Wednesday, September 15, 2004

How to Prosper On Ryze - Free Access

How to Prosper On Ryze - Free Access

Privacy: When you join the Ryze Business Network your page is marked "private" until you make it "public". This gives you time to organise your page and make it look interesting. Provide a small photograph, if not of yourself, then of something that you are interested in. Add some basic personal details, but don't include your real email address. Find half a dozen quotes you like and put them on the page. Make your page "public".

Your Ryze Name: You might also notice that almost everyone on Ryze, joins using their personal name, their real name. There are quite a number who choose a nickname, and a few who register under a business name. Using real names encourages trust. But it's possible that using a real name could cause you problems. How confident are you? How public is your real life? I've had lots of good things occur on Ryze because I use my real name. But I've also been abused by two people. (Called a "communist" and "Liberal moron" and a few similar things.) I'm a big boy, and things that are not true only hurt if you let them. Still there was a spat, I stepped up to the plate in defence of civil discussion and I got abused for it. That seldom happens on Ryze, but it's possible.

Who You Can Contact: Ryze says, "Basic level members can only communicate with people within 2 friends of them, or in the same networks as them." This means that there is encouragement for you to join many networks, or to develop a large lists of "friends". I personally think that works against building the best quality networks, but this emphasis on numbers is driven by commercial realities. Ryze is still learning how to make a great social success into a stable business.

Guestbooks: Ryze Guestbooks are "On". You have the option to turn your guestbook "Friends Only" or to turn it "Off". You can change your guestbook Preferences Setting. I suggest that you keep your guestbook public, but there might be good reasons why you would not want that. (You might for instance be the Prime Minister of some country. You need to lurk, but you don't want to be "public" and you of course don't use your real name.)

Scott Allen is one of the leading authorities on internet networking. Scott says, "I'm a big advocate of guestbooks, but I believe they're best used to promote the other person, not yourself. Thank them publicly for a favour they've done you, congratulate them on a recent success, provide a testimonial regarding their product or service, etc. Do them a service by calling public attention to something positive about them. And you look better in the process, too."

Public Guestbooks: When people visit your page they may leave a guestbook entry. In the beginning you might be "attacked" by a few foolish people trying to attract a newbie into their network marketing scheme. If you are not interested pay no attention. Delete the guestbook entry. When you visit a members Ryze page, you may have a chance of leaving a guestbook entry. If you have something interesting and positive to say, by all means make an entry. If your thoughts are negative, don't bother. It's a rare person who will appreciate an honest but critical remark. Save your efforts for things that are productive.

Join some networks: I suggest that in the beginning you join one high traffic network and six to ten low traffic networks. You can't tell which is which until you see the traffic flows. Join networks that are related to things that interest you. Use the filter on your email system to direct all the mail from Ryze Networks into a Ryze Network folder, this mail should not go into your inbox at all. If you have joined a high traffic network the mail messages from that network will be huge, maybe as many as 100 letters a day. Turn the message notification to that network off. Decide to visit that network every day, and be sure you do that. The other networks with low traffic will get mail in little bursts. There may be nothing for a week or so and then a little clutch of 4-10 letters. You need email notification for networks like that.

Ryze says, "The Networks section of home pages is only visible to members within 2 friends or who are both in the same Network." That means that one restriction on free members is the inability to see who's there, and to see all the information about the people who are there. This policy forces "free members" to join more networks if they want to extend their range of contacts. I think that leads to silly behaviours like joining networks you never visit and have little interest in.

Successful Lurking: Now you need to spend perhaps half an hour a day reading the mail on your networks. They call this reading behaviour "lurking" because although you are a member, and although you read the mail, none of members of the network know you are there. This is a learning time. You will lurk until you have the knowledge and the courage to change your status and to write something yourself. Most people can't imagine that they will do that. Please remember this idea for later use: As a reader of a list or network you are not fully engaged. Once you identify yourself and begin to write to a network your engagement with the group changes, and the benefits of membership begin to multiply. All learning is social, but to benefit you need to behave in a social way. You decide when to claim your full rights as a peer. That starts when you begin to offer your own viewpoint in a public forum.

Friends: One of the standard features of the social network scene is the identification of friends. As a new member, you may feel obliged to accept everyone who turns up as a "friend". You need not do that, just accept as "friends" those people you have developed a knowledge of, people who are known to you and who have a good reputation in your eyes. Choose your friends wisely. And choose wisely when you ask someone you know to be identified as your friend too. Current Ryze policy encourages people to add as many people as possible to their "friends List" which is entirely contrary to what I think a friends list should be. There is pressure for a second level of friends, perhaps, "People I know", but that option doesn't currently exist.

