Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Relationships: Don’t Get Too Comfortable with Virtual Over Personal Ones

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We all live in a digital age, and there is no turning back the clock. However, it’s certainly not an excuse to rely solely on virtual relationships instead of real ones in your job and private life.

Of course it’s much easier today to email, text or use a social media outlet to communicate with others, but it shouldn’t become a crutch for personal, meaningful relationships. After all, the basic foundation for nearly all good business communication is solid personal relationships.

Because of the time we live in, people still need the “human factor” more than ever. They are inundated with technology at every turn and need to feel they are appreciated and valued by more than a congratulatory email or text. I admit, picking up the phone and calling someone does seem antiquated in this day and age. However, there is something fulfilling about actually getting a person live on the other end and having a conversation. There are benefits to an actual call that just can’t be realized via email or text. Moreover, in person, face to face meetings do more to build relationships over any other form of communication. Meeting someone allows you to bond and connect with someone beyond the reason you wanted to meet in the first place. It allows you to connect on a personal level which in turn provides better and more fruitful business dealings in the future.

This might sound duh to a lot of you, but when dinner parties turn into eight people sitting at a table staring at their iPhones, maybe it needs to be reiterated.

Trust me: I certainly appreciate the availability of mass communication and the accessibility of multiple forms of communicating in today’s digital world. We truly live in a miraculous time. However, we cannot and must not lose sight of the tremendous benefits that actual, live, relationships bring to us. Like so many other things in life, it’s about balance.

The need to develop skill in fostering personal relationships is never more evident than with younger people just graduating college. They grew up in an age where technology was the first and accepted norm for communication. However, with new college graduates, it’s even more important for them to learn the subtle art of networking, connecting and building relationships with people who can help them on a personal and professional level.

So, the next time  you are sitting at your desk after you’ve read this article and you are about to type an email or text someone, pick up the phone or better yet, invite them to lunch. Yeah, you’ll get old person jokes, but they beat a Facebook status any day.

The Death of Expertise

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One of the most fascinating articles I have come across in months is The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols. It’s a great piece, and you should definitely take time to read it.

Its basic gist is this: we live in an age where everyone has a publishing/broadcasting platform for their opinion (Twitter, Facebook, commenting systems, etc.). But just because everyone can talk and opine, however, doesn’t mean we should listen to them. Because there are still strata in quality of opinions, ranging from blatantly ignorant up to credentialed expert.

The premise Nichols posits is correct: we live in an age where experts have to share the same text boxes with laymen, and moreover, the laymen often think their opinions hold equal value to those of experts. And increasingly, I find the back and forth between the two increasingly fervent and belligerent. PhD and lab researchers arguing with random everymen who read a few articles in magazines and hit up a few links on Twitter. That’s not an exaggeration.

Here’s a personal example.


Oculus VR Joins Facebook. Why?

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Earlier this week, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey took to Reddit to defend the sale of his company to Facebook for $2B. Oculus VR is mainly known for a product called Rift.

If you don’t know what Rift is, it’s essentially the most promising next-generation thing for gaming and interactive digital experiences. It’s the virtual reality (VR) goggles we’ve all seen in movies, but haven’t even sniffed here in the real world. TIME magazine has a great rundown on what it is and why its potential is so great.

Rift has many people excited. The early Kickstarter campaign was crazy successful, and the buzz that has been generated since then has been fantastic – especially as the hardware continued to iterate and improve.

But, sentiment quickly turned overwhelmingly negative after the deal was announced, so much so that Notch (the creator of the uber-popular Minecraft) won’t work with Facebook because “it creeps him out,” and Kickstarters are demanding refunds. It’s safe to say that Facebook is the LAST company Oculus backers wanted to see land the deal. The Reddit thread in which Luckey defended his company’s sale quickly filled with overwhelmingly negative comments.

I have two semi-disjointed thoughts about the deal.


At this point, are you stunned that Oculus, quite literally the future of gaming and an immersive VR device the world has never seen before, goes to Facebook for $2B while WhatsApp, a cross-platform messaging app, commands $19B from Facebook?

Well, don’t be. Stunned, that is. Facebook took a leap of faith here: it spent $2B (cash and stock combined) for a two-year old hardware company, led by a 21 year old, that has zero successful commercial products on the market. In other words, Facebook sees potential in Oculus VR, whereas in WhatsApp it sees real lifeblood: an ocean of active, engaged users.


The Social Stress and Status of the iPhone

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Bianca Bosker, writing for HuffPo Tech, interviews 14-year-old Casey Schwartz about Schwartz’s iPhone. Specifically, what really happens on a teen girl’s iPhone, and how it becomes a source of stress and social status among Schwartz’s peers. Some excerpts are below, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole interview. Parents of teenage girls, doubly so.

Some highlights:

“I’ll wake up in the morning and go on Facebook just … because,” Casey says. “It’s not like I want to or I don’t. I just go on it. I’m, like, forced to. I don’t know why. I need to. Facebook takes up my whole life.”

“I bring it everywhere. I have to be holding it,” Casey says. “It’s like OCD — I have to have it with me. And I check it a lot.”

Not having an iPhone can be social suicide, notes Casey. One of her friends found herself effectively exiled from their circle for six months because her parents dawdled in upgrading her to an iPhone. Without it, she had no access to the iMessage group chat, where it seemed all their shared plans were being made.

“She wasn’t in the group chat, so we stopped being friends with her,” Casey says. “Not because we didn’t like her, but we just weren’t in contact with her.”

“We’ll be sitting on a couch next to each other, texting each other,” she notes. “We text in the same room. It’s weird, I don’t know why.”

