Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

The “Chief Networking Officer” Function Is Real
January 27, 2009, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Public Relations, Recruiting, Technology, Thoughts

Back in March of 2007, I wrote a post discussing the emergence of a new job function within companies – the Chief Networking Officer. I predicted that in the next 2-5 years there would be a drastically increased need to find individuals who specialize in the development and management of the social capital of a company. While the precise duties of such a position differ a little from where I believed they’d be, I don’t think there is any argument that since March of ’07 (nearly 2 years ago), there has been a humongous increase in the need for companies to hire someone to keep an eye on their digital presence. I think this is the first time I’ve engaged in business trend predictions and actually been right! Woo hoo…

While “Chief Networking Officer” isn’t typically the title of choice for what this function does, the basic concept of the function is seen in titles such as:

Some people believed that this function should belong to HR or Marketing. Some people who left comments on the original post even believed that some form of a CNO was a silly idea. But many companies are now creating separate divisions specifically designed to monitor their online presence and engage in their clients and customers digitally (i.e. – managing relationships).

My belief is that people in these positions are combining the roles of recruiting, marketing, PR, web development, and business development.

  • Recruiting: your online presence is a beacon to community members, customers, and visitors and representative of your company culture. These days, a company’s online presence is the first place a person learns about the company. Recruiting has traditionally been on the frontline for corporate representation, and many employees’ first contact with a company was from a recruiter. The person in charge of your online presence needs to know how to leverage that to draw the attention of people that would fit well into your organization.
  • Marketing: anyone who took Marketing 101 in college knows the Four P’s of marketing: product, price, place (distribution), and promotion. The person in charge of your company’s online presence needs to know how to execute each of these in order to provide a positive online user experience, which leads to…
  • PR: many people say that if you don’t manage your online presence, someone else will do it for you and probably not so nicely. Companies that don’t engage in good PR digitally are taking the risk that someone else is going to do it. It’s important for the person in charge of your digital strategy to understand how to manage the flow of information between your organization and its public.
  • Web Development: let’s face it, if you have an antiquated website, it’s a big detriment to your company’s image as a forward thinking organization. Your digital strategist needs to know at least the very basics on how to optimize your websites with SEO strategy and up-to-date design so that visitors enjoy their time using your applications, visiting your communities, and browsing your sites.
  • Business Development: driving new business is important when you’re talking about online strategy. Continually bringing new traffic to a site and showing potential customers what you’re capable of are important functions of a digital strategist’s role. Without new business, there’s really no purpose of having an online presence. (translation: if no one is visiting, why bother?)

Having read through these bullets, do you know people who possess these skills? I will tell you now – the folks out there who get this, and who execute these skills for their companies successfully, are few and far between. If this is you – you are a highly valuable asset to your company. Keep up the good work!

In closing I’d like to pose a question: from this point, where do you think a job function like this will be in the next 5-10 years? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts on the matter!

Cool Tool Alert: Tweepler
January 25, 2009, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, Recruiting, Research, Twitter

Lots of people have started following me on Twitter over the last month or so – I think my follower count has gone up by at least 200 since the beginning of December! Ronkind of a big deal Burgundy would answer that with “I’m kind of a big deal” – however, I don’t think so :) It just means that more and more people are starting to see some kind of value in Twitter.

There are easy ways to start following large volumes of people – tools like Mr. Tweet and Twitter Karma, for instance – but what’s available to make sense of things when you start getting followed by lots of people?

tweeplerlogoThat’s where Tweepler comes in! Tweepler is “a much needed and more intuitive way of processing your Twitter Followers.” How does it work?

“Tweepler acts as a Twitter utility to process new Followers quickly and easily. The application consists of 3 areas that we call “Buckets” The first “Bucket” is the Unprocessed Followers “Bucket”. This shows you a listing of all the new people that have started Following you that you have not currently categorized. The other two “Buckets” are the Follow “Bucket” and the Ignore “Bucket”. The Follow “Bucket” is where you put Unprocessed Followers that you have decided you wish to Follow back. The Ignore “Bucket” is where you put the Unprocessed Followers that you do not wish to Follow back. We have found that by creating this Ignore “Bucket” organizing your Twitter followers becomes a much more painless task than if you do this through the website.”

