flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘MediaCampLondon

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Abrupt change, relocation and HR/OD/Psychologists

Those of us in the HR/OD/Psych trades know absolutely, for sure, that in the next year, we will be helping many people regain their bearings after abrupt changes brought about by house losses, job losses and relocation.  I’ve had some practice at abrupt change because political issues at home have led to relocation first to another country, then to another city, and then again to a third country.

Thank heaven for social media

I arrived in UK 1 year and 5 months ago.  You can always spot a migrant.  We can tell you how long we have been somewhere in months.  This is my third major move and yes, as with all things, we improve with practice.

My last moves were to relatively small places where to all intents and purposes it should have been easy to meet people.  You know, walk down the street and shake hands with each one of them. It didn’t work though.

Coming to the UK was quite different.  There are 60 million people here.  Brits work long hours (50-60 hour weeks) and compute long distances.  I commute  5 hours a day.  One neighbour makes a 100 mile round trip each day in one direction and another goes the same distance in the other direction.  Who has time or energy to say hello?  The commute trains are eerily silent as people sag on well worn seats reading their horoscope in freebe newspapers, playing with their ipod, or just sliding into a fatigue induced sleep.

Yet, is has been easier to meet people here.  And this is why: social media.

What is social media?

Social media is the read-write, two-way web, like Facebook and Twitter.  Social Media is the web we are a little frightened of because we can sit at home and talk to a stranger in a way we might not on that train of exhausted commuters.

So how does it work?  In the ordinary world, to meet people I go along to some semi-public event – like the Christmas party hosted by the gym.  I have nothing in common with anyone else at the party except that we use the same gym.  I hope the gym makes a profit from a party but it is after all a slightly forced and odd social occasion.

Social media has many more applications than Facebook.  A very important one for people who are relocated is Yahoo! Events Upcoming.  By scanning for events within 100 miles of your home  (Brits travel long distances very routinely), you can find events that you are genuinely interested in.  You indicate you will be going and you can look down the attendance list and see not only who else is going but where else they are going.  In that way, you are able to converge very quickly into groups of people who share your interests.

Moreover, the people who use social media understand networking and are more likely to talk to you and introduce you to people at the event.

My experience

I found the inimitable Chris Hambly, guitarist, rugby player, media camp organizer, online education guru and general connector via Yahoo! Events Upcoming.  He kindly referred a journalist to me for an opinion on the media camp he organised, and though my name is spelt wrong, here I am, 17 months after arriving in a new country, quoted in a leading daily!  Thanks Chris.  Thanks, the Guardian.

Social media and HR/OD/Psychology/Coaching

And remember coaches, of all descriptions, when helping people cope with radical transitions, think social media.

And any one interested in the psychology and sociology of social media, please do contact me.  I am also interested in other rapid community building applications which will be important as we deal with the pressures and stresses of the next year to year-and-a-half.

PS The Guardian Link works erratically and often redirects readers to a jobs page.  To get to the article follow [Careers Advice] [Life & Work] [and look for the story on Media Camps]

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What a month!

I am a psychologist with a strong background in HR consulting (the stuff you don’t see – pay, job, organizational design, etc.). I am a Zimbabwean. I was living in the Asia Pacific, and now I live in the UK. I teach in universities and have a lot to do with Gen Y. And I am seriously into social media – you know, blogs like this, Facebook, etc.

All of this came up in my blog this month. To a newbie, it must seem as if I am jumping from one topic to another.

The big event in Harare this May was waiting for the Presidential results to be announced. While Zimbabweans were waiting-and-waiting, and while the most horrible violence escalated, artists went ahead and held their annual Harare International Festival of Arts, with a catchy title, the Art of Determination. Pithy puns, in the midst of despair, and art that is timeless.

At the other extreme, quite by chance, this May I stumbled on the phrase and cartoon character, Mr Kiasu. Through Mr Kiasu, I met Singaporean social media evangelist, Daryl Tay, who alerted us to a great presentation on social media for beginners. Kiasu is also an symbol of determination – but of the dog in the manger sort – I don’t want it, but you can’t have it. A safer place to be, perhaps, than in Harare right now, but actually, less healthy psychologically than the Art of Determination.

And that is the diamond in the center of this all – that strong sense of survival and expression that underlies everything we do.

  • It is the subject matter of positive psychology.
  • It the key process we are managing in the HR office (despite the paperwork) where we have one goal – to produce a prosperous, happy firm.
  • It is the key process that social media leverages or liberates.
  • And it is why social media is a fascinating challenge for managers, marketers, HR, psychologists and anyone else who think ‘people & enterprise’.

My other posts pivoted around this theme of making positive spaces

– where we have freedom to pursue our interests & our identity

– and where giving freedom to others expands the freedom we have ourselves.

  • The pattern of an unconference and the success of Bucks08: here
  • How to understand the value of the community created by social media: here, here, and here
  • And a ‘twist in the tale’ of Clay Shirky‘s keynote address about the centrality of participation in the expectations of Gen Y and Digital Natives who come after them.

And as for diamonds

De Beers has announced that it is moving its diamond sorting house from London to Gaborone in Botswana (you saw No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, didn’t you?).

Makorokoto, Amahlope! I salute you. The significance of an industry always associated with London moving to Africa is huge indeed. We are proud!

Thanks

I have many people to thank as well for a great month.

To newcomers to my blog, Daryl Tay social media evangelist in Singapore, Jackie Cameron Gen Y coach in Scotland, Dan Thornton community marketing manager in Cambridgeshire, Paul Imre social media guru in High Wycombe, Peter Koning social media guru on Facebook: welcome and thank you for making this a productive month for me.

Scott McArthur of HR 2.0, hope we will finally meet! MediaCampLondon on July 5 is a date?

Steve Roesler, OD consultant Stateside and conservation master extraordinaire, thank you for linking to my article “Who moved my mouse?“. You sent me a lot of traffic!

And a very big thank you to Chris Hambly of Audana and the Social Media Mafia for a most productive and enjoyable meet up at Bucks08 and for all the on-line interaction afterwards.

If you are interested in modern management and haven’t checked out Steve Jurvetson’s Flicker blog, I recommend it highly. And, if you like rockets, check him out on TED too!

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