UPDATED 26 Feb: If you're a PR/Comms pro in NE Ohio, you know about @NEOHcommjobs, run ably by one Kelly Blazek. She recently was honored by IABC Cleveland as its 2013 Communicator of the Year. You also probably know by now that Ms. Blazek flamed the bejesus out of a young PR person who reached out via LinkedIn, responding with an email best described as more than tart.
KB abides strongly by the LinkedIn credo that you should LinkIn only with those you know well. Thus, a passing acquaintanceship on social media, or mutual "friends" is highly unlikely to meet with a favorable resolution. Back a few years, I reached out via LI and got a nice note back outlining her policy in that regard, along with the hope that one day we might indeed work together.
I've got no truck with that.
Well, as this post outlines, Blazek went off on said young one and impugned the professionalism of all like her in the process. The process to even join the Yahoo! group that gets you an email summary of NE Ohio jobs in our field requires a brief email to include some background and why you want to join. Apparently, failure to follow directions to Blazek's satisfaction is strike one, with a LI invite worth two strikes, two additional outs, and a "blazing" email -- which then the offended party shared with several close friends...wait for it...on social media.
@NEOHCommJobs is shut down, as is Blazek's LI. Bruce Hennes says there are Villains, Victims and Vindicators in any crisis scenario. Right now, it's all Victims and Vindicators -- all that's missing is the Red Queen shouting, "off with her head!"
Go read the post (it includes images of the offending missive), or watch WKYC-TV and tell me -- Should IABC Cleveland go through with the honor?
And, excuse me, Ms. B., but where is your voice in this?
What should IABC Cleveland do? What should Kelly Blazek do?
UPDATE -- In a story on Cleveland.com by @janetcho, Ms. Blazek apologizes. It's fairly textbook, and it doesn't seem to be a "non-apology apology" that you hear from sport figures and politicians. I do wonder (as do others who've commented on Facebook) about its true sincerity. If it's true that this was, as one person told me, "standard operating procedure" and "the most open secret" then you have to assume that only the social media scrutiny brought about the rejection, no? If we apply an ethics lens to this, however frustrating it might be to receive off-topic notes from people who aren't in the target market, and who perhaps are a bit presumptuous in asking for help without first attempting to create a relationship, you don't have license to be rude, in my opinion. I try to be understanding and kind, well, all the time. Sometimes I don't succeed, and when I've been a snarky dude I own up and apologize. Because I've got a rep as a nice guy, people know I'm sincere. I've declined LI and FB invites from people I know only tangentially, but lately I tend to be more open just because I know how hard it is to get connected with the right people.
But seriously -- given the fact that people can take offense rather easily (not speaking of this current situation, as I do not know the principals well), is it right to share your outrage publically? Does KB deserve to be blackballed, banned, placed in stocks in Public Square? What do you think?
Posted on Tue, February 25, 2014