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That Blog Thing II

(September 29, 2003) - Our repetitive fascination with Blogs must seem compulsive to some. Like many fads, the long term meaning of the Blog phenomenon is more likely to be its sustained influence than its current form. This week, we're taking a careful look at Blogs in general and the likely implications for online recruitment and recruitment advertising.

Significantly, Dan Miller, (Monster's VP of Content) has started his own blog, Steel Kaleidoscopes (the link points to the 'careers section'). There are few blogs out there that areas good at demonstrating our first point about them:

1. Blogs emphasize the stickiest of content, live human minds.

Steel Kaleidoscopes covers the range of Dan's interests, from Springsteen set lists at Fenway Park to commentary on the careerspace to current events, music, tv, sports and film. If you were going to a meeting with Dan, you'd want to have a thorough look at Steel Kaleidoscopes. Dan kindly exposes his interests and passions. The material is engaging because its all Dan all of the time.

Websites get return traffic because they are 'sticky'. Stickiness is that characteristic of an experience that makes you want more. There is simply nothing as sticky as a look into the mind and life of an authentic human being who is casually showing you aspects of his/her interests.

Blogs are consuming an increasing share of web viewing time. There are thousands of really great journals offering opinion and fact on every subject imaginable. Almost every one is the work of an idiosyncratic editor whose foibles and passions become a part of the dialog. It's news blended with soap opera and reality programming that makes for completely engaging reading.

2. Blogs are predominantly social, not technical.

As you explore the 'blogosphere', you'll discover a huge volume of inward looking examinations of the technology, its implementation and it's meaning. When we say that blogs are predominantly social, not technical, we mean that the real phenomenon, beyond the technology, is an expansion of the very nature of conversation.

When you consume a blog, you don't notice the technology. As active web readers, anyone in this audience is already immune to the idea that the web is technical. As we digest news or purchase services and products, we use the web as an information source. We know, in the back of our minds, that there are personalities behind the information.

In blogs, the personalities take center stage. Dave Winer's scripting.com may be the essential benchmark. Dave combines the loves of his life, his company, his adventures in the world, his opinions and his politics into a stimulating blend of the cutting edge.

The technology that has grown up and around blogs supports social agendas. Instant publishing bypasses the traditional filters that make most published material bland. Bloggers use Blogrolling to indicate their sources and friends (a universe that blurs the distinction between sources. A blogroll often on the right hand side of the page, is a list of all of the blogs a blogger reads regularly. There are easy to use tools for assembling and managing the blogroll. By surfing through a blogroll, you get a solid feel for the roots and influences on this person's thinking.

Blog ethics nearly demand that an idea's source be documented. Many bloggers use Dave Winer's style, wrapping their commentary in short paragraphs around the pointer. Blogs are an interesting model of community behavior in a world that respects each individual as the center of their 'community'.

As Recruiting technology continues its evolution, both of these dynamics will become increasingly important. Clear evidence of a human face in the recruiting process will become the distinguishing characteristic of web recruiting that works. The web always has been a communications media. Nothing communicates more poorly than bland adds edited by the legal department. The impact of blogs in this regard will be  to ultimately free the internal editorial process.

Most online recruiting systems still feel technical. They fit the candidate badly and ask for far more than they deliver. The impact of blogging in this second arena will be to raise the bar for real interaction with human members of the recruiting organization by candidates.

Recent Discoveries in The HR Blogosphere:

  • Steel Kaleidoscopes by Dan Miller (VP of Content for Monster.com)
  • M-1 (Management Issues, Global Perspective)
  • Blogrolling (a tool that manages the links on your blogroll)

John Sumser

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