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Social is dead. Long live the value web.

Anfiteatro FlavioNow that the debate has moved on, from iphone apps towards a wider embrace of mobile platforms & of mobile as another, although important engagement channel (you can listen below to the latest blog radio show by Bill Boorman), let’s look ahead for a moment to a future that at first glance might seem contradictory but is ultimately stable and sound. A future in which, to borrow a phrase of Natasha Saxberg, the social web has been transformed to a value web.

In this future, the individual engages fully in social media through various means including mobile. The key is that the individual participates and controls his own brand through engagement and active management. Integrity and honesty are the foundation, real names and real pictures the norm; fakes and impostors will be exposed. It’ll be increasingly difficult to maintain a persona – especially as human, face to face contact will become an important ingredient that keeps social media alive, vibrant, connected and honest. Anybody, I can’t see in a video, on a conference, at an event, in flesh and blood will be filtered out.

At the same time, whilst managing his/her profile actively, the individual will control touch points more rigorously. Instead of sharing their personal email address, virtual PO Boxes such as Linkedin’s in-mail will be the initial and often only contact point. An individual might have several of these PO Boxes – one for job hunting, one for house hunting, one for car buying, etc… Depending on where they are in the cycle, individuals will manage these PO Boxes more or less actively. Sometimes all messages will get forwarded to the personal inbox, sometimes they will gather in the PO Box until the individual decides to pick them up.

The same scenario applies with mobile phone numbers. The one true mobile phone number (which, if you think about it, is one of the few consistent parts of our identity as we move address more often than we change mobile number) will be reserved for the selected, trusted few that have direct, unrestricted access to us. The others will get a forwarding number, a cloak, working in the same way as the email scenario described above. In that way, the individual decides on the value of a communication, engagement and activity level. Nobody else does. So whilst the individual is more prominent on the web and seemingly more accessible, true access will be minimised to a small circle of trustees.

By the way, all this technology already exists.

What does that mean for the recruiter? First and foremost – the candidate is in control when and if he/she wants to participate. So the first communication needs to be tailored to their needs. In the same way as we expect covering letters and CVs/resumes to be tailored for the job. Secondly, the so called passive candidates will be much closer to the market, than they are now. Thirdly, recruiting becomes much more human again, driven by representation, understanding, future impact instead of ATS, CV databases and candidates as commodities.

Here is the audio for Bill Boorman’s Mobile Recruiting radio show, on which I was guest:

Creative Commons License photo credit: Giulio Menna

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