Lessons in Digital Leadership (from South Korea and Uganda)

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 16.47.37

In case you missed it: the South Korean President , Park Geun-hye , issued a press release last week that sent reverberations around the globe.

Her Klout score had gone up.

Yes , the leader of one of the most digitally connected nations on the planet , saw fit to announce that her score had risen from 65 to 82 – reflecting the “effective and positive” role of Government in efforts to connect with the public. 

Surely a leader making a fuss about their social influence scores and the rise in number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans should be concentrating on more important things?

I’m not so sure. I think engagement through social media IS important for the modern leader. As is an understanding of online influence.

She seems like fun too. I can’t understand her tweets but certainly the images accompanying her feed look more interesting than those of David Cameron. Check this out:

David Cameron - Crime and Meetings
David Cameron – Statistics and Meetings
Park Geun-hye - Toys and Funny Dog pictures
Park Geun-hye – Toy Cats and Funny Dogs

And it’s not just South Korea where you get sociable leaders. Last week I was having a twitter chat when who should wander into the conversation but Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi. He popped in to thank me for my comments about his active twitter presence. Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 13.51.18

Just reflect on that statistic for one minute. 96% of his tweets are replies to the public. That is an incredible level of responsiveness and engagement that puts not just elected representatives to shame but also many organisations and brands.

So what’s the point of this post?

Well , the other day I was talking with a friend and we both realised we weren’t sure of the names of our local Councillors. We both follow quite a few highly sociable Councillors from all over the UK – but when it came to where we actually live we didn’t have a clue. Our fault or theirs?

We did a check on the online presence of a sample. We googled and checked up on 46 people and these were the results:

  • 6 had Twitter accounts (13%)
  • 2 had Facebook profiles (3%)
  • 1 was on LinkedIn
  • 2 had blogs – but hadn’t yet posted anything on them.

Catherine Howe has written about how the digital and networked society will need more digital and networked councillors. In a great piece she argues “transforming local democracy is going to take more than simply getting politicians to use Twitter.” I agree completely.

Really this isn’t about social media. It’s not even about the lack of political engagement. It’s about what appears to be a digital fault line between local leaders and the communities they represent. 

Community leaders have to embrace this new way of participation – placing themselves at the heart of networks and reaching out to collaborate and even co-produce new services.

Online presence is just the start – a minimum requirement. Establishing a relationship that values more than consultation and the occasional vote is the true challenge.

It’s time for the UK to up its game.

The Social CV: How Social Media Could Get You Your Next Job


I often joke with a friend of mine that if they ever lost their job they would be unemployable. Because they have a great CV but zero digital footprint. No LinkedIn , no Twitter , no Facebook. Nothing.

I ask them to imagine a future where you don’t have a CV or resume. A future where your talent and achievements are broken down into tweetable chunks. Your professional life , and a good bit of your personal too, is available online for all to see. You are scored according to your worth and the value of your followers. Your score can determine whether you get that job interview.

And they laugh at me. ‘Paul , you are such a geek.’ As if that is ever going to happen.

Except it has happened. In 2013. At least if you are applying for a job at Enterasys Networks.

As many of you will already know the web was set alight when Vala Afshar pronounced the death of the CV.   “The Web is your résumé” he said “Social networks are your mass references”.

Enterasys have just broken new ground with their latest job advertisement. The minimum requirements for which are:

  • A Klout score above 60
  • A Kred influence score of 725
  • 1,000 active Twitter followers

This has made a lot of people start frothing at the mouth at the absurdity of it all. It’s a natural reaction when someone proposes a completely new way of doing something.

But I’m more interested in the opportunities this presents than its flaws. I think Vala is right for trying to disrupt the way companies recruit people. Why shouldn’t we start using social influence and the Social CV as part of recruitment?

Most minimum job requirements are based on what people achieved in school. If I were to apply for a job tomorrow the first thing it will ask me after my name and address is what I did 20 years ago. A time when jobs required completely different skills.

But we are still hung up about educational attainment. Even when it has no practical relevance to what we are applying for.

Don’t believe me?

A former colleague of mine recently applied for a job and was told that because a GCSE didn’t meet the required grade they were an unsuitable candidate. They came with my full endorsement – someone I’d employ again in a heartbeat.  The qualification that scuppered their job chances was 15 years old –  everything they had done since was irrelevant to the employer. And this wasn’t some blue chip city firm – it was a housing association- a business supposedly founded on the principle of giving people a second chance.

15 years of achievement and all it comes down to is what’s written on a piece of paper.

How absurd.

What I like about the idea of a Social CV is it is a genuine meritocracy. Anyone , anywhere can become influential on social media. Regardless of educational performance you can reinvent yourself online. Whatever their faults – Kred and Klout have something that educational qualifications will never have – they are bang up to date.

  • Go on holiday and your Klout score declines
  • People stop finding you engaging? You lose Kred.

Surely something like RebelMouse , that creates a Social front page based on your digital presence , paints a more relevant picture of you than the conventional CV?

Social Media has changed recruitment forever. HR teams and employers must change their practices to adapt to it , not expect social media to adapt to them.

I would agree that the concept of the Social CV has got a lot of maturing to do. But it will become accepted as employers realise that social media skills are becoming a necessity.

But what do you think? Could the Social CV replace the traditional approach?

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