Going viral on LinkedIn with SlideShare

In May of last year LinkedIn acquired document sharing platform SlideShare for $119Mn, made up of cash and shares. The acquisition made a lot of sense, given that the integration between the two channels became increasingly deeper. SlideShare makes uploading documents for sharing very simple, and at $19 a month for the basic pro account, it’s inexpensive. (The free version is also functional if you want to try it out.)

I’ve been using SlideShare to upload documents and white papers to embed on my LinkedIn profile and other social places. Uploading a white paper takes about 2 minutes and looks brilliant. It’s easy to read on-line without the need to download, (although there is a download button), easy to share on any of the social channels, and easy to embed through a copied embed code. SlideShare also transcribe the content below the paper which is great for SEO. Users can follow accounts of content they like, receiving notifications every time new content gets added. Without any real effort I have gained over 800 followers. Anyone viewing content sees thumbnails of similar content on the right hand side of the screen which adds additional views, new followers and downloads.  This is an example of my most recent upload, a white paper for RolePoint on Social Referrals.

SlideShare has great analytics, tracking views, sharers,search terms, traffic sources and results , and the pro version enables you to add lead capture, contact buttons, HD video uploads, tracking of opens by prospects, on-line meetings and discussions, branding, branding, blocking of competitor content and larger uploads like e-books.

The real benefit comes from sharing SlideShare content as updates and discussions in targeted groups. The last 2 papers i have distributed in this way have trended and been promoted on the home page of both LinkedIn and SlideShare. The two channels compliment each other perfectly, and is proving the best way to share  papers, documents (like job specs), video and e-books to a targeted audience, combining the great visual look of SlideShare with the ease of reaching a very relevant audience through LinkedIn targeting. The RolePoint white paper featured in this post has been viewed 1,404 times, and is proving to have a much longer shelf like than other social channels,has been embedded in 136 other places and been downloaded 22 times. When you are generating targeted content, this is the best way to share it making it an essential part of your employer branding and content planning.


Rethinking Mobile Apply #CandEUK

This might seem a bit of a change in direction. I’ve always championed mobile integration in to recruitment process, and apply by mobile has been a big part of the conversation. At risk of being controversial (as if I would), I have been rethinking my position on this. First off, this doesn’t mean I’m changing my mind about the importance of mobile, the numbers show that mobile is social, and is fast becoming web. Mobile should be the first consideration in buying or building technology, building mobile to web rather than the other way round.

Over the last 3 months I have been spending a lot of time going through the data for the Candidate Experience Awards, UK Edition, known as the CandE’s. When you look at the hard data from a wide range of companies, the learning points are quite clear. To give you some idea of the headlines that are going to be included in the white paper:

> The average job gets 80 applications for each post filled.

> 70% of candidates are unqualified for the job they apply for

> Only 20% of applicants see a job description before applying, and this includes the minimum requirements.

When you look at these numbers, it does make you question if this is desperation or a lack of research on the part of the applicants. Whilst the process might well be painful, as is well documented, killer questions are being left to the end of the process, (if at all), rather than being stated before starting the application process. It seem that all the emphasis has been on talent attraction rather tan recruiting, as recruiters have rushed to become marketeers. With these numbers, any level of candidate experience for already overloaded recruiters becomes a problem.

This brings me on to mobile apply, or any type of apply for that matter. The smart companies in the survey have started separating out candidates and applicants, with different processes to provide the best experience for each. My definitions are:

>  Candidates

Anyone connected with the company in a network. This could be a talent network, a LinkedIn follower, a Facebook fan or similar. A candidate should be able to declare their interest with one click, giving access to their data, enabling notification of relevant content and opportunities matched to their profiles. A candidate stays a candidate as long as they choose to be connected. This replaces concepts like silver medalists, or the win/lose application process.

> Applicant

Anyone actively in the application process for a job or jobs. A minimum requirement of this should be that the applicant is aware of the minimum requirements and has seen a form of the job spec, not the job ad, but the job spec. Rejected applicants become candidates for future messaging, sourcing, matching and consideration. My thinking on mobile is that this should be for the candidate process only, though the process of moving from candidate to applicant can be mobile enabled via the talent network, with mobile landing pages and related data sent to those candidates who match the minimum requirements based on the candidate data submitted.

