JOBSEARCH: Granfalloons as a jobsearch tactic

In doing my personal “lessons learned” after action follow up, I found one glaring oversight that came up in the “after chat”. Granfalloons! How could I have missed that tip?

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Granfalloon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A granfalloon, in the fictional religion of Bokononism (created by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle), is defined as a “false karass.” That is, it is a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless.

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To a certain extent, “manhattan college alumni” is a granfalloon. But, it would be unpolitic to use that. So let me give an example, I use every day.

“Birthdays on Facebook”

Every day, after I “do” my Jasper obits, but before I “do” Jasper Jottings overnight news reported by Google, I do “Facebook Birthdays”. That’s basically a three step process. First, I go onto the Facebook site, which very gerously tells me which of my Facebook friends is having a birthday. I copy them over to a Facebook personal “Facebook Friends List” called “bday”. Opening up a new browser window for each of them, I write a form Happy Birthday message and send it. Then, I use the “Facebook Share Friends” feature to suggest their fellow borthday-ites to them. Using the “bday” list is very quick. Finally I send the group the following message:

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To: [individual list of names]

Fr: FJohn Reinke

Re: Hey, you folks share a birthday!!!

Best wishes on your mutual day.

I always thought birthdays were a great way to setup a granfalloon — — strange idea. A very important concept in “job search”. I’ve sent you connection suggestions of some “sharers”.

This is a Robbie Burns message. You know the gift to see ourselves as others see us. Facebook tells me that you share the day; it doesn’t tell you. Here’s a gift. A networking stretching weird one.

Nota Bene: They did say that “opportunity” knocks. What they did NOT tell you was what you’d find when you opened the door. It’s a great free offer requiring nothing more from you but to be open to something new. What throws you off, in this case, is that “opportunity” is disguised as a fat old man with strange ideas. ROFL!!!


Attached: [Facebook copies the Wikipedia definition of granfalloon]

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I have received a lot of positive, but some negative feedback about it. On the positive side, some “birthday circles” have formed out of it. My estimate is that about 1 in 3 “days” have some “Facebook Friending” takes place. At least based on what I see reported to me by Facebook. On the negative, some “Facebook Friends” have “defreinded” me. (As an old data guy, I track activity manually and know what they’ve done. Special mark in their record that I keep. I don’t depend on any cloud service to keep all my records. Be funny when they come back to me for something. A networker, like an elephant, never forgets.)

I don’t see an immediate payoff to me. Yet? But, I have people message me that other Granfalloons I have suggested have paid off big for them.

So for example, the “Alumni of Marketing Presentation 2009-02-04” could be a granfalloon that a student might set up to “capture” the synergy of yesterday. It would tie them both to their fellow students (very valuable imho) as well as to the faculty adn alums who were there yesterday (less valuable imho). It’s a trick to create those “webs of weak links” that are so valuable in job search.

Anyway, that’s what I would have liked to communicate to the audience about “granfalloons”. Maybe you can pass this along as a handout. Of course, if anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to answer by email.

Thanks again,

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