James Mayes

Automation vs human interaction?

In Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on July 28, 2010 at 3:57 pm

You may be familiar with the Pareto Principle – more commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule. The original law was very specific, but over the years it’s been quoted in reference to a wide number of situations, often tweaked slightly to suit the particular circumstances of the situation.

I stumbled across some archive material from Seth Godin recently – and it set me thinking about that law in relation to Twitter.  There’s obviously an array of tools out there for turbo-charging your use of Twitter but to what extent is automation acceptable? If social media is all about engagement and dialogue, maybe it’s not possible to automate any; should an actual human being be involved at all times?

Personally, I believe it comes down to what you want from Twitter.  Some want a source of information and may use alerts, lists or other techniques to find what they want. Others want conversation, in which case it’s almost certainly the natural touch at all stages.  For my personal Twitter account, that’s absolutely the case. I’m looking to find (and when I can, offer) thought leadership, interspersed with the lighter touch that helps form the glue in most relationships.

For business though, I do believe an element of automation is possible – and this is where our friend Pareto steps forward.  Just tweeting jobs is both a mundane task and one that leads to a dull Twitterstream.  By helping our clients consider the content element, we can improve the diversity and value of the material being published. With both of these aspects, automation is easily achievable and not necessarily detrimental and for many recruiters, that may take care of 80% of their total Twitter exposure

Of all the effort put into a topic, it’s the final 20% that really puts the icing on the cake.  Perhaps that, then, is the part where genuine human interaction is the most important – and for us, the part where the client really has to engage.

Disclosure: I’m a Founding Director of TweetJobs

Comments and views are always welcome here….

  1. James – interesting post, but I would say the 80/20 role goes the other way – even in recruitment.

    There are no `right or wrong` rules for Twitter – it’s a public forum and people can use it as they wish – but from a business perspective it is a conversational, community building tool. Hell, it leads to way more than that – but from a cold business perspective – it’s a community building tool.

    Without that community, there is no audience, no reputation or referral. I believe 20% should incorporate necessary job broadcasts, and 80% should be about building a relevant community to send those jobs to.

    • Steve – thanks for the comment. I think we both agree the focus is community building, but there are different ways of doing that. I think on this point, there’s some distance between our opinions at present, but that for me is inherent with such a young platform. One of the biggest fears we have from clients is the amount of time they could burn on Twitter – by helping them automate to begin with, they start to see initial returns. As that happens, so they become prepared to commit more time. It wouldn’t surprise me if our more experienced clients gradually moved more towards the position you suggest – but I think in terms of Twitter for recruitment, you now represent something of an old hand – and that’s meant as a compliment!

  2. Thanks for compliment James. 🙂

    Before delving into social media recruitment, I embarked on a training course in social media strategy, and I would still say you have to develop a community first, intertwined with postings. I had a good recruitment acquaintance who sent blogs, job postings and industry news to his heart’s content – but got nothing from it, because he had not built his audience. I see this over and over again, and it looks soul-destroying.

    But I understand your observation on time commitment, particularly relating to recruitment. I still believe recruitment is many many miles from understanding how best to use twitter et al, and a large proportion will never adopt it due to the perceived time-lapse in ROI – and hence many who HAVE adopted it, have left their twitter accounts dormant.

    • Oh, we’re going real “chicken or egg” with this one. I could debate this all night with you, but I actually have a half-written post on the subject of developing the community – so I think better I hold off for now! One point – you’re bang-on with the dormant accounts. That’s not just a Twitter issue though, I could show you the same thing on virtually any social platform you care to mention. Recruitment has always struggled to play anything other than the ‘short’ game.. and once again, I’m straying into another post I have planned on reward mechanisms…..

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