Archive for July, 2012
Once again we had an interesting and lively chat, this time on the subject of conferences. You can see the preview post here, but I am repeating all of the questions we asked because I am lazy and it makes it easier for me to write.
Q1. Excluding content, what are the 3 most important ingredients for a successful conference?
There were a lot of thoughtful responses to this question. Facilities seemed to be the most frequent answer, if you consider that facilities can include a large number of considerations such as wireless, the physical ability to network, and food provision. Food, in fact, was the subject of many serious tweets about its importance. Also included in the discussion of facilities was a suggestion to include electronic enhancements like charging stations or electronic kiosks. The ability for attendees to get online and stay online was clearly thought to be a priority by the chatters.
Q2. Can there be a successful HR conference without social media? Why or why not?
The consensus answer to this question was “no,” although there was a short discussion of whether that was what the chatters wanted, or what they thought attendees wanted. This question also prompted many tweeters to recognize HR Florida and the recent annual SHRM as models of using social media to engage the attendees as well as promote the events. One of the advantage social media brings, it was noted, is an opportunity to invest in future conferences through pushing and involving the speakers. In fact, there was an entire spin-off discussion about speakers and vendors during this time, with tweeters discussing the need to get speakers and vendors more involved in the overall fabric of the conference.
My favorite tweet regarding this question came from Curtis Midkiff, Social Media guru for SHRM. He stated that when social media is used effectively at a conference, it can thread together all of the components, such as marketing, speakers, attendees, etc., into a cohesive whole.
Q3. Name the top 3 social media practices a conference should use.
Not surprisingly, Twitter showed up on the list of almost everyone who responded to this question. After that, chatters differed in their choices, naming video/You Tube, LinkedIn, blogs, and mobile apps. A social media educational center, such as The Hive at the annual SHRM conference, was also listed as a best practice in several tweets.
Q4. Are HRCI credits a must for a successful conference? If not, how do you attract attendees?
This question did not get much of a response, because everyone just said “yes”, credits are an absolute when it comes to running a SHRM-affiliated conference. There was a brief discussion about HRCI and SHRM stretching their credit requirements in a way that would allow fresher, newer content and programming. (Note: I am trying very hard to find someone from HRCI willing to guest on SHRMChat for a discussion about HRCI credits. Stay tuned.)
Q5. What are the 2 or 3 most important attributes of a successful conference director?
This question prompted a very passionate and lively discussion, as you might expect from HR pros. Some specific attributes that were mentioned:
- Leadership skills
- Articulated vision
What most chatters agreed on, though, was that the best conference director had the same attributes as any good manager – the ability to build an awesome team and get out of their way.
Join us for our next SHRMChat on August 14 at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST. Details soon!
(AUTHOR NOTE 07/27/12 – If you are involved in conference planning of any kind, you must check out this blog from Dice.com, outlining what they did at #SHRM12 and how it paid dividends to them as a sponsor. It was mentioned briefly in the discussion of Q2 above.)
When I was at the annual SHRM conference in June, one of my jobs as an official blogger was to post on SHRM’s conference blog site called Buzz. While I was there I wrote and submitted a post called 5 Awesome Vendors. One of the vendors I wrote about in that post was i-Sight Software.
If you go back and read that post you will notice that I was choosing to spotlight vendors that had gone the extra mile to engage the bloggers, instead of begging to get the bloggers to write about them (for free). i-Sight was chosen as one of my 5 awesome because they asked to interview me, which is a total 180 from how it is usually done.
Yesterday i-Sight posted the blog I was interviewed for, which was about fraud prevention for the small business. You can find it here.
Please give it a read and help support vendors that work to engage the HR community instead of just trying to sell things to them.
Last month Moviefone took it upon themselves to rank every single character created by Pixar Studios. Woody, of Toy Story fame, took the #1 spot.
This didn’t surprise me in the slightest because I have always been a big fan of all of the Toy Story movies. The actor who voices Woody, Tom Hanks, is also one of my favorites.
