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The Power of a Purposeful Hashtag: #WorkTrends

If we’ve learned anything over the past decade, it is the power of a hashtag…

#WorkTrends has been on quite an adventure. Over the past 10 years, TalentCulture’s signature podcast has introduced us to great minds in the HR space. We’ve produced over 700 episodes — packed with insights, future-casting and anticipated trends.

We’ve had an incredible range of guests on #WorkTrends, from CEOs to technologists to practitioners, psychologists, data mavens and more. They’ve given us unparalleled perspectives and wisdom on so many subjects — leadership, recruiting, management, recognition, strategizing, coping, thriving. How, where, when, and even why we work is ever-expanding — and we’re proud to say our savvy guests predicted every pivot, and every moment. 

In our episodes and in our Twitter chats, we’ve heard some groundbreakers I’ll never forget. Listing the many names would take pages and pages, so to all our guests so far I’ll just say this: Thank you for gracing the #WorkTrends stage with your presence and your brilliance. 

And now it’s time to expand these amazing discussions… it is time to release them into the world.

The Power of Change

Even before the massive changes of 2020, TalentCulture was planning our own set of changes: a new website, an expanded community, and a new way to bring #WorkTrends to our growing audience. We recognized that in today’s business world, we’re connecting across digital space more than ever before. And we realized there isn’t a better time than now to broaden our discussions. 

So we’re inviting everyone to join the #WorkTrends conversation beyond Twitter — and across more social media channels. We’re taking #WorkTrends to LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and beyond. Of course, you’ll find the same dynamic conversations about key work topics and all the issues that matter. Instead of exclusively through a weekly Twitter chat, though, #WorkTrends will be an ongoing discussion.

We believe the world of work is limitless: it’s a wellspring of energy and engagement. And to honor that, we’re opening the gates. 

The Power of a Purposeful Hashtag

#WorkTrends is now a legacy hashtag. It’s become a classic that represents all the best minds and conversations. We’re excited to watch it grow wings — and move across time zones, borders, and barriers. So please join us. It’s going to be another wonderful adventure!

Be sure to tune into our weekly #WorkTrends podcasts and recaps. And to learn even more about how we’re growing the podcast, check out our WorkTrends FAQ page.

As always, thanks so much for tuning in and being a member of this amazing community. You #inspire me — every day!  

HR Pros: Build Your Personal Brand with Twitter

Twitter is the third most popular social media site in the world and can play an important role in building your personal brand. By establishing a Twitter presence, you create a network that helps you connect with relevant people, get eyes on content you’ve created, and have more influence in your field. Here are some tips for getting started on Twitter and using the platform productively.

  1. Decide What You Want Your Twitter to Be About

Authenticity is important when building your Twitter presence, but you should try to home in on how you want to present your personal brand before you launch into using it. For example, if you’re the CEO of a solar company, you might want your Twitter to focus on issues relating to your industry, such as sustainability, innovation, and energy. This doesn’t mean you can never tweet about anything else, but determining what you’re going to bring to the table content-wise can help you attract the right kind of users and avoid getting lost in an otherwise saturated sphere. Sometimes niche is better when it comes to building an online following.

  1. Don’t Be a Robot

Companies and business professionals often make the mistake of being too clinical on Twitter—in short, too boring. As a result, their followers mainly consist of bots and automatic follows from other unengaged users. Connecting with people requires more than just tweeting out article links once a day, and your content should portray personality if you want people to care about you as a brand. Use humor in your personal brand whenever you can and mix up your tweets’ formats regularly with things like images or videos. Don’t be afraid to inject more of you into your tweets—it’s your personal brand you’re trying to build, after all.

  1. Post Consistently

If you’re worried about coming up with content frequently, consider scheduling tweets in advance to ensure you stay on top of it. Services like Hootsuite and Buffer let you do that, making it easier to manage various social media accounts. However, it’s not absolutely necessary to schedule your tweets—Apple CEO Tim Cook rarely tweets and has an excellent Twitter presence, but his title does give him a bit of an advantage!

If you decide to schedule tweets, make sure it doesn’t affect your ability to be personable. Don’t schedule various tweets for the week and forget about Twitter—keep it in your mind so when something that might interest people pops into your head, you can tweet it out in the moment. You may also want to weigh in on more current trends, including daily trending hashtags, as this will boost your engagement and relevance, especially while your audience is still small.

  1. Time Your Tweets Right

Certain time periods generate more engagement than others on your tweets. To be more successful on Twitter, learn what these times are and make the most of them. For example, early morning hours tend to generate the most clicks, but evenings are better for getting favorites and retweets, according to a 4.8 million-tweet research study conducted by Buffer. Of course, tweeting isn’t an exact science, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what time periods your audience reacts the most in.

  1. Learn from the Success of Other Twitter Users

Identify successful people and brands in your field to learn more about building your online presence and figure out what works. You don’t have to copy what others do, but mimicking their style a little, or even getting some inspiration from them, can help you better establish your brand in a way that’s constructive. You’ll notice that there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for building an effective Twitter presence, but most successful users and brands choose vulnerability and authenticity over pushing their authority.

Twitter regularly updates its “Success Stories” page—keep up with it to see what’s working well for people and brands, and pick up some timely tips. In the meantime, here are a couple of examples of great Twitter presences.

Successful Twitter Influencers

Tesla CEO’s bio simply says, “Tesla, SpaceX, Tunnels & OpenAI,” and he almost exclusively sticks to those topics in his tweets, while also offering semi-relevant hot takes such as “Rollercoasters are awesome.” Musk’s personable approach to his customers and Twitter followers adds to the appeal of his personal brand. He has 7.6 million followers, despite following only 40 people—so don’t expect a follow back from him anytime soon, unless you’ve joined NASA.

UK-based smoothie company Innocent is an excellent example of a good Twitter presence because it doesn’t try to push its products much. Instead, it opts to tweet about charity efforts it’s involved in, chatting with its customers, and weighing in on what might happen at the Oscars this year. The company recently used its following to help a woman find a certain type of wool to finish knitting a blanket. No word yet on whether she found it with the help of Innocent’s 268,000 followers, but fingers crossed!

Developing Your Brand While Maintaining Security

Even though generating a Twitter presence for your personal brand might seem daunting at first, using these five steps can help you get started and hopefully find success just around the corner. Also, remember to use caution as you create your personal brand on the internet—stay safe and keep your personal information private. Following a few simple safety steps helps you stave off threats and keep your Twitter use beneficial to your personal brand. And don’t forget to monitor who is following you and liking your posts, as hackers are always trying to target users and spam is prolific on sites like Twitter.

Photo Credit: Tom Raftery Flickr via Compfight cc

7 Ways Candidates Blow A Phone Interview

I’m consistently amazed by how unaware the average job seeker is of how to establish a positive first impression on a phone interview. I hear the same frustrated complaints from employers of all industries and sizes – that candidates who voluntarily submitted their resumes in hopes of discussing a position they’re supposedly interested in just can’t seem to get it together. Remember when all you needed was a solid resume to be guaranteed a face-to-face interview? For the sake of saving time, resources, and money, recruiters have become much more selective on who they decide to meet in person. In an effort to weed out time-wasters and soft-skill-deficient candidates, recruiters are conducting phone screens to find out who’s off their game.

1. They’re unprepared to take the call.
If you’re 4 beers deep at a Yankees game or trying to wrestle a dirty diaper off a screaming baby, you probably shouldn’t answer a call you don’t recognize. Yet, most of the candidates my recruiting team speaks with are under the impression that it’s better to answer a call you’re not completely prepared for than to miss the call altogether. It’s not. If you find yourself in a situation that isn’t suitable for a professional conversation, don’t pick up. Instead, call back within 24 hours, after you’ve collected your thoughts, can speak confidently, and have locked down a quiet location.

Not to mention, they start timing you from the second they leave a voicemail, which brings me to my next point. If you’re actively looking, you should have a professional voicemail with specific instructions to avoid an unwanted game of phone tag. For example, “Hi, you’ve reached Mark Smith. If you’re calling in regards to my resume, please leave your name and number as well as the best times for me to reach you.”

2. They expect the recruiter to fill in the blanks.
“Hi, what job did I apply for again? What company are you calling on behalf of?” It pains me to admit this, but these responses are the norm when an employer reaches out to a candidate, even for high-level positions. You’re a job seeker, which means you probably apply to several jobs each week. We understand that it’s tough to keep track, but it’s essential – if only for the sake of a recruiter’s sanity – that you start taking notes. Just by picking up the phone and saying, “Hi Wendy, you must be calling in regards to the Customer Service position I applied for last week.” Mind blown.

3. They conduct an unorganized job search.
This goes hand in hand with my last point. Today, it’s not enough to print out a handful of resumes and call it a day. We always recommend that our candidates keep a spreadsheet of every job application they submitted with corresponding dates, company names, and relevant contacts. Or, if you’re a tech wiz, try these awesome job search apps. That way, when the phone rings, you’ll have a handy guide that’ll save you from playing guessing games. Also, it’s important to keep your background information and portfolios within arms reach to provide some quick material for preliminary questions. It says a great deal about your personal brand if you’re prepared to answer a challenging question, and even have some on-hand stats to back up your argument. And for bonus points, don’t forget to browse company websites and connect with HR personnel on LinkedIn. Taking that extra step makes a huge impression.

4. They don’t understand why recruiters really call.
More often than not, recruiters aren’t calling to simply schedule a personal interview; they’re calling to conduct a prescreen. In other words, to decide whether they want to move you forward. Remember all that research you were supposed to do when you applied for the gig? Use it to show recruiters you know something about how their company culture works and that you’re serious about the job.

