I’ve written before of my love of lists, mainly from the perspective of my own life and experience – favourite albums, movies, books, goals, holidays etc. I am also an avid reader of end of year media lists in magazines, papers and online that chart the best moments and cultural artefacts of the previous 12 months. I’m often dubious as to how they rank them but always glad of the chance to check out something that I may have missed.
My journey on Twitter was kick started by a list. It was one from Louise Triance in March 2009 entitled something like ‘Recruiters who Tweet’. Up until that point I was a bit of a lurker, looking for conversations around politics, football and music, but this list helped me see that there was a work angle to what social networking could offer.
I didn’t know if these were the best recruitment tweeters, or the most insightful, but I followed them all and started following who they spoke to and began to build the network that I have today.
So, where’s this going?
Well, earlier this week the re-launched People Management magazine published their list of the Top 20 ‘HR Power Tweeters’ – in their words the ‘HR Twitteratti who are must-follows if you want to stay at the forefront of HR news and views on the microblogging site’.
There are many such lists published all the time and I usually treat them as a bit of fun. Journals and blogs are always highlighting the people they think their readers should follow. Twitter positively encourages anyone with an account to create lists and share them – apparently I appear in 309 Twitter lists, Lord knows who and why but I do. The People Management list seems to have caused offence though. There was much angst on my timeline last week.
I don’t think it was just thrown together as they have taken the trouble to offer their readers a description of each person’s engagement style. But once you commit to producing a list such as this, and rank it, then critique becomes more about who isn’t included then about who is.
As part of the day job I sometimes have to produce similar content – in this case bringing to the attention of digital newbies some of the people that they should follow – and a bit like the list I first followed nearly 4 years ago the focus should always be to highlight a spread of opinions and tweeting styles, enough to raise the curiosity of a new tweeter and encourage them to investigate further.
This, after all, is what we really want. Right?
To get more people using social networking platforms for business – linking, following, engaging, sharing, commenting and generally participating in the conversation that never sleeps.
In my view there were some notable exceptions on this PM list – but then there will be on any list. My ConnectingHR tweeters list runs to well over 100 and it would be difficult to recommend just 20 from it. But the PM piece does include the line…
“Is there anyone we have left out who you think deserves a place in PM’s top tweeters power list, then let us know who and why on Twitter @peoplemgt”
…so whilst it may be a bit of a disclaimer they also give you the opportunity to interact with them over it.
Here are my thoughts on the niggles that this particular article seems to have created…
Should HR sharer par excellence Michael Carty (also the ‘nicest person on Twitter’ I should add) have been on the list?
Yes, of course he should be on any list of top HR sharers but then let’s get real and accept that he works for a business that has a rival online publication to the one that drew up the list. Anyone who follows the people on PM’s list will inevitably also be following Michael within a few hours…he is pivotal to the daily engagement of almost everyone else on the list.
The list contains mainly people who have been invited to the CIPD12 to tweet and blog.
Of course it does! It would have been madness not to include them as surely one of the reasons for encouraging readers to embrace social media before your biggest event of the year is to get them to participate in the event – and if they can’t be there then they need to be interacting online.
Lists are just subjective.
Yes they are; they will be the opinion of the person who puts them together unless that person has run a poll or taken votes in some way. Everyone who produces content for wider consumption has to do this. Michael Carty himself produces a roundup of the month’s best HR blogs…I’m sure he’ll be the first to admit that it’s not easy to choose 10, 12 or 20…there will always be people who feel that their favourite should have been included. We get used to seeing lists like this one from The Guardian all the time. It’s just one way we consume content now.
And here are three more observations that I would make:
No-one decides who is most influential or the go-to person for content. We all choose those who do it best for us. There is no perfect measurement for this kind of thing.
There is a big difference between HR practitioners who tweet and people who tweet about HR. The former do not always do the latter.
Of course there is one big question that does need to be answered. I asked if the numbering was random or if it was a ranking. They said it was ranked in order. I then asked if it was decided by a scoring system or internal vote. As yet I haven’t seen an answer….