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    Entries in socal networking (42)


    Maybe engagement isn't the right social outcome after all

    If you have spent much time at all the last few years researching, attending events and presentations, or consulting with experts, (term used very loosely), on how to incorporate social tools and social media into organizational communication, talent management, or recruiting strategy, if nothing else you would have come away with the firm belief that 'engagement' and 'conversation' have to be among your prime objectives and desired outcomes. No customer or potential candidate wants to engage online, the theory goes, be it on a Facebook page, a LinkedIn group, or with a Twitter feed with a faceless organization, a logo, and a stream of automatically generated updates, or worst of all, an RSS feed of job ads pushed to the social outposts from your corporate Applicant Tracking System. Jasper Johns - #6

    Conventional social media and social networking advice would tell the organization to simply not bother with social as a channel if all they really plan to do is constantly broadcast, advertise, and push content. You're not ready for social, the experts would say. You have to engage, converse, be a part of a consistent give and take with the audience in order for your efforts to pay off in the long run.  And that seems like really solid, sound advice. Consumers and prospects don't want another stream of low-value add corporate messaging and propaganda.

    Yep, great advice on how engagement and conversation is what matters.

    But what if that advice, if not being completely wrong, is at least not as hard and fast as is generally accepted in the emerging social recruiting space?

    A recent ethnographic study on the role of technology and social platforms in the real world from the digital media consultancy Razorfish raises some interesting questions about how average and casual technology users typically consume with and engage with digital content. Long story short, the Razorfish study showed that rather than seeking to actively participate and engage online and with digital media and content, most users were more than happy to passively consume said content. T o some of the study participants, the flow of information in the social space is seen as a more ambient activity and background noise.  From the summary of the findings on the Razorfish site:

    Historically, digital pundits have promised a more interactive future, in which users move away from passive, couch potato viewing to more active engagement. While the amount of user-generated content and sharing supports this movement, we have found everyday users increasingly leaning back in their digital consumption habits. Social media is described as a more ambient activity. “[Facebook] is usually a drag. I just feel lazy like I’m seeing the same old stuff and looking at people’s profiles. I feel somewhat guilty about it sometimes, like I’m wasting time.” Twitter, originally categorized as a social tool, is described more as a curation tool. “I don’t really tweet anymore. I just see what I should think about reading.”

    The folks at Razorfish advise organizations looking to engage with consumers, (in our terms as HR folks employees and candidates), to not be afraid to be a 'pusher', that is to offer content meant primarily to be consumed, and to focus less on stimulating ongoing and sustained conversation. The rapid rise of the the iPad and the other tablets seem to bear this out, they are primarily consumption devices. The little 'creation' that emerges from most tablets are simply shares, likes, and re-tweets, the simplest and most low commitment form of content engagement there is.

    The net of all this?

    Well the Razorfish study was very small, and certainly should not be the sole data point to base a social content and engagement strategy. But I think an important takeaway from the study is to take a longer and more critical look at both what passes for conventional wisdom in the social media and social networking space, and what can easily become a 'follow fast' strategy that may not necessarily be the right one for your organization. 

    If nothing else, results from these kind of studies that make us examine carefully our assumptions on what is still a nascent space are worthwhile, and even if you disagree with them, as I imagine many will, occasional validation of your own assumptions is a good outcome in itself.


    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!


    Senior HR Executive Conference - Social Technology and Innovation

    This afternoon at the Conference Board's Senior HR Executive Conference Trish McFarlane and I presented a talk titled 'How Social Tools Can Empower a Global Organization'. The slides from the session are can be found here, and are also embedded below, (email and RSS subscribers may need to click through).



    Mainly, what Trish and I tried to share are some examples, both well-known and a few lesser-known, of how organizations have and can use social media, social networking, new tools for innovation and collaboration, and probably most importantly how looking at business challenges with an eye towards how social and collaboration can help meet these challenges.

    These types of short presentations are really meant to be a kind of starting point to thinking about social in different organizational contexts, and for leaders and organizations that have already begun projects and programs, perhaps offering some awareness or insight to new opportunities they have yet to explore.

    The feedback to the session was great, (thanks attendees for your time and attention), and many thanks to Trish and to the Conference Board for allowing us to present today.

    I'd love your comments and feedback on the presentation as well!


    What's Your Question for the CHRO?