But it wasn’t until I read Moviefone’s blog post that I started thinking seriously about why I liked Woody as much as I do. And here’s where those thoughts took me – I like Woody because he is the best HR pro I have ever seen in the movies. Here’s why:
Experienced – Woody is a wooden toy with a pull ring coming from his back, but he is the undisputed leader of his company, which I call Andy Development Services, Inc. Andy is the human who owns all of the toys, and their mission is to teach Andy to be a loving, creative, and thoughtful adult. Being an older toy, it is sometimes tough for Woody to accept competition and change. But he ultimately overcomes his fears, using his knowledge and experience to adapt and lead.
Business Leadership - Woody is the undisputed leader of his company, and his actions are always consistent with its mission. No one told him to become a business leader, and he didn’t wait around for someone to invite him or create the role for him. He used his skills and abilities and just did it.
Strategic Employee Development – This is where Woody really shines as an HR pro. He has an incredibly diverse workforce with huge differences in talent, skills and abilities. He recognizes all of the differences and what each toy can do in their unique way to further the company mission, without judgment of their faults or failings. He mentors Buzz Lightyear after first thinking of him as a rival, so that Buzz will also fit into the team and put the company mission in the fore front. Woody has a gun on his hip (perhaps to enforce company policy), but he never needs to use it. When trouble arises – as it inevitably does – Woody makes sure that everyone in the company works to solve the problem and return the company mission to its misson.
Woody gets my vote as best HR pro in the movies, even though the movie isn’t actually about business. Who is your favorite example of a movie character who is a great HR pro?
Most of you know that I used to be a uniformed police officer in suburban Detroit.
During that time, I was no stranger to dancing, partying, and generally having a good time. Once when I was working midnights, I got off work at 7:00 am and went to a neighborhood bar with a group of fellow officers. I didn’t have to work again that night, so I didn’t leave that bar until 2:00 the next morning.
We drank, danced, sang from the stage unaccompanied (pre-karaoke), danced more, and generally had an epic good time. Friends came and went during the course of that 19 hours, but a few of us stayed the entire time and created a local legend.
But when Maren Hogan crooked her finger at me from the dance floor of a bar in Atlanta, on the second night of the annual SHRM conference I recently attended, I shook my head and stayed put on my bar stool. A short time after that, a lovely young woman who had been dancing approached me, leaned down, and gently asked, “are you alright?”
I guess I looked lonely sitting there on that bar stool alone, watching others dance, talking to no one.
I wasn’t lonely at all. I was at a massive HR conference, blogging, connecting, networking, and learning. I went to the bar and had one glass of wine and networked a little, and enjoyed watching others dance. But I didn’t stay long.
I needed to get back to my hotel and blog.
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to party and have a good time in my life, you see, and I have taken advantage of all of them. But blogging, and being a part of the HR Blogger Network, is a new an exciting opportunity that I want to maximize as long as I am able. I am part of a group of professionals that is smart, insightful, encouraging, and helpful. To be a part of that group, and stay excited and energized, all I have to do is keep writing.
Networking and developing relationships face to face is a great thing, and I love to do that. I did plenty of it at the SHRM conference. That young woman at the bar who asked if I was okay? We had a nice discussion after I told her I was fine, and now we’re connected on LinkedIn.
I would not have made that connection if I was on the dance floor. It’s hard to make a real connection while you are partying and dancing and yelling at the top of your lungs to be heard over the music. And you certainly can’t review your notes, or think about what you learned that day, or write your blog from there.
So I hope no one feels sorry for me – or thinks I’m snobbish – if I don’t join you on the dance floor, or stand up drinking with you at a crowded bar (I’m getting both knees replaced in early September, and they can’t handle to extra pressure), or if I skip the party all together and run back to my hotel.
I’m not missing a thing, because my computer and I have a brand new dance to do. I’m having a great time at this dance – and it may be my last one. I want to make the most of it.
(Author’s note: This post was drafted several days ago, but I was unable to post it because I needed to keep my SHRMChat post on the front/top page until today. Last night I heard that @Animal had gotten his Twitter account name back and the issue was resolved. I am posting this anyway, because there is certainly a story – or future blog – in how and why Twitter finally relented, and this will be the backstory.)
