It’s a List. Get Over It.


More list envy on the social timelines last week. The Huffington Post Social 100 created much the same (though less localised and more amplified) shitstorm as the People Management HR Power Tweeters list a few months ago.

These types of lists will continue to be produced – after all it’s the way we create and consume so much content these days – and they do provide a service. To some they’re indispensable.

I’ve written at length before on why they don’t annoy me the way they do others, and the rights and wrongs of producing them, so without wishing to repeat myself, here are the main points…

  • Lists are usually prepared for people who know no better. They point the curious and those seeking more information and insight in the right direction, leaving room to investigate.
  • Lists are shared and critiqued by those who think they know a lot better. These are either included in the list (full of humility) or not included (full of indignation at those included who shouldn’t be there, and those not included who should).
  • A list will only be a snapshot, a guide to encourage the curious to investigate further. Anybody not included on the list will undoubtedly come across the radar of the curious as they begin to interact with those who are included on the list.
  • A list will be subjective; it will be in the eyes of the compiler. They will have their own rationale, it is their opinion. Someone has either asked them, or commissioned them, to compile it, or they have done so as part of their own content.
  • There is a difference between HR/Recruitment practitioners who tweet and people who tweet (and share) content about HR/Recruitment. The former do not necessarily do the latter and the latter are not necessarily practitioners of the former.

Yes, I’m on some of these lists. It’s my job to be on these lists. As content and social media manager for a large digital recruitment brand, that is part of a top 5 global digital recruitment brand, I’d be doing something wrong if I’m not on the radar of people who compile these types of lists around my sector.

I’ve often observed that influence score deniers are usually people whose score doesn’t reflect how influential they think they really are, and so the list deniers are usually those who think their influence and reach should be recognised without them having to do much to bring it to wider attention.

It’s a list. Get over it.

8 thoughts on “It’s a List. Get Over It.

  1. Hi Merv – thanks for writing this. The subject has been on my mind and I’m grateful to you for covering it. I’m in agreement with you and if I may I’d add something else. For all their shortcomings, these lists help me to find and connect with interesting people some of whom I was previously unaware, I don’t think that necessarily means I, or others for that matter fall into your ‘know no better’ category.

    And I shan’t deny it – when I ‘make the cut’ on something like, this, I appreciate the kudos. When you work largely on your own – a little bit of recognition here and there is a good boost, and I hope we can all relate to that?

    Cheers – Doug

  2. Mervyn you are spot on as usual. Like Doug, I have to admit that it’s cool to be included, but I would much rather be seen as the person you described – an HR person who shares content about the field. I love the connections, but take the listing all in stride.

  3. I found an interesting collection of individuals on that list. Many of them I religiously follow, and many others are now on my radar. But some of them we’re individuaks who I had followed in the past, but dropped because they either posted & retweeted almost every minute (quantity is not quality), or their posts were predominantly personal or political, or they had fallen in love with their own Twitter persona & spent much time & effort retweeting posts about themselves (such as the list) or continually declaring themselves “thought leaders” (an honorary title that should never be self-proclaimed, but only received from others, IMHO). But despite all of the above, the list is still a very useful place to start for anyone seeking to expand their network of HR & HR Tech resources, but keep it in perspective as one man’s opinion.

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