Category Archives: productivity

It’s Not About the Tools, It’s About the People

We are all on Google+ now. It’s great because of who is here.

We were all on Quora at Christmas, because of who was there.

We continue to stay engaged on Twitter because of who is there.

We are bored with FaceBook because of who is there.

We use LinkedIn because of who we can find.

We use SocialCast in the Social Business Council because of who is there.

We use Jive with the Community Backchannel because of who is there.

We use Yammer in our jobs because of who is there.

It’s not about the tools, it’s about the relationship. The great thing about any social network is the socializing that takes place there. Yes, the tools are nice and a bad tool set can certainly squelch the conversation. But it’s not about the tools it’s about the relationships.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many people over the past few months who are not at all engaged in the social web. The line goes something like this….”I don’t have time for all that social media.” What they are really saying is “I don’t value those relationships and what I learn there. I get all I need from other sources.”

That’s fine. When people start to understand what they can get, the relationships they can build, and what an amazingly large diversity of ideas is out there, they decided to connect.

Many stick with email and cocktail hour networking. That’s fine, I do that sometime too, but I find it is not at all efficient as a stand alone activity. It’s good when I want to go deep with someone, but at a typical event, I can only do that with 1 or 2 people. At best, I’ll touch base with 5 or 10. During that same evening, I can touch hundreds or even thousands through online tools.

Through my BlogTwitterGoogle+ and various private communities, I can keep a conversation going with hundreds and my network can jump into overdrive when needed.

If you don’t want to use the social media tools now and think it’s too geeky, that’s fine. We used to say that about CompuServe and then AOL came along to break the ice among the masses. Then came FaceBook and everybody went online.

It is indeed gone widespread. Google+ may not replace FaceBook. Everyone may not get on Twitter, but in the long run, the mega trend is that, more and more, our lives are moving online. What was once called a “virtual” meeting is just a meeting.

Do any of you call your FaceBook friends “virtual” friends? Do you call these virtual conversations? No, it’s a wall post, it’s a message, it’s real interaction.

Social is happening, it is happening in different rates for different people, but there is no going back. As my friend Chris Rollyson says, It’s an “and” world, not an “or” world. We keep getting more ways to connect, as a result we are more connected, and finally we can innovate and move faster.

That is just what’s happening. Don’t deny it.

So go ahead, get social. You can start by connecting with me on TwitterLinkedIn, or Google+ and while you are at it, subscribe to my blog.

See you online!

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Filed under collaboration, community, conversations, Early Adopter, GooglePlus, microblogging, productivity, social, social media, tools, trends, twitter, web2.0

Facebook Today, Reminds Me of AOL in 1998

I find myself more and more leaving the constraints of Facebook and stepping out into the deep end of the social web.

 
 It was an interesting time, 1998. The early Internet starter kits were beginning to make it out. Netscape had introduced a nice browser. Microsoft was playing catch up with Internet Explorer. Mozilla was still around. The Internet was a wild west.

EBay and Amazon were just starting to get traction. There were a few tools for creating websites, and a few email services, but it was a rough time with people stumbling around in an attempt to reach out and publish information on the web. You needed a webmaster, well versed in HTML page markup or PERL scripts, to do anything worthwhile online.

In the late 1990s, the Internet was not a fun place for the masses. It was difficult to get around, set up an email address, or share files. America Online had just begun carpet bombing the US with millions of free AOL CDROM disks delivered through the US Postal Service in an attempt to snag as many subscriptions as possible.

The appeal was clear. Families in record numbers were buying their first desktop computer, loading up AOL, connecting their modem and beginning to share pictures, email, and news stories with each other. AOL started in the mid 1980s as a private network, but was quickly morphing into a gateway and a guide for the Internet by the mid 1990s. The famous “AOL Keyword” had become a universal locator for web content. Families in the millions jumped onto the internet through the safety of AOL. Soon AOL was flying high, valued large enough to buy the traditional media company, Time Warner. Just about then, the bubble burst and we all came back down to earth, ready for a new wave of innovators on the web.

A few years after the crash, Tim O’Reilly coined the phrase Web 2.0, and a few college students started building The FaceBook to allow students an easier way to connect and share with each other. As AOL was descending and the Time Warner merger began to look like the biggest corporate failure of all time, the social web began to take shape. Twitter, YouTube, Digg, Del.icio.us, Myspace, and Facebook began to gain ground with the early adopters. By 2009, Facebook was starting to gain real traction and in 2010, the new platform had a breakout year with Time Magazine granting “Person of the Year” honors to its founder Mark Zuckenberg.

Facebook is nice. It’s teaching us all a new language of “Likes”, comments, status updates, tagging, and general open sharing of our lives. While allowing us to share among close friends, it is also pushing the limits on privacy, and teaching us all to read the fine print as we all become more and more comfortable with expanding the circle of trusted friends that we share our lives with. Messaging on Facebook is so easy, many have abandoned email all together and just “Facebook” each other (that’s sending a note through Facebook). People often don’t know an email address, but find their friends by name and send them a message. Chatting is all the rage as well. Groups connect, share their lives, and expand their friendships online, blurring the lines between virtual and real.

