Rants

The trouble with trolls. Thoughts on Johnnie Jobs

Sometimes something starts out as fun, but ends up being anything but that, Maybe a joke that goes too far. Damaging or hurtful comments made under the guise of a bit of light-hearted banter. Like describing the speakers at a conference as drunks or drug users, or taking pictures of conference attendees and describing them as MILFS looking for a pick up, cat ladies or suggesting that this lady (with a picture) in the book shop line better be buying a book on dress codes. The thing about trolls is that they make these posts and comments under another name, and are guarded by the cloak of anonymity. This lets them say what they want without any concern for their own brand or reputation, and they do this for a reason.
It might seem like a lot of fun to the small clique in on the joke, but these types of posts are always posted on popular twitter streams, usually events, as they were this week on the #HRFL13 hashtag. Plenty of people invest time talking to the folks in HR about why they have nothing to fear from their employees getting social, and why they should embrace it. I’m sure most of the clique behind Johnnie Jobs have had the same conversations many times. A conference like the one in Florida attracts lots of new people trying out Twitter for the first time, or revisiting for another look. There is a real opportunity to show them what is involved, and how this might be useful, and how they might get value from taking part. Showing them pictures of attendees labeled as MILFs, poking fun at unbeknown people, or personal attacks on speakers is not really what you would expect. The pictures were coming from within the conference, as a means of saying we are here,we are watching you, and we are laughing at you. Is that really the impact you want to have? In jokes are only funny tp the in crowd. Most people looking in from outside will be believing what they are seeing, and it is damaging and hurtful. What effect would it have on the lady described as a MILF looking for a pick up? The comment and picture were in the open stream, and on the #HRFL13 hashtag.

If you really believe that it is all just good fun, why not post it in your own name or on your own blog? Why not say this is me, this is what I, and my company think of you all? It is only fun after all. Why not include this in a keynote delivered at another state conference, take public credit for your work? I’m sure that those behind Johnnie Jobs speak at enough. I might be considered a “ narcissistic HR social media type who has had their sense of fun sucked out” for having the view that trolls and these types of comments aren’t funny. I hope the collective behind it have another think about it, and open themselves up publicly, on their own blogs and accounts. If it is just all humour, then there can’t be any harm in that.I believe twitter has now pulled the account, although I didn’t complain. This takes some doing, so it must be more than me who feel the same way. Twitter also might consider pulling all the associated accounts to prevent further wrong doing by the account holders. it will be interesting to see if this happens.

I’m fine with snarkiness, a bit of humour, and I laugh more than most. I’m open to critique, and the plenty of people who think I am wrong. I often am, I just think that this should come in an open way, and not from a troll account. The intention might well have been fun, but you could damage the reputation of others, and hurt innocent bystanders with the barbed tweets about MILF’s etc, attached to pictures. I hope more people take a stand against trolls, and demand they go public, because we know the harm that’s being caused by cyber bullies in schools and other places, and this kind of behaviour just isn’t any different.

Bill

You Deserve Your Crappy Response

One of the things I picked up from the Twitter stream from #MBuzz last week was the reaction from some recruiters  that “crappy” applicants didn’t deserve any kind of acknowledgment because they had the audacity to apply for a job they were completely unsuitable for. How dare they waste a recruiter’s time.
I was thinking about this today when I received 5 consecutive e-mails all offering to post my jobs further and wider, to more and more free job boards at no cost to me, and then to the aggregators. They all had social features so that I can spam my jobs in to the various streams, and one that even automates this for all my employees at regular intervals. Post and pray and pray and spray.

The big benefit sold to me was that I could get more and more applicants, the assumption being that the more response I got, the better the chance I got the right candidate in the end. A pure numbers game.

I commented about this on Facebook, and it seems I’m not alone in thinking this. One of the problems is that many recruiters judge the success of their job postings by the volume of the response they get, not the quality of that response. Third party recruiters hide any identifying client information from ads, scared of the competition. Digital marketers fear posting anything but positive branding content, in fear that this will put people off and stop them from replying. Ads are badly written with only the basic information. Qualifiers are kept as wide as possible. Keep feeding the pipeline, pump in more, and more, and more.

