It's not that I lack technical prowess - I used to be a pretty good software developer before I moved into more functional roles and lost my geek cred. But I do lack patience with early versions that seem to be designed by - and for - unmarried engineers in their twenties.
In fact I insist that an application be developed by at least one harassed new dad in his early thirtees and tested by a team of busy moms before I will even look at it.
That's why I'm relatively new to social media, compared to many people out there. I started this blog about talent management about two years ago, joined the Compensation Cafe team about a year ago and finally caved to Twitter just a few months ago.
When I found Project Social over at Ben Eubank's Upstart HR, I signed right up. After more than a year figuring out stuff on my own it felt like the right time to reach out for some more experienced guidance.
Almost immediately I got a Gmail via LinkedIn from Victorio Milian saying I'd been paired up with Dave Ryan, otherwise known as the HR Czar - a name I recognized from my Twitter contacts. And sure enough, within a few hours of receiving Victorio's email I received a Twitter message from Dave asking how soon we could meet.
Dave is in the process of launching a new blog "The HR Official" and has already written a great post about our first international, Skype-based meeting. Since Dave already described our project goals and game plan in his post, I thought I'd cover why I recommend Project Social to any HR folks who want to get more involved with social media:
- Social media techology has reached a tipping point where social has overtaken technology - in other words, you can be a technology dunce and still get your voice out there.
- It's a terrific way to 'take the pulse' on topics you care about, find out what people are saying, and even chat with them about it.
- Project Social will give you access to someone who knows the ropes and can help you take the first steps.
I can only speak from my own experience. For the most part people are friendly and welcoming but many of them are business people and their time is valuable. You can't just sign up for Twitter and expect that everyone you follow will follow you back.
For example, I tend to follow people with similar interests, i.e., HR technology, talent management, compensation, etc. Selective following gives me more time to focus on topics and connect with people.
When it comes to building a social network I've encountered three kinds of people:
- People who mostly ignore you, either because they are so well-established they don't need to cultivate new followers or so busy they don't have time.
- People who respond to comments on their blog and thank you for re-tweets but never comment on your blog or re-tweet anything of yours. Some of them are good bloggers and you can learn a lot from them but don't expect to establish much of a relationship.
- People who reciprocate, taking the time to comment on your blog or tweet your links to their own followers. These are the people who form your 'real' virtual network.
Just like in real life, I spend more time with the people I 'clique' with.