Posts Tagged 'Twitter'

Social Media Holiday?

So my sister flew off to China the other week. We’re not really sure if/when she’ll be back as she hopes to stay a couple years and lots can happen in that time! (I’m thinking rich Chinese husbands here…)

China’s a beautiful country: I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times and it’s a truly amazing place so I can totally see the attraction. But China is also a bit of a black hole in terms of the internet and social media: No Facebook; no YouTube; no Wikipedia; sometimes access to blogs and Twitter, depending on the mood of the powers that be… To me, that makes it heaven on earth and hell on earth all at the same time! On one hand a beautiful, developing country steeped with a rich and fascinating history; and on the other hand lots of stuff I love banned

So my sister’s relocation had already got me thinking, but then I caught up with a friend last week too, and he got me thinking about it even more! He has just returned back from a self-imposed three month social media break. I was surprised – he seems to have survived unscathed (though it’s plausible he’s covering some deeper wounds…!) and all the better for it! So with my sister, my friend, China, and lots of recent talk on Twitter about social media stalking, I can’t help but wonder whether we shouldn’t all take a break from time to time. Take a chance to re-connect with the people and world around us! And  maybe it shouldn’t just be a social media holiday either – maybe it should be a break from technology in general. Smart phones, netbooks and laptops make everyone overly accessible these days. When do we really and truly turn off? I imagine some people do… People with more self-discipline than me… Maybe people with more money to burn or more commitments to keep… 

But I have no wish to stop my social media activity altogether. A lot of people don’t understand it (Mr J included) but it adds another dimension to my professional/personal development, my work life and my social life. When I started out it was more about networking, but as I’ve come to meet more and more people, and learn more and more new things, it’s benefitted me a lot on a work level too. We’ve had job opportunities, the chance to market ourselves more (for free, I might add!) plus I’ve learned so much about business, marketing, recruitment, and so on, and (I think) I’m able to bring a lot more to the table professionally as a result.

Though I personally think there’s a big future in social media, I know it’s not for everyone – the lines between my work life and personal life have never been so blurred as they are now. It’s a grey area made up of many different shades. And not just because of the relationships I’ve forged but also through the 24/7 access that it engenders: Be it helping a client with something on Twitter at 7am; emailing a student on the weekend; or responding to an amusing comment from a contact during work hours. Social media is such a blend of work and personal that I don’t really switch off from anything at all any more, but I’m kinda OK with that.

But social media is an integral part of my life and turning off from it would be difficult. Mr J and I naturally plan to holiday in China at some point during my sister’s stay, but it won’t just be a tourist holiday for me; it’ll be a social media holiday too! But maybe it’ll do me good. Maybe I need one. In fact, maybe we all do from time to time…

More Un- Stuff!

Photo courtesy of Tristan Greaves

So you’re all up to speed on my TRU Source experience now, I trust! And so to days two and three! In case you missed them I have a selection of decent photos here, and some rubbishy mobile ones here. Or they’re on Facebook too.

My first taste of an unconference was TRU London I in November of last year. It was totally different to TRU London II in many respects. For a start, I think the venue has a big impact on the feel of an event: TRU I was in a massive atrium-style room in the Barclays Building at Canary Wharf, and had little pods where the tracks were held. The pods were too small really and the acoustics for anything non-pod were pretty abominable so I think Bill and Geoff were right to change venues. TwitJobSearch provided the Soho venue this time, but having the rooms so far apart did make it feel a little less joined up though, IMO. I didn’t always know what was going on where and, if you got a bit bored or fancied a change, then it wasn’t quite so easy to sneak off elsewhere, as office security was fairly tight! I did, however, feel the big room was very conducive to networking. There were plenty of seats, a Twitter Fountain of #trulondon tweets, refreshments and so on.

Track-wise, I also felt that things were a lot more interactive this time. At TRU I it felt to me as though it was mostly the track leaders doing the talking, but at TRU II there was a lot more interaction and opinion sharing, which was really nice.

I attended a variety of (official) tracks including:

  • The Candidate Experience
  • The Future of Recruitment
  • Recruiting Communities
  • Employee Vs Employer Branding
  • Sourcing
  • Social Media Circus

As well as some more unofficial ones including:

  • The Unattending Track (a personal favourite!)
  • The Pub Track

And I also attended an HR Happy Hour radio show with Steve Boese and met a ridiculous number of wonderful people from the UK and overseas – some of whom were new to me and some of whom were familiar in name and avatar if nothing else! To me, while the learning and sharing of ideas is obviously key, a big part of this kind of events is about the networking and that is one area in which TRU London II delivered 100%!

