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Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

This morning I was surprised by two delightful tweets from fellow green and social media guru, Max Gladwell, and visual green thinker Franke James:

Tweets La Marguerite

What’s the fuss about? A mention in the UK Guardian, from Do The Green Thing startup co-founders Andy Hobsbawm and Naresh Ramshandani:

Which tech businesses or web thinkers are the ones to watch?

“For tech we read people like Clay Shirky, Nicholas Carr, Yochai Benkler, Howard Rheingold, Kevin Kelly and Bruce Sterling. For green thinking we follow things like WorldChanging.com, Max Gladwell, the TED blog, Treehugger, La Marguerite and folk like John Grant, Jules Peck and Amory Lovins.”

This acknowledgment comes at a time when I have expanded the scope of my thinking besides just ‘green’, to also include other interests such as, the role of social media in facilitating social change, as well as a rekindled involvement with insight  meditation.

I have also moved away from ‘traditional long-format blogging’, as here on WordPress, to a more organic way of sharing my thoughts on micro-blogging platform Twitter, where you can follow me every day here.

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It’s been several months already, since I started working on a new green tech project. And I want to share my excitement about our most favorite tool, our team wiki. Short and sweet, here are ten reasons why we could not do without our wiki:

  1. It’s free. Not all wikis are, but we found one that does not cost us a dime. We are planning to upgrade as we expand and need a more robust version.
  2. It’s easy to set up. All you need is a name, and you can start inviting your teammates to be co-administrators of your wiki.
  3. It’s easy to use. Don’t listen to all the scary wiki stories. While it’s true that some wikis can be a bit hard to learn – I never warmed up to SocialText for instance – , others, like PB Wiki, are a breeze.
  4. It’s oh so forgiving. No need to worry about messing up. You can always edit, rename, or delete a page. And if you change your mind, you can revert to earlier versions on your page history.
  5. It’s a virtual structure. The front page is a good place to list all the main areas of work for your project, with all the relevant pages underneath each area.
  6. It’s a task organizer. We are using the side bar to keep track of individual tasks. Nothing like seeing one’s name next to projects, to deliver.
  7. It’s a repository of  knowledge. We can each contribute our knowledge as we go, without having to worry about it ever getting lost.
  8. It’s a search tool. Type any keyword into the wiki search box, and you get a list of all the pages within your wiki with mentions of that keyword. Very,  very useful feature.
  9. It’s a safe box. No danger of Powerpoint presentations, Word documents, images, pdfs, disappearing. They’re all stored in the wiki ‘cloud’.
  10. It’s a playground. Uniquely fit for the creative needs of  startups. You can play alone, writing pages on your own. Or you can edit, or comment on each other’s pages.

And, no I don’t work for PB Wiki or any other wiki company.

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Today, McKinsey just released the results of a survey amongst executives on Web 2.0 adoption. Here are some excerpts:

1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top. Web 2.0 projects often are seen as grassroots experiments, and leaders sometimes believe the technologies will be adopted without management intervention—a “build it and they will come” philosophy. These business leaders are correct in thinking that participatory technologies are founded upon bottom-up involvement from frontline staffers and that this pattern is fundamentally different from the rollout of ERP systems, for example, where compliance with rules is mandatory. Successful participation, however, requires not only grassroots activity but also a different leadership approach: senior executives often become role models and lead through informal channels.

2. The best uses come from users—but they require help to scale. The applications that drive the most value through participatory technologies often aren’t those that management expects. Efforts go awry when organizations try to dictate their preferred uses of the technologies—a strategy that fits applications designed specifically to improve the performance of known processes—rather than observing what works and then scaling it up. When management chooses the wrong uses, organizations often don’t regroup by switching to applications that might be successful. 

3. What’s in the workflow is what gets used. Participatory technologies have the highest chance of success when incorporated into a user’s daily workflow. The importance of this principle is sometimes masked by short-term success when technologies are unveiled with great fanfare; with the excitement of the launch, contributions seem to flourish. As normal daily workloads pile up, however, the energy and attention surrounding the rollout decline, as does participation.

4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallets. Traditional management incentives aren’t particularly useful for encouraging participation. A more effective approach plays to the Web’s ethos and the participants’ desire for recognition: bolstering the reputation of participants in relevant communities, rewarding enthusiasm, or acknowledging the quality and usefulness of contributions.

