… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Interpretation

So the husband and I were talking the other day about fantasy authors and how it seemed that many authors these days did not take the time to research myths or history themselves; they simply relied on other fantasy novels as their source material and inspiration. Yes, Tim and I are both huge geeks and bibliophiles so we do, in fact, have these types of conversations. Stay with me here, people — I have a point, I promise, and it’s related to HR too.

Anyway, what this means is that the authors are essentially creating stories based on their interpretations of someone else’s interpretations. Doesn’t that seem like a bad idea to you? Instead of trying to seek out the source material themselves and using it as the inspiration for their own stories, they are relying on the interpretations of someone else, someone they don’t know, whose mind probably works in a completely different way. Doesn’t seem like the proper way to conduct research to me.

Here comes the part where I connect this to HR: I love HR blogs and the blogging community. I’ve learned a lot in the time that I have been reading and interacting with other bloggers. And, I like to think that I have helped some of you darling readers out there as well. But I think that one of the most important things to keep in mind when reading HR blogs, or any other blog that tries to be informative, is that whatever you are reading, in the end, is someone’s interpretation of a concept or situation. Somewhere out there, at one time, someone read or experienced the information that they are now provided, and short of simply repeating facts, their own perspective affects what they say.

So to all of you darlings out there who read HR blogs for advice or information, don’t stop there. Don’t just read a book review or advice column; take the time to find the source of that knowledge for yourself. After all, just like you shouldn’t cite Wikipedia (as much as I love it!) you shouldn’t rely only on HR blogs as your font of HR knowledge. The only way you’ll really learn about HR is to put in the time to study it yourself.

8 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Laurie :

    I think this is so prescient, especially when there are lists of blogging experts & career experts out there. I have a post going up in a few hours about expertise. I'm always surprised when people come to me for advice because I'm like, "What do I know? I just like cats." Then I look at other advice-givers and I think, "Well I know more than they do."

    I think my bigger point is this: BUYER BEWARE. It's like buying a used car. Get the Carfax before you buy the lemon.

    PS – I totally cite wikipedia because I'm lazy. Had the internet been around when I was in school, I'd be 56% dumber.

  • 2 Steve Boese :

    I think this is really good advice, not just for a casual reader of blogs but also for the blogger themselves. Sometimes it seems like we are all just passing around the same information/links to each other and not taking enough time to really dig in to the issues and do some research. I am not that down on Wikipedia, but I agree that it can't be relied upon in many cases as the only source of information on a subject.

  • 3 Crystal Peterson :

    Great post. I'm new to blogging but I want to make sure that, to Steve's point, I do my research before putting something out there. I think that sometimes it's easier to read a few blogs of people you're familiar with than to actually do the work of researching a topic. For me, blogs are sometimes my starting point, and then I try to take the time to search out additional information.

  • 4 Charles :

    This advice goes way beyond blogging and HR. It should be for everything in life.

    Don't rely on just ONE source and be skeptical (in a healthy way – not conspiracy-nut skeptical) of most things.

  • 5 Lisa Rosendahl :

    You hit this one right on Shauna. I am put off by those who declare themselves "experts" and watch in amazement at how quick people are to jump on the next best thing because it worked for someone else. I am up to my elbows in HR everyday and write about what works (and doesn't) for me. I offer a perspective to consider, discuss and weigh against others with a very heavy dose of the reality of a particular situation. Taking what anyone says at face value with out further searching – and acting on it – is just plain silly.

  • 6 Tim G :

    As an HR professional by way of engineering (really, it happens) I have enjoyed the growth of HR blogs as a way to learn several perspectives. I am learning where each blogger has their passion and their quality thinking, and so I can selectively research certain questions. Your advice on this point is great, as you could come across a very professional looking blog, with all kinds of credentials, but that doesn't mean the author has tested his or her ideas or that they have a foundation in fundamentals.

  • 7 HR Minion :

    Laurie – I come to you for advice because you are so much cooler than me. 🙂

    Steve – Sorry I guilted you into reading research articles, those are always dry. 🙂

    Crystal – I think that's the way it should be.

    Charles – Being skeptical gets a bad rap.

    Lisa – That's why I admit to my minion status and don't claim to be an expert.

    Tim – Engineering is a different way into HR, cool. 🙂

  • 8 Wally Bock :

    Great point and, as has been said, not just for bloggers. There are too many junk surveys and "research" and "surprising findings" out there that are built on sand. That's why your point is so important.

    But there is one particular thing to watch in today's world that hasn't been mentioned yet. Three reports based on the same source are not three sources. After Michael Jackson died, a rumor hit the net that Jeff Goldblum had been killed in a fall. There were multiple stories on the net about it. But they were all based on the same source.