Here is the problem. The more people you have in the system, the less time recruiters have to identify the gems or offer any kind of candidate experience, seeing some as not even worth an acknowledgment. Time to turn this on its head. You should be working on getting less response, not more. The more authentic your culture brand content, telling the real story, the more people you are going to put off because they don’t fit in with your values or culture. That is a great thing. We should be selective in where we are posting and sharing, what we are posting and sharing, and who too. Really looking to cut down the volume, allowing more time or selection and candidate experience. More time for actual recruiting and less time on the sifting and hiding.

Next weeks Colleague #HangOut on Tuesday is going to cover the Agency Candidate Experience. Attraction is going to be a big part o the conversation. Sign up for the community to join in the conversation, because less really is more!

Bill

 

A little respect for 9/11 please

It might be that i turned 47 last week and I’ve turned in to a grumpy old man with a little less tolerance for things. I’m not normally one to post personal rants. This blog is really about technology, HR and recruiting, and many of the great people I meet on-line and on my travels, but sometimes some things just need to be said.
Social media is a great thing.Possibly the best way we have ever had of connecting and seeing the world through others eyes. I don;t always agree with the views that others post, but on the most part I see how they have formed their view, even if I think they are wrong. Other times I might find things a bit silly, occasionally even offensive enough to hit the unfollow button and get people out of my stream. I am rarely offended enough by something to get properly angry. I find most people respectful in their dialogue. Like I am in person, I don’t like everyone or agree with everyone. Sometimes we just don’t get on, but social media has also provided a great opportunity to see how others think and behave. I’m rarely disappointed when I meet people who I have connected with on-line, and I fiercely defend the social channels against any type of censorship. As far as I’m concerned, people have the right to be an idiot and to prove it on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or anywhere else.

Today though I saw a few things that I need to speak up about. I know a few people who made the comments or produced the content. They are   not bad people, but I can’t help but think they  have substituted sensibility for social, and are behaving in a way they never would do in person because they are on-line.

A  day on from the anniversary of 9/11 I had a bit of spare time and was scrolling back in my stream and looking at the posts relating to the day. There was some very moving posts. Some from people I know quite well who lost friends on that day, others who were recounting what they saw and how they felt, and others expressing their own memories of what happened. It’s not something they talk about every day, but it is a moment in time that has defined many people’s lives as a before and after.Living in the UK it was less personal, but I remember clearly how I felt for mankind. I was personally effected more by 7/7, when someone I had trained was killed by a bomber on an underground train along with many others. I understand how that feels, and I have nothing but sympathy for anyone in the same situation.

I was shocked though to find a few posts making points about US foreign policy, and what is seen as other outrages happening now and in the past, and these were not posts from people I would consider to be extreme in normal circumstances. This time they offended me. Not because I agree or disagree, everyone is entitled to a view and a voice. You can think and say what you like about America provided it is not racist or prejudiced, 364 days a year, but on this one day it is a day for sensibility and silence. I write plenty of content people don’t like, but if I ever wrote anything that I thought had hurt someone emotionally I would be mortified. Content should never be personal.

At the same time, I found posts promoting the sale of “party packs”, T-shirts and other merchandise to celebrate the impending death of former PrimeMinister of the UK Margaret Thatcher. She is old and frail now, and in ill-health. I understand why people have strong views about her and her politics, but party packs available to order and break open when she dies, wit invites, balloons and party poppers?, This is being applauded and shared after they were openly on sale at the TUC Conference. They should be ashamed, and so should the people who share or like the posts relating to them. Whatever your view, celebrating a death with a party and a T-shirt is just wrong. When it happens, and it will soon, a dignified silence for one day rather than posting celebration messages should be the response. By all means attack the politics after the day, but don’t attack the person. Think of their relatives and friends, whoever they may be.

I connect these two topics because I love social media and the freedoms we enjoy. We should use them wisely, and with sensibility, and consider content that might be hurtful at the wrong time to be totally unacceptable. We are fortunate to have the right to say and post what we like, we should use it wisely!