My thinking now is for a mobile candidate process, and that a mobile apply process on its own might just make the situation worse. The #CandE UK WhitePaper will be available for download soon. Any company interested in getting their own process benchmarked against other EMEA employers can register their interest free to take part in the 2013 survey. There is no maximum number of companies who can be awarded the kite mark recognition, or achieve distinction, and all companies get a complete report. If you are serious about candidate experience, take part!


PLEASE NOTE: The opinions expressed in this post are mine, and not an official #CandE communication.

Find out about the CandEUK 2013 Awards HERE

Jesus loves a flowchart. Watching Mike Psenka. Equifax.#HRTechEurope

The last speaker is Mike Psenka. Eduifax are a large credit scoring company. What Psenka views their role as is to collect disparate data and present it in an understandable way. this is not new as a concept. he gave the example of Florence nightingale, who was the first person to use a pie chart to influence decisions. boards of companies need these visual presentations of data to make decision-making simple.

taking the example of the Olympics, he shows how talent identification and development by tracking and using data brings about improved performance. it has been used for years in medicine. The process begins with measurement and constant change. Psenka talks about the importance of measuring a complete data set, and not just focusing on one magic number to make decisions and change. It is constant analytics and interpretation to turn big data in to small, usable chunks.

Mike shows the variance map. which tracks changes in performance of employees, rather than the top line number. His view is that what is important is not where people are now, but the direction they are going in. This can be applied to any area of the business, and the visual presentation of data is what gives non-technical people insight and understanding. This has been a constant theme in each of the presentations (apart from Wetzel), big data is only valuable when the data set is complete and the interpretation is presented in pictures. The challenge again is getting all the data in one place securely. I can’t help thinking of the old saying, “In god we trust, everyone else bring data.” The updated version  for the modern-day would be to add: “Jesus loves a flow chart!” (before anyone complains to Psenka on the religious reference, that work is entirely my own. please address any angry mails to me.)


Power to the people. Felix Wetzel of Evenbase, #HRTechEurope

Last on the panel is my good friend Felix Wetzel, strategy director vfor Evenbase. The tag line for Evenbase is lets get personal. He begins by talking about Jobyology, their semantic matching technology that went live 2 months ago.He is looking at it not from the view of the recruiter where the benefits are obvious, but from the view of the job seeker.

Wetzel is passionate that the data collected from our transactions should only be used for the benefit of the user. he sees this in areas like healtcare or fitness, but not in recruiting yet. He has 6 ways he sees this could change:

1: Stop the need for search. The driving factor here is relevance and speed. Only show relevent content based on data, without the need for jobseekers to submit data, Thats a paper based principle.

2: stop the spam. using data to ensure relevance.

3: Open your horizons. think longer term about the skills gaps and possibilities. We now have enough data accessible to do this.Wetzel makes a sporting example from football. How about companies loaning out their talent to other smaller companies so they can get experience or opportunity. A brilliant concept. the January window for talent loans.

4: Respect. Respect for privacy, and that my data is my data.

5: Need to know basis. this means only releasing the data that is absolutely necessarily.

6: Credit where credits due. Finding ways of rewarding people for access.

My view is a bit different to Wetzels. I don’t think it is a case of restricting the data, but being more transparent and honest about how your data is going to be used, with the opt in/opt out visibility option. most of the time when we sign a user agreement we have no idea what we are signing up to because we tick box the 20 page document.

It is interesting to hear this talk, given that some of the evenbase revenue comes from the sale of interpreted data (not names, e-mail addresses etc). Perhaps a dividend for all the users?. Felix feels that data can be used, but when an individuals data is used they should be rewarded. As always, deep thinking and some brilliant ideas from Wetzel. like all good protagonists, he creates conversation.



