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The measurement of online influence is in its very primitive stages. Like any measurement, people change their behavior in order to meet the standard. In this arena, as it is everywhere, “You get what you measure.”
Klout measures Twitter activities and is weighted towards volume in followers and tweets. mPact measures the impact of the people who sign up for the service. Our approach (using Traackr) tries to capture the entirety of web and social media influence. We look at the entire social graph and the potions of the web covered by list specific keywords to discover the intricacies of influence.
This is the fourth iteration of the overall HR Influencers list. It’s the 13th automated HR list created to date. Each step of the way introduces new understanding and nuance. (Earlier lists, like this one, explain how we calculate the influence measures)
For this round, we experimented with the keyword cloud. It’s become apparent that the lists are vulnerable to SEO style tactics. That means that we needed to change the keywords we used to get more specific. From now on, the keywords will change with each iteration of each list.
It also became clear that the algorithm we use to define influence has a couple of weaknesses.
Sophisticated Twitter users occasionally build their audiences by following huge numbers of people. The unspoken deal is, “I’ll follow you if you follow me.” Since no one can possibly keep up with more than 500 followers, one might cast a suspicious eye on people with huge numbers of friends. In our research, we’re proposing a Friend to Follower Ratio (FFR). The likelihood that someone is influential is probably related to this variable.
For example, if you have 10,000 friends and 10,000 followers, you’d have an FFR of 1. If you had 500 friends and 10,000 followers, you’d have an FFR of 20. The higher the FFR, the more likely it is that you are influential in your circle.
But, since all of the approaches to influence measurement currently rank the number of followers as critical, people work hard to have lots and lots of followers. FFR is probably a measure of tweet quality as well. The more people who follow without a quid pro quo, the more likely that the content is relevant. Hopefully, we’ll get to that by the end of the year.
This time, we added a couple of key players to the bottom of the list. Bill Kutik and Wes Wu are both on the list as a way of explaining the limitations of our process.
Kutik, who many of you know from his role with the HRTech trade show, runs a huge group on LinkedIn. With 5,000 ish members, it is easily the largest forum in HR on LinkedIn. He is an extremely active participant. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is a closed system and data about the people who use it is extremely scarce. Kutik would rank much higher on the list if we had better access to LinkedIn’s social graph.
No one does.
Wes Wu is also on the list. A perennial favorite of the tech crowd, Wes’ aggregate score would put him in the list. We have set a minimum score for relevance that he didn’t meet.
Hopefully, this version of the HR Influencer’s list will give you a reason to think a little more about who is and isn’t influential online.
Meanwhile: here’s the list.
Hank Stringer, CEO of Stringer Executive Search joins the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board this week. Hank has 30 years of experience as a successful high-tech recruiter, entrepreneur, and recruitment technology innovator. Forecasting a talent shortage in 1994, Stringer founded Hire.com, the first ASP business model, utilizing the Internet to scale and automate interactive recruiting relationships and processes. Hank has published numerous articles on recruitment and talent management in the workplace and is an accomplished and recognized speaker on recruitment issues. Today Hank leads the team at Strictly Talent. Full Bio
Less Data, More Target
by Hank Stringer
The talent transition supply chain is evolving again. Just as early resume databases replaced file cabinets, and email replaced snail mail, we are discovering new ways to find and develop talent.
With the advent of the Internet, additions to the supply chain have been just that, additions. Inflection points in the supply chain were often created to attract eyeballs to support advertising or ‘name sale’ models instead of attracting the right person to the right opportunity as effectively as possible.
Ask just about anyone if they think the ‘pipes are too full’ with resumes and you will quickly get agreement. Why? Well, ask if a resume has been submitted to a company and where it ended up. Nine times out of ten the response will be ‘the black hole’. As long as systems are designed for talent to view all positions and apply to any of them, many people will do just that – apply for everything and hope. Meanwhile recruiters search public and private resume databases, finding people who may have submitted to a position long ago and never heard back. These are not new problems. They are, however, made worse in our connected world.
The problem is bad enough that a number of top talent have decided not to participate. The question remains, how do we develop a more effective talent supply chain?
The answers may be evolving through concerns over privacy, spam mail and targeted networking. The fact that companies use your information to support their business model is not new. For instance, in the old days Readers Digest did quite well selling the names of their customers to all types of direct mail advertisers. Today people are raising question and concern is rising. John wrote last week about Linkedin and who owns the data. Facebook has had numerous problems releasing programs like Beacon designed to acquire and resell users data. And the spam from all over is tiring.
No offense, but if another CEO of a job board emails career tips, we may see people explode like the drummers in the movie ‘Spinal Tap”. An article appeared in Wall Street Journal this week about how the unemployed are using outsourced groups to blast (send) their resumes to companies without much targeted concern. As a result, more unqualified talent are submitted to companies and the black hole gets deeper and darker, frustrating all.
As talent and companies demand more privacy and targeted communication, we are beginning to see companies creating solutions. These solutions should be based on solving the flow of the talent pipline first, creating a quality experience with desired results. Then they can figure out how to makes a profit. The question is: will the evolved solution come from a current ‘big’ player or a start up pushing the envelope by approaching the problem with solutions based on new ways of thinking? The evolved solution could come from Facebook, Google, Salesforce or Linkedin if they follow an open API development philosophy instead of a closed Twitter strategy. If they do not choose this path, a new talent supply chain based on privacy, anonymity and targeted data exchange with immediate value will emerge. The technology and processes already exist. So, it will be market demand that will force the next change.
