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NTC Panel: Using Social Networking to Increase ROI

Dear Reader,

Tonight I was invited to attend the Nashville Technology Council’s panel discussion titled “Using Social Networking to Increase ROI”. Merrell Ligons invited me to attend as he was on the panel. Also on the panel were Jon Henshaw of Sitening and my buddy Marcus Whitney of Remarkable Wit.

I’ll be honest, when I saw the topic of discussion I did a double take. After all, this was hosted by NTC. NTC is mostly old-school tech in Nashville and for them, this was pretty darned progressive.

I arrived, networked, was pleased to reconnect with old acquaintances like Jerry Dunlop and made a few new friends.

The panel discussion started promptly at 4:30ish. Now call me new-fashioned if you like but a panel discussion on Social Networking that simply has a moderator asking the panelists questions, kinda misses the point of Social Networking totally.(My friend Janet Lee Johnson seems to agree with me.) It wasn’t until the last 10 minutes that the audience was allowed a few questions. After so many *Camps, UnCons and such, this was almost surreal.

Anyhow, Merrel, Jon and Marcus were really the three panelists with clues, they made us proud. Of the others, one was a recruiter who admitted that his sole interaction with Social Networking was LinkedIn, the owner of a software company who felt that their website software that they sold to customers was “Social Networking applied” (um, not) and someone whom I believe was at the director level running a software development team.

There were 2 defining moments for me in the discussion, one good, one bad.

  1. Merrell made a statement to the effect of “From a business standpoint social networking is about listening” I liked it so much I tweeted it. Merrell gets it and is a credit to his employer. (I’m looking at you News Channel 5) A lot of people think that business have to get out on the net and talk. I’m putting the finishing touches on a paper and this is one of the main points. If you want ROI on your Social Networking efforts, shut up and listen!
  2. One of the panelist talked about the fact that they were interviewing someone for a job once and the interviewee had researched both the company and the interviewer to the point that the interviewee had read an article about the interviewer from “quite some time ago”. This “creeped” the interviewer out and they shut down the interview at that point. Honest to god, I almost screamed. Here this person, wanting the job, had taken the time to do research on the company and the interviewer. To take the time to get to know who they were talking to and gets punished because of it. Oh well, it’s companies like that that keep me in business helping other companies find developers. I usually get my best developers from companies without a clue.

Thanks again Merrell for the invite. It was great to get out and meet some local IT people. Honestly though, I think the Geek Breakfast crowd is much more my speed.

Until next time,