Why Social Recruiting is NOT Google Wave

Last week, Google waved goodbye to Google Wave (the pun is cliché), and unsurprisingly, ‘everyone’ seems to have predicted this. The service was intended to be Google’s big crack into the Social Media terrain – an industry largely dominated by Facebook and Twitter.

So many commentators have written blogs on why Google Wave wasn’t attractive for ‘surfers’, with lots of valid reasons why the product failed from a usability point of view, as well as Google’s own poor marketing strategy. The list is exhausive, and I will not dwell on them here.

But how can a product that seems to be way ahead of technology, interactivity and connectivity die so prematurely? How does one explain the case of Google Wave, a service hailed by Mashable’s Social Media hippies and Techcrunch’s Web 2.0 aficionados; a product promoted by the pundits and touted by Technology Top dogs, as the next big thing.

From the comments expressed by the average web users, Google Wave just wasn’t really needed. When you create a great tool, that looks shiny and smart, but which doesn’t really fill a dire need or make life any more exciting nor easier, then who will bother to use it?

Try and contrast people’s emotional connections with social media tools. Twitter and Facebook are growing exponentially, because people – kinda need them. Millions of people log into Facebook daily, before they check their email, and the same can be said of Twitter. Some people just follow streams of tweets every hour of the day (to see if they have missed something) and you can guess what they will check on their phone, should they wake up in the middle of the night?

The point is, that regardless of how something new is heralded or ‘hyped’, it will only grow to mainstream acceptability, if it is relevant and will surely add value to the lives of its users.

The last 2-3 years, and pointedly 2010, has seen rise of conversations about social media as a channel to hire and engage with candidates. Social recruiting tools have also been established as a platform to manage a company’s employer brand and improve employee engagements.

However, some recruiting industry veteran’s are still very skeptical about the subject itself. Some person’s are very passionate about their arguments e.g. that you should not use Facebook as a recruiting tool; that you will not find candidates on twitter; that social media recruiting is a waste of time. And that Facebook is for family and friends only. Fair enough! Doubters and naysayers will rather see the death of social recruiting, either for their own business or idealogical interests.

The concept of Social Recruiting is nowhere near Google Wave’s groundbreaking technology. However, they both seem to have one thing in common: Hype. Like every other services, products, systems or concepts that are seemingly hyped, its success will depend on its usefulness.

While individual company’s social recruiting strategy may suffer before they get it right, the actual concept of social recruiting, will not die. It is simple. It is engaging. It is where the world is going!

2 thoughts on “Why Social Recruiting is NOT Google Wave

  1. James Mayes

    Vic, IMHO Wave’s bigger problem was the launch, not the need. I played with it on a few things, and some of the functionality would/could/should have been very useful. Problem was, in the social media world everything is designed to be very accessible. Really understanding Wave took a lot of explanation – go find the original youtube videos. Google recognised this and cut those videos down – but then the product is sufficiently complex that you don’t get the benefits. Perhaps if they’d started with something more simplistic and gradually drawn in people for (a) momentum and (b) evangelism it might have stood more chance.

  2. Vic Okezie

    @James, thanks for your comment. Yes, you are right – the bigger issue was the launch. I watched a lot of the vids too. By ‘need’, I mean – can I live without it? Will the average web user wake up in the morning and want to do Google Wave? Of course, a good number of people (i.e. early adopters & geeks) have been using Wave for sometime now. The point of the post is that, when tools and services and new ways of doing things are hyped (google wave, social recruiting etc), but are found to be complicated and doesn’t add much value to users, then these tools will struggle to get critical mass appeal. Hype on its own is not a bad thing. In the modern world, everything is hyped. Since social recruiting builds on the simplicity of platforms like facebook and twitter (with an ever growing mass usage), this hype could be sustained to success 🙂

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