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Tag Archives: web 2.0

30 June 2009 6:49am

Social networking is an important part of a recruitment strategy but won’t take the place of “old fashioned” personal connections with talent and clients, according to Aquent CEO Greg Savage.

Savage says that when the internet and email first came along, it was widely believed they would “wipe traditional recruiters from the landscape”.

“And none of it came true. None of it,” he says. “The internet and email and job boards didn’t kill off recruiters. New technologies helped them to new heights and new riches.”

While he has embraced social networking, Savage says he does not believe it will inspire a new world of recruiting.

“The truth is that the recruiters who are doing the best now are those who are able to integrate the traditionally required skills with new technologies, and make one plus one equal three.”

Social networking is just a tool
In a recent blog, Savage says social networking is a communications channel recruiters must embrace, but stresses that it’s “not the Holy Grail”.

“It’s just a tool. An enabler, and it needs to be harnessed like all the other mechanisms we use to manage our relationships with clients and candidates,” he says.

He predicts a downturn in the use of social networking sites by recruiters, as the full reality of how hard it is to get a return on investment in that arena becomes clear.

Recruiting by Twitter is not targeted
Savage says that until a more structured and fruitful way to mine networking sites is developed, posting a job vacancy via Twitter is “even less targeted than the least targeted job board”.

“Of course, candidates and even clients, will originate from your social networking site on occasion,” he says.

“But I also pick up candidates and clients from amongst the parents on the sidelines of my son’s rugby matches! No one is really suggesting that as a targeted, sustainable way to re-invent recruiting are they?”

Nothing wrong with being “old-fashioned”
Savage says that just before the recruitment market crashed about 18 months ago, an exiting employee of his company commented, “Aquent is a great place and Greg a good enough guy, just too old-fashioned”.

“The departing employee who made that remark was going to a new staffing world of in-house café lattes, flexible work hours, torn-jeans dress code – and a talent management strategy based entirely on scanning Facebook all day,” he says.

“Sadly that business is gone, along with many of its ilk.”

Savage says it is the “old fashioned” recruiters who actually look to connect, personally, with talent and clients that will survive the current downturn and thrive in the inevitable upswing.

May 19, 2009

Facebook is blurring the boundaries between work and private life and sometimes the consequences are at the employee’s expense, writes Michelle Wilding.

Maria’s nightmare began after a long weekend when she logged on to check her emails only to find: “The boss added you as a friend on Facebook” staring at her through her inbox screen.

Above this was a message notification sent via Facebook candidly asking why she denied accepting her boss as a friend. Maria had not even been online for almost 36 hours. Having no choice, she bit the bullet and accepted her boss as a Facebook friend.

Facebook now boasts 108.3 million users, reports Nielsen Online. As the world’s most popular social networking site, it’s not too comforting to know online bullying tactics from your boss are enough to knock down your safeguarded Facebook page that was once locked by private settings.

Unfortunately, former service operator Maria was cornered: she was vulnerable to her “unscrupulous service manager” at one of Australia’s leading supermarket chains. Maria says she was fearful, vexed and defenceless when her boss began using her online information to manipulate her work life.

It started with inappropriate innuendos regarding Facebook photos. More seriously, Maria’s work hours were exploited and she received abusive confrontations and phone calls questioning her availability and every move.

“My boss was a gossiping, domineering, contriving megalomaniac and her behaviour dramatically intensified when she used Facebook to pry,” Maria says.

“I’m a student, so it’s very rare to have a night out. If plans came up, she would purposely make me work. If I needed money, she’d take advantage of that need and cancel my shifts, stripping me of my dignity.

“I don’t know where she got off. She was worse than Stephanie from The Bold And The Beautiful. She played with employee lives like we were her toys. It upset me so much I finally stood up for myself and quit. I feel like I got my freedom back and can breathe again.”

Maria notes one occasion when she RSVPed on Facebook to attend the Future Music Festival with workmates. Unexpectedly she was rostered on the early morning shift the next day, something she believes was calculated.

“As a senior, I was told I wasn’t allowed to work weekends … Then, all of a sudden, the weekend Future is on I was put on first thing the next morning. I found it interesting that my boss could bend the ‘no seniors on weekends’ rule when it suited her,” she says.

