Social Media and Human Resources

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I’m just back from the HR Florida Conference. I never made it to the pool.

I stood around a simple booth and met several hundred HR professionals — and the majority had never been on any social networking site. I offered very basic advice and guidance on how to get social. It’s pretty easy stuff. LinkedIn is not hard. Facebook isn’t hard. Gangbangers with no formal education are selling meth on Twitter. If they can do it, HR can do it.

So I was feeling pretty good about the experience until I heard, “I’ve never been on Twitter or Facebook but I have to write a social media policy for my company. Can you help?”

I heard this over & over again — and honestly, I started to lose my patience.

You can’t write The Rules of the Road unless you know how to drive a car. You can’t write for The New York Times or USA Today unless you’re a journalist. Who has the audacity to write a policy that governs the lives and behaviors of workers without a cursory understanding the subject?

Oh yeah, right. Human Resources.

I have spent the past three years speaking to Human Resources professionals so they can take their knowledge of social media and do great things for themselves and the profession. Read blogs that have nothing to do with HR. Connect with artists. Think about political issues and how these decisions impact everyday Americans. Get active. Engage with the world. Have something to say.

I expect more from my profession than a basic understanding of technology. Everything we do in Human Resources — from the administration of government policies to the coordination of a company picnic — will eventually happen through some kind of technological platform that incorporates a social element to the design.

I am not in the business of helping Human Resources professionals learn just enough about LinkedIn so they can write a dangerous and complex social media policy that lacks nuance and stifles innovation. I will help you get on Facebook and I’ll give you a Twitter cheat-sheet, but I can’t teach you how these tools will change your life (and your career) while standing at a booth on a trade show floor.

You want my help? Really? That’s awesome. I am a great teacher and I don’t accept lazy students. The price of my services means that you are required to think about why you’re using social tools and how that tool will make you a better and more relevant practitioner.

Anything else is a waste of time for both of us.

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