social media???!

Full credit for the idea/thinking behind this blog must go to Julie Drybrough founder of Fuschia Blue and her blog post Getting Over the Social Media Wall , though credit definitely also lies with Helen Bunden (@Activatelearn) for her response.

I was once one of those blissfully unaware of social media, and therefore on the other side of the wall. I remember once a previous manager of mine commenting that she followed a bunch of HR type folk on twitter that I might be interested in – clearly assuming I knew what she was talking about! At the time I was curious enough to login to twitter to see what it was all about, but finding it daunting and confusing and downright odd I didn’t last long.

My second step into twitter was for wholly different reasons. I’m a yachty, the America’s Cup was on. Simple as that. I discovered I could get better quality, more up to date information via twitter than any other source. However, this still saw me only as a watcher, not an activate participator…more on this later.

At some point in the following six months or so I guess I got more curious. At one point I do remember thinking I was all over “Bebo” when it was the in thing, I have a facebook page I post on with reasonable regularity, so why not twitter, google+, pinterest and the like. I think a lot of it also had to do with being brought onto a project team at work from a people and change perspective to partner with Google to sell AdWords. I was seriously the odd one out. This team was run via google hangouts, they spoke a completely different language to me and at this point it didn’t take long til I wanted to know all about it and realised they were on to something I was completely missing out on.

Embarrassingly I even remember saying during this time that as I was in HR I didn’t need to learn about social media as the two had nothing to do with each and I never saw their paths crossing. How wrong I was! And less than a year ago!

I wrote my first tweet on April 27, 2014. Very late in the piece. But from this point I was hooked. The possibilities, the learning’s, the connections are incomparable to anything else I’ve ever experienced. I would go so far now as to say I learnt as much, if not more in five months than I did in three years completing a double degree at university in HR and Management. I reasonably quickly expanded from twitter to google+, have dabbled in pinterest, massively expanded my LinkedIn and, as you’ll know through reading this, started blogging. I’m a constant learner, a constant chaser of knowledge to both challenge and further develop myself, my knowledge, my thinking and my experiences. No longer do I restrict myself to books and scholarly articles/journals – there’s a whole world of learning and collaboration out there just waiting for people like me. I can’t speak highly enough. I’ve encouraged friends and colleagues, campaigned and won to start social media pages for my company in terms of showcasing us for recruitment and generally sung it’s praises to anyone who will listen. One thing I know when I do – they won’t regret giving it a try. I may have had a few false starts, and I’m upfront about this, but I think when I was ready it clicked. And this is where I’m encountering passive, not active players in SoMe.  As mentioned above for the America’s Cup I read tweets and that’s all. I’ve spoken to a lot of people of late who do the same; “ghosting” on social media – reading, taking in and learning from, without actively participating. I hope this is their first step. That at some point they’ll feel confident enough to interact. But I’m happy for now that they’re there, gaining what they feel comfortable gaining from all that is out there on offer.

At this point I get a little thrill when my blog posts are retweeted and +1’d, I’m amazed, proud and humbled by how many people now read my blog (thank you!). Better still for me is being recognised by people who are far more experienced than I, both in HR and SoMe, who I look up to as ‘heros’ when they recognise the work I’m doing, and also the interaction with these people is invaluable. I now connect on a daily basis with others who equally love HR and its intricacies as much as I, from all corners of the globe. I regularly participate in hangouts and twitter chats and I’m happy to report I’ve even met a few of the fabulous social media folk I know in real life. I look forward to meeting a whole host more at the HR Game Changer conference in Auckland next month – something else I have to credit SoMe for. First for introducing me to the people behind the conference, secondly for the fact I guarantee I wouldn’t know about it if not for SoMe and thirdly for the help I got through SoMe in gaining sign off for the conference in the form of a business case to put to my manager.

 I’m indebted to these people who teach me, challenge me and support me in my career and development everyday – thank you. To those of you out there who may be reading this, but not engaging with the rest of us in the social media sphere, give it a shot, you won’t regret it and you’ll gain so much more. To the folk like my Dad – or those who know them because they don’t even have email and have yet to learn to text, help them. Get them started. Show them how simple and easy it can be. I’m into HR and yachting (and a bit more than that), but I’ve found whole new worlds of people who like the things I do – so I have no doubt we all will. Get into it. Get involved with social media. Get over the wall.

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