5. The right solution comes from the right participants. Targeting users who can create a critical mass for participation as well as add value is another key to success. To select users who will help drive a self-sustaining effort (often enthusiastic early technology adopters who have rich personal networks and will thus share knowledge and exchange ideas), a thoughtful approach is required. 

6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk. A common reason for failed participation is discomfort with it, or even fear. Prudent managers should work with the legal, HR, and IT security functions to establish reasonable policies, such as prohibiting anonymous posting. Fears are often overblown, however, and the social norms enforced by users in the participating communities can be very effective at policing user exchanges and thus mitigating risks.

If you understand Web 2.0, none of these findings should be surprising. If you don’t, I am not sure reading the report will make a difference. To be understood, Web 2.0 is not to be read about. Instead, it has to be experienced. Hence, I will boil down McKinsey‘s 6 ways to only one:

If you want your company to catch the Web 2.0 train, make sure that you yourself, or other executives in your company are already in that train. Blog, and tweet, and start, or participate in wikis. Not just to try. That won’t work. No, you’ve got to be genuinely into it, and make it a part of your regular (work) life. Then, McKinsey‘s 6 rules will become second nature to you. And you may even discover more ingredients to add to the ‘Web 2.0 at work’ secret sauce. 

Now, I am going to tweet about this using #web2.0work hashtag, per @ McKQuarterly ‘s request – if you don’t understand, then I suggest you get a tutorial from one of your Web 2.0 savvy friends :)

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Tomorrow midnight, is the deadline for all Twitter fans to vote for the Shorty Awards. Turns out, the Green Moms group is one place short of winning the award in the Green category. Will you please help make this phenomenal group of  green girls the winner? 

Disclosure: I am a member of Green Moms – and no, I don’t suffer from being overly modest! :)

Here is some sample text to help get the word out re the contest. 

1. Go to twitter
2. Prepare this tweet ” @shortyawards I vote for @greenmoms in the Shorty Awards Finals for #green because…
3. add in your reason for voting for us. Without a reason your vote doesn’t count. Here are some ideas: the green movement needs more strong women! ..Moms can do anything! ….they tweet great info on going green
4  Send and you’re done!

If you are good to Green Moms, I promise I will return the favor some day . . .

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Just as I was finishing getting dressed in the YMCA locker room, this old black woman walks in with her walker, and starts talking to me, and telling me that she is 96 year old, and that she was on TV this morning. The local station did a segment on her, as part of a series on the new President’s inauguration Tuesday. Juanita is no ordinary lady. She is the oldest African-American in our county, and was born in 1913, in Oklahoma City. I find the fact that Juanita witnessed so much of our American history, and lived long enough to be a part of Tuesday’s celebration, incredibly moving. We probably spent a few minutes together, at the most, and I may never see her again. Yet, that random connection with her was filled with meaning, and I am not about to forget it any time soon.

Juanita made me think of  the many connections I have made on the Web with perfect strangers. Fleeting encounters, often times with no follow up, and yet precious. Tweets sending me support when I felt down, or answering a question just when I needed it. Comments on my blog that made me think, this person and I are made of the same cloth. Moments shared during the Presidential campaign, on Twitter 2008 Election. I have been asked how can I be following 2,000 people on Twitter? My answer is, precisely for the chance of these random connections. Time limited exchanges packed with feelings, or thoughts, and during which I was able to give and/or receive lots.

As the world becomes more and more one, and technology breaks down the barriers of communication, it is my sense that random connections on the Web will take more and more space in our lives. What we may give up in continuity, we gain in in the moment experiences.

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Following the ranks of new Twitter followers today, was Netflix7, Netflix’s new presence on my favorite network. I am not sure what Netflix is trying to accomplish. Regardless, it is helping me make a point. Companies need to better understand the meaning of ‘socia’l in social media. The beauty of well understood social media lies in its messengers: people. Substitute a recognizable human presence with an abstract brand of corporate entity, and the social in social media vanishes. The message becomes no more than interactive media, old style. 

If Netflix wants to engage me, capture instead all the existing conversations on Twitter, of which there are quite a few, judging from search I did on Twitter – 15 in just 30′ – and gather them, and share them, same way Trader Joe’s has done. And get the social media nuts in your ranks to evangelize for you, and listen to, and respond to these people already talking about Netflix. Same can be done with blogs, an other social media channels.

Simple enough?

