1

Method in the madness – #likeminds & #trulondon

Last week I went to a breakfast meeting to see a presenter that I’ve been hoping to meet for some time. The breakfast was organized by Word Of Mouth Uk, (W.O.M.UK.), an organisation you should check out if you are London based. The speakers were Scott Gould and Drew Ellis, the brains behind conference movement #likeminds.

If anyone has not heard of it, #likeminds is a bi-annual social media conference that takes place in Exeter.

#likeminds is in theory a conference on social-media, but it’s not really a conference as much as it is a movement, with many similarities to #tru.

Scott and Drew launched #likeminds about the same time as #trulondon 1, so we tend to keep an eye on what they are doing. Not because we are envious, I admire what they do, but because there is much to learn as we all evolve beyond a simple event.

In my view, the event is secondary to the connections made and conversations had before, during and after the event. The number of people who have made lasting connections, started by a common theme, in both cases, the event, is the biggest factor. Contributors get a sense of belonging and give freely through blogs, links, tweets, video’s and a whole host of other ways. Those that give and help, thrive in this environment. Scott describes the most important aspect of #likeminds as the hashtag. He calls it a “platform” on a #, and I think this sums up what we have built at #tru also.

I’d like to say that we planned things out like this and had great vision. The reality is, on our part anyway, it happened by accident. It has been more a case of perspiration over inspiration, and what has, and is still happening truly astounds me. Both events occurred over a month ago, and yet the hashtag and twitter stream as well as the Facebook fan pages are alive and well.

I’m glad I saw Scott, because his story helped to make some sense of our story. Some of the similarities between the two events are:

: The date we started out and our events took place.

: Both started with zero investment, zero marketing budget or overall plan, but a real desire to do something and the foundations of a personal network to build on.

: Timing and opportunity were also crucial. We both launched at a time when people were looking at all these new channels as more than a bit of fun, recognized the potential but wanted some guidance, and I think, a sense of belonging with other people who didn’t think them idiots.

: There’s two people directly behind the event. One who is very visible and one who is less vocal, but equally industrious and a calming influence. In the case of #likeminds, this was Drew Ellis, who I warmed to instantly, and in the case of #tru, Geoff Webb. http:// twitter.com/radicalrecruit)

: Both have strong international links. From the start, #likeminds were tied with international personalities to blend global best practice. In the case of #likeminds, this was in the form of Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) and Trey Pennington, http://www.treypennington.com.) I’m convinced this merging of cultures, best practice and thinking opens up a new way of thinking, where the only barriers to communicating anywhere in the world are time-zones.

:At the second event, #likeminds attracted 350 people from 3 continents with 30 world class speakers. While #trulondon attracted 180 attendees over the 3 days, they were from 9 countries with 35 track leaders that I would put up against anyone in the expert stakes.

: The #likeminds hashtag is showing no sign of slowing down any day soon. The #trulondon hashtag is showing no sign of slowing down soon. (albeit we are diluting it a bit with #truUSA, #truAus, #truNZ, #truManchester, #truDublin, #truIndia etc etc. The presentation has made me think about whether we need to switch this to one single identity as in #likeminds, or if we are better maintaining the #tru brand but highlighting the local focus.

:Both events had a very low ticket cost in comparison to traditional conferences.

:Both events have more “ambassadors” spreading the word with passion than any other events I can think of.

Despite the conference/unconference format making the actual events polls apart in structure, there are many more similarities between the way we have both evolved. I’m not sure you could imitate it intentionally; it grows out of passion and industry.

My big take away’s from Scott’s presentation that really hit home were:

: The # is THE platform.

: Word of mouth (or as I term it: Word of mouse), is people to people not company to company. People buy the people that are involved, and the energy wave, not the company. They trust recommendations and not pitches.

:You can’t govern or control what people say on the hashtag, about you or for you. You have to let it have a life of it’s own, and a few negative comments can be as strong a message for you as all the positive ones.

: The presentation (and it was a powerpoint presentation), was titled Spreadability v Reach.
Spreadability is social, multiway, adapts, needs guidance (not control), is dynamic and is a personal relationship.
Reach is broadcast, one way, repetitious, governed, static and is all public relations. This point really hit home for me as to the way of marketing and growing in the social media age. You have to let it happen, nurture it, give it a reason for being (the events) but not force it or make it purely referenced to a company or it’s products.