“Ignore” does not mean you block an individual – this is just for organizational purposes. But if anyone has a ton of new emails with “so-and-so has started following you” and is tired of having to click on each link to read the user’s bio to see if they should be followed back or not, this is a great tool. Looking at the screen-shot of my Tweepler, you can see that the bio is right there so you can easily determine whether to follow back or ignore, and hovering over a photo of someone in your Follow column brings up their Twitter name and real name:

Tweepler screenshot

BONUS COOL TOOL for recruiters, sourcers, and researchers:

This is a quick way to source your Twitter followers too! I have been looking for a way to extract information from Twitter bios quickly, and though it’s a manual method, you can highlight the information and drop it into an Excel spreadsheet and use the Sort functions to align the data columns appropriately for Name, Location, and Bio. It’s worth the time if you’ve found value in Twitter from a sourcing standpoint like I have!

Next Cincy Tweetup – Tuesday, February 17th
January 19, 2009, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Tweetups

As we normally hold Cincy Tweetups on Fridays, we are going to break with tradition for February and have it on a Tuesday. Why, you may ask? Well, Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday, and some of those who have significant others may want to sneak away for a long, romantic weekend. Far be it from me to hinder the love, so we bumped our Tweetup to the following Tuesday. Hope you can make it!

Join other Cincinnati area telecommuters for a day of working in a collaborative environment. We’ll meet at Crossroads Community Church – the church graciously offers free wifi and coffee during the week for the local community. The idea here is to have folks who work in many different job functions working together in an open environment. The expectation is that creative juices will flow and new friendships will be forged. Hope to see you there!

Register to attend the Cincinnati Telecommuter Tweetup here.

When: Tuesday, February 17th
Where: Crossroads Community Church
3500 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45209

3 Top Tips for PR Hopefuls
January 14, 2009, 11:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Public Relations, Recruiting

A colleague of mine in the PR world, Ben Matthews, recently wrote a post on his blog, Pudding Relations, listing out 3 top tips for those looking into a career in Public Relations. This meme was passed on to him by Adam Lewis over at Flawless Buzz. I will pass this along as I know lots of you out there are getting ready to graduate from your respective programs in college and want to know some of the in’s and out’s of life in PR.

Keep in mind, of course, that I work in a support capacity at Waggener Edstrom – I am not a PR account person, but I do touch account people daily because I work on the staffing team. I’ve learned over the last 15 or so months of being here some of what it takes to be successful in an account role in Public Relations. I’ve come to discover that there are a lot of similarities between what I do daily and what PR folks do daily, and this is probably why I’m having so much fun these days!

Back to Ben’s request: the meme has three questions to it, with the aim of helping people looking to get into PR:

  1. What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone entering the world of PR?
  2. The favorite part of your job?
  3. Why did you decide to go into PR?

Let me preface all of my responses with a simple explanation of what my role is at Waggener Edstrom. As I mentioned above, I do not work on the account side of things in the PR world. I am a Sourcing Strategist, and for those of you who follow me on Twitter, or have read my LinkedIn profile, the easiest way I can describe what I do is that I am a professional match-maker. I develop online profiles of individuals who might be a fit for our job openings at Waggener, and if they’re a fit I make connections for the recruiters with whom I work. I piece together bits of information I find scattered across the Internet to form a “person” – I find these info bites from your social networks, blogs, company websites, press releases, etc. I’ve been jokingly called a stalker before, but that’s totally not what I do – don’t worry, I never use my information for evil. :) I prefer to be referred to as the Magnum P.I. of the Internet. So, even though I don’t operate in an account capacity, I am mingling with PR account folks on a daily basis. Hope that puts some perspective on my responses to this meme.

