Everything we do and say is easily searchable on the internet and may be held against us in the future. Yet, we seem to be surprised, or even upset, when hear that someone is denied opportunity, loses a promotion, or even loses their job, based on something they said or did in in the past. Or, maybe we aren’t surprised. Maybe we are some of the people boycotting a company based on their stance on a particular issue, or even on choices made by an employee.
The Benham Brothers
Last week my Facebook newsfeed was littered with stories of The Benham Brothers. They had a show scheduled to premier in October on HGTV. Shortly after the announcement of the show, Right Wing Watch did some research on the brothers and published an article quoting their right wing activist stance on many hot button topics.
Shortly after that article came out, HGTV decided not to move forward with the show.
Following that announcement, a CNN article actually has many quotes by Benham, indicating they don’t discriminate and aren’t full of hate – they are just practicing their religion.
“The brothers believe HGTV was bullied into its decision because of the media firestorm.
I totally agree with David Benham: HGTV had to make a business decision. Perhaps some people had threatened to boycott either the show or the entire station, because they weren’t happy with these brothers’ past comments.
I’ve read that many conservatives are threatening to boycott HGTV altogether now, if the show isn’t picked back up. But, really, that’s to be expected, right? Has Duck Dynasty taught us nothing? People don’t want to support others with conflicting views, but it does put companies in a tough spot.
A month ago Brendan Eich was a newly appointed CEO of Mozilla. When his previous campaign donations were uncovered and broadcast, there were boycotts and protests. The boycotts didn’t stop when he said he would uphold Mozilla’s inclusive beliefs. It didn’t matter that those campaign contributions were out of his own pocket and based on his personal beliefs. The backlash was so large that Mr. Eich resigned as CEO, believing that was in Mozilla’s best interest.
This is becoming normal in today’s society.
Michael Sam and Jack Burkman
Three months ago, American football defensive end Michael Sam announced he was gay. He could potentially be the NFL’s first openly gay player. Days before the NFL draft, lobbyist Jack Burkman said he intends to build a national coalition to boycott any football franchise that picks Michael Sam in the NFL Draft.
Apparently, Burkman believes that if you’re gay, you can’t play. How is that fair? It’s not, but that doesn’t really matter. Personally, I don’t think his chatter about boycotting made a difference since the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam.
Does anyone remember my former Douchebag of The Week Award winner, Richard D. Land? Shockingly enough, I found a quote by him that I completely agree with. He said, “I’m adamantly opposed to such efforts. A person’s sexual preference should not be an impediment to their livelihood in the sports industry. I think it’s unwarranted, unjustified and unfair to try to intimidate NFL teams from drafting someone because of their sexual orientation.”
Before that was Chick-fil-A. When business owners share their personal beliefs, the public is very likely to hold them responsible. Some people will choose to spend more money at a particular place, while others won’t ever give them another dime.
It all comes down to target audience and dollars. Businesses are realizing how quickly information spreads. Individuals are also. Remember Justine Sacco and her “tweet heard around the world”? She wasn’t famous. She was someone who used poor judgement and lost her job over an offensive tweet.
Everyone wants their voice to be heard. When One Million Moms and other conservatives emailed complaints and tweeted about Honey Maid’s #thisiswholesome campaign, others fought back by emailing congratulations and tweeting on their own. That encouraged Honey Maid to produce a second viral video (My personal favorite commercial ever). Love them or hate them, people are speaking out and expressing their support or disgust on the internet.
There are consequences to our actions as well.
Have you Googled yourself lately? I hadn’t, but when I did, I found pages and pages. Many blog posts, social media links, comments I’ve made on different news sites or other blogs. It was quick for me to weed through what was me and what had nothing to do with me. It was actually pretty amazing.
That said, I’m certain if I ever apply to a job and a perspective employer does a quick internet search on me, I’m probably completely screwed. I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t get to the interview stage since they’d probably be thinking something like this:
“Well, we found her blog, so we know how she really feels about pretty much everything. Further, we’ve seen quite a few posts she’s shared on Facebook, so we understand her sense of humor. There isn’t much she’d be able to add by coming in for an interview.”
I wouldn’t blame anyone for that, but I do feel that it would be somewhat inaccurate. They would know the information I share on the internet, which really is quite a bit. Although I’m fairly open, even I don’t share everything on the internet.
Fact is, if we all took a little time to research people, companies, and organizations, I’m sure our brains would be overloaded with the information we can find. People are doing that now, more than ever, and it is affecting businesses and individuals in greater ways than many of us realize.