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Social Fabrication: The New Normal?

August 16, 2016, 07:00 AM

No matter how big or small, a lie is a lie. Although once revered as a black and white matter, the moral compass of society, as a whole, has lowered the bar and raised the tolerance for untruthfulness. We just accept that people are going to lie. Most people lie in everyday conversation when they are trying to appear likable and competent. According to a study conducted by University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert S. Feldman, it was found that 60 percent of people lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation and told an average of two to three lies. Most of the people in Feldman’s studies did not even realize all of the lies they told until after the conversation when it was played back to them on video.

The embellishment landscape has amplified with the emergence of the social media global stage where each of us can craft a personal brand. Anything can happen and is available on the Internet. You can shape your world to fit your needs.

There is an art to social fabrication. People take it very seriously, and many are participating.

Twenty years ago, when the handshake sealed the deal, a lie had a longer shelf life. Technology-based background checks were not a routine part of the due diligence process and facts were not vetted the way they are today. Technology advancements in social media have created a domino effect in the discovery of the truth, the alteration of the truth and the vetting of the truth. Although it is now easier to create or embroider a false representation of accomplishments and credentials, it is also easier to uncover the truth about anyone if diligently searched out. Be aware, competitors surf the net too. When a lie or fabrication is put in the social realm, competitors can use that against a person or a company.

Fabrication Can Cause Harm

The most dangerous liars are those who believe they are telling the truth. Adolph Hitler said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it often enough, it will be believed.” In the social media realm, the same lie can be told hundreds and hundreds of times. The contingent liabilities that are concealed in a bed of fabrication can result in deprivation of control and the ultimate downfall of a business.

Resume fraud has been a prevailing albatross, as many professionals, who have made resume misreprenstations, have brought brands to their knees and crippled bottom lines. Lenders make investments on the basis of strong management teams every day and technology has made it easier to check credentials, but it also has made it easier to fake them. People can create websites for fictitious companies and buy credentials from Internet-based diploma mills.

Fabrications can occur in the following areas:

  • Inflated past accomplishments & skills
  • Social media / blogs / Internet channels
  • Enhanced job titles and responsibilities
  • Enhanced / false education accomplishments or degrees
  • Unexplained time gaps in employment
  • Omitting past employment
  • Fake credentials
  • Fraudulent references
  • Misrepresented military record / accomplishments

Stay Ahead in This Game

In today’s world, everybody has a story, a history. Your gut may be your litmus test in the early stages of a discussion, but the only way to cross all bridges in the search for truth is with a background check.

So is social fabrication fraud? Call it what you may, one thing remains clear… contrary to prevailing social morals, lying is still a black and white matter. Never take anything at face value. Default to your 5 C’s of credit and weigh heavily on CHARACTER. After all, it is YOUR brand that is on the line.

Sue Bury
Chief Executive Officer/Chief Marketing Officer | 1STWEST
Sue Bury oversees the strategic direction, business operations and marketing of the Denver-based holding company, 1STWEST Background Due Diligence and its affiliates. She has been instrumental to the success of 1STWEST since its founding in 1991. Bury was named 1STWEST’S Chief Executive Officer in 2014 and until then, she served as Chief Marketing Officer where she was responsible for the company’s product development, marketing, public relations and new business development for 1STWEST’s corporate finance division.

Building on 1STWEST’S strong foundation and brand allegiance in the corporate finance industry, Bury's leadership has engineered the expansion of 1STWEST’s risk intelligence operations to a dynamic full-service platform. This has driven initiatives to move the brand footprint into other vertical market opportunities. Through the organic expansion of 1STWEST’s highly experienced management team, the brand now offers specialized report products that cater to client needs in the following core competencies: 1STWEST Corporate Finance Background Due Diligence; 1STWEST Small Business Background Due Diligence; 1STWEST Executive Hire Background Due Diligence; and employment risk screening, through 1STWEST’s affiliate company, IGNITE DILIGENCE™.

Bury is backed by more than 25 years of business experience, including great achievements as President of her results-based international marketing communications consulting practice. Clients included global top tier and middle market brands in diverse industries.

Bury is very active with numerous industry associations, with whom she frequently submits articles and participates on industry panels in matters relating to her specialized presentation topics and relevant industry discussions regarding background due diligence.
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