Saturday, 10 January 2009

The social web and job hunting - stepping up a gear

Facebook spokesperson, Matt Hicks is quoted in a DM News article as saying that it's becoming more and more important for people to stay connected with their personal and professional networks. Those in and out of employment need to stay in touch and build their networks to find their next job and also get advice.

It's also interesting to see from the recruiter's angle that the potential of social sites like Facebook is gaining greater attention. Firms of all sizes are establishing a social web presence as a means of reaching out to potential recruits. Ernst and Young and JP Morgan are but a few examples.

Alongside this recruiters are taking advantage of the amazingly sophisticated ad targeting available on Facebook and other social web sites. For example you can control the presentation of your ad so it only appears to users in certain geographical locations, with particular experience, education or who have worked for certain companies. What's interesting to organisations is that they can reach out to both active jobseekers and also passive candidates. It enables a sort of online headhunting to be much more widely used.

The social web allows people to connect on the basis of very very specific niche interests and expertise. This means it is becoming possible to recruit with incredibly specific requirements, where previously only broad experience might have been requested.

Of course this brings implications for the candidate - if they have no online presence, or their profile lacks details about the specific experiences and expertise they have, then they won't learn of new opportunities.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Digital Natives

In November I attended a Conference run by the organisation, 4Children. Mark Weber from Atticmedia gave a presentation titled "Fear and Awe of the Digital Native".

The comparison between Digital Natives (young people who've grown up to be experts with technology) and Digital Immigrants (the rest of us) is well rehearsed. But Mark's take was slightly different.

He suggests the whole Digital Natives thing is overhyped, and when you look at the facts about users of social media sites, or indeed internet usage by age groups, some suprising things emerge.

I regularly hear the argument from professionals working with young people that they don't want to be seen to "invade teenage space". This excuse is used to suggest that Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites should be off limits to adults. But Mark quoted US data from Jul 2008's Nielsen Online Reports, which showed the 35-49 year old age group was in fact spending the highest average time on their PC per month at around 91 hours, compared to the 32 hours 12-17 year olds spent on their PC. Even the over 65's age group spent on average 74 hours on their PC per month.

He also quoted data which showed under 18s formed just 16% of users of online communities. The largest group were 35-49 year olds, who accounted for 25% of online communities users.

Similarly when you look at Myspace and Facebook - the majority are over 18. And a large proportion are over 40.

Far from being technology dummies, older people are just as likely to be users of the social web and actively creating and using content.

So the suggestion is that the notion of the digital native and digital immigrant is an artificial categorisation used to excuse our lack of engagement with young people!

Of course young people may be using social websites in different ways to adults, and maybe older people like me spend twice as long online because they are just so slow with that mouse clicky thing...

It was interesting to hear Mark's suggestion that the real challenge for us in working with young people is to enable and encourage their origination of content and greater engagement. Young people should feel they are stakeholders not just consumers of our expert content.

Mark's presentation can be viewed at Slideshare.net