I gave my top ten personal branding predictions for 2010, which is actually only a month away (pretty scary if you ask me). Those were small nuggets of thoughts and visions for the future, but there is something much bigger that’s been on my mind lately. In fact, it’s so big that it deserves it’s own post.
The Personal Brand Marketplace: The future of personal branding is a marketplace, where the top talent receive the most visibility and everyone else sinks to the bottom. We will be treated like products and be rated and commented on, where positive interactions equal new opportunities and negative ones diminish your brand value publicly. This system will exist online and become an organized and scrutinized recruitment database, as well as a modern permanent record for personal brands.
Competition will drive people online and force people to build brands
There are a few reasons why there will have to be a personal brand marketplace in the future. The first one is because everyone with a pulse has to have an internet connection in order to compete now and in the future. Right now, for instance, there are over 1.3 billion internet users, and about a quarter of a billion of them are based in the U.S. Now, remember all the times you’ve seen me blog, tweet and present on the fact that everyone needs their own website (yourname.com). Well, there are 200 million websites today and there will be a 40,000 fold increase in websites in 15 years. What this tells you is that it will be much harder to stand out in the future, even though it’s quite competitive today. What seemed to be a differentiator in the past, is a mere qualifier now (a website, blog, social profiles, etc).
Hiring managers are recruiters are in trouble
The big issue with job boards is that they don’t attract the best talent and they become vaults for thousands of resumes that don’t get put to good use. From the hiring managers perspective, they are taking the biggest risk by selecting an “unknown” from a pile of resumes collected in a job board database. More and more recruiters and hiring managers are trying to save money by investing in their people, instead of machines, to do the recruitment. Many have successfully used Twitter, Second Life, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning and blogs to find the right talent and by “right” I mean people who have the right expertise and some passion.
So why are hiring managers and recruiters in trouble with our current system? There will be too many people to choose from in the future. Right now there are 325 million people on Facebook and 55 million on LinkedIn, for example. It’s going to get much harder, as these numbers increase, to search and find the right people. When everyone has a website and a blog and social profiles and experience and connections, how do you decipher that? You can’t, which means the “new world order” is coming 😉 . The personal brand marketplace will become the only way to discover the right people, at the right time, and with enough trust (rating and comment system) to actually allow for seamless recruitment.
We rate products, companies and CEO’s so why not “regular” people?
Ratings are nothing new:
- Epinions rates electronics.
- Amazon rates books.
- Glassdoor rates CEO’s and companies.
- Rotton Tomatoes rates movies.
- eBay rates buyers and sellers.
Don’t you think we’re missing something here? There is no rating system for personal brands. With the amount of people online and the competition, there needs to be some way to clearly display who has the best reputation and who doesn’t. If you work at any serious company, then you have been through a performance review. That review is made private, but the future will make it public because our transparent society is going to force people to open up and the truth to come out.
Positive recommendations have not met negative criticism
I consider myself a nice guy, but I think the world has been a little too lenient with personal brands. You can’t give someone a “negative recommendation” on LinkedIn and you certainly can’t dislike a wall post on Facebook (unless you have a FireFox plugin!). We all have opinions and sometimes they aren’t positive, but the web is a friendly place and most people don’t want to get involved in “burning bridges” or attacking other people.
Glassdoor hit a nerve with anonymous commenting a year or more ago. That, to me, is only the beginning. The more our lives converge and our professional and personal lives just become our personal brands, the more you’ll see a more public display of negative criticism and ratings.
People are starting to lose some trust in endorsements and recommendations online because they are one sided and typically done as favors. When criticism enters the mix, people tend to trust recommendations more and it become more authentic, which carries more weight.
What this means for your personal brand
It means that everything you do in the office or on your personal time counts now and will be visible online. Every interaction you have will build or destroy your brand and be shown to the world. New companies will be created around reputation scores for individuals and systems will be in place to find out who the top talent is and why. Ratings, comments, sharing and other social media tools you’re familiar with will all be part of the new personal brand marketplace. The future is now and the future is brand you.
What comments or concerns do you have with the personal brand marketplace? Are you a believer?