Contact Manager: On Ryze there is an option to place a record in your "Contact Manager" when you visit the homepage of any Ryze Member. This tool is poorly understood and poorly used. I suggest you establish a routine were you add to your contacts anyone you are likely to be interested in at some future time. You can edit the information in the Contact Manager. If you leave a guestbook entry or send a personal massage, you might choose to record the date in the Contact Manager. If you make an offer to someone, you might record the date and the type of offer made. There is a place for Phone Numbers. Email, URL:, Company, Company Address, Home:, Home Address, Category, Follow Up Date, Interests, and Notes plus a direct link to the persons Ryze Homepage. I've neglected this facility, but now I see that I can edit the record and that it's private to myself, I'll make more use of it.

Pivot and Advanced Searching:You can use the pivot search process to build a list of people who work in an industry, or to find out who lists photography as a hobby, or who shares my interest in innovation. If I'm looking for specific and uncommon expertise, this can be valuable. As a free member though, you will not be able to "see" all the people available because of the "two degrees" restriction.

Collecting "Knowledge" Data: There are several more things you need to do as a member of Ryze to get the best benefits. First of all look for ideas and opinions that inform your knowledge base; learn. I end up printing several pages a day of interesting material collected on Ryze. I cut and paste the best letters, or parts of them into my word processor, edit slightly to remove extra blank lines and extraneous address details, and print the resulting text. It's much more efficient to read papers than to read text on screen. (However it also costs much more. I run a laser printer.) The very best of these papers eventually get filed in a subject labeled vertical file.

People Data: Second, find people you identify as interesting and knowledgeable. Perhaps you might print part of the homepage's of those people, and keep that detail in a folder somewhere. Too little attention is given to finding good people. When you seek information on a topic you find something useful but specific. When you find a good person, he or she is likely to have sound ideas on hundreds of topics. Good people are the pure gold of networking. Of course you will do your best to be a "good person" in the eyes of other people. Ryze works because mostly that's what people are doing.

Network Data: When you visit the Ryze pages of people you admire, check-out the networks they have joined. Have they found something interesting that might interest you? Some of the Networks you originally joined will be run by people who have poor leadership skills. Leave. You don't have the time to waste. As a free member sometimes the network memberships of a person you are visiting won't be visible to you.

Writing to Networks: You can write to networks in plain text. Write only when you have something to say. Please avoid wasting the valuable time of other people, by posting two line "replies" that add nothing to the knowledge of the group. Form an opinion. Express your opinion. Quote from previous letters, but generally delete any previous text that's not part of the issue under discussion. You only become a full member of a network once you begin to post your own letters. When that happens your interest in the network will increase, and other people will learn that you are there, and who you are too.

Writing in HTML: This seems like an advanced skill to a newbie. If you need to, get a copy of the Mozilla Browser which has a WYSIWYG editor caller Mozilla Composer in it. You can make headings, bold text, change fonts, and create links all without any special skills to learn. You can view the source, and you can cut and paste the source into a Ryze page or a Ryze letter. It's a simple process. You'll soon learn how to make minor changes to the source code. One day you will find you don't need the WYSIWYG editor any more.

John S Veitch
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Anonymous said...

I really like this article and will bookmark it. I just wanted to add a tip I figured out. When I find "good" or interesting people, I add them to my contact list. Even as a free user, I can add anyone from their Ryze homepage. There is even a place to put notes about them.

Linda Bohrnerud

Reverend Brenda Hoffman said...

Thank you for this article! I'm really trying to use Ryze to get out of it the most of what it has to offer and I feel better prepared to do so now that I have read your article!

~ ReverendSassy

Patricia said...

Thank you so much for this great blog~! I found your info thru the now closed Education Network! I plan on passing your info/links onto my networks I run on ryze as part of my ongoing Ryze Weekly Tips n Tid Bits....

Looking forward to reading more and possibly networking thru Ryze! Success, Patricia

Lindy said...

Great article on using Ryze. Thanks for taking the time. I particularly like your reminder of the power of using your real name in gaining trust on a network. Well stated, John.

Oldbuddy said...

I have been away from Ryze for quite a while, but your Blog and Network are enticing me to give it another try. Thanks.