5. They have a bad “radio personality.”
Phones are tough – all you have to make an impression is your voice. Candidates, especially introverts, often fail to heighten their energy over the phone. Nobody’s expecting you to sound like Ron Burgundy, but you should at the very least sound excited, confident, and prepared. Excessive “umms,” stammering, or sounding like you’re dead inside are huge turnoffs to recruiters. The only way to overcome this obstacle is through practice. Record yourself on any device you have handy, and ask yourself this difficult question: “Would you hire you?” Getting your career narrative down in a way that engages and connects with an employer is essential to winning that face-to-face meeting.

6. They have a weak or unprofessional online presence.
Chances are, if recruiters are interested in what you have to say, they’ll be googling you before then end of your conversation. A half-complete LinkedIn profile or a racy Facebook picture is all it takes to eliminate you from the game. Just last week, one of my recruiters found a candidate with a stellar background and scheduled her for an interview right away. But just minutes before their call, she discovered an R-rated photo online that involved a stripper pole. Needless to say, the recruiter’s mind was made up before the conversation started.

7. They fail to treat a phone interview with the same decorum as they would a personal one.
Just because you didn’t put on a suit or block out time in your day doesn’t mean it counts any less towards your chances of securing the job. Request follow up procedures, send personalized thank you notes, and be sure to highlight any takeaways to reinforce your sincerity. Take it from me, the small things really do matter.

photo credit: Phone Talkin via photopin (license)

How to Build Your Network Without Burning Out

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. The following is the last post she contributed to our blog, only 10 days earlier. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all.)

The unthinkable happened during the first week in January.

TalentCulture CEO Meghan M. Biro had gone missing. She hadn’t returned a tweet from me for more than three days. Unheard of, I tell you.

Naturally, I was concerned about her well-being. I actually considered contacting Boston area hospitals. But instead, I did what any good friend would do. Resorting to an antiquated strategy, I picked up the phone and called her.

“Seriously Judy, I’m taking a break. I don’t want to burn out,” Meghan told me.

“What? A break from your BFF?” I almost blurted. Then, a calm washed over me, and instead I said, “Good for you.”

This sparked a conversation about how busy professionals like us can continue growing and navigating our social networks without compromising our stress levels. Connection and communication have taken on new importance in today’s 24/7 world of work. Those who manage the energy and minimize the stress are able to stay ahead of the competition, and sustain high performance. But it’s not easy.

Everyone manages a social network differently. It’s an intimate and personal process. We all have close connections with whom we can exchange ideas and openly vent. That’s typically not a burden on our time and attention. But in this era of digital exuberance, our social circles are growing rapidly. We need to find the signal in our niche, while filtering out the noise of a much broader network. Keeping pace requires a strategy:

8 Tips to Reduce Stress In The Face of Digital Exuberance

1) Schedule Social Sessions: Timing is everything. And quality time counts. When does your network naturally buzz with activity? If you’re a rock star, you might be inclined to check Twitter in the late evening, but if you’re into talent management and business news like me, you’re probably trolling Twitter from 7-8 a.m. Instead of trying to pay attention 24/7, pick one or two intervals each a day to dip into the stream. Don’t just “fly by” with retweets — really dive in and engage in conversations that build relationships. But when your scheduled time is up, move on. Eventually, you’ll adjust to an established rhythm, and so will those in your inner circles.

2) Take Breathing Breaks: Twitter and Facebook interactions can become surprisingly intense. Periodically, take 5 minutes to literally sit back and just follow your breath. Close your eyes, or look away from the screen. Simply being aware of how you are breathing helps regulate cortisol, the “stress-producing” hormone. Count as you inhale – one, two, three. Then hold your breath for several seconds, and exhale to the count of three. Better managing stress “in the moment” gives you more energy later, when you may need to tap into your reserves.

3) Stand Up and Stretch: Once in a while just walk away. Yes, leave the computer behind. This is important to get blood circulating in your body, which delivers more oxygen to your brain. If you prefer not to stand, push your chair away from the desk. Inhale and raise your arms above your head, clasping your hands in a “steeple” position. Look up and gaze at your hands for several moments. Then exhale slowly while your hands float gradually back down to your sides. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to shift back into business gear.

4) Hum with Purpose: That’s right — make noise. Humming actually calms the mind and body. It’s an ancient yogic technique that helps focus attention prior to meditation. The sound reverberates in your skull, and helps your brain rewire your attention. Here’s how: Plug your ears with your fingers and inhale deeply. Pause. Then as you exhale, hum for the reminder of the “out breath.” Repeat two more times. If you feel dizzy, stop. But ideally, it will help release tension and help you focus.

5) Let Filtering Tools Work for You: Sometimes we need to look beyond human behavior for help. If we opened every link that came our way we’d never sleep. Aggregation tools help consolidate and organize the chaos — news sources, blog posts, and other information sources of interest. I’ve set up Google alerts to deliver breaking news on keywords that matter most to me. For less critical topics, I receive news feeds once a week. You can use Hootsuite, Buffer Tweetdeck and Aggregation tools and dashboards to identify relevant content and create a delivery schedule that works for you.

6) Harness Hashtags: Hashtags are the fastest way to share and find relevant information on Twitter. For example, professionals who participate in the TalentCulture community share HR and business leadership knowledge by adding the #TChat hashtag to their tweets. At any moment, anyone can search for #TChat, to see the community’s latest tweets. It’s like round-the-clock access to the most popular human resources conversation on the planet. If you follow a hashtag like #TChat in your Twitter dashboard, you’ll quickly and easily find helpful peers, ideas and advice. Also, when you schedule Twitter posts, be sure to add hashtags that reflect your area of expertise. Your posts will reach people in your niche, even when you’re offline.

7) Leverage Human Relationships: Sometimes, all of us need to unplug for several days or more. When you do, plan ahead. Just because you’ll be off the grid doesn’t mean your networking must come to a standstill. Reach out to several people in your immediate network. Let them know that you’re taking a break, and ask for a little extra support in sharing your work on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — wherever you’re most active. You can even form ongoing support alliances and develop common “social back-up” guidelines. Just remember, you’re not alone.

8) Create a FOMO Free Zone: Perhaps the most important advice I can offer is to honor your social self. Competitive pressure shouldn’t drive your social brand development. Don’t let yourself become obsessed with how other people behave on social channels, or about whether volume or frequency of their activity trumps your own efforts. Whatever your message is, you’ll succeed when you deliver it through your own lens, with your own voice, to an audience that is naturally interested in you. Forget #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

Of course, even with healthy habits, it often feels like we’re networking at the speed of light. But hopefully these tips help you slow the pace a bit, focus on what matters, and generate more energy to fuel your social success.

Do you have tips for reducing stress and improving productivity in the age of social networking? What techniques and tools work for you? Share your ideas in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites

When loss blots out all other light, that’s when the stars around you shine the brightest.

It’s counterintuitive, I know. The times when life is bleakest, what you’ve sown is reaped in the form of torches guiding you through the blackest labyrinth.

This time last year was tough for me, having lost my father in July and then my mother in December. Both were very ill, and it took quite a toll on me, my family, and my world of work. This included my usually dedicated participation in the TalentCulture community and #TChat Events.

There’s a kindhearted warming that can occur in times of desperation and need — like coming in from a freezing rain to thaw in front of a fire, surrounded by supportive family and friends. This reciprocal positive power moves us into lighted places, into rebirth, into healing, into growth, into bettering ourselves so we can better others, in turn. The economics are simple and powerful. Yet, they require transparency, authenticity, trust and love — essential elements that cynics squash like bugs underfoot.

Healing Power: Community To The Rescue

Thank goodness for the light (as we watch the bugs scurry into hiding – or their metamorphosis into believers). This uplifting energy is the heart of community — and the heart of community is you.

We see community spirit at work time and again, when help mobilizes after global disasters, disease, war, and injustice — or simply when we grant a child one magical wish. (Here’s to all Batkids in the world!) It’s okay to get good news once and a while, you know?

TChat_logo_colorAfter this rally from my greater Northern California community last weekend, I was uplifted. And coming on the eve of #TChat’s 3rd anniversary, it reminded me of the mutual support that comes from within our TalentCulture community — through bad times and good.

That’s one of the most powerful aspects of online communities like ours. They spring from the wild, virtual earth, in many different forms. They’re often vibrant and complex, even in their simplicity. Their roots are nurtured by the diverse individuals who come to learn, network, share and support one another around relevant topics, both personal and professional.

That’s what #TChat has become since its founding. The proof is evident after 150 Twitter chats, and 50 radio shows in the past year alone.

The first #TChat occurred on November 16, 2010, and the topic was emotional intelligence, which seems appropriate, since most of the time we try to be self-aware and manage our emotions — whether we agree with one another or not. Trust and mutual positive regard are just as important in our community interactions as they are in the larger world of work.

Best of #TChat

Since then, my favorite #TChat events include all of them. Although it’s tough to choose, I’ll list just 15 here that stand out:

  1. Moving, Schooling, and Finding Your Voice
  2. Community Beginning the Social Revolution
  3. Performance Reviews: Like Bad High School Movies
  4. IRL Networking Is Face-to-Face, not F2F
  5. Freelancers Make Better Business Biscuits
  6. Hobbits, Jedis, Fealty and the World of Work
  7. Getting Workplace Recognition Right
  8. Real Brands Humanize
  9. The Business of Talent: Magic?
  10. Office Space: Work in Progress
  11. Open Leadership: Going Deep
  12. HR Data: What Really Counts?
  13. 101 Ways To Save The Day With A Paperclip
  14. Engagement As Energy: #TChat Lessons From #HRTechConf
  15. Mobile Hiring Hits The Fast Lane

I’m so excited that #TChat continues to break new ground as one of the largest and longest-running online learning and networking communities in the “world of work.” A very special thanks to the thousands of loyal participants who have participated during the past three years.

And a very special thank you to those who keep the weekly wheels of #TChat turning each week:

New To #TChat? We’re Just Getting Started

If you’ve only just discovered #TChat, welcome!

