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Using Social Network Sites for Organisational Recruitment

The final speaker for this ANZCA 2009 session is Alison Henderson, who focusses on the organisational use of social networking sites. Such sites (Facebook, Bebo, MySpace) provide a space for the communication of 'friendship' through the creation of online profiles and friendship networks, as well as for the sharing of information, audiovisual materials, and other personal material. They provide a space for networking and for creating connections. (There is a slight difference here between social network - representing and maintaining friendship - and social networking - making new friends - in some of the literature, too.)

In February 2008, Bebo was the most highly ranked social networking site in New Zealand, and some companies and organisations have begun using it and similar sites for connecting with their users, audiences, clients, and customers - establishing a customer relationship and user community. The present study focusses on two such organisations,and examines the intentions and results of such activities, by interviewing both the campaign strategy developers and the community spokespeople acting as the faces of these campaigns. The two case studies were campaigns by a primary industry company, and a tertiary education institution. Spokespeople were generally young people, and both campaigns aimed at school leavers aged 15-19.

Both institutions used Bebo as a deliberate strategy for interacting with young people as targets for recruitment, then; in doing so, they regarded friends as the currency of social networking sites, and friendship status thus becomes a form of 'knowing capitalism' which may run counter to the principal intention of these sites - information shared in the spirit of friendship can become harvested by organisations for commercial purposes.

Social media are principally about participating rather than merely passively receiving information, which requires a different form of consumer recruitment and engagement than is commonly the case. The organisations engaged with recruitees through their spokespeople, who were encouraged to create blogs, post on user 'walls', use videos and quizzes - university spokespeople used videos to showcase life at university, for example. This was an obvious direct marketing campaign - and the quiz played an important role in identifying users as individuals (capturing their personal details): if such details couldn't be ascertained, then there was no interest in engaging with users.

This was then utilised for direct email campaigns, and thus shifted focus away from the Bebo social network and its affordances. Among other aspects, there are significant ethical problems with this approach, of course - it potentially uses information from the users without their knowledge or consent, and undermines the social network interaction which is at the centre of the site.

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Good article.

Since you mentioned about social networking sites, I would recommend you to have a look at this article on Top 10 Dumbest Social Network Sites.

10. Scribd
9. Ecademy
8. Gooruze
6. Yedda
5. Unyk
4. Naymz
3. Plurk
2. Grouply
1. Plaxowas - voted one of the 20 most annoying tech products in 2007

Here is the link for more details -