Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Fast Company: Does Your Company Need A Dedicated Tweeter?
November 23, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Article Reviews, Networking/Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter

Last Tuesday, Chris Dannen wrote an article on Fast Company giving a brief analysis of Weber Shandwick’s study which found that big companies just don’t get Twitter. At least, that’s what they say. Dannen followed up with an assessment that perhaps companies need a dedicated tweeter who won’t stick just to tweeting about ‘brand awareness’ but also bring more personal flavor to it:

“To succeed on Twitter, I’d bet that companies need do no more than ask those questions–and then hire that person to tweet about anything but brand awareness and product news. Twitter is so popular because it’s so personal and so direct; give one person the keys to your brand’s castle, and they’ll go out and connect. But don’t try to drag the whole board-room table.”

I disagree with this, and I wanted to respond to this post here on my blog in hopes of bringing more attention to the post and soliciting more feedback on this issue.

I have to wonder if individual user accounts who tweet on behalf of these companies were taken into consideration in Weber Shandwick’s study, or if the only Twitter accounts that were considered were officially endorsed accounts, created by the companies themselves. I for one know that many companies have employees who represent them, on a rather official basis, but they aren’t ‘branded’ as a company account because the companies realize the need for personalization of their Twitter presence.

Furthermore, each company is going to have a different purpose for using Twitter. Some perhaps don’t need/want to engage there. Anyone who understands marketing and social media strategy knows that the shoe doesn’t fit everyone in the same way. I saw that the Weber Shandwick study discusses that briefly.

As to the original question of this post, I don’t think a dedicated “tweeter” could/should be a full-time job at this point. It should be part of many people’s jobs, not just one person. The idea of having one dedicate person reeks of the antiquated “spokesperson” concept, and if you take a look at the way business is done today, there is never just “one voice” of a company any more, especially not within the walls of social media.

I think it’s better to ask several people, who understand your company (i.e. NOT a brand-new intern), to participate in some degree. This doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t, in my opinion) rest solely with one internal team or individual. It should be a collaborative effort – after all, if the purpose of a company being on Twitter is to engage, shouldn’t the entire company be represented, not just one person or group of individuals which has decided that they ‘own’ the company’s social media presence? (a whole other issue itself…)

How about you – what do you think about this? Should companies hire a dedicated tweeter or team of people whose sole function is to tweet (and I’m sure engage on other social media)? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.

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Why I Prefer TweepML Over Twitter Lists
November 19, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, Networking/Social Media, Technology, Twitter

Twitter recently released Twitter Lists which allow you to group people together based on whatever subjective categorization method you want. For example: since its rollout I’ve been made a part of 107 lists, including: Networking RockstarsHuman Capital PeepsMovers and ShakersGators (go Tebow!), and my favorite – Women. (I looked down and checked; yup, that’s an appropriate group for me to be in)

This is great that Twitter has created these lists – however, Twitter is a bit late to the game with this upgrade, and there are some limitations/downsides to its current functionality. For starters, I’ve had “lists” of people in my TweetDeck groups since 2008. I know other Twitter apps have also provided the opportunity to categorize our flocks of tweeple. In addition, when you ‘follow’ a list, all you’re following is the list. And to the best of my knowledge, in order to view the list updates, you actually have to go TO the list instead of having it automatically update like with TweetDeck groups. You can’t subscribe to an RSS feed of the list yet, either, like you can for individual Twitter users. (unless you know how to manipulate Yahoo Pipes) AND – if you want to actually follow the people in the List, you know, so they can DM you and so forth, you have to manually click through each person and follow them. I don’t know about you, but I’m too lazy busy to do that these days.

Of course, you also can’t ‘share’ your TweetDeck groups so Twitter Lists has a leg up here. But I found something better a couple of months ago, long before Twitter launched its lists feature…

My list-builder of choice is a sweet little service called TweepML. TweepML is “an XML format used to represent a list of Tweeps (Twitter users).” Basically, you can add people to a list, share the generated link, and allow other people to actually follow those individuals, not the list itself. In addition, you can add buttons to your website to provide an easy one-click follow to all of the people on the list, or you can select who on the list you want to follow by checking the box beside a name.