The TalentCulture (#TChat) Community is an open online network of business leaders and innovators, human resource and recruiting executives, organizational development and learning professionals, HR technology vendors, industry consultants, job seekers and more who collectively create, curate, crowd source and share timely “world of work” news and information critical for all professionals to grow and succeed in business today.

And that means you and you and you and you…

What’s your role in the TalentCulture Community? Just as it’s always been since the beginning:

Sharing your real world expertise and candid perspectives.
Actively participating with others in expanding the depth and breadth of your reach.
Contributing as much as you benefit.

The conversation starts…wait for it…here!

This is an exciting milestone for #TChat — and we have all of YOU across our wonderful community to thank. So thank you again. We look forward to moving forward with you all!

Image Credit: Pixabay

#TChat Road Trip: Going To The Next Level Together

There are many possible paths through life and career. Every so often, we’re presented with a decision: Take one path (maybe it’s a new job with an existing employer), or choose another route (maybe it’s an uncharted role at a new company with no clear business model or understanding where it is headed).

More than three years ago, I chose the second path — launching a talent-focused management consulting practice, creating #TChat as a TalentCulture community beacon, and embarking on a life at the crossroads of social media, knowledge sharing and collaboration. And what an incredibly interesting and rewarding journey it has been!

There have been too many high points to mention — the exhilaration of weekly Twitter chats; the roller-coaster dynamics involved with growing a professional online community; the great times Kevin W. Grossman and I have had connecting with many of you at live events — SHRM, HR Demo, Recruiting Trends, HRO Today, HR Tech, HR Evolution and so many others. It’s fun to push the technical limits with experimental “simulcast” chat/radio shows, and other new ways that connect our global community with the best minds and forums in the HR and social media realm.

Along the way, we’ve had the opportunity to meet hundreds of HR practitioners, business leaders and social influencers, both via #TChat and in person. I became a blogger – contributing to many niche blogging communities with whom I’ve been fortunate to forge strong social partnerships. These three years have opened my eyes and heart to new ideas and friendships that have enriched me more than I could have imagined.

Throughout this TalentCulture adventure, I’ve been guided by a vision of community, leadership, learning and innovation in HR. It’s the same today as it was the very first day — everyone is invited and everyone’s unique voice matters. Together, we’re exploring innovative topics – emotional intelligence; collaboration; evolving social and HR technology; the multi-generational workplace and the natural tensions that exist among Boomers, Gen X and Millennials; as well as the role that trust, influence and intent play in today’s most innovative organizations.

We had the courage to take this winding road, to live this social experiment, and we did it without a safety net of financial support. Like many bootstrapped ventures, we lived an online experiment, while sometimes risking our own security during past three years. We became, and are, the #1 and longest running Twitter Chat focused on “The World of Work” in the HR, Leadership, Innovation and Social Business niche. And I am proud of the way we navigated to that destination. This “organic” effort was the right approach. It gave us the freedom to stretch our limits, and really listen to our inner voices — even when others cautioned us that this endeavor was a huge time sink.

I’ve learned a lot during these past three years:

1) Patience.  It takes time to create a community that’s designed to be a metaphor for the social workplace. It takes take time to connect, share, and earn trust. Initiative is imperative — but when relationships are on the line, patience can be even more important.

2) Courage. We didn’t chase after easy money. We stayed with a bootstrapped, organic growth model — and it gave us the freedom to find our true voices and passion. We believed that the community would guide us, even when the road wasn’t clear. And the community has risen to the challenge.

3) Perseverance. It isn’t easy to work 10-20 hours a week or more without compensation. But we stuck to it. We kept showing up. That commitment has made it possible for us to arrive at this third anniversary of #TChat.

4) Engagement Through Trust. Since Day 1, everything we’ve done has focused on engaging with a larger community of HR practitioners, workplace visionaries and leaders. This is a big open tent, filled with people from a vast spectrum of expertise and interests. That’s what makes it such a vibrant, interesting place to be! What makes it possible? Mutual trust. It’s our foundation — and it’s the thing I value most. Above all, we are a community of trust.

5) Learning And Moving On. Through the years, I’ve discovered that growth means leaving some ideas behind. From time-to-time, we need to mix things up, as we continue our mission of serving this eclectic community of practitioners, partners and constant learners.

Change is in the air again, as we look ahead and consider new ways to serve our community’s mission.

This week, which marks #TChat’s third anniversary, presents us with another set of paths. We can continue the community as is, without funding. Or we can embrace a new model that involves careful monetization to fuel additional growth. The second path will give us the financial support we need to add new capabilities for better communication and interaction, integrate new channels for commentary and thought leadership, and create new opportunities to engage with and influence a broader “world of work” for the benefit of all. I’m excited by the challenges these choices present, and I’m eager to move TalentCulture to another level in its growth. But most of all, I’m humbled to lead such an extraordinary community at a time when the very nature of work, itself, is being reinvented.

For three years, we’ve been engaged in an experiment to understand how social innovation can transform work culture, evolve leadership practices, develop trust, and inspire continuous learning. Now, we’re ready to take our first steps toward the next horizon. We hope you’ll join us on that journey. The road ahead may not be entirely clear, but the path is wide, and there’s room for all.

The adventure continues!

Image Credit: Pixabay

What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles

Written by Carter J. Hostelley, CEO, Leadtail

Marketers change jobs a lot. So every few months I hear from someone who’s job hunting again. Typically, we get together to grab coffee and chat about their situation. And at some point, they ask, “Hey, are there any recruiters you’d recommend I talk to?”

Now, imagine you’re an executive recruiter sitting nearby and listening in. Wouldn’t you like to pull up a chair and join our conversation? Sure you would. And maybe you’d also wonder how to influence me, so that I recommended you.

Social Listening Isn’t Enough

These days, you don’t need to hang out at coffee shops to listen in. You can just tap into your favorite social media news feed to discover what’s being discussed and shared at any moment. But pretty quickly you’ll get overwhelmed. Why? Because you don’t know which conversations to join, whom to engage, and how to influence them.

Without context, social listening isn’t helpful. To make social media more relevant and actionable, you need to tune-out ambient noise. In other words, you need to move from social listening to social insights.

Case In Point: How Do Recruiters Engage on Twitter?

Let’s say you’re an executive recruiter who wants to know what other recruiters are up to on social media. Or maybe you work for a company that sells to recruiters. In either case, you’re looking for social insights about recruiting professionals.

That’s exactly what ERE.net asked my company to do recently. So we developed a report: How Recruiters Engage on Twitter. It summarizes how 557 North American recruiters participated, engaged, and were influenced on Twitter, from June-August 2013. During that time, our sample of  recruiters generated 173,903 tweets, 106,343 shared links, and had a total of 1,533,429 followers.

Why look at Twitter activity? Because it’s a good proxy for social media behavior overall, and offers an advantage over other data sources (such as surveys, polls and focus groups), because it reveals what people actually do, versus what they say they do.

Leadtail Chart Social Influence (2)For example, here’s a visual representation of the people who are most retweeted by recruiters we analyzed:

This report also provides other useful social insights, including: most popular hashtags, most shared content sources, and the top 25 industry publications shared by these recruiters.

Best Practices of Top Influencers

Exclusively for this post, we dove even deeper into Twitter activity among the five people who influence recruiters most. They are:

@MeghanMBiro — Meghan Biro, Founder & CEO, TalentCulture
@blogging4jobs — Jessica Merrell, Editor of Blogging4Jobs
@jimstroud — Jim Stroud, Director of Sourcing and Social Strategy, Bernard Hodes Group
@YouTernMark — Mark Babbitt, Founder & CEO, YouTern
@GlenCathey — Glen Cathey, SVP Talent Strategy and Innovation, Kforce

What did we discover by examining the behavior of this elite group?

•  Influencers tweet a LOT. 4 out of 5 of these top influencers tweet 15+ times a day. (Meghan blows them all away, with an average 107 tweets/day!)

•  Influencers develop a “brand” of their own. Each top influencer has a style and focus that’s unique. For instance, @JimStroud focuses on social recruiting and job search strategy, while @GlenCathey’s approach is decidedly more tech-and-data driven.

•  Influencers don’t lean on retweets. All 5 of the top influencers go light on the RT, keeping them to less than 15% of overall tweet volume. Instead, they share lots of links and often mention other folks.

•  Influencers embrace the community. 3 out of 5 of these influencers will most likely follow you back (they follow 70%+ of those who follow them), and 4 out of 5 include an “@” mention in most of their tweets.

•  Influencers tweet with a goal in mind. Whether it’s to get the word out about their next event, to sell their services, or to grow their audience, these folks tweet links that drive traffic to their other online channels (websites, other social media sites, etc.) 10%-50% of the time.

While these “best practices” come from observing the Twitter activity of only 5 key influencers, they also provide insights into how you may want to consider approaching Twitter and social media to boost your influence.

Tips To Increase Your Social Influence

How can you move from social listening to social insights (and perhaps have an impact on the right people)? Here are 5 tips:

•  Listen to your target audience. Who cares what anyone and everyone is saying? Instead, listen to what’s on the minds of customers, prospects, and key influencers.
•  Be where the right conversations are happening. So many social networks, so little time! Invest your efforts in the social platforms where your target audience is active.
•  Talk about relevant topics. What issues, news, and events have captured the attention of the folks you’re looking to engage? Shouldn’t you be talking about that, too?
•  Discover who’s doing the influencing. Which publications and people do your buyers read, share and interact with? Pay attention to who is popular and influential, and how they engage.
•  Work the aisles. Just being present in social media is not enough. You must cultivate relationships with a community that you develop over time. Eventually, you’ll be in a position to influence those who matter most to you.

Now, imagine we’re back in that coffee shop, where you’re listening to my conversation with my marketing colleague. Let’s say you decide to introduce yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if I said, “Thanks for coming over, I actually follow you on Twitter! I love your comments and the content you share.”? That means you’ve done a great job of influencing me, before our conversation even begins!

