James Mayes

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Blog: Review of SMART conference

In Community, Conference, Personal Development, Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on January 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

I wrote this review of SMART on behalf of Keith Robinson at ECom Digital, published by them earlier this week.  It appears here now for personal record, but comments and feedback are, as always, welcome!

First impressions were certainly good – an impressive building in a central location, plenty of staff to greet delegates on arrival and quick distribution of the WiFi details. The speakers and programme for the day had also been distributed previously, which very much aided planning – especially with the workshop streams, where we were able to figure out a plan for the day in advance. Getting that kind of admin out of the way swiftly very much aids getting on with the event itself.

Moving quickly into the opening address, Charlie Osmond did a great job of getting people ready for a day of discussion. He made clear Social had reached critical mass and was moving from a thing of wonder and hype into something which would be viewed with a clear and critical business eye.  We would all be expected to reconsider our preconceptions and he threw out a few strong sound-bites to ensure people were thinking, not just listening.

I was live-tweeting as best I could, and therefore keeping one eye on the Twitterstream.  At the point I noticed the use of different hashtags on Twitter. For those who use Twitter regularly, hashtags are a great way of following a theme or event. When multiple hashtags are involved, it becomes highly counter-productive. This could/should have been avoided. Not the first time I’ve seen it happen, but with Twitter being such a part of the conference circuit now, split hashtags really shouldn’t happen.

As the day progressed, I went with the Talent Management tracks each time.  The speakers were certainly impressive, with the organisers having brought in a good mix of theorists and strategists, pitching them in with realists who actually deliver for business.  There was a late switch on one of the sessions, so special mention should go to Sarah White – she stood in with a few hours notice, created slides from scratch and delivered a session that gave many some valuable food for thought.

Personally, I really enjoyed one of the panel events – representation from Google and YouTube is a great start. I was initially disappointed when I heard the Twitter rep had dropped out, but was then advised Nick Halstead was to join. For those of you who haven’t come across Nick before, he has a legendary passion for deep data and knows the inner workings of Twitter far better than most. He also possesses an acerbic sense of humour, which I believe always leads to a better discussion.

The highpoint for me – Nick’s comment that SEO would be dead within five years.  Certainly a controversial thing to say when sitting next to the man from Google! My low point was unfortunately during the Economist presentation.  Mark Johnson had some great stuff to say about quality of content, using debate to rally your community etc.  He also railed against the use of RSS feeds when placing news articles into Twitter, claiming that every single tweet to The Economist’s half-million followers was hand-crafted.  The Twitter account was duly checked by a few people in the audience and whilst this might be an accurate claim, the tweets are nothing more than a continuous stream of links back to the Economist. Why spend time having a real person caress every tweet if there’s no actual engagement? Unfortunately, Mark had no answer for this point. It was a shame, because he otherwise had some great points to make.

All in all – excellent event.  Very much a recruitment bias to those in attendance, but the speakers certainly had a wider range of message than would be found at a purist social recruiting event. Well worth attending. To wrap up, I’ve been back over the Twitterstream of the day and curated a selection of Tweets and the data from the live polls – all available on my blog.


Blog: Highlights & poll results from #SMART_2011

In Community, Conference, Facebook, LinkedIn, Personal Development, Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on January 26, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I’ve been  invited by Keith Robinson to write a review of the SMART 2011 conference for one of his publications, which I’ve gladly done (many thanks for that invitation!).  During the course of writing that review, I went through many of the tweets on the day to get a feel for what others experienced.  I’ve pulled a selection out for your delectation here – some mine, some from others. I’ve also endeavoured to name the speaker on stage at the time of the tweet – let me know if you spot any errors!


How does your organisation use social media?

From Charlie Osmond‘s opening address:

  • “Don’t chase viral outcomes – ongoing conversation has better long-term results.”
  • Brands on social are often focussed purely on conversion. Compared to 16 yr old boy at party. Time to grow up & think wider.
  • “This is the year Social moves from hype & headlines to data & understanding”

Steve Fogarty of Adidas:

  • Talent Management session at #smart_2011. First, Steve Fogarty from #adidas opens with “40000 staff, 16 recruiters!”
  • Adidas on using the web for recruitment: “6 degrees (networking) Community (conversation & engagement) Marketing (attraction)”
  • Adidas had to fight to get on Facebook for recruiting. “Marketing wanted to retain sole ownership for product sales.”

Does your organisation have a social media strategy?

Andy Headworth of Sirona

  • “95% of career sites are cr*p – when did you last use your own site to complete an application?”
  • Try Addict-o-Matic for free social measuring – start listening.