The best part is that I’ve actually found a great way for the two of these listing services to play together! A very cool feature that TweepML has is a quick import tool, so if you have a link to a page with a list of Twitter users that you want to add to a list (let’s say, oh, a Twitter List) it will automatically extract the Twitter users from that site and put it directly into your list builder.

For example: we recently had our first Bellingham Social Media meet & greet, and I wanted to create a list of people who were interested in the group on Twitter. I created a Twitter List of these people, copied the URL, and pasted it into the field that TweepML provides to automatically find Twitter users:

I finished creating the TweepML Bellingham Social Media list and posted the link up on our Facebook group page so that everyone there can follow each other without having to constantly click through to the Twitter list. Simple, quick, and no extra steps!

Now – something that would be even more of a value-add would be an integration between TweepML and say TweetDeck to automatically associate people from a certain list with an existing group….how ’bout it guys? Can you make that happen?



Cool Tool Alert: Masterbranch
September 28, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, Technology

Found this new resource for IT professionals (and IT recruiters too!) – Masterbranch. It’s a network that’s currently only available for IT folks, letting them connect with each other through search based on projects, skills, and available opportunities.

According to KillerStartups review, “…through [Masterbranch] you can have something akin to an intelligent resume that reflects any change that should merit inclusion…This dynamic profile is built by looking at your sites and blogs (IE, your activity on the WWW) and the site also doubles as a sort of networking resource where IT professionals can meet up with each other and build relationships like that.”

This site grabs all your information based on OpenSourceID verification and it dynamically builds an IT ‘resume’ based on your web activity. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a resume that would be suitable to bring on an interview, but it’s a good sampling of your online presence and an additional place for you to build your personal SEO and be find-able to recruiters. For recruiters, this is yet another resource for sourcing! The site pulls your information from LinkedIn, Stackoverflow, Google, Sourceforge, Serverfault, Launchpad, Ohloh, GitHub, BitBucket, and your blog if you have one.

Once your profile is built, you can start looking at other community members based on projects and skill areas. The most popular areas are linked at the bottom of the page, and you can join project “networks” to be found based on skill area.

People search is also intuitive; start typing a name and it will suggest people who are community members. It’s still a small community, but it’s certain to grow quickly. Updates are automatically pulled from the online accounts you add to your profile. No manual updates are necessary once you’ve added an account – pretty sweet!

IT recruiters: this is worth taking a look at. IT professionals – this is another place for you to get noticed!



Cool Tool Alert – AutoSearch Mobile iPhone App
September 22, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, iPhone, Technology

AutoSearch on the iPhoneThe Cool Tool Alert has returned! This week, I want to feature a neat iPhone app that is an extension of a service that I learned about way back in June at the Fordyce Forum from founder Lori Fenstermaker. Lori started AutoSearch almost by accident, and what started off as a “side business” has quickly become her main focus, with some pretty notable clients. (you’ll have to ask Lori for that client list!) Lori revealed to me at Fordyce that AutoSearch would soon be coming out with an iPhone app, and as an iPhone user I asked her to let me know when this happened. Well – here it is! AutoSearch Mobile:

“AutoSearch Mobile simultaneously searches leading business and social networking sites: LinkedIn, Twitter, Jobster, and ZoomInfo. AutoSearch Mobile also searches the entire web for matching resumes and CVs.”

Basically, it’s AutoSearch Lite. This is a great way to sample what AutoSearch can do. I tested out this new iPhone app and was very impressed with it. It’s quite user-friendly, compact, and relatively accurate. Keep in mind of course, you’re searching the Internet, which is not a recruiters’ database, so you must have realistic expectations of your search results. But that being said, the results I got from my simple search were actually pretty good!