Now It’s Your Turn

How are you generating social insights today? What strategies have you found successful in becoming more influential on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Carter Hostelley (2)(About the Author: Carter Hostelley is the Founder and CEO of Leadtail, a B2B social media and insights agency. He and his team have developed and implemented social media programs for leading business brands and technology startups including WageWorks, Alcatel-Lucent, Symantec, Adaptive Planning, NetBase, and PunchTab. They also publish periodic social insights reports on senior marketers, HR professionals, and recruiters. These reports have been covered by publications such as: Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, ERE, MarketingProfs, AllTwitter, and Social Times. Carter also has over 15 years experience working with venture-backed technology startups in numerous executive roles, and is a contributing author at CMSWire. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.)

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome for events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

We're Turning Three! Let's Celebrate Community #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for complete highlights and reference links for the week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: Going Social: Learning In Action.)

What does #TChat mean to you?

To me, it’s so much more than metrics. But the numbers do tell a story of their own…

#TChat By The Numbers

3 years
100+ radio shows and hangout video interviews
150+ high-intensity Twitter chats
550+ blog posts
1 simple goal

Those of us who plan and produce #TChat social learning forums hope that TalentCulture community events educate, energize and enrich everyone who participates. We’re grateful for your involvement — which educates, energizes and enriches us all, in return.

This metaphor for the social workplace isn’t just a random fluke of Twitter nature. It’s an intentional human exchange that continuously flows and shifts in ways that are now bigger than the sum of its parts. Still, each of us is an essential element — with a unique voice that adds depth and texture to the fabric of our talent-minded “tribe.”

#TChat Turns Three: Learning Through Community

So, during this 3rd Anniversary #TChat week, let your voice be heard. Let’s gather on social channels to celebrate the individual, mutual and collective growth that every community of purpose strives to achieve.

Ambrosia Humphrey Hootsuite

This week’s #TChat guest, Ambrosia Humphrey

Who better to help us celebrate the value of digital learning communities and collaboration than a valued friend of #TChat, who is also an expert at social media strategies in the world of work?

Our guest this week is Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite! Team Hootsuite will be celebrating along with us as well. Social engagement in action.

As a special treat for this week’s “sneak peek” video, we asked our own Community Manager, Tim McDonald, to compare notes with Kevin W. Grossman about the meaning and value of #TChat. The resulting video is a delightful journey into the minds and hearts of two men who are walking examples of community spirit! Watch the hangout now:

Share Your #TChat Story! The Conversation Starts Here

Tim and Kevin aren’t the only ones who are talking about TalentCulture’s role in their professional and personal lives. We’re gathering a collection of quotes and videos from all over the community landscape, and sharing that feedback on #TChat Twitter and other social channels this week.

We’re also launching a special “Buzz!” page right here at TalentCulture.com, to highlight community comments now and in the future. We invite you to share your thoughts — in whatever form you wish.

So, please join this week’s conversation about the power of social learning communities, and tell us what this particular community means to you. The #TChat channel is always “on” and everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way is most beneficial for you. Don’t be shy!

#TChat Events: Online Communities And Professional Growth

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 20 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Ambrosia Humphrey about the evolution of social communities in the world of work — and the road ahead. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 20 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What are the key ingredients for online learning communities? Why?
Q2: Why do you participate in Twitter chats like #TChat?
Q3: How can organizations capture learning community magic internally?
Q4: What’s the future of Twitter chats in building communities?
Q5: What topics would you like #TChat to explore in 2014?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for complete highlights and reference links for the week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: Going Social: Learning In Action.)

What does #TChat mean to you?

To me, it’s so much more than metrics. But the numbers do tell a story of their own…

#TChat By The Numbers

3 years
100+ radio shows and hangout video interviews
150+ high-intensity Twitter chats
550+ blog posts
1 simple goal

Those of us who plan and produce #TChat social learning forums hope that TalentCulture community events educate, energize and enrich everyone who participates. We’re grateful for your involvement — which educates, energizes and enriches us all, in return.

This metaphor for the social workplace isn’t just a random fluke of Twitter nature. It’s an intentional human exchange that continuously flows and shifts in ways that are now bigger than the sum of its parts. Still, each of us is an essential element — with a unique voice that adds depth and texture to the fabric of our talent-minded “tribe.”

#TChat Turns Three: Learning Through Community

So, during this 3rd Anniversary #TChat week, let your voice be heard. Let’s gather on social channels to celebrate the individual, mutual and collective growth that every community of purpose strives to achieve.

Ambrosia Humphrey Hootsuite

This week’s #TChat guest, Ambrosia Humphrey

Who better to help us celebrate the value of digital learning communities and collaboration than a valued friend of #TChat, who is also an expert at social media strategies in the world of work?

Our guest this week is Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite! Team Hootsuite will be celebrating along with us as well. Social engagement in action.

As a special treat for this week’s “sneak peek” video, we asked our own Community Manager, Tim McDonald, to compare notes with Kevin W. Grossman about the meaning and value of #TChat. The resulting video is a delightful journey into the minds and hearts of two men who are walking examples of community spirit! Watch the hangout now:

Share Your #TChat Story! The Conversation Starts Here

Tim and Kevin aren’t the only ones who are talking about TalentCulture’s role in their professional and personal lives. We’re gathering a collection of quotes and videos from all over the community landscape, and sharing that feedback on #TChat Twitter and other social channels this week.

We’re also launching a special “Buzz!” page right here at TalentCulture.com, to highlight community comments now and in the future. We invite you to share your thoughts — in whatever form you wish.

So, please join this week’s conversation about the power of social learning communities, and tell us what this particular community means to you. The #TChat channel is always “on” and everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way is most beneficial for you. Don’t be shy!

#TChat Events: Online Communities And Professional Growth

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 20 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Ambrosia Humphrey about the evolution of social communities in the world of work — and the road ahead. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 20 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What are the key ingredients for online learning communities? Why?
Q2: Why do you participate in Twitter chats like #TChat?
Q3: How can organizations capture learning community magic internally?
Q4: What’s the future of Twitter chats in building communities?
Q5: What topics would you like #TChat to explore in 2014?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

Forbes Picks TalentCulture As A Top Career Site: 3 Reasons Why It Matters

“The people to get even with are those who’ve helped you.”
–J.E. Southard

Today it’s time for us to “get even” by expressing deep gratitude! Why? Because Forbes.com has selected TalentCulture as one of “100 Top Websites For Your Career.” Of course we’re thrilled — and not just for all the obvious reasons. So, in the spirit of lists everywhere, here are our 3 Reasons Why This Forbes List Matters:

1) It Matters For Our Mission

By including us, Forbes is acknowledging the rise of crowdsourcing and virtual communities of practice in today’s social business world. And, if you consider the breadth and caliber of the company we’re keeping, it truly is an honor to be featured.

2) It Matters To Others In The World Of Work

On this list, everyone is a winner because there are no rankings. Instead, as Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith notes:

“Our goal was to assemble a comprehensive guide to smart and engaging…online destinations for interns, job seekers, business owners, established professionals, retirees, and anyone else looking to launch, improve, advance, or change his or her career.”

forbes-logoForbes has developed a highly eclectic mix of sites. It’s not just about wildly popular social platforms like Twitter; professional networking sites like LinkedIn; job boards like CareerBuilder; and reference sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forbes actually adds meat to those big bones with niche services like CareerBliss and PayScale, as well as informational sites like Lindsey Pollak and Jobacle.

However, for us, the most exciting sites on the list are the many valued friends, partners and participants in our TalentCulture community. For example:

Blogging4Jobs by Jessica Miller-Merrell
Brazen Life by Brazen Careerest
Come Recommended by Heather Huhman
Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter
The Office Blend by Dr. Marla Gottschalk
Tweak It Together by Cali Yost
WorkLifeNation by Judy Martin
YouTern by Mark Babbitt

3) We Hope It Matters To You

Most importantly, this recognition is a positive reflection on each of you — the tens-of-thousands of monthly visitors who rely upon TalentCulture as a resource for helpful “world of work” ideas, insights, connections and conversations with professional peers.

This milestone is also an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the hundreds of community participants who, for nearly 4 years have generously developed blog content, appeared as guests on our #TChat Radio shows, participated in our popular #TChat Twitter events, and shared knowledge and peer support continuously on our social media channels.

TalentCulture exists only because of the time, effort and skill that each of you contribute. That’s the beauty of community. This isn’t merely a “website.” This is a reflection of a continuous collaborative process that our founder, Meghan M. Biro, calls a “metaphor for the social workplace.”

Truly, in this case, we could not have done this with out you. So thanks to you all! And congratulations on what you’ve helped us create. Stay tuned to this site — and let’s see where our living learning laboratory will take us next!

Image Credit: redagainPatti at flickr

 

Recruiters On Twitter: Rise of "Coffee Talk" Learning

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.

ERE_Recruiters_MeghanMBiro

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.)

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!

Mona Berberich2(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

Recruiters On Twitter: Rise of “Coffee Talk” Learning

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.

ERE_Recruiters_MeghanMBiro

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.)

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!

Mona Berberich2(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

Community Paradigm: It's All About YOU!

The Fact of the Matter

Every community develops their own definition of what matters. For some communities,  it’s motivated by a shared interest or a commitment to a specific change. For others, it’s professional best practices that can create a unified purpose. Some communities are even defined solely by the outcome of their environment stemming from completely circumstantial situations such as geography or an unforeseen event.

When it comes to TalentCulture, relevance is not merely the static entity of a group of people who associate themselves with the World of Work.  TalentCulture is a space to recognize and redesign; an evolving space that is given shape by the very people who fill it with their experiences, knowledge and stories. It’s the tale of two cultures – individual and organization, coming together to form one powerful voice. What matters to TalentCulture, is the community itself – what matters is YOU.

