And if you're one of the growing number of HR professionals already on Twitter, are you making the most of the key HR Twitter hashtags to tap into the wealth of HR-related content Twitter users are sharing on a daily basis?
Here we provide an introduction to the power of the hashtag, present a list of five highly recommended HR hashtags, and invite you to submit your own favourite HR hashtags.
The benefits of Twitter and of building a social network
The benefits of Twitter and of social media to HR were recently spelt out in an excellent blog post from US HR blogger Christine Assa. In this post, Christine describes her delight at getting a "simple HR-related question" answered immediately and comprehensively by posing it to her social media network. She says:
To think that I've spent hundreds if not thousands in educational books, and even more on classes, to try to know all this information and none of them ever said... build a social network.What is a Twitter hashtag?
So what is a Twitter hashtag?
- At its simplest, adding a # symbol before any word on Twitter makes that word into a hashtag - which means that the word becomes clickable.
- One great use of hashtags is therefore to group together and access recent tweets on specific topics.
- Another great use of hashtags is to group tweets among a community of people.
'Hashtags are strange things'
Leading UK employment law blogger Laurie Anstis offers an excellent definition of what hashtags are all about (and the rest of Laurie's post on Getting the most out of Twitter - finding your community is also essential reading). Here's Laurie's take on what hashtags have to offer:
#SHRM12 & #NotAtSHRM12: The power of the hashtag
Hashtags are strange things. They are words with a "#" in front of them, and are pretty much unique to Twitter. No one controls or governs them, and they can be used in whatever way people choose. Sometimes they are used as an ironic commentary on a tweet, sometimes to denote a response to a particular internet meme or fad, or sometimes to denote a particular topic. The one thing that hashtags do help with is they make it easier to do a specific search, particularly when someone is using them to denote a particular topic. There is no way to get used to hashtags without actually using Twitter and seeing how they are used.
A specific example of the power of hashtags comes from the recent SHRM 2012 conference, which took place last month in Atlanta, Georgia:
- The #SHRM12 hashtag was used by attendees at the conference to generate literally thousands of tweets about the conference.
- A #NotAtSHRM12 hashtag also came into use, for individuals (such as myself) who could not make it to Atlanta for the conference, but nonetheless wished to tap into the very wide range of discussions emanating from SHRM 2012.
- I used these hashtags as my first port of call for researching and writing XpertHR's social media overview of SHRM 2012.
Here's my pick of five excellent HR-related hashtags (click on each one to access the latest list of recent tweets using each respective hashtag):
- #HR A simple, catch-all hashtag for all things HR.
- #HRblogs Click on this hashtag to access the latest blog posts (and related discussions about the issues they raise) written by HR bloggers from all around the world. I started this particular hashtag off back in March 2010 to tie in with XpertHR's HR blogs and blogging habits series, and which has subsequently taken on a life of its own).
- #HRdata The effective use of data is an increasingly essential requirement of the work of many HR practitioners in the 21st century. Click on this hashtag to access blog posts, datasets and debates on data issues of direct relevance to HR.
- #HR247 This is the hashtag of the HR 24/7 community on Twitter - a place where HR professionals can tap into their very own "conversation that never sleeps," devoted to what we might call "the profession that never sleeps!" The idea of HR 24/7 occurred to me back in February 2012, following a Twitter exchange with US HR VP Jay Kuhns (who is also the author of the highly-recommended No Excuses HR blog). Jay tweeted that he was "heading into the hospital" where he works in the wee small hours of the morning "to surprise a night shift RN [Registered Nurse] with an award. Good stuff!" In my reply to Jay, I made up a new Twitter hashtag: #HR247 (i.e. "HR 24/7"). I'm very pleased to report that - as sometimes happens on Twitter - a growing number of people have picked up on this hashtag and started using it.
- #UKemplaw If you have even a passing interest in UK employment law issues, then this hashtag will quickly prove absolutely essential. As you can see from Professional Seminars' July 2012 list of the Top 30 #UKemplaw Tweeters (which very kindly includes mentions of my colleagues on @TribunalWatch and me), this hashtag is used by a mix of legal professionals, journalist and bloggers. The #UKemplaw hashtag has firmly established itself as the go-to place for breaking news and informed debate on UK employment law issues.
What are your favourite HR-related Twitter hashtags?
The above represents my own personal selection of five great HR-related Twitter hashtags. But the list could easily have been so much longer (there's also #ConnectingHR, #TrenchHR, #Tchat and #HRevolution, to name but four).
I'd love to know what your favourite HR hashtags are. You can leave a comment via the box below, or contact me directly via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.
Read more on HR and social media:
Social media and its implications for HR is a widely and keenly debated topic. Check out the following posts to learn more about the key themes emerging in this ongoing debate:
- The Power of the Hashtag I've previously written about the power of the hashtag in my post on the May 2010 HR Evolution conference.
- 'Don't bother drawing up a social media policy': Is this the worst ever advice on social media? What's the worst piece of advice you've ever heard about social media?
- The Ministry of Sensible Tweets: Social media guidance for Civil Servants In a sign of just how pervasive and increasingly central to everyday life social media are becoming, the Coalition Government has recently issued an extensive social media guidance document for Civil Servants.
- Socialising HR: Ellison Bloomfield's manifesto for HR & social media
Australian HR blogger Ellison Bloomfield has written a post which cuts
through much of the 'noise' around the topic of HR and social media and -
I think - it could almost consitute a manifesto for why HR needs to
take social media seriously, and the steps HR should take.
- Doug Shaw: Encouraging HR to participate in social media
HR professionals have much to gain from engaging with social media. But
what's the best way to encourage the 'social media-curious' in HR to
take part in social media? This is the subject of a brilliant mini
report from leading UK HR blogger, consultant and social media advocate
- Tools, Trust and Toilets, Social media policies are not "stupid". Here's why, and It's All About Trust A wide-ranging and very lively debate about the need (or otherwise) for social media policies, taking in posts from Doug Shaw's blog, XpertHR's Tribunal Watch blog and Neil Morrison's Change-Effect blog.
- Yes, social media are a real threat to employers An extremely interesting post by XpertHR's David Shepherd, which gave rise to a fascinating discussion in the comments field.
- Grant Mason on 'Social HR': Three reasons why HR should be crazy about social media Grant Mason explains why he believes social media can make all the difference to HR.
- How social media can 'humanise' HR Social media have the potential to play a key role in 'humanising' HR departments. This is according to leading Australian HR blogger Ellison Bloomfield.
- Alison Chisnell: What social media can offer HR A video on what social media can offer HR, from UK HR Director Alison Chisnell.
- What can an employer do if an employee posts a derogatory comment about it on a social networking site?
- What can an employer do if a former employee posts a derogatory comment about it on a social networking site?
(XpertHR subscription required)