Authenticity is Messy

One of the purposes of this blog is to brainstorm social media procedure for my local SHRM chapter. We follow a basic outline or “script” based on the organization’s mission. I put posts out there that are relative, conversational, educational, informative and promotional. The basic mission of social media for my SHRM Chapter, and for most people, is to promote both self and others, inform, educate and engage. Usually the missing link for most social media users is the promotion and engagement of others. Yes, I feel to be successful using social media you must promote others.

Are You Just a Robot Mouth Piece?

You will find your message reaching a  much broader if you engage your followers. It is an unwritten rule  “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” in the rules of promotion. So mathematically your message is going to a broader audience if you only have 500 followers and the person sharing your information has 5,000. Just being a robot mouthpiece tweeting only your event info will not grow your audience. Authentically get to know your audience. Actively converse with them. Suddenly they are spreading your message too.

Spreading The Message Off-Line

It is a fact that not everyone will use social media. Some people are natural content creators and some people are not. So how do you reach the audience that will never consider a twitter account? One tool I have been applying lately is The  The basic function is to aggregate the tweet stream based on who my SHRM chapter follows and place it into a readable format and push it into areas where un-tweeters are reading. I place the link on our Chapter Facebook page as well as LinkedIn. I have tightened the content significantly so we don’t have too much rouge blog content posting in the paper. The SHRM We Know Next blog  along with all SHRM keywords are the center of content. So far the feedback has been positive. Some followers are surprised at the content value they are finding online.  Thanks smart blogging friends.

Stop the Presses, We Fear Your Content

Authenticity is messy. It is real. It is approachable. It can make you think deeply about a subject or make you uncomfortable.  The is an authentic representation of the conversations, thoughts and writing that permeates the tweet stream. It can be unedited, unconventional. At its best it is a window on the Human Resources industry from thought leaders whose writing gives you pause to think or relates to your job. At worst it can be snarky and less than professional. The ilPaper gives the stream a voice off-line to bring what is really going on nationally to the off-line audience.  I feel revealing this content in its raw form can help spot HR trends and shine a light on cutting edge topics. But I wonder if promoting it is somehow being misconstrued as endorsing it?

Education to Curb Fear is a Process

I looked back at this week’s paper. Wondering why some red flags were thrown by my chapter this week?  There is nothing that really stands out. So we will be meeting next week to discuss how a is conceived with key word lift and content focus that can stay on script. My guess is that I have a new reader (board member) who does not understand. So I will put on my educator hat. Curb fear of technology. And even more important; curb fear of me. As a social media community manager, building the organization’s confidence in me to stay on script as a representative of their voice is really the central core. I walk a line of authenticity and robot mouth piece to keep me engaged as a volunteer. Sometimes it is uncomfortable and messy. But, I am confident the process will meet my chapter’s mission as long as I am on script.

Data; The Employee

It is Project Social Time again. This time my partners Dave and Laura suggested blogging about the role of data in your business. The question asked,“What role does HR data play in your business? What role would you like data to play in HR?” Laura wants to hold HR Data more accountable. And it seems Dave and I are on the same page through the eyes of manufacturing. He wants to measure happiness! Nice.

As a business owner I see this in several directions. And I am by no means an expert in data tracking systems for HR. I am very familiar with the big players like Oracle or Sage Abra, or the on-the-cheap open source like WayPoint or components of And I am in no way an authority as to whether any of these systems would ultimately satisfy my functional wish list. We are a small company. Future planning, dreaming about company growth management is my point of view. I have never used a robust HRMS. I see data as an employee depending on the data’s function, just as my websites are like a retail staff and Google pay per click is a sales department. And they should all work together.

It is All About My Certificate Frame Products

So why did I jump in to this Project Social theme? I hope my perspective might generate conversation about what is and what could be in the HR Tech space. I immediately think about modules that cross over into marketing or assembly or other business efficiencies. We are not just punching a clock anymore. As a manufacturing company I want to know which employee needs extra training because the box they packed was the incorrect order color or it was broken in shipment. To correct human error and help deliver a better, more cost effective product to my customer is the obvious need.” But, there is no human in that tracking.  Swiping bar codes at an assembly point and numerical spreadsheets really make me want to throw up in my mouth a bit. My business partner husband loves it.

Did Someone Say Key Words?

Where I circle back is in a good old fashion interview notation. We have a conversation about why mistakes were made, asking employees how they feel a change to the process could avoid mistakes. This is my management style. One-on-one conversation with a component of problem solving helps the employee own their role and contribute to the process. This is key for us. So I wonder if there is a system that could incorporate key word analysis for a notation module? This could help when several managers make notations on several employees and the keyword match would show a pattern of behavior or suggested solutions from a problem-solving conversation.