The 3 C’s of Comm“you”nity

  1. Connection – When Steve Jobs joined Pixar, he actually joined Pixar by bringing all functions of staff together into the same physical space. This decision empowered people to connect with themselves to cultivate the confidence to do something differently as well as each other to spark remarkable success. The redefinition of the workplace resulted in removing the “bull” and leaving the pen so people could draw better conclusions, literally.
  2. Creation – The Olympics are coming in July and with it the anticipation of the opening ceremonies. The world is waiting to catch a glimpse of the spectacle that has dazzled for literally hundreds of years. It’s a remarkable example of how the collective creates something more innovative and influential than the individual and how we love it.
  3. Crowdsourcing – The new paradigm in community engagement is what I call “The YOU Paradigm”; where the crowd initiates and generates meaningful consensus through an organization sanctioned play-for-performance model. In this model, thought leadership emerges as collective and open source intelligence ignited by four simple words – What Do YOU Think?

Every week we put YOU front and center. The community, quite simply, is what moves TalentCulture front and center. It’s what keeps people coming back every Wednesday and has vendors using the #TChat hashtag on twitter to get YOUR attention. So tell us: What do YOU think?


Mental Acceleration, Crowdsourcing and Online Chats

Editor’s Note: Dave Ryan is one of the most dedicated #TChat members. Every week, as the tweets fly by and the twitter stream becomes ever harder to keep up with, we see one or two people ask desperately, what is #TChat? They see the hashtag but don’t quite get it. So from one of our earliest and most helpful members, here’s a break down on why #TChat is important and some fun ways to participate.
I have become an avid particpant in the TalentCulture (a.k.a. #TChat) chat – and I think you should join #TChat as well. #TChat is quite simply a conversation online about a pre-determined topic. Every Monday, new questions are posted (along with helpful links and resources) for #TChat, which happens Wednesday nights at 6 CST.
If you have done an online twitter chat, you will understand what I am about to say. For those of you who have not followed a twitter chat you try it. Twitter chats are mentally invigorating. The online chat makes the particpants work, really work, to keep up. The streams are sometime so fast or full that they can shut down, or severly throttle down your twitter feed.

Participating in an online chat will also drive many folks to look at alternative ways to view twitter feeds. Whether it is tweetdeck, seesmic, hootsuite or twubs there are many alternative ways to follow the streams. When I particpate in the TChat chats, I follow the stream on one computer, and then tweet on a different computer. Yeah I use two computers to do an online chat – I know – can you say geek? Try it, it works. But seriously, enhancing your technical skills is just one of the benefits of participating in a twitter chat.

Another benefit is touching on all aspects of the job we do. TalentCulture, the group that runs #TChat, has a tagline: World At Work. This means, that while I might be an HR Generalist and you might be a Social Recruiting Expert or Compliance Pro, we have a chance to catch a glimpse into each other’s professional worlds. In fact, we can even help one another solve thorny issues on #TChat! Like all chats, #TChat helps us hone our acceleration skills. This is how fast you can ramp up to an issue, a conversation and dive in, without causing any waves, a skill that is becoming more and more essential. Life, business, technology are all accelerating and we all must keep up. I find the online chat a way to improve this skill.

Now what I have talked about to this point is really generic to all online chats, but now I want to talk about tchat, its founders, hosts and participants. #TChat is the brain child of Kevin Grossman and Meghan Biro a couple of highly respected, well-versed leaders in Human Resources. With their efforts, Kevin and Meghan have created a great event and developed a tremendous following (the participants). To me, the participants are also a huge part of any on-line chat.
Time is a precious commodity, and how people spend their time is one measure of value.

#TChat has an impressive list of regular participants and supporters, I am not going to play the name game and run down the list, but there are many HR thought leaders who make it a point to participate. The relationship between chatters flourish during the chat and many have gone on to create off-line professional relationships. The community builds during the chat. After the chat, we toss some accolades at one another. We also review what was said, and what we all learned from the hour-long escapade.

TChat is envigorating, mentally-stimulating, thought-provoking, and just plain entertaining. I am proud to be part of this community. Join us and we will see you on the tweet stream.

Collaborative Communication Car Pool Fast Lane: #TChat Recap

I got the invite to chill with someone. And that’s when it hit me: there’s just too much information, too many content curation tools, too many sharing tools, too many communications tools that don’t really help me communicate. Whirlwind. Zoom. Zis-boom-ba. Turn the fire hose off and get me a real drink.

Sure, early adopters are compelled by their very nature to keep the fire hose on their hip next to their smart phones — like six-shooters ready for action. We want to experiment with innovative ideas, build on them and launch our own.

But do we really need this much action and interaction? Or is it creating a lack thereof? For me personally, I probably experimented with over 10 new “communications” tools in 2011, 9 of which I’ll never use again. I’m sure there are dozens more I’ve never even heard of.

When you ask the question, “How many communication tools/services do you use daily both in business and pleasure?,” my answer is, “Too many and not well enough.” I would argue that’s the case for most of us — tasting and playing and using less than 5%-10% of the communications tool capacity no better than an email see-saw. New and old services alike need utilization that sticks, because if you don’t use it regularly, you kill it, and that’s not what the founders of new tools want to hear. That’s why it’s highly subjective and contextual, finding the right daily communication tools that help move life along and not hinder it.

Facebook doesn’t have to worry about that. Neither does Twitter or LinkedIn. But all are anchored in email, the long-standing messy message moving tool. Not a communications tool, a messy message moving tool. The novelty wore off for me in the early 1990s when I worked at San Jose State University and we used email to push messages back and forth. Because it was fun and we could do it. Woot.

Have you ever tried to have a collaborative conversation via email? I know you have. It’s painfully disruptive and a time sink. Back and forth. Wait. Back and forth. Wait. Back and forth.

Hold the friggin’ phone. Literally — hold the phone and call me. It’s easier that way and more productive. Three others that I’ve found for all my iterative work worlds are Yammer and Skype and SocialEars. I’m sure you have your favorites as well. If you’re in a bigger company, your HR software might even have social communication functionality.

Let’s kill email like I want to kill the resume. Please. And no, I’m not a big texter either since I always text in complete English sentences like critical thinking homies. Word.

The good news is that the #TChat collaborative communication car pool fast lane is one that has remained open for over a year now, and the sharing and comparing and contrasting and venting and networking and catching up every week about all things world of work has made the information superhighway a little easier to traverse.

Then again, another value of virtual collaboration and online communication is that I can turn it off and actually get some real creative work done.

Don’t look at me that way. Get back to work. We’ve got communication innovations to invent.

***

Thank you to everyone who joined us last night! Welcome to 2012 #TChat! If you missed the preview, you can read it here.

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#TChat Communication Tools: You Can't Use Them ALL

What’s your morning communications, social media routine like? Mine’s getting more complicated every day. Personally, just email requires checking at least three accounts on three devices. At least one is Gmail, so I green-light Gmail chat and also Google+. Then it’s on to open a Skype window – many clients, friends reach me through Skype instant message. And to make sure I’m truly open, AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger are active, too. They’re a bit old-school, but a few of my clients still use them, so it’s not really negotiable in my world.  Then it’s on to Yammer to check up on the latest and greatest with my teams.

Twitter comes next. Hootsuite, Old School “regular” Twitter, and TweetChat  helps me monitor multiple Twitter streams and also makes it simple to cross-populate Facebook and LinkedIn with content. Another communications tool I’ve been checking out is the open-source Trillian, which automates the  management of multiple chat clients on both desktop and phone.

When it comes to corporate communications, it’s a whole new ball of wax, Facebook page admins, several WordPress log-ins, all the email and communications platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber and more. There are even ways to communicate via song (Spotify) and visual interest (Pinterest). Granted, not all of these apply to professionalism, but in our connected world, they sure do influence it.

The new tools can also be overwhelming; it’s a matter of choosing and experimenting. But when do we finally just pick and stop experimenting? What works best for workplace collaboration and productivity? Do you stop communicating? Ever?

Actually, no. Facebook is saved for stolen moments between calls and meetings on my end. I’m trying to use it more frequently, and in a way that does not make my friends have to deal with all my tweets (always a work in progress). Let’s not forget Facebook messaging – again, I’m trying to make it work into my weekly routine. And LinkedIn – the ole social standby – is a great business communications tool, so there’s always a browser tab open for it. Mind you, this is all before my first cup of coffee.

Does your social blend in a way that feels comfortable and consistent yet? Do you sense a theme emerging here? I think many people are trying to determine the very best way to manage communications tools both for  business and for pleasure.

The irony: in this flurry of activity, there hasn’t been  a single F2F social interaction, not even a cat sitting on the keyboard. Over the past year, actual live phone conversations have dropped off a tad. I’ve been making a point to schedule more meetings in person and to call people via Skype, Google Voice, or cell. Sometimes there is simply no time for in-person meetings. I live my business and social life, increasingly, in the world of social media. Some days it doesn’t seem healthy. Some days it feels just right. Some days I wonder how I ever existed without it. Some days I long for more IRL “In Real Life” contact with people.

In this week’s TalentCulture World of Work #TChat – brought to you through the wonders of social media, of course – we’re looking at the good, the bad and the ugly of social communication and workplace collaboration tools. The beauty of  Twitter Chats are clear – hundreds of people worldwide can have a discussion in real time, regardless of physical location – but it’s not clear which other social and workplace communications tools deliver a similar value.

And we have a hashtag where people can show up and share content, insight and fun with us 24.7. It’s become a unique online community and we look forward to continuing the conversation this year. We are going with the connection flow and enjoying every moment.

So let’s come together to explore which communications tools add value and which merely distract us from being productive. Because you can’t use them all. Or can you? Join us Wednesday night on #TChat The World of Work January 18th from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 CT, 4-5 pm PT), where social media and communication topics are in the hot seat. Join meKevin GrossmanMaren Hogan, Sean Charles and Kyle Lagunas for a very special #TChat.

