(Be warned, long read)
Every so often the conversation comes around with the value of blogging / social media for individuals / the value of Twitter or LinkedIn and the likes. And so it was last week that Richard Westeney wondered if HR blogging has had its day? Well known economist and commentator Umair Haque wrote about similar recently too.
The discussion itself has been interesting to see. So here’s my tuppence.
One of the oldest (and there’s a distinct irony in calling social media an old thing) edicts of social media has always been that you make of it what you will. There are plenty of ways to ensure that you don’t get value from social media and it seems lots of people experiment with how this plays out for them.
A while ago I recall David Goddin only wanting to follow the magic number 150 to see what level and quality of conversation he was having on Twitter. More recently Luis Suarez wrote about how he unfollowed everyone on Twitter and his insights are pretty fascinating.
So, you know, it happens. People’s individual experience of Twitter gets the better of them, they stop having the same initial experience they enjoyed and then wonder how many others are feeling the same.
And through it all these things remain to be true:
1) if you’re following a lot of people, it’s going to be really hard to keep up with any decent level of conversation on Twitter. Your timeline will be full of tweets from everyone and very regularly need to be refreshed just to keep up. That’s not interacting, that’s just watching a roadshow or carnival taking place.
2) if you’re not getting the right kind of conversation for you, you need to change the people you’re connected with. I do this regularly and almost without prejudice. I still follow some people who I connected with years ago, and there are some who I stopped following a while ago, and there are others who I’ve connected with more recently. But I keep a tight watch on it. It’s my timeline.
3) HR blogging isn’t saturated. Sure it’s hard to cut through the noise, but blogging isn’t about everyone being found for their written voice. If you get heard, people will take an interest. I know many practitioners who tried it, and for various reasons they stopped. Equally there are a good many who persisted and they contribute regularly to the space. If you’re not enjoying the blogging scene, maybe a broader appreciation of the writing available needs to be taken.
4) one of the things I’m constantly aware of I my writing is to not just rehash old content or previously voiced opinions. So I shake things up with my blog. I write about things that are different and with little care about how well it might be read. It’s my blog to share my thoughts. I am one person who thinks lots of things. Y’all should be grateful I don’t blog about tennis here more regularly.
5) as connected technology grows, and more and more people are finding different ways to show their moxie, it means naturally that those voices find a stronger voice in different places. Many bemoan LinkedIn publisher, but there’s one thing you can’t deny, and that’s that people want to write. Not enjoying the quality of writing? Just follow those whose writing you do enjoy.
6) I’m very comfortable that good content will find its way to me. I don’t need to follow everyone to find great content. I follow enough people that great content finds its way to me.
7) Twitter isn’t dying. Your experience of it may be. They’re not the same thing.
8) one of the things that most practitioners don’t do enough is share their actual practice. Instead they opine and moan and promote and rant and express. Which is all fine in this world of expression. Except what tends to be of incredibly great value is sharing actual practice. That’s where people can learn and develop their thinking.
9) I follow a range of people who help offer me different perspectives and thoughts. I also follow plenty of media outlets and niche accounts too. They all add up to my collective experience. I don’t rely on Twitter to only give me consistently good conversations. If I’m not experiencing that, I seek to make that better for me.
I read Richard’s piece and kind of rolled my eyes to be honest. Oh, another HR blogger saying things aren’t like they used to be. How very unique and different. I read it though and appreciated his honesty in his writing and how it resonated with many others. So this is my offering to that same debate. My experience of Twitter, blogging and social media in general is different because I relentlessly keep it interesting for me.