Sunday, April 04, 2010

Putting Yourself in the Picture

Why Twitter is so powerful

Steve Wheeler writes:
"There are two types of people in the world. Those who get Twitter and those who don't."

"For me, the value of Twitter is in tapping into its social critical mass. I think that most people who try Twitter and fail to see its value don't give it enough time. If they persisted and put some time into developing their contacts and connections on Twitter, they may discover that it pays them back for the time they have invested. To do this they can use lists, following those who are good value and produce useful content, while at the same time tweeting content that others may find useful."

"Twitter is powerful because it allows people to share their emotions - you can gain a window on their everyday experiences, and that often helps you in your own daily struggles. I am often encouraged by people who share snapshots of what is happening in their lives right now. It's an important dimension - I have made many friends on Twitter whom I have later met and strengthened my friendships with. Self disclosure is a risky thing, but others often reciprocate."

In his blog "The Obvious" Euan Semple writes about the need to be human.

Being Human

"In order for the promised benefits of Enterprise 2.0 to become reality people have to be prepared to say what they think. Sadly in conversation about this many people say something along the lines of "most people don't want to think". I am beginning to suspect they may be right. The biggest challenge to getting people to share isn't to do with technology it is to do with very personal challenges and issues that relate to their sense of self and their relationship with their employers."

In my experience problems occur in blogs and forums when people post material from third sources, and do not disclose their own personal viewpoint. They hide behind some supposed "expert". This helps to spread propaganda across the Internet, but does nothing to lift the level of communication or to develop trust.

Too many people are not sure what they think. You gain confidence about that when you talk to other people or when you write yourself in a blog or on a forum. The old teachers joke about the child in first grade, contains a truth that applies to us all.

Teacher: "Jane why can't your stop talking/"

Jane: "If I don't talk, Miss, how will I know what I'm thinking?"

It's true. When we talk to others in conversation, we find ourselves saying things that we didn't know we knew. The same thing occurs when you begin to write something. The words develop a story of their own. Tapping into that creative stream of your own knowledge, and confirming it, and finding the courage to reject all the rubbish you've been taught, that is also "in you" somewhere, is what social networking is good for.

John Stephen Veitch
The Network Ambassador
Open Future Limited - You may comment privately to John S Veitch using this form.

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Getting started in a new Social Network

This post was written about Ryze, but the principles here apply to every online social network.

People come to new social networks with personal preconceptions that prevent success.


It's not about your ADVERTISING.

The first things you need to do help you to find out where you are. What is Ryze (in this case) like. "Seek first to understand" says Steven Covey. Please take his advice. Whatever network you have joined, try to look around first. (If it's a very new network there may not be much to find. But try to discover what's there. Give it a few days and a few hours too.

To become a real member you have to DO something. Having looked around as you have you'll be able to see what needs to be done first. Usually that means joining some groups, networks, boards, or something similar. On Ryze I recommend:

1. Join at least TEN networks.

Then do some reading, find out what's of interest. I mean what sorts of topics are discussed and were advertising is allowed and not allowed, and then find experienced people. (They are usually the ones writing the interesting posts.)

2. Identify the key people here.

Come willing to learn. Visit the Ryze homepages of at least 30 experienced network members. Note the NAMES of the ten people with the best personal pages.

Go back to those pages and try to work out why those pages are "Best" in your view. You probably can't do as good as that yet, but in a year or so, you page will be "best" too.

3. Build a NEW profile here.

The next task is to create your own profile page. There are some general rules.

Use your real name - build trust; try to be a real person - not your business. Restrain the urge to advertise.

Complete your personal information as required. Usually this demands filling in a lot of boxes. It's tempting to past stuff from previous networks but I recommend beginning again. Make this one different. I find they tend to get better, and for me they are also getting shorter. Include a photograph of yourself, and not the dog. Write 15-25 lines about yourself. You don't need a lot, your main purpose is to be real to your readers. Finally if there is one, open your Guest Book.

That's about a month's work for most people, two days for some.

I've found that 80% of new members remain forever newbies, they NEVER find out how to use whatever network they have joined. Most people after four years have made only about a months worth of progress. Why? Because they never took the time in the beginning to find out how to use this network.

18% of people do a good deal better than that. But I want to point to the top 2%. They make remarkable and rapid progress. They do it by doing very simple things. They are not wonder-kind. They simply communicate easily and well in a conversational way with lots of people.

You can do that too.

John Stephen Veitch
The Network Ambassador
Open Future Limited - Comment privately to John S Veitch.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Protecting the Social Commons

I was invited to be a team leader in a new marketing effort based on "traffic generation". It was a well prepared and well documented offer. Maybe it was an opportunity to make quite a lot of money. I said no. We've seen this all before. Most of these people have little or no impact. But the tools are changing as our ability to communicate across the social networking commons improves.

Remember the time when robots harvested email addresses from web sites and we all got hundreds of emails about things that had no connection to us. SPAM.Today we protect ourselves with spam-filters, but the attack, changed forever how email is used.

The problem with spam, was that it destroyed the value of a perfectly good and very cheap tool. Email space was a common, and pirates tried to steal it from us. Largely they SUCCEEDED. In terms of personal communication of an important kind, I no longer use email. Email for me is reserved for easy group communication.

Some of the new personal communication is on Facebook, a little on Ryze. Only business matters on LinkedIn and Twitter. Skype has become a key tool. In each of these new social networking spaces there is a communication common, free of unwanted noise.There are tools in each social network that so far have kept that space relatively free of "noise".

People are planning to invade our communication common with marketing messages.One guy's set up 100's of interconnected blogs, and thousands of bogus twitter accounts. I think I discovered someone creating hundreds of bogus Ryze accounts too. The plan is to invade your privacy, and to profit from social media.

There are lots of people, in the social media common, who would like to,and expect to, profit from being a member of the Social Media space, on Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn, Ryze and elsewhere. That's fine. There are social ways to achieve that, and there are destructive anti-social ways to do it.

Our commons is protected in two ways. The administrative rules of Ryze, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are part of the defense. But users themselves need also to understand first that the common exists, and second that it needs to be defended.

There is a long inglorious history about "the Commons". The rules are never strong enough, and social action is too weak and too late. Eventually the commons is invaded and destroyed. This battle is being fought today. Our task?To remain alert, and to do your best to protect what you have.

John Stephen Veitch
The Network Ambassador
Open Future Limited - You may comment privately to John S Veitch using this form.