Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


PodCamp Ohio
June 22, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Blogging, Education, Networking/Social Media, Podcasts, Recruiting

This past Saturday, I spent the day in Columbus OH attending PodCamp Ohio. For those who don’t know, PodCamp is a concept that was originally started by Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan (who incidentally graced us with his presence via Skype during one of the sessions!). Basically, a podcamp is a FREE BarCamp-style community UnConference for podcasters and listeners, bloggers and readers, and anyone interested in New Media.

There were approximately 200 attendees to PodCamp Ohio this year which was awesome! We kicked things off around 9am and went until 5:30pm. Presenters signed up ahead of time to conduct sessions ranging in topic from podcasting equipment selection, to keyword research and SEO, to corporate twittering, to finding a job using social media. There were six session timeslots and so many great topics to choose from that attempting to re-cap even from the ones I got to attend wouldn’t do them justice.

The best part is that all of the presenters did so voluntarily – this allows for people to develop their public speaking and presentation skills in a casual environment. There were seasoned presenters as well as first-timers, and much respect from me to those who signed up to present – you all rock!

I was pleased to finally meet Luke Armour, Digital Strategist with Fleishman Hillard. Luke and I have been Twitter buddies for a bit and it was nice to finally put a face to the name. I was able to have the company of Lisa Desatnik and Steve Gerl on the ride up and back, as well. I had some great conversations with Dustin Pyles, Gabe from Digital Disciples, and presenters Alison Bolen from SAS,  Michael Loban who did a phenomenal presentation on finding a job using social media, and Michael McDermott, who I was privileged to catch on camera (see below).

Serious ups to the sponsors who made it possible for our podcamp to happen at no charge to the participants!

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An Interview with Amybeth Hale (@researchgoddess) by Monica Wright (@monicawright)
December 13, 2008, 10:16 am
Filed under: Blogging, Networking/Social Media, Thoughts

A friend of mine on Twitter @monicawright sent me these questions to answer as part of an interview – so I am posting the interview here on Research Goddess, and she’ll post hers on her site. Enjoy!

1. How long have you been working in internet research, and what attracted you to it?
I’ve been working in sourcing/research for about 6 1/2 years now, conducting research in various industries ranging from automatic data collection and identification (AIDC), RFID, commercial printing, financial services, real estate, medical devices, and currently I am operating in the Public Relations space. I was attracted to research because I love mysteries and puzzles, and recently I described what I do to someone as “putting people puzzles together”. I wrote a post about one event in college which truly inspired me and was probably the starting point of what led me to what I do now.

 

2. In your opinion, what’s the measure of a good blogging professional?
A good blogging professional does mix a little of their personality in with the message they are trying to convey in their blog. It makes you more real and approachable. However, if you want to provide value to your readers you have to be careful that you don’t make things too personal. People will subscribe to your blog to learn something and when they feel more like you’re pushing a personal agenda on them, they will leave. Have a good balance of personal and value-add.

 

3. Whose Blog do you read the Most?
I love Jim Stroud’s The Recruiters Lounge – he has such a fantastic mix of recruiting, research, and HR material in addition to tutorials for beginners in internet research which is a wonderful way to give back to our research community. Plus, Jim is one of my favorite research colleagues 🙂

 

4. What’s your best blogging tactic?
My best blogging tactic? I would say my personal branding with “Research Goddess”. I am now better known as Research Goddess than I am by my own name. I think that’s pretty decent branding to have that kind of recognition 🙂 I continue to capitalize on my personal brand with videos and such, to strengthen the connection of “Research Goddess” to myself.

 

5. Search engine algorithms are getting smarter, and a lot of people predict Organic SEO services will become obsolete. How do you plan to adapt?
I have a couple of great friends who are SEO professionals and I plan to stay in their back pocket as things evolve. I can’t even pretend to understand all the in’s and out’s of SEO, so my strategy is to rely on someone who is more knowledgeable about it than I am.

 

6. Please Describe the biggest challenge you face in your current job.
The biggest challenge I face is evangelizing throughout the company what exactly it is that I do – and more importantly, what I DON’T do. There are lots of misconceptions about internet research and sourcing and I am challenged with making sure people understand what the job entails and how we actually go about doing our work.

