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In a Glass House: Transparency for Millennials

September 8, 2009

Advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky and electric motorcycle company Brammo had an interesting bout of Millennial generations interns sharing a little too much. Brammo had won an eBay auction which included the summer hours of CP+B’s interns to work on projects. Brammo encouraged the interns to have complete transparency, going as far as to tell them that they did not need to keep their work secret. With gusto the interns posted most of their design work, ideas and client pitches to the internet before even sharing with their creative directors. Read the whole story here:

It’s Official, The CP+ B Interns Can’t Design
http://thedenveregotist.com/article/4841/its-official-the-cp-b-interns-cant-design

Brammo is taking the leak in stride, hoping that “any publicity is good publicity.” Is it? Did the interns go to far?

As a hiring manager, I have also been witness to a little too much online sharing. I recently completed a intern search. As I talked about a previous post, one of my top 15 candidates wrote a blog entry about his interview experience. While he didn’t send this to me directly, I picked it up in a daily Google Alert for the company’s name and he did post on Facebook where we are friends. Here is his blog post:

To Write or Not To Write – What a Dumb Question
http://surrendertoabartender.blogspot.com/2009/08/to-write-or-not-to-writewhat-dumb.html?zx=fa5ac28f36c2a657

Regardless of this writing skills, what stood out to me was that he published the writing test that I use to evaluate all intern candidates. Is this a violation of corporate privacy? I don’t know and I don’t really care to bring a law suit, but it could be. The test is a TEST. It’s a evaluation of a candidate’s skill. I will change the article for the next round of interviews, but potential candidates will know my basic evaluation structure and can prepare for it.

Do I want him to take it down? No, I think it’s a great example of how this new generation of professionals will function.

These are interesting lesson for all businesses when interacting with the Millennial generation. I am part of this generation and we are used to sharing everything. We share what we ate for lunch, what we did over the weekend and how we voted in the last election. We like to be voyeurs seeing our friend’s vacation photos and grinning at silly drunk photos.

We are also literal. When you say, don’t keep this a secret, trust us we won’t. We push limits. We have always been rewarded for thinking outside of the box and being innovative.

We are also understand privacy, when you ask for it. We’ve all made privacy mistakes in very public ways online and understand the need to protect privacy. Just ask us for it, we’ll do it.

And for Millennials, we need to understand that not everyone was brought up in a glass house. Lots of people can’t fathom why we’d even want to tweet about lunch or blog about our lives. We can find a compromise of sharing and protecting.

Oh, and by the way, that ham sandwich I ate while blogging about this was DELICIOUS!

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