Bill

Guest Rant by @MarcDrees: Hey Blodget, you better shut your pie hole

I’m going to introduce this rant by reminding the readers that this is a GUEST post. I have a very simple policy for guest posts, you write it, if it’s not racist or sexist, or filled with obscenity, then I will post it. Simple!
I was pleased, and a little surprised to get the request to host a new blog from Drees. if you read Dutch, you will know Marc well. If you don’t, then you may not. Drees is the angry man of recruiting, who makes the infamous “Recruiting Animal” look tame. After a tweet I posted at a conference, I was advised to be careful or I might turn in to the English Marc Drees. I took that as a compliment. Most recently, Drees has referred to me as a hired gun as far as BranchOut is concerned. I applauded their meteoric growth in monthly users this year. I’m not paid by BranchOut (as was suggested), but i felt the growth numbers were too big to ignore, by the same token, Marc has been quick to point out that the decline is at a similar rate, and I should be commenting in the same vein. I’m glad to host Marc to make this point, and perhaps introduce him to a few new non-Dutch speakers who are not familiar with his rants. I will also be inviting Rick Marini to respond if BranchOut want to comment. For the record, according to AppData.Com, BranchOut have 8,400,000 average monthly users.This is by far the biggest recruiting application in terms of users (10 x more than BeKnown), BUT this is down from a high around the 14Mn mark, with a loss of 1,700,000 in the last 7 days. I know the guys at BranchOut are quite resourceful, so I’m watching to see what they might do next. I also think the Beknown number is slightly misleading because the platform is now integrated in to Monster.Com, allowing anyone looking at a job to see how they are connected inside the advertising company by Facebook connections. Because this activity takes place away off Facebook, the numbers for people accessing the platform via this feature (perhaps by messaging contacts) are not included.
This is what Marc has to say:

Hey Blodget, you better shut your pie hole before LinkedIn does it for you!
Henry Blodget, infamous sell side analyst during the dot.com boom-bust cycle now turned blogger at BusinessInsider, penned an incredibly stupid article on April 19th where he salivated all over professional networking app BranchOut:
BranchOut was started two years ago and already has 25 million users, which puts it on a similar growth ramp to Instagram–the photo-sharing app that Facebook bought last week for $1 billion.
Is Blodget suggesting a $1 billion valuation for BranchOut? Putting it at par with Monster? And at approx. 10% of LinkedIn’s value? Apparently so… Which begs the question: Is he back to his old sell-side tricks? From which he was banned for life? Apparently so…
Whatever the reason for Blodget to pimp BranchOut, let’s hope that the stupid money doesn’t listen to him anymore. Because BranchOut is on a crash-and-burn course back to earth. Based on an extrapolation of the user losses the app suffered during the month of May, BranchOut will hit rock-bottom somewhere during the second half of July:

BranchOut: Monthly average users (red line, May, 1 – May, 31) en linear trend line (grey). Sources: Facebook, AppData
BranchOut lost 5,5 million monthly average users (MAU) during the month of May, or 41% of the MAU number at the start of the month (13,4 million). That is a shitload of MAU’s…
Blodget should know better than to try to sell a Ponzi just before it peaked (on April 27 – 29, at 13,9 million MAU). It makes him look very, very suspicious indeed. Second time around…

This is Marc’s view. He is clearly not a fan of Blodget or of BranchOut. I’m less pessimistic about the future of BranchOut, and clearly they need to do something to address the slide in user numbers as it is an avalanche, as a business though, BranchOut have proved resourceful in the past at bouncing back from setbacks, like when LinkedIn withdrew access from their API for a breach of terms, and previous negative press around spam at launch. Lets see what happens. Should Facebook go ahead with the much talked about Facebook phone (and the new Facebook cam app would indicate a step in this direction), then I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see BranchOut as the chosen application provided they reverse this trend, what can’t be denied however is that the decline is as dramatic as the growth. As for the speculation on the value of BranchOut that triggered Marcs rant, it is just that, speculation.

For more of the same you should follow Marcs blog, though you may well need to add Google translate.Its entertaining and well researched.