It is Business Analysis, Not Just HR Analysis

Ultimately as a business owner I want an integrated system that can cross data into all departments. HR is an overlay and should touch everything from accounting to marketing to warehouse/assembly then ultimately my customer as a strategic player. Humans operate in these departments right? Humans are my customer. Data is stagnant until given the role to break out and be more dynamic. Data can be a valuable virtual employee helping us see connections in human capital management. For me it is not just about job performance, turnover, labor costs and retention. It is about understanding the integration of my employees into the process of making a great product, and then ultimately linking that data to my customers needs. Now if an HRMS could just make bacon, I might buy one tomorrow.

Data photo courtesy of


Reflections from the Social Media Sewer Pipe


I’m in conference mode physically and virtually. We are coming up on the next HRevolution this weekend. Symbolic maybe? Because of HRevolution and the social media influencers I’m so lucky to be associated with I have found myself in the trenches trying to motivate my local and regional SHRM membership to see the value of social media in business rather than seeing it as just a way to invite lawsuits and trash your company. I will not be attending HRevolution in LasVegas. Not possible with my upcoming travel schedule. And I have been a bit out of the loop with this HRev cycle, focused more on off-line doing rather than strategizing about it. I’m envious of those headed to Sin City. I look forward to the hours of blog post reading to come.

Social Media is a Business Tool, I Promise

There is a lot of great information out there on how to apply social media to business as an engagement tool. Tons of HR bloggers are in the mix now, seeing the Internet as a vehicle for their voice. And even SHRM itself no longer ignores the online world as a way to connect, motivate, disseminate and engage. State SHRM conferences are blossoming with technology and social media plans as a way to motivate attendees. And it allows non-attendees to take a peek at what they might have missed out on, boosting SHRM membership interest. I’m encouraged by what I see and read online. There are more and more people who GET that Human Resources must be the business leader to guide their organizations through the use of social media. But, at my TN State Conference I was faced with the reality that there is not enough off-line work helping businesses see and understand social media’s value.

Roundtable Reality

This could not have been more apparent than at the legal roundtable at TN SHRM. But, let me work backwards through my experience first. The conference was great. I mostly attended sessions that were geared toward employee motivation, differences and technology. Jake Greene did talk about engaging Gen Y and Millennials through social media. I was in the presence of the friendly crowd and in my element as a designer of recognition pieces. All speakers had interesting digital footprints with engaging, good marketing resourcefully tied to their presentations.

But, the one session I found most enlightening was the legal roundtable. It was a great set-up with topics and lawyers ready to give free legal advice in 30 min clips. Of course I chose the social media table and tips on writing a social media policy. (I also went to the table about workforce planning.) My intention was to listen to “the other side”. And listen I did. I was pleasantly surprised at the practical points of view presented. Specifically, “Social media policy should be tailored to culture.” YES! Brilliant! And they explained mutually protected activity. Basically if everyone is trash talking work on Facebook it is a protected activity as long as your content is not harassment, discrimination or revealing intellectual property. A policy is good practice to outline what is expectations of  your EE’s when they talk about work online. It is all reputation awareness for both the individual and the business.

But, the lawyer’s presentation did not start out as well as it ended. The round table began with the pitch. It was a power point talking about the ‘why you should have a social media policy.’ It was based in fear as the motivator to take action and illustrated with a sewer pipe. Yep. You heard right. A sewer pipe photo illustrating that the information flowing through social media is nothing more than shit. And then a picture of a manure spreader popped up illustrating how this sewer of information spreads. To me it illustrated the uphill perception battle that there is nothing of value being published through social media. They see it as a pure social, entertainment and marketing tool. It is a waist of time, not a business tool. Big mistake.


After the lawyer finished, many of the questions revolved around Labor Board and protected conversation. Then I introduced myself as the Social Media Outreach VP at Middle Tennessee SHRM. I immediately told him I did not share his view that all social media was a sewer pipe. He was a bit embarrassed. I asked if he tweeted or was on Facebook. He did not. So I respectfully asked that I hoped he or someone in his office would be involved in social media as a way to best advise their clients. Because policy should not only address negative outcomes but educate on positive practices. I specifically addresses a point in their policy that tells management not to friend employees on Facebook. I asked why? And told him managers should be trained to engage employees at all levels in order to foster communication. There was more. But, this post is going long. I did behave and did enjoy the conversation. Hoping his take-away was as productive as mine.

