Are you using Twitter to search for the next job? Oh, yes! Or maybe you are inviting everybody you remotely remember to join you on LikedIn and Facebook? Sure! Just in case – nobody knows when the next layoff is coming. Would some of us be so engaged in social media if the economy was better? Unlikely.
My guess: the fact that we are searching for jobs on Twitter and trying to build networks on LinkedIn, Facebook (and other niche communities) will speed up adoption of social media. The economy is encouraging us to use all available tools to handle the challenges of rising unemployment. Conveniently, social media offers quite a few opportunities and all of them are free.
How slow economy stimulates adoption of social media:
- Almost 10% of the population is actively looking for work. Twitter has a range of job related hash tags and job search specific applications appear (for example Twitter Job Search ). They may not be perfect at this point, but looking for work on Twitter is routinely discussed by outplacement companies. LinkedIn is growing; those who have not heard about the site are being introduced to it through outplacement organizations and encouraged to create a profile.
- Those who still have jobs (and worry about possible layoffs) are also expanding their networks just in case, to assure that former co-workers and clients can be reached if needed. Plus, they receive invites from currently unemployed friends who now have time to devote to their LinkedIn profile, Facebook contacts, and post status update everywhere, including Twitter.
- Those who could not find suitable jobs for some time are attempting consulting or trying to start small businesses. Social media presents the most cost-effective opportunities to promote these services. LinkedIn Answers, blogging, twittering, or posting presentations on SlideShare do take time, but because of the economy, time is easily available resource.
Would all these twittering public forget about social media when the economy recovers?
I believe people who were introduced to social media during economic downturn would not abandon their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other networks. Yes, we all forget about our Monster.com accounts as soon as we are happily employed, but social media is different. Social media is much more than just a job search; this new form of communication won’t be abandoned. Social media seem to reflect dynamic of the society rather than perform a narrow utilitarian function.
Job search activity is urgent and involuntary, but it is just a first step. Interesting: some HR departments leading their company’s foray into social media, because Twitter and Facebook help HR to fill jobs… and it is measureable… and it is cheaper than previously known methods.
A better day will come for mobile too… What would happen when everybody who fell in love with social media during their job search would be busy again? This would be a perfect time to turn to a smart phone… 😉