Bill

Marc Drees

Marc Drees Blog

AppData

When The S**T hits the fan. A ConSol Partners Story

I was on my way back from #truMadrid when I got a message on Facebook from a fairly senior head of recruiting at a business you would all know. The message contained a link to a story published in The Kernel about recruitment business ConSol Partners under the heading

“Another Tech Recruiter Lying And Fabricating”under the category “Parasite.” The reason I was being asked about my thoughts on the story was that my friend spends quite a lot of money with ConSol, and was questioning if that was actually a good idea given the story.

The nature of the story was that a recruiter at ConSol had a candidate who had been interviewed by a start up and was waiting on an answer because they had another offer with a deadline, and another first interview with another of ConSols clients the following week. The allegation is that the recruiter knew the start up had decided not to pursue the candidate but lied about not having feedback because they wanted the candidate to let the deadline pass and go for the other interview. The post goes on to claim that ConSol went as far as to fabricate e-mails and storys as to how they had been unable to get hold of their client, and as a result, the candidate let the offer pass, missing out on the opportunity.

When the truth came out, the client was understandably unhappy to have been put in a bad light, and the candidate was understandably incensed, My friend had seen the story and wanted to know If I thought it was true and if they should be cutting ties with ConSol Partners, and they wont have been the only client to see it. The post featured a picture of Marc Cohen, Director of ConSol. Not great PR for anyone.

I’m not writing this post to pour more scorn on ConSol. On the face of it, the business has demonstrated the very worst of what the recruitment industry occasionally serves up, that does great damage to the greater majority of excellent recruiters. I say on the face of it, because I only know one side of the story. There could be more to it. ConSol may have a different take on things, I just couldn’t find it.

The Kernel post linked to the ConSol website and I;m sure they got plenty of traffic. I was looking for some kind of response, or even an acknowledgment, but nothing. I used Addictomatic to look at the wider social arena, and all I came up with The Kernel post and plenty of job tweets and posts. Google front page listed the website and The Kernel post again at 5. If I was searching for the company then there it is, not a great advert.

It could be that this is the action of a rogue recruiter, and the business is investigating or have already taken some action. I would have expected to find something somewhere. A comment on the post to at least acknowledge it could have taken some of the sting out of the tail. A strong network in the social channels would have brought some positive comments about the business from fans, but that takes time.

If I were in ConSol’s shoes, I’d be thinking quickly about how to manage the situation. My advice to any recruitment business is to monitor the social content with alerts so that they can respond to any negative comment before the story gets viral. For many people, silence speaks volumes. You don’t have to hold your hands up to everything you might be accused of, but you should acknowledge comments and be clear that you are not going in to hiding. You also need to have invested time in building your own networks. They will add their support when you need it if you have earnt it.It’s another great example of why recruitment businesses should be social and earning good will.

As a warning to other recruiters, The Kernel are on a bit of a mission. The post concludes with this comment:

“Recruitment companies, with the exception of headhunters at the higher levels, are often grubby, ugly places, staffed by low-grade, barely skilled operators. Few firms act ethically and responsibly.

For some reason, the people who run these parasitic organisations continue to imagine they can get one over on companies and candidates who are savvier and better-connected than they are.

The Kernel is currently compiling a feature-length report on the tricks and scams these unscrupulous companies try to pull on tech start-ups. In the meantime, this is one firm you’ll want to avoid. “

Bloggers have the power to publish, and sensational story’s go viral quickly. You can only influence the conversation if you are in it. There might be legal measures you can take down the line, but once a story is out, it’s out, and hangs around. Judging by the Kernel post, there is plenty more to come out. If ever recruitment firms needed a push to get social in order to understand how to communicate in the social channels, this should be it. Disgruntled candidates, clients and employees can wash their dirty laundry in public. It might be justified, it might not, but the one certainty is that these “exposes” will become more common. Time to wake up and smell the coffee! Be aware, be ready and transparent.

