A Happy conference attendee getting her book autographed by Marcus Buckingham - SHRM-2010

If you follow much at all of what is going on in this space, you certainly know that the SHRM Annual Conference is coming up in Atlanta.  It is at the end of June, start of July – just about the same time every year.  Volumes have been written about the conference, the attendees and so on, so suffice it to say it is a big deal. If you work, live or feed off of the HR space, it is something you should attend routinely; even if you have to pay your own way.

Again, this year I have been lucky enough to find myself in the ranks of those attending. I am attending as part of a cast of social media bloggers.   In 2010 in San Diego SHRM has an official blog squad of 5. This year it is 75.  Amazing, Simply Amazing.

Given the count it is obvious that top power players at SHRM have dedicated a lot of resources to social media this year. However, like any other business entity, even the Not for Profits, they are looking for their return on investment.    I am not sure specifically how that will be measured.  In my opinion, while aspects of social media can be monitored and measured – I am unclear on how you accurately measure the true impact?

I have noticed on a number of television shows now, such as Dancing with the Stars, American’s got Talent and Deadliest Catch the producers are now marrying the tweet stream with the show. I also see Delta Airlines, and their #DeltaAssist program growing. Again I am not sure how what this is generating or how it is being measured, but it is continuing to grow.

I think this is reflective of the business intrigue surrounding Social Media.  There is so much going with SM it is mind boggling. We have new sites, new tools, court cases, new users, IPOs going on, and just when you think you have a handle on it everything changes.

Now back to the conference, let’s discuss this year.   I think that SHRM is to be applauded for their efforts and the amount of resources they are dedicating to this year’s event.

My worst fear is that it has become a case of go big, or go home, with the analogy being this.  If we (SHRM) don’t see some tangible results from this event we will contemplate a “push back” from social media.  I hope my fears are unfounded.  To help ally my fears I implore all of you to share in the conference via social media – even if you aren’t there. Watch the tweet stream, check out the video uploads, watch the Facebook posts, read some of the thousands of blog posts that will be coming out – and lastly share it with a friend or acquaintance who is not yet immersed in Social Media.  In order to get the needed ROI we must continue to grow the base.

One final note, a specail and unique web site has been launched just for and about the conference. The site is called The Buzz and you can find it here.