  1. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone entering the world of PR? If I only had one piece of advice to offer someone who was just entering into the world of PR it would be this: respect wisdom and experience. When I first started at Waggener, I began asking my peers who in the company had been there for awhile, and who the best people in the industry were. I then set about to try to introduce myself to as many of my new coworkers as possible (which proved a difficult task at times, as I work remotely). I used LinkedIn and Facebook to accomplish this and was able to make connections with over 100 of my colleagues within the first month of my employment. In addition, Waggener has a formal Mentor/Mentee program set up, so I signed up for that within the first couple of months and got hooked up with one of our VPs who has been a tremendous source of knowledge for me. I also took a pulse-check of my networks to see where I should be looking for outside knowledge. I used LinkedIn Answers to pose a question to my network on what blogs and industry publications I should be reading, and with whom I should be connected. This helped me build a reading base which I set up in RSS and try to read on a daily basis to keep up. One of the most unfortunate things I see a lot of new young professionals doing today is thinking that they learned everything they need to know in college. College helps you build a good knowledge base, but I think every working professional would agree that the School of Life is where you learn the must useful stuff. Gleaning real-world wisdom from those who’ve walked the paths before you is the best way for you to get settled into PR when you first enter into it.
  2. What is your favorite part of your job? This is hands-down the people and the communication. I have enjoyed working in the communication field so much for the past year and a half. I’ve been a researcher for nearly 7 years now, and I find that doing research in the PR world has allowed me to combine two things that I love – technology and communication. People who know me know that I can quite often be a terrible over-communicator. It must be the combination of working alone from home, and working behind 2 computer screens on a daily basis. I absolutely l-o-o-o-o-o-ve the fact that I get to “play” with Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook every day to communicate with people. What’s more, I get to communicate great opportunities to people, and in these tough economic times, my outreach is usually music to people’s ears (eyes?).  The fact that there’s a potential that I could improve upon someone’s work situation with each outreach makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. Now, my situation obviously is different, but for those who love the technology/communication combo, PR is a fantastic field to be in.
  3. Why did you decide to go into PR? Well, this is where my answer is probably not going to line up with an account person’s. I actually accidentally stumbled into PR, just as I had accidentally stumbled into internet research (which is a good story all its own). The story of how networking got me my job at Waggener is actually quite interesting and weaves a neat web of people – it’s posted on my friend Jim Stroud’s website here. Long story short though, my decision to join Waggener, and the world of PR, was because the opportunity to work with an innovative and highly respected company in a brand new field was intriguing and exciting. I was not feeling challenged in the right ways in my then-current situation and needed something more. Waggener has certainly provided that for me – I have been learning not only public relations, but social media strategy, client interaction, and corporate culture as well as staying connected within my recruiting and research community. It is overwhelming at times, but I’ve often said that if you’re not green and growing, you’re red and rotting.

Now, in keeping this meme alive, I am going to tag three additional people to spread the love: one PR student, one PR Young Gun, and one PR veteran:

It’s a Digital job, but somebody’s got to do it!
January 12, 2009, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Public Relations, Recruiting | Tags:

Waggener Edstrom Studio DThe world’s gone cuckoo for social media and all things digital and online! Seems like the newest, coolest job to have is “Social Media Strategist”. Some people say that this is a fad (check David Evans’ comment), whereas others say it’s here to stay.

Waggener Edstrom is of the team that believes it’s here to stay, and because of that, we are hiring a VP for Digital Strategies. I personally think this would be one of the neatest jobs to have, because basically you’re providing social media strategy consulting to lots of different companies. If you’ve got at least 10 years of experience in a combination of public relations, social media strategy, SEO/SEM, web design, digital storytelling, and marketing/advertising, then this is the position for you!

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Someone who is well-known and respected in the realm of online media – a person who, going into a client meeting, would be recognized for their contributions to the social media community.
  • Someone who doesn’t just talk the talk, they also walk the walk – a person who can not only philosophize about social media strategy, but who has also successfully executed these strategies.
  • Someone with an entrepreneurial and consultative approach – a person who can bring to the table new business as well as sell and close, in addition to being able to provide fresh, creative new ideas to clients.
  • Someone with an interest in the Pacific NW – this position will sit in Seattle. We are willing to relocate you, if that is your situation.

