Monthly Archives: October 2010

Are your followers for sale?

For_sale_sign

I have an on-off love affair with Twitter.  Sometimes, I use it loads.  Sometimes, I forget it’s there and then there is a delight in re-discovering it.  I use it mostly for business, although I do follow a few friends (and a couple of celebs, but I’m embarrassed about doing that so let’s not dwell on it).  I don’t live in London and am only in the Shoreditch office two days a week so there are few opportunities to network face-to-face.  Twitter is a nice way of finding out what’s going on in the industry, and building relationships with practitioners.  These relationships are useful to me in three ways; firstly, I edit espresso, a weekly e-bulletin which we fill with PR and media news and feature career tips and industry insights.  Quite often I find interviewees or industry spokespeople through Twitter and I also use it for leads on industry stories.   Secondly, I used to be a recruiter.  I no longer recruit directly but I do have connections with Unicorn Jobs and Taylor Bennett and run their diversity internship programme. Relationships with PR practitioners helps me raise awareness of the programme, and have led directly to donations of time, money and training to the interns.  Thirdly, it’s good to just know who is out there, who are the influencers and who is the young blood to watch.  And sometimes, I get to give a little something back – like last week when a student asked me to give some advice on how to get into the PR industry.

Yesterday, I received an email from a Twitter account.  It was anonymous – in that I know which Twitter account it is but there is no way to know who runs it.  I am not going to disclose which account contacted me, as I’m rather interested to see if anyone takes them up on their offer and so will be keeping an eye on them.

Anyway…. this is the email:

Hello,

 I am writing to see if you are interested in taking over the Twitter account ******, including its large follower base of job seekers. The account can be renamed and rebranded, giving your brand and jobs a huge audience, saving time and advertising costs.

 The account can be found at ***** and is followed by a community of PR professionals who are actively searching for their next role through social media. These job seekers have the online skills PR employers are looking for and are engaging with this Twitter account to find their next job. The account is currently tweeting a feed of job postings from various sources, and followers are clicking through to the job postings to find out more. For this demographic, young UK-based PR job seekers, this is the largest Twitter community I am aware of.

 Taking over the account would put your jobs in front of the right people without having to spend money on advertising. It could also significantly help to establish your brand on Twitter. Twitter allows changing the names of accounts, and the followers will be transferred over to the new name.

 Please get in touch if you would be interested in discussing this more.

 

This is my reply:

No thanks.  I run a Facebook group, PR Job Watch, with over 3,000 members.  We don't need to buy Twitter accounts, we can develop our own.  Twitter is all about building relationships.

I'm not sure it's really in the spirit of social media to be "selling" your followers.

Regards
Sarah

 

And their reply:

Very true. Some do a great job, like Unicorn Jobs, but others look for shortcuts.

It is unfortunate, while there are those looking for shortcuts, there will be a market for things like followers. And when there's a market, there are those desperate enough to feed that market. Still, it isn't like it is being sold for spam. I am targeting relevant people who will take care of my followers. Atleast, that's what I keep telling myself.

Thanks for getting back to me and keep up the great work.

ps. I love your esPResso newsletter

 

I mentioned it on Twitter last night and a couple of people expressed outrage at the thought of followers being sold.  I actually *am* a follower of the account in question, and I am not that happy about being sold myself.   But maybe I am behind the times?  Maybe it is acceptable to build up relationships and then sell them on?  Perhaps the likes of The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den are encouraging such entrepreneurial spirit?

It still doesn’t sit quite right with me.  I will be watching with interest to see if a PR recruiter takes them up on it though.

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Filed under Recruitment, Social Media

Working from Home

  Working from home

As employers become more relaxed about flexible working practices, many more people are finding that they can work from home.  For some jobs, a phone line, laptop and internet connection is all that’s needed, so the option to commute from your bedroom to your workspace instead of a long journey in a car or on a train is very appealing.

