Verbal communication can be complicated enough, but social media has changed the game. From awkward exchanges to overzealous debates, people often take liberties behind a screen that they’d never fathom taking in person. And when it comes to job seeking, knowing how to properly network can make or break a relationship—and a reputation. One professional learned this the hard way after a LinkedIn snafu that went viral.
According to reports, Kelly Blazek, who runs a popular online job bank for Cleveland’s marketing professionals, responded crudely to an e-mail and LinkedIn request from Diana Mekota, a 26-year-old planning to move to Cleveland. Her comments were widely publicized on Reddit, Buzzfeed and other viral hotspots after Mekota posted it to her Imgur account. The backlash was harsh and spread like wildfire.
Blazek wrote :
“Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky… Wow, I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.
I love the sense of entitlement in your generation,” she wrote, then continued. “You’re welcome for your humility lesson for the year. Don’t ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network. Don’t ever write me again.”
Mekota’s original e-mail, according to reports, was a message that included information on her education, professional and volunteer activities and asking to join the 7,300-member jobs list. When she received the response, she apologized for any misconception of arrogance and wrote, “I was again, hoping to join your very impressive job board, but I understand you(r) reservations.”
After news of the incident went viral, Blazek apologized, subsequently deleted her Twitter account and WordPress blog, and returned a “Communicator of the Year Award“ she received in 2013 from the International Association of Business Communicators due to the backlash. Mekota has since received an outpouring of support and even offers to help her find employment.