Recruiters, at last! Social Media for dummies

They call it ‘social media’ or ‘social networking’, and some might quibble at the word ‘social’ because a lot of it can be done alone, from the confines of a darkened room.

And most recruiters don’t have the faintest clue how to get the best out of the digital social explosion. A cursory glance will show you recruiters using Twitter as a job board, personal Facebook pages to connect with clients, and LinkedIn as a place to share banter and weekend war stories. All wrong.

So where to begin to understand how to interact on these various platforms? Are they different in terms of what you share and how you ‘speak’?

Well, ‘yes’, is the answer as far as I can see. And seeing that we call this stuff ‘social’ media, lets try (tongue firmly in cheek) to relate digital social to social IRL (In Real Life, of course!)

Facebook is like a pub: It’s an informal place where people get together with old friends, shoot the breeze, tell risqué jokes, and meet people they have never spoken to before. There are few rules and people certainly tend to misbehave there at times, often feeling embarrassed later about what they have said, shown or done! But real friendships can start there, and what’s more business can be done over a beer in the Facebook pub, so it’s not to be ignored.

Twitter is like a cocktail party: There is lots going on, and it’s very high energy. Many conversations are happening at once. Lots of people are talking and far fewer are listening. People drop in and out of conversations and if you like a conversation you might share it with another group. Sure you get the odd twitter cocktail party guest who behaves inappropriately, but mostly it’s pretty cordial, with more manners, and better language, than at the Facebook Pub.

LinkedIn is like a Tradeshow or a corporate conference: It’s business-like. People are there to work, learn and connect with like-minded business people. Mostly everyone is aware they are ‘on show’, and put their best foot forward. At the “Conference” you watch your language, dress up a little.

YouTube is like Times Square on New Years Eve or the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: Pretty much anything goes! People will let their hair down and willingly make a fool of themselves, but no one really cares… until they meet you at the LinkedIn Conference, maybe.

A blog is like Hyde Park Corner in London: You can stand on your soapbox and say pretty much whatever you like. But your audience is fickle and will drift in and out, and judge you very quickly to be an interesting expert on a niche subject or a quack to be jeered or ignored. But don’t ignore it because lucid orators on street corners spark ideas!

MySpace is like Woodstock: The young and the crazy populated it, but it’s a fading memory for most.

I guess the point is this. Buttoned-down corporate lawyers for example go to the pub and let it all hang out at the Mardi Gras. But they also attend corporate conferences and cocktail parties and they would never get confused about how to dress or behave at each event.

That’s social media. Content and context are everything.

This article was partially inspired by a presentation on Social Media by Rachel Gould, Social Media Manager, Lander Associates. Thanks Rachel!

Views: 1227

Comment by Emily Gohl on June 6, 2011 at 8:48am
Great summarising (and humorous) article on the differences between these media platforms!
Comment by Lisa Simmons on June 6, 2011 at 10:10pm
Excellent!  The analogies are spot on!
Comment by pam claughton on June 7, 2011 at 8:51am
Greg, this is great stuff! I always enjoy reading your posts.
Comment by Eric Sperry on June 7, 2011 at 10:10am
Hilarious summation, but also a very accurate representation.  The only thing I would venture is that Twitter can sometimes descend to the level of a kegger, but it all depends on what people you are talking to.
Comment by aneshwa ghosh on June 7, 2011 at 4:45pm
this is so true and has been put in such an interesting way which definitely grabs your attention.
Comment by Sarah Fowler on June 7, 2011 at 6:13pm
In a world dominated my diluted social media sites, to optimize online presence I believe it is KEY to understand the culture of each social media site you join and know exactly how to best network within those communities. Thank you for such a refreshing "cheat sheet"!!!
Comment by Subramani B on June 7, 2011 at 11:53pm
Comment by Wilbert de Kroon on June 8, 2011 at 8:43am
Socrates once said: "I write you a long letter because I haven't the time for a short one". I appreciate your shortness on this matter, refreshing. May I suggest you follow me on twitter?
Comment by Suresh on June 9, 2011 at 10:09am

What I've come to experience is that I rarely need 2 of the same.

Never signed up for myspace, but did on Orkut (which is popular in other parts of the world). When facebook came along and my friends/family migrated to it, have completely dropped orkut.

The new buzz is Niche Social Media, (similar to RecruitingBlogs), I belive the same will happen, we would rarely need 2 sites that provide the same service.




Comment by Doug Hay on June 10, 2011 at 10:58am
Fun Suimmarry Greg.  But to your point about content and context, as a recruiter you can use all of these sites to find out more about your candidate. We have a tool that searches and finds job relevant or character relevant content of applicants.  If you're interested I'd love to chat more about it.   


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