The executive director of UNSW’s Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, David Vaile, says Maria’s case is a useful example of how personal information stored on a Facebook page can be abused, noting the consequences of posting personal information online aren’t necessarily clear because it’s relatively new technology.

“Privacy law has a gaping black hole that does not protect employee privacy and Facebook is outside of that,” Vaile says.

“I think it’s an abuse of the boss’s prerogative to threaten and use their power over their employee’s contract to require access to their Facebook page. On the other hand, there is no idea that Facebook is safe for anyone. Maybe Facebook is required by law to let police have access to a person’s page.”

A range of legal and business reputation risks attached to Facebook concerns Vaile. He says the risks are serious and users should think twice before signing up or sharing private information on Facebook.

“Cyber stalking, harassment, defamation, breach of duty, damage to reputation of workplace: the inherent reliability of that, in the same way that it’s sort of a dangerous and cheap temptation for individuals and also businesses, employers and universities, is a data mine for tragedy,” Vaile says.

Maria’s isn’t the only case of employer Facebook abuse. Former discount retail employee Grace Leasa, 19, was shocked when her then boss made a derogatory remark on her page. After a quarrel with a friend, she updated her Facebook status to: “Grace just can’t do it any more.” To which her boss commented: “You Pussy.”

“I was just surprised because at work he’d act like a friend to the other employees but he’d never been like that with me before,” Leasa says.

“It was sort of degrading because I don’t even talk to this guy.”

Another element through which businesses can intimidate and keep track of their employees is on Facebook groups. Cosmetic retail representative Lucy (not her real name) received two requests to join her work group before she “reluctantly” accepted. The 20-year-old says she was pressured to attend optional work meetings via the group’s listing and experienced online bullying.

“I received updates on meetings and events,” she says.

“I felt the need to put ‘maybe attending’ due to university commitments. If I put ‘not attending’ I would be encouraged by phone to attend. It was pretty much like they were looking into my personal life. But now that I’ve left the group, I feel liberated.

“I also didn’t want to be a part of the group so Facebook users could check up on where I work. That’s another invasion of privacy.”

Not all Facebook employer-employee relationships are troublesome. Doughnut shop worker Kimberley Driver, 20, says she never thinks twice about writing on her Facebook page because she gets along with her boss.

“It would suck if my boss was different,” Driver says.

“It’s your profile to express what you’re feeling and what you want to say. You shouldn’t have to be restricted or toned down by anyone.”

One major problem many users are oblivious of is that their profile is automatically set to be on public view.

Media arts production student Chris Noble, 21, found that out the hard way. He signed up to Facebook 10 months ago and couldn’t figure out why random people were contacting him.

“I couldn’t believe that. I thought [my Facebook profile] was set to private mode. I felt vulnerable and annoyed that anyone, complete strangers, could view my page and information and I had no idea that it was my duty to change the default settings from public viewing to private. It’s ridiculous,” Noble says.

At the end of the day, if you’re going to use Facebook, make sure your profile settings are appropriate. Take advantage of friend category lists such as family, colleagues, friends and acquaintances to filter your relationships and content.

And if your boss does decide to add you on Facebook, it’s not career suicide if you place them on limited profile, where certain parts of your profile content become restricted to them.

After all, do you really want them seeing a photo of you in a bikini or Speedos roaming freely on the beach?

Let’s face it: Facebook was designed as a personal platform for social communication – and for some people, that means leaving work relationships at the office.

Julianne Dowling | March 11, 2009 – 2:00PM

Corporate Australia needs to try harder when it comes to tapping into tools such as Twitter, Facebook, forums and LinkedIn, say online experts.

And they say deep pockets don’t always guarantee an edge.

Regard some of the mistakes made by the big end of town in terms of blasting corporate messages and clumsy YouTube uploads seeking to ‘engage and bond’.

However, internet business coaches such as Gihan Perera say the very attributes of small business (agile, creative and personal) really suit the social networking community.

“The secret is to choose (the tool) appropriately and who you will connect with,” he says.

Perera says business owners should stop being cynical and get on board with social media because of the benefits.