If this intrigues you, please email me for more info, and make sure to check out our Careers with Waggener Edstrom Facebook page and become a fan!

Next Cincy Tweetup – January 16th
January 9, 2009, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Twitter

Don’t forget to register for the next Cincy Tweetup on Friday, January 16th!

Join other Cincinnati area telecommuters for a day of working in a collaborative environment. We’ll meet at Crossroads Community Church- the church graciously offers free wifi and coffee during the week for the local community. The idea here is to have folks who work in many different job functions working together in an open environment. The expectation is that creative juices will flow and new friendships will be forged. Hope to see you there!

Register to attend the CincyTweetup here.

When:Friday, January 16th

Where: Crossroads Community Church
3500 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45209

Check out these other networking events in January as well!

National Championship Game Tonight – Go Gators!
January 8, 2009, 3:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Taking a break from my usual content here just to wish my Florida Gators good luck in the BCS National Championship Game tonight. I’m a 2000 graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance, and I bleed orange and blue through and through. Regardless of who wins and gets named #1, it should be an awesome game.

For anyone who will be in Columbus, Ohio tonight, I’ll be watching the game with the Columbus Gator Club at Average Joe’s, so if you’d like to come join us please do! Just make sure to cheer for Florida or you won’t be welcome (just kidding…kinda).

Back to regular programming after today!

Titles Don’t Pay Bills
January 6, 2009, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Career Advice, Public Relations, Recruiting

All throughout my research career, one of the things I’ve consistently had to do is to look for individuals who possess a certain title level for whatever job I happen to be researching. This is always interesting because depending on the size of the company, the titles change for various levels of experience. For example: an employee at a 5 person company with the title of “Vice President” would almost certainly not be suited for a “Vice President” position at a company employing 500 people. At the same time, a person who is a group manager at a 10,000 person company would most likely be well suited to be a managing director or a VP for a 100 person organization.

Having an elevated title can be both a blessing and a curse. Achieving the next level in your career quicker than normal can be exciting – but at the same time, it can also potentially hurt your hire-ability elsewhere. There is certainly something to be said for earning your promotion – but if you’ve gotten a title boost without having really earned it, you might be in a tough situation should you ever decide (or be forced) to leave your current place of employment.

Let’s take a look at this scenario: a PR professional with roughly 3 years’ experience joins a company and is given the title of Account Manager.

Now, let’s back up a second and take a look at the title system in the world of PR. Public Relations is an ideal industry to use as an example, particularly in the agency setting, because titles are pretty universal. Entry level positions are Account Coordinator (AC) and Assistant Account Executive (AAE). From there, you get promoted to Account Executive (AE), Senior Account Executive (SAE), and then to Account Supervisor (AS) or Account Manager (AM), both of which are around the same level depending on which company you are with. Then, it goes to Senior Account Manager (SAM), Account Director (AD), and on to the various levels of Vice Presidency and Executive titles. There is a natural progression from one level to the next which is pretty universally accepted.

Back to our scenario: at 3 years’ experience, it’s pretty certain that an individual would not in actuality be at an Account Manager level in their career. Nevertheless, this individual is excited about having this title and accepts it. However, if this person ever wants to switch companies, they are going to run into some problems:

  1. Once you have a title of Account Manager, it is highly unlikely that you are going to want to take a step back. (hey, I wouldn’t want to either!)
  2. Other companies will see 3 years’ experience and will almost certainly not be willing to compensate at the Account Manager level for that amount of experience.

Is it possible for you to earn experience and be promoted quickly? Absolutely – companies call this fast-tracking. But it’s not for everyone. Just keep this in mind as you do your career planning. You do have a career path mapped for yourself, right? If not, this is something you should begin immediately.

