Written by Mona Berberich
In college, one of my teachers regularly told me that the room with the coffee maker is the most important place in an office, because it’s where people learn the most. At the time, I thought that this guy was perhaps a lazy coffee addict who was definitely in the wrong job.
However, 10 years later, I realize that he was right. The space near the coffee machine was where people gathered to briefly put work pressures aside and open up in an informal way — sharing what was on their minds, getting advice from peers and even generating new ideas.
The New Coffee Room
Today, there’s a whole new world of coffee rooms out there — it’s called social media. Whenever people tweet, retweet, read, share or like, they are contributing to something bigger — the social learning community. One of the most important platforms for social learning is Twitter, where many business people “gather” to share information and ideas on an ongoing basis. These behaviors are studied by companies like Leadtail, a social analytics platform vendor, which published a detailed Social Insights Report last week, focused on the Twitter activities of HR professionals.
That report deserves attention because the HR community is vital in transforming workplace culture, defining social business policy, and driving workforce development. In short — talent-minded executives, recruiters and training professionals are shaping the future of social learning.
What Is Social Learning?
For those who aren’t familiar with it, think of social learning as a process where people rely on digital tools to connect with one another, and exchange information with a specific purpose in mind — typically to expand their knowledge, to develop their competence, or to collaborate in resolving a common challenge. In contrast to formal classroom training, where an instructor “lectures” to a group, social learning is characterized by a two-way communication flow. Thanks to advances in mobile, web and collaborative technology, most of us can engage in social learning whenever and wherever we want. And Twitter is one of the most powerful engines of social learning — with information flowing on the stream 24x7x365.
Who Helps Recruiters Learn?
At the request of ERE.net, Leadtail also drilled down within the HR realm to focus on Twitter behavior among recruiters — looking at engagement, reach and sources of influence from March-June 2013. During that time, recruiters shared 55,576 tweets with a total of 835,336 followers. And, as the graphic below reveals, Meghan M Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture, is the HR personality that recruiters most often retweeted.
When you recognize that Meghan has attracted almost 56,000 Twitter followers to-date, the reach and importance of her Twitter presence becomes clear. A single tweet immediately can touch 56,000 people. But her impact doesn’t stop there. As the “most retweeted” recruiter resource, her Twitter “multiplier effect” is astonishing. For example, even if only 10% of her followers see and read a tweet, and only 4 followers retweet that item to their followers … and so on … and so on … you get where this is going. Even one tweet has the potential to get attention from thousands of people, over time. (Example below.)
— Meghan M. Biro (@MeghanMBiro) July 1, 2013
The ERE.net Leadtail report features several other key metrics — top 25 media content sources, leading brands that attract recruiter attention, and recruiters’ favorite hashtags. Among those hashtags is #TChat – a moniker that many people associate with Meghan M Biro. Anyone can use the #TChat shorthand to “tag” information of interest to talent-minded professionals. It’s also the tag used to drive the TalentCulture community’s weekly interactive Twitter chat events. Bottom line: It’s hard to move around the Twittersphere and not bump into Meghan or TalentCulture in some form!
Social Learning Hot Spot
As these examples show, Twitter is becoming a magnet for social learning — by facilitating informal knowledge exchange, topic-driven chat events, or even backchannel for industry conferences (as recruiters discovered recently when rallying around the #SHRM2013 hashtag). The attraction is easy to understand. It’s a simple, low-cost, immediate way to engage with people — and it’s a natural extension of social recruiting best practices.
Many recruiters are now at the forefront of social learning on Twitter. And as a recent Huffington Post article suggests, people like Meghan M. Biro are leveraging Twitter to engage the HR community in a way that not only positions her as an expert, but also boosts the credibility and visibility other HR professionals, as well.
What’s Your Social Learning Hot Spot?
Are you a recruiter or HR professional? How are you using Twitter or other social tools to expand your expertise? What challenges and opportunities have you experienced? Let me know in the comments below, or share your perspective on the BetterWeekdays website!
(Editor’s Note: Mona Berberich is a Digital Marketing Manager at Better Weekdays, a Chicago-based company that has developed a platform to help HR leaders source, screen and develop talent based on job compatibility. She is a researcher and writer covering HR, career growth, talent management and leadership development. Contact Mona on Google+ or LinkedIn or Twitter.)
Image Credit: Stock.xchng