May 10, 2006

Your Candidate of the Future is a Social Network

Preface: It's My Space Too

No matter what you think, MySpace isn't what you think. That's because there is no single thing going on inside MySpace that is any more or less important than any other thing that is going on inside of MySpace.

It's also because MySpace is not just for kids and sexual predators--as the marketeers and right-wing respectively would have you believe. (Yes, I know I said, "just." Sure both exist in MySpace, just like they do in the confessional at church).

The Ad Man, he would like his clients to believe that MySpace is a single target demographic, the hip youth, the barely legal, the Pepsi generation 2006 style. A lab experiment of teens and 20-somethings.

But like everything else that the Ad Man tries to box in online, MySpace exists in layers, not as a round target with a bulls-eye in the middle.

The funny thing? That's not what I was going to write about tonight; I only wanted to tell you that if you're not exploring MySpace on your own, don't believe what you hear from others who are doing just what you're doing--not exploring it.

The EnterSpace

What I was going to write about, inspired by the communities of developers and code masters on MySpace, was about what the job candidate of the future will look like to the enterprise, whose HR managers and outside headhunters work hard today to recruit and sift through resumes, to run background checks and screening, to skills test and verify, to schedule interviews and follow ups.

And I was thinking of this in relation to social networks and what Doc has written about consumers becoming producers, co-creators with business, and that change that we're on the brink of, I think, that instant where you and I and become not consumers and users of what business makes - we become partners and co-producers.

Content Couldn't Hurt a Flea

"Consumer-Generated Media" (CGM) and "Consumer-Generated Content" -- about which there exist entire conference tracks now--hell, maybe entire conferences. It wouldn't surprise me -- is another leg of this bizarre figure I'm drawing here, with my words and connections I haven't quite parsed yet.

So what's wrong, really, is the same thing that's always wrong. The box. That's being thought inside of.

And what's really wrong is that certainly "content" and "media" are non-threatening words, trojan horses for business-->let us bring our content inside. badaboom-->here comes the army motherfucker.

But today, there's no wooden horse, not yet. So businesses are springing up to take advantage of consumer-generated content. Right? I mean, why not--who would mind if consumers generate content? Less work for those leveraging that content. Free writing, or cheap, basically. Hurray Content Generators!! Thank you blogosphere for the new 'we write for free' intern program. Score one for business vs the amateur.

And big-B business has a little chuckle at our expense.

Thank You for the Brand Building, Popeye.

And so today we write and write and blogs floweth over with posts and networks floweth over with content and advertising models floweth over with ideas on how consumers can be rewarded for generating that cool content that they generate so very well.

such good consumers.

Guess what. It's not content you should be worried about, my inside friends. Because the hundreds of thousands of social networks, large and small, across the net, are generating a hell of a lot more than content. Let's talk about consumer-generated products and consumer-generated services that kick your company's asses? Let's talk about always on and customer service.

What about social networks cranking collaborative oil at such speed that friction pumps pistons pumping, and we're producing goods and services for and among these networks that rival yours?

content. right. keep your eye on the content. never mind that man behind the curtain. media, sure. that's right, you go ahead and let those consumers generate all the media hey can.

meanwhile, back at the innovation factory...

Get Right Back to Where We Started From

Back to the "candidate of the future" and the job of the HR manager and recruiter, they should begin now to revamp their processes for recruiting, deploying, rewarding and growing entire social networks as their candidate of the future.

That's right. The candidate of the future may be a 20-person social network living in MySpace or SomeOtherSpace with thousands of users of their own who come along with them to do business with you.

Or they might not. Do business with you.

Have you thought about how to attract and engage social networks in your organization?

Do you know that, actually, they'll be evaluating YOU?

Do you know how you'll compensate them?

Have you thought about acquiring a social network?

Do you know that it's just as likely that they'll own you?

Am I high?

I don't think so.

It's not so different from what Gary and the rest of us were trying to do with BlogTank back in 2002--although perhaps a little ahead of our time.

If'n I Were God

If I were a CEO today, say, of a software company, I would absolutely already be bringing onto my team an entire social network of folks who have known one another and been collaborating online for the last 2-3 years. Yes, you heard me. I would bring the entire network onto my team and tap into their knowledge and fund them and reward them in keeping with the structure and values of the Network and its associates.

I would absolutely be investigating how to hire and inspire existing networks of extraordinary folks. Not one by one. AS THE NETWORK. Not just to develop software, but to tackle the whole of what's possible, especially online where these networks have coalesced and given birth to something meaningful.

Of course, you could still continue to bring talent into your organization one individual at a time, spend the money it takes to ramp them up, orient them, train them, deal with reprimands and manager/employee tangles one by one.

OR you could get busy discovering how existing online social networks can accomplish what your organization can't--and in a quarter of the time.

Or, I might be crazy. We'll see. Bookmark the post.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , = Powered by Qumana