Technology not immune to misinformation - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Technology not immune to misinformation

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Since the early 1980s when home computers were developed with software for personal productivity, programming and games and then again with the debut of the World Wide Web in the '90s, technology has experienced countless advancements. 

With the development of smartphones small enough to fit in one's pocket and iPads capable of being easily transported wherever their owners go, technology enables one to do daily business virtually anywhere, granted an Internet connection is available.

However, while accessibility to technology has increased with the continued debut of new gadgets, that same accessibility can sometimes bring unexpected problems.

For Anna Dailey, attorney at Dinsmore & Shohl, something as simple as updating her LinkedIn account turned into hours spent doing damage control.

I'm still here

According to Dailey, the questions started coming after she updated her LinkedIn account to reflect her resignation from her position as president of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission, while taking on the role of parks commissioner. 

"I started receiving congratulations for my new position," Dailey said.

The position Dailey thought she was receiving all the congratulatory wishes for was her newly elected position as a board of directors member for Dinsmore & Shohl. 

But then when she was repeatedly asked why she retired, followed by numerous calls from clients and friends asking why she had left the practice of law.

After coming back to the office and talking to colleagues as well as a conversation with her assistant general counsel at lunch, Dailey realized people thought she had left Dinsmore and was "running the park," based on her LinkedIn update of her parks and recreation position.

While Dailey said she "does have some grey in her hair, (she) has no short-term plans of retiring."

What to do

Dailey learned about Linked-In's misleading update Friday, March 21 and was in an "absolute panic over the weekend."

With more than 500 connections stretching all the way from Philadelphia to Alabama and being connected to numerous business clients such as insurance companies, Dailey said she had "to do something in (her) profile to change it."

Because LinkedIn sends out emails for numerous events, such as new positions, company anniversaries and birthday notifications, all of her contacts had gotten a blast about the misleading message, Dailey said.

However, figuring how to best go about quieting the rumor mill was no easy task.

"It was very difficult to figure out what to do," Dailey said.

In the course of trying to dispel the rumblings that she had "gone into early retirement," Dailey said she discovered the root of the confusion.

When updating one's account, LinkedIn displays community service jobs as if they were career jobs.

Not knowing how else to rectify the situation, Dailey posted her board member position, hoping that would fix the misconception.

"I hadn't corrected my bio about the board of directors (position)," she said. "I didn't know another way to fix (the situation)."

Lessons learned

After resurrecting her law career's social media status, Dailey said she now is more wary about posting community service positions. She said she still doesn't know if her solution fixed the misconception for the long term.

The timing of the situation also came at a less-than ideal time.

During the winter weekends, when most prefer the warmth of the indoors rather than the cold of the outside, social media browsing usually picks up speed, Dailey said.

"The weekends in winter is when people see everyone's Facebook," she said. 

Due to increased social media browsing and opening up notifications through curiosity, people also notice things that might have previously gone under the radar.

Although Dailey said she usually doesn't keep up with many social notifications, she does "pay attention when someone has moved to a new job."

"It's how you find out where people go," she said.

Now that Dailey's panic period has subsided, she said she is able to laugh about it and said to sum it up, "it's a funny story to share, unless it's your career that LinkedIn just ended."