The game of work. Siddesh Bhobe of eMee. #HRTechEurope

Next up is Siddesh Bhobe. None other than John Sumser describes eMee as the most brilliant HR technology he has seen. Siddesh is broacasting in from India. The product is built on gamification. he started with the question for his own team “Are we really enjoying what we do?”. the answer was that they were taking it too seriously. there is nothing wrong with productive play at work.

the social web is a fundamental shift in how humans communicate, live and work. Social gamification with valued rewards makes work a challenge and exciting. his product is built on the Farmville, the massively popular Facebook game. each employee has an avatar, and anyone can pass on awards and recognition. points are awarded for tasks, and each task has a score, with extra rewards. Performing tasks and projects builds a personal “Eden”. part of the “game” is the school, where employees can go and learn to earn new points. Feedback on performance is via the game interface, and the competitive nature of many employees means they want the best “eden”, and that means completing new tasks.

Siddesh makes the point that badges aren’t just for kids. Think medals for soldiers. when a badge has a real recognition value in the organisation, people want to earn them. experts who have proven a level of expertise become on-line mentors, and anyone can connect through the platform. He gave the example of running on-boarding as “who wants to be a millionaire” where new employees compete to answer questions on areas like health and safety. The game drives data and assesment, and the platform makes sense of the link between what is happening in the game, and what this really means for the company. The challenge is that you need to implement this quickly (4 – 6 weeks), and be agile enough to change the interface and the game regularly as the “players”, your employees, change their behaviors.

The key here is applying analytic s to what is happening in the game. the example given is that an engineer who starts to voluntarily mentor others, could be a very good fit for a team leader role. The business using the game employ 7000 people, mostly agile developers. Teams consist of 72 people, and no team member can work together for more than 7 months.

The “dojo” principle is that anyone can teach and share, and add their own learning resources, accessible to anyone. The more people learn from you in your dojo, the more recognition points you gain. The more points you have in a discipline, the more people come to your dojo.

I can already hear some people dismissing this based on the farmville, “kids” game principle, but you can tailor the interface and the nature of the game according to your culture. think about it for a minute and you can start to see a “game” that would fit in with your culture. no one says work shouldn’t be fun. A performance management system is a game in its own right. validation is by crowd sourcing (through likes) rather than management validated. I love the potential for companies who open their mind. Sumser might just be right.




A definition of “Big Data” Eugene Burke. SHL at #HRTechEurope

I’m live blogging at #HRTechEurope in London. Next up is Eugene Burke from SHL. In the next 15 minutes 2,250 people will have been assessed for a job role. This is generating a world of data. The problem at the moment is the recruitment process or assessment data is used in isolation. If you enable a flow of data from one department to another by collecting it in one place, and enabling everyone to mine it, and present it back in a visual way that anyone can understand. I’m beginning to see that the “big data” magic lies not in finding the data but making it visual.

When you combine assessment data with performance data and other sources, you can get a picture of what good actually looks like. It is back to the moneyball principle of Billy Bean.

The example Eugene gave asks the questions:

> Are our most talented project managers working on the most demanding projects?

> Where is our L & D spend targeted?

> Are we hiring the right behaviors in to our organisation?

The data gives the answer. I like the take on big data being about making it visual to be understandable. Thats one of the reasons I see sites like Visual.ly as having a big future. I enjoyed the presentation and explanation. I’m not a big SHL fan, but they can’t be ignored in this space. The big question I’m left with is how many organisations are feeding all their data in one direction. That is the first thing question everyone needs to answer.




