I’m not going to beat around the bush. At the last Connecting HR, I was flying into an event blind; my supportive role in a marketing / Social Media capacity not affording me the same levels of excitement as my Courtenay HR colleagues.
After all, this was an HR event in which HR Twitter contacts and HR professionals were coming together to solidify virtual relationships. Me? I was badge monitor, brand representative and apparently, a Social Media ‘guru’ – thanks for the David Brent-esque moniker Gareth… Either way, I was attending in a supportive capacity; a square-pegged marketer trying to fit into an HR-round hole – which meant I didn’t share the same excitement as my peers.
But now? How things change. With the second Connecting HR now only one week away, I am relishing the forthcoming event and the opportunities it brings. Why? Here’s why things, for me, have changed exponentially since March:
i) First and foremost, I now know people. Since the last event, I have started engaging with many of the attendees on Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and even through email (how very old fashioned / Web 1.0 of me)!
ii) I’m looking forward to conversing in person. I had many insightful conversations last time, which I’m looking forward to following up; however I’m also looking forward to discussing new conversations that have so far been limited to 140 characters on Twitter.
iii) I’m excited by the opportunity to learn. Whilst I feel I have plenty of Social Media information and learnings to share, I’m also excited by the prospect of learning from other people. I genuinely believe that the lines between Marketing and HR have blurred, due in no small part to the advent of Social Media. And I’m looking forward to learning from HR professionals and taking some new knowledge away from the evening.
I could go on: these are simply three of the many reasons that I am eagerly anticipating next week’s gathering. But another key point lays simply in the fact that this event really is a superb opportunity for people to network. I’ve enjoyed a daily glut of personal conversations with members of the #ConnectingHR tribe on Twitter, ranging from football to vintage paperback books. However, I have also built a valuable network that has helped me professionally over the past couple of months:
• Thanks to Abi Signorelli for technical advice on Facebook pages – we seem to be forming a good team that can muddle through together!
• Anna Birtwistle – provided a fascinating article on employment law under the new coalition government, as featured on the Courtenay HR blog.
• Michael Carty – provider of an unending stream of useful HR news, blogs, articles and opinions.
• The enigmatic and elusive HRD – a valued (albeit anonymous) contact who has provided me with no end of information on the virtues of different blogging platforms.
• Charlie Duff – a fantastic HR publishing contact and author of a very well received Connecting HR review
• And of course, Gary Franklin – provider of some fantastic classic rock tracks that have been played in the office!
So many people still question the value of Social Media, claiming that it doesn’t deliver a measurable ROI. Well, drawing upon the illustrations detailed above, I’d boldly purport that for those seeking monetary ROI, they’re missing the true value of Social Media.
My own mini Connecting HR network has already reaped fantastic value and it’s this – along with the opportunities to meet ‘social friends’ once again – that has got me so fired up about next week’s Connecting HR.