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

iPad 2: You Only Have One Chance to Make A First Impression

My 7 year old son is sitting next to me. He just woke up and came downstairs to grab my iPad 2 from my hands. His first words…”Oh cool, you got iMovie”

That’s OK, he can play with it for now. I have been up for 2 hours and can take a break to write up my first impressions. I’m typing on my laptop because writing a blog post on the touch screen keyboard is just too slow for this seasoned touch typest. But that’s OK. The iPad is not designed to replace a laptop. It’s another animal all together. As Steve Jobs said it is part of the Post PC class of devices.

I unboxed my new 32GB White wifi unit last night at 6pm. Here’s how it went.

  • It came fully charged
  • I plugged it into to iTunes and was automatically asked if I wanted to restore from my iPad 1 (16GB wifi) backup.  The restore took about 15 minutes, but no apps came down.
  • I had to manually select all the apps and do another sync.  This time it took about 20 minutes.  I went to eat dinner and came back about 6:45.
  • All passwords needed to be re-entered (mail accounts, app store, etc.)
  • By 7, I was up and running.  Most frustrating was that my app icons were all over the place.  I needed to manually set them back where I wanted them.  There was no real rhyme or reason to the app location on my iPad 1, but over the last 11 months, I had built up about 6 pages of apps and just become accustomed to where they were.  I guess the discipline of cleaning this up was really necessary.  So no big deal.
  • I tried to call a few friends with FaceTime.  I got through to my iPad buddy Nate who was setting up his too (read his post).  In about 5 seconds I saw him with his 3 year old son and we had a nice chat.  We had nothing really to talk about so we hung up.  I called two more, but got no answer.  Later that evening my iPhone buddy RB called me back…that is really cool.  I like FaceTime.
  • The camera is nice, but remarkably coarse and low quality, especially in low light.  It works, but I expect this will be one of the upgrades when the iPad 3 comes out.  For now, coarse front camera is better than no camera…kind of like the early camera phones.  The back camera is better, but you need good light, not the ambient light at my house after dinner.
  • Yes, it is fast.  I’m not sure if it is 2x as fast or 9x the graphics, but if Steve says so, it must be true.
  • I really miss my standard Apple iPad case.  The store did not have any accessories, so I’m using the iPad “au natural” with no case.  I’m not sure I will go with the standard “smart cover”.  (See the review here.)  I really like to cover the back, it prevents slips when I set it down and also makes it easier to hold.  There is a reason they put a textured cover on a book.  I would never read a metal slippery magazine.  I really don’t get where Apple thinks we will all do that.  Back to the case, I put my iPad 2 in the standard Apple iPad 1 case and it looked like a skinny kid in his father’s suit.  Even with the baggy fit, I may use that case until I can buy one with the same function that fits the slimmer offspring.
  • Speaking of kids, my 7 year old is all over this iPad.  He is making some incredible music with Garage Band and already working some videos with iMovie.  Both are incredibly powerful applications, perform well on the iPad 2 and bring pleasure immediately in their simplicity and ability to create a slick media product.  That’s $9.98 I don’t mind spending.
  • It’s not about the device, but about the media and the content.  I reloaded Murdoch’s “The Daily” and caught up on the news…There is plenty of it today with the horrible devastation in Japan.  All my content feeds work well….web browsing with safari (I didn’t even notice any of the improvements), tweeting with twitterrific, gmail, and a new app called Zite.  It creates a custom magazine based on my tweet reading habits (kind of creepy, but it looks promising)

Well, that’s what comes to mind right away.  I’m an experienced iPad user who is eager to stay on top of the technology as it evolves.  It’s a good experience that just got a little bit better.  In time, I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to say, but this is one happy Early Adopter.

Now if I can only get it back from my son.

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Filed under Apple iPad Innovation, Early Adopter, IPad, iPad 2

Mobility Brings Ease of Consumption

You’ve probably seen the commercial for the NFL Network where the hi-tech fan goes through his day glued to the content from the NFL Network while seamlessly switching between all his consumption devices: TV, Tablet, Laptop, Smartphone, and then back to the TV when he returns home.  I went through something very similar this week, but without all the dazzling special effects.

My story does not involve the NFL, but rather The 2.0 Adoption Council.  This group really rocks.  It’s a great collection of Enterprise 2.0 / Social Business peers that have become good friends in the 18 months that I have been a member.  One of the many benefits of membership is the ability to have direct access to some of the best minds in the industry.  They are called Guru Sessions and take place regularly through a teleconference line.  That could be a good topic for a blog post, but that’s not where I’m going with this.  It’s just the context.  Read on.