Lead Out of Fear & Into Education

Congrats again to the Chattanooga SHRM chapter for putting on a fine conference. And I look forward to following some of the HRevolution twitter stream this weekend. My hope is that the HR strategists in Las Vegas will put some more thought into reaching the offline world. HR needs help to better understand how they must take a leadership role in social media policy. Application needs to revolve around expectation, understanding the tool and education, not fear. I love lawyers can see the business application of social media is unique to the business culture and brand it represents. That is progress. Then maybe the next time I see a power point image representing social media I will see a stock photo of two business people shaking hands, not a sewer pipe.

Sewer throw rugs available somewhere online.


The TNSHRM Tweet-Up of One


This is not going to be some whiny Debbie Downer post. It is not how I am wired really. If you missed it, this Thursday and now part of Friday I have been tweeting and participating in my TN State SHRM Conference and Expo in Chattanooga as part of an educational outreach initiative using social media. TN SHRM has never had tweeters before. #TNSHRM

The Chattanooga SHRM team has put on a nice show with a good line-up of speakers that seem to touch on all aspects of HR. Highlights for me have been getting to see Joe Gerstandt speak on diversity (saw him at HRevolution too). Bob Nelson is a recognition & employee motivation favorite with a presentation surrounding his new book “Ubunty” and a surprise fun speaker for me Thursday was Jake Greene, author of “Woah My Boss is Naked” talking about generational differences in the workplace. The conference ends with a splash Friday as Marcus Buckingham takes us to task on our strengths.

Over the course of the last few months I have been putting feelers out to see who is using social media at local TN chapters (crickets mostly) and who would be attending the conference. Shout out thanks to Heather McMillan, Teri Levy , Chris Fields, Joe Gerstandt, Toni Grant , Sage and my supportive incoming MT|SHRM president Dennis Stull for keeping the stream alive at TN SHRM. I feel it was a good first attempt. Our reach stats were something to think about. No Ohio SHRM. But a great try.

When I set out to offer a tweet up, the low key, low expectation approach and not promoting free drinks was probably not ready for prime time. Seems the Karaoke open bar at the Marriott was the place to be. Oh HR loves its Karaoke! Yes, I was a tweet-up of one. I drank alone and tweeted pathetically to my twitter friends from the bar. Thank goodness the HR Happy Hour Show was on. The back channel propped me up a bit. But, in the end it was a total flop. I’m no social magnet. And crowd sourcing of twitter users at this early awareness stage in TN did not work. Move on to reality that there is a lot of education and advocacy to do in TN to engage the value of social media. Or I need Monster as a sponsor.

I believe that HR must take the leadership role guiding social media as a business tool for engagement and communication. Early adoption is an uphill climb. I’m glad I tried. No regrets. Maybe this will be a story of lore one day? That evening I sat determined to follow through with my plan and do what I said I would do. Martini in hand, my name tag marking me as a tweet-up of one.

Look for my next TN SHRM post on social media and sewer pipes.


Storyvite: A Profile’s Interactive Eye Candy


A few months back I was introduced to Satish Sallakon a computer software engineer and founder of  He was reaching out to his online social network to try out his new online networking tool. So as a tech addict and self-proclaimed early adopter I had to jump on board to play with this shiny new tool. And boy is it shiny!

The site is still in development. But, if you would like an invite to try it out Satish will be more than delighted to let you jump into the developer’s party. And quite honestly I spent more time playing with the software than I did writing this post.

I would describe as LinkedIn with visual character. Or maybe an interactive “About Me” that takes a splash page and turns it into a movie? As a designer, I am drawn to Storyvite’s focus on presentation. It still has some glitches to work out. I have a little list going. Satish is ready for the critique I’m sure. I have published and erased my profile several times.  Each time having an “ah ha” moment about how to better visually create a better story. What do I hope to achieve? Ultimately I want to see an interactive story that combines images, content and links to my digital footprint around the web. Storyvite is a great portal to collect all of the great places I participate or even sell online and present it to a viewer with style.

So look for the next thing in social networking: “a visual profile.”  And if you want a taste of this eye candy let me know or hook up with Satish on LinkedIn here. Keep up with his latest developments on twitter here. Or contact me. I’ll let you know about a hard launch when this beautiful tool is refined enough to release. (Revise blog here and link to MY public profile when I am happy with it.)

I know you are thinking- “another place on the web to keep up with?” Really? My question to you. How valuable is the presentation of an online interactive bio? No programming to learn. Piece together custom or with provided templates. This is a visual place to update as needed, to direct your viewer to what is important about your story. It should be your starting point for your online profile with outbound links. You will want to spend time creating your story. Then you revise as needed. I see it useful, not a time sux. Want to hear more about Please visit my Project Social partner’s websites. Dave and Laura have their spin on the Storyvite journey as well. All my best to Satish as he keeps testing.