It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....
SHRM09 in New Orleans was good. Like most of my blogging peers, I'm thrilled to see China Gorman lead the charge regarding opening up the organization to social media, both for coverage for the convention, and overall as part of their business. It WAS GREAT to meet all the folks I've followed for so long in the HR Blogging world, and the talent is too numerous to mention individually. If you were at the tweetup (a meeting for twitter users at a conference) or the conference as a blogger or a tweeter, consider yourself included. If you weren't there, I hope to meet you soon.
So, the social media thing is great... Still, I wonder if all the buzz around the HR blogging community is 100 people out of 250K congratulating themselves and SHRM, while the other 7,000 attendees of the conference float without a similar anchor community.
Is anyone else listening?
SHRM is a big organization. It has to try and be everything to everyone because it takes all comers, as it should, as THE membership organization for the industry. Mark Stelzner did a good job outlining the career levels and their reactions to the SHRM experience, so check out his wrap-up here.
So, the biggest issue SHRM has is their size. For me, I don't want employment law out of the SHRM conference because I read enough to get that on my own. I want the intersection of business and talent. More importantly, I want to figure out who the 300 people are at the SHRM Convention who are energized by the same mix, and I want to meet them.
At the conference - in real time.
That's the secret sauce moving forward for SHRM. People walk away from SHRM because they feel it doesn't serve their individual needs. A bunch of bloggers and tweeters got together at SHRM and discovered a powerful community. That's cool, but not the reality for the rest of the membership...
What can SHRM do to create similar communities in 50 other niche areas? That's the segmentation riddle that SHRM has to solve, and it's not easy. Social media can enable some parts of those prospective communities, but it's not the silver bullet.
The social media aspect to SHRM09 showed the power of the niche community within SHRM, and as a result, I'm more aligned with SHRM than I've been for some time.
Can they accomplish the same feeling across 250K members? That's the opportunity, as well as the daunting task.
Good luck, SHRM. I'm pulling for you as a result of the conference.