The organisation wasn’t perfect on day one, but by day two it felt as though things had been ironed out. I actually much preferred day two for a variety of reasons – for a start it felt more relaxed, there were less people so it was a bit less chaotic, and it just felt more… well… unconferency! I also won a Flip Video Camera from Jobsite which increased my seratonin levels somewhat! 🙂

So it was a busy few days, all in all, and there’s too much content to talk about for one blog post, so once I’ve assimilated everything and tried some new ideas out I’ll report back on my learning from my three days of TRU events. In the meantime though, there’s a few little thank you messages I’d like to pass on:

Thank you…

  • To Bill Boorman and Geoff Web for organising the event;
  • To Jobsite for my Flip Cam;
  • To Peter Gold for sharing (IMO) the most excellent ideas, all of which I intend to use;
  • To Matt Alder and Sara Headworth for the never ending and highly amusing soundbites at the Unattending Track;
  • To my twitter buddy Mervyn Dinnen for keeping me in a constant supply of lattes, smoothies and diet cokes, despite receiving not one drink in return! (Next time it’s on me – promise!)
  • To everyone who RT’d my copious tweets;
  • To all my non-recruitment Twitter followers who didn’t unfollow me!

See you next time! 🙂

Social Media: From Online to Offline

I have been busy, busy, busy this week! Now I’m back working 5 days a week it’s a real change of pace. It’s actually a bit alarming how quickly you get used to enjoying a 4 day weekend… [Note to self: Challenge for the new year is to get Mr J into a top notch job so that I can laze around more and he can keep me in the manner to which I’ve always wanted to become accustomed!] So anyway, my social media play time has fallen by the wayside somewhat and I’ve really missed it. But actually not quite so much as I thought I would, because so many of the people I talk to on social media are now people I talk to in ‘real life’ too!

In the last seven days I’ve spoken to @LisaScales, @AndyHeadworth and @AlanWhitford on the phone and to @RadicalRecruit on Skype. I’ve had dinner with @MervynDinnen and @LaraNewman, and tomorrow I’m meeting @ClareWildman for after work drinkies. Who needs social media, eh?! Not one of these relationships would be in effect without social media. Well, without Twitter, to be precise!

Maybe I’m preaching to the choir here, but social media is really only the beginning. So far I’ve met at least 24 people from my personal Twittersphere, and frankly I need to work harder to increase that number because it’s a bit lame all things considered! Seriously though, there’s only so much you can convey in 140 characters or with the written word and if you truly want your relationships to flourish then you need to take it offline, into the real world and onto the next level. Yes, social media is a fantastic start and, sadly, I may never get to meet a lot of my favourite Tweeps in person due to geographic barriers, so in that respect is still an amazing tool, but even so… There are plenty of people we can and should meet. There are people in all our networks who we’ve never met but who live within a stones throw.

Now obviously you have to be a bit cautious about meeting anyone from off the internet. Though the prospect of being ‘groomed’ at 20-, 30-, 40-something is actually marginally flattering, personal safety comes first! But we’re all adults and we can all use our common sense. There are local tweetups and events happening all the time and this can be a perfect setting for a first meeting, not to mention providing the opportunity to meet a whole host of other people you might not have connected with otherwise!

@LaraNewman was the first person I’d met on Twitter who I met offline. We went ice skating together and had a lovely afternoon! Mr J thought she was probably an axe murderer or, failing that, some sort of swinger who was touting for new recruits. Of course, she was neither of those things (I suspect he was slightly disappointed about the latter!) but we met in a public place and Mr J demanded I leave a report with him listing everything I knew about her, just in case I never returned home. To be honest, I’ve never (yet!) had any doubts about my meetings with people on Twitter. Most people reveal a whole host of information about themselves on both Twitter and LinkedIn and are known by at least one other person in my network, so short of it being a very large and organised axe murdering ring, the odds are good that they’re not a psychopath. I’d be far more reticent to meet anyone who wasn’t pre-vetted though and you do have to use your common sense.

Meeting someone in person can really only benefit a relationship. These are people you regularly talk to anyway and who you already know you have something in common with. So have a flick through some of your favourite social media contacts and see who you can meet for a coffee in person! So long as you’re sensible, the absolute worst that can happen is that you have a miserable hour and have nothing much to say to one another, so you’ve really nothing to lose!

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!

Networking

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!


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 46 other followers

About Me

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.

Click on my picture for more information.

My Tweets