AutoSearch ss1Things I liked about this app:

  1. You can add in your own locations, or simply choose from the ones that are already pre-populated. To add new ones, you simply click on the Setup button
  2. It’s VERY simple. You type in some keywords, a job title, a name, or whatever you’re searching for, and you get results all on one screen from Jobster, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Twitter, and regular web search.
  3. The app accepts pretty much all Boolean search operators, or you can just simply type in a few keywords.
  4. Search results keep you in the app. You never have to leave the app to view them!
  5. Search results are easily email-able to your account or wherever else you’d like to send them – again, right from the app.
  6. Search results are amazingly refined.

AutoSearch ss2

Just a couple of things I’d like to see different:

  • It would be great to see the actual Boolean search string in the results.
  • You cannot save the searches done on the iPhone app.
  • Would like search results to be able to be synched with the full version if you’ve purchased it.

It should be noted that in the full AutoSearch tool, keywords are automatically stored so this takes care of the saved search issue. At only $4.99, this is a great deal as well!

I’d highly recommend checking out the full version, and take a look at the video for the new AutoSearch Mobile app as well as the info video for AutoSearch itself. Definitely worth looking into!



While In Vegas…
June 8, 2009, 8:15 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research, Technology

This week, I am working from Las Vegas, as I will be attending the Fordyce Forum on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I am presenting a pre-conference workshop on Wednesday from 2-5pm PDT on how social media can play a part in your recruitment plan. In an effort to practice what I will be preaching, I am going to have a live Twitter stream from my session using the hashtag #VegasRG through a site called TweetChat. You may have seen me using this hashtag over the last couple of weeks – I am keeping a sort of “Twitter journal” of my Las Vegas experience via the hashtag. My boss, Chris Hoyt, did this earlier in the year on his trip to DC with the #rgdc hashtag. I would encourage you to follow #VegasRG live between 2-5pm PDT and interact with those who will be attending the pre-conference workshop. My goal is to show them just how useful social media is from a conversational and information-sharing standpoint. Please feel free to respond to anything from the #VegasRG hashtag and present questions to the workshop attendees as well. I welcome any and all conversation!

evernote

I’ve done a lot of prep work for this presentation, because I realize that not everyone is as excited about social media’s place in recruiting as I am. Social media goes way beyond the popular LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter tools. There are also social bookmarking tools, cloud computing resources, podcasting/video/photo sharing tools, and so much more. In an effort to be transparent with my own use of these resources, I have decided that I will be going paperless for this conference and instead will be using some of the tools available through social media. I have loaded all of my presentation notes into my EverNote account and will be accessing them through EverNote’s iPhone app. So for anyone attending live, I promise I’m not checking email or text messages on my phone during my own presentation – I’m just following my notes 🙂

Contxts-researchgoddessIn addition, I’m not going to be handing out any business cards this year. That’s right – no paper cards from me! If you want my contact information, you will need to send a text message with ‘researchgoddess’ to 50500. I am using a resource called Contxts to provide my information via SMS. It makes for a good conversation starter, and it also helps you to be more ‘green’ 🙂

My hope is that those of you in attendance of the workshop will come away with some better thought process about how you plan to reach your audiences with social media. We’ll go over some tools of course, but my main goal is going to be to help you better understand the ‘why’ – because if you don’t understand why you are doing something, then how you do it isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Please pass the word about #VegasRG – I would love to see not only those of you who work in recruiting, but also my friends and colleagues in social media, marketing, and PR communities interacting during the presentation. There is so much we can all learn from each other. See you on Wednesday!

 

Please make note: the presentation is this Wednesday, June 10th, from 2-5pm Pacific time. So for Eastern time zone folks, that’s 5-8pm, and for Central, it’s 4-7pm.



This Contraption Doesn’t Work!
May 29, 2009, 10:30 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Technology, Thoughts

I needed to open a can of tuna the other day. So, I reached into my utensil drawer and looked for my can opener. That did the trick.

Had I reached for a spoon, I would have had a difficult time opening that can. I would have said of the spoon, “This thing doesn’t work! It’s not opening this @*&#%#^ can, so it’s obviously a worthless utensil!”