Questions we’ll be discussing this week are here:

 

 

Leadership and New World of Work: #TChat Preview

Written by Matt Charney, Originally posted on MonsterThinking.com

Leadership is one of those soft skills, like “excellent communicator” or “team player,” which lies, almost exclusively, as it were, in the eyes of the beholder.  Simply defining the term, and its impact on organizations, is an inherently subjective exercise.

After all, we like leaders who like us, and we’re attracted to leaders who are like us.  So therein lies one of the biggest dilemmas of discussing leadership: leaders are defined not by their actions, but by the perceptions of those their actions effect.

And for leaders, the act of managing these often competing perceptions, public and personal, while building consensus, often detracts from or eliminates their ability to effectively, well, lead.

In today’s world of work, this need to manage perception and brand, both personal and professional, has led to a veritable cottage industry of consultants and gurus, training programs and certifications devoted to leadership theory, practice and development.

But ultimately, leadership isn’t a product that can be sold; it’s a characteristic that must be earned.  And the leaders of today face unique challenges, struggling with a widespread lack of confidence by investors and employees, besieged with the twin burdens of internal expectations and external scrutiny.

Throw emerging technologies into the mix and it becomes clear that the more visible a leader becomes, the larger a target they become for the slings and arrows of social media, barbs from bloggers and digs from disgruntled employees.

To combat this, there seems to be an increasing trend to transform company culture into, effectively, a cult of personality.  This means many leaders today are more preoccupied with lapping up the limelight and crowd sourcing for consensus than making tough, often unpopular decisions that, while benefiting their business, might come at the expense of their personal brands.

As the two become increasingly inextricable, however, this obviously becomes a difficult, if not impossible, decision to make.  But as we learned in high school, leadership isn’t a popularity contest.

Having the courage to stand up and make the kind of imperative decisions that may well be decidedly unpopular, which, as we also learned in high school, is often what happens when one makes the right choice, is the toughest, and most important, test any leader can face.

#TChat Questions & Recommended Reading (09.21.11)

We hope you can join us Wednesday, September 21 at 7-8 PM ET as we go beyond the buzzwords to explore the ways that dynamic changes in technology, the economy and, most importantly, expectations affect not only leaders, but the organizations, and employees, they lead.

Here’s a preview of the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some recommended reading that, while not mandatory, should help prepare – and inform – your involvement in this week’s #TChat conversation: “The Evolution of Management: Leadership and the New World of Work.”

Q1)      What role do leaders play in driving innovation?  Collaboration?

Read: How Collaborative Leadership Sparks Competitive Advantage by Kevin W. Grossman

Q2)      What makes someone a “leader?”  Is this a matter of role/responsibility or perception?

Read: Why Leadership is Not A Bullet Point by David Ginchansky

Q3)      Which matters most for leaders: education, experience or emotional intelligence?

Read: Leading With the Heart – And A Dash of Emotional Intelligence by Meghan M. Biro

Q4)      What can organizations do better to hire and develop future leaders?

Read: The 5 Tools of Leadership Excellence: Spotting & Screening Future Leaders by Dr. Daniel Crosby

Q5)      What role does social media and technology play in determining leadership efficacy?

Read: Should Leaders Embrace Social Media? by China Gorman

Q6)      How is leadership evolving, if at all?  What does the future of leadership look like in 5 years?  10?

Read: And the Young Will Lead: Management Skills for Gen Y & Millennials by Malcolm Fleschner

 

We’ll be joining the conversation at our new time this Wednesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works.

Speaking Socially, What Is Influence? #TChat Preview

Written by Crystal Miller

Just for kicks, I keep a running list of “industry buzzwords” that make me laugh (or groan) because they are often misunderstood on the application level.  “Influence,” especially as it relates to the world of #SocialMedia, has long since been on my list.  “WHAT IS INFLUENCE?”

If you asked my 14-year-old, she’d answer that influence pretty much comes with popularity.  Come to think of it, in the compulsory school setting, that’s probably true… but in the World of Work, we navigate different jungle gyms than the ones we did during our earlier education. .. Don‘t we?  While who you know, who you spend your time with and how you’re perceived certainly still holds influential relevance; what you contribute, do, and can do for others become primary factors in achieving influence… offline & in a social media setting.   Social media influence tools such as Klout, SocialIQ, and Booshaka seem to back this up… but, as with any system, if it can be ‘gamed,’ can it be fully trusted?

When you do achieve ‘influence,’  what does it do for you, anyway??  In the World of Work it’s generally accepted that influence opens doors, strengthens relationships, and builds credibility.  People tend to trust the recommendation of their friends over the advertisement they saw during the Superbowl; no matter how catchy it might be.  Facebook took that concept all the way to the bank with their “Like” thumbs-up; and now we can tumbl, stumble, and +1 any article, brand, business, or product that catches our eye.

Of course, just as Uncle Ben explained to Peter Parker in Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Influence is, to a degree, power – so those who wield it do face the potential landmine of dealing with the responsibility that goes along with it.  In the world of Social, this often means promoting the causes and agendas of others.  This is not an inherently bad thing; but it does require the ability to balance those requests with our own needs & work.  Actually, that statement probably applies to the world of Social Media in general.  To gain and keep “social influence” online requires a time investment that must be balanced against our business and personal objectives/responsibilities; yet another potential landmine to navigate.  Yes, the connections & engaging conversations you have online may drive up your Social IQ score – but that’s going to be of little comfort if you lose your paycheck in the process… so know your end-goal objectives going in.

This week, we’ll be looking at what social “Influence” really means and how important is it within the World of Work?  Join us in our conversation TONIGHT 9/14 with our moderator @MeghanMBiro, along with Co-Hosts @KevinWGrossman and @TheOneCrystal  from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @TalentCulture and @Monster_Works as we explore how we go about being ‘professionally influential’ and all that goes with it… plus, we’ll take a peek at social influence meters like Klout, too!

Questions & Recommended Reading for the #TChat Discussion:

1.       What does “influence” mean to you?    Does it matter?

Read:  “Measuring Influence is About More Than Boosting Your Ego” on Klout by Joe Fernandez

 2.       What goes into creating influence?  How does one become ‘influential?’

Read:  “Outside-the-Box Engagement Tools” on WeKnowNext by Matt Charney

Read: “The One Essential Key to Developing Your Social Media Influence” on Social Media Today by Joshua Leatherman

 3.       What are some of the most significant ways “influence” impacts the world of work?

Read:  “How Social Influence Impacts Consumer Behavior”  by David, Search Engine Marketing Group

 4.       Are there any potential downsides or landmines associated with having influence?

Read:  “What are Pros & Cons of Social Media Marketing” on Social Media Today by Matt Ambrose

5.       Do current tools like Klout accurately reflect influence?  Can “influence” be quantified in the first place?

Read:  “Is Klout a Good Judge of Your Social Media Influence”  on Social Media Examiner by Elijah Young

6.       What impact does social media and emerging technologies have on our perceptions of influence or influencing our behaviors?

Read:  “Quality vs. Quantity Online Relationships” on PullNotPush by Justin Cambria

If Work isn't Fun, You're Doing it Wrong: #TChat Recap

Also known by the less fun title of:  The Business Heresy of Uninterrupted Power Supplies….

Are we having fun yet?

On Tuesday of this week at the fourth annual National Clean Energy Summit, Vice President Joe Biden said, “Our country has a choice — what kind of country are we going to be? Are we going to rise to the challenges, like our grandfathers and grandmothers did? Or are we going to be a follower? It’s sad that we’re having this debate [about investing in clean tech initiatives] — in the past America has always led.”

And then a day later, in the heart of innovation-leading Silicon Valley, solar panel manufacturer Solyndra shut its doors and laid off all 1,100 of its employees, without any severance packages. This isn’t a political post either way; fierce global competition continues to knock the wind out of manufacturing in this country, and losing money on every solar panel you sell isn’t the way to stay in business, regardless of how much investment you’ve received.

In the past America has always led…

There are times when it’s hard for me to listen to the passionate Zappos social media hippie lovefest of culture-centric companies that focus on the customer and strive to create an emotional connection between product/service and consumer.

[Chuckle] Hey, if it isn’t fun, you’re doing it wrong. Tell that to the millions of professionals out of work and scrambling to reinvent their relevancy in a world looking more and more like the surface of Mars.

However, there is life on Mars. According to the latest ADP jobs report, 91,000 new private sector jobs were created in August. It won’t move the unemployment needle, but there’s still a heartbeat out there. The ADP report said the majority of the job gains in August came from small business. Employers with under 50 workers added 58,000 jobs.

Thankfully many of us are reinventing our relevancy; sparks of innovation are flying all over the world like lighting bugs at dusk. The new lovefest of business leaders are helping to rebuild a world where culture and human connectivity are queen, and recombined business models of sustainability are being applied to industries new and old.

Of course not everyone’s going to make it. Businesses will fail and the lights will go out. Those that do keep the power on want self-powered and empowered employees who help drive the business from the top down, the bottom up and side to side like power lines stretched from here to…

Mars maybe. Or at least the UK, since Borri UPS Systems starting following me on Twitter today, manufacturer and distributor of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

We can use more of that business heresy.

A very special thank you to 12 Most for being our special guests last night, including Ted Coine, Chris Westfall, Sean McGinnis, Steve Woodruff, Anthony Iannarino and Daniel Newman. 12 Most is a business and social media blogger collective of amazing credentials and savvy. And thank you to our very own Matt Charney for rounding out the special guest list as well.

You can catch the #TChat precap here as well as relive last night’s 2nd #TChat Radio show, The Realities of Business Heresy.

The #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by @MeghanMBiro @KevinWGrossman and powered by our friends and partners @TalentCulture @Monster_WORKS @MonsterCareers and of course @Focus.

