Category Archives: web2.0

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

Tune In to the Social Web


I often find myself describing the “social web” to my friends.  Many are interested and wonder what I mean.  I go on to describe it with a simple analogy.

The social web is like a engaging radio station, but imagine you have never purchased a radio.  The signals are moving around, there is great music, stimulating talk, and even some good educational content.  Until you get a radio and tune to the station, you will have no idea such interesting and engaging content is out there.  Buy that radio, tune in and presto! You discover a whole world of knowledge and conversation out there that had been passing you by.

The social web is much like that.  Through the combination of tweets and blog posts, there are exciting conversations taking place.  Most likely, you would really get value if only you knew they were taking place, listened in, and were confident in how to add your voice.

I was with a friend the other day who is searching for an high level business development position as a result of the, all to common, “corporate restructuring” of this day.   He is doing all the right things, making phone calls, attending networking events, and polishing up his resume, but he wanted to talk with me about twitter.  How would he get started and what should he do?  I gave him a short but simple tutorial, starting with my radio station analogy.  You see, he wants to join into the conversation about opportunities within his industry.  He wants to plug into the inside story on developing startups in his field and learn of trends and opportunities out in the market.  He just needed to get familiar with the new medium.

I took him through the basics:  get a nicely cropped photo for Twitter, turn off the protected tweets, start following a few interesting people.  I even told him to look for hash tags in his industry and then seek out and follow those interesting people tweeting with those tags. I think he is well on his way to get in on the conversation.

I have seen this repeated many times.  It is rewarding to bring others into the conversation and help them “tune their radios” to the right stations.  There is the blogging Mom who is now joining the conversation, the budding theologian sharing his thoughts through blog posts and tweets, and the computer network professional who is building his business through a reputation for good work ethic amplified by engaging blog posts and tweets.

You don’t need a fancy website, a custom domain name, or even Facebook to do this.  You just need to dive into the deep end of the social web, join into the tweet stream, and maybe even blog a bit.  There is a big world out there with hundreds of millions of interesting people.  Why don’t you just “tune your radio” to the right station and then join us in the social web.

Next thought…Building your personal brand on the social web.  Stay tuned.

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Filed under community, conversations, how to tweet, microblogging, social web, 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

Twitter, The Activity Stream of the Social Web

I’ve been on Twitter almost 2 years now and have some observations. I love the transparency and the “Work Out Loud” attitude it promotes. It truly is the nervous system of the Social Web.

Let me mention some basics first and then dig into it a little on how I think this simple tool is revolutionizing interactions on the web. First of all the basics:

  • A tweet is a 140 character statement that is sent to followers.
  • A retweet (RT) is when a follower finds that interesting and sends it on to his/her followers
  • A hashtag (#E20 for example) is a user generated tag that helps identify a topic in the tweet.
  • One can search on a hashtag to find all recent tweets on a particular topic.
  • When you first sign up to twitter, you have no followers, and you follow no one…boring
  • In time, a new tweeter begins to follow interesting people and others begin to find the tweeter interesting and follow him/her.
  • Once you get to a critical mass (50 or so followers and following you) it starts to get interesting
  • A direct message (DM) is a private tweet delivered to one person
  • A @message is a semi-private tweet that is delivered to that one person, but visible only to all who follow both of you that are conversing. You compose the message by beginning with @ followed by the recepient’s twitter name.
  • A tweeter’s full tweet stream (except for DMs) is available for public viewing from the tweeter’s profile.
  • Many people use twitter.com for their tweet platform, but most use some other twitter “client” or program on their desktop, laptop, or mobile device. There are dozens of good twitter clients available for free.
  • Tweets can contain a link to interesting content. Most often the URL is shortened by an automated URL shortener (remember, we are working with just 140 characters here)

The beauty of Twitter is the simplicity. When you put this all together, you have a constant ebb and flow of conversation. The conversations create community. Communities create relationships, and Relationships create lasting value. Let me give you some examples.

The transparency of twitter allows one to “overhear” a conversation. When two people you follow are messaging each other, you can monitor the conversation in your main twitter stream. It’s interesting, you learn that a relationship exists just by witnessing the tweets.