How stupid does that sound? Everyone know that using a spoon to open a can isn’t going to work. Yet, I hear so many people say of varying social media tools “It doesn’t work!” when what’s really going on is they’ve reached for the wrong tool to do a job.

Not every tool is going to work for the purposes for which you want to use it. For example, if you recruit in the construction industry, chances are you’re not going to find Twitter to be a very useful tool. HOWEVER – that doesn’t mean that Twitter doesn’t work. It’s a fantastic communication tool for networking with PR, marketing, communications, and technical professionals. For those working in those industries, it works.

I’m tired of listening to people spout off about how social media is a waste of time when it comes to recruiting. Any resource that facilitates communication with people is going to be helpful to someone. I hope the day comes when recruiting professionals realize that social media tools are just another means of communication with their target audience and not some grand candidate databases contrived just for their perusal. You must ENGAGE. You can’t just sit back, spew forth YOUR agenda, and expect it to work. Would you attend a friend’s party, stand in the middle of the room, and shout your current job openings at everyone there? Didn’t think so.

These thoughts are just part of what I have planned for my pre-conference workshop, Incorporating Social Media Into Your Recruiting Plan, coming up at the Fordyce Forum on June 10th. If you’re going to be there, please let me know! If not, please follow my #VegasRG hashtag to see what’s going on. I’ve got some fun stuff planned!



Reviewing Wolfram|Alpha
May 20, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Article Reviews, Research, Technology

Wolfram|Alpha, a new search engine that just launched in Mid-May 2009 to the general public, is the talk of our industry right now. Some say that it’s going to be a Wikipedia- or a Google-killer. Others (including me) think it’s neat, but that it’s really just a big calculator at this point. Still others are enjoying playing with it and discovering ‘Easter eggs’ hidden within.

Wolfram|Alpha is “a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links.” It’s a fact-machine – you ask it a question, and it will do its best to spit back an answer for you.

When it comes to academia, there are plenty who sing its praises. This will be quite a handy tool when it comes to researching academic matters. For example: if you wanted some quick facts about Winston Churchill:

wolfram-alpha-winston-churchill

However, if you wanted to know who just won the most recent Dancing With The Stars, Wolfram|Alpha is going to tell you:

wolfram-alpha-dancing-stars

As with any tool of our trade, what you get out of it depends largely on what you put into it. In addition, with Wolfram|Alpha, what you’re looking for is a big factor too. If you’re looking for hard scientific, mathematical, or historical facts, chances are Wolfram|Alpha’s going to help you out. But if you’re looking for current events or assistance with your sourcing efforts, you’re going to be disappointed.

Now, researching companies within an industry – that’s a different story. The database does side-by-side in depth comparison of companies and provides details on # of employees, revenue, etc., and on an individual search basis will also provide you with some basic company information (website, location, industry):

wolfram-alpha-T-VZ

This could prove to be helpful when conducting competitive research within an industry or beginning to build a list of companies to target.

From a sourcing perspective however, the information we seek isn’t contained in its extensive knowledge base – that is, where precisely to find certain types of people for potential candidacy for our open positions. I tested this out, just to make sure:

wolfram-alpha-retail-sales

Nope – not what I was looking for, though this is interesting information, and I believe Wolfram|Alpha will give financial search engines such as Google Finance and Yahoo Finance a run for their money. Wolfram|Alpha will do detailed, side-by-side comparisons of stock symbols where the other two currently do not, at least in great detail.

My assessment is that Wolfram|Alpha isn’t going to make any waves when it comes to useful recruiting tools, at least from a candidate search standpoint. Furthermore, I do not think it will be replacing any major search engines or information sources in the near future. In fact, if you click on the Source Information link at the bottom of the Winston Churchill search, you’ll see that Wikipedia is listed amongst the information sources from which it frequently pulls:

wolfram-alpha-source-info

Regardless, Steven Wolfram has come up with a great start to tackling the issue of pure semantic search. (interestingly, plugging ‘semantic search’ into Wolfram|Alpha produces no results) I think this will serve as a good jumping-off point for others to build upon. Check it out and give it a whirl yourself.