 

7. Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in internet research, but doesn’t have a background in it, on how to get started in this field?
Yes – the best thing to do, in pretty much any situation where you don’t have a background in a particular area of interest, is to look for the people who’ve become SME’s in it, and learn as much as possible from them. Read what they write, observe whom they follow or are mentored by, and LISTEN. Worst thing someone can do when trying to learn a new trade is to talk a lot – you aren’t learning anything new when all you hear is your own voice. With research specifically, it’s important to understand the basics – learn Boolean logic, and have an understanding of the industry in which you wish to work because knowing the industry will help you figure out where the people who work in it ‘hang out’. Be a sponge!

 

8. If you could rank for any keyword phrase you don’t currently rank for, what would it be?
I think I would have to go with Staffing Social Media Specialist

 

9. Assuming you had never gone into internet research, what would you be doing now (professionally)?
I was slated to return to school to pursue an MBA back in 2001 – not sure what I was planning to do with that but my original plan was to get a Masters in Physical Therapy and go into sports therapy. In all likelihood I would have been working in marketing or sales at a pharmaceutical company, or I would have gone into full-time mission work.

 

10. Do you have any interest in politics? (or what’s Your favorite professional sports team and why?)
 I do – I followed this last election much more closely than any other. I voted for the other guy 🙂 and I hope the PEOTUS makes good on the many promises he has made to the American people – he has set himself up for a very difficult task and I think expectations of him are quite unrealistic. However he seems to have been able to create some unity and excitement around the Presidency again. My fear at this point is that we will start relying too heavily on the government to take care of things which should be our own responsibility, and as a result the incentive to produce and excel in the United States will diminish. I do not want to see that happen.
On a lighter note, my favorite sports team is the Florida Gators, since that is my alma mater. It’s been a blast living here in the land of the Buckeyes and being a Gator for the past couple of years!

 

A big thanks to @MelaniePhung for sending the questions for all to answer.

 

Thanks to everyone who participated. Please check out their sites and follow them on Twitter. 
@almacy a Digital Strategy Expert
@melaniephung a DC SEO Strategist
@martinbowling a lover of Zima
@utahseopro a Utah SEO Consultant
@fairminder who offers Boston Website Design and SEO services
@cyandle a Google Adwords Professional
@melanienathan an Edmonton SEO specialist
@jackleblond a VP of Internet Strategy
@djpaisley a Digital Communications Strategist
@vinceblackham a Utah SEO specialist
@researchgoddess a Staffing Social Media Specialist
@monicawright a Maine SEO professional  


Cool Tool Alert: What Type of a Blog Is “Research Goddess”?
December 8, 2008, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Cool Tool Alert

Thanks to Joe Budde, Jr. as well as CincyRecruiterfor pointing me to this neat blog “personality” analyzer…

Typealyzer analyzes your blog URL based on a sort of Meyers-Briggs type of personality analysis. It recognizes texts that characterize the different types. The system by itself can find features that distinguish one type from another. When all features, words and sentences, are statistically analyzed, Typealyzer is able to guess which personality type the text represents. Here is how it has analyzed this blog:

ISTP – The Mechanics

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

I have to say – this suits me personally as well…especially the adventure and risk. I’ve been bungee-jumping, spelunking, and have a strange desire to go sky-diving sometime! And, I have sported the overalls before (though not sure sure I will do it again)

Do you feel this is an accurate assessment of the content of this blog? Please leave your thoughts in a comment, and try it out on your own blog!



A Breakdown In Communication
December 5, 2008, 11:00 am
Filed under: Blogging, Public Relations, Thoughts

I love being able to have conversations with intelligent people. Especially ones who aren’t conceited about it 🙂 I have had the absolute pleasure of dining with a fascinating man this week here in Cincinnati who has caused me to put some serious thought into communication methods today and the fact that they are really costing us in quality what they supposedly make up in quantity. As someone who communicates for a living, this is huge to me and I am compelled to share some thoughts, both his and mine, on the matter.

For those of you over the age of 30, think back to when you were a little kid – when you wanted to play with your friends, how did you contact them? You either called them up on the phone, or you went directly to their house to ask permission. Children today don’t have to do that – they can text, then can IM, or they can email. What’s obviously lacking here? Conversation – real live conversation. With the communication tools we have today, we really don’t have to have actual conversations with other human beings to communicate thoughts, ideas, and information with them. We seem to have managed to seriously devalue live human interaction as an “inefficient use of our precious time”, and that is a really scary thought. Next thing you know, we’ll be back to grunting and drawing pictures on cave walls (some are already leaning in that direction).