Twitter Chats Reveal the Future of Online Communities

Written by Omowale Casselle

Recently, I have been paying a lot of attention to different chats that happen on Twitter. Quite honestly, these community focused discussions are extremely interesting to me because of what I believe they reveal about the future characteristics of online communities. (If you’re a regular here at TalentCulture, you probably have participated in this community’s popular Wednesday evening #TChats. If not, I recommend you do!)

Collective vs. Individual Ownership

  • While there is usually someone who has come up with the initial idea for a hashtag, by and large it is owned by the community of participants. No one can trademark or copyright a hashtag. Also, the social nature of the platform makes it difficult to prevent anyone from using it.  This collective group ownership is a valuable element of future online communities. When people feel ownership, they become careful stewards of what has been created.  In many ways, they are so in love with their experience that they refuse for others to destroy what has been built. As a result, you will often find community members passionately maintaining community norms.

Participation varies and depends on interest/expertise/willingness to share

  • In online communities there has always been a distribution of participation. With hashtags, there are additional ways to foster participation. For example, even if you are too shy to speak; one can simply re-tweet something that they find especially valuable or interesting.  By lowering the barriers of participation, more people are drawn in which is the key to utilizing the collective knowledge of the community.

Many of the most popular are based on niche topics with the core value proposition being the opportunity to learn more

  • Many hashtags are first and foremost an opportunity for others to learn about an area of interest.  This shift away from self-gratification towards mutual gratification is one that I think is especially exciting about these communities.  Instead of people hoarding knowledge, hashtag chats give participants an opportunity to share their learnings with others. In the process, valuable social capital is earned which gives people with key insights increased hierarchy within the online community.

Heavily focused on crowdsourcing (Moderator asks questions and variety of people weigh in on the subject, the most popular or well received answers are typically re-tweeted)

  • Many hashtag chats are loosely organized around the topic of a few questions with the community being asked to respond based on what they think.  Within this dynamic, community participants can ask burning questions that are on their mind around the subject of interest.  This simultaneous loose and rigid structure is especially appealing to participants.  In addition, the real-time nature of the communication channel enables moderators and community members to key in on subjects that are of great interest.  This helps keep the interest of community members and keeps them coming back each week to learn more about a specific topic.

While these trends are just developing, it will be interesting to see how they evolve to become what I believe will be the foundation of successful online communities moving forward.  This represents a shift from the closed model that many web 1.0 communities were based upon.

Remember, the model that forced you to register for a site to figure out if the community was interesting.  Once you realized it wasn’t, they already had your email address to spam you with.  No longer! In this new dynamic, you have to show your worth in the open community before people will even give you a chance to move into a closed, intimate relationship.

This dynamic is especially crucial for employers who are seeking to engage with prospective candidates to master. By moderating online discussions around subjects related to their industry, company, or individual opportunities, employers can create a dynamic recruiting environment that will be irresistible to candidates.

The Future of Web Technology: Nice to Meet You, Web 3.0

As a digital native, I grew up with the web. And by that I don’t mean I just grew up with Internet access, though that’s true. I mean the Web and I grew up together. See, I was just old enough to start using a computer when the Internet hit mainstream America. Since then, it’s amazing to see how much we’ve both changed, and how difficult it is to notice those changes when we see each other every single day.

You have probably heard the terms Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Web 2.0 has been a hot topic of discussion with the emergence of social media. But what exactly does it mean?

You may remember the Internet in the mid-1990s. It was awful. Most companies had no understanding of how to use the Internet for their business, so they simply posted the same broadcast-style messaging found on brochure ware. That’s what we refer to as Web 1.0.

The term Web 2.0 emerged in 1999 when engineer Darcy DiNucci described an imminent shift in Internet history from static “screenfuls” to two-way communication portals. During the Web 2.0 era, web sites became much more interactive, soliciting input from the user and granting her the ability to publish her own writing, pictures, videos and more. Today, Web 2.0 is often synonymous with “social media.”

Now, we’re on the brink of Web 3.0. It’s a new chapter in the history of the Internet brought on by three distinct characteristics:

1. App-based Computing

Odds are you may hardly ever visit your favorite websites. Instead you probably access the content from those sties through an application or independent program. These applications can be mobile (for the 250 million people accessing Facebook on their phones), desktop-based (for the 20+ million people using Tweetdeck to access Twitter) or both (for the 10 million Evernote users who access their notes on multiple platforms). The web still has its time and place. However, custom computer programs often provide a better user experience. Read Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff’s famous Wired Magazine article on the death of the “web.”

2. Internet Everywhere

Smartphones will be in the hands of the majority of American mobile subscribers by the end of this year, and almost all of those phones will have 3G or 4G access. That means they will carry the Internet with them in their pockets. Having Internet everywhere means the way we use the Internet will change. A mobile device doesn’t lend itself to full web browsing very well. Many companies are designing watered down versions of their websites formatted for mobile devices. People use mobile web more to “check” their digital lives than to live them.

3. Open Source Technology

You might have noticed alternative login methods popping up all over the web asking you to log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, foursquare or Yahoo. If you dare to click one of those buttons, you’ll find the website your on has the ability to pull in information you’ve entered into another service. This development is made possible through application programming interfaces (APIs), which allow one piece of software to communicate openly with another piece of software. Many software companies now offer APIs so that third party developers can innovate on top of their existing technology. Right now, I feel there are serious conversation fragmenting problems in consumer technology. I can’t even begin to attempt to count the number of places I send and receive messages. My hope is that APIs help to solve that problem.

Eventually the future of the web will take us toward augmented reality, but we’re far from that now. What other indicators do you look for to imply we’re moving into the next era of the web?

IMAGE VIA Wolf Gang

Ten Ways to Kill Your Twitter Brand

Twitter is a powerful social networking tool that helps you brand yourself and grow your own community of followers. Just as with any professional or social network, everything you do on Twitter can have a positive or negative impact on you, your personal brand and your reputation.

Whether you’ve been tweeting for a while or are just getting started, protect your Twitter brand by avoiding these 10 fatal Twitter personal branding mistakes:

1) Mixing Business and Pleasure

If you are on Twitter with the objective of building your personal brand for career advancement, focus more on tweets you would feel comfortable sharing with an employer.  This doesn’t mean you can’t tweet anything personal.  I simply suggest you create a separate profile for your social life so not to confuse and/or turn off either group of followers.

2) Spamming

One of the top reasons people lose followers on Twitter is that they over-promote themselves, their businesses, their blogs and/or their offerings.  Always maintain the 80/20 balance in your contributions: 80% of your tweets should be free and value-added and the remaining 20% can be more self-serving in nature.

3) Not Helping Your Network

Helping others, whether it be promoting their efforts, re-tweeting their content, sharing a valuable resource with them or answering a question they have posted, can earn you a loyal following and help build your network.  As a Twitter rule of thumb, always make sure to give more than you receive.

4) Not Tweeting Enough

It is estimated that over a quarter of all Twitter accounts are inactive.  If you are inactive or infrequent in your Twitter contributions and activity, it is going to be very apparent to any potential followers and/or network contacts. Be sure to invest some time and energy into your account and tweet on a regular basis so to engage and build a network of followers.

5) Forgetting a Personal Avatar

In today’s digital world, it is even more important to get the people out from behind the profiles.  Skip the business logo and make sure that you include your own personal photo as your avatar so potential followers can see who they are interacting with.

6) Wasting Your Real Estate

Your Twitter profile offers you a lot of real estate that you can leverage to promote yourself, your profiles, your blog and more.  First, make sure to include a personal bio or summary and site or profile link in your profile sidebar.  Also, don’t forget to create a personalized background.  This can include a personal photo, your business logo, as well as business, personal and/or contact information and links.

7) Following Everyone Under the Twitter Sun

While building your network does involve you following other Twitter users, it comes across desperate and less professional when you have thousands of followees, but much fewer followers.  Be patient in your network building and avoid letting the number of your followees overtake the number of your followers.

8 ) Plagiarizing

Don’t take credit for a tweet or idea that isn’t your own.  While it technically isn’t a crime, it isn’t right or professional, won’t build a good relationship with the originator and may hurt your brand if your current and potential followers were to find out.  Whenever you are sharing something with your followers that you are sourcing from someone else, be sure to add an “RT” at the beginning to show that you are re-tweeting it and/or include @JohnSmith at the end to give credit to the originator.

9) Only Re-Tweeting

Re-tweeting others’ tweets and links can help you build stronger relationships with your followers and with others within the Twitter universe; however, make sure that you contribute your own POV and your thoughts, opinions and resources and are not guilty of solely re-tweeting everyone else’s.  You won’t build your brand as a thought leader if you don’t have any thoughts of your own.

10) Not Creating a Dialogue

Obviously, to be active on Twitter, you have to start tweeting.  However, to be truly effective on Twitter, you must go beyond your own tweets and engage others in two-way conversation.  This can be down by asking questions of your followers and answering those they post, initiating or participating in Twitter chats and responding promptly to any direct messages or @ messages sent to you.

Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.

Social Media Meets Lightning Workplace Learning: #TChat Recap

Two camps.

One that digs social media as THE engine driving recruiting, learning and organizational development.

And the other that does not.

That was pretty clear during last night’s #TChat about social media in the workplace.  Some of you may have tired of the social conversation, but many of us have not.

Remember the resistance to e-mail and the Internet?  Good Gosh — what business value do those time-wasters and secret sharers have?

So much fantastic input last night — like workplace laser word tag.  Zap.  Zap.

Zap.

For me, “social” has always been about networking and learning outside and in the organization and taking the conversation offline to “live” to further discuss:

  • That job opportunity
  • That sweet hire opportunity
  • That business opportunity
  • That learning opportunity
  • That sharing knowledge opportunity
  • That mentoring opportunity
  • That business birth opportunity
  • That consulting opportunity
  • That collaborative R&D opportunity
  • That partnership opportunity
  • You know, these opportunities and more

Again, the key is taking these conversations offline to “live.” The anecdotal statistics are there for me and many others; I’ve generated many of those opportunities above as I’m sure many of you have as well.

