Tag Archives: Social network

Secret diary of an introverted “extrovert”

Cut out the chit chat and get down to business

Sone dudes engaged in serious all you can eat ...
Some dudes eating wings:  photo: mvndrvrt

I wrote this piece for Sanera Camp, a small business blog  run by my friend Alicia Arenas.   The original title was “4 Tips For People Who Don’t Like Networking”.   Basically, it offers up some ideas on how I use social networking to meet people virtually and enhance my personal networking experience.

It also helps cut down on the bullshit chit chat.  Check it out if you haven’t already seen it over at Sanera Camp.  Be sure to check out the other great content for small business and business leaders over there as well, including my buddy Dave Ryan.

How To Network In A Connected World

Networking is a critically important business skill.  We all network in some way, even if it is just saying hello at the coffee machine, or nodding a silent greeting to the convenience store clerk when buying gas.   It matters to people when you remember them, and take to the time to acknowledge them.

There is great value in a network.  As the old saying goes. you never know how the next person you meet may change your life.  People know this, and want to make their networks work for them, yet many struggle at doing so.

Some people are great at  building a Rolodex and working it.  Other people never forget a name and a face.  Working a room comes naturally to a lucky few, but many people struggle when it comes to developing new contacts, or forming relationships in new business sectors.  I include myself in that group.   I stink at cold calls and making meaningless small talk, which are the first steps in building a networking relationship.  I am much better at networking when I know something about the people I am meeting or the event I am attending than I am when it is a cold room.  I’ve had to learn how to get around this issue in order to be an effective networker.

Become acquainted before the meeting

Here’s one method I use that’s worked really well to help me overcome my own shortcomings.

I’m a big proponent of social media tools.  I use them all the time.  They allow me to form relationships with people on-line before we meet in person.  When we do meet, it is more like becoming more acquainted than it is like meeting someone for the first time.   This is especially effective if you have a professional group membership or some other interest in common with these folks.

It doesn’t always work that way though, right?  Sometimes you need to break into a new space, or need to attend a conference where you don’t know anyone.  Believe it or not, there are tools available to help you get around this.  I use them all the time.  Here are few of them I really like.  You’ll need to poke around a little on each of these sites, and will need to create an account for them to be really helpful.  All of them are great tools for finding meetings you may want to attend, or for finding out if you know anyone that is planning to attend.   They are also great tools for creating your own groups or meeting events.

4 Tools For Networking

  • Plancast – is  a great way to discover events, manage your social calendars or meet people with similar interests.
  • Meetup –  is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face.
  • Eventbrite – helps people discover events that match their passions, and let’s them share the events they’re creating or joining, bringing more people together around the world.
  • Lanyrd –  lets you see what your friends are going to or speaking at, find conferences near you or browse conferences by topic.

All of these tools have mobile apps as well. All will help you network more effectively if you incorporate them into your personal toolkit.  Happy connecting!!

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Social tools for tracking your employees

Image representing Yammer as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Cool or creepy?

Earlier this year, my buddy Mike Haberman wrote about the risks of tracking your employees via GPS.

Trucking and delivery companies have been using these types of fleet tracking systems for years.  Websites like Guru that allow you to hire freelancers now offer tools that allow to track their virtual work via a dashboard based tool.

Technology allows us to track work, but we may be on the cusp of a new wave of technological tracking innovation for the workplace.

Researchers at the University Of Rochester in New York recently announced that they were able to utilize data from Twitter to predict flu outbreaks with a high degree of accuracy.   The day when employers will be able to use social media conversations to predict when you are thinking of taking a sick day can’t be far off.

Today on Mashable, there was a very interesting story detailing how companies will soon be able to use tools like Yammer to track morale.

Bosses who want help gauging employees’ morale can now turn to Microsoft’s workplace social network, Yammer. A new feature offers managers a kind of emotional surveillance system, showing which feelings workers are expressing in messages posted to a company’s Yammer network.

Bosses who want help gauging employees’ morale can now turn to Microsoft’s workplace social network, Yammer. A new feature offers managers a kind of emotional surveillance system, showing which feelings workers are expressing in messages posted to a company’s Yammer network.

