December 16, 2010 – Social Media really changes the way that ideas flow and tactics are communicated. Within very recent memory, if you wanted to be ‘in the know’ you had to spend a lot of time going to trade shows, local professional association meetings and read the latest book. Establishing credibility as a ‘thought leader’ was a well established path. Finding them was straightforward.
The combination of Social Media and Search Engine technology means that a whole different group of voices are driving market perception.
If you want to be heard today, you need to rise to the top of the search engines, develop traffic to your work and have people refer others to your offerings. Success and visibility are driven by a whole different set of techniques today. The path to the top of the hill changes so quickly that there may as well not be a path.
Just ask yourself, ‘how do people learn new things’? Even ten years ago, if you wanted to know about a new topic in HR, you went to the library, visited a trade show or asked someone in the local SHRM chapter. None of these old fashioned venues are keeping pace with the evolution of communication.
There is an additional complicating factor: Buzzwords evolve more rapidly today.
New industry jargon has a predictable half life. Terms like ‘Collaboration’, ‘Talent Acquisition’, ‘Electronic Recruiting’, ‘Social Recruiting’, ‘Competency’, ‘Assessment’ and ‘Screening’ have very general meanings that continually enlarge. The more people who use the term, the less that it actually means. By the time a new discipline is at the top of mind, it’s almost meaningless.
Talent Management is like that. It can mean anything from ‘Succession Planning’ to ‘a comprehensive program to manage and optimize an organization’s Human Capital’. Every imaginable variation of Talent Management process is now a part of some vendor’s product roadmap.
Social Media is the ultimate ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately’ universe. In the end, that’s its achilles heel. If you want to be recalled (when people visit search engines to learn about the topic), you have to publish regularly and prodigiously. This creates a flow of material that is simultaneously higher in volume and thinner in overall content. For the time being, if you want to understand what is going on, you have to continuously refresh your understanding. If you want to be seen as a thought leader, thought is less important than volume.
It’s unlikely that this situation will remain constant. But, it’s going to be with us for a while. Eventually, search engines will evolve to score content quality and relevance but it’s a ways off.
This list is a part of the Influence Project at HRExaminer. We are trying to measure and understand the meaning of influence in the contemporary HR community. The project includes automated measures of online influence and an interview based process (The Top 100).
In order to really quantify the dimensions of online influence, we measure three key variables:
- Reach: A measure of the audience size (number of eyeballs) for each individual. Traffic.
- Relevance: The degree to which content associated with the individual matches a cloud of keywords prepared for the analysis
- Resonance: The number of mentions, inbound links and participation found for each individual.
The process is amazing. Given a starter list of key words, we spider the web based on searches for those search terms. That massive pile of data is then sorted and sifted in Traackr’s analytic sandbox. Links, references, content, name duplication are all identified, assessed and reexamined. Ultimately, after a number of spider-analyze-spider iterations, the list starts to take shape.