My schedule did not allow me to join the last two guru sessions that typically take place on Tuesdays at 1pm. First of all booking gurus like Andrew McAfee, Shel Israel, Don Tapscott and now Chuck Ganapathi, SVP of Products at Saleforce.com discussing the rollout of Chatter is no small feat. To have an opportunity to have a private briefing with these leaders in our industry is very valuable. It is insight we could never get from our normal channels. Quite frankly, it gives each of us a totally unfair advantage within our companies as we position ourselves to be the leading authority in our organizations on Social Business, Enterprise 2.0, and general state-of-the-art collaboration issues.

The approach is simple. Line up an expert, prepare a few questions, keep a back channel open for conversations and collaboration during the session, and most importantly, archive the conversation for those who could not be there live. I am one of those who really is enjoying this replay capability.   When I think back on it, the sequence of events is quite remarkable. Now, with a variety to tools, unheard of at the beginning of the internet revolution, I can get unprecedented access to some invaluable content.

I want to tell the story so that other early adopters can visualize an approach that I think is indicative of the future. The example I mention is time shifted consumption of the Guru Session content, but you could apply this to any webinar or online event you attend (or miss).

This is what I did. If you are also one who is too busy to catch a session (or any webinar / teleconference for that matter), you can do the same thing too. But like most adoption issues, we often need a little nudge to get us over the hump. Let this be your nudge. This is how I did it last Wednesday.

1. Pay attention to schedule of upcoming sessions (generically, webinars, teleconferences, events and the like), see if I can attend and take part if at all possible.

2. When I cannot attend, monitor the back channel (Socialcast in the case of the council, Twitter hashtag archive for public events), look at the flavor of the questions and answers to decide if it is good to hear the archive.

3. Notice the link to the playback archive, click the button and begin to listen (in my case over coffee the next morning at 5am through my iPad). The MP3 link typically plays immediately in the native quicktime player.

4. Cut and paste the URL of the replay and email it to myself for later listening.

5. Later in the day, while commuting to work, plug my iPhone into the aux jack in my car, Open my email (on my iPhone), click the URL for the replay, listen while driving.

6. When I get to the parking lot at work, put on my blue tooth headset, pop the phone into my pocket and walk into work (while still listening to the reply).

7. Throughout the replay when not driving, glance down at the backchannel discussion in the community (Socialcast in the Council’s case, Twitter in the generic case) and follow along in real time with the comments for context.

8. Get into the office, continue listening, log on to the desktop version of the backchannel and continue following along in real time.

9. Write a blog post while finishing the session to let everyone else know how valuable this is. (the sessions and also the ability to consume on multiple platforms).

It’s like the recent NFL Network television commercial in many ways.  The spot is really a sci-fi fantasy, but using the tools available now, today’s reality is getting incredibly close.

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Filed under consumption, content, conversations, enterprise20, microblogging, mobility

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

My 21 Personal Productivity Discoveries in 2010

It’s January 1, 2011 and as I read all the reflective posts, it has me thinking of the new technology that I experienced in 2010. Before we all forget what a big year it was and dive right into 2011 innovations, let’s take a moment to reflect.

For me, it was all about the Social Web, Mobility, and of course, the iPad (the only device to make the list). What an impact these innovations have had! I’m not an analyst or a app vendor, and have no agenda to promote any particular technology. I simply seek out technology to simplify my connection with others and to make my day more productive .
2010 was a year of experimenting for this “Early Adopter”. This day, one year ago, I had no idea I would discover and incorporate the following into my regular routine. I bet many of these tools were (or maybe are) new to you as well. I’m sure there are some I missed and many that I have yet to discover.  So please suggest more through comments or Tweets.
MyWi (iPhone hotspot)
Twitterrific twitter app
WTHashtag.com tweet archiving
Pbworks.com simple wiki
Google analytics stat tracking
Google reader RSS reader
Socialcast community microblogging
Instapaper cloud based bookmarking
Goodreader PDF/PPT reader for iPad
Quora crowsourced Q or A
Posterous blogging
Barcamp unconference approach

Ustream personal broadcasting
Eventbrite event registration
iPad tablet
Angry birds timedraining game
Pulse RSS reader

Pandora personal radio
Foursquare location based service
Gowalla another take on location based services
OK, they are not all productive (Angry Birds, Foursquare and Gowalla) but those that aren’t, do break new ground and are enjoyable (for a season, at least). 

