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    How exactly you are wasting all that time on Facebook

    If you are one of about, I don't know the BILLION or so folks that are users of Facebook, and more precisely if you are one of the smaller-but-still-pretty-big group of Facebook users that seem to be a little obsessed with the social network, then this resource is for you.

    Check out the latest release of the WolframAlpha Personal Analytics for Facebook utility. This little, free service analyses your Facebook activity, network, and usage patterns for the service, and in addition to providing some really cool information and graphics, (an example of my FB network is in the image on the right), it also provides some insights as to the nature and structure of your connections as well.

    The data and charts highlight outliers, calls out people very similar to you, (i.e. you share many of the same friends), and also identifies people that could be bridges for you to make lots of new connections. Again, assuming you care about this sort of thing about your Facebook network.

    But while this is a cool tool, especially for the Facebook obsessed, it also provides a bit of a starting point for analyses of internal networks. Wouldn't you like this level of detail, depth, and presentation of information for your LinkedIn connections, or better still, the actual people you work with, sell to, or attempt to influence in some manner? Networks are better when we actually understand them, I think.

    Take a look and the WolframAlpha tool if you get a spare minute today and let us know what you think.

    Have a great weekend all!


    Could Facebook become 'Facebook for the enterprise?'

    Last week and sort of quietly, Facebook announced the introduction of Groups for Schools, a collection of new features aimed at its original user base - colleges and college students. The Groups for Schools feature allows easier creation and joining of Facebook groups for those users with an active .edu email address, the domain most commonly associated with US-based colleges and universities. Updates posted in the Groups for Schools groups section for a given college will only be visible to other students who’ve also authenticated through their .edu email address. The Groups for Schools capability is a bit of a return to the original intent and use of Facebook, a platform for students to connect, share information about classes and other events, all in a more low-key and not-so-public way. Source - Facebook. Click for larger image.

    But a more interesting development than the organization and security aspects of Groups for Schools, is that in these groups Facebook will also support uploading and sharing of files up to 25 MB in size with other group members. Groups For Schools users can click an “Upload File” button above the news feed. Notable, Facebook will not permit .EXE files to be uploaded to prevent malicious programs from going viral. Other groups members will be able to download the files directly from the news feed. To avoid legal issues, Facebook plans to monitor for and to disallow the upload of copyrighted files, so college students can't try to use the platform as a source for MP3s and other protected files.

    Facebook originally started on its remarkable growth trajectory beyond Harvard by rolling out to other colleges, and then the network eventually opened up to the general public. Similarly, if Groups for Schools is successful, and Facebook sees increased engagement levels as a result of the file sharing capability, then it is not at all unlikely that Facebook Groups For Businesses or Organizations could follow. The ability to create a private, company-based group, (validated by company email addresses), with the added ability to upload and share files to group members, and to engage in an ongoing conversation about the files and the comments about those files, heck that sounds like the use case for about 90% of email-based enterprise collaboration today.

    If Facebook were to launch more advanced enterprise-like collaborative features right inside the network, it could mean interesting times ahead for solutions like Yammer and perhaps even Jive. Sure, you can argue with me and claim that these more advanced, enterprise solutions have lots more capability than a simple news feed and the ability to upload files, and while that is true, there is also something they don't have.

    They're not called Facebook. And I would bet that there would be some advantage to the potential adoption rates of a new collaborative tool at work if that tool was already used by 95% of the staff before the project even started.

    What do you think - do you see Facebook even being interested in more 'internal' enterprise networking?

    Would you use Facebook at work to collaborate with your team?


    Skip the Assessment and Head Over to Facebook

    I'm going to submit this one without much comment, I'd rather you, the gentle readers, think about it's relevance, accuracy, and relative importance for hiring, job seeking, and for the million, (billion?), dollar industry that provided employment screening, background checking, and various other pre-employment services.

    Dateline: Chicago

    Headline:  'Facebook and Job Performance: New study finds social networking site profile pages can be an indicator of future job success.'

    The Chicago Tribune article describing the findings of a Northwestern University study, led by Management Professor Donald Kluemper, that attempted to test the theory that quick, 10-minute scans of a job candidate's Facebook profile would be a better indicator of eventual job performance than the typical behavioral and IQ tests that many companies administer as part of the screening process.

    What did the study find?

    From the Trib piece:

    "Hiring specialists were just trying to eliminate someone who was doing something inappropriate," Kluemper said. "What we did is try to assess the personality traits in a similar way that they might be assessed by a standardized test."

    Several "raters" were given two hours of training on how to evaluate a Facebook page and answer specific questions relating to personality. They would then spend five to 10 minutes evaluating pages; a total of 274 were reviewed.

    This excerpt from the study shows the type of indicators they were looking for:

    "Those high in agreeableness are trusting and get along well with others, which may be represented in the extensiveness of personal information posted. Openness to experience is related to intellectual curiosity and creativity, which could be revealed by the variety of books, favorite quotations or other posts showing the user engaged in new activities and creative endeavors. Extroverts more frequently interact with others, which could be represented by the number of SNW (social networking websites) friends a user has."

    The researchers followed up with the job candidates after six months and got performance reviews from the supervisors of 69 of them, about 25 percent of the original group. Across the board, the study found that these relatively quick Facebook evaluations more accurately predicted success than standard tests.

    Interesting. For this, admittedly small, set of candidates/new hires scanning Facebook profiles for 10 minutes and drawing conclusions from those reviews turned out to be a better predictor of job success than the usual tests and screens. 

