You. Are. Your. Own. H.R. Manager.

How can social media support you in your ‘Me Inc’ journey? That’s a wrong question. The point is that we can no longer afford not to engage in social media. Being a Me Inc means that you are your own HR manager.

When I started preparing the presentation titled ‘How can social media support you in your Me Inc journey?’ I had the feeling that I needed to make a quick manual for professionals to do their own branding on social networks. Something entertaining with no strings attached. However, as I progressed I realized that the engagement in social media for professionals is not a nice-to-have anymore. The internet has changed our economy, our society and also the way our brains work. I guess the real question is: ‘Can you still afford not to use social media?’

1997: ‘Me Inc’ is Called into Existence

In 1997 Tom Peters coined the term ‘Me Inc’, and this was the theme of the community event I was presenting. According to Peters:

Being CEO of Me Inc. requires you to act selfishly — to grow yourself, to promote yourself, to get the market to reward yourself. Of course, the other side of the selfish coin is that any company you work for ought to applaud every single one of the efforts you make to develop yourself. After all, everything you do to grow Me Inc. is gravy for them: the projects you lead, the networks you develop, the customers you delight, the braggables you create generate credit for the firm. As long as you’re learning, growing, building relationships, and delivering great results, it’s good for you and it’s great for the company.

Regardless of whether you are fertilizing your Me Inc within the boundaries of an employer or whether you are farming your own Me Inc fields, the point is that you are your own HR manager when you travel that path. You are the one who decides how your own ‘human resourcefullness‘ gets spent. Have a look at the below slides to see how I linked this fundamental insight to what is going on today in the new world of work.

2011: Same Insights, Different Sense of Urgency

14 years ago – when Tom Peters started to talk about Me Inc – being your own HR manager was still a weird thing to think or talk about. Today the digital economy has flipped the laws of gravity, certainly when it comes to balancing trust and control. On top of that, online social networking platforms have added a layer of literacy on top of our intelligence.

Now it gets even worse: the platforms of which we thought that they would be restricted to desperate housewives and couch surfing teenagers are going mainstream. To make things worse: with the velocity of a puck on a icehokey field the collaboration pattern of social media will begin to influence the core business processes of our organizations. And that is why I changed the title of this presentation. Think I’ll do that more often.