Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch: “Please Fill Out This Application: Give us References and Your Facebook Username & Password”

With social media exploding in popularity more and more employers are looking at prospective employee’s Facebook pages. But, how far can they and should they go?

Lisa J. Stamatelos (pictured) is an adjunct professor of human resources management at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.  The following is from her “Workplace – Wild and Wonderful” column which appears in the Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch. 

Face it, your employer or potential employer may want to check out your Facebook page.

This past week I heard on the news that some employers are not only looking at what they are able to see on a person’s Facebook page, but are outright asking individuals to logon to their Facebook account so they can look at it. Whoa, can they do that? The fact is, right now, they can. Is it violating federal law? TechCrunch reported that this past Wednesday the House of Representatives voted down a proposed amendment to FCC legislation that would have prevented current or potential employers from seeking access to employee Facebook accounts. It is possible that new legislation addressing this issue will be introduced.  Further, Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT) and Chuck Schumer (NY) are planning to introduce an equivalent bill in the Senate. In the meantime, what should you do if it happens to you now? 

I put the question to the students in my Human Resources class at Pace University in Pleasantville. As I looked out at the class I saw shock on most of their faces. Some insisted that an employer can’t do that. One young lady felt that asking for the information was akin to asking for the key to her diary  Another student said he would refuse and would not care if he did not get the job. I then asked, “What if you really need and/or want the job?” Would you give in? I saw the wheels turning. Don’t you just hate it when your professor asks you to think? Some changed their minds and indicated that they would comply. Others stood their ground.           

Even if an employer does not ask you outright to look at your Facebook page they can still peruse what is available to them. Obviously, the first thing to do is to make sure you do not have anything on any of your social media accounts that you do not want an employer to see. Next, use the privacy settings only allowing those you want to give permission to view your page. Keep in mind, there are “go arounds.” For example, I have heard that some companies will make up fictitious names and attempt to “friend” an applicant. I have also been told that if your page is blocked an employer might try to view one of your friends’ pages and gain access to information about you that way.      

Personally, I see demanding this information as an invasion of privacy. I would not ask this of an applicant. However, I would investigate if something alarming was brought to my attention. Pay attention to what you are posting. As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues used to say, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

About this column: Lisa J. Stamatelos is the President of LJS HR Services. Stamatelos is a Human Resources Professional with over 20 years of management experience working with rapidly growing and changing companies. Her expertise includes employment law, recruiting, employee and labor relations as well as training and development. Stamatelos received her Bachelor of Business Administration (summa cum laude) and Master of Business Administration from Pace University. You can reach her at lisa@ljshrservices.com and visit her website, www.ljshrservices.com twitter.com/HRAficionada

 

NEWS RELEASE: Academic Study Reveals Correlations of Stock Prices with Consumer Brand Fan Counts

An academic study of 30 of the most popular publicly-held consumer brands on Facebook over a full year period found that consumer following, or fan counts, of these brands exhibited statistically significant correlations with their respective consumer brand company stock prices.

•           An academic study of 30 of the most popular publicly-held consumer brands on Facebook over a full year period found that consumer following, or fan counts, of these brands exhibited statistically significant correlations with their respective consumer brand company stock prices, suggesting the possibilities of relationships between popularity on social media networks and conformity of social economic behavior.

•           Fan counts for the most popular brands associated with small ticket and/or impulse purchases were found to have stronger correlation with their respective stock prices than those for the most popular brands associated with larger-ticket items and/or more complex buying processes.

•           Results suggest that changes in fan count trends could signal changes in consumer brand company stock prices, creating the potential for new applications of social media popularity metrics as economic indicators.

NEW YORK, NY, October 20, 2011: A new study on the power of social media popularity, conducted by a researcher at Pace University, in association with Famecount.com, has looked at the relationship between consumer following, or fan counts, of the 30 most popular publicly-held consumer brands on Facebook and their respective share prices over a year period, and identified statistically significant correlations.

