The HR Juggler

Posts Tagged ‘Online Communities

This post is a bit extra-special for me, written as it is by the lovely Mervyn Dinnen. Encouraging, supportive, sociable and kind; until very recently Mervyn’s blog was the largest referer of web traffic to my blog, second only to Twitter and related applications. That perhaps provides some measure of the unstinting and vocal support he has always provided to me and others and for that I remain hugely appreciative.
 
I wholeheartedly recommend that you connect with Mervyn on Twitter (@MervynDinnen) and via his TRecs blog.
 
***************************************************************
 
I entered 2011 with a mix of trepidation, concern and optimism. The business in which I had been working closed down at the end 2010, leaving me to job hunt at a time when jobs seemed in short supply.

Over the Xmas and New Year period I took the decision to embark on a social job hunt. It made sense to combine my growing interest (nay, obsession!) and belief in social media as the way to communicate with my years of recruiting experience…but the question would be, was anyone in the recruitment industry ready to take on someone to do a social media role?

I’m sure that most readers know that the quest was successful. The third party recruitment industry seemed uninterested in the possibilities offered by a social media person who knew about recruiting and could talk to clients and jobseekers…but Jobsite UK were!

And so my highlight of the year wasn’t just a new job, but a career change and an opportunity to create my own future in a developing area that opens many possibilities.

And it showed me that if you want to make a change then you really do need to have faith in your abilities.

I was very lucky and hope that the various friends of mine who are entering 2012 looking for new roles are as lucky too.

I also feel extremely lucky to have health, family and friends…something I had time to reflect on during my lowest point(s) of 2011.

Unfortunately these came when I attended not one but two funerals of friends. Both were women, both had sudden illnesses and were gone far too soon at ages when they should still be here to see their families grow into full adults. It wasn’t only these friends…I wrote a blog earlier this year – The Precariousness of Life – in which I told if the tragic passing of a young colleague and my sadness

If there’s one thing these events have taught me it is to cherish the time you spend with family and friends…it’s precious.

Many thanks to Alison for letting me post on her blog – a Merry and Joyous Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2012 to all readers 🙂

 

I have acquired a bit of a taste for experimenting recently and have set up a new Twitter account and blog that are entirely separate to my usual professional/personal Twitter handle of @AlisonChisnell and this HRJuggler blog. The subject matter is so separate that it really didn’t make any sense to combine them and there is very little cross-over in terms of individuals I follow or followers…the sum total of two people, in fact!

It has been fascinating to do and I wanted to share some of what I am learning here.

  • Starting over on Twitter is hard, even if you do know what you are doing…trying to tap into hashtags that group the information that you are interested in takes some investment in terms of time and effort
  • Not all topics have a ready built community.
  • Networks and engagement take time to build. It is relatively easy to find people who tweet out links of useful stuff, but far harder to identify people who are genuinely interesting, interested and keen to engage in conversation
  • Following is easy, encouraging people to follow back is sometimes trickier. If after a couple of attempts to engage in conversation, they don’t respond or follow back, then their content has to be really good for me to continue following. This has made me also re-evaluate how often I follow back on my main account and resolve to do so on the first contact.
  • Blogging is the same process, whether or not anyone reads what you write. When a post on the new blog attracts more than a handful of readers and any comments, I am genuinely delighted.  It makes me more appreciative and reminds me how far this blog has come
  • The experience you have in using Twitter is pretty much defined by the calibre of people you follow and those that follow you. The former generates interesting and thought-provoking content for your timeline, the latter is predominantly where engagement and interaction lies.
  • In order to keep improving my new user experience, I have been open-minded and proactive about who I follow, and also reasonably disciplined in unfollowing those whose tweets are not of interest to me, are overwhelming in volume or simply annoying
  • No surprise, the best source of new tweeps to follow comes from looking at the ‘following’ lists of the people who I enjoy following.

So, it has been and continues to be an interesting experience and one that I would recommend to anyone, not least because it helps to contextualise why many people are initially wary or unconvinced about using Twitter. And it is very good practice to go back to the beginning and start over…and see what else you learn!

Have you started over lately? I’d love to hear from you.

A couple of weeks ago I had my first Twitter birthday – I first signed up and started tweeting on 9th June 2010, following a suggestion from my boss over lunch one day. So, what have I learnt during this time?