Big data in the recruiting process with Gild #HRTechEurope

I’m live blogging from #HRTechEurope. First up is Brad Wirga from Gikd, the San Francisco start up who have developed a sourcing software based on analysing (and ranking) computer code. Brad is a passionate believer in the transformation of recruiting in to a social process. The challenge at the moment as he sees it is that there is just too much data for a human being to process. He sees the same thing applying with mobile and mobilisation. He sees big data as the opportunity to personalise everything. What I would call the “little data” challenge,

When Brad joined Salesforce as the head of talent acquisition, they were processing 35,000 CVs a month, and finding the right ones was down to random chance. The new hiring life cycle is:

> Identify




In a big data world it looks like:

> Data aggregation

> Relevance scoring

>Sentiment (passive vs active)

>Enhance candidate experience

The secret sauce:

There’s large volumes of data. The spiderbots (that crawl the web and bring the data back)  find it and store it in a web service like Amazon. Technology allows data to be converted into a common format. Machine learning allows you to score and rank the most valuable data to you. Gild pull down code from open source sites and rank them, looking at sites like Stack Overflow, Quora etc. They are now working on scoring culture fit based on social content. This enables recruiters to make messaging relevant and more importantly, personal.

Candidate experience is about personalization and attention to what counts to the candidate. if the match is right, the numbers of candidates in the pipeline are reduced. remember, the current figure in Europe is 70% irrelevance in applications. It is an exciting product that is worth a look.


Keith Potts, Evenbase, Evolution And The Hottest Prospects For Digital Recruitment In 2020

I was lucky enough to get an early look at some extensive research from Evenbase titled “The evolution of digital recruitment: The hottest markets in 2020″. It makes for interesting reading and it is published this morning. Evenbase are one of the worlds leading digital recruitment groups (Full description at the end of the post.)

The research was conducted by MBA & Company in late 2012, and took in to account factors like GDP growth potential, level of employment, maturity of digital recruitment, mobile adoption, social media integration and other factors. I got to discuss this research at length with Evenbase CEO Keith Potts, to understand a little better what this research means from one of the veterans of the industry. A conversation with Potts about anything is always illuminating and enjoyable, and this was no different.

The culmination of the research is the production of the Evenbase hot list of who they believe will be the top 10 countries for digital recruiting by 2020. This is the list in order:

1. Brazil –A young, confident and ambitious market, Brazil has growth potential on many levels and is known to be digitally innovative.

2. India – India’s sheer economic growth potential makes it an exceptionally interesting market. Only serious development imbalances keep from the top slot.

3. China – Although significant political and cultural challenges remain, the sheer growth performance and destiny of the world’s largest economy make it attractive.

4. US – Expected to stay a dynamic, innovative economic powerhouse and driver of change in digital recruitment over the next few years.

5. Australia – Another confident and ambitious AsiaPac country, Australia’s skill shortages make it ripe for innovation in digital recruitment.

6. Japan – This massive, technologically innovative economy is undergoing cultural change after many years of stagnation.

7. Canada – Although small in size, Canada has been fast to adopt new ideas, with a range of unique opportunities for the introduction to the new digital recruitment offerings.

8. Germany – Considered as the European economic powerhouse for the foreseeable future, and currently undergoing significant labour market changes

9. Russia – A wild card, Russia is beset by deep political and economic issues but has a range of opportunities to unlock its untapped potential.

10. Mexico / UK – Mexico, another wild card, is highly problematic at present but has the potential to suddenly take off and become the new Brazil. The UK has significant economic growth issues but is traditionally one of the world’s largest recruitment markets.


I discussed these results with Potts to get his take on what the research means, and what the big surprises were. He cited Mexico being on a par with the UK, the high ranking of Australia and Brazil ranking above China. The thinking behind China was that there is still plenty of uncertainty around the future political situation in China. This was certainly the message I took back from #truSingapore and #truHongKong. By contrast, Mexico is showing stability year on year, and Australia has a huge demand for technical and engineering staff that will fuel growth in digital media, particularly given geographical challenges. Competition is another key consideration, and what is already established in the market. The report cites the example of Japan, which offers great potential, but has a well established and very competitive local market. There are 3 times more employment agencies in Japan than their nearest competitor. When a market is so well established and populated by competitors, better to explore the growing markets which offer more potential and a less developed market.

The scarcity of labour is another consideration, along with pay. Where jobs are harder to fill, and the salaries are higher, then there is more demand and greater reward for digital recruiting. I was surprised to read that the salary for an executive post in Brazil is double that of the US, which goes some way to explaining the top spot for Brazil.