Sometimes it’s like “high school”, you can see who is hanging with the “cool people”. For example if there is a “rock star” on a particular subject (call him Jerry) and I see he and a good friend of mine (call him John) are having a back and forth conversation, I can watch and say “Hey, I didn’t know John knew Jerry that well”. John must be a “rock star” too. My opinion of John is elevated and I suddenly see him in a different light.

The openness of the platform makes it easy to join the conversation. Simply enter you thoughts with the twitter IDs of John and Jerry at the beginning and just like that, you are in the conversation as well. I think that is one of the great appeals of twitter, the ability to have meaningful converations and begin meaningful relationships with just a set of short messages.

Another great thing is the ability to join in and stay out at your convenience. Since the tweets are all captured, you can pick up the conversation later and not miss a thing. However, with the steady stream of tweets, many are missed. That’s alright. If someone wants to catch your attention, they just need to enter your twitter name into a point for you and it shows in your @mentions stream.

Finally, there is nothing like the “now” effect of twitter. Again, a “rock star” may be on line tweeting and if you reply immediately, it is likely he or she will see it before it gets lost in the long stream of tweets from other fans. There is nothing else like the accessibility of those tweeting. Generally if you see a new tweet, you can bet they are online right now and reading what comes their way. Yet another way to cultivate the conversation and begin to build a relationship.

I wonder what you have observed in the subtlety of the interactions and relationships you have built in Twitter. Tweet me @jimworth or add your comments below.

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Filed under community, conversations, how to tweet, microblogging, social media, twitter, web2.0

Enterprise 2.0 Conference Recaps

>One thing I learned at the recent E2.0 Conference in Boston was the power of a simple wiki. I started by trying to compile a list of interesting blog posts and tweeters from the conference. I started with a short list and decided to try the pbworks.com wiki engine. I posted a skeleton list and then tweeted it. With in 5 days it had grown to become a very compressive list that still grows. Please visit and contribute more. Thanks to the power of the crowd for creating such a great list!

Link here

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Filed under community, enterprise20, Innovation, social business, social CRM, social media, social web, trends, web2.0

>DigPharm Tweetlog Digital Pharma Europe, 29-30 March 2010 Berlin

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DigPharm Tweetlog from printyourtweets.com

Billed as the first ever Pharma “Unconference” in Europe, I stumbled upon Digital Pharma Europe this week through my twitter feeds. It looks interesting, so I thought I would follow it as I could from my outpost in Bucks County, PA (just north of Philadelphia).

I didn’t have the time yesterday to keep up with it in real time, but thanks to the #digpharm hashtag and all you “citizen reporters”, I was able to get caught up this morning. Then I thought, why keep this for myself, so here’s a PDF of the hashtag log so far. I’ll probably capture today’s tweets tomorrow morning so come back for more if you like it.

You can do this too just by going to printyourtweets.com…but you have to do it during the off hours because it can really slow down when all the Americans come to work.

Queue the music to Saturday Night Live…..
Live from Berlin, It’s Digital Pharma Europe !

links:
DigPharm Tweetlog from printyourtweets.com
DigPharm from Hashtags.org
DigPharm from wHasttag.com

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Filed under enterprise20, pharmaceutical, social, web2.0

Boy, it’s been a long time

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Sorry for being so slow to update this blog. It is looking like it has cobwebs. Really, I’ve been very busy implementing and had very little time to write. Over the next few weeks, I’ll hopefully be adding some thoughts. In the meantime, see tidbits on my twitter feed @jimworth.

I’ve been busy engaging with the 2.0 Adoption Council. It is a great bunch of smart people doing similar Enterprise 2.0 work at some of the largest companies in the US and Europe. Look for some more links in the New Year, but in the meantime here’s the latest that contains a small contribution by me: Practical Advice for 2010 on 2.0 Adoption

Happy New Year. 2010 will be a breakout year for Enterprise 2.0 applications!

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Filed under authenticity, transparency, web2.0