The Personal Benefits of Social Media

Last week was the UK’s first recruitment unconference and it was certainly an interesting event. I was working the Social Media Track with @mattalder and @carveconsulting. Anyone who knows Matt and Paul will know how knowledgeable both are when it comes to social media; I cannot tell you how much I learned from them throughout the day!

Matt and Paul know all about using social media in business but me, I don’t know anything much about that really. I work in the construction industry and, as emaciated as the industry is, you don’t find that many candidates or clients from my little niche working the social networks. I use social media for me; my personal development and networking. I don’t know anything much about posting jobs, using boolean searches for finding candidates on LinkedIn, or monitoring my company’s brand because that’s not how I use it, so I didn’t feel as though I had an awful lot to contribute on that front. I’m more about personal branding and interaction, so I was a little sad that everyone was more interested in the corporate stuff. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised though really; these are tough times for recruiters and social media is a fairly new tool for a lot of people. Me, I’m a bit of a geek – I’ve been making friends and networking online since my mid-teens and the days of ICQ, IRC and forums.

Social media for personal use is something we all need to be aware of and work smarter at though. The benefits are endless but the two major ones are, in my opinion, personal development and networking.

Personal Development

We all have different work ethics, operate in different industries and have different training. Sharing our experiences and opinions, be it through blogs, tweets, emails or in person, is enlightening! We can learn something from everyone in our network and I think the unconference really highlighted that: There were all sorts of unique ways that companies and individuals were using social media, all sorts of tools that people were using to monitor their brand, and a variety of positive and negative experiences that people had had which we could all learn something from. I’m not going to list them all here; go to the next unconference in February and see for yourself! I didn’t get to visit any other tracks (apart from the secret track at the end!) but I still came away with a couple pages of notes, so I can only imagine what those who had a chance to move about learned!


I worked mostly in customer service and HR before moving into recruitment so, frankly, I don’t know an awful lot of people in the industry. I say “don’t” but I actually mean “didn’t” because social media (Twitter in particular) has totally changed that for me over the last nine months or so. There are some amazing people out there that you can talk to and Twitter is an amazing way to interact with people you might never meet or give a second glance to in real life. And these people can not only help you find useful tools, be your sounding board, provide services, or introduce you to relevant people; they can also become your friends.

My experiences of social media are nearly all positive. In fact, there’s very little negative I can think of in nearly 15 years of messing about with it in various formats. The kindness of strangers is an inspiring and thought provoking thing. Countless people who owe me nothing have helped me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and I am a better and wiser person for it. It may seem a daunting and unfamiliar place to those new to it, but give it the chance it deserves! Immerse yourself in it, interact with people, share your opinions, offer help and advice. To me, it’s not all about business. My favourite contacts aren’t those who constantly talk about business or forward links, but are those who share little titbits about their lives and let their personalities shine through. So even if you’re mostly using social media for business, consider the personal benefits too and do a bit of work on your personal brand. You won’t regret it!


18 Responses to “The Personal Benefits of Social Media”

  1. 1 @sarknight November 24, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Great first blog, will def see you at the next #trulondon. Will look forward to Reading more blogs soon!

    • 2 Wendy November 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you, Sarah, for my first ever comment and for your kind words. I look forward to meeting you at the next #trulondon!

  2. 3 Paul Harrison November 24, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Hi Wendy, this is great

    As an “personal” user of social media, what tools – if any – do you use – i.e. for twitter, to aggregsate your social profiles, to track your friends etc? Think that might be really interesting.

    Look forward to seeing you soon, P

    • 4 Wendy November 25, 2009 at 9:52 pm

      Paul – great point, thank you! I will write a follow-up post shortly about the tools I use and how I use them.

      It was great to meet you at #trulondon – thanks for the inspiration!

  3. 5 hrmargo November 24, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    Wendy-In the short time I’ve known you, I must say you’ve demonstrated extraordinary competence in your ability to communicate. I love this post because personal branding and human interaction hold the key to success. Most candidates respond to the personal touch. As much as I adore twitter, facebook, blogs, linkedin-it is so important to remember that people respond most with recognition that goes above and beyond an impersonal email-or distant recruiting search strategy. You hit the nail on the head. Networking and customer service is where it is at for me. I’ve branded myself as a customer service evangelist. What’s wrong with HR being the new CSR. While some may hate that title, I wear it as a badge of honor. Everyone is my customer-everyone. If I treat every person I contact with the deference I do a customer, I am almost guaranteed a successful encounter. I’m a social media geek. I can’t get enough of it, but in the final analysis, I want to add the personal touch to everything I do. I enjoy you so much Chicken, and I love it when you call me Pickle.

    Your friend,
    @HRMargo Margo Rose

    • 6 Wendy November 25, 2009 at 9:53 pm

      You are absolutely right, Margo; everyone has the potential to be our customer one day and everyone should be treated with respect. Social media is a fantastic way to meet and interact with people – this is even more meaningful when relationships are taken ‘offline’ and to the next level! Thanks for your support, enthusiasm and kind words; I really appreciate it, pickle! 😉

  4. 7 Geoff Webb November 25, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Great job, your a fantastic blog writer, keep up the great work Chicken.

  5. 9 Karla Porter November 25, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Wendy, Welcome to the blogosphere! Nothing is one-size-fits-all and this post just confirms that. Not everyone uses social media for the same reasons and there are still tons of non-pc user professions out there. Someone asked me the other day if there was a paper application to fill out. We’re in a time of transition and we can’t be exclusive leaving people out! I’m glad to hear your perspective :-)~Karla

    • 10 Wendy November 25, 2009 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks Karla! You’re absolutely right; one size does not fit all. I shouldn’t have been so surprised at how other people use social media at #trulondon really – I learned quite a big lesson in that respect! We’re all so unique and we all have our own individual strengths – even those who prefer to fill out paper application forms!

  6. 11 Andy Headworth November 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Great start Wendy,

    Good start with an interesting subject as well.

    Look forward to reading all your other ideas!!


    • 12 Wendy November 25, 2009 at 9:58 pm

      Thank you Andy, and thank you for your help and advice with regards to layout and set up – it is greatly appreciated and looks all the better for it!

  7. 13 Sarah Nguyen November 26, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Great first blog Wendy. It was nice to learn more about you beyond what I picked up from your Tweets :).

    What I like about things like Twitter, blogs, etc is the level of accessibility to different people and their ideas – it opens up a whole new world of people outside your immediate professional/social circle that you can learn from. Case in point: you, me and our blogs!

    • 14 Wendy November 26, 2009 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks Sarah! You’re so right – here we both are on opposite sides of the world and yet we can still share information and experiences so easily! It’s even more amazing when you consider that even in our parents’ early days it wasn’t even thought of! 🙂

  8. 15 Graham Salisbury November 27, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Wendy!

    Great to know that someone else is ploughing the same furrow!

    Keep ploughing away!


  9. 17 James Blute May 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Great article Wendy.

  1. 1 HR Carnival of Global Giving is now open! Trackback on November 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm
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Over ten years’ recruitment, employability, HR and sales experience in both the private and public sectors. I've worked in construction recruitment, FMCG headhunting, and in higher education on the employability agenda.

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