Bill

Bill

A message about Spam

Networking has changed. People are far more likely to connect with people than ever before without any real prior relationship, but at the same time, they are quicker than ever before to ditch people. The second or third message is key, leading straight to block, disconnect or unfollow, and the biggest reason given for doing so is spam. Spam, by my definition is all about relevance, and no deceptions, but a growing number of people seem to miss out on this simple point. Everyone has their own spam threshold, and what falls in to this category.
In my streams, this is what I see as spam from messages I’ve received in the last week:
 An invitation to an event which further exploration revealed I was unable to apply for a ticket because they were only open to specific job titles. If I don’t fit the audience, don’t send the invite. Spam.
 A link to a blog on twitter labelled as “This is an interesting post.” The link goes to the sharers post, calling their own blog interesting. Sorry, I see that as a deception. Spam.
 Joining me to multiple Facebook groups without asking, and posting the same content in each group. I only need to belong to one, duplicate updates are just annoying. Spam.
 Sending me a job on LinkedIn that I’m clearly unqualified for, or far too experienced to do. Do some research first. No research? Spam.
 Join me in to groups which are clearly not in my interest area. I know Facebook lets you do this, but please invite me first. No invite? Spam.
 Invite me to join a LinkedIn group I already belong to, or I don’t qualify for, Spam.
 Posting a link on a hashtag I follow where the post has no relevance to the group is just annoying. I follow hashtags to get relevant content. There’s no rules, but please try to keep the streams clean,. No relevance? Spam.
 Using multiple twitter accounts to put the same message on a hashtag stream. If I see the same message multiple times on different accounts, I’m turned off the link. It’s Spam.
Just a few of my thoughts of the posts I get that make me think spam. Think relevance before you post.
Bill

Getting Hacked.A #tru internet cops and robbers story.

An important bit of news. I’m not in Manilla. I haven’t been robbed. You don’t need to send me any money, all is well. I make this announcement because yesterday I had a bit of a surreal experience and got my accounts hacked. All of my e-mail contacts got sent the following message within 2 minutes of the villain gaining access to my e-mail account.

“Just hoping this email reaches you well, I’m sorry for this emergency and for not informing you about my urgent trip to Manila,Philippines but I just have to let you know my present predicament. Everything was fine until I was attacked on my way back to the hotel, I wasn’t hurt but I lost my money, bank cards, mobile phone and my bag in the course of this attack. I immediately contacted my bank in order to block my cards and also made a report at the nearest police station. I’ve been to the embassy and they are helping me with my documentation so i can fly out but I’m urgently in need of some money to pay for my hotel bills and my flight ticket home, will definitely REFUND as soon as back home .”

I made a few school boy errors that made hacking my accounts quite easy, but I wanted to share them with you to prevent the same thing happening to you. I was on Facebook at 2.00pm yesterday when a message popped up to say that I was logged out, and an e-mail on my yahoo account to say that I had requested a password change to my Facebook account. Before I could click the “not me” button the message disappeared and I was unable to log back in to Facebook because my password had changed. I went back to my e-mail and saw all the messages and contacts disappear.
I phoned my internet provider BT who responded quickly by taking control of my screen through remote log-in. Getting access in to my account they were able to identify that my default e-mail had been changed to billboorman@yahoo.com, and that all of my contacts, and anyone who had e-mailed me had been sent the e-mail, and anyone replying offering to help or questioning the message by e-mail had their reply going direct to the impostor. The message carried some credibility because it was sent from my account and in my e-mail template that others were familiar with. Because I was able to act immediately, this was blocked, the fake Yahoo default closed and they were able to pick up the IP address and location of the offending account. This detail was then forwarded to the police who responded whilst the “data robbery” was in progress, because the location was in London. I’m hoping they can make an arrest in this case, it’s just fortunate that I was live at the time.I await further news.
Whilst this was going on,I was getting a whole stream of tweets either telling me that my e-mail had been hacked or inquiring after my welfare.

