This was going to be my own final wrap up for #SHRM09. I would have written it earlier, but I had a major presentation to an HR department staff on Social Media that I had to do on Thursday following #SHRM09, and I lost my final version of the presentation in a computer crash on Tuesday afternoon during Ryan Estis' excellent presentation on employment branding 2.0.
Needless to say, I freaked out, but being a totally committed networker, I went to the tweetup at Ruth Chris steakhouse (one of the conference highlights for me) and then went along for dinner at Broussard's in the French Quarter with a bunch of really smart and committed HR professionals, including many of my blogging peers.
I don't care what you do in HR or who you are, you should wish you had been lucky enough to be hanging out at that table.
I think it might be a business model: "Dinner with the HR social media geniuses!"
So I went to dinner, the carousel bar, and then back to my room, and by sleeping only 4 hours out of the next 48 hours - I rebuilt the complete presentation and delivered it on time with smashing results.
My main point is a simple one, yet powerful.
If you are in business, and especially if you are a major brand, you are already involved in the social media dialogue. The choice your company faces is whether you want to do anything to proactively manage, direct or influence the conversation by taking part in that dialogue. My advice is that you should be, but that decision is not an appropriate one for every organization.
Which brings me to my concluding thoughts on #SHRM09.
SHRM and Social Media
I am thrilled to see the approach that SHRM took this year, not only by working with those of us in HR who are immersed in social media by allowing us press access to the conference, but also by incorporating pieces of social media into the actual conference. This included providing access to various speeches including the opening speech by Jack Welch via their web site, and the awesome panel of HR blogging experts on the final day, that was moderated by SHRM COO China Miner Gorman. If you aren't a regular twitter user, China and many other members of the SHRM staff have adopted Twitter wholeheartedly and are using it as an outreach tool to HR professionals. Jack Welch is also on twitter and mentioned it in his speech.
It was also noticeable that many of the speakers had incorporated aspects of social media such as video into the usual drab and boring PowerPoint slide decks.
HR professionals are already engaged in the social media dialogue whether you know it or not. The choice you face is whether or not you want to do anything on an individual basis to proactively manage, direct or influence the conversation taking place around you. My advice is that you should be, but that decision is not an appropriate one for every HR professional.
So my final impression of #SHRM09 is that while it may not yet be at a tipping point, members of the HR community are slowly being herded like cats into coming to grips with social media.
To paraphrase one of the people that I was seated at the table with on my last night at #SHRM, being there with all those committed intelligent and engaged people is exactly the type of HR community that was I looking for when I first started using social media and networking as a professional. It was fun. It was vibrant, and I believe it is the future of Human Resources.
Get on board. There are many of us who would be glad to help you!
See you in San Diego for #SHRM10, and many of you in August in Orlando for #HRFlorida!