The really neat thing is you told me about all of these innovations. I learn about them by keeping up with the conversation on the Social Web. I’m sure I will think of others that I forgot. But just looking at this list of innovations I didn’t even know about 12 months ago is a bit overwhelming.

I wonder if this pace of innovation will continue into 2011. I can only imagine what next year’s list will look like on New Years Day, 2012. It’s going to be a great ride.  Let’s take it together.

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Filed under Apple iPad Innovation, apps, Innovation, mobility, social web

Is it Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business?


During the Holiday break, I jumped into Quora, the growing crowdsourced Q&A site. If you have not given it a try yet, you should check if out. There are some sharp people there.

I could not resist when the question came up: What are the distinctions between Social Business & Enterprise 2.0?

My answer is posted here. but I figured, hey, this is worthy of a blog post. I hope you agree (about the blog post part.). This is my view as a practitioner / player in this space. There is no right or wrong answer since this field is quickly evolving, just lots of opinions. (you can read other answers here.) Therefore I respectfully submit mine.

Q. What are the distinctions between Social Business & Enterprise 2.o?

A. In my view Enterprise 2.0 involves social networking within a large enterprise. This includes a single profile of each employee, communties made up of those employees, and an activity stream tying it together (alerting colleagues to activities and events with those profiles and communities). Microblogging is another aspect of E2.0. #E20 is the twitter hashtag for Enterprise 2.0

In parallel, we are seeing other aspects of social media make it’s mark (reputation monitoring and marketing through consumer channels such as Facebook, YouTube, flickr, twitter). #socialmedia is the common hashtag.

CRM systems are starting to expand to enable engaging with customers and partners in a meaningful dialog. This is commonly called Social CRM. #SocialCRM or #SCRM are common hashtags.

E2.0 activities evolve to include mixed communities made up of employees and external business partners. There are some camps that continue to call this Enterprise 2.0 and others that want to call it something else (external Collaboration for example).

Social Business pulls it all together to convey any business use of social media or web 2.0 activities and practices. Just like E-Business pulled it all together in the early e-commerce days, I believe Social Business pulls it all together for corporate web 2.0 applications today. #SocBiz is the hashtag.

These terms are used mostly by vendors and practitioners. Most corporate leaders prefer to speak in business terms referring to professional networking, collaboration, or online communities, among other generic terms. I seldom hear the terms Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business among business executives.

Do you have another view? Please tweet it or post below in the comments. Or just let me know what you think on twitter at @jimworth .

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Filed under enterprise20, social business, social CRM, social media, social web

Your eNewsletter is Old School


I still get many e-newsletters in my inbox. Many of them have very good content, but I am finding that I get more and more frustrated with the lack of social integration. I receive something interesting, I want share it with my network. If I were “old school”, I would just forward that email to all my friends…yuck.

So I look for the share features that are starting to emerge. I received one recently that had a link to share it on twitter. I clicked it and got a twitter window with a very cryptic preformatted tweet (ugly headline, shortened URL, and a hashtag ad for the newsletter platform)…double yuck.

It got me thinking…as I look at these e-newsletters that were all the rage just 5 years ago, it is painfully obvious to me that it is time for these companies to “get social”. I’d like to share some strategy and tactics just in case you find your e-marketing method “old school” and are longing for a way to break out and get social in 2011.

Here is my short list of recommendations. These were created with an event management company in mind, but probably translate well to anyone using e-mail marketing to promote their organization.

  1. Leverage your e-newsletter into a ongoing twitter campaign
  2. Build a community with your audience using a microblogging tool (maybe from Socialcast) and a community platform (maybe from Jive)
  3. Update your website and communications with various “share” features (see this example blog)
  4. Utilize YouTube and Flickr to share the excitement of your events with your audience
  5. Encourage blogging from and about your events
  6. Add a twitter hashtag to every event and promote it in all literature and communications. Register it on what the hashtag
  7. Utilize a wiki to crowd source and then archive tweets, blogposts, and user generated content about your events

If you would like to expand on these recommendations, share example best practices, or just add you 2 cents, please tweet it or comment below.

Let’s make a resolution to drop the “old school” e-marketing tactics of the 2000s and move full speed into the “new school” social media tactics of the 2010s.

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Filed under e-newsletters, how to, social, social media, social web