Corporate Eye

Phenomenal Facebook

Julia fractal

I am (at last) getting into Facebook.  For some reason, Twitter made sense to me immediately, while Facebook has remained largely a mystery.  But after a few weeks of floundering around, I’m starting to understand a little better.

Biggest help:  Oddly enough, a talk by David Kirkpatrick on BookTV.  Kirkpatrick (formerly senior technology editor at Fortune magazine) is the author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World, which came out just a few weeks ago in the US, and will soon arrive in a UK edition.

Needless to say, The Facebook Effect has its own Facebook page, where you can read an excerpt, watch an interview, and (of course) “like” the book.  More than 5,000 likers so far, and the book is well-ranked on Amazon niche lists for E-Commerce (#3) and Company Profiles (#7).  In addition to an in-depth retelling of the well-known dorm-to-dominance story of Facebook’s creation/evolution, Kirkpatrick provides thoughtful analysis that applies not only to Facebook, but to the whole social media landscape.

The second biggest help in my Facebook education was stumbling over what I now think of as the “friend tripwire.”  As an individual, you can plunk along for quite a while just adding friends occasionally for some seemingly good reason.  Then–you add one well-connected activist, and you find yourself with a generous pile of recommendations and requests.  (If you open the door at this point, you need to understand about lists . . . )

So all of a sudden, I began to think of Facebook as something like a fractal generator—i.e., a self-similar replicating system that creates intricate patterns.  From a slightly different perspective, it’s like a complex system organizing itself in response to initial conditions (“me”) and various attractors (“friends”).

If that works for you, happy to be of service!  But if not it doesn’t matter, because probably everyone finds their own point of entry for Facebook, and no one really needs to think of it beyond the practical applications anyway.  Which brings us to the real point:  Facebook for recruiting.

In 2008, there was a lot of hype around “Facebook for recruiting,” and companies like Jobing and Appirio introduced apps and services to build out that potential.  So far, however, these approaches have not seen spectacular success in performance or adoption . . .

So how is Facebook being used effectively to find talent?  That turns out to be a longer story, so stay tuned for two more installments:  Corporate Recruiting via Facebook (with a useful case study) and Recruiters on Facebook (with some interesting examples).

(And yes, that’s a lovely Julia set, shared by Eequor.)

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.