When you are progressing through your career, this is something to think about very seriously. It is especially important for folks who are just starting out their careers. Be wary of taking positions that offer elevated or inflated titles with no exchange of earned experience. Titles will not pay your bills. Earn your experience – and your promotion to higher levels.

A good friend of mine has a great saying that I think fits perfectly with this important topic: “You can feed your ego, or you can feed your family.” Titles are not going to feed your family, so make sure that you aren’t hurting your earning potential by taking an elevated title too early in your career simply for the aesthetic pleasure of it.

ERE Hosting Cincinnati-Area Meetup: 1/21
January 5, 2009, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting | Tags:

ERE has been listening to us Cincinnati-based recruiting professionals belly-ache long enough: they’re hosting a Meetup right here in our neighborhood later this month!

ERE is starting off the new year by hosting a Meetup — a chance for recruiters in the tri-state area to do a little networking after hours. Thanks to our sponsor Taleo, we’ve got drinks and appetizers — all you need to do is show up to meet and network with familiar faces (and some new ones) in our industry!

Over the past few months we have held ERE Meetups in Boston, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, and most recently Dallas. They have had a great turnout and the recruiters who joined us had a fantastic time!

We will be holding this meet-up at the gorgeous Cincinnatian Hotel in downtown Cincinnati. Here’s the info:

When: Wednesday, January 21st
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Where: Cincinnatian Hotel, 601 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH


Please RSVP for the Queen City Meetup in the comments section of the ERE post!

Sourcing Shorties
January 4, 2009, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Research

Given the recent Shorty Award craze, I started thinking how I could leverage its popularity for my own sourcing purposes. After all, there is a ton of information available on the website – just take a look at the massive number of tweeters who have been nominated for various awards! So, the idea of this post is to provide a few examples of how to source shorties.

Consider this: the tweeters who were nominated for these awards are interested in social media, and are considered some of the best movers and shakers – by their peers – in the Twit-o-sphere. If you are recruiting or sourcing in the social media space, this website is a veritable goldmine of potential connections. There are corporate accounts as well as individuals, so this is also an opportunity to company-shop, seek out potential new clients, see what companies are really capitalizing on business use of social media, and find the individuals who have taken Twitter and run with it.

Even if you’re not looking for social media people, there are enough categories here to quench your thirst outside of the social media circle. For example, some interesting categories include politics, religion, fashion, journalism, education, music, and non-profits.

First of all, look at the complete list of award categories. There are a total of 26 official categories and a whopping 1,808 user generated categories! That’s a LOT of areas of interest. The thing I would do with this list first is copy it from the website and dump it into a spreadsheet. Then, you can sort by either the category or # of votes. When you sort by the category name, you’ll be able to target the specific categories that are of particular interest to you. For example, categories in which I personally would take a great deal of interest would be advertising, PR, socialmedia, marketing, communications, journalism, and media.


You can of course click on the links to each category right from the website but this spreadsheet approach will give you your own workable list of potential connections that you will be able to manipulate offline, and this list only contains the top 10 nominees, as opposed to the web lists which will give you every single person who was nominated. Once you’ve done this, I’d focus on the website for most of the rest of your sourcing.

After determining the categories in which you are interested, you can go to the website and start systematically clicking through the categories to learn about the nominees. Take the time to read why their colleagues nominated them. At the top of each nominee’s page, you will see both a link to their Twitter account and whatever website they have listed in their bio. Plenty of great information about each of these folks, including short, under-140 character recommendations and Twitter character references. 


And, as a bonus for those of you with Broadlook tools, I tested this out on Eclipse and found that, with some manipulation, you can actually pull the information directly from the category pages and extract full names and twitter username URLs. I would imagine that one of eGrabber‘s tools would work here as well.

I think this is a great way to start developing contact sheets of some of the folks you want to connect with on Twitter. They’ve already come recommended by peers in a nice, neat little package for you. All that’s left is for you to reach out and start developing good relationships. Happy Sourcing!


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