Sunday, April 12, 2009

Using Twitter as a Research Tool for HR

Photo of Bank of America ATM Machine by Brian ...Image via Wikipedia

Twitter Training - Using Twitter as a Research Tool

Let's take a quick look at how Twitter can be used as a real time research tool by someone in Human Resources. Since it is Easter, and a day for forgiveness, we'll use Bank of America and their CEO under fire, Ken Lewis as our research example.

Utilizing a program called Tweetdeck which takes about 5 minutes to install and looks like this.

Tweetdeck not only allows you to set up tracking columns for groups or friends, it also allows you to set up specific search terms and track the tweets that are going up related to that topic. This gives access to very topical real time information that any Human Resources professional would find useful.

For example, running a random search of the term "Bank of America" on Easter morning yielded 100 tweets. The screen shot below gives you an example of what I found.

The first four tweets show two job postings!?! For a Collector in Plano, Texas and a Mortgage Underwriter in Houston.

Who knew Bank of America would need to be hiring?

Who knew Bank of America was still underwriting mortgages?

The other two tweets are consumer posts revealing that Bank of America is planning to raise interest rates, perhaps as much as doubling them.

The fifth tweet shows a family filming a print and video ad for Bank of America.

As an HR professional, what can you glean from this one snapshot of research?

BOA is 1) hiring 2) spending advertising dollars somewhere 3) lending money to someone 4) taking steps to limit credit risk by raising interests rates and 5) pissing people off by doing that.

So from a business perspective there is information there on recruiting, reputation, and customer perspectives on your current business strategy. If you were to review more of the tweets, you would see even more detailed information - which if tracked and reviewed on a regular basis would allow you to have a sense of what is going on with the business picture at Bank of America.

Let's do a quick related search, taking a look at what twitter has to say about Ken Lewis, the CEO at Bank of America.

The outlook isn't great. Apparently, the consensus is that Mr. Lewis ill be out of his job by the end of the year. Some people think he would make a good party costume. Labor unions are calling for his ouster. And at least one person equates him with being a stereotype for lazy kids.

As an HR professional, what would you do if you read this kind of stuff on line about the CEO of your company?

Those are some examples of the type of information that you can pick up by utilizing twitter as a research tool.

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