I don’t often write blogs and publish them on the same day, but this topic is burning for me, so I am breaking away from tradition.
Last evening I attended The EO List’s Live Networking session. There were about 20 in attendance. Carmen our host had organized the group into a form of speed networking, and once a few introductions had been made, I made a beeline to introduce myself to and chat with Lydia.
I had not met Lydia in person before; however, she and I have exchanged tweets about a dozen or so times on Twitter. Mostly these exchanges were about “HRish” things, but there were some fun tweets as well. She seemed like an interesting person, and I was anxious to learn more about her.
She told me she was looking for a position in compensation and benefits, and for fun, I decided to tweet out her situation to my network. About 5 minutes later, an old colleague, Jamie, sent a note that he had heard about something, and asked Lydia to get in touch with him. I helped them make a connection.
Whether or not Lydia finds employment from this connection isn’t the issue. It is the fact that she learned about an opportunity because she connected to a network.
There is a key point here that is worth making about networking. I believe I was more likely to help Lydia than someone else because I had engaged with her previously and had some level of relationship with her. Don’t underestimate the power of engaging with someone.
Another key point is that I am far more likely to more fully engage with someone that I have met in person than I would in cyberspace. I met lots of other really nice HR folks the other night. Some of them I’ve known for years, and others I have never met. Of the ones I had not met before last night, I am more likely to connect with them in cyberspace if they remind me that I had once met them live.
Recently I’ve been fairly frustrated with my LinkedIn In-Box. It seems like a nearly constant stream of invites from people, and for 90% of them, I have no idea who they are. I do not accept these connections, and chances are if I meet them later, I will have already drawn a bad impression of them for their social networking faux pas.
The situation is entirely different for me on Twitter. It is an open forum, and I very much enjoy types of interactions I have experienced on Twitter.
Back in April, I attended #HRevolution. I spent an entire weekend with 150 people I had not met live but had engaged with online over the previous year. The lesson I learned from that experience is this: by and large, the way HR Professionals communicate on Twitter is the same or very close to how they communicate/what they are like in a live environment.
In conclusion, if you’re not using Twitter to engage with other HR Professionals, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to network and an opportunity to establish relationships that just might help you find that job you are looking for. If you don’t believe me, ask Lydia.