Last Friday, I quickly penned a brief summary of my thoughts surrounding the phenomenally successful #ConnectingHR unconference. Like many people, I was caught up in a wave of post-event euphoria (although that could have been the vegetarian food). Now that the, to employ an apt analogy, dust has settled, I have had time to think more clearly about the ramifications of #CHRU.
Despite my credentials as an ‘outsider’ – a marketing chap thrown into a seething mass of chilly HR professionals – I couldn’t have felt more welcome. As my first unconference, I had no preconceptions or expectations, but instantly felt welcome and part of a warm (I’ll get more of these heating puns in as we go on) and embracing community.
For me, it is truly remarkable that I could sit in a ‘track’ session and speak openly to HR directors of large corporations, engaging in symbiotic discussion. Without #ConnectingHR and indeed, the wider social media community, would I ever have got this opportunity? Would I have been able to walk into the offices of Lexis PR and demand a cosy chat with their HR Director, the lovely Debbie Brooks? Chances are, security would have been called – especially given the vitriolic abuse I received on account of my ‘burglar’ hat – thanks Mervyn!
By the end of the day, I was engaged in a small track including Darius Norrell and Patrick Hadfield, where we touched upon ways of using social media and social collaboration as part of a contribution to wider society. I sat there experiencing an epiphany and gazed around the building at my surroundings.
A few metres away from us, sat a group of passionate individuals discussing how they would be taking #ConnectingHR forward. Downstairs I saw un-attendees chatting cordially over cups of coffee. I heard Doug’s guitar strum into action and a raucous cacophony of cheers break the gentle murmur of debate. As I took all of this in, I really did feel privileged to be part of something special.
And at the risk of sounding like a tree-hugging hippy, I genuinely did feel that change, revolution, movement – call it what you will – was in the air.
Social media still has many pitfalls and there are plenty of people employing it badly. But for me, #CHRU exemplified that above everything else:
SOCIAL MEDIA IS A TOOL TO RESTORE INTIMACY, RELATIONSHIPS AND CONNECTIONS IN A POLARISED WORLD.
If you attended the event, you don’t need me to tell you this. And if you didn’t attend the event? You can come along in January to the next one and find out for yourself.