Dollars to Donuts: Time for a New Analogy

dollars to donutsWe’re all familiar with the funny image that goes by various names, but is basically “Social media explained with donuts.” As a reminder, the full list is here.

Companies, including my own, use the “Donut List” to simplify the major social sites to novices. But as these sites add features and move to our mobile devices, the differences aren’t all that clear.

Take YouTube, indisputably the king of Internet video. But Facebook also hosts videos; they play right in your timeline. Google Plus, which owns YouTube, easily integrates with its sister company. Pinterest lets users pin videos, and even the business-minded LinkedIn allows companies to post videos if they upgrade to the premium packages.

Yes, virtually all the videos being watched on these different sites are coming from YouTube. But does the average user care? And what if you find that your brand’s videos are being watched more through a Facebook timeline than on

Another reason to update the Donut List is that Pinterest has evolved. It started out with a mostly female audience, no brand presence, and a large amount of recipe pins. But now the site has moved away from text and consists almost entirely of images. Brands are showing off their products, couples are building wedding registries, and just about everyone is sharing infographics. So what’s all this about recipes?

NASAAnd then there’s Google Plus. When the Donut List was first published, the social network was seen as a poor attempt to compete with Facebook. The Wall Street Journal called it a “virtual ghost town.” Hence the joke that only Google employees used the site. But Google integrated many of its other products into G+, including YouTube and Gmail, encouraging (some might say demanding) that users create a profile. Less controversial are the popular Google Hangouts, live G+ video chats with celebrities, thought leaders — even astronauts on the International Space Station. Today, Google Plus is the second-most popular social network in the world, behind Facebook. So now the joke’s on the Donut List.

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I have a few other quibbles with the Donut List. For example, Instagram may be known for its “vintage” filters, but people and brands are posting plenty of “unfiltered” images there, making it a competitor to Pinterest. And I’m not sure that image-hosting site Imgur will ever become a true social network, especially as Instagram and Pinterest become more popular.

In conclusion, the Donut List is funny and insightful, but is no longer accurate. Social media is always changing and so should the Donut List. How would you describe these social sites? Would you add any? Delete any? Let me know.

Until then, I’m grabbing a donut.

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.


4 Comments on “Dollars to Donuts: Time for a New Analogy

  1. Personally, I think the donut is pretty accurate. However, like social media itself, it’s going to need to evolve and change like you mentioned. I am still stunned by the number of people who don’t quite understand social media and the various platforms. It’s easy to forget that for many many people the only access they have is to Facebook and Twitter. When a newer platform arrives on the scene, like Instagram or Pinterest did, they hear something about it and assume it stays the same. However, we have seen both of those change from recipe & craft exchanges as well as family photo hubs into significant players in the marketing world. Using the “donut analogy” seems to be a great way for people to at least be exposed to newer ways of using social media. From there one would hope they check it out and see just how much power each of them have!
    Ken Schmitt

  2. Thanks, Jody. I like the “Donut List” because a donut (like the argument that *Social Recruiting is an effective tool for quickly and affordably putting quality butts in chairs) is full of holes…


    *IMHO, placing an ad on LI or sending InMails is not “Social Recruiting” it’s “Post’n Pray 2.0.”

  3. Keith, putting an ad on LinkedIn may be a new version of “Post and Pray,” but I don’t think that engaging with job-seekers on Twitter or Facebook — answering questions, addressing concerns, and posting job-search tips — is a new version of, well, *anything.* Never before have candidates and hiring managers been able to converse in such an easy, informal (and public) way before or after an interview.

    Just as social media has improved customer service, I believe it’s completely revolutionized candidate care. Ask a job-seeker if they’d prefer a job at a company with only a clunky careers site and an difficult online application, or a company whose HR professionals are on social media, talking to applicants and posting news about the company, and I imagine most would prefer the latter.

    In addition, Jobvite and others have showed that many employers find that social recruiting reduces time to hire, cost per hire, and turnover. So I would say, yes, social recruiting IS an effective tool for quickly and affordably putting quality butts in chairs. No praying required.

  4. Thanks, Jason.
    As a recruiter: if I see someone who looks “good,” I don’t want to “engage” or “develop a relationship” with them, I want to get them hired NOW! To slightly modify what I said yesterday in another post- “Folks: I would be happy to work to use SNR for your companies- just don’t expect any significant amount of hires from them, certainly not within the next several months at the earliest. Consequently, those hiring managers who want quality and affordable butts in chairs NOW, will just have to wait….Oh and by the way, just forget that if you DID *want to build a group of people who would want to work for your company sometime in the future, there are much more efficient, pro-active, (and I’d guess) cost-effective ways of doing it than SNRs. Want to know what those better ways are? That would be telling…” You say SNR IS an effective tool for “quickly and affordably putting quality butts in chairs” so please:
    1) Define what YOU mean by SNR

    2) Show me the numbers- speed of hire, CPH, etc. for positions you have hired exclusively using SNR as you’ve defined it (and not other channels), and provide a “control” group of similar positions (with their numbers) which have been hired through other means.

    3) If possible, show which types of positions are “best” hired (as per the numbers) through SNR- some types of position might be more amenable to SNR than others.

    4) Describe how much time, money, and human power you’ve specifically devoted to SNR- Did you *train your existing staff how best to do it or did you hire new people who were more familiar with SNR to handle it? (I hope you didn’t have your existing recruiters resposnible for BOTH immediate and SNR recruiting- that would be rather schizophrenic, IMHO.)

    5) If possible, try and do an opportunity cost analysis- i.e., try and figure out what you could have been doing instead if you hadn’t devoted resources to SNR. Also (and this would be very hard to do) try and work out unintended consequences from using SNR.

    6) Finally: how and when do you measure success (or failure) with SNR?


    As a candidate: if I see a job which looks “good,” I don’t want to “engage” or “develop a relationship” with some perky pseudo-recruiter, I want to get hired NOW! As far as the “C-word” Candidate Care: companies DON’T (care). Here’s what I want as a candidate:
    1) No more than 90 seconds to find the job I want, and no more than 90 seconds to apply to it- preferably with an easy resume upload like Jobvite’s. If it were mobile, I’d want my application to be dropping and dragging my resume over an active area specific to the job or to the company overall, and that’s it. I’d want immediate notification of application.

    2) I’d want “in or out” notification to the next stage (telling me what the next stage is) within 2 business days, and that should take no longer than 1 week and ideally much less.

    3) I’d want”in or out” notification to the F2F or video interview stage within 2 business days, and that should take no longer than 1 week and ideally much less.

    4) I want to be able to easily track my continuing status online (including mobile), and if I have questions, there is atoll- free number to a virtual Candidate Care Assistant (not an overworked recruiter) who can help me with whatever I need to find out, real-time if possible and no more than 1 business day if not possible. This virtual CCA’s deliverables are to make sure that each and every candidate from entry-level grad through the highest executive has a PLEASANT application process, so that even if they don’t get the job, they’ll tell all their friends to apply because of how well they were treated.

    In summary: IMHO until we see **solid, objective proof otherwise, SNR should not be considered “Social Networking Recruiting” but “SNake oil Recruiting” and the chief beneficiaries of it are slick hucksters with high-level connections ready to sell the rapidly-aging “recruiting snake oil” to desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors who fail to recognize that in most cases they are futilely “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” of their companies’ ill-conceived, over-blown, grossly-dysfunctional hiring practices.

    Happy Friday, ‘Cruitaz!


    *If you did train them: how long was the training, who did it, and how much did it cost?
    **”Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” -Carl Sagan

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