How a Facebook gallery nabbed me a dream job

We’ve all read many articles regarding the privacy dangers of sharing your views and photos on social media.

Sacking case highlights pitfalls of social media

9 ways Facebook can get you fired

Blah, blah, blah.

However, I now have proof that the opposite is also true – your use of social media can give you the extra boost you need to get ahead of other candidates.

Where my hobby began
In Australia, all Year 10 students are forced from their cosy routines into the freakish hellscape known as Work Experience. Think of Work Experience as a hastily arranged unpaid internship that lasts five days yet often results in lifelong disillusionment.

So, like most of my pals, I picked jobs based not on my hazy career goals but on my interests, hoping the environment would keep me motivated long enough to survive.

At the time, I enjoyed soccer, Sherbert Fountains, long walks in the bush and spending time in the city. In particular, I enjoyed hanging out inside certain grand historical buildings and Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building – with its enormous stature, towering domes and tessellated floors – stood out for me more than any other.

In my esteemed role as Shopping Centre Administrator, I spent half the week delivering mail to shopowners and the other half taking photos of the building. (At the time, I was obsessed with symmetry so I was in paradise.)

Fast forward to 2012, when I was tiring of Facebook’s culture of posting nothing but sentimental moments and wry observations. I began using Facebook photos as a photo-journal, documenting my interest in architecture. Because why not? Shareability gives credence to all kinds of unusual fascinations. Pretty soon I was posting my best three photos per week.

(I realise it’s the kind of obsession that sits better on Instagram. But, I figured Facebook is a disjointed stream anyway – your old classmate shares their kid’s drawing, your colleague is sharing a Buzzfeed list, and your chiropractor just liked their random old classmate’s photo. Aren’t algorithms great!)

Initially, I took photos of the most typical and unusual houses to fill the time while I drove sleeping kids around in my car. Then, I began making special day trips to suburbs I had never seen, just to photograph a house that was either unique to or typical of the area. Within months I was getting requests from others, and even contributions to the gallery. Later, I made the gallery public so that it could be seen by people beyond my Facebook friends.

Late last year – while in a perfectly good job completely unrelated to my work experience – I was approached to be the Community Manager at Houzz Australia.

  • Houzz is a start-up company, founded by a couple who wanted to make a digital place where you could get everything you need to remodel your home. Website | Apps

How my gallery moved me up the pack
I can safely say it was my skills in community management and social media that first brought me to the attention of the new local MD. But while there were certainly other people available with my experience in community and social, it was my Facebook gallery that sealed the deal.

My interviewer had checked my Linked In page and, I assume, my Twitter feed. Any good employer also googles candidates before a first meeting.

But my gallery went much further than that.

I found that as part of the interviewing process for a startup expanding out of the US for the first time, you need to speak with a wide range of different people. I spoke to several parties via Skype, including one of the founders and two foreign investors in the company.

Each of my interviewers had already viewed or heard about my Facebook gallery – making the photos an instant talking point.

In the gallery, I had two years’ worth of evidence that showed I was an enthusiastic fan of house design, plus, I was regularly posting content that generated discussion and attracted submissions.

Now, as Houzz enters the UK, Germany, France and Australia, I will be heading up their community and expanding their presence locally via social channels. I will be spending time every day working with nearly three million photos of architecture and design, symmetrical and otherwise.

Kids, work experience is a good thing. Choose wisely.

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New Sydney skyscraper needs a nickname…

8 Chifley Square is 30 storeys tall, easily viewed from three sides and about to take its place on Sydney’s increasingly diverse skyline.

How it will look…

Welcome Sydney’s newest member

How it looks now…

The structure has distinctive yellow and red steel supports. Each row of glass features a pale platform to
boost shade inside the office block.

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8 Chifley Square

Atop the building is an enormous vertical grille.

Across the road from the Deutsche Bank ode to steel and glass, this Mirvac construction is a bold and playful design in a CBD of colourless masculine monoliths, giving the financial district a European counterpoint.

The girders and shades evoke a Meccano set or may even have taken inspiration from the Pompadour museum in Paris (see picture at bottom).

I honestly can’t think what it could be called by Sydneysiders, but it’s time we got to work thinking up a nickname.

The Pompadour, Paris

More: Mirvac Design website

UPDATE: First suggestion I’ve had came via twitter… “The Shopping Trolley”

Go on, invade my privacy. I give up protecting it.

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I have a confused approach to personal security online. I have never used my real name as my Facebook or Twitter handle. Yet, here I am updating a blog, I post photos daily on instagram and my employment details are searchable on Linked In etc..

I tend to think we can’t really win against the data-hungry technology that we need to use if we want to stay connected to others in the this age.

We all keep some things closer than others but it’s ultimately not up to us if some pieces of personal info get out.

I will conceal my children’s identity (there you go, apparently I have kids) but when they start to sign up for things themselves – hopefully not until they are teenagers – I am certain their online ‘privacy’ will all but disappear.

Anonymity is over.

As I drove around Sydney’s inner west this last week, doing what I regularly do, just taking photos of the best and most typical architecture for a Facebook album I keep, I came across a home that I really wanted to know more about. It’s mudbrick, largely concealed from the street, and, from what I have learned from books, from watching Grand Designs, and from living in the Blue Mountains, I could tell it was designed with passive solar principles.

So I googled the address and within two clicks I had found the name of the homeowner and his wife. Plus, I recognised the name from a local shopfront and so I also knew his profession.

(He had attended a local council meeting some years ago and those who spoke were listed in the meeting minutes, which in turn where uploaded to the council website. I’ll bet the council didn’t check that with anyone.)

My inquisitiveness may seem a little extreme.

I guess I have developed quite a fascination for homes and developments that are not just appropriate to their surroundings but actually enhance their communities, the kind of structures that are provocative, thoughtful or advanced and do the trailblazing for districts full of the tired sixties and seventies pragmatism that defines much of Sydney.

I am one of those people who read the small DA notices attached to buildings that are about to undergo some change. And, coincidentally, I read one recently that the owner of this mysterious mudbrick home was involved with.

So, thanks to one quick Google search, I knew the homeowner’s name, home, profession, his wife’s name, his business and a recent investment purchase he made.

It’s not information I can do anything with, but it will certainly make it awkward when I approach him to tell him how much I love his house.

A friend of mine has just started a new Facebook account, this time under a pseudonym as he says he was the victim of identity fraud.

That’s a frightening scenario but I wonder if there is hypocrisy in hiding your own details but benefitting when others don’t hide theirs.

If everyone had silent numbers there’d be no White Pages. Or, in modern terms, if everyone used pseudonyms there’d be no Google Plus.

In the name of fairness, I am hereby changing my Facebook name to my actual moniker.

Who knows what may come of such recklessness?

me tweeting

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