What pollies’ Tweets tell us about their employability
Headhunters have been digging around digital dirt, ever since Google became a verb. Since there’ll be a few politicians looking for new jobs after the election, I thought it’d be amusing to analyse their tweets from an employment perspective and ask “would I, as a headhunter, offer a politician a job based on their twittering?”
I’ll disclose from the outset that my analysis is based on no more than my past six months hanging out in the twitter-verse building up my business, and from my time as a recruiter. For something more sensible and scholarly take a read of this research: Social media and the 2007 Australian election.
Let’s get the easy elimination out of the way. If you say something stupid on Twitter you’re toast. People have been fired for lesser crimes than calling rivals “rangas,” like Barry O’Farrell did.
Assuming you’re smart enough to master Twitter, plus be a bit more discreet, you do need to be mindful of how you actually interact online. Some social media researchers say that as much as you may want to project a vanity version of yourself, it’s pretty hard to do that consistently. If you hang out online for long enough you’ll find you just can’t help yourself. Parts of your real personality ultimately show through and a long line of tweets can become very telling!
Twitter tells me as a recruiter, how engaging you are. So if I see only “today I announce” and links to your websites, but no responses or acknowledgements, I conclude you’re a shouter, not a sharer. Shouting is fine if you’re a celebrity with a fan club, but for the rest of us, it’s not. If you’re all talk and no listen, it suggests self importance.
I liken this scenario to being cornered by a bore at a party. I’ll listen and nod politely for a while, then make my excuses. I’m human and I have an ego. I want to spend extended time with people who show a little bit of interest in me.
I’ll look at who you follow.
This one’s a little harsh, but it potentially has merit. Anyone’s who’s gotten stuck into Twitter knows that sometimes at the start, you don’t always pay attention to all the people you follow. So if I was headhunting and you’re a Twitter newbie, I wouldn’t scrutinise your followers too closely, knowing how easy it is to hit “accept.”
But a long term Tweeter should know how it works. They’ll be following people they find interesting and want to share ideas with. So if you’re an obvious active user and you’re following the KKK, I am going to judge you by the company you keep.
I ask if you’re relevant to your audience. I know this by whether people re-tweet your tweets. The Chaser chased Greens Senator Christine Milne for tweeting about her water feature and chamomile lawn at the time Kevin Rudd was deposed. It was funny but on target. She’s a politician. Her realm is to put forward a position. She looked a little silly.
If you are tweeting for professional purposes and not just for fun, I look at how you’re listed. How your followers label the “professional you,” again tells me again how relevant you are. If I was looking for a Digital Marketer, I’d want someone to label you a social media expert in a list. It means that many of your tweets have hit the right mark.
So what’s the bottom line here? You might easily say that a politician’s tweets will only tell us is that they’re tightly controlled and on message, or that they’re too scared to get out and get dirty amongst us. Perhaps it is just their tweets that are the most telling of all.
PS: Senator Christine Milne’s tweeted response to the Chaser shows how you can use Twitter effectively. During the show they also featured Julie Bishop in a staring competition with a gnome. The Senator tweeted: “Thanks Chaser for promoting my gardening blog. I can offer a safe haven for maltreated gnomes.”
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