But, the business metrics are still all over the place and underreported and overestimated.  Such is the life of a business metric, right?  I wrote a little about that yesterday in my post I say recruit how we do business, and do business how we recruit.

With the rise of the mobile/virtual workforce, I can’t imagine the world without organic and holistic social connectivity.

The “does not dig” camp is choking on the words organic and holistic right now.  We are here to share different views. Like a real workplace. Like a real social community.

Here were the questions we asked last night:

  • Q1: How has #SM specifically impacted the way you conduct a job search and manage your career?
  • Q2: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance HR/recruiting initiatives?
  • Q3: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance learning initiatives?
  • Q4: How have #SM platforms/tools been effective – or not – at any or all levels within your org?
  • Q5: What business metrics have you established to measure how effective your #SM efforts are?
  • Q6: What specific barriers do you see within your org that impede top to bottom acceptance of platforms/tools?
  • Q7: Be honest – how do you see yourself improving your efficacy in utilizing #SM platforms/tools within your org?

Thank you to all who participated.  It’s good folk like you who make every #TChat a lightning learning round of workplace laser word tag.

Zap.

Social is about us, not the technology.

Here were the top contributors from last night:

  1. @talentculture – 172
  2. @meghanmbiro – 129
  3. @KevinWGrossman – 105
  4. @IanMondrow – 89
  5. @JeffWaldmanHR – 79
  6. @gregoryfarley – 77
  7. @LevyRecruits – 77
  8. @CyndyTrivella – 64
  9. @dawnrasmussen – 53
  10. @Kimberly_Roden – 52

See you next week, January 25, 2011, 8-9 pm ET (5-6 pm PT).

What Social Recruiting IS and IS NOT: Welcome to TC, Jeff!

Hello all,  Jeff Waldman here.  As my first post, I am sharing the latest article from my blog. I look forward to becoming the newest contributer to Talent Culture and hope you all enjoy my writing!

I’ve been itching to write something about social recruiting… why? Because people who should be all over social recruiting and leveraging it as a strategic practice to build kick-ass organizations just don’t get it.

Hmmm… “the Jeff Waldman brainstorm session”…

I took a blank piece of paper and jotted down any idea that came to mind when I asked myself why people don’t really get it. I wrote a few things down, then put the piece of paper away and did some other work, came back to it a few hours later and wrote a few more things. Here’s a bit of a summary of what I came up with.

  1. HR, who supposedly is responsible for attracting and recruiting new talent has absofrickinglutely no clue how to utilize social recruiting. And…. they should.
  2. Forget about technology for a second, it’s been my experience that HR is not very good at being proactive with building talent pools and pipelines, and integrating workforce planning, succession planning and talent management functions into the day to day business. Note: if you’re not strategic then spending any amount of time using social recruiting is a complete waste of time!!!  In fact, it’ll more of a detriment to what you’re trying to do, building and developing a recognizable and solid employer brand.
  3. The role of HR in most organizations, regardless of what HR people say their role is, is really nothing more than reactive, administrative in nature, and frankly viewed as a cost centre. No wonder why I cringe when I see the way over-priced Masters in HR program that York University recently started offering… I still haven’t seen anything in their course curricula that has anything to do with real business.
  4. There are obvious demographic characteristics associated with using technology —- e.g. “I’m 50 years old, I don’t want to touch social media….. it’s a foreign world to me so I’ll let one of our junior 20 something year olds figure it out… let me just continue doing my thing as I’ve always done it”!!

These were the common themes, and there are many other points that came to mind but the key thought is this:

All social recruiting really is, is a highly effective tool to proactively and strategically support the business attract and hire the best talent out there…. simple as this! The principle of talent attraction is not new one bit, but HOW someone does it is new….. TECHNOLOGY.  By the way, in addition to social recruiting being highly effective it is extremely cost effective, which in this day and age, never hurts the bottom line of your organization.

What Social Recruiting is Not…

Don’t forget that the core purpose of social media is engagement… conversation, interaction, consistent and constant dialogue, finding common interests globally, sharing, collaborating, caring and relationship building. However, I see on a daily basis people/companies that I am following “pushing” content out without really caring about the conversation and dialogue.  They are missing out on a huge opportunity that is literally served up to them on a silver platter. Why would I care what a company says if they have never shown any interest in what others are saying and doing? I value reciprocity, and pushing 100% of the time does not demonstrate reciprocity whatsoever.

Here’s an example that I think you’ll recognize. You’re following company X and you see a tweet on Twitter from this company that they are hiring a Marketing Manager… they include the link to the job posting that takes you to their website. That’s it… they may tweet about this job more than once. You then take a look at the history of this organizations’ tweets and you notice they are of the same variety, and they have only tweeted 15 times during the past year. Everything is pushed content. What’s different about how this company is using Twitter versus putting a job ad in Craigslist or Workopolis? You guessed it….. NOT A FRICKING THING… This is NOT social recruiting!!

The Point…

Social recruiting is not rocket science. It’s just a really effective way to proactively and strategically build the most talented and best organization possible. However, and I hate to break this to you but hard work is required on an ongoing basis in order to reap the benefits that social recruiting has to offer. All of those descriptive words that I used earlier to describe what social media should be are things you need to employ when using social recruiting.

The principle of building relationships have never changed, and never will. The tactics you use to do this though have changed, and technology is that change. If you want to compete with companies that “get it” then you better start fully embedding social recruiting into your day to day activities.

Be proactive, be strategic, be smart and help your company achieve their business objectives. Technology is not a scary beast that can never be mastered and learned. Find someone in your organization that understands the finer points of social media who can give you a demo of each of the primary social media tools (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

Then leverage the desired technological platform(s) to engage, converse, talk to, share with and reciprocate with other people…. you’ll be amazed how quickly and effectively you’ll meet and connect with people you would never have met otherwise. The senior executives of your organization will hail you as a hero to being “the one” who single handily increased the level of your workforce talent while reducing real costs associated with HR. They will LOOOOOOVE YOOOUUUU!!

Twitter Chats: A Method to the Madness

I’ve recently gotten into the practice of managing, organizing and consulting for Twitter chats including #LBSchat, #TChat and others. Bear with me in this very straightforward methodology for creating a chat on Twitter.

A Definition: What’s a Twitter chat?

A Twitter chat is a scheduled group orchestrated around a hashtag. Chats usually last about an hour and can capture any size audience. Typically, Twitter users are drawn to chats because chats offer a forum to air out ideas and opinions about a specific topic.

Goals

A Twitter chat should exist to accomplish a set of goals. The goals can be specific and measurable or qualitative in nature. Some examples of Twitter chat goals are as follows:

  • To grow thought leadership for the chat founders
  • To create an open forum for discussion around a previously under-explored topic
  • To fuel content for a blog, book, ebook or wiki

TalentCulture - Twitter Chat - How-to Image - "The View" Roundtable as a Twitter ChatDetermining a Need

There are already a ton of Twitter chats today. So determining whether or not enough demand exists is crucial to the success of a chat. Chat founders need to aim to create an experience participants can’t get elsewhere. Before jumping in head first, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are the existing conversations about my topic burgeoning, but disjointed? In other words, is there a need for organization around the conversations about this topic?
  • Are there enough sub topics to fuel this chat for more than a few sessions?
  • What influencers would be interested in this chat? Can I convince them to participate?
  • How many people would be ideal for a conversation about my topic?

Organization/Moderation

Structure

Establishing an official Twitter persona for your chat has several benefits:

  • The profile bio can be used to give a description of the chat.
  • The profile URL can link to a chat blog, group, category RSS feed, etc.
  • The account can be used to ask questions during the chat.
  • The account can build thought leadership in a niche vertical.

Some chats do not have an official Twitter persona behind them. They are run by the individuals who founded them. This format can work too, especially if the individual organizing the chat wants individual credibility.

Density

One of the most difficult issues to work out during a chat is how closely you want to control it. The number of questions in your chat can steer a conversation into very niche discussions or an open-mic style chat puts the chat direction entirely in the hands of the participants.

For many chats, 5-10 questions work well. Some chats will change format from time to time by hosting an occasional open forum or bringing in a special guest to do a Q&A.

Frequency

Most Twitter chats are weekly. Others are monthly. Still others are scheduled sporadically. Finding the right frequency for your audience will be largely based on how engaged they are and by how consistently compelling the content is.

It may take a few months to figure out an appropriate frequency. You will get a sense of how often a chat needs to take place based on the volume of participation.

Touchpoints

It’s helpful to think of your Twitter chat like a community. Figure out where and how your chat community will reach its members. Some examples of touchpoint models are:

  • Email newsletters
  • Twitter reminders (public @replies or Direct Messages)
  • LinkedIn group messages
  • Facebook Group notifications

Growing an Audience

Momentum is crucial to a successful chat. In an ideal world, your chat would gather more participants each week. Unfortunately, your Twitter chat is just a Twitter chat. It will not be a high priority item for your community members. So some of your chats will be smaller than others. However, there are best practices for growing a community between chats:

  • Encourage community members to spread the word about the chat.
  • Create recap blog posts for anyone who cannot participate in the live chat.
  • Thank and highlight chat participants regularly.
  • Establish a paper.li for your chat hashtag and tweet it during each update.
  • Keep engagement on the hashtag going even when the chat is not live.

Capitalizing on a Chat

Sponsored Twitter chats are becoming increasingly common. Some options you have for monetizing a chat are:

  • Charging per tweet
  • Charging per chat
  • Selling a sponsorship package for a set number of chats
  • Charging per click on a sponsored link

Resources

Some chats you may want to look at:

Some technology you may want to test into: