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    At the closing session of HRevolution 2010 - 'Breaking out of the Echo Chamber', Laurie Ruettimann and Lance Haun offered a number of suggestions to more effectively spread the power and reach of social and new media, technology, and new ways of viewing networks and collaboration beyond the so-called 'echo chamber' of HR bloggers and social media enthusiasts.

    One of the specific recommendations was about sharing online content, specifically blogs and blog posts, with HR and other business leaders that are not aware of or inclined to be regular blog readers. In fact, Laurie specifically advised rather than simply forwarding links to interesting content, to cut and paste the actual content into the body of an email message, or even to printing a particularly good blog post to hand to your VP or CEO.

    I think that is actually pretty good advice, and recently I posted about a free service called Tabbloid that can help facilitate making online content from blogs more easily accessible and consumable for those non blog reading executives.  I really like Tabbloid, it delivers a nicely formatted PDF of a week's worth of posts to me every Sunday. But it still requires going to Tabbloid and doing a bit of configuration to get up and running.  Not a big deal, but additional every step in a technical process raises the barrier just a bit more.

    A potentially even simpler way to generate clean, printable content from a blog post or web page is from a site called Print Friendly - www.printfriendly.com. Print Friendly allows you to simply cut and paste a URL from a post or page into a dialog box, and with one click generate a PDF file that can be easily printed or shared via email. 

    There is even a Print Friendly button that can be embedded inside blog posts to provide readers with access to this simple capability. 



    Simply click on the little 'Print/PDF' button above and you will be taken to the Print Friendly version of this post.


    This service is simple, useful, free - and an incredibly easy way to help share that great blog post you just read with your boss, her boss, and even that crusty old-timer on your team that just can't be bothered to set up Google Reader or thinks Feedburner is some kind of gasoline additive.
    If you are a blogger, consider placing one of these little buttons on your posts to make it easier for your readers to distribute your content.
    If you do give this a try, let me know how it works for you, and if you have any other tools or tricks for sharing content 'outside of the echo chamber', please share them as well.
    Sorry in advance to all the trees that will have to go to support the thousands of folks that will want to print this post!




    HRevolution 2010 - Top Ten List

    The HRevolution 2010 was fantastic, as expected, and I in the next few days will certainly dive in to some of the topics like culture, 'The Secret', and informal learning in more detail, I wanted to just to a quick brain dump of some of my key observations.

    So here goes the David Letterman-style Top 10 Things I learned at HRevolution 2010:

    10.Environment really matters.  When people first stepped off the elevator and walked into Catalyst Ranch you could see and hear their excitement and enthusiasm.  I think you can be creative and disruptive and innovative in a hotel conference room. Maybe.  But in a cool, colorful, and quirky space like the Catalyst, opening your mind and letting loose seems so much more likely.

    9.Social networks are perhaps even more powerful that I thought.  Several people attended HRevolution completely on the basis of wanting to meet some of the bloggers they read or the people they were only acquainted with on Twitter.

    8. Lance Haun would not throw his HR Apprentice team leader Mike Krupa under the bus despite ample opportunity and encouragement.  In fact, the HR Apprentice session, one that 'forced' participants to engage and then defend their thoughts, was one of the highlights of the day I think.

    7. Dress codes at events, and possibly in most workplaces, are for suckers. At the #Monstersocial event on Friday night, we had flip-flops, pajama pants, fancy dresses, and even a tuxedo turn up.  No one cared.  Create an environment where people can be comfortable as they are, and they will absolutely shine, even in a tuxedo.

    6. Live radio shows are fun, even if it can be impossible to hear what is going on.  We had a great time doing the HR Happy Hour show 'Live from the #Monstersocial Red Carpet', but I suspect for anyone listening at home, it may have sounded like a train wreck.  Thanks to the great China Gorman for her enthusiastic listening and tweeting during the show.

    5. If you in to the whole 'personal brand' thing, you better have a good idea about it.  On the HR Happy Hour the fabulous Maren Hogan told us that 'My personal brand is gorgeous', and you know what - no one around the room disagreed.

    4. If I had to distill all the conversations I heard down to one word, the word would be 'culture'.  Discussions about culture permeated many of the sessions, from branding and culture alignment, to diversity, to informal learning and collaboration, and even in the HR Apprentice session.  Has organizational culture development become the new 'seat at the table'?

    3. Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes are incredible.

    2. During the event, and immediately after, many attendees asked me, and I suspect most of the other organizers - 'What's Next?' When will the next HRevolution take place?  Will it bigger, better, more powerful than before?  Here is what I (personally) think - we should not rush to decide 'What's Next?' until we have a better feel for what 'this'is.   And I mean that we need to see how (or if) people that attended the event turn out to be successful in applying the things they heard, leveraging the connections they made, and actually see positive outcomes both personally and professionally.  Without those kinds of outcomes, then HRevolution is just a 36 hour funfest with 125 cool people. 

    1. What was 'said'at HRevolution matters much less than what gets done the other 364 days of the year.  As Laurie and Lance suggested in their closingsession, how HRevolution influences behavior, business practices, and ultimately changes not just how HR gets done, but how businesses are run and managed is the barometer by which the event, and the ability of those of us in the HR social media bubble will be measured.  The conversation, and the connections, are just the small, first step.  But truly, it is an important step.

    Thanks to Trish McFarlane and Ben Eubanks for creating this and for letting me be a small part of the movement.  It was great to work with you again, along with Jason Seiden, Mark Stelzner, Crystal Peterson, and Joan Ginsberg.

    I am honored to be included in such fine company.




    HRevolution 2010 - Sharing the Experience

    HRevolution 2010 is just two days away.

    As is the case with any big event, as it draws closer the excitement ratchets up a level or two. Blog posts are written, radio shows are scheduled, tweets start flying, and an overall feeling of 'something really fantastic is about to happen' seems to infect the participants.

    And sadly in the case of HRevolution, not everyone who wants to attend will be able to, either due to scheduling conflicts, or travel problems, or quite simply because every last available place is spoken for.

    Since at least part of the unique value of this kind of less-formal, participant driven event is the openness and sharing that occurs before, during, and after the 'official' proceedings are complete we thought it would be a good idea to share some information and observations about sharing the HRevolution experience beyond the 100 or so attendees.


    In the short time remaining before the event, if you are attending and have not had a chance yet, please consider joining the LinkedIn HRevolution group, and following the HRevolution Facebook page. Honestly, even if you are not attending I'd recommend checking them out.  Both are great resources for sharing information with other attendees and organizers, and for connecting with people in advance of the event.  Already attendees are using these groups to organize mini-events and meet ups in the free time before the official festivities begin.

    We also plan to keep both of these resources active and vibrant to continue and enhance the relationships, the issues, and the learning. If there are any questions at all, please feel free to post them on either of those platforms, I think you will find about 100 or so of your HRevolution pals more than willing to help out.

    During the conference

    Unlike some events where stuffy presenters admonish attendees for blogging, tweeting, or simply taking notes - at HRevolution you are free to tap, tap, tap away at your laptop or smartphone as much as you like.  But a couple of things to note - HRevolution will have 'official' note takers in every session to capture the important points, interesting discussions, and actionable recommendations.  These notes will be compiled, distributed, and shared with the community. So don't feel like you have to be a 'reporter' during the sessions.  Make sure you are sharing, contributing, challenging, and connecting with everyone in Chicago.  We will make sure via a combination of session notes, blog posts, video and podcasts that as much of the essential essence of the HRevolution gets shared with the folks who could not be with us.


    The conference will be over in a few short hours,  but the learning, sharing, and connecting will to some extent, have just begun.  You will have either made new relationships or strengthened existing ones. Your 'first-degree' network of talented and passionate HR professionals will have expanded by the dozens.  These connections will continue to add value to your personal and professional endeavors.

    HRevolution related blog posts will be collected and compiled into a special HRevolution-themed Carnival of HR, and feel free to post their links on the Facebook page, LinkedIn group, and tweet them out with the #HRevolution tag. Tag any pictures and videos you share on Flickr and YouTube with the #HRevolution tag as well.

    But mostly, take the relationships that you form and the ideas you generate at HRevolution and build upon them.  Expand them,  fortify them, turn them into something new and fantastic and meaningful.

    The HRevolution, on paper, lasts for less than 24 hours.  But you can make it last far, far longer than that.

    See you in Chicago!


    The Next Indie Superstar

    In the comments on last weeks' 'HR and Indie Culture' post my friend Kris Dunn and I had an exchange about what was ostensibly a simple question: How do you as a open-networking, tweeting, blogging, cutting-edge type of HR pro keep the 'indie' mindset and streak of rebelliousness once (or perhaps more accurately if), you actually bust into the C-suite, get the big time job, or (please don't brutalize me in the comments), get the 'seat at the table'.

    Which on the surface is a decent, if not terribly interesting question.  The 'right' answer is pretty obvious, stay true to yourself, keep doing the things you did on the way up, don't sell out, etc.  I think when faced with that as a hypothetical question, it is pretty easy to answer it in that way.  In the real Seger (but you certainly knew that)world it is not always so simple.  How many times have we heard individualists and 'rebels' like Bob Seger and John Mellencamp providing the background music for a series of forgettable, (yet I am sure lucrative for them) truck commercials?

    When the suits come in waving around the big money and trips on the private jet it has to be pretty tempting to forget about (or at least alter slightly) ideals that made sense to you when you were 22 or 25.  Let's go back to Bob Seger. You're getting pitched to have 'Like a Rock' used as the soundtrack to 50 million truck commercials. You have to be thinking, what's the harm really? And if I don't do it they'll just grab Tom Petty or Aerosmith while I get to keep it real and work the state fair circuit for another year or three.

    Actually the entire conversation is predictable and kind of boring.  Some people will remain true to their Indie roots, some will forget them entirely to get by (and I am NOT judging at all), and most will fall somewhere in-between. Eventually you have to make a living, you make some concessions to fit in, and every once in a while you bust out on the weekend to see the Warped tour in your cargo shorts and golf shirt. 

    The better question that KD and I kicked around was not just would he, or anyone else stay 'Indie' after they hit the big time, but would they coach, support, and encourage the next generation of indie, even if it meant that the new blood would take indie in a different direction, perhaps one that is better, more imaginative, and perhaps even more 'indie' than you had ever done yourself?

    Would you be comfortable enough to see folks on your team actually surpass what you have accomplished?

    In indie music the pioneering bands like the Minutemen and Mission of Burma ultimately were seen as extremely influential to scores of bands that followed, but they did not directly 'train' or necessarily mentor any of the acts that came after them.  Their influence, and I suppose most kinds of influence, is from observation, anecdote, and to some extent legend. Budding musicians went to their shows, traded bootlegged concert tapes, and tried to mine bits of inspiration from all they saw and heard. It was a passing relationship at best.

    But the rest of us are not touring the country playing in a band (or in my personal dream competing on the professional barbecue circuit). We are mostly inside our organizations, leading, collaborating, and yes, influencing the people around us. So maybe some of us are doing amazing things, perhaps a few of us are bringing exciting and innovative ideas and strategies to the table, and we have mastered this whole blog, twitter, unconference game to the point where we have the other folks in the organization scratching their heads at just why the heck we suddenly got so popular. That's awesome and an achievement to be proud of.

    So I will leave you with this question: What are you doing to find, support, mentor, and cultivate the next indie superstar?

    And if you have someone in mind already - let us know in the comments, you can think about it while you listen to Mellencamp singing about a truck.



    Spreading the Word one PDF at a Time

    This week at the HRevolution Unconference one of the important themes will be how to drive more awareness in mainstream and corporate HR leadership of what is going on in the growing HR Social Media community, and to discuss and create strategies and approaches to guard against those of us in this space from simply talking to ourselves all the time.

    In fact the closing session of the event (full agenda is available here), is titled:

    Breaking Out of the Echo Chamber: Expanding the HR Social Media Community

    In this session Laurie Ruettimann and Lance Haun will lead the discussion on ways to increase participation, awareness, acceptance (you get the idea) of these new methods of connection and collaboration in the 'old-school' HR community.  I am personally really looking forward to the session.

    In that light, I wanted to share a little service that I have been using to try and get more 'non-blog readers' aware of what is going on here on my blog.  I am sure if you are a blogger, or at least a reader of blogs, you often talk to people at your organization or at events that say they never read blogs, or they can't be bothered to search, locate, subscribe to, and read even a few of the scores of excellent HR blogs that are written every day.

    The service is called Tabbloid, a free utility from Hewlett-Packard that lets you register your favorite blog's RSS feed, set up schedule for how frequently you would like to receive updates, and then get a PDF file of your personal 'magazine' of blog posts and articles delivered to your email.  Think of it as an easy way to be able to get a document that can be read offline, can easily be printed in a 'print-friendly' format, and distributed to less social media inclined people in a method and manner that they are likely more comfortable with.

    In fact, you can even use Tabbloid as an ad-hoc document creation and publishing mechanism for a given RSS feed (or group of feeds) content.  So if you are about to walk into a meeting or an interview, or get on a plane and need some additional 'offline' reading you can quickly produce a document with the last collection of posts from your favorite blogs.

    For an example of what the created Tabbloid magazine looks like, here is the last week's worth of posts from this blog, wrapped up in a nice little 4-page document - Steve's Last 5 Posts.

    For now the service is pretty basic, there is no way to modify or customize the 'magazine' title or place a custom header or footer on the document, but if you want an easy way to hand a doubting colleague or executive an nice, familiar looking document that contains a selection of content from your blog or from a collection of blogs that you recommend, then I think you should give Tabbloid a try.