It's crazy knowing how much data we put out there ourselves as consumers of social media. Take LinkedIn, for example. You may think you're only posting your skills, current/previous job titles held, and connecting with people, but you're also giving that information away for anyone to see and scrutinize. I'm not just talking about strangers -- e.g. future co-workers, old classmates, people you met once -- I'm talking about anybody you've let into your network.
Today, for example, I went through two profiles, for person X and person Y, and noticed just how much data I can analyze and what I can deduce from such data.
Person X: Person X is a contact in my network. First thing I notice are overstatements abound. Person X used VBA once and listed VBA as a skill (does anybody else do this? Or am I the only one who thinks it's slightly deceiving?). This person looks at some large data (10k rows, maybe), but calls it "Big Data". This person also has 3-4 pretty lengthy bullet points regarding new job but, that position was started not even 3 months ago. Many of these bullet points are of underway projects that seem like they've been completed and some of these bullet points are pure hyperboles. I could conclude the following: this person is on the job market again and is marketing him/herself for another job. (Another conclusion could be made, but I noticed that this person has consistently ranked in the top 1% for profile views, which I'm assuming are of interested recruiters).
Person Y: This person is a 3rd degree connection in my network. I can gather the following details from this person's profile. Current and previous jobs along with a timeline for when those positions were held. I can also see this person's education and degree information. Person Y piques my interest because this person is working in a position for which their qualifications don't quite match the job description --think MPA working as a private banker. Something doesn't quite add up. Looking over their profile didn't help the confusion, but just as you might be, I was curious.
These are only two tiny examples. There is everybody else who uses LinkedIn. You can estimate people's age (or range) if that they have posted graduation dates on their profiles (creepy!). At the end of the day, you can (or at least, try to) tell a story with someone's information. Take me, for example, I've had interview questions regarding my movement from UC Irvine to Florida for work, then Duke for graduate school, San Francisco for public policy work, and finally San Diego. I can only guess that others who don't know me might wonder the same thing.
LinkedIn is only one of social media website for which data is available for people to check out through posted profiles. Personal public (and even private) profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and others social media website are up for anyone to see, analyze, and judge. Just think somebody, somewhere could be looking at your data on your profile right now. You never know!
My name is Belen, I like to play with data using Stata during work hours and in my free time. I like blogging about my Fitbit, Stata, and random musings.