The biggest point for me though was when Scott made the statement: “People don’t necessarily remember what they heard, but they remember how they felt!”

This sums up exactly how I feel about #trulondon, despite everything, something special happened. There was plenty of learning, but the biggest thing everyone remarked on was the deep connections that were made and friendships that are evolving. The same will happen at #truUSA, at Madison on April 18th/19th.

In days past, you had to cram all your learning in to the sessions and the learning finished when you left. You took plenty of business cards but how many of those people did you continue to connect with daily? How many of those people were known to you professionally and personally before the event?

The event gives you the reason to start those connections early before the day, so it’s like meeting old friends when you do get together, and you can continue connecting every day long after the event, whatever the geography. That wasn’t possible not so long ago, and it gives the # a new life of it’s own.

For anyone interested, you can view Scott’s slides here.

Thanks to Scott, Drew, #likeminds (all of you) and WOM for helping me to understand a little more about why #trulondon has grown the way it has. I’d wish you luck for the future if I thought you needed it! I’ve found another inspiration.

Keep being ambassadors, viva #likeminds.

Bill

The other “Avatar” movie. #HRCarnival 2010

Thanks to our technology platform sponsors.

After much asking, pleading,bullying, mentioning and twittering, the 2010 Video Edition of #HRCarnival is here. Thanks to everyone who contributed, sent out the message and made this possible.
Without sounding like an oscar speech, VERY SPECIAL THANKS to 2 people who have made this possible:
Lisa Scales from Talent On View who provided the technology. (Not only did Lisa provide the platform but she also spent christmas moving servers when her last provider fell over in order to ensure #HRCarnival could continue and for converting video submissions in various formats in to a format that can be posted here.) Thanks Lisa for all you have done!
Thanks also to Shauna Moerke, better known as H.R.Minion for continuing to organise the project in the background, making sure there is always a host and plenty of content. Like lots of minions Shauna makes both the Carnival and #H.R.HappyHour happen without enough recognition. We appreciate all you do at making us all look good!

Now to the show itself. I will be running 10 video’s per day in no particular order until we run out of video’s. (So far we have about 50.)
You can continue to submit your video HERE for inclusion. For those without a webcam or too shy for camera, I have a solution that means you can take part. Send me a 4-5 slide power point presentation with your picture, thoughts for 2010 and contact details. We will do the rest to turn it in to video and include your thoughts in the 2010 #HRCarnival.

Competition Time:
To make things interesting I will be running 2 competitions each day. You can nominate a video of the day for Best Video and Best Message. At the end of the Carnival I will run the 5 video’s in each category that get the most votes. (1 vote per day in each category per person.) To vote leave your nomination in the comments section.

The winning videos will be screened at #Trulondon 2 in February and the producer will win 2 tickets to a #TruEvent of their choice. You can choose from any of these events taking place globally in 2010 as well as the coveted title of #HRCarnival King/Queen.

Get voting!

Thanks for being ambassadors of both your brand and our community in general. Send for the popcorn and enjoy the show!

Video 1 is from Laurie Ruettimann, well known for her blog PunkRock H.R. and track leader for #trulondon2 in Feb.

Video 2 is from Benjamin McCall who blogs on H.R. and other matters at RethinkHR

Video 3 is from Wendy Jacob, Recruiter who recently launched the blog Wendy The Recruiter

Video 4 is from Raj Mennon who responded to a twitter post. Raj blogs on leadership on his blog 13 apples. A new one to me but now in the reader!

Video 5 is from Jim Stroud. Jim shot this video over the Christmas break as you can see. Jim blogs, trains and makes video’s on recruiting, sourcing and all things social media and is a track leader for #truLondon 2. You can find Jim’s entertaining blog “The Searchologist.”

Video 6 is from Andy Headworth. Another shot over the Christmas break hence the hat and the first signs of a beard. (Do you call that “Green Shoots?”) . Andy is an influential blogger in the U.K. through his blog Sirona Says, was a track leader at #trulondon 1 where he inspired at least 4 new blogs out of would be bloggers (me included), and is a track leader at #truLondon 2.