The study, undertaken by Arthur J. O’Connor, an IT management consultant enrolled in the executive doctoral program at Pace University in New York City, using data provided by Famecount.com, the social media analytics service, analyzed data from June 1, 2010 to June 1, 2011.

In correlations of brand fan counts and their respective consumer brand company stock prices, 26 of the 30 most popular brands measured were found to be statistically significant. In 19 of the 30 regressions of brand fan counts, stock prices and a market index, both stock prices and market index variables were found to be statistically significant, despite radical differences in many of the stock price performances over the 12-month period, with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts surging 133.43% and Aeropostale falling 33.25%. Statistically significant correlations were also found at six month and nine month cuts of the data, with 11 of the 30 brands showing statistically significant correlation for predictor variables consistently at six-, nine- and twelve-month intervals.

The 30 brand study follows a pilot study of three consumer brands conducted earlier this year, and has been submitted for publication in the Social Science Computer Review.

In further analysis, the study found stronger linear correlation of fan counts to stock prices for brands associated with small ticket and/or impulse purchases (Brand Group 1) than for those brands associated with larger-ticket items and/or more complex buying processes (Brand Group 2), as shown in Figure 1, suggesting new insights into the role of social media activity on consumer behavior.

Figure 1

To test the collective performances of Brand Group 1 and Group 2 brand fan counts and stock prices, data were indexed and averaged, and the 30 brands were sorted into two groups, based on five criteria: smaller versus larger ticket items; predominately B2C (business to consumer) versus hybrid B2C/B2B (business to consumer/business to business) brands or business models; impulse versus planned or scheduled buying behavior; routine/everyday versus less frequent purchase decision, and short-term versus longer-term consumption cycle.

The sorting resulted in 19 of the most popular consumer brands that were associated with smaller ticket and more impulse purchases for Group 1: apparel brands and retailers Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Burberry, Nike and Puma; fast food products and chains Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, McDonalds, Oreo (Kraft), Pepsi, Starbucks, Taco Bell; major retailers Target, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods, and family entertainment brand Disney. The remaining 11 brands were determined to be associated with larger-ticket and more complex purchase decisions for Group 2: consumer electronics and technology providers Best Buy, Dell, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry (RIM), SONY; motor vehicle manufactures BMW and Harley-Davidson; and JetBlue and Southwest airlines, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

“The results suggest the possibilities of new and yet-undiscovered relationships between brand popularity in social media and conformity of social economic behavior in today’s brave new world of hyper-connected consumers,” said O’Connor, the author of the study.

According to O’Connor, since social media fan counts are not widely regarded as an accurate reflection of customer engagement or consumer opinion, they have not yet been studied in-depth by the research community. “This study challenges this implicit theory or assumption that fan counts are not behavioral measures,” he added. “Unlike previous research studies that have analyzed user-generated content or measured user activity for discerning consumer or investor mood/sentiment, this research uniquely explores what brand following, as a construct for social popularity, can reveal about the conformity of social economic behavior, in the form of consumer brand company stock prices.”

Daniel Dearlove, founder of Famecount said “We have been following trends in brand activity across social networks for some time and have frequently observed relationships between what happens on social networks and in the real world. This study provides remarkable statistical confirmation of some of these relationships.”

About Famecount

Famecount is an independent company that tracks and ranks social media fame. It operates famecount.com, a free service covering Facebook, Twitter and YouTube statistics and trends. It also provides groovecount.com, tracking music statistics across multiple social networks and digital services. A forthcoming professional version of the site, Famecount Pro, provides enhanced data and analytics for brands and professional users of social networks. The research study sourced its social media data from Famecount Pro.

About Lubin

With a tradition of practice-oriented curricula, Lubin has achieved national recognition for both its graduate and undergraduate programs in U.S.News & World Report and other media. Approximately 4,000 students are enrolled in Lubin’s undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in Downtown and Midtown New York City, and Pleasantville and White Plains in Westchester County. Prominent alumni include Melvin Karmazin, CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio; James Quinn, president of Tiffany & Co.; Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon; Marie Toulantis, former-CEO of Barnes&Noble.com; and Richard Zannino, former-CEO of Dow Jones & Company. www.pace.edu/lubin.