Keith Potts

Potts sees the rise in adoption of mobile and mobile apply anywhere being one of the main game changers in digital recruitment over the coming years. The when and where people are looking to use mobile for web search and applications will have a massive impact on the digital products in these countries. The brands that get this right will gain a real competitive advantage, hence the importance of mobile to Evenbase.

How this manifests is going to be dictated by understanding the local market. A good example of this is India and the US, where the cost of data access compared to what we know in Europe means text messaging features much higher than  mobileweb access. Whilst there are global trends, each of the countries have their own unique problems which calls for a local solution. Potts sums this up in the report with the comment:      

” Globalisation levels some playing fields, but national identities remain complex – models that work in Belgium will probably not work in Brazil”

This is why Evenbase invests so much time and effort in to local partners who really understand what is going on in their own back yard.

Potts sees Workana as being one of the rising stars in the group because of the service they offer. Evenbase recently invested in the Argentinian start-up, who are fast becoming the region’s leader in brokering freelance work on-line. Potential clients post work (rather than jobs on the site), and freelancers pitch for the work by presenting their portfolio. Customers can check references on previous work, social recognition, endorsements, etc. through the site, and the more the freelancers work through the platform, the higher their ranking. With more and more jobs converting to work and projects, and the rise in freelancing and working from home, this platform has the potential to grow quickly, and globally. They are another string to the Evenbase bow.

I asked Potts how he felt this shift, and the rise in digital recruiting would impact on recruitment agencies, after all  if Evenbase are making it easier to connect employees and employers, and contractors and contracts with contractors without the need for the middleman, then the market potential must be shrinking. Potts was quick to dismiss this, explaining, “We are talking about people not products, and people are incredibly complex. As long as companies need people, agencies have a part to play. Many (though not all) direct hiring organisations are behind the sourcing capability of the agencies, and this means agencies will be around for years to come, even if the market is shrinking”. We share the view though that many agencies will need to work harder on relationships, becoming career managers rather than people placers, but like the job boards, they are a long way from dead yet.

I spoke with Potts about how he sees job boards evolving over the coming years. He highlighted the changing pricing models giving the examples of Jobsite.Co.Uk and the US launch of Jobsite.Com. Whilst Jobsite.Co.Uk currently operate a pay per post  model, Jobsite.Com utilise scraping technology to post jobs (at no charge) from company career sites, offering job seekers up to 4 times as much relevant content, using social profiles and Evenbase’s semantic matching technology, Jobtology, to offer up only jobs they are qualified for. Customers pay for access to candidates who fit and have expressed an interest in the opportunity, in a pay per performance model. Potts highlighted that it was important to understand these new markets, in order to offer the best digital products for each of them on a local basis.

Potts feels semantic matching, and Jobtology in particular, will play a big part in improving candidate experience and quality of response by only offering jobs or candidates that are relevant. I shared the research from the UK #CandE’s that the average response needed to fill a job is 85 applicants, and that an average of 70% of these applicants are unqualified. Only 20% of applicants see anything other than the job ad before they apply, hence the mismatch.  Potts pointed out that Jobtology uses social profiles and other data to match potential candidates only to jobs where there is a fit, and this will significantly change these numbers, after all, if applicants don’t see jobs they don’t fit, there is no danger they will apply. This will see a reduction of jobs by e-mail, and other filtered services, with matching and messaging by the most appropriate channel, such as mobile. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

I asked Potts where the aggregators like Indeed and Evenbase own Jobrapido fitted in to this brave new world. His reply was that Vito (Lomele), the Jobrapido founder can take content from any job board in the world and serve it up to. JobRapido have a presence in 55 countries, and are the number one job site in many of these locations. This doesn’t mean that all of these countries will be a priority (hence the research), but it does give Evenbase a foot in the door. Growth in new territories by Jobrapido will come by investment in those countries who are displaying the best potential for GDP growth, a key factor in the research.