“Small business have innate advantages; they have trust,” Perera explained.

Jennifer McNamara, who runs the Art Est. Art School in Sydney’s inner-west, recently joined professionally networking site LinkedIn and intends to set up a portal on Facebook for her students, to save money on mailouts.

“People can more easily find out more information on art classes, art competitions and special offers through the internet,” she says.

“If I can entice would-be students to sign up, then I can contact them all at a push of a button. It’s a bit more instantaneous, and since we’re very grassroots, we need to be innovative in the way we communicate.”

However business consultant Jennifer Dalitz, founder of online women’s network, with almost 1,000 women members, is considering taking off the social network functionality after she found many senior women didn’t really use it.

“Sphinxx is about circulating information and support for working women with common challenges. A couple of years ago everyone believed online communities were the way to go but I don’t think it’s a meaningful way to connect for most women,” she says.

“Women like face-to-face contact with access to female role models; they almost prefer the off-line contact.

“A lot of men embrace online social networks because it appeals to their inner ego.

“But really, a lot of women just don’t have time once they come home to families.”

Dalitz say she often gets Facebook friend requests “from people I don’t even know” but her preferred network is LinkedIn, which is about her existing database.

“People just don’t want to be bombarded with requests. It’s not what busy women do,” she says.

“So that’s the limitation.”

With Facebook featuring over 175 million users and six million user groups, and Twitter revolutionising the idea of mass speak, Gihan Perera says the trick is to think about the commercial applications and make an effort to join the conversations.

His firm – – advises entrepreneurs and internetpreneurs on better utilising the tools.

“There’s so much information around and your audience will rely on you, if you can interpret that. Your job is to lead a community that you are involved with; that applies to any business.

“So, it’s not just about giving new information but relevant information. No one can read everything, but business owners are experts in their field, and can share information out.”

One of Perera’s clients is, which is set up for an online member community.

A HR recruitment trainer who runs an online subscriber-based service, Clennett’s site also makes use of LinkedIn.

Clennett has been writing a fortnightly newsletter for two years with a well-established following, so when he wanted members, they were ready to sign up.

“It worked because he had a two-year track record rather than just doing it cold. That’s the difference,” says Perera.

Perera’s advice is to start slowly, sign up to some networks, and get to know how they work.

“When a large organisation in say, the financial services sector, starts from scratch, they may be going against their current customer style, and so customers will be sceptical,” he says.

Indeed, many professionals are the trailblazers and larger companies, such as H&R Block in the US, already offer free tax advice on Second Life and tweet regularly on Twitter on the subject.

Futurecaster, author and professional speaker Craig Rispin, of, says that while some entrepreneurs may be mentally blocked about social media tools, young staff or even work experience students can help get them started.

He often asks his audience to review his talks on Twitter or other social media as a way of getting the word out.

“Everything is being rated now,” he observed and it’s likely that all professions will be reviewed by the end users in future – see the US academic ratings by students in

So how can medium-sized companies use this knowledge to increase their competitive position?

“The interesting thing is that many businesses, who find themselves squeezed by larger and smaller players, are downsizing and shedding their costs,” said Rispin.

“I think that’s a great opportunity.”

Of course, there’s still plenty of focus on the global financial crisis, but “you have to take the time out from the gloom and doom and look over the horizon.”

There are also countless examples of businesses which started in a recession and became raging successes.

Evan Williams is the guy behind Blogger, which started in the last tech crash in 2001, and now runs online messaging service Twitter.

Speaking at the (technology, entertainment, design) conference held in California last month, Williams told the audience he had learned to follow his hunches.

Twitter was one such hunch. The idea was to allow brief text-like messages of 140 characters or less, allowing people to connect instantly.

‘Tweet’ updates were used during events such as the San Diego fires and Barack Obama also harnessed this method (or at least, one of his staff members did) to post daily election campaign messages until he became president.

Of course, being pushy or selling something too hard isn’t the way to go, say these experts. Social media congregations are much more subtle.

Rispin says everyone should be future thinkers about their business and now, `rebooting’ your model is the name of the game.

“Technology is a great enabler; small business should stop and ask themselves what is it that they want?” he says.

“Those who are innovating and creating the future will boom.”