Have we allowed so much noise into our lives that we can’t filter things out and thus resort to perpetually skimming everything, including our face-to-face time with people? Here’s an experiment – for those of you with a PDA phone, do you freak out if you leave it at home when you go out? When you’re having lunch or dinner with a friend or colleague, are you constantly checking it when a new text, call, or email comes through? Imagine the message you are sending to that person you’re with while you do this – “you’re not as important as this message I’m receiving, even though I have no idea what it’s about.” I have a couple of colleagues who, when we do actually talk on the phone, I can always tell they’re doing at least 3 other things at the same time, because the conversations are short and choppy and usually get cut short due to an email or another, more important activity. I understand their lives are chaotic, but I can’t help but feel devalued when this happens all the time.

By the way, while eating with my new friend, both of us had our phones on the table, and while we were discussing this very topic, both of our phones were ringing and buzzing. But we maintained our conversation because that’s what was the most important thing at the moment. It was a breath of fresh air to eat with someone who was present, and it compelled me to return the favor to him.

What have Twitter and Facebook done to us? I of course bring these things up tongue-in-cheek, as you know I am a big fan of Twitter, and I just launched our Waggener Edstrom Staffing page on Facebook. I definitely see value in both of these tools – when used for the right reasons. And what are the right reasons? You have to make that determination yourself. But honestly, do we really need to know every sordid detail of everyone’s life? I read a Facebook update this morning about someone who said he was coughing up some nasty stuff – that, in my opinion, is WTMI (way too much information). I have contacts on Twitter who don’t respond to a call, text, or IM, but they’re right on top of a DM from Twitter. There are “friends” on my Facebook who won’t pick up the phone to talk to me, but continue to leave notes on my Wall, or write responses to my blog postings instead. And by the way, the loose use of the term “friend” these days lends about as much credibility to the word as people have assigned lately to the term “love”, but that’s an entirely different blog post.

Have we achieved critical mass in alternative communication methods? As an avid user of all these tools, I’ll say no. But I think we definitely need to return to the basics when it comes to gleaning any kind of value from them. It boils down to relationships – they must be built with human interaction. Technology cannot culture a relationship.

If you have a colleague who lives close enough to you, let them know that they are important to you and meet them for lunch one day. Leave your PDA in your pocket and put it on silent while you’re eating. Focus on that conversation, it’s only an hour and the world won’t come to a screeching halt if you don’t check your emails for 60 minutes.

If you do a lot of work on the phone, face away from your computer when you are talking with someone. You’ll be less tempted to multitask without seeing things whizzing across your screen. I learned this the hard way when one of my co-workers called me out for multi-tasking and not paying attention to our conversation one day. Busted!

Resist the Pavlov’s Dog reaction – don’t go dashing off to check your email, check your phone, or respond to an IM when you hear a buzz or a bell. Several of my colleagues have implemented a strict policy of checking email at set times every day to be more efficient in their work, but my hope is that in doing this, they’ve also made themselves more available for real human interaction. Donato DiOrio recently posted on his blog about filtering and actually requested some input for ideas on how to best tackle this issue.

Please don’t think I’m pointing fingers here – because there are 3 pointing right back at me. I’d be a hypocrite to write about this topic without acknowledging my own shortcomings in several of these areas. Admittedly, I’m not a big phone person. In fact, those of you who know me know I really dislike talking on the phone, and thus I don’t pick it up that often. But what you may not know is that I absolutely love in-person interaction. Having lunch this week with my fascinating friend was a breath of fresh air for me, not just because of the stimulating conversation, but because we actually got to be in the same place together having that conversation. Those of you whom I’ve met at conferences know how much I enjoy attending those because we take the conversation offline and get real with each other.

My take-home message is this: while technology has made it easier for us to consume more information, it doesn’t necessarily make it easier for us to decipher and organize that information on a basis of importance. Technology cannot substitute for human emotion. There is still a very real human element that must be present for quality communication. Don’t mistake efficient communication for effective communication – they are not the same thing.