This piece originally appeared as one of the introductions to the Top Influencers in HR project. Neal Bruce has long since become an industry legend. He runs something big over at Peoplefluent.
“Recently, Neal Bruce (the product development genius at First Advantage) said, “If you want to be anHR thought leader, you should have some thoughts.” (Actually the precise quote was “thoughts are a prerequisite for thought leadership“). Sadly, his tongue was nowhere near his cheek.
Much of what passes for HR thought leadership involves little thought. It’s all smoke and no fire. In fact, if you look at the contents for this video, “How to Establish Yourself as a Human Resources Thought Leader in Your Industry“, you’ll quickly see that thoughts are barely required. It’s obvious, since the training for the job requires only a one hour webinar, that HR Thought Leadership doesn’t require any thinking whatsoever. This, in spite of Mr. Bruce’s good wishes.
I can’t seem to visualize this HR thought leadership thing. Is it like a swarm of small cars following a lead car? Or, is it more like a well trained dog? I try to think about HR thought leadership but my thoughts just don’t follow the idea. Is HR thought leadership like following someone on twitter? You sign up and then have to digest a personalized stream of what? Or is HR thought leadership like following a train of thought?
Self proclaimed HR thought leaders tend to be vacuous morons, incapable of sustained thought. There’s a code that I saw somewhere that says you can’t be one unless someone else says you are (without being asked to). Even that’s not good enough, really. The bluntest knife in the box has a mom who thinks he’s got HR Thought Leadership potential. When he walks up to you and introduces himself as a HR thought leader, hang on to your wallet.
Thought leadership is neither (thought nor leadership).
I’m wildly pummeling this equine cadaver to make a point.
Influence is hard to deliver and harder to identify. The key influencers in our HR – Recruiting Marketplace take many shapes and forms.
- fantastic mentors who have shaped the careers of their apprentices
- people who reframe the very essence of HR – Recruiting
- innovators who make great breakthroughs in understanding
- product visionaries who change the nature of HR – Recruiting with their companies.
- marketers and event promoters who work to unearth the next greatest thing
- architects and consultants who tirelessly improve HR – Recruiting effectiveness
- industry giants who train others
- surprise thinkers who create new ways of doing things
- trainers and leaders who inspire us to higher performance
- simplifiers who make new technology make sense
- explorers who experiment wildly with new tools
- organizers who create social capital by building networks
- self promoters who make things happen as they build their celebrity
- analysts who have the pulse of the vendors
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like a little more help. Once more, I’d like to find out who you think are the essential forces in our business.
What do you think are the key forces that drive our industry? Do the people who shape it create those waves, ride them, both or neither?
HR is a conversation. The discipline is practiced differently in each region, industry and economic niche. The definitions of essential HR – Recruiting ideas don’t generalize well. That means that the people who influence HR-Recruiting are people who add to or improve the conversation.
The project is gaining some real momentum. The lists are getting clearer.
My question is simple. Is the power of a good example enough to change an industry? That is, are great recruiters or Hr pros who set an amazing example operating in a way that can change an industry.
Or is something else required?”
As I learned about the ethnography used to build the Marriott employment branding game, I was touched by one of David Kippen‘s stories. Kippen explored a small trend with big ramifications. As is increasingly the case, smart motivated people, far beyond American shores, are teaching the world about social media.
I’m going to summarize the story and hope that you’ll understand that any embellishment or error is mine alone.
It seems that there is a cadre of young (20 somethings) people in India who are traveling from small rural villages to find a better future in the cities. When they get to the big city, they find work (long hours and crummy jobs). They save up their money (often skimping on the most basic necessities like food and shelter) in order to play social media games in internet cafes after work hours.
Mind you, the work hours are long and skimping on food and shelter is a hard way to live. The payoff, however, is pretty amazing.
Forty or Fifty hours a week playing Farmville means that:
- You get pretty good at the game
- You get to help people who are less adept
- You get to make friends and connect as a result.
It’s being able to connect and offer value that’s the kicker in this story. The folks playing Farmville in the internet cafes are doing job networking in a whole new way. Social media makes it possible to have access to all sorts of people you can’t get to otherwise. Those folks in the internet cafes are demonstrating a new way of looking for work.
The point isn’t that they are getting good at social media games. What they are doing is building strong relationships based on shared experience. This is what friendships are made of. The Farmville job hunters are using social media in a powerful way. They are making connections, not playing games.
They convert those connections into new opportunities. This is what’s possible in social media in HR. But it requires the investment of time in relationships, not just advertising and the broadcast of a message.
A friendship involves reciprocal exchanges of real value. You build networks by being the initiator coif the relationship by giving real value first. Real value is not the name of a chum or the redistribution of a job ad. Real value is the kind of help you get from and give to a friend. Our Indian social entrepreneurs are creating their own supply of social capital in order to get a better job.
This is not the kind of service that is being built in the Western world. Most of the HR / Recruiting social media offerings I see are focused on the generation and dissemination of data. Networks are not about relationships in much of the HR Social Media I see. Rather, Networks are sources of data that can be used to selectively target people (as if they were turkeys in a turkey shoot). Meanwhile, the rest of the world is using social media to be social and do social things.
After hearing that story (and some of the details of ethnography), I realized that I needed to do a little more investigation of my own. I haven’t had to look for work or use the internet to do so for quite some time now, I wondered if I was really missing something. Over the coming months, I’ll tell you about the results of some of my experiments.
I’m learning a lot.
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