Recruitment 411: Hitting the Social Media Ceiling

Social media has been the subject of this blog more times than I can count. We’ve covered everything from terrific and terrible Twitter hashtags to playing nice on Facebook and the impact of integrating social media channels to reach a wider audience.

Our use of these tools is very strategic and we like to consider ourselves social media savvy.

Since social media plays such a prominent part in our outreach it seems we are constantly reading and researching the subject. Normally this makes my job a lot of fun and it definitely keeps me on my toes. However, as I sat in a brainstorming session with a coworker, I thought: if I have to read one more article about the phenomenon that is Pinterest or how great Google+ is – I will SCREAM!

Don’t miss understand, I think social media is fantastic. It’s become such a part of modern communications culture that it’s difficult – if not impossible – to be successful in any business without it. I just wonder where it stops. No matter how big social media becomes it can’t completely replace real, live, in-person interaction.

We’ve all heard of the glass ceiling of the professional world. What about a social media ceiling?

At some point we have to say, enough social media; time for real, live socializing. Where is your social media ceiling?

Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.

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Kathleen Smith


I feel your pain. How do we balance the social media channels that we have built and nurtured with making sure we are staying current with new audiences or for our audiences who have left our established communities for the new and shiny object! My list of new technologies that I want to investigate and possibly used is every growing while I feel I am neglecting my other communities.

When you find the secret sauce, please share it.


Andrew Krzmarzick

I’m feeling the same way these days, Julie. Just too much going on – have to focus on what brings top value to me based on my professional goals. I think that’s true for everyone. Can’t do it all. Know your targets and use what helps you hit ’em.

James Miceli

I use this clip a lot when talking about social media: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jT0JT3N47g

Portlandia is decently funny, and I think this is the best sketch they did. Bear in mind that this was recorded before Pintrest and Google +.

Truth be told, I have accounts on all the popular sites, and I like being able to have my personal facebook friends, professional connections on linked in, goofy stuff on my twitter, government people on govloop, fancy stuff on pintrest, and nobody but my uncle who works in education on G+. If someone adds another one to my social network stable, gosh, I’ll be caught in a tech loop!

That being said, nothing beats real life socializing. But when you live far away from friends and family, social media is the best.

Steven Rothberg

It all comes back to your goals. If Twitter produces great results, focus on Twitter. If Twitter is awful but Pinterest is great, focus on Pinterest.

For CollegeRecruiter.com, our primary goal with social media is to drive traffic to our job board so the tools which work the best are those which require the least amount of effort for the largest number of well qualified click throughs.

Doris Tirone

I set up my Outlook account to filter email from all my social media accounts to a single file in my inbox. This lets me scan headlines, read articles that sound interesting, and share/comment on 3 different sites. I limit my interactions to work days (usually in the morning, at lunch and perhaps in the evening (if I find something of interest worth sharing)). In total, I spend about 45 minutes each work day interacting via social media. That’s enough for me … and it’s all outside the confines of my work day so … even better; this leaves me the time I need and want for all the other aspects of my life (er… including work :-)! Time management has been the key for me.

Peggy Nypaver

There are many benefits of using social media for recruiting purposes – it’s certainly a low cost way to increase online visibility of an employer’s branding and career opportunities. However, although social media may increase an employer’s applicant pool, nothing can replace the face-to-face interview during the hiring process.

Dorothy Ramienski Amatucci

I think one of the biggest problems people have is that they feel as though they have to do everything and have an account everywhere. I consider myself to be pretty social media savvy, but have yet to create a Pinterest account. Between Facebook (contact with my friends) and Twitter (solidifying my personal and professional brand) and LinkedIn (developing professional contacts), I simply don’t have the bandwidth for more. I don’t think Pinterest is bad, it is just not for me right now. I think this is the big problem a lot of people and organizations are having right now … too much social media (like too much of anything, really) can make you sick, so to speak. I think Steven Rothberg got it right … it all comes down to what works for you.

Frank Stipe

To me these are exciting times and I look forward to the next expansion of virtual worlds and other social networks. Although social media tools are built by the uber-techno-wonks, they are just tools. Social media networks are built and maintained by the members. I do agree that the technology landscape is expanding faster than I can follow. But, then again, I don’t really try. You don’t have to be in every social network…just be active and relevent in those you use and let your friends, family and followers share your message to their other networks for you.

You said that “No matter how big social media becomes it can’t completely replace real, live, in-person interaction.” No worries here, social media networks are just as real as any other because they are real people who just happen to be using a common communications toolset.

My “real world” is now so much bigger than my physical location. My “real life” is so much richer because of my real friends in such real places as Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Spain, Italy and, of course, every part of the USA. We consol each other at the loss of loved ones. We rejoice over birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries. We play games together. We build things together. I think the future will be very interesting indeed.

Peggy Nypaver

Okay – your “real” world has got me thinking I’m missing something big – I just might have to reach a little deeper into that world… as soon as I find some more free time ;o)

Deborah Cates Godfrey

Well, Julie one thing is for sure, social media is here to stay. I do believe that it puts a damper on face-to-face interactions. You really get to know someone as a human being when interacting face- to-face; you get to know them as a social media networker or connection in cyberspace on social media. I believe you have to know within yourself when enough is enough and let you connections know its time for a real sit down meeting. Let’s meet and get down to the business at hand.