Mark Johnson, The Economist

  • “Social media doesn’t mean have to dumb down. If ask for lot from readers, you’ll got a lot.”
  • “Regular debate questions significantly aid engagement”

Who should own social media strategy?

Sarah White, Independent Consultant

  • Career site “power of 3: Attractive, Sustainable, Candidate Centric”
  • “Goal of all social efforts should be to bring traffic back to Career Site”
  • “If you build your candidate attraction in Flash, you’re excluding iPhones, iPads, etc…”

Nick Halstead, MediaSift

  • “People will follow content, not search for it. Fundamental shift.”
  • “I predict death of #SEO in the next 5 years” … big rumble in the room.
  • “Sentiment analysis is inaccurate because computers don’t understand sarcasm”

What's the biggest risk of social media?

The data on this page comes from electronic polling of the delegates on the day. If the images are a bit small to read the legends, just click – they should open up to a larger view. I hope I captured it all correctly at the time, but if anyone from SMART has final figures, I’d be glad to amend.

Blog: YOU decide how much vitriol this recruiter gets!

In Recruitment, Social Media on January 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

Something slightly different from me today – I REALLY want your input!

As many do, I get spam emails from recruitment agencies constantly. I get cold calls, I get speculative CV’s.  It tends to suggest that in cultural/behavioural terms, they’re still way short on getting the basics right – and as such, shouldn’t yet go near Social Media.  I’ve recently had one which I believe presents a great case study on precisely this point.  I drafted the following, but then I thought I’d crowdsource a response.  Should I send them this and give them a chance to respond? Should I change it? Should I just ignore them and hope they wither and die?

Dear xxx

As I said when we spoke last week, we have no requirement at present. If we did have a requirement, we would first turn to one of those companies we work with as a consulting partner. Again, as I explained at the time, we’re currently talking to your firm, but that’s as far as the relationship goes.

Credit: Getty Images

If we hadn’t had the conversation prior, I would have thought your mail to be spam.  As we’d actually spoken in some detail a week ago, I don’t regard it as spam – I regard it as a clear sign that you in no way listened to, or registered, the information I gave you on that call.

If you’re unable to listen to a prospective client when being given information on the first call, I have no choice but to assume you’re also unable to listen or register information when given a recruiting requirement.

Finally, I have previously unsubscribed from speculative mailers from your firm.  The arrival of your email with three unwanted CV’s indicates no notice has been taken of my previous written communication either.

Please, explain to me exactly why you think I’d ever want to use you as a recruiter?

I have a load of meetings today – the comments are unmoderated, so feel free to speak out – but with due respect. I’ll review late this afternoon and decide how to respond.

Blog: Should I moderate my blog comments?

In Blogging, Community, Personal Development, Social Media on January 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I’m often asked by clients about Social Media moderation – should you, can you, how does it look, what are the risk of not moderating, etc.  I don’t want to look at it from a client perspective today, but from a personal perspective.

I wrote recently on whether one should thank for retweets.  One of the comments in the ensuing debate suggested that even if one didn’t acknowledge every retweet, it would be wise to thank those from new followers/readers, so as to give foundation to the relationship.  I agree with this wholeheartedly – and this is where the blog moderation topic comes in.

When I started this blog, I considered moderation at some length. Did I want to catch every comment for review first – or was I prepared to open myself up to ridicule if I wrote something unutterably daft?  I eventually reasoned myself down to the following position:

Credit: http://bitstrips.com/

  1. This is my blog and if I write something daft, I should take the punishment
  2. I want to learn from my blog and comments from others are the key external input
  3. I absolutely do not want to overlook a comment from a new reader
  4. If someone has commented more than once, chances are I know them reasonably well

I therefore have moderation turned off for everyone except first-time posters. Any first-time contributor generally gets their comment published as soon as I spot it, but this mechanism ensures I don’t miss new contributors.

As always, all views are appreciated – what do you do?


So this one’s been live a few hours now and had some good debate already – and I really mean it when I say thanks to all those who’ve contributed. I’ve started to question my thinking and you all made that happen.  The reason for the edit though – I think I may have been unclear in the original post.  My ONLY intent in using the moderation is to ensure I spot new posters – that’s it!  Now, as you were – please continue!  😉


Really enjoyed some discussion on this one today, both in the comments and elsewhere.  As a result, I’ve removed all moderation and will work harder to ensure I catch all new posters. The only reason something will be held back now is if WordPress thinks it’s spam.  Thanks to all who contributed!

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