(Mar 24, 2009) It’s no small irony that I write this note from my office in Bodega Bay, CA. This place is known for its assortment of unique avian inhabitants. The reputation was enough to convince Alfred Hitchcock to film the classic move about birds right here. Twittering, the squawking that frightened the moviegoers who saw The Birds, is back in a new form.
Today’s twittering, satirized by some, is simply not what it seems at first. It’s easy to sympathize with a critic who thinks:
The progression has been steady from blogs to RSS feeds to Facebook. But Twitter brings us within sight of an apotheosis of those aspects of American culture that have become all too familiar in recent years: look-at-me adolescent neediness, constant-contact media addiction, birdlike attention-span compression and vapidity to the point of depravity. When 140 characters is the ascendant standard size for communication and debate, what forum comes next? Seventy characters? Twenty? The disappearance of words altogether, replaced by smiley-face and cranky-crab emoticons? – Twitter Nation Has Arrived: How Scared Should We Be?
Amidst all the birdlike chirps and tweets, something unforeseen is accumulating. Twitter is becoming a search database with vastly more insight than anyone imagined. The semantic web, a far off dream for Web 3.0 futurists, is materializing in front of our eyes. As usual, engineers imagined the future as an extension of now. People just went ahead and did it.
Science Fiction writer William Gibson is fond of saying “the future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed.” The thing people imagine to be somewhere off in the distance is actually happening today, somewhere. Twitter recreates that common web experience: The Future is Now.
Here’s a case in point:
Jason Davis, founder of RecruitingBlogs.com and Miles Jennings, founder of TalentBar joined together to create a working demonstration of the semantic web’s power in Recruiting. The result is a service called Splits.org, now in a public beta test.
In Recruiting, a “split” is when one recruiter finds the job and another recruiter finds the candidate. Working together, they can “split” the fee that neither could have earned alone. In down-cycle economic times, splits become particularly popular as way for Recruiters forum to help each other out.
Splits.org uses the hash tag syntax that allows Tweets to be categorized and archived. (Hashtags.org makes a modest and likely unsuccessful attempt to track hash tags.) Splits.org standardizes and automates the tagging process. As a result, there is a standardized lexicon for splitting placements.
This little experiment involves the automation of business rules in a way that produces an easy to use standard. Commerce is facilitated. Two days into the test, Recruiters are solving problems and sending candidates to interviews. This is a simple proof point for a much more interesting thing.
Next: Broad applicability and implications of the Splits.org model.
John Sumser is the founder, principal author and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine. John explores the people, technology, ideas and careers of senior leaders in Human Resources and Human Capital. John is the also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises Human Resources, Recruiting Departments and Talent Management teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy and branding guidance.