Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Social Media -- Good and Bad

Do You Know Where Your Social Media Is?

Jason C. Blais is in the house, and blogging up a storm!

Read Jason's take on the paradox that is social media. I found his perspective fascinating. I hope you will too!

Jason, thanks for sending me such great content, dude!

For more of Jason, be sure to check out his excellent and thoughtful blog Recruiting Front Lines or follow him on twitter!

Sitting in here for Michael, I feel somewhat inadequate. Like Cuba Gooding Jr taking over Eddie Murphy's role in the sequel to Daddy Day Care, John Goodman taking Jim Belushi's spot for Blues Brothers 2000, or Jason Bateman trying to keep the Teen Wolf brand alive. I can only strive to elevate my game as Gooding, Jr did in Boyz n the Hood, Goodman in The Big Lebowski, or Bateman in Arrested Development. Okay... maybe I'm setting unrealistic goals, so I'll just get on with it.

I'm curious just how much understanding people, professionals in HR specifically, have of social media and its value. How many networks do you participate in? Do you have any idea what a Ning is? How about Blip..fm? Ping.fm? Are you blogging for yourself? Do you read blogs of others (aside from Human Race Horses, that is!)?

Personally, I'm at the crossroads of the professional world, real life, and technology...and recently I found myself wearing the stylish orange vest of the crossing guard as I try to guide my daughter's journey in the world. It hit me like a bolt of lightening today, that I've spent just about the same amount of time and energy over the last year convincing our senior management team about the value of participating in social media as I have trying dissuade my 12 year old from the very same resources- vilifying them as time wasters and "not real life". I don't think these two positions are mutually exclusive, as what is often best for business is rarely best for child development. Still, though, it struck me.

For just about the last year, I have invested countless hours collecting articles, studying social media, testing out various platforms, and reaching out to experts to build a case for investing the time and effort (very little money in this equation, aside form labor costs) to officially launch our presence within social media. Despite this effort to vet out resources, collect data, and inform our senior and mid-level managers, there remains uncertainty and unease at our progress. As I've continued to Blog, Tweet, Link, and build networks, I'm finding that very few professionals quickly grasp the tremendous benefits of various social media platforms, resulting in very little- relative to email or internet as a whole- engagement still.

I've since developed training programs for LinkedIn, Ning, and Twitter, all focused on the very basic fundamentals of why these are relevant, and how a business can leverage them. In building these programs, I realized just how much detail and minutia is involved to even begin to see any value. If you're not on the front line of exploring new platforms, the prospect of staying current can seem insurmountable. I'm always interested in hearing about how people learned to use the various social media platforms they've adopted. Was it a result of a business initiative? Did you have a friend that helped you get on board? Was there some other driving motivation that lead you to put in the time and energy to learn it on your own? How far have you come, why, how, and how much more time will you spend developing your social media presence?

And for those with families, I'm always interested in hearing more about how you frame social media for your family. Is it part of your daily life, or night life? Are other families just as hip to the social media? Do you learn from a family member, or are you the teacher? Do you encourage your children to participate, or try to keep them from it?

Okay... so I've got lots of questions. And thus far, I've provided no answers. If you've got another two minutes to share, I'd like to ask you to share your thoughts by commenting on this post. I am coming to find that real value can be had through social media, provided we all continue to share our knowledge, share our questions, and share our perspectives.

Thanks again to Michael for letting me sit in the captain's chair today. Be well everyone- happy, healthy, and in pursuit of a life of gratitude.

Jason C. Blais




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