    I said at the start I would submit this without comment, so I will, but I'd like to offer one question to folks that read this and have a stake in the sourcing, screening, assessing, and hiring game.

    And that is this - since scores of people (candidates), today freely and willingly offer up so much of themselves online and on social networking sites I wonder if the primary challenge to candidate sourcing, screening, etc. in the future is figuring out the best way to evaluate and interpret this data in a way that does not run afoul of the myriad laws and regulations associated with hiring, but also provides an accurate, predictable, and reliable method to assess these profiles and personas against established predictors of job success.

    We're mostly, (not you, I mean all those other talent pros), using Facebook and Twitter to screen people out. To look for those 'gotcha' updates or pictures and when we find them, we like to get all smug and superior and talk with our friends about those jerky Gen Y'ers that don't realize that social media is hurting their job prospects.

    More and more candidates create, publish, share, interact and make available so much more information about themselves, their curiousity and creativity yet we still write (boring) articles advising candidates about resume formats and cover letters. 

    Can't we do even just a little better than that?

    What do you think, does this study actually mean anything for assessing candidates? Or would you rather play it safe and keep arguing over how many pages a resume should be?



    WEBINAR : Social Recruiting MacGyver-Style

    MacGyver is probably the coolest TV-hero ever.  He is cooler than you could ever dream of being even if you only dreamed of being MacGyver.

    He could make a cannon from a old microscope, turn a bedframe into a catapult, and do just about anything else with s Swiss Army knife and some duct tape.

    Smart, agile, resourceful - and able to rock a mullet as good as anyone before or since. Possessor of many of the qualities of my friends from Fistful of Talent, Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett.

    Why the clumsy transition from the legendary MacGyver to KD and Sackett, who are also legendary, but for slightly different reasons?

    Because next Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 1:00PM ET, Kris and Timmy, (and possibly Pete Thornton), are presenting a Fistful of Talent Webinar titled - Social Recruiting MacGyver Style! (How to Recruit via Facebook).

    Here's what you need to know:

    Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn are teaming up to present the next Fistful of Talent Webinar: Social Recruiting MacGyver Style! No Money, a Paperclip and Facebook – all a Real HR Pro Needs to Recruit. (Sponsored by the good people at  Branchout)

    Join KD and Tim on February 2, 2012 for this one-hour webinar and they’ll hit you with the following Facebook-centric items: 

    • Where is social recruiting heading, and why do you need to care as the HR rep of your organization?
    • How a 1-2 person shop can compete in social recruiting (with no money, a paper clip and Facebook…)      
    • How to use rarely understood tools like Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Pay-Per-Click Ads to drive Facebook candidates to your open positions
    • How to use Facebook search features to locate candidates on Facebook and contact them without looking like a stalker

    Register today and the fine folks at Fistful of Talent will send you a special FOT toolkit – “How to Find and Contact Candidates on Facebook without Looking Like a Stalker”, once the webinar is complete.

    Everyone knows that whatever the future holds for recruiting, that Facebook, the largest social network with it's soon to have one billion profiles, is almost certainly going to play a part in most organizations talent strategies. I've written about the subject here as well, and on the webcast KD and Tim, (along with the experts from BranchOut), will help to prepare you for what could very well be the next frontier in the talent game.

    I encourage anyone in the recruiting and talent space to sign up for the webcast. The FOT gang guarantees your 100% satisfaction, 60% of the time.

    And we can also have fun live tweeting and making fun of Tim. 


    Aisle, Window, or Next to the Guy Playing Farmville?

    In what might be one of the more interesting examples of how the social graph and our social identities are becoming more manifest in the real world, consider this story reported in USA Today:

    In-flight dating? Using social media to find a seatmate.

    The long of the short of the item is that coming soon, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will launch a 'meet and seat' service that will allow passengers of the airline to connect their social media accounts to the check-in process and choose seats for their flights in part based on the social profiles of their fellow passengers. If you have flown recently you know the drill, online check-in for most airlines now allows the passenger to choose their seat from a visual depiction of the aircraft showing all available seats. Now, at least on KLM, it seems like passengers will be able to mouse over seat 17B and take a look at the Facebook profile of their fellow traveler. The window or aisle seat debate just got a little more interesting.

    Of course this socially-powered seat selection process will be optional, and opt-in only. It's creepy enough to be stalked on Facebook itself, ('Poke'), never mind getting caught up in a middle seat on a Transatlantic fight next to a Facebook oversharer or worse.

    But there are some interesting implications for this kind of combination of insight from the social graph with a real world and mundane process. The idea, beyond just the PR angle, seems to be the creation of a better experience for those passengers that decide to opt-in to the socially connected seating scheme.

    Who doesn't have a story about an interesting opportunity from a seemingly random meeting on a plane? And on many of the well-traveled and popular business routes, making connections and ferreting out business deals is practically an art form. 

    Beyond selecting seats for a flight, I wonder what other use cases there might be for these socially-aware applications? Maybe for a student considering what classes to take with what professors or perhaps what networking or social events to attend?

    How about when considering a new job?

    Wouldn't it be cool to see a visual depiction of the office, locate your potential cube or desk, and do a little 'hover-over' on your potential colleagues and neighbors and see what they are up to on Facebook?

    What do you think - will the integration of the social graph ever influence employment choices in that overt a manner?

    Have a Great Weekend!