  • It’s all about connections. Tweeting into empty cyberspace is pointless, twitter only becomes enjoyable when you start following people who have common interests or who you are interested in. Common ways to find those connections are through hashtags eg #connectinghr and recommendations of others, although I’m sure there are some more sophisticated search tools too
  • It’s the quality of connections that count, not the number. Connect with and follow people you like; if they start to annoy you, unfollow them. Don’t feel obliged to follow back
  • People on Twitter are in general hugely helpful and friendly – many people share their professional expertise once they ‘know’ you
  • Don’t over-think your tweets – you get out of it what you put in, so don’t be afraid to interact. People will think you a little odd if you don’t tweet at all – no one likes lurkers!
  • It’s a conversation, don’t try to catch up on everything you’ve missed whilst you were ‘out of the room’, just pick up where you left off
  • Never forget that Twitter is in the public domain, so unless you lock your tweets or are completely anonymous, tweet with care
  • People on Twitter often meet up in real life (‘tweet ups’) and the connections you make can lead to real friendships and strong professional networks
  • It’s a huge source of professional support and networking
  • Twitter is a great source of information, breaking news and fantastic blogs
And the questions? From people who are not on Twitter or who don’t ‘get’ it, they are almost always the same…
  1. How do you find the time?
  2. Do you follow celebrities?
  3. But what do you find to say?
To which the answers are –
  1. Easily – do you really never have any downtime?
  2. No, I genuinely find my real life connections more interesting
  3. PLENTY!!!!
What else have you learnt about Twitter? And what questions are you frequently asked? Do tell 😉

I’m not keen on networking. I’m often ambivalent at best about a lot of other HR people. So developing an HR network was never going to be easy or enjoyable, right?

Well, here’s the thing that still seems to be broadly unknown in HR circles: there is a fantastically social and sociable network of HR professionals known as ConnectingHR. And anyone in HR or a related field can be part of it.

We connect via Twitter using the #connectinghr hashtag and we interact on the connectinghr.org website. We hold regular drinks (known as tweet-ups), there are informal, interactive conferences (known as Unconferences) and there are a huge number of informal get-togethers in-between times: lunches, drinks after works, coffee, breakfast meetings…

Without exception, the people I have met through ConnectingHR are engaged, passionate, approachable, knowledgable, generous, helpful, influential, encouraging, committed and likeable. Many have become true friends in a relatively short space of time and they are a superb professional network, who share knowledge, support each other, debate ideas and inspire with their energy to make HR better.

ConnectingHR is only just beginning and is destined to grow much further. Be a part of it, wherever in the world you are based…check out http://www.connectinghr.org or #connectinghr on Twitter and say hello…I guarantee you’ll get plenty of hellos back and much more besides :).

I’m in the mood for being really honest today, partly inspired by Emma’s excellent post about wearing masks. Lately I’ve felt in a bit of a rut blogging-wise. There, I’ve said it!! I’m struggling to find the time, feeling dissatisfied with what I write and irritatingly preoccupied with page views….sad but true!!!

I know lots of people on Twitter guard their ‘personal brand’ very closely and seem to resist saying anything that isn’t positive and upbeat, but I don’t really buy into that. I think honesty often goes a long way in helping to define and articulate where I’m at and gives me the push to move myself forward.

So, here are some of the reasons I’m finding it tough to blog at the moment –

  • time (lack of!)
  • I’m often very tired, work has been extraordinarily intense lately
  • Lots of the things I’m doing at the moment are fascinating but too commercially sensitive to blog about
  • I think I haven’t quite addressed the huge shift in my working/home life since I’ve taken on new role and new working pattern
  • I had a very productive January on my blog and its hard to remember that blogging has peaks and troughs

My conclusion though is that I am going to try something a bit radical and see if I can blog my way out of it! I still love blogging and I think more than anything else, the discipline of doing it is beneficial for acknowledging whats important and making the time to reflect on things. There have been some great posts about why people blog and also a very recent one about the HRD’s decision to stop blogging, but not many that I have seen about overcoming blog apathy, getting stuck in blog ruts and bloggers block….which I am pretty sure we all suffer from time to time.

So here’s my challenge to you, fellow bloggers or otherwise….are you willing to share your thoughts about what you do when blogging gets tough for you and how you make your way out of the other side? I am certain it would help support those of us who have not been doing it for so long and help me to claw my way out of my first real rut!

PS. Writing this has been extremely therapeutic and cheered me enormously already…thank you for reading 🙂


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 238 other followers

HR Juggler’s Archive