Given the growth of Jobrapido and competitor Indeed across the globe, i asked Potts how this had impacted on the domestic job boards. My thinking was that there was now only a need to advertise on one board, and the job would go viral via the aggregators. Potts responded that recruiters haven’t caught up with this yet, and that 95% of advertisers go for the job board model. The remaining 5% opt are smarter and go for a joint approach. Whilst any job can, and will end up in the aggregation channels, it is the sponsored ads that get front page listings and promotions. An increasing amount of the aggregator revenue stream is coming from job boards, who recognize the additional traffic and response driven by these platforms. Interestingly, spend on both job boards and aggregators are continuing to increase. What is clear from the Evenbase strategy is that whichever way customer spend goes, and it may switch as more companies look to join the smart 5% who invest in both, they have both options covered. Jobrapido is proving a shrewd acquisition by the group.

Away from the job boards and aggregators, Potts highlights the new products that are being developed by Broadbean to support direct sourcing efforts. The first launch will be a universal search tool, that will enable recruiters to search across multiple channels from one place. Whilst they are not ready to share yet, there are a number of new products on the road map that Pott’s feels will make a real difference to recruiters. It will be interesting to see what is coming next, because Potts was clearly excited by the prospect.

We concluded the conversation by talking about the last piece of the digital jigsaw, social media and social recruiting. Potts has a clear view of where social meets traditional media.  He sees social as the natural partner for digital recruiting. There is the benefit of being able to integrate social profiles in to matching without the need for candidates to submit data, particularly when you consider mobile. Social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give potential  candidates the opportunity to become aware of companies through employer branding content. The research places less importance on social media, and the likelihood of job seekers turning to social in their search. I think this is an area that sometimes confuses job seekers. Whilst they may not expect to apply in a social channel, the time spent by users in the channels means they can only be influenced in all of their decision-making by the content they come across whilst browsing. It is a little bit like the mobile questions, where job seekers often  rank mobile as not important, not because they don’t want to apply by mobile, technology means it is not really an option at the moment. The result is that it is not a consideration. This will only increase response in other areas of digital media, and open up opportunities for social sourcing through the Broadbean products.

After the call, I had the opportunity to reflect on the first conversation I had with Potts when he was announcing the launch of Evenbase, and the thinking behind forming a combined digital media offering across the DMGT brands, and the second conversation after they had acquired Jobrapido. The strategy was to take the brands global, look for new investments and products that strengthened the group, and to be able to develop an offering in all areas of digital media. This was a big plan, but it looks like it is paying off in a relatively short space of time. Having witnessed this close up, the prospect of expansion based on this research is realistic. In Evenbase style they have chosen to share the full research with anyone interested. You can download this on the Evenbase site. I enjoyed my conversation with Keith, as always it was an education.


DISCLAIMER: I am an occasional adviser to Evenbase and Broadbean.

About Evenbase

Evenbase is a global digital recruitment group and part of dmg media

The Evenbase portfolio includes the flagship job board brands Jobsite and Oilcareers, the leading multi-poster and unified search provider BroadbeanJobrapido – one of the world’s largest job search aggregators, and recruitment partnerships with brands such as 02 Active and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The portfolio spans 55 countries, includes a network of over 60 recruitment sites and employs more than 400 people, with offices in North America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Australia..

New free recruiting tool from the Colleague Hack Day

I love being involved in hack days. I’m not much of a coder, so my job is usually to talk around the social market, and the challenges recruiters face, then let the programmers loose to build something new. I’m always amazed at how quickly a good programmer can get hold of a new concept and turn it in to the beginnings of a really worthwhile product. If you consider the recruiting process is too much of burden, try hiring an external service who can help you, many companies are now offering services such an external customer service recruiter to get you the best prospect employees.

I’ve been working with recruitment software company Colleague advising them on how social is changing recruiting, and ways in which they can integrate social and advanced sourcing features in to the product. There is an exciting road map of changes ahead over the coming year to develop more of the sourcing and communicating capability direct from the recruiters desk top. The brief is to save recruiters time, and enable them to work in more effective ways, incorporating all that the internet has to offer. One of the first initiatives was to work with the developers on the hack-day. Colleague also used #trulondon to conduct a survey of the features needed to develop modern recruitment software, integrating social. The findings of this survey has been included in the road map.