Many people and businesses are using Facebook now as their primary branding website, drawing on the large population online. But at the same time, early adopters and web savvy professionals continue to push the envelope using twitter, flickr, youtube, twitpic, tweetchat, about.me, instagr.am, foursquare and a host of other “wild west” style social media tools. The social web is fully functional and all functions that are now done in the safety of Facebook are also done in the openness of the social web without the restriction of a closed circle of “friends.”

AOL put fences around the Internet in the late 1990s and allowed families and newbies a safe way to navigate, read news, follow “New Kids on the Block.” The public could share with each other online and join along out loud whenever a new message was delivered: “You’ve got mail!”

Just like AOL back then, Facebook today puts fences around the social web allowing an easy way for families and newbies to share photos, status updates, “likes”, and news of Justin Bieber in the safety and security of a protected social web environment. The real social web continues to thrive and innovate. I find myself more and more leaving the constraints of Facebook and stepping out into the deep end of the social web.

I wonder if, in a few years, Facebook will grow to enormous market value, purchase one of the Web 1.0 or traditional media companies and then go through a similar self-destruction as the openness of the full social web takes over. History does have a way of repeating itself. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or online (on Twitter).

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Filed under collaboration, community, conversations, Early Adopter, microblogging, productivity, social, social media, social web, tools, trends, web2.0

My Personal Technology Hype Cycle

This week, I’m looking at Tumblr, Ubuntu Desktop, SCVNGR and a few other technologies. Over these first few weeks of 2011, I’ve checked out Quora, Instagram, and Hot Pursuit (from EA) just to name a few. Some people say I’m tech savvy, others say I spend too much time with the “magic box” (iPhone), others say simply “I don’t know how you find the time for that”. Most just don’t care.

That’s fine with me. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am curious and I don’t mind taking a few risks with my time in order to discover useful innovations. Like all innovative people or organizations, success requires a bit of risk taking. We see it with the most innovative companies, they spend millions and sometimes billions on risky endeavors. They know that many of them will fail and turn into a waste of time and money. They try to ensure efforts are focused, but failure is simply a cost of innovation. You will make mistakes often, but the payoff is great. As a entrepreneurial friend once told me 1 in 10 startups hit it big, so he keeps doing them, sometimes several at a time. Eventually he expects to hit it big.

The same goes with innovation and personal productivity. If one is willing to invest the time (that’s my case, because I don’t have millions or billions of dollars), some of those investments will pay off.  Others will be a waste of some time.

As I was thinking it through today, I was taken by the simplicity of Gartner’s Hype Cycle curve. Gartner is famous at posting these hype cycles for various topics such as Social Software, Emerging Technologies, or Consumer Mobile Applications. They are so famous, there is even room for a Hype Cycle Parody piece by CIO columnist, Thomas Wailgum. His work from last summer was definitely tweet worthy.

So I thought, maybe I should paint a similar picture for my particular interest in technology. This is a fast moving cycle and will be quite different in 6 months. It also will not match your personal hype cycle since we are all drawn to different technologies for different reasons and priorities.

Anyway, I think you might find this interesting. You will find some items where you relate, but I expect more often you will find differences. That’s fine. That’s how we learn. I look forward to hearing what is on your personal hype cycle and where it falls on the curve.

So here is the first ever Jim Worth Personal Technology Hype Cycle, January, 2011 edition:

Technology Trigger: Focus.com, MacBook Air, iPad 2, iPhone 5, Ubuntu Linux, Tumblr, SCVNGR

Peak of Inflated Expectations: Instagram, Quora, Pandora, Pulse, Posterous, WordPress

Slipping down the slope: EA’s Hot Pursuit, Win 7, Google Reader, Eventbrite, Barcamp

Trough of Disillusionment: Yammer, Foursquare, Gowalla, Angry Birds, Ustream

Slope of Enlightenment: Instapaper, About.me, Kindle, Newsgator,

Plateau of Productivity: iPad, Twitter, iPhone 3gs, PBworks, Google Analytics, Blogger, Socialcast, Google Groups, MyWi hotspot

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Filed under productivity, technology, tools, trends

2 Months with my iPad

Welcome to all the new Global iPad owners.

Here is what I’ve learned since I got mine as an impulse buy on the US launch Day, April 3.

My favorite apps / ways of working:

Twitterrific for tweets
Weatherbug for weather
Instapaper for saving tweets
Amazon Kindle app for my books
Facebook on the safari browser
Yammer on the browser or iPhone app
Google maps
Gmail as the default mail client
Netflix for watching the instant queue
Planets for sky gazing

What are your favorites?

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Filed under Apple iPad Innovation, apps, Early Adopter, how to, Innovation, IPad, mobility, productivity, technology, tools, trends