I also got a host of calls to authenticate the story and offer help if it was genuine. As I travel quite a lot to different places and I was robbed in Miami, when Facebook friends did come to my rescue, I guess the story was possible. Thanks in particular to Andy Hyatt who was the first to call, and posted on my timeline to warn people who I was not robbed and not in Manilla. In fact I was at home in Earls Barton.
In true social media fashion, once the drama was over the banter followed, including one message from Ryan Leary who posted on Facebook that he had just sent me $20k to rescue me and when was he going to get it back!
I have to say that BT were excellent in responding so quickly and getting me back on track. They are now in the process of restoring all my contacts and e-mails back. As far as I can tell, no one was duped in to sending money, and the police have something to go on. The scum bag gained access by registering an account via Yahoo live messenger, fortunately they did not have time to get beyond Facebook and my Twitter log in uses a different password.
My lesson is to tighten up my security. I had a simple to work out password because it was my children’s names and if you look at any of my social places you can find them and figure it out. Hackers go through your profiles and try things like names, company names etc to guess passwords, and most of us use something familiar as a password to make it easy to remember, and if it’s easy to remember, it’s easy to guess. Better to have different passwords, and something random that includes numbers, and is not referenced anywhere else. Might be hard to remember, but hard to remember is hard to crack. Dates of birth are also vulnerable because they can be found on Facebook. Use something that is not listed anywhere else.
If you are the low life who tried to rob my friends and you’re reading this, I hope you get caught soon, you are leaving a trail, and I’d be glad to give evidence against you. Thanks everyone else for your messages and concern, it reminds me that although we may only be connected on-line, it’s a real community. Button down the hatches, get your security in good order and if you do get a message asking for help, check in another channel before reacting. Apologies to anyone who was inconvenienced by my little adventure. In the words of Vinnie Jones at the end of Lock,Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels, “It’s been emotional.”
Bill

If you are the one who hacked my accounts, this one is for you:

#Hatemyboss #Hatemyjob Warning: Contains real tweets

In researching this post I conducted a simple search in my twitter timeline, for people posting using the hashtag #hatemyjob and #hatemyboss.The following are real tweets from this search. I’ve not embedded the tweets to protect the stupid from themselves, but I promise you these are real. Try the search out for yourself!

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING TWEETS CONTAIN OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE, NOT FOR THE EASILY SHOCKED:

#hatemyjob

Hungover drums just sound awful. #hatemyjob

I don’t see why people aren’t interested in a boring cold call from me to do a shit survey about a load of crap #answerthephone #hatemyjob

Hate going to work when the suns out especially 10-6 #hatemyjob” girlllllllll do not get me started Haha

Off to the hell hole I go … #hatemyjob

Can’t be arsed today! #HateMyJob

Today wasn’t nice. We should just skip from Sunday to Tuesday. Or just straight to Saturday!! #hatemyjob

OHKAY COOL, don’t schedule me at all.to work. That’s perfectly fine, knowing that I NEED MONEY. #hatemyjob

Welp back to work tomorrow #hatemyjob

In our work. The faves do what the want when they want. And the rest of us suffer for it #hatemyjob#idontwanttotakeyourorder

I just love going to work and crying everyday! #hatemyjob

woohoo! finally I finished 5 stupid design with very weak computer to the company where I work :s… I’m very comfortable now but #HateMyJob

#Hatemyboss

back to work tomorrow after a week off.. #hatemyboss #FML

so bitter about being at work two hours early on a saturday. #hatemyboss

I seriously hate most of my bosses but 1 #HateMyBoss #WorkProbs

I feel like i’m back to the age of the anxiety #fuckthisshit #hatemyboss

For real? This day is just going down hill now…. #hatemyboss

I cant fucking do my homework when I have down time? are you fucking kidding me. hate to break it to you but school comes first. #hatemyboss

Deff gonna be late to work but then again who cares, #hatemyboss treats me like crap anyways

This is an absolute Piss take! Fuck you Managing director! #cunt #hatemyboss

Hottest day of the year so far + being stuck with my boss for 5 hours = complete and utter torture!!!! #FML #hatemyboss

Work til 3 and I can’t wait for it to be over #hatemyboss

Need to find a new job ASAP!#hatemyboss

I feel like i’m back to the age of the anxiety#fuckthisshit #hatemyboss

Theres always a lot of talk about people getting fired for being critical of their employer, boss or colleagues in the social media channels. In the most part, these storys usually come down to the argument about privacy, monitoring and just what people get fired for. Mostly I find that it is a case of the comments being a symptom of the general breakdown of relationship between employer and employee, and all the tweets or updates really did was give the bullets that enable the company to load the gun and fire. Theres also an argument that these are stupid people who deserve to be fired, after all, most contracts of employment prohibit speaking in a manner that might bring damage to the company.