Working where you live can be beneficial for both employee and employer.  If you focus, you can get more done.  There are less likely to be distractions from colleagues and you can get on with the task in hand.  You will spend less money – no daily breakfast coffee or sandwich from Pret, and you may save on the commute.   You also get to spend more time with your family (or flatmates!).  If an average commute is two hours a day, that’s 10 hours a week you get to spend doing something more constructive.  The bottom line is that working from home makes you more productive.  Rescue Time’s research in 2009 may have only been a small sample, but gives us a good idea of the levels of productivity that can be achieved by not being in an office.

Of course it’s not all sweetness and light.  There are downsides too.   The lines between work and home can get blurred and it can be difficult to switch off.  You may also find that you get a bit lonely and there is a danger you will fall into the laziness trap.  From an employer’s point of view it can be frustrating if you don’t feel your staff are pulling their weight at home, and that they are not instantly available for a meeting.  But there are things you can do to make sure working from home works well for both you and your employer.  I work from home three days a week and my husband works from home permanently so I am very familiar with the pitfalls.  Here’s my top tips for how to work at home effectively:

1)      Have a separate work area.   If at all possible, a separate room is the way to go.  Somewhere where work is work, so that your home life remains separate to your job, is a good idea.  In my case, my husband works in the spare bedroom and I have a desk in the living room.  We don’t speak for most of the day – we work for different companies and when we are working, we are working.  

2)      Don’t turn the telly on.  Ever.  It is tempting.  Hours of fun with Homes Under the Hammer and This Morning may seem like a good idea, but believe me it’s not.  You may think you can work effectively with the TV on in the background, but it is a distraction.  You are not a student, you are being paid to work.  The radio or some quiet music is a better option.

3)      Make time for lunch.  We all know it’s important to take breaks when you’re working.  Having a lunch break is a good start.  It doesn’t have to be a whole hour, but twenty minutes away from your computer screen is a good idea.  Make sure your colleagues know when you are away from your desk and when you will be back.  If you can, set your phone to do not disturb.

4)      Make sure your colleagues know when you are available and when you aren’t.   People who work from home often feel guilty and are concerned that their boss and colleagues are suspicious that they’re not working hard enough, and as a result work much longer hours than they would if they were in the office.   Your colleagues may not be keen on you working from home, particularly if it’s not a common occurrence at your firm.  They may resent the flexibility you have and be suspicious that you are actually sat in your nightie in front of Trisha scoffing shortbread biscuits instead of actually working.   Make it clear that you will be working from x o clock to y o clock and will be taking a half an hour for lunch at a particular time.  

5)      Have a decent chair.  Back pain will make you unproductive and resentful.

6)      If you have children, make sure you make proper arrangements for child care.  Many employers now will insist that you send them to nursery or a childminder while you are working, which is fair enough.  But a few lucky people have employers that are a bit more flexible and allow them to work slightly odd hours in order to be there for their children – so they may allow you to work in the evenings instead of 9 – 5 for example.  Whatever your arrangements, make sure your employer is aware and happy with them.

7)      Get dressed.  I have made this mistake.  Got out of bed, read emails on my Blackberry and then logged straight in on my laptop to start replying to messages.  Before I knew it, it was lunch time and I hadn’t had a shower or got dressed.  Even more embarrassing is when you have to open the door to the postman still in your dressing gown.  You would never go into the office in your PJs so take some time to get yourself groomed and dressed.

8)      If you are sick, you are sick.   Let your boss know.  Turn your out of office on and go to bed. 

9)      Don’t take advantage.  Don’t assume that just because you are at home you can swan off to pick the kids up from school or go to the hairdressers in the middle of the afternoon.  You  wouldn’t do that if you were sat in the office would you?  Ask your bosses permission to finish early or start late.   You are still employed, just in a different environment.  Of course different rules may apply if you are freelance and paid for a piece of work rather than hours worked – in that case it’s up to you when you work and when you don’t.  If you don’t finish the work  you don’t get paid.

10)   Use technology.  Email and remote access to computers are a fantastic way to keep on top of things, but don’t forget the phone.  Many of us would much rather write an email than speak to someone but you could be missing a trick.  Hearing a friendly voice will stave off loneliness, and help you to build relationships with your colleagues.  By not being in the office, you may miss out on the banter so it’s important that other people realise you are still part of the team.

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Filed under Careers