One of the first things I learned in law school was IRAC.
Law school is about learning rules of law and their application to real situations through analysis. In order to do that properly, I was taught to use IRAC – Issue, Rule(s), Analysis and Conclusion. Another student in one of my early classes added a F to make it FIRAC, because, as he correctly stated, you have to state the Facts somewhere.
So I’m turning the clock back 20+ years to pretend I am still in law school, and give you my legal take on the recent Twitter issue of who has the right to use the name @Animal.
FACTS – Until June 19, almost 10,000 people followed a Toronto recruriter on Twitter who calls himself the Recruiting Animal (RA), and whose account name was @Animal. He never reveals his real name on the Web, and the names Recruiting Animal and Animal are used by him for business purposes.
On June 19, something happened and RA tried to log into his Twitter account. Ultimately he determined that his Twitter account name (@Animal) had been taken, and his account had been changed to another name (@animaliaaa2). At first, the new @Animal seemed willing to return his name.
Ultimately, though, “Mikey”, as new @Animal came to call himself, dug in his heels and refused to give up the name. There is uncertainty as to whether he actually hacked and stole the name himself, or if there was some type of Twitter failure and he just happened upon it. Although RA sought help from Twitter, as of this writing Twitter has refused to fix the problem, claiming that there is no violation of their Terms of Service. There is a huge amount of evidence that RA was using the Twitter account name @Animal prior to June 19, never willingly changed his account name, and would not have voluntarily abandoned it.
ISSUE – Who is rightfully and legally entitled to operate a Twitter account using the name @Animal? Who owns that account name – Twitter, RA, or Mikey?
RULE - An account name is clearly a “digital asset” under the law. Most digital assets are a mixed form asset – they have a licensing element and a property element. In a licensing agreement, the owner grants the user a license to use the asset under certain conditions, which are generally spelled out in the Terms of Service that the user agreed to when creating the account.
Under the law of conversion, one who takes and uses another person’s property (often because it has been lost or mislaid), is guilty even if the converting of the property is done without wrongful intent. For example, if you find your neighbor’s dog in your yard, and you keep it for yourself, you are guilty of conversion, even if you think you are helping the dog.
Under US law, intangible property (property that cannot be seen, touched, etc.) rights can be converted. In Kremen v. Cohen, 325 F.3d 1035 (9th Cir. 2003), when the domain name sex.com was wrongfully transferred, a claim for conversion was held to be available against the domain name registrar.
ANALYSIS - To determine if the account name @Animal is a property right or used by license from Twitter, it is imperative to read Twitter’s Terms of Service. The TOS does not specifically state whether an account name is user-generated content or owned by Twitter, but it does say this:
You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
In other words, the person who generates the content owns it (has a property right), and they grant Twitter a license to use it, according to Twitter.
Since Twitter account names are actually “submitted” by the user, as in the above description of Content, it follows that the account name is actually user generated content, owned as property by the person who created or generated it. That would make the account name property, with all legal property rights attaching to it. Twitter admits this property right by granting itself a license back to the property.
CONCLUSION - A Twitter account name is owned as property by the person who submitted it. If someone else converts that property for their own use – even if they didn’t have any fraudulent intent – they have committed a tortious or criminal act. If Twitter allows the person who has wrongfully converted the property to keep it, then Twitter is guilty of conversion as well. Mikey and Twitter have been shown ample evidence that (a) Recruiting Animal is the true owner of the account @Animal, (b) he never abandoned the account name and desperately wants to retrieve it, as it is part of his occupation, and (c) legally, it is immaterial whether Mikey hacked and stole the account, or happened upon it innocently. Mikey and Twitter are both guilty of conversion.
Of course, despite any legal conclusion, Twitter’s feet dragging and refusal to fix this promptly constitutes a massive customer service fail.
Don’t agree? Prove me wrong in the comments.
It’s time for another SHRMChat!
For newbies, SHRMChat is a monthly Twitter chat where we discuss issues affecting state and local affiliates of SHRM. There are different issues every month, and I preview and recap every month on my blog.