Talent Management Blog Power Rankings 2.0
December 4, 2008, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research

top25_badgeOnce again, I’ve been honored with a top spot in Fistful of Talent’s Talent Management Blog Power Rankings 2.0. I made a big leap from #16 in the last rankings up to lucky #7. Thanks to everyone at FoT for your continued confidence in my content!

Here are the full rankings – I’m flattered and humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as these other talented bloggers:

1.    cheezhead™ (Power Index Rating – 120 | 1st Place Votes – 3 | Last Poll Ranking – #10)
2.    The Recruiter Guy (Power Index Rating – 79 | 1st Place Votes – 1 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
3.    Jim Stroud’s The Recruiters Lounge (Power Index Rating – 78 | 1st Place Votes – 3 | Last Poll Ranking – #1)
4.    Compensation Force (Power Index Rating – 66 | Last Poll Ranking – #4)
5.    Personal Branding Blog – Dan Schawbel (Power Index Rating – 62 | Last Poll Ranking – #23)
6.    Your HR Guy (Power Index Rating – 54 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
7.    Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess  (Power Index Rating – 41 | Last Poll Ranking – #16)
8.    All Things Workplace (Power Index Rating – 38 | Last Poll Ranking – #3)
9.    Employee Evolution (Power Index Rating – 35 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
10.  Great Leadership (Power Index Rating – 34 | Last Poll Ranking – #9)
11.  Learn @ Trizle (Power Index Rating – 30 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
12.  TalentMash by Kristin Gissarro (Power Index Rating – 29 | Last Poll Ranking – 22)
       Andy Headworth’s Sirona Says (Power Index Rating – 29 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
14.  HRmarketer.com (Power Index Rating – 28 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
       Evil HR Lady (Power Index Rating – 28 | Last Poll Ranking – #5)
16.  Marketing Headhunter.com (Power Index Rating – 27 | Last Poll Ranking – #21)
17.  HR Bartender (Power Index Rating – 26 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
18.  Three Star Leadership Blog (Power Index Rating – 26 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
19.  Ask a Manager (Power Index Rating – 23 | Last Poll Ranking – #16)
20.  Seth Godin (Power Index Rating – 24 | Last Poll Ranking – #7)
21.  The Business of Management (Power Index Rating – 24 | Last Poll Ranking – #15)
22.  JibberJobber Blog (Power Index Rating – 23 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
       Punk Rock HR (Power Index Rating – 23 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
24.  TalentedApps (Power Index Rating – 22 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)
25.  Social Media Headhunter (Power Index Rating – 21 | Last Poll Ranking – N/A)



Opportunistic Commenters
October 30, 2008, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Public Relations

For all my fellow bloggers out there, I think this particular post may hit very close to home. Picture this: you take the time to write a heartfelt article, or you’ve put lots of time and effort into researching a great topic. You post and invite people to comment and what happens? Inevitably, somebody decides to not leave a comment, but a ‘business card’. By business card, I mean that notorious commenter who leaves the trite “Hey nice post, by the way you should try out my company – go to my website here” or “Your readers might find some value by checking out my product/service at this website”.

What’s the deal with this? Why do people feel like they must shamelessly plug their own site so much in comments? Granted, I don’t mind a person making an honest contribution or an advertising plug if it’s relevant or if they reach out to me privately to explain. What irks me is when the commenter blatantly self promotes without establishing any prior relationship with me or the comment has zero relevance to the discussion. In my honest opinion, this is highly disrespectful to the blogger.

I think in PR, this is a common argument for those who work in blogger relations. Chris Lynn of SocialTNT fame tweeted recently that he is pleased when people get that “blogger relations is about building and maintaining a relationship and not just pushing products”. When those of us who have taken the time to maintain a blog are bombarded with these unsolicited ads, pitches, comments, etc. – with no attempts on behalf of the culprits to engage us first and develop a relationship – that’s when posts like this get thrown up. So, here are three simple things to keep in mind as you go about leaving comments on people’s blogs:

  • Add something of value to the discussion. If you’re just going to write “Yeah, same here” or “Agreed”, don’t. Provide something of substance to add to the conversation, or add nothing at all.
  • Take the time to read other posts that the author has written. Chances are, if they’ve written about one topic that relates to you, there are probably several other posts that are going to grab you. Take genuine interest in the subject matter you’re reading. Don’t leave comments on EVERY post. Be thoughtful in the words you write – bloggers can sniff out insincerity at 20 paces.
  • If your blog/website/service/etc. is relevant to the discussion, reach out to the blog author FIRST to alert them to what you have to offer (check first to see how the author prefers to be contacted – not all want to be emailed). Let them know that you read their recent post, affirm that you actually read it by citing a line or two, and THEN offer what you have. DON’T just drop a comment advertisement with no warning.

