Separating virtual wheat from chaff

March 15, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More

As usual my head is abuzz with the social media explosion and the impact technology has on my world. While communication has always been a part of the technology, folks that barely own computers are becoming familiar with Linkedin, Facebook, myspace, and twitter.  iPhones are being advertised so deliciously on television ads that my lust can barely be contained, not to mention the tiniest of notebook computers making an appearance with the cutest of jingles. Sometimes I am not sure If what I am doing makes sense for my business. Sometimes I worry that I waste my time with my focus on all this geeky technology and social media web 2.0 stuff.

I am no expert, but as usual I know enough to be dangerous, and to provide a lively conduit to my less technologically focused comrades. A less kind way of saying that is that I am obsessed with technology and communication but that I have people in my life who keep me from completely disappearing into the matrix. I love social connections technology provides, and I have for as long as I can remember. I went from devouring Asimov and Heinlein as a child and dreaming about connections within world to almost going broke networking coffeehouses with chat and email and online information in St. Louis prior to the web explosion.

One of the reasons I ventured out on my own in recruiting is that I could experiment with stuff like this and the stuff that is still being developed. I have had a lot of success with the social media in recruiting, and love the heck out of it. There is truly a dizzying amount of activity, and it promises to be a wild ride as we venture even more into interactivity and robust network applications. It can be a distraction, but I have found that as long as my online activities drive me back to the telephone (or my bottom line) I am okay. It is hard to focus and be that disciplined with all the fun, crazy stuff happening out there, but recruiting success (like most of life) really is about discipline and focus. I know I have to stay balanced, and a tool like twitter is very dangerous for us folks easily distracted by shiny bits, but it is also a way to find people, and that is what I do for a living. I guess it is always all about the results, and I should just let those decide if my geeky methods are helpful or harmful.

I believe that life is always enhanced by connection, which is partly why I love being a recruiter. And though I know that a lot of folks scoff at meaningful connections through a computer or a mobile device, for me it goes without saying that the lines between the virtual world and that of my own back yard are now so blurred as to be almost indistinguishable. I have had countless virtual world interactions that changed my life, made me money, or led me to find new friends or business contacts, so there is no debate on the value to me. The challenge for me lies in finding a balance. The dizzying real time feeds of email, tweets, chat and mobile blogging are as necessary to me as my morning cup of joe, but I have to work to find a way to stay grounded, centered and balanced in my approach, otherwise I might go crazy. So I am working on it. I think it is funny that I try to do 20 minutes of sitting meditation each morning, and then I go off to work, but it does seem to help me keep my balance.

Recruiting efficiently has a lot to do with doing effective research. That is why I think my methods might be interesting to people that are not just recruiters. Here is an example of how I use twitter. Think of it as a constant explosion of 140 character thoughts into space. Steams of consciousness from an unidentified number of consciousnesses. Random thoughts, pointers to pictures and articles and interviews and what someone had for dinner. Dizzying, right? You can follow people and see, in real-time, their streams on your screen. Entertaining, fun, pretty pointless though, right? Wrong.

Enter tweet scan, a real-time twitter search. For example, I will search for St. Louis tweets, and what do we find? An ever growing and surprisingly active list of folks using twitter here in my home town. Coolio! I am seeing denizens of the web that I never realized were there. But wait, what is that? Oh, a tweet from someone I might know, who knew that guy was on twitter. Man I need to get back in touch with that guy, uh, wait, holy cow. He is tweeting that he is hiring people, and is having problems. He needs me!

Uh, sorry guys, I gotta run. Right there is some potential business popping its head up and, as a rhino, I need to charge right after it. But isn’t it amazing how such a seemingly pointless tool can help you do what you need to do?  Or at least it can if you know how to use it.


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Category: American Culture, Communication, Entertainment, Meaning of Life, Software, Technology, Web Site

About the Author ()

Lisa lives and works in the city of St. Louis, and is striving to develop the right mix of both while asking herself what it means to live a good life.

You can follow her on twitter

Comments (4)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    Twitter link: Apparently requires you to join to even browse. I get "page not found" from your link.

  2. lisarokusek says:

    well thats no fun…try the tweetscan site to browse. i guess i was logged in there, silly me – wrong link.

  3. lisarokusek says:

    oops, I think my link was funked up. try it now.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Lisa: It is so incredibly easy to get swallowed up by the technology. How easy? Just consider old-fashioned email. I get up to 100 emails a day at work. One-fourth of it is junk, but the rest was written by a human being for me to see. One-half of that is in the form of a cc. I think it is the cc's that are killing me. It has come to mean "You don't really need to read this for sure, but just I'm keeping you just enough in the loop that I'm going to hold you responsible for something that you might not need to know.

    This stuff really adds up, especially when the emails include attachments and links.

    Is it all powerful? Damn straight! I don't have to mess with the telephone nearly as much as I once did. I can conclude complicated transactions, complete with a permanent (electronic) record, without those phone calls and voice mails.

    But it all does come with a price. Lots of chatter "Just to let you know." Sometimes it swallows almost 1/2 of my workday.

    That's why, when you encourage me to latch onto Linkedin, I resist. It's because I don't want to go to yet another website every day, just in case someone is sending me something that might matter. That's because I need to keep my focus (as you do), and these many new networks suck your time and pay you back in relation to how much you put into them. I'm just too busy trying to keep up with the people I already know, the people to whom I already feel responsible. I am not a recruiter. Perhaps, then, I have a much easier time saying no to some of the technology than you, since your job is to keep a wide-open door to those new contacts.

    It is a difficult balancing act, as you suggest, at least for those who really want to do their jobs efficiently and then have some time left over for things that don't involve the computer at all.

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