Another way of looking at it is that these posts indicate  just what these employees think of their bosses and jobs. I don’t think it is just a case of sacking the misguided people behind the tweets and the problem goes away.

There is always going to be the odd rogue employee that needs to have a conversation, but if it is a number of employees tweeting the same things, there’s a work place problem that needs addressing, and the solution won’t be heavy-handed policy or action. Twitter is the messenger for employee sentiment, don’t shoot the messenger, fix the problem. I don’t have the data, but I’m fairly sure that the tweets listed below were mostly made from mobile. No amount of bans on tweeting from work is going to block that, better to work with employees on creating awareness about public platforms.  Education is always a better solution to legislation, and far better for employer reputation, which ultimately results in employer branding.

Employees are being increasingly asked to take part in talent attraction, by sharing jobs and other content in their social networks. The practice of social referral is dependent on this, but what is the likelihood of any of this being effective if your people mix these referrals and posts in with negative comments about their boss or job?

The route to getting a great employer brand is quite simple. BE A GREAT COMPANY! Monitoring employee content is the barometer to employer brand, but you need to consider how you are going to react. If your employees feel so bad about you that they tweet their feelings so openly, your problem isn’t that they are on Facebook or Twitter, and firing them all won’t make the problem go away.

Bill

Interns Paying For Work. This Is Just Wrong.

I don’t often write sabre rattling blog posts, there’s plenty of other places for that. Occasionally though, I come across a practice that makes my blood boil, and I just have to comment. I became aware via twitter of a company: Etsio, based out of Bristol,UK, who are charging interns up to £200 a day to get work experience. This business was featured in “The Recruiter” on the 8′th December.

The founder, Kit Sadgrove, whose other business interests include on-line learning and diet food for dogs, is quoted as saying; ”

“There is absolutely pent-up demand from people willing to pay an employer for work experience.”

“It is incredibly cheap if you see it as training, considering you are sitting next to a business owner and learning their secrets.”

And referring to the recruitment sector as an example, Sadgrove added: “There are a lot of people who want to get into recruitment but they have no experience, so who is going to take them on? This opens up the opportunities for them, and in return the recruitment agency gets some money.”

Sadgrove added: “If people are keen enough to do this they will go out and flip burgers in order to get the money [they need].”

Now this might be bluster, but if there are this many young people (with over 1mn out of work), willing to pay to work, then it really is a sad state of affairs. Sad that people feel the need to pay, and even sadder that the likes of Sadgrove are charging.

Tanya De Grunwald, the intern champion at Graduate Fog blogged about this, questioning the legality of the scheme. Sadgrove states that these positions are not internships, and as they are free to come and go as they please, their not employees, and as such subject to national minimum wage. He titles them Assisterns!

Sadgrove answered some of the criticisms on the blog reiterating the point that the graduates were paying for training. As such they weren’t providing an agency service, and were providing an essential service to those who needed experience were getting an essential service. They would be “shadowing” and not working. This makes them a training company rather than a recruitment business, which would make this practice illegal. The jobs on the web site however list plenty of duties and look every bit like jobs to me.

I think this is just wrong. They may be able to wriggle around the law (and it is a may), but it’s wrong and shouldn’t happen. No business should be exploiting desperate unemployed graduates for gain. I’ve even started a petition to make this point. If you agree with me, please sign it!

Bill

The Recruiter

Etsio

Graduate Fog

My Petition

Dear @Twitter: What happened to no banners?

First off, Twitter is a business. Those of us who use the channel understand that they need to monetize the platform, and advertising revenue is the most likely route. We understand that Twitter provide an excellent free channel, and the price we are going to pay for this is increased promoted tweets in the timeline. I love twitter, ad’s are a small price to pay, but I’m feeling a bit deceived by the good guys at twitter right now.

