• Networking Did I do it Right

    I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. SHRM’s director of Social Engagement, Curtis Midkiff included me in his blog squad of over 70 people. Additionally, Sabrina Baker and Susan Avello, a couple of my peers from Illinois were also in this group. Said another way, we were Curtis’ guests. We were also hosted by the folks from Dice.com in the bloggers lounge, and they turned out to be a great partner for all of the bloggers and SHRM as well.

    As part of the deal it was expected that we would attend and help promote the event through social media outlets, that we would attend certain events and that we write and tweet about it.  Heck that’s one thing we all enjoy doing, so who wouldn’t want to go to the big show and do what you enjoy doing.

    When you get on site along with the rest of the folks (the numbers vary but let’s say 15,000) the opportunity to network is phenomenal.  This was not a stated objective of the blog squad, but it is also very conference like.   The first stop was meeting all of my fellow bloggers that I already knew and exchanging hugs and handshakes.  Next I wanted to meet some of the folks that I had not met  in real life.  Most of these folks could be found either at The Hive or The Blogger’s  Lounge.  After hooking up with blogger friends it was time to meet some people and make some new friends.

    On Sunday evening I was at one of the tweet-ups where I was conversing with my fellow Illinoisans; Susan and Sabrina whereupon we were roundly castigated by a Mr. Steve Browne, networker extraordinaire.  Steve told the three of us,“Hey you folks from Illinois, break it up, go meet some new people, you can talk to each other when you get back home.”   While Steve’s comment was somewhat tongue in cheek, knowing Steve I suspect he was about 2/3 serious.

    While at the big show I continued to attend the litany of events, traveling to them with new friends, and friends from out of town – ones that I rarely get to see. I was networking.

    Now that’s the set-up; word got back to me via several folks that I was snubbing the Illinois SHRM delegation, because I didn’t go hang with them.  Really?  I thought I was doing the right thing.  Well see where Big Steve comes down on this one. The jury is out.

     
  • SHRM 12 in the Rear View Mirror

    The Big  Show for 2012  is over. It is on from Atlanta to Chicago for 2013.  This year SHRM stepped up their social media game. With the addition of The Hive, and the return of an expanded Bloggers Lounge, all of the social media devotees felt that SHRM had moved forward on the SM front. I could not agree more.

    It is my sincere hope that these efforts will result in increased membership, a more engaged membership and a greater and more effective utilization of social mediaas a strategic business tool.  This would provide the SHRM Leadership with the tools that they need to accurately measure the return on their social media on investment. It would also let them clearly see that this is the wave of the future.

    In an effort to make a lot of noise in the HR space Curtis Midkiff assembled a team of 70+  bloggers to assist in covering the event.  I think we did a good job, but could have done a lot better.  SHRM put The Buzz Site together at the suggestion of previous year’s Blog Squads.  Curtis had asked us to please post there first, wanting to drive our collective traffic to the site. It was a good plan that should have been executed better.  The bloggers collectively did not execute this as well as we might have.

    Dice provided us (paid for) an excellent space for us.  The bloggers (myself included) did not always use the “suggested” hashtag when or as often as we should have.  We owe Dice our continuing gratitude and support for their willing support in what probably be called an experiment.  In addition to providing us space, they also had working staff in the room at all times.   Also we owe a big thanks to Sarah Warner White for all of her behind the scenes work on the bloggers lounge.

    There was another aspect of the bloggers lounge I wanted to address. The live video feeds from the floor were spectacular. It allowed folks to blog, tweet, Facebook and Google + while they were multitask or using a plugged-in full size laptop. There were many other aspects of that, that also made covering the sessions easier, but I feel like we lost the “feel” of the conference floor.  Whether it was watching people grimace when the speaker commented, or simply seeing people walking out of sessions in droves.  From the bloggers lounge, we lost that prospective and I am not sure that was a good thing.

    There was a great deal of communication between the bloggers and the vendors (wanting us to schedule time to talk with their CEOs) about their product or service .  I don’t know if I missed some emails or what, but that whole effort seem to leave all parties involved bewildered, frustrated or just plain mad. Hopefully that will go better in Chicago

    Curtis Midkiff working The Hive

    The Hive was a fantastic  effort to engage the general membership in social media by engaging members and answering questions one on one right after a session, while the fires were still burning hot.  There were also a number of group discussion that went on from time to time in The Hive. From my prospective this was hugely successful.  While I only worked 3 hours there, the interactions I had were superb.  At ILSHRM12 we hope to mimic The Hive in a scaled down or modified version. Fortunately Curtis will be there to help us.

    In terms of sessions I only actually attended five. I have stacked up enough HRCI credits to push me through 2013 so I was not really in need of them.  It made attending the conference with no agenda most enjoyable.  I was afforded the opportunity to wonder around, stop and visit or just listen in on a session.  And on a personal level I got to meet and hang with some of the best and the brightest in the space. Just being around them and watching them work, the way the interact with others was enlightening and informative.

    It will be remembered as the SHRM 12 the year the Social Media Experiment went full tilt.