Please – don’t be a serial comment advertiser 🙂



Blog Action Day: Poverty In Perspective – South Africa
October 15, 2008, 1:21 pm
Filed under: Blogging, Education | Tags: ,

Today is Blog Action Day 08, and participating bloggers are uniting to bring to attention the very real issue of poverty. As I am leaving in about 5 weeks to participate in a mission trip in South Africa, I wanted to throw out a couple of statistics comparing the economic status of South Africa as compared to the United States, as provided by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

South Africa economic factsheet

 Annual data 

 2007(a) 

 Historical averages (%) 

 2003-07 

 Population (m) 

 47.6(b) 

 Population growth 

 0.6 

 GDP (US$ bn; market exchange rate) 

 282.9 

 Real GDP growth 

 4.1 

 GDP (US$ bn; purchasing power parity) 

 466.9(b) 

 Real domestic demand growth 

 5.9 

 GDP per head (US$; market exchange rate) 

 5,943(b) 

 Inflation 

 3.9 

 GDP per head (US$; purchasing power parity) 

 9,808(b) 

 Current-account balance (% of GDP) 

 -4.4 

 Exchange rate (av) :US$ 

 7.0 

 FDI inflows (% of GDP) 

 1.1 

 (a) Actual. (b) Economist Intelligence Unit estimate.

…as compared to the United States economic factsheet:

Annual data 

 2007(a) 

 Historical averages (%) 

 2003-07 

 Population (m) 

 301.1 

 Population growth 

 0.9 

 GDP (US$ bn; market exchange rate) 

 13,841 

 Real GDP growth 

 2.9 

 GDP (US$ bn; PPP) 

 13,841 

 Real domestic demand growth 

 2.9 

 GDP per head (US$; market exchange rate) 

 45,963 

 Inflation 

 2.9 

 GDP per head (US$; PPP) 

 45,963 

 Current-account balance (% of GDP) 

 -5.6 

 Nominal effective exchange rate 

 77.5 

 FDI inflows (% of GDP) 

 1.0 

Just a quick glance at these numbers shows a humongous difference in the GDP (gross domestic product) per person in both countries. Here are some more statistics:

  • The median annual income of Black South African working adults aged 15-65 is ZAR 12,073 ($1,294 US).
  • The unemployment rate of the Black South African population aged 15-65 is 28.1%.
  • The median annual income of White South African working adults aged 15-65 is ZAR 65,405 ($7,010 US).
  • The unemployment rate of the White South African population aged 15-65 is 4.1%.
  • A study conducted in 2004 by SARPN found that approximately 57% of individuals in South Africa were living below the poverty income line in 2001 [census year], unchanged from 1996. Limpopo and the Eastern Cape had the highest proportion of poor with 77% and 72% of their populations living below the poverty income line, respectively.

 
(Apartheid is a major reason for the drastic differences in the White and Black South African demographics)

For comparison, the median annual income for the United States is $44,389, and currently our unemployment rate is at 6.1%. Those below the poverty level in the United States, as of a 2005-2006 survey, were at 17.4%. It is important to note that the poverty line for a 2-person household in the US has been drawn at $14,000 which is almost double what the White South African median annual income is, and over 10x more than the Black South African median annual income.

So, taking a look at this information, put into perspective our current economic situation and be thankful for the things that you have! Keep in mind that our lifestyle is relative in the world and there are s-o-o-o many countries that are in worse shape than us.

I would ask if this particular issue has touched you and you want to help, please make a contribution to our group of 400 who are going to Mamelodi, South Africa, in the latter part of November. You do not have to contribute to me directly; you can make a general donation for the effort at large. Please also read other blogs who are participating in Blog Action Day 08!