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Breaking news – yet another high profile company has been damaged because an employee included confidential information in their LinkedIn profile!

At least it’s been 18 months since I’ve had to mention this, but come on, it’ll be fun…

Tough to be HP today

Bloomberg is reporting that HP’s Vice President Scott McClellan “gave away more than his job status when he mentioned the computer maker’s new Web-storage initiative in his profile on LinkedIn Corp., a professional-networking site.”

But here’s the part where they go astray – they’re blaming the error on the “Hazard of Sharing LinkedIn Profiles” when in fact, the error is McClellan’s for placing secret company information on a public site…

We’ve been here before

Here’s 2010’s report where Apple may have announced that it was buying a company a bit too soon – when individuals at the company changed their profiles to say they were now employed by Apple…

And here’s 2009’s version when Microsoft employees were found to be talking about the work they were doing on Windows 8/9 well before the company was talking about that in public…

And as I said before – it wouldn’t be funny if this were the first time, but it’s not – this seems to happen much to regularly.

The fix

Just don’t do it.

Tell company employees that they should not do it either.

Especially the ones that are working on secret projects – if they can’t talk about the work they are doing when they are at a conference, they can’t put it in their profiles either!

Or plan to be highlighted…

And I suppose the alternative is to have a contract with a PR firm that will cover your behind when it happens – but  planning to do that, and not taking the time to explain healthy use of social media would seem to be backwards.

(And remember – to be followed, your advice has to be reasonable. Saying “no use of LinkedIn is permitted” just means that they’ll ignore your advice, because you simply cannot control an employee in this manner. (regulated positions like financial advisers excluded;-))

But let me know, right?

So here’s my plea – if you happen to come across something like this, let me know and we’ll break it here, and then get Bloomberg to quote us instead of the other way around, ok?

And if you’re not cool with giving me the skinny on your company, send me stuff about your competitor – that works for me.

To your continued success,

steve

Steven Tylock
http://www.linkedinpersonaltrainer.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevetylock