There are important lessons for journalists in this Bloomberg piece about company security and LinkedIn.
The lead is about an H-P exec, Scott McClellan, who mentioned a new Web-storage initiative in his profile on LinkedIn, revealing previously undisclosed details of Hewlett-Packard’s cloud-computing services. This Bloomberg piece notes the importance of this profile information to competitors and investors. It's also important to beat reporters.
The article quotes Abhilash Sonwane, senior vice president of product management at an Indian cybersecurity firm, Cyberoam, who did a study of social media disclosures by employees at dozens of companies and found signs at one company of a slowdown in orders:
A few months later, a vice president wrote in a LinkedIn status update that he was looking for a new job. When his followers asked why, he responded that the company was about to file for bankruptcy — which it did less than six months later, Sonwane said. He declined to identify any of the companies in the study.
Important for competitors, investors — and reporters who follow the industry.
A local reporter with a geographic beat would be smart to follow the companies and other institutions that have an impact on that beat — a large employer, a hospital — and the executives who are in charge.
ESPN examined a LinkedIn profile of a person in the news and found revealing details. The subject of the article, Ken Caldwell, was a central figure in an investigation into possible recruiting violations. Caldwell told reporters that he did no recruiting. From the article: Ken Caldwell investigated for ties to UCF recruiting, securing commitments – ESPN http://es.pn/qXQmHw —
On a LinkedIn profile, Caldwell claimed to be a "recruiter [of] NBA players at ASM Sports management" — Andy Miller's agency. Purnell also said Caldwell identified himself within the last year as working for Miller.Caldwell denied presenting himself as an associate of Miller's and says he makes his living as a realtor. When asked about his LinkedIn profile, he said, repeatedly, "It means nothing." On Thursday, the LinkedIn profile had been taken down.
For at least four years, reporters have used LinkedIn to find sources and ask questions. The best way to learn more about how to use LinkedIn, including advanced search tips, is to sign up for Krista Canfield's training sessions.