The first free product to come out of this is the Colleague X-ray toolbar, built to operate as an add-on to Internet Explorer. The features of the Colleague X-Ray toolbar enables recruiters to:

  • Source candidates, companies and clients online – through social channels, job sites and more

  • X-ray search over social media channels

  • Easily create complex boolean search strings

  • Create lists of default search engines

  • Find online profiles from one online image from all social networks (very neat.)

  • Create default x-ray search lists of regular social channels and websites

>>> The Colleague X-Ray Toolbar works with Internet Explorer and is FREE <<<
For Colleague users there are additional features including:

  • Automatically gather contact, company or candidate information from a web page
  • Push this data into your Colleague database with a click of a button
  • Verification tools allow you to check for duplicates, select from lists when you are presented with multiple options and tag contact, company and contact records with ‘skills’,

>>> The Colleague Side Bar – for parsing data off websites into Colleague – will only work currently with the latest version of Colleague V.6.4.8 <<<

Check out the video from developer Jonathan Broadley, who led the build on how the toolbar works:

You can download the toolbar free HERE

Good work Colleague!


Disclaimer: I work with Colleague on product and content.


Thank you Twitter!

I got a tweet today that got me thinking and reminiscing. I’ve had a Twitter account for 4 years today.


My first tweet was: “Can anyone see this?”. The answer was yes, but just the first person I followed. When I started tweeting, I didn’t really have any expectation. I had heard Radio One DJ Chris Moyles talking about Twitter, and figured that it was worth giving it a go. I had around 100 LinkedIn connections and a LinkedIn group. That was the extent of my social media activity. I was an old school recruiter. What could get out of Twitter with just 140 characters to use? At first it just looked like a lot of noise, and I was making most of it. People talking about Sandwiches, Matt Alder complaining about things, motivational quotes from dead people, motivational quotes from alive people. What would ever come from “wasting” my time taking part?

For a newcomer it was pretty confusing. Lots of advice, rules and twitter etiquette from people who had a whole 6 months experience, about how many tweets a day I should post, how often I should retweet, who to follow, to be transparent (but not say what I really thought because that would be bad for brand) etc etc. Before that day I had never thought of myself as a brand, I still don’t really. I decided to listen to all this sage advice, and do the exact opposite. I don’t really like convention. If you read my blog, you might know that.

I was in a bad place back then. I’d just closed my training business and had no work. I had time on my hands, and too much of it, and so I started. I could pretend to everyone (including myself) that I was busy, and so I just started tweeting. 100+ tweets a day, retweeting incessantly, in 4 years I have sent out 56,825 tweets to date, 30,000 in the first 18 months, and I connected with everyone. No real strategy or objective, no targets or anything else. I loved this new medium and the conversations I was having and I made lots of friends and got noticed and connected quickly.

What I klike best about Twitter is that I can find the conversations I want or have an interest in and I can join in. I can connect and speak to whoever I want. I don’t need an invitation or to ask permission. That is what was different about Twitter, and I’ve just kept connecting, talking, listening and identifying what I might be able to offer my network commercially, and the places I might be able to contribute.

I don’t know where I would be now or what I would be doing if I hadn’t sent that first tweet. I’ve learnt more from links I’ve seen and connections I’ve made over the last 4 years than I have in the other 42 years of my life. I’ve made many good friends, some of whom I’ve met. I no longer believe you need to meet people in person to be friends, that is an old way of looking at the world. I’ve built a global event business on a hashtag with #tru. I’ve spoken at, hosted or attended over 100 events on 4 continents. I know being social in approach and thinking works. I’m living proof of R.O.I. I’ve worked with companies like the BBC, Oracle and Hard Rock Cafe integrating social recruiting. I work with great recruitment product companies like RolePoint, Joberate and Colleague. I get paid to write content, whitepapers and even a book. I hope I give back some value when people need it. I could never give back as much as I’ve taken out, and it all started with one tweet:

Can anyone see this?