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April 28, 2011 / Mervyn Dinnen

Social media isn’t going away any time soon!

Are we living in a social media bubble? So asked this blog on Econsultancy yesterday, with some strong references to asset bubbles and tipping points.

It’s a question that often crosses my mind. I wrote about it in my post Boy in the Bubble and debated it over a couple of beers with Kevin Ball, leading to his blog Social Media and Mars Bars

I came at it more from the angle of social media users being in a minority, yet by connecting and engaging with  other  social media users all the time we are in a cocoon where everyone we know seems to be social. The Econsultancy article looked at a slightly wider view – is this a bandwagon, doomed to overheat like asset bubbles, housing bubbles and the dotcom bubble.

For me, we aren’t in that kind of a bubble, but the overload of consultants, experts and strategists fighting a turf war over business insecurities on whether they should embrace social are themselves creating a bubble that can’t help but go pop. And as with the other bubbles mentioned earlier, some of the talking heads will do quite well and others will not, ending up kicking around looking for the next bandwagon.

But social media as a communication tool isn’t about to burst anytime soon…any more than there were ever bursting telephone bubbles or e-mail bubbles. Sure they way we use it, and the expectations we have of it, will change and refine over time, but most individuals and businesses will come to use it in a way that suits them.

Over the next 7 days I’ll be attending 2 unconferences – HRevolution in the USA and ConnectingHR in the UK – at which HR and recruiting professionals will talk about their work, and how social media is impacting. How we can harness the opportunities that it offers to create better businesses and relationships. These events are almost exclusively organised and promoted through social media channels, and I will already know (both offline and online) the 250 or so attendees. The reach of each one of us means that what we say and think, how we take back certain learnings and implement them, will have a reach running well over a million.

Then in a few weeks’ time, the company I work for – Jobsite UK – will be bringing two thought leaders to the UK to talk about Engagement and The Social Revolution to a number of our clients, contacts and partners. The social ripples spreading further.

There can be little doubt that the connectivity of these communities provides tremendous opportunities for collaboration and progress. One of the ConnectingHR community (Alison Chisnell) commented the other night – after disclosing that she had sourced, through the community, two excellent candidates for roles in her company – ‘another reason why HR needs to go social’. Seeing as how her usual recruitment agency partners had failed to deliver the calibre of candidate that she was looking for, it was a case of Traditional Methods 0 Social Business 1

Maybe these anecdotes are a little too isolated for some. Maybe the tipping point seems a long way off. Maybe the bursting point seems nearer. So I’ll give you another example.

This morning I watched my 16 year old son arranging a trip to the cinema this evening with friends.

Through Facebook.

They shared a YouTube link to the trailer.

They will be entering the workforce in 5/6 years’ time.

They aren’t living in a bubble…it’s their world…for communication, it’s pretty much all they will know.

Social Media isn’t going away any time soon.

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One Comment

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  1. Michael Ricard / Apr 28 2011 5:44 PM

    Hi Merv, good post. My 17 year old son also does all his hooking up with mates on Facebook, and has been creating his own graphics on DeviantArt, and uses many other social sites. The businesses which will succeed in future will be those deemed attractive to the hyperconnected young moving into the workforce.

    I see HR as a potential Trojan Horse which will overturn the process-obsessed hierarchies we all work in. When HR is core to businesses, only then will people be appreciated as human capital to nurture and develop, rather than easily replaceable parts to a corporate machine.

    Culture change is key, and HR’s involvement is crucial to that change. So you folks going to the HRevolution and the ConnectingHR events know this, you are central to making businesses great places to work for this and the next generations.

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