The feature, called Crane, was developed by startup Kanjoya, which makes software that does the emotion recognition and logging, with close collaboration with Yammer. Once the feature is switched on for a company’s Yammer network, it offers managers a view of the “trending emotions” within a company, using a line graph to show the level of excitement, confusion and other feelings over time.

The topics or words most often associated with those feelings are also shown. The software is able to identify 80 distinct emotions, but it condenses those into 15 for display and shows only the most prevalent ones to reduce the complexity of the interface.

How long can it be until we see a decision saying that an employer used their internal social networking system to illegally interfere with the ability of employees to engage in protected concerted activity?





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Klout sucks

Klout makes great blog fodder

Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Over the past few weeks, it seems like a lot of prominent bloggers like Jim Connolly and Erica Napoletano have written about why they deleted their accounts from Klout.   Here is a bit of perspective on Klout from each of them.

Erica Napoletano – “And today, I’ll tell ya — it’s all a bunch of noise.”

Jim Connoly – “One thing that has come back to me again and again, is that Klout is the darling of smoke blowers.”

This past weekend, I posted a specific thought about Klout on Facebook and received several comments from several people I respect, most of them negative.

Karla Porter You may already know but I think Klout and similar are a crock and don’t take part at all. I see my reach on the social networks and websites via their analytics and engagement.

Rayanne Thorn Klout is Krap.

Lisa Demmi Not sold on Klout honestly.

Buzz Rooney Klout schmout.

Patrick Barbanes Mike, I  see Klout as a distraction, a metric dreamed up and cobbled together to present data that is less important to me than other metrics.

All in all, not a very encouraging set of comments about a tool that purports to measure the social influence of those who use it, and this is a pretty small cross-section of the Klout user audience.

This quote from the Wizard of Oz pretty much sums up Klout for me.

Dorothy: Oh please, Professor, why can’t we go with you and see all the Crowned Heads of Europe?
Professor Marvel: Do you know any?

Here is the thing I find most interesting and perplexing about Klout.  I don’t know about 75% of the people who list me as one of their influencers on the site.  I guess this means they read what I write about on Twitter and Facebook, but we don’t talk,  or I am not paying enough attention.

I honestly don’t care about my score. It hovers at 61 all the time, no matter what I do.  What bothers me a bit is the thought that a group of people out there who don’t really actively engage with me on any of the various social platforms.  Yet they think enough of me to take the time to list me on a website that most people I know seem to despise.  I know I can reach out to these people through the same platforms.

One thing Klout lacks is a good method for users to engage with members of  the quasi community they have created around me and my alleged influencer status.  This is not the only thing they lack.  Check this  Facebook comment from Rayanne Thorn.

If they had the “right” formulas/algorithms, they wouldn’t keep changing… My score has dropped to 45 and peaked at 71. I hover at 61, too. It is a waste of time worry about your “social influence” – It cannot possibly measure what your followers do with what they have learned from you online once they go offline.  THAT is influence.

I agree with Rayanne.  I am still interested in knowing more about people who think enough of me to mention me on Klout. Not for the fame, but to understand what interests them and to further that relationship.   That is probably the greatest value of a site like Klout.  Given the resounding negative feedback I mentioned earlier, it seems like Klout has a lot of work to do.

Klout really isn’t much more than a game / marketing tool / revenue stream for its creators. They appeal to our ego and our competitive nature and use those traits shill products.  It concerns me that when someone takes the time to mention me, Klout doesn’t help with much with furthering the connection.   The one thing Klout seems to be really good at is being great fodder for blog discussions.

They aren’t very good at connecting with their customers, especially for a site that trackss the social reputation of its users.

To close out my Facebook conversation, I posted the following  question to Klout:

“By the way, does anyone from @Klout read the comments and dialogue about your brand on Facebook? Please feel to reply and let me know.”

So far, no response.  The question and the offer remains open.

Klout?  Klout?  Bueller?   Anyone?