Video 7 is from a recruiter known as the “Big Biller.” I refer of course to Jerry Albright who is often found (when not filling contracts, counting money or complaining about twitter) on most of the blogtalk radio shows. Jerry blogs at Jerry Albright, Staffing Artist where he also provides a range of downloadable resources free.

Video 8 is a double-header from Michael Long and Kelly Mitton. Michael is well-known for always wearing red shoes running the red shoe project (send Michael pictures of red shoes!) Don’t ask, have a look, and blogs as TheRedRecruiter. Kelly has recently graduated from the University of Buffalo with a degree in business and a concentration in Human Resource Management. Kelly blogs on H.R, Gen Y (unusually from a Gen Y perspective) and other things on her blog tHRyving.

Video 9 is from the recently announced top H.R. influencer (on line anyway) Mark Stelzner. Mark influences, among other places, through his must read blog Inflexion Point.

Video 10: Last but not least is reserved for the real queen of #HRCarnival, Shauna Moerke. Shauna keeps things ticking over as well as co-hosting hugely popular blogtalk radio show #HRHappyHour. Looking at Shauna’s blog, HR Minion, she is currently between contracts so if you have an HR opportunity in or around Minnesota look her up.

That ends today’s episode of #HRCarnival. We will be back tommorow with another 10 videos from the lucky dip that is my in box this year.. I hope you enjoyed these enough to come back. Why not save time looking for tweets and subscribe here for instant notification of the posting.

Two other things to look out for during this carnival. On Monday I will be hosting 3 blogtalk radio shows to look at the predictions from the videos. These go out in Australia and New Zealand at 6.00am – 7.00am GMT (5,00 PM Aus/7.00PM NZ), in the U.K. at 12.00 – 1.00.P.M. and in the U.S. at 6.00 – 7.00 PM GMT (1.00 – 2.00 EST). I will be publishing the dial in numbers and show links tomorrow.

Whilst we have H.R. attention on the Carnival, I will be publishing a special post for any H.R. or Recruiters currently job hunting. The story behind this is that I recently posted some detailed advice on another blog about how to promote yourself through social media. I’m going to reproduce these comments as a blog post and invite any H.R. professionals or Recruiters currently out of work to post links to their linked In profile or resume. Please take a look at the links and help if you can.

Thanks for watching. Keep the entries coming. You can record direct or upload HERE.
Be ambassadors of great HR/Recruiting!

Bill

Where do i “live” again?

What are we called then?

This blog is written for H.R. Carnival. Those of you who are not familiar with the carnival, it’s a great concept started by @Beneubanks. The idea is that every few weeks there is a new host who reviews H.R. related blogs on mass and provides a great learning library. I hosted quite a few months back with my first ever hosted blog attempt. (It shows.) And it was recently hosted by @JonIngham from the U.K. Aside from that i’m not sure when it has last been posted this side of the pond. In the interest of giving more exposure to U.K. bloggers why not volunteer? you will find some great material in the process.

This eddition is being hosted by @MikeVanDervort who is attempting to review 100 blogs and is making a donation to nominated charities in return for submissions. The charity I support is Round Table Children’s Wish. A great charity that provides wishes for terminally ill children. Thanks’ Mike for a great idea. The question in hand:

Where do I live again?

 I’m a little bit confused because my community keeps changing. Not the physical one I live in, but the places I hang out on line, the people I talk to and the networks I take an active part in. The Recruiting Unconference London reflected this new community. 1/3rd of the attendees were Recruiters, 1/3rd Corporate Recruiters and H.R and the final 1/3rd consisted of technology vendors, consultants and job boards. This kind of split would be a fair reflection of my on-line networks, and I’m sure many are thinking the same. (Or am i the only odd one that doesn’t quite fit?).

Historically, these networks (other than where there is a commercial interest) would have rather have crossed the road rather than be seen on the same street. The positive impacts of social media and personal branding has been a complete breakdown of these barriers and borders between disciplines. I’m sure this is because you get to know the person first before you find out too closely what they do. As someone who has traditionally been very much a third-party recruiter, I have probably communicated with more H.R. professionals over the last 6 months than I have in the preceding 26 years on anything other than a sales basis.