This month, SHRMChat will be discussing conferences. Many of us attended the recent Annual SHRM Conference & Exposition (SHRM12), where more than 13,000 people gathered to drink in all things HR. I belong to two different local SHRM affiliates, and both have hosted, or are preparing to host, one day conferences. And most state affiliates offer a conference.
So let’s chat about what needs to be done to make an HR conference a success. To help us with this discussion, we will be joined by 3 special guests:
Mike VanDervort – @MikeVanDervort – Mike is the social program strategist for HR FLorida, one of the largest state councils and conferences in the country. He also recently attended SHRM12 as an official blogger, and decided that SHRM has a formula for success through social media. Read about it here.
Here are the specific questions we will ask during the chat. The first question will be asked at 8:10 and each successive question will post on the 10′s.
- Q1. Excluding content, what are the 3 most important ingredients for a successful conference?
- Q2. Can there be a successful HR conference without social media? Why or why not?
- Q3. Name the top 3 social media practices a conference should use.
- Q4. Are HRCI credits a must for a successful conference? If not, how do you attract attendees?
- Q5. What are the 2 or 3 most important attributes of a successful conference director?
I was truly amazed at the size of the bags being carried off the vendor expo floor at SHRM 12. I was even more amazed at how much stuff attendees had managed to cram into those bags. I am not exaggerating when I say that some of the bags I saw would not come close to fitting into the suitcase I brought, even without anything else in the suitcase. What do attendees really do with all of that stuff?
But I was not so smug as to come home from SHRM empty-handed. Most of what I brought home wasn’t truly swag, though, because the items I stuffed into my already-full suitcase were not Something We All Get. With a couple of exceptions, they were gifts. Many were gifts I got because I was part of a blogger team, and some gifts came from connections I made.
Here’s what was important enough to me to make suitcase space for:
1. T-shirts – One is pictured above and was received from Dice.com for being an official SHRM blogger. There is a Twitter bird logo on the back comprised of all of the bloggers Twitter names, which makes it a keeper. The rubber “Connect Rockstar” bracelet came from Dice.com as well. I also got a t-shirt from The Starr Conspiracy, but I wore it as a bathing suit cover-up in Atlanta and it was already in the dirty clothes when I took the picture.
2. Meet-Meme Cards – SHRM was nice enough to provide these for the blog team and I had some left over. I am a huge fan of Meet-Meme cards and I use them as my personal business card, so the extras from SHRM were a nice bonus.
3. Rubber Stamp – Also a gift from The Starr Conspiracy to their bloggers. I can’t tell you what it says because it is a super-secret conspiracy, and it is personal and mysterious. I am going to use it on my Freak Flag, though (see #6).
4. Tiny Tote Bag – This actually is swag. I got it from Baudville because I needed a small tote that fit inside the large tote I had been carrying around. I put it to use immediately, taking just my wallet and phone on multiple runs to Starbucks for tea. I also took – and ate – a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting from their booth, which is really my idea of great swag.
5. Social NOTworking – This book was given to me by author Jody Katz Pritikin, who I interviewed for a future blog about employment lawyers at SHRM 12. I missed her session due to a conflict so she gave me her book to read. It has lots of cool pictures, and she likes social media, so I will definitely read it.
6. CD – This CD of country music was given to me by another attendee, Carol Ann Timmel. She was not a speaker, sponsor, or vendor. We got into a conversation at the Skillsoft party, and she brought the CD by the blogger lounge the next day.
7. Freak Flag – Most of this flag is white, with just the Talent Anarchy logo in the corner. I missed the Talent Anarchy presentation due to a conflict, but I am thankful that I have seen them present before because they are amazing. They want people to decorate the flag in their own way and then post pictures. I will definitely do that but I need to go to the store for some colored Sharpies to accent my rubber stamp.
The moral of this story is that attendees should choose wisely when deciding what is really important for them to take and keep. Think about how many natural resources and fossil fuels were used making and transporting things that are probably going to end up in your kitchen junk drawer and just. say. no.
What did you take home from your last conference?