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During our Dreamfish Lab meeting last week, Peter (Kaminski) suggested several cool titles for me and Paul (Loper) to read about complementary economy. Fascinating subject. I want to learn all there is to know about these very old, and also very new ways to capture transactions. There is only one problem. Books scare me now. They really do.

Ever since I discovered blogs, and Facebook, and Twitter, I have slowly, but surely moved away from books. My excuse: I have no time. There is always a new post to write, or read, or comment on, and stuff to tweet about. And when I need an answer, I go on Twitter or Linkedin, or to the  Google Search box. 

The thought of reading a book fills me with angst. I am not sure I am up to the task, anymore. The last time, was Obama‘s Dreams From my Father. But that was easy reading. My mind has become accustomed to quick scanning, quite a different gymnastic from sustained attention. 

I did a bit of research on “Internet culture”, “reading”, brain”, on Google . . . And came up with links to several blog articles. I am not alone apparently. The Internet generation is at risk of turning stupid, according to some researchers. Maryanne Wolf, from Tufts University,  devotes a whole chapter on the topic, in her book, Proust and the Squid: the Story and the Science of the Reading Brain.  Of course, I did not read the book. Instead, I read an article about the book, to get the main idea. 

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Tonight, after a long day working and dealing with several mini-family crisis, I still found the time to visit Twitter, and to read, and write a few tweets. That’s pretty remarkable, when you think of it. I mean, for Twitter. No other networks, no other site’s got that kind of hold on me.

It did not take me long to figure out 10 reasons why I can’t stay away from the little birdie:

  1. it’s simple
  2. it doesn’t ask much
  3. it gives back lots
  4. it’s always there for help
  5. it’s gloriously imperfect
  6. it’s a mirror of all of humanity
  7. it’s got all the answers – almost! -
  8. it’s poetic
  9. it lets me in on the latest news
  10. it’s alive

Now, I am going to tweet about this post . . .

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I understand, Facebook’s got a big policing job to do, and it’s hard to tell one naked breast from the other. Still, that should be no excuse for insulting millions of women. For those of you who may have missed it, Facebook  removed  thousands of pictures like this one from its site:

 

Kelli Roman's Facebook Breastfeeding Picture
Kelli Roman’s Facebook Breastfeeding Picture

Facebook is citing its policy against “obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit images”. 

Latest news is, Facebook won’t budge on breastfeeding photos . . . Way to go, Facebook. Now you have successfully pissed off half of your users. 

Please join me and 123,868 other Facebook members on the Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene (Official petition to Facebook) page.

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Online social capital is becoming a highly sought out asset, particularly for those seeking to market themselves and/or their services using social media. Based on my limited experience on the receiver’s end, here is a list of do’s and don’ts of social media:

10 Do’s of Social Media:

  1. Do comment on others’ blogs
  2. Do respond to comments on your own posts
  3. Do reciprocate comments with comments on commenter’s blog
  4. Do link generously to others’ posts
  5. Do answer emails/DM from your readers – I don’t care how important or how busy you are
  6. Do share parts about yourself that resonate with others
  7. Do make others feel better about themselves after they read you
  8. Do gift others with valuable information, offers of support, spontaneous acts of random kindness
  9. Do facilitate relevant connections amongst your readers
  10. Do answer others’ requests for help – signing of petitions, joining of causes, small donations

10 Don’ts of  Social Media:

  1. Not responding to comments on your posts
  2. Not responding to others’ online communications to you 
  3. Engaging in excessive self-promotion
  4. Making others feel bad, or even worse non existent
  5. Boasting about your 5,000 friends – frankly, I don’t give a dam
  6. Being a fake
  7. Pushing a product or a service
  8. Using others, for your personal gain only
  9. Sending automatically generated messages – this is supposed to be social
  10. Harassing others with too many asks 

Easier said than done. Particularly when dealing with multiple channels and significant numbers of ‘friends’. I have found the time required to be a good ‘friend’ an ongoing challenge. Consistent with HP’s Twitter Research quoted in Jeremiah Wang‘s blog, my coping strategy on Twitter, has been to relate with ‘friends’, in concentric circles, starting with a core of people I have an ongoing relationship with, then going into circles of decreasing interaction frequency.  In the blogging department, I have had phases of intense dedication, when I followed my own medicine to the letter, followed by periods of neglect, as happened recently before I relaunched this blog. 

I wonder, what else would you add to those two lists, either from a user or a producer’s perspective?

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