On May 20′th the twitter blog published the following comment: “The idea of taking money to run traditional banner ads on Twitter.com has always been low on our list of interesting ways to generate revenue. However, facilitating connections between businesses and individuals in meaningful and relevant ways is compelling.”

The explanation given was that promoted tweets would appear at the top of your timeline until they had been read or hidden by the user. This started out as only being tweets from brands you have chosen to follow. There was further coverage that Twitter were not looking to create banner advertising because this would spoil the user experience, and the user experience was most important.

In September, promoted tweets were expanded to reach all users rather than exclusively to those who followed the brand. You see a promoted tweet in your timeline where twitter determines that you may already have an interest in the promotion based on your followers and interactions on twitter. (No doubt there is a complicated algorithm to determine likely interest.) Previously you had the option to dismiss a promoted tweet, although this option has quietly disappeared.

The promoted tweets F.A.Q. answers the question “How often will people see Promoted Tweets in their timeline?” as follows:

“We’re focused on providing a great user experience, first and foremost. As a result, we’re being thoughtful in how we display Promoted Tweets in users’ timelines.
During this initial rollout, we will be conservative about the number of Promoted Tweets that people see in a single day.
Any Promoted Tweet people see in their timeline will appear just once, at or near the top of their timeline. Then, the Promoted Tweet will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet.”

And to the question; “Where in the user timeline will Promoted Tweets appear?”

“Any Promoted Tweet people see in their timeline will appear just once, at or near the top of their timeline. Then, the Promoted Tweet will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet.
Once a user has seen a Promoted Tweet in their timeline, they will never see that Promoted Tweet again.”

This is all fair enough and not too intrusive, but then came the second coming of Twitter ad’s in September:

The role out of promoted tweets from being exclusively on Twitter.Com,to other app’s like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.
This is where promoted tweets move from being in the timeline to becoming banner ads. 13% of tweets are sent from Tweetdeck. Twitter acquired Tweetdeck.At the time of the acquisition Tweetdeck founder Ian Dodsworth commented:

” By becoming part of the official platform, TweetDeck will now fill that role for brands, influencers, the highly active and anyone that just needs “more power”.”

Tweetdeck is not really about the timeline, although it features. Users create columns around keywords, hashtags, lists or specific groupings. Most of my columns are set to follow either conference/event streams or twitter chats. The columns are populated by a continuous search against the target, and this is where I have a real problem with promoted tweets. Because they are always returned first in a search, they are always top of the stream and I can’t block them.

When I follow an event or a tweetchat I expect the tweet at the top to be the most current. What I get in effect is a banner ad, and that is what Twitter have stated on many occasions they were not looking to create or monetize.
This situation gets even more irritating when you attend a live event featuring a twitter stream. The promoted tweet is back,permanently at the top of the stream with no way of removing it. It’s a big distraction in the stream, and a permanent billboard for the advertiser. As an event promoter, I don’t want a back door to promote companies to the attendees other than the sponsors. I have to consider whether a twitter stream can be displayed at the event, and how does this impact on the event?
I see advertising on Twitter as being different to Facebook Ad’s or Google promoted searches. Facebook ads appear in the right hand column out of my timeline. Google searches are static, I can scroll down quickly and usually do. I want my Tweetdeck columns to be current, free from banner advertising. I don’t blame the advertisers, it could be considered smart marketing, but if other users feel the same way I do, there could be a negative impact on brand perception.
The good people at Twitter have asked for user feedback, and this is mine. The fix is quite easy and would keep users happy. Either don’t allow hashtags as keyword searches, fix promoted tweets so that they don’t appear permanently at the top of the column in tweetdeck, (I have no problem with every 50 tweets or so). You should also make this option available to other third-party apps as well as your own. The other alternative is to reinstate the dismiss button!

Just my thoughts.What do you think?

Bill

Twitter Blog: Does Twitter Hate Advertising? - May 2009

Mashable: More Promoted Tweets

Twitter Support: What Are Promoted Tweets?