Thursday, 19 November 2009

Social media come of age at CIPD conference 2009

It’s the start of day three of the annual CIPD conference 2009 - the premier conference and exhibition for Human Resources in the UK.

Last night there was a small but important informal meeting of like minded people... a tweetup, more than 10 influential members of the institute met informally for the first time face to face

those that met included:







@HRPUK - a fellow lead of a (competing) HR group on LinkedIn

and of course yours truly... @rapidbi

we met @thenorthpolebar in Manchester

Also throughout the day there were meet up of : the CIPD communities group, the opportunity to meet some of the regular faces, the CIPDmembers group on LinkedIn met for lunch. People that have 'met' online start to meet and build alliances in the real world.

Why is this significant? In the press we often hear of HR functions blocking or barring social networking sites - well here is a group of professionals that met online, communicated, learnt from each other and then yesterday took the leap from virtual connections to real connections.

In a rapidly changing world HR and everyone in business need to think about communication, decision making and innovation in a different way. the future is very much about collabouation, and not just internal collaboration - but collaboration with anyone, anywhere that has the expertise and passion to contribute. The future of organisations is changing and it is likely that what is currently called "social networking" will be at the vanguard of change.

What is in a name?

Social networking as a label sounds like it is informal and an option - ell this is not so for the business world. We need to communicate and learn faster than we have ever done before, these online networks are the only technology available which can link and respond fast enough. So what should it be called?

• Business collaboration network

• business innovation networks

• business learning networks

• Human capital network

• competitive advantage network

Ok the last thing we as HR need is more jargon, however when the current name does not work for us, much like "Cif" or "Marathon" a re-brand is required.

The amount of Tweeting from this event is significant, and not from just one player - from many, most providing added value about key messages (some about marketing messages only), however most of those were exhibiting and this was 'fair game'.

This year marks more content published on blogs and twitter from 'peers' than from the HR press. I also believe that even in the coming weeks the word count from this event will outweigh that from the 'professional journalists' 3:1

There is also a difference in content. That published by many of the journalists seems to focus on political decisions and report outcomes - the 'bloggers' seem to be focused on content to help other learn from the event. This shift is an important one, and one that will grow- peer based content.

The future

The future of HR conferences in the UK will never be the same again. Organisers need to consider the needs of social networkers by providing:

• Event wide wifi - free and not timing out every 15 mins

• Power sockets to charge laptops/ smartphones

• Seating with tables for netbooks to allow bloggers to work more effectively

• Stop messages telling delegates to turn off mobile devices!

• Provide twitter streams to allow audiences to communicate with speakers

• Start to stream presentations on the web (if speakers refuse then do not use them!

• Provide more time in between session for networking - i.e. at least 1/2 hr between sessions

• Ensure there is always a Q&A session with the audience and speakers

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