    This week I'm on my way to New York City to attend and co-present along with Trish McFarlane at the Conference Board's Senior Human Resources Executive Conference. The Senior Human Resources Conference this year has as its theme The Future of Work: Growth, Innovation, and People. The event takes place tomorrow, Tuesday November 15th, and Wednesday November 16th.

    The Conference Board has organized a phenomenal set of sessions presented by a cross-section of  the most accomplished Human Resources leaders from some of the world's largest organizations. Just a few of the companies that will be presenting their perspectives, philosophies, and strategies for adapting to this new world of work are Nike, Pitney Bowes, Abbott Laboratories, Boeing, American Express, and more. 

    With the really ambitious theme of 'The Future of Work', Trish and I plan to outline and discuss some of the ways organizations can and are leveraging social tools to foster growth, development, innovation, and give themselves an edge in an incredibly challenging and competitive market.

    Trish and I are looking forward to attending and presenting, and if you could not make it to New York City to attend in person, you'll want to follow along virtually on Twitter on hashtag #TCBSRHR, and look for reports here, and on Trish's HR Ringleader blog. 

    But perhaps the best thing about the Senior HR Executive Conference is the unique and fantastic opportunity to meet, connect, and talk about the important issues facing some of the most senior Human Resources leaders at some of the largest companies in the world today. There are few events, at least ones that have agreed to let me attend, that offer this kind of access.

    So since I get to spend a couple of days in this kind of company, I'll put it out there to you faithful readers.

    If you could get a few minutes with the CHRO of a Fortune 500 company, what would you like to ask? What are the burning questions or comments you'd like to pass on? What do you think these senior HR leaders need to know?

    Please share your ideas and comments, I promise I'll do my best to get the questions asked, and I'll share the answers I receive here.


    Just Because You Can... You Know the Rest

    A video clip of the comedian Louis C.K. bemoaning social media and Twitter as being 'awful' made the rounds on the internet in the last few days, where the funnyman has a go at the service, and the kind of shallowness that underpins much of the activity on Twitter and many other social networks. Initially my reaction was that the routine was kind of funny, but that it also was a little narrow-minded; after all, for every silly and insipid update on Twitter one can also find examples of progressive, authentic, and meaningful applications of the service for business, community, civic, and other benefits.Why can't I have a Google Plus Page? Why?

    Social networks are altogether a personal experience, and we all run the risk of gross oversimplification by assuming our experiences are somehow indicative or predictive of anyone else's experiences. So if Louis C.K. or your Mom, or your CEO tries Twitter and finds it 'stupid' or 'awful', well all that really proves is just that, and while their conclusions are perfectly rational and reasonable, they shouldn't matter to anyone else. 

    Who cares if Louis C.K. thinks Twitter is stupid? No one should. Even if he is possibly right.

    But one thing Louis did say in the video does have merit, the social media take on the old advice of 'Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should'

    I was thinking about this late last night when I discovered that some friends and colleagues had opted in to the new capability Google had released for it's new social platform, and created new Google Plus pages for their businesses or blogs. It hit me, that I too should have a Google Plus page for my blog or for the HR Happy Hour Show.

    So I raced over to Google Plus to stake another claim to a tiny portion of the internet, and much to my frustration and confusion, I was not able to create either of the new Google Plus pages I wanted. No real reason, just some unexplained 'Unable to create page. Try again later' message from the great Goog as soon as I clicked the 'Create Page' button.

    I kept trying, maybe four of five more times, before giving up in a ticked-off huff. Never mind that I have no real idea or plan for a Google Plus page for the blog or for the show. Never mind that I hardly even go on to Google Plus right now. Never mind I have a million other things to do and don't really need to add 'Google Plus page administration' to the list.

    Nope, forget all that. Google Plus pages are there. And darn it, I had to have mine too.

    Finally I (sort of) snapped out of it and quit trying to create something I don't really need, don't have time for, won't help me write better posts or have better radio shows, and won't really accomplish much of anything except give Google Plus a little bit more of my time and attention.

    The lesson in this little tale? None, really. My experience and conclusions are valid only for me. Just like it doesn't matter if Louis C.K. thinks Twitter is stupid, it doesn't matter that I felt like a doofus trying to set up Google Plus pages. It might make a ton of sense and hold a lot of value for you. Your mileage will vary.

    But the ancient advice is still valid though - just because we can, doesn't mean we have to, or even that we should.

    And Louis C.K. does use Twitter.

    And I probably will try again to create those stupid Google Plus pages. 

    Just because it is good advice, doesn't mean we know how to follow it.

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