Posted by: Ron Hanscome | October 2, 2009

Ruminations on HR Tech Part 1: Reflections on SM

Note: This is the first in a series of posts on my learnings and observations from HR Tech – the use of the word “ruminations” is very intentional, as there is a lot of stuff to chew on and digest – and it takes me some time to process…;-)

Social media (SM) took center stage at HR Tech on Day 1 of the conference. Use of these ‘newer’ tools was at least a frequent mention (if not the main focus) of every session I attended. The added bonus was the ability to use these tools real-time during the sessions to inform the larger HCM community (and there I was, Tweeting with the rest). The utility and penetration of these tools can no longer be denied, based on the adoption stats presented during the Knowledge Infusion session “Great New Technologies Just For You.” Thanks to the Jasons (Corsello & Averbook, both resplendent in their ‘presentation jeans’) for an informative and collaborative look at the world of SM — well done!

Perhaps the most interesting comment came from one of the attendees, who mentioned as an example one Twitter user with 10,000 followers who is following 15,000 other users…”It seems now that everyone is talking, but is anyone really listening?”

I was still mulling over this comment as afternoon became evening, and I began hitting the vendor parties with my friends from HRchitect. After a quick stop at Cornerstone on Demand, we progressed to the TalentDrive reception. In the midst of the meeting, greeting, eating, and cocktailing I had the pleasure of meeting Jerome Ternynck, CEO of MrTed. Our conversation became for me the highlight of the evening, as we had a great dialogue on the future of applications development for HCM. This encounter brought home to me the stark contrast between these forms of communication. The ability to immediately ‘read’ the other person, to sense and respond, and to grasp the ‘essense’ of the person are all elements that dramatically separate face-to-face communication from SM.

Of course, it’s not really fair to lump all of these SM tools together, as each one is really a different communications “channel” that appeals to a different demographic and kind of user. In fact, the Jasons have finally tipped me over the edge…LinkedIn and Twitter are not enough…I will be getting that pesky Facebook page up soon. None of these tools is the be-all and end-all in and of itself, but they should be considered part of the overall communications plan (for you personally as well as your organization).

So, my summary of this topic takes the form of a rhyme — “SM tools may have their place, but don’t neglect the face-to-face.” Something to think about the next time you are struggling to justify an HCM conference expenditure for you or your staff.



  1. […] wrote about was that they often got significant face time with these very gamechangers, as when Ron Hanscome at HCM Tech Vista wrote about meeting the CEO of the very same Mr. […]

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