Taken Out of Context


I had the good fortune to be interviewed for a Wall Street Journal article that was published yesterday (Feb. 3). The story discussed how recently unemployed individuals are filling their free time with Internet activities. Unfortunately, much of the piece was devoted to online gaming, in which I have not participated before or since the day I was laid off.

It would have been nice of the reporter to inform me at the beginning of our interview that Internet gaming and entertainment was the central focus of the article, but she did not. Part way through our conversation, she did ask me whether or not I played online games. The question seemed odd — out of place — given that I thought we were talking about how recently unemployed people were using blogs and Twitter to forge and maintain relationships, create and enhance personal branding, position as an expert in a particular subject matter area, and even land a job.

I’m writing this post because I felt a strong need to go on the record and state that the section of the article that references and quotes me (see below) only scratches the surface of what the reporter and I discussed during our 22+ minute conversation. We did talk about how I was staying in touch with former IBM colleagues via Twitter and how that was proving to be valuable. However, we also talked about how social media can connect unemployed individuals with work and new business opportunities. We discussed how blogging and Twittering can make an individual’s expertise known to a peer community, which is especially useful for someone whose previous job did not afford that kind of visibility outside of the company for which he worked. And we talked about how great it is that these social networking and media tools are free — an attractive proposition for someone who is unemployed (see my previous post, Social Software: The Unemployed Knowledge Worker’s Best Friend)

I am very pleased to have made the editor’s cut and been included in any article in such a respected and widely-read publication as The Wall Street Journal. I just wish that my story and remarks had been placed in an article that took a different, less frivolous, look at how recently unemployed folks are using the Internet.

Larry Hawes, 47, was laid off from his job as a consultant at International Business Machines Corp. in November. But he has never lost touch with his former co-workers. The Ipswich, Mass., resident spends a lot more time building up his personal blog, which is dubbed “Together, We Can!” He also sends out more Twitters, a service for broadcasting short messages to a circle of friends and associates. He says he is on Twitter all day, sending out about 10 posts a day to a group of 137 people, including former IBM colleagues and other friends. In total, he adds, he’s sent out 652 “tweets” since October.

“I’m maintaining relationships with IBM-ers because I don’t work there anymore,” says Mr. Hawes.”


4 responses to “Taken Out of Context

  1. Great to see you in WSJ. Have you seen SocialText’s recent offer of an alumni network for organizations laying off staff?

  2. Hi Jon! Nice to hear from you! Yes, I did see Ross Mayfield’s offer. There are some existing, active networks of current and former IBMers that I am part of, but I’ll check to see if one has been established on SocialText as well.



  3. Larry.. very cool that you made WSJ!! Congrats.. hopefully this gives you some good exposure 🙂

  4. Pingback: My Ten Favorite Tweets - Week Ending 020609 « I’m Not Actually a Geek

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