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O HR, Where Art Thou?

December 16, 2011

Yesterday I attended the monthly meeting of the Baton Rouge Social Media Association.  Although I joined the group upon its inception in 2010, I haven’t been able to attend meetings for a few months due to other commitments.  Sadly, therefore, I’ve recently missed some pretty nifty meetings featuring, among others, a speaker who discussed “Moderating Social Media Networks During a Crisis” and even a session led by the guy who’s in charge of social media for the New Orleans Saints. Who dat!

Yesterday’s meeting agenda included association business, announcements and end-of-the-year planning.  With no speaker on the schedule, attendance was a tad lower than that at a regular meeting.  And as per usual, the majority of those in attendance came from the worlds of Marketing, PR/Communications with a few IT/Techies Entrepreneurs thrown in for good measure. As I glanced around the room I wondered to myself, yet again, “HR – where art thou?”


Coincidently, yesterday I also received two brochures (courtesy of the US Mail) letting me know that competing ‘Social Media Marketing’ conferences are coming to my town this spring!  (I’m sure you are correctly assuming that the return addresses on these brochures included some combination of the words Career-Path-Skill-Track).

Both offer similar content and try to appeal to a WIDE audience ranging from those who haven’t gotten on board with SM yet to those who are actively engaged and struggling with ROI.  And while one conference brochure doesn’t suggest who should attend, the other is pretty clear that the audience for this shindig conference is “professionals in marketing, sales, advertising, public relations, corporate communications, business strategists and small business owners…”

Poor HR.  That’s where thou art – not invited to the party yet again.


Now to be fair, we HR folks can often (and should) consider ourselves part of that Corporate Communications group (although I doubt that many do) and the in-house recruiters should realize that they are, indeed, Marketing professionals.  I also acknowledge that any HR professionals who wish to avail themselves of social media learning opportunities can certainly do so if they use their friend named google to seek out a treasure trove of riches.

BUT….what irks me is the fact that these Career-Path-Skill-Track conference organizers (who are probably very lovely people) have not yet determined that knowledge, awareness and use of social media is a necessary competency for HR professionals.  They’re limiting their potential attendee pool by excluding (by targeted omission) an entire profession; people who could benefit from attending a full day event on social media that doesn’t offer even one session called  “the horrors of social media and what your employees are doing!”

Imagine what awesomeness could arise if a bunch of HR generalists, directors and leaders converged on these two conferences?


note: gratuitous picture of George Clooney added because of the whole, you know, “O Brother, Where Art Thou” thing…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2011 6:50 am

    Anything to post a picture of George Clooney, eh Robin. Good post, great points.

  2. December 16, 2011 7:05 am

    Love this, Robin. Makes me want to start a “Social Media Society of Naples”, since I have not yet found such a creature.

    I went to my “new” local a couple of days ago and of course my tablemates asked where I worked. As I explained about my new venture into social media strategy, particularly for HR, I was met by the same old “I don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast” comments.

    Big sigh. Part of that sigh comes from looking at George Clooney, though. 😉

    • December 19, 2011 3:47 pm

      Alas Joan, we have all been subject to the same should shrugs and eye-rolls. Slowly, slowly though – our colleagues in HR are understanding it’s about more than “I ate a piece of toast with homemade blackberry jam. With George Clooney.”

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