It is astounding to remember that Facebook was launched from a Harvard University dorm room only six years ago, and that Twitter was introduced even more recently, in 2006. Both experienced triple-digit growth in 2009, underscoring the fact that these most popular social media platforms are two of the pillars of the new era in business transparency and engagement.
In a May 26 interview, Mark Zuckerberg - one of Facebook’s originators - talked about the impact of the social media phenomenon as being “one of the most transformative things to build in the world… something that helps make people and the world more open and connected.” Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone has said this about his creation: “I think of Twitter as a messaging system that you didn’t know you needed until you had it. When an earthquake happens, there are people Twittering about it. When a plane lands in the Hudson and there’s a Twitter user on the ferry taking a picture of it, Boom. That’s it. Here’s the photo of the thing. But then we need people to put this all in context and tell the story.”
If you’re like me, you’ve spent at least some of your time figuring out how to leverage communication opportunities like Facebook and Twitter for your business initiatives. Sometimes it feels as if we’ve added another layer on to our communications, and we’re not always sure the additional time we spend learning and deploying new media has the payoff we’re looking for. That’s why both Zuckerberg’s and Stone’s comments resonated deeply with me: our industry is built on the openness of sharing information, and on connecting and networking with each other. It’s how we do our best work. And we are the people who take all of the information surrounding workforce mobility, put it in context, and “tell the story.”
I spent my first week on the job at our National Relocation Conference in Orlando, FL, USA, viewing our meeting through the lens of the member I recently was and the Worldwide ERC staff member I had just become. I noticed how excited our attendees were to see text updates throughout the day about highlighted events, and to send and receive tweets during sessions. But there was something more happening – using social media allowed us to connect with members who were not physically with us at the meeting – and some who had never attended a meeting in the history of their membership - but could benefit from the lessons people were learning throughout the day.
I’m writing this blog today from another of our meetings – the Global Workforce Summit: Focus on Europe, Middle East & Africa, in Frankfurt, Germany. We’re tweeting information to members this week as well, like: “On average, it takes 9 mos for employees to adapt to their int'l assignment. Language training helps gain cultural understanding,” or “EU countries tightening immigration rules and introducing civil and/or criminal penalties. And they’re auditing more often.”
We’re sharing real-time information in a way that gets us closer to each other. More open and connected. We’re telling our story, and I’m delighted to watch it unfold.