The Lubin School of Business recently has earned a preeminent position in thought leadership on the issues surrounding the world’s move to International Financial Reporting Standards, and has hosted four major conferences on the subject which have received extensive industry coverage, including three special sections of the CPA Journal. The school is accredited for both business and accounting by AACSB International, an elite distinction shared by fewer than three percent of business schools worldwide. It is one of the largest four-year, private undergraduate and graduate business programs in the nation. Its dean, Neil Braun, is a former president of the NBC Television Network and former CEO of Viacom Entertainment.

About Pace

For 105 years, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

Media contact: Bill Caldwell, Pace University, 212-346-1597, wcaldwell@pace.edu

WABC-TV, New York – “College cafeterias getting Health Dept. grades”

Health inspectors have forced New York City restaurants to post letter grades for cleanliness and some haven’t fared so well. Now it appears a few college cafeterias are also failing to make the grade.

The cafeteria at Pace’s Downtown Campus is used by 90% of students.  But until a few weeks ago, they were not very happy with it.  

“Students would just see dirty clothes on some of the workers, it was just not a place you would want to come and eat,” said Lance Pacheco, the Student Government President, in an on-camera interview with Art McFarland, Education Reporter for Eyewitness News on WABC-TV Channel 7 in New York City.

A Health Department inspection led to a one-day shutdown of the cafeteria, followed by a student protest.

“People were shocked, it just blew up on Facebook. Some people said they were not surprised, others said they were surprised,” said Michael Wellbrock, a Pace student.

A new grade for the Pace cafeteria is still pending.  But, there was a complete management change, after the shutdown.  “It is a very different place now,” Pacheco said.  “Things that were not there with the other company are there now,” Wellbrock said.

The Health Department says it is pleased that the standards and transparency of its food service grading system can lead to positive results.

SUCCESS Magazine: “The Facebook Age”

If Facebook were a nation, it would be the world’s third largest behind only China and India. Hundreds of new people join every hour. And at the helm stands fresh-faced self-made billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, who still wears T-shirts and jeans to work just as he did in 2004, when he co-founded the addictive social-networking site in his Harvard dorm room at age 19.

Lubin Marketing Professor Paul Kurnit comments on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership style, as well as how Facebook has changed the way we think, work and live.

Facebook is “the easy passport” to finding friends past and current without an email address or phone number. As Pace University clinical professor of marketing Paul Kurnit puts it in the May issue of SUCCESS magazine: “It’s about me, about us. It is the personal website that few of us could possibly build on our own.”

“Facebook is not driven by the leadership style of Mark Zuckerberg,” adds Kurnit. “It has become a runaway success function of Zuckerberg’s tremendous insight into what people want, how they relate and what socializing means online.  Kind of a ‘build it and get out of the way’ idea.”

EverydayHealth.com – “Cyberbullying and Kids’ Safety”

The Numbers Behind Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is more than just a passing fad. “Studies suggest that between 17 and 60 percent of teens are the victim of some form of cyberbullying,” says Richard Shadick, PhD, a psychologist and director of the Counseling Center at Pace University in New York. “Rates differ based upon the age of the teens studied and how frequently they use the Internet. Older teens who use the Internet more frequently have higher rates. However, there is agreement that cyberbullying has increased in recent years.”

Though bullying in school is not new, the methods now include harassment online, and in all forms of digital communication –http://www.everydayhealth.com/back-to-school/cyberbullying-and-kids-safety.aspx

“Although the risks of cyberbullying are similar to non-electronic forms of bullying,  there are some important differences, ” notes Pace’s Dr. Richard Shadick. 

“There are the traditional risks such as psychological symptoms that may impair a teen’s ability to function at school or work or interact with classmates, friends, and family, ” said Dr. Shadick.  “Unique risks are victims may not know the bully (due to the anonymity of the internet), that there is not a direct physical effect (no immediate physical harm is present), and the bullying may spread quickly to a large number of third parties (for example, an email sent out to many recipients or something posted on a blog that is read by many people).”