HRExaminer Social Media Reconsidered 3Social Media Reconsidered III

Calling it a decision makes my Social Media Siesta sound like the work of a much smarter person. Truth is that life caught up with me. Years of routine web publishing, 18 solid months of Tweet-aly-dee, a range of Facebook experiments and a host of other assignments had me in the groove. Tell me the day of the week and I could tell you the content, its shape and my schedule.

Like a falling house of cards, the life transition cascaded into place. All of a sudden, I was immersed in strange organizational politics, an encounter with my own mortality, big deadlines and a couple of standard melodramas. Something had to give. The easiest place to find slack was in the hours devoted to social media.

Bye-Bye, social media. Hello, Siesta.

A number of commenters have noted that the only reward from social media is attention and that doesn’t seem like much of a payoff. All I can tell you is that the feedback loop is bracing, addictive and seems bigger than all of that. We live in an economy that runs on attention and social media is its nuclear reactor. To dismiss attention as either payoff or currency is to misunderstand the motivational structure of the workforce. Great Recruiters can not afford to make the mistake.

(See the comments on Social Media Reconsidered I and Social Media Reconsidered II. Smart people with powerful ideas)

To say that I gave it all up is a little disingenuous. I’ve been doing this stuff for nearly 20 years. When I go cold turkey, it’s more like a chain smoker cutting back to a half a pack a day. I follow some of the Facebook flow and a little of the twitter chaos. The automatic content generators are still turned on.

Even so, much of my standard content disappeared and I had an unexpected chance to reassess. (If you’ve been watching my work for long, you know I love opportunities to reassess.)

Here are some observations and questions:

  • Other smart folks are deriving great benefits from the use of the tools. My takeaway is not that social media is useless. Rather, it is an important and useful tool for very specific situations.
  • As Animal notes, Social Media is like a Professional Association. You get the benefits when you go and don’t when you don’t go.
  • I always find it humorous when someone who isn’t interested in money claims that it isn’t a motivator. Both Jerry Albright and Steve Levy made the case that attention is not much of a reward. I’m sure that’s true for them. It works for lots of people. Much of the fuss about ‘candidate experience’ is really about the candidate’s need for attention.
  • At this point in the Siesta, I am beginning to wonder if Social Media isn’t really great access to impassive (active) candidates. It seems to me that the requirement that one be active for it to work makes it less useful for ‘passive’ candidates. There are obvious exceptions in Marketing, Media and PR.
  • Mark Hornung offers a great observation about our collective inability to understand the meaning of technology. I wonder if we have any real idea what this is all about. It’s likely that the ultimate meaning of social media is yet to be formed.
  • If you read Paul DeBettignies closely, you’ll see that he believes that the right way to use Social Media depends entirely on the context in which you operate. That’s really simple and really right.
  • Chris Havrilla clearly understands this as well. The reward you get is dependent on the reward you seek.
  • I wonder why no one seems to be writing about the inherent limitations of the new tools. They work great for some things and not so well for others.
  • I am noticing that a lot of development is going on beyond the glare of active publishing in social media. I am starting to see new products that focus on the communication channels and the underlying computing much more than the ‘social’ aspects.
  • I wonder if ‘social’ isn’t a misnomer. It’s really limiting and doesn’t account for the important status communications and itsy-bitsy news bits. My sense is that the phenomenon is simultaneously way bigger than ‘social’ and way smaller. As long as the idea is that you have to be a part of a conversation, it will be limited to online extroverts.

The most important note I can make about this emerging technology is that I made friends with each and every one of the people I mentioned in this article by being online. I would never have to repeatedly look up the spelling of DeBettings if that were not so. My life has been immeasurably enriched by folks I’ve encountered through social media.

As you might guess, I am really interested in developing more questions. What are the things you wonder about social media?

To wrap this up tomorrow, Roadside Tweets on My Social Media Siesta.

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Social Media Reconsidered II

Social Media Reconsidered II Old friend Colin Kingsbury (who is the president of HRMDirect) sent along a note in response...