This convergence of expertise, knowledge and individual focus can only be a good thing. It has certainly changed my outlook and thinking in some areas considerably, and I hope I have made my own contributions to the neighboring professional networks. I’m really looking forward to openly sharing in the future, much as we did at the unconference , without fear or suspicion between disciplines. We might have different objectives but we face many of the same issues and challenges and collectively we can find the best way to move recruiting forward for the benefit of all.

We are all now one community combined (tagged Social Human Convergence at #trulondon).

The challenge for me is to find new ways to collaborate and put this combined expertise to good use. I’m sure between us we can prove to be quite a force to human related problems, particularly when you consider that the opinions are global.

Have a look at who is posting in the carnival. Not traditional H.R.

Keep being ambassadors.

Bill

Don’t follow me on…

Twitter  is a great leveler and a real indication of where your brand stands. The reality is that some people like you and value your comments, some people don’t. The instant feedback element is part of what i like about the channel, as well as the opportunity to enter in to conversation and get feedback quickly. As twitter, and twitter use has evolved then the conversations and relationships on and off line have got closer and some real business relationships have been formed. When i spoke in Dallas at #Talentnetlive and at Recruitfest09 in Toronto, it was noticeably different that 80% of the delegates knew me or about me on some level without ever having met me. This is how social media has really changed the way we network.

Of recent, I’ve started following all the news from conferences worldwide. A recent blog by @HRMargo highlighted this, how twitter has enabled her to feel a part of many conferences that she would otherwise have been either excluded by budget/location or knowledge that it was taking place, the learning was exclusive to the lucky few who attended. I have recently organized #trulondon quite a low budget. The marketing has been almost exclusively via twitter, using the #trulondon hash tag and a wide number of blogs written about the event and we have managed to attract 12 top names in social recruiting as track leaders including Geoff Webb (@radicalrecruit) from Canada. This level of international marketing would have taken years and many thousands of pounds/dollars pre twitter. 

We all have our own views on how to build an effective following and maintain it. For me it is about conversation, contribution, helping where you can and sharing. For me, i make a regular habit of promoting my followers within my network and passing on links that i think might be interesting. I do this by retweeting links that interest me that i think could interest my network. I also retweet jobs in social recruiting that i see because i know that some of my followers are actively looking now and they may have missed it. My network is also international with about 70% of my followers being based out of the UK, and as a result i like to promote UK bloggers that I’m interested in and vice-a-versa. Through social media (and skype) the world is a shrinking place, and there is lots to be learnt from all cultures and recruiting markets. I see this as probably the biggest benefit of being involved in social networks, bigger than the business and brand opportunity is the self-development that comes from this instant library of bloggers and advisors in my twitter stream. If i like it, i want to share it.

There we come to the nature of twitter. Some people will simply not like your style, personality, volume or any number of other things. With a big following you can’t please everyone or you become pretty sterile, and how far away is changing your image from being unauthentic? The same people that talk brand image equally talk authenticity and originality. My advice is that consistency is the key, retaining a distinctive style. With nearly 3000 followers it seems to work o.k. for me. in the process i will lose some followers. without wishing to sound arrogant about it, i would invite anyone that does not like my style to unfollow, it’s really quite easy. That for me is one of the appeals of twitter, you choose who you want to follow and who you don’t, exercise that choice.

What prompted this blog was the comments from Peter Gold on a blog i wrote  quite a few months ago in another group.

Peters comments were:

 

“Maybe you were not on the list because you just RT everything anybody else says – where is the value to anyone in that? 100 tweets doesn’t make you good; 100 cold calls but not one new vacancy – what would be the point? You’ve some way to go Bill.”

 

Rather than be upset by this, it got me thinking about the comments, should i change how i tweet or continue as i do for the reasons outlined? i actually apreciate people being open and critical, even when they clearly have not read the full blog and subsequent comments.  My conclusion is what is outlined at the start of this entry. I may well have a long way to go, we all do and if my followers were decreasing i might be concerned but thats the beauty of twitter, if you don’t like what i do, don’t follow me or put me on your list. we all have that sanction and long may it continue.

 

To everyone in my network please retweet often. send anything you think might be interesting, i welcolme it and thank you for sharing. By sharing and engaging with your followers, and promoting others as well as yourself you build a trusted and valued network.

 

What are your thoughts on the best way to build a following and the value of a retweet? A great discussion for the social media circus track on Thursday. comment freely, i have broad shoulders.