It's clear that the number of advertisers paying to post jobs online is declining, that trend is directly related to the number of jobs open, meaning that the social media and other outlets will also be declining in the world of recruitment.
I'm very wary of those who try to scare HR professionals into thinking that the value of internet job boards has vanished. In fact, the value continues to grow, which is whey every year, including this year, a the ratio of jobs posted on internet job boards to jobs posted in print grows. I do agree that aggregator sites have muddied the waters, and we'll see how long it takes with copyright laws to catch up to the internet. It would be silly to allow magazines to copy the entire content from other magazines, and then put their own brand on it and sell advertising. It would be a clear violation of infringement, if there was no permission granted. This will become a very hot issue as the economy weakens, and those on top (monster, CB, HJ, Dice,etc) must take steps to protect there assets- which in any publishing platform, is content.
I've been a zealous social media supporter, and am working to bring a better understanding of this ecosystem to HR professionals. The truth is that while there may be some very good candidates found through social media, most organizations don't currently have the resources to wade through the enormous volumes of those disinterested in job opportunities and those who have created completely bogus profiles. Ultimately, it comes down to a question of return on investment.
If an employer can find 20 candidates with 85% of the profile they're looking for within a week of posting a job online (which only takes a small amount of time), is that activity more or less valuable than spending dozens if not more than a hundred hours filtering through social media and finding 2 candidates that have 95% of the profile you're looking for?
I believe that all three types of social media- Social Networking, Professional Networking, and Information Sharing- have tremendous value to HR professionals, and should be researched and utilized to build stronger employment brands and increased employee engagement. But these benefits must be presented with realistic expectations. Building employee networks, feedback loop venues, professional research interchanges, and customer engagement can all be taken to a new level with social media. When working with HR folks, I do my best to provide a very thorough analysis of the functionality of the various social media outlets, including benefits and drawbacks, and present them with scenarios in which they can leverage these services to their benefit.
That being said, specialization continues to offer significant advantages in the business to business community. I fear that by pushing businesspeople onto the social media to aggressively is akin to the superstore approach to consumer goods. Soon, people forget the quality of the goods they used to get at specialty stores, and replace the desire for quality with the convenience of cheap prices and one stop shopping- the dumbing of the consumer market. The same goes with trying to do too much through social media platforms that aren't truly designed to deliver the results businesses need.