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Hyperlocal social media: where to get started

LinkedIn MerlinWizard
LinkedIn MerlinWizard (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

 How to get started with hyperlocal social media

Yesterday I wrote about the idea of my personal social media use moving in a direction that I termed “Hyper-local social”.   A couple of people have asked me to explain a little more about what I meant by that.  I still use social media to collect information, for my personal networking, and the other broad uses that we have become accustomed to.

Hyper-local social involves finding those small communities and niche pockets inside my broad social network that yield a value for a project, or help me build my knowledge base on a very specific topic or issue.  Some of these places are ad hoc communities I have joined, and some are groups that I have created myself.

Here are some examples, grouped by platform.

Facebook groups:

LinkedIn Groups:   <–click to see my full list of LinkedIn groups

The key to hyper-local social communities on Twitter is to follow the right hashtag.   The # symbol, called a hashtag, is usedto mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was started organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages, and is now the primary method of building specific communities inside the Twitter framework.  Check out #Tchat #SHRM #HR #HRFL12 #ohshrm #hrhappyhour #Hrevolution #TalentNet #SHRMchat and others.

Other great resources include community sites like Focus where I am a member of several groups including HR Management and Social Media, and curation sites like scoop.it where you can follow very specific topics like my lists entitled social musings, HR, and Labor and Employee Relations.




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NLRB social media policy for NLRB employees

NLRB social media policy

The social media policy of the NLRB from their policy web site.   I found the link in this great post from HRE.  As they note, these rules are not the same as the rules the NLRB has put in place for employers they set policy for.

 Social Network Comments Policy

The NLRB participates in social networking sites in order to engage individuals and organizations interested and affected by the NLRB’s work. Therefore, our goal is to share ideas and information with as many individuals as possible and our policy is to accept the majority of comments made to our profile. However, a comment will be deleted if it contains:

Hate speech
Profanity, obscenity or vulgarity
Nudity in profile pictures
Defamation to a person or people
Comments whose main purpose are to sell products, and
Comments that the NLRB Office of Public Affairs deems inappropriate

Please contact publicinfo@nlrb.gov if you have any questions.

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Social Media background checks: Big brother in reverse

Sponsored Post from CIPHR– All about People

User big brother 1984
User big brother 1984 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During a time when more and more investment is being heaped onto ‘social networking’, it is getting around to the point where the definition of the term itself is becoming construed, redeveloped ever more ambiguous as time goes on. Where once we logged onto Facebook, Myspace and Twitter to share photographs, keeping contact with people we don’t really talk to and read each other’s personal news, we are now getting to a time of age where our accounts are having a more significant impact upon our everyday lives.

With Foursquare checking where we are, Facebook eyeing up who we’re with and Twitter listening to what we’re saying; it is time that we start taking care about what we do, who we are and keep into perspective just how we represent ourselves to the electronic and hyperreal Joe Public.

For those of us out there who are searching for jobs, the impact of what we put on our social networking sites could be more than just the cause of a laugh; depending who is viewing your page. A recent study that spoke to three hundred randomly selected employers found that 91% of them had screened a candidate through one of their social networking sites. This is significant news to anyone that is searching for a job and could have a factor-changing role in the way that we use our social networks. Out of the 91% that had viewed candidates, it was found that almost half, at 47%, had viewed the social sites of prospective employees only moments after reading an application. Another 27% screened an applicant after an initial conversation. More interestingly and crucial is the amount of employers that viewed a person’s social networking page only moments before making an offer. Although the figure is relatively low at 4%, this could have catastrophic consequences for anyone caught within the niche.

We can however, save anyone from that 4% by looking into just what employers thought when they looked upon the social networking page of a potential employee.

Out of the three hundred employers, it was found that 61% of them reported that they had rejected a candidate on the basis of what they had found on their personal social networking pages. Although there are a large amount of variants, it is possible to find out just exactly why these employers rejected people after viewing their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

The highest statistic that was found in the survey was that 13% of employers had rejected their candidates because that they had found that they had lied about their qualifications through viewing their social networking pages. Another 11% of employers rejected candidates because of inappropriate photographs, 10% for illegal drug references and 9% because of references to alcohol. Although we all like putting our party pictures up on Facebook , through the eyes of a stranger, the image that you portray could translate vastly different ideals; it is always best to have your tagged pictures on a private setting that is only available to your friends or selected people.

