McCombs Career Panel: Live with Social Media

“The whole viral aspect of it is really amazing. The joke is that Dell makes more money on Twitter than Twitter makes.”

Notes from a live session. Please excuse mistakes.

Notes from a panel discussion at McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. September 9, 2009. Participants: Lindsay Dean, recruiter at Liberty Mutual in Boston, MA, Kim Hollenshead, of Kershner Trading Group @kershnertrading and creator of HelpIWasLaidOff, and the LinkedIn Group Out of Work Austin, and Janet Wenzel, @janetwenzel, a manager of social networking strategy at Dell Computer’s Consumer Group.

The session began with Erik Qualman’s video on social media, which has over 500,000 views on YouTube.

JW: Dell has three Facebook accounts. Dell has over 100 Twitter accounts.

LD: Responsible Scholars is a university focused initiative using social media for Liberty Mutual. Letting people what is going on at various campuses. Talk about community service projects.

KH: I’ve been on Twitter over three years, but the social media initiative is relatively new at Kershner Trading Group. Twitter is one of the main things I focus on during the day.

LD: Be careful about putting too much information on Facebook and other pages. Don’t talk about questions that were asked of you in a job interview, for example, or talk about what you don’t like about the company. There are other ways to have those conversations.

KH: Be smart about what you put out there, it lives forever.

LD: We are probably more conservative about what we want to see on your social media pages.

KH: I don’t have time to come look at your Facebook page. I get 150 e-mails a day, so if you Tweet me that is better. But someday you might want to work for Liberty Mutual, so don’t forget that some employers are more conservative about what they are okay with.

Student: I don’t use Twitter because there is so much more to say than 160 (sic) characters.

Most of the students raised their hand to indicate they have Facebook pages.

Only a few raised their hand to say they had a LinkedIn account. “I find that very concerning,” said Kim Hollenshead. “You need to learn what that is all about.”

JW: Anyone who wants a job in social media needs to be regular users of the three major platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Learn how they work, the etiquette, etc.

KH: Start a LinkedIn account and fill out the entire profile.

How has social media changed the corporate world?

KH: Social media has dramatically changed how recruiters operate. Being able to connect with so many people so fast.”

LD: Being able to make contacts, and reach people so efficiently.

JW: Being able to hear from customers. People let us know right away when there are problems. Feedback on products…they put it right there on the Facebook wall. The whole viral aspect of it is really amazing. The joke is that Dell makes more money on Twitter than Twitter makes.

KH: I can sit in my pajamas on my sofa and attend conferences, and just watch and listen. You don’t have to watch every platform every day, but pick a couple that feel right for you. Go to some of the social media networking events in person, and it will be overwhelming at first, but come again. You will learn as you go.

KH: Dell is an easy example to use for social media, but it is harder for business-to-business companies.

LD: Great book to read is Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li. Great background.

Session open for questions:

What about personal safety online?

JW: I keep my Twitters pretty professional and non-personal. I don’t combine my Facebook page with business use. But it is different for everybody.

LD: I’ve never felt uncomfortable with information that is being shared on my platforms.

KH: I may say a lot of things on my personal accounts. You can determine what levels of information you share with different people. But you have to be careful, so look at the settings very carefully.

What about Google Wave?

None of the panelists know much about it. Know it is coming but haven’t evaluated it.

JW: It takes a lot of time for us to evaluate which platforms Dell will get active on. We would watch it, see how it develops and who is on it, and then decide.

BBA Career Services at McCombs will be starting both a Facebook and a Twitter account. FB will be invitation only for McCombs students.


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