Jeffrey Levy

I agree with pretty much everything people have said before me, but I’ll add/emphasize a couple of things:

1) I don’t try to keep up with either the latest site or everything happening in any particular site. Rather, I check in a few times/day. Whatever happens to be on my home page on Twitter or Facebook is what I read. I might scroll down a bit, but I don’t even remotely pretend to keep up with everything. That’s what I want, anyway: a chance to check in, to be exposed to a few new things each day.

2) I’ve turned off all email notifications. That helps me avoid trying to keep up with everything.

3) I don’t care about a personal “brand.” I don’t really understand how the concept would apply to me at this point. I have a steady job that keeps me plenty busy. Rather, I just try to help people when I have the time. That seems to do plenty to put my name out there and I think I have a pretty good reputation without trying to make it into something.

4) I do think online social networks can be very real. I’ve worked with a group of people to buy a camera, with our own money, for a student whose camera broke. I’ve donated money with other people on GovLoop via the microlending site Kiva. And of course, I keep up with friends and family on Facebook.

That said, what social media isn’t good at is time together. Just sitting at a park, not talking, just being.

John Robert Nixon

Your online life is/has becom(ing) your life, at least in America (perhaps the world). Becoming a more mobile society has added a lot to this. Sure, video chatting with your relatives isn’t the same as being there, but with regular flights and a ton of ways to share your life online, there’s more “closeness” at a distance than ever possible before.

Despite this, I always come back to how young our country is. We are still defining what it is to be American and what our national values are. In the East and in Europe, they’ve had centuries to define their culture and find out what the important stuff of life is. I think we are moving on a similar trajectory, but still have a few centuries before we come full circle and realize spending time with family and friends, casual chats over coffee and enjoying the simple things life has to offer are what makes living worthwhile. In the meantime, we’ll keep pursuing the almighty dollar and maximizing our work life to achieve some ethereal American “Dream”. Time to go play with my new Android smartphone now… 🙂

Claire H.

If you have something awesome or topical to say, then I’m all ears or eyes. This is true of social media, TV, newspapers, etc. The problem with social media is easy access. It’s nice that you’re updating your status saying that you’re having a glass of wine or you’re checking in at the mall, but really, who cares? Both individuals and businesses risk alienating peolpe by posting what is pretty much spam to me. Job listings, new discoveries are welcome in my feed. Press releases not so much. Someone else mentioned targeting … That’s the key.

I don’t think social media requires a ton of training or other education; it just requires common sense. But you know the saying … Common sense isn’t so common …

Paula B Golladay

Although I use and often times need to communicate through social media I still prefer face to face interactions, the second form of communication would be a phone call, the last form of communication is finding out something through a friend of a friend et al from a Facebook page. Perhaps I am simply old fashioned, perhaps not, sitting down with someone and talking is much more enjoyable than sending a message via some form of social media.

Kevin Lanahan

Overload? Definitely. I’ve been cutting back on Facebook since everyone seems to be using apps that tell me what song they are listening to RIGHT NOW! or what foods they’ve eaten, etc. Don’t care. Still waiting for Google+ to appeal to anyone other than geek, although I really like their “What’s Hot” feature.

The bigger question for me is how my agency uses social media. We just don’t have the staff to feed and monitor all the channels our citizens may want to use. Identifying outlets that look like they have traction and nursing them along takes staff time, and time is at a premium.

Ideologically, it would be great to be an early adopter, but unless we treat the new outlet like Facebook or Twitter, we’re just not going to be able to devote a lot of mindshare to it.

Craig Thomler

I hit the social media ceiling in another way… There were no significant further opportunities across the Australian Government where I could continue to learn and cross as a professional in the social media and Gov 2.0 space.

I could go and repeat the same steps I’d done elsewhere (to encourage and support people to adopt Gov 2.0 tools and approaches in appropriate ways), contending with the same resistance and concerns, spending my time educating others and helping them avoid mistakes while not learning much new…

Or I could either leave public service or leave Australia to work with people who would challenge me and open new doors for my own learning.

So I left the public service 🙂

Jill Drury

What I haven’t seen here is a discussion of social media that stays within an organization, such as an internal Facebook-like application. I’ve been researching so-called “enterprise social media” and have found (like anything, I guess), that there are good and bad ways to implement these types of systems. But because we’ve seen a lot of potential for enterprise social media and few outlets for researchers to share their results, a group of us is launching the open-access (that is, no cost to subscribers or contributors) electronic Journal of Enterprise Social Media. If you’d like to learn more about this new journal, drop me a line at my GovLoop message box.

Lori Bills

I’ve pretty much decided that I’ve hit my “social media ceiling”! I just realized this original message was from April! I like John and Jeff comments and would have to conclude that I check-in now and then, or 4 months later!. I’m pretty much doing a lot more physical stuff especially after I’ve sat with a computer working 8+ hrs a day and I’d say no matter how big social media gets I’m still going to be quite busy living, working, raising kids, reading, gardening, dining out, exercising and playing on my tablet – oh, that includes “reading” too;)