The news however, isn’t all doom and gloom; in fact a higher percentage of employers had actually hired employees after social networking screening than those who had rejected. With a figure of 68% it just goes to show that presenting yourself aptly and taking care of your social networking pages can have alluring consequences. It was found that 39% of employers had hired because they found that the individual that they were viewing had an attractive personality, 36% because the candidate showed creativity and interestingly, 24% because the candidate had other qualifications and awards that were viewable on their pages.

If anything, this one study by Computers in Personnel  just goes to show how integral social networking, the pursuit of employment and the development of HR software has become in the 21st century, whether the people who own pages, are aware of it or not.


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Question the relevance of social media

Hey Jay – Finally got a chance to respond to your last #NoFearHR post!

A view slightly askew
A view slightly askew (Photo credit: mvndrvrt)

I don’t know about you, but I have been super busy   It’s made it tough to keep our conversation going for the last couple of weeks, but I’m back.

A couple of weeks ago, you asked me about what I thought about discussing social media with the C-suite, and specifically about how the HR practitioner ought to begin the conversation about the value of social media to an executive team that still uses the term “twittering”?

My first reaction is that educating  your executive team starts with a general discussion of social media  platforms and how they might be a valuable part of an overall corporate communication strategy.   for me that conversation would start with a series of one on one meetings with the members of the leadership team.   I’d want to get their personal take on social media.

I don’t mean their take on whether Facebook is cooler than Twitter.  I’m talking about an open candid discussion with them about social, and what they think of it.  The I’d ask some pointed questions.

  • What’s your biggest concern about our company using social media?
  • Have you seen any that use social media that you like?  If so, what and why?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen if we go social?
  • Has your department dealt with any employee issues related to social media policy matters?
  • Would you be interested in seeing how our brand looks in the social media world?

This would be a great start.   Then you could start sharing relevant information and data that would help illustrate and illuminate specifically how social is already impacting your business.   This should help to build the business relationship between the C-suite and HR as it relates to social.

What questions would you ask, Jay?

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One Definition of Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI not always about the dollars

I’ve been thinking about social media ROI for a while.  I still haven’t figured it out.  If you asked, I couldn’t give you a great recommendation on the best metrics to use to prove ROI for your business.   Every brand wants to make a buck or two from their social media efforts, but I don’t think that is where the real value resides.

Our social media mission

When we entered into social media at Publix, our CEO wanted two things:

  • any social media efforts we offered must be an extension of our retail store experience, where we strive to offer a premier shopping experience for each customer.
  • we needed to differentiate the social media experience for our customers from those offered by our competition.

While we still have work to do, I think we have accomplished both those goals.    According to all the metrics we can find, we have a higher level of engagement with our Facebook fans than any of our retail competitors.   Our growth has been stellar, and our own fans have commented many times that they can’t believe how often and how quickly we respond to questions and customer concerns on Facebook.   I can’t share numbers, but our push marketing works too.

We accomplished this by one simple method. 

We talk to our customers.  The benefit of that is that our customers talk back to us.  We are engaging in conversation about our products, new store locations, how to save money shopping, and even suggestions on how to improve the shopping experience, coming from people who want to engage with our brand.  How awesome is that?

The ROI lies in the value added communication

We’re not able to measure customer conversions or how many sale are generated by a Facebook post.   We create our social ROI by offering the same kind of service to our customers on Facebook as they receive in our stores.

In our stores, we differentiate ourselves by offering service amenities to customers, such as assisting a customer in locating a product by walking them over to the proper area and pointing it out to them, and not just saying “over on aisle 7”.   We  offer carry-out service to each customer, offering to carry their groceries purchases to their car, even though many decline.   I can’t point to a metric that demonstrates the direct ROI of doing this, but we view them as value added services that are a part of a differentiated shopping experience.  Offering these services is a part of our cultural DNA.

Social media has not yet reached the level of being part of our cultural DNA yet.  Right now, it is a value added service that we offer to tech savvy customers that want engage with our brand.  It will be interesting to see how it looks in a couple of years.


