Social Media Swirl: BeKnown

On June 27, 2011, in HRExaminer, John Sumser, Reviews, by John Sumser


My mailbox is already too full. The best I seem to be able to get is about 120 emails behind. Each one of the little wriggling critters is a nagging cry for attention.

I know there are important appointments, deliverables, introductions, opportunities and pieces of wisdom nestled in the quagmire. Every time I look at the pile, I see obligation and responsibility. It’s a time sink and a burden.

I remember when email was a source of joy and inspiration, now it’s a ball and chain. Like Sisyphus, every time I push that damned rock up the hill, it rolls back down and I have to push it up again. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, anxiety producing and guilt enhancing.

Meanwhile the tide of new product launches is accelerating. Shiny new toys are being rolled out for the great party in Las Vegas that is the SHRM conference. (Did anyone else notice the irony of the location?)

Today, my inbox started its own form of acceleration. I joined Monster‘s new BeKnown network last night to stay on top of the flow in social media products. Imagine Foursquare meets LinkedIn on the Facebook platform.

Professional networking with badges and accomplishments.

It’s easy to dismiss the concept as derivative and unnecessary. After all, LinkedIn was there first and turning professional networking into a game could well have unintended consequences. And, who needs another social media time sink?

But that sort of misses the point.

Really, LinkedIn and Facebook are separate markets. Where LinkedIn is an amazing tool for seasoned players who know how to network and what to do when it works, Facebook is a more proletarian universe. Huge swaths of the Facebook audience build personal networks but really haven’t figured out how to harness the process for work creation.

If you were building a business with an eye on the future, you’d certainly want to build lifetime customers rather that trying to convert the existing users of another system. Monster’s play puts a stake in the ground in relatively virgin territory.

The functionality is interesting. Recruiters will have access to another target rich advertising environment with discrete company pages and focused job advertising opportunities. By building on the facebook audience, Monster is admitting that it lost its way in the audience acquisition game while making lemonade out of that lemon.

As you know, I’m deep in the middle of a comprehensive analysis of Social Media’s impact on the HR and Recruiting industry and profession. I’m interviewing over 70 companies and drawing a map of the landscape. While BeKnown is splashy and important, there are a host of other alternatives.

Monster has depth and resources but, like any big company, is less agile than the little scrappy guys. The little guys, though, are more likely to find the magic bullet and execute on it. So, there’s a race of sorts going on.

History does not suggest that big incumbents fare well at inflection points like this.

In Monster’s favor are a deep technical bench and amazing social media brand expertise. Between the brilliant CIO and the high-rolling brand advocates (Eric, Kathy et all), Monster is launching a full on offense. It’s really nice to see. The combination of energy and in-the-market experience offers some hope.

What Eric, Kathy and team have done is the powerful work of great evangelists. The Monster Social Media team has tirelessly worked the recruitosphere building solid relationships in advance of the launch. Monster, who generally get a serious trouncing when they launch new products, has converted the chattering classes into their own brand advocates.

While this is a story of technical features and functionality, it’s also a branding triumph.

But, money is flowing like water into the niche. Well heeled competitors who don’t have to shake off years of reputation and world view aren’t going to sit still. The market is about to get very vibrant.

Meanwhile, my poor aching inbox is beginning to flood with BeKnown mail. I’m sure others will follow.

Here’s some of the other coverage of the subject:

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