Gary Vaynerchuk: What’s the ROI of your mom?

Here’s another perspective on ROI from a social media guy who is a little more well known than me:

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Interested in Pinterest? Why you may want to be there.

Pinterest is hot

“Is Pinterest the ‘next big thing’ in social media?” asks Don Reisinger on CNET.   It certainly looks like based on the hype going around, and numbers don’t usually lie either.   I have a few beta invites if anyone wants one, just send me your email.

From CNET:

Late last month, Experian Hitwise, a company that monitors consumer behavior on the Web, reported that Pinterest had 11 million visits during the week ended December 17, jumping 4,000 percent compared with six months earlier. The massive bump catapulted Pinterest to the 10th spot in Experian’s listing of the most popular social networks, just behind Yelp. Experian also discovered that Pinterest has found a loyal following in women. In the past three months, women have accounted for 58 percent of its userbase, and nearly 60 percent of those women are between the ages of 25 and 44. Opinions are mixed over why Pinterest has been able to attract such a large audience.

More links of interest about Pinterest







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Seven things I have learned about social media since leaving HR

How social media keeps me out of trouble at HREvolution

I am now batting .500 on HREvolution events.  So far, I have missed all the events held in cities that start with L. That simply sucks, but it’s life.  Since assuming my glamorous new duties as a social media community manager, I simply can’t travel like I used to.  I have to pick the timing of attending events since I am working on the schedule of a seven person team.  I also have to track a lot more data, document more processes, do more research, and generally act a lot more like a manager than I did in my previous labor relations role.  The good and bad news of all this is I missed all the partying with HR rock stars that is going on in Vegas and I have all my money in my pocket, not in storage at a casino.

Now that I have the whining out-of-the-way, let’s get on to the real post topic and talk about some things that I have learned in my first three months as an HR practitioner turned social media professional.  I hope that this article will form the basis of what I want to talk about at the NEXT HREvolution.

The job is still all about communication.  It is just a different audience that is more external to the organization than your typical employee audience.    You are talking to everyone now in this role:  competitors, customers, raving fans, disgruntled employees, your workforce, and anyone else who may have a specific ax to grind with you.

The conversation is always on, including those times when your team is not covering your dedicated platforms, and especially in places where you may not have a footprint now.  Brand conversation is extensive and raw sometimes.

The time commitment for a large brand to do social media right is greater than you have ever imagined.  Make your best estimate and add at least 30% to that.  You will probably still be low.

You need a listening strategy.    The graph below will give you some idea why.  This random 30 day snapshot of brand voice shows how the conversation breaks down into buckets.  Micromedia includes stuff like Twitter and Foursquare.  The rest is self-explanatory.   Assuming that you have a multi-platform social media presence of your own, you are still only catching a small part of your complete conversation.

This means you need tools to help you with your listening strategy.  Something like Radian6, Looxi, Trackur, SproutSocial or StepRep.

You need to understand what you are listening for, and how you actively you plan to engage with the conversation that is taking place around your brand before you engage.  Take advantage of the free trials that each of these vendors offers.  Make them explain the metrics to you and discuss different strategy approaches before you buy.  It doesn’t make any sense to spend a ton of money with a monitoring service if you are just going to listen and not engage in some way.  You can listen for free to most of the conversation for free with Twitter, Facebook, and Google alerts.  By doing this however, you will be giving up a lot of analysis and reporting capabilities.   If you don’t need to know what people are saying about your brands on blogs, and wouldn’t respond there anyway, you may not want to pay for that functionality.  You should understand what that means though.

On Friday, a customer sent me an email after I contacted her on our Facebook wall and shared this with rather shocking comment with me:

“I can’t believe that Publix actually reads their Facebook wall.  Another reason why I love you guys.”

In reviewing the pages of many other brands, it is very  clear that the young woman quoted above has good cause for her surprise that there are live people behind a corporate Facebook wall or other social media platforms.   Don’t make this mistake!   Remember that social media is about communication, you have to listen and talk back.  (duh, right?)

See all you people living the HR Rock Star life at the next HREvolution or somewhere down the road!


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