The most important and stress-inducing statistic of all is the number of “likes” she gets when she posts a new Facebook profile picture — followed closely by how many “likes” her friends’ photos receive. Casey’s most recent profile photo received 117 “likes” and 56 comments from her friends, 19 of which they posted within a minute of Casey switching her photo, and all of which Casey “liked” personally.

“If you don’t get 100 ‘likes,’ you make other people share it so you get 100,” she explains. “Or else you just get upset. Everyone wants to get the most ‘likes.’ It’s like a popularity contest.”

“If I’m not watching TV, I’m on my phone. If I’m not on my phone, I’m on my computer. If I’m not doing any of those things, what am I supposed to do?” Casey says. “I think that in a few years, technology is going to go back and people won’t use it anymore because it’s getting to be a lot. I mean, I don’t put down my phone. And it makes me wish that I did. It’s addicting.”

Job Applicants: Vegas Doesn’t Exist Anymore

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An astonishing 37% of hiring managers are using social networking sites to research applicants, with over 65% of the group using Facebook as their primary source.

The days of doing a routine background check using CRB Direct on your criminal past or even credit history have been widened to include voyeurism into your daily life and lifestyle. People complain that it’s wrong; they say it’s an invasion of their privacy. Right, wrong, invasive not invasive – companies are doing it. I’m not talking about companies who ask you to supply your username and password and so they can look at your profile. I am talking about them going out on the internet and viewing whatever information you have made available to millions of others to see.

Remember the saying “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? Well that isn’t the case when you share the ins-and-outs of your life via social media for the world to see.

Knowing that any future employer may be looking at what you have posted on the internet, why not use a little common sense, a little bit of good judgment, in what you share? Why not share things that are near and dear to you and that would be worth not getting a job over?

Example: my faith is important to me. I would gladly miss out on an opportunity to work for a company who didn’t like something I posted about my religious beliefs. That company would probably not be a good fit for me and I would most likely not be happy working there.

That belly button piercing I got on the way to the Bon Jovi concert with friends – not important to me, not near and dear to my heart – maybe I don’t need to share that sordid tale accompanied by an even more sordid picture on Facebook.

People are rethinking what they have posted; almost 90% of internet users admit to changing information in their profiles to become more suitable to outside employers and friends. This is probably smart thinking considering 69% of recruiters said they’d rejected a potential employee because of what they saw on a social networking site. I know lot of you out there will disagree but, to me, once you put your “private” life on the internet, it’s not private anymore.

And the kicker: you are opting-in to all of this. Nobody is extracting information from you.

The smart applicant thinks about how to use social media sites. Like an unfortunate tatoo, social media indiscrimination can have long-ranging consequences.

More links:
MIPRO Consulting main website.
MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About this blog.

PeopleSoft, Social Media and You

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Increasingly, social media is becoming a legitimate news/announcement source for brands, projects and other topics. In fact for me — a former diehard RSS junkie — social media and frequently-updated blogs have become the quickest way for me to find breaking news about a given topic. This is something I do by default, sometimes forgetting that not everyone knows how to harness social media like a full-time web wonk like me.

So it caught my eye when Matthew Haavisto at the PeopleSoft Technology Blog summed up PeopleSoft’s main social media platforms:

Besides this blog, there are lots of public sources for information on PeopleSoft and PeopleTools, particularly in social media.  YouTube contains some great video feature overviews, webcasts, and interviews.  PeopleSoft’s pages on Facebook and Twitter give you fresh and current information on all sorts of topics related to PeopleSoft.  You can also interact and collaborate directly with PeopleSoft employees and other customers.  These sites are not limited to PeopleTools, but cover a broad range of PeopleSoft applications and technology.

PeopleSoft on Facebook

PeopleSoft on Twitter

PeopleSoft on YouTube

If you’re a user of any of these channels and interested any PeopleSoft, it makes sense to follow PeopleSoft news and developments on them. Because of the frictionless publishing and ease of sharing, you’ll see new stuff appear here faster than you would in the pages of your favorite trade rag. Give them a look.


More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

More Thinking About Oracle, Endeca, Unstructured Text and Social Media

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On October 18, 2011, Oracle announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire Endeca, a leading provider of unstructured data management, web commerce and business intelligence solutions (see our original blog post here). The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close before the end of t his year.  Here’s the original press release.

Our Thoughts

Most everyone is familiar with structured data consisting of data that is well organized and comes from ERP systems, custom solutions etc. and generally is organized in a manner which allows that data to be analyzed and reported from.  Lesser known, but of increasing importance, is unstructured data.  Unstructured data consists of social media information from platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. where users or consumers can post commentary using freeform text.  Comments are not necessarily organized.  This unstructured text can extend to consumer commentary on product websites, blogs or emails.   The rise of social media and the real-time web is making unstructured text more and more critical for companies to be able to analyze.

For example, through the various social media mechanisms mentioned, using powerful unstructured text BI tools such as Endeca, companies can quickly evaluate the unstructured text and begin to make business decisions or combine the unstructured text with structured data and have actionable information.  A quick example: if customers comment on a website regarding their experience with a particular product, it normally would take an employee or employees to read the responses and evaluate the consumer sentiment.  It may take a significant amount of time to evaluate the sentiment negating the potential value of that data.  In today’s ever changing, quick-paced social media environment, it’s more important than ever to stay on top and have the ability to react quickly to fixing a negative experience or promoting a positive one.  Understanding whether a consumer had a positive or negative experience proves invaluable for marketing, sales and corrective actions to be made in a very short timeframe.

Take all of this a step farther, when Oracle can combine unstructured data and structured data under the OBIEE platform, companies will have exceptional tools to help make truly informed business decisions based upon quickly changing data.

Fantasy? So far, maybe a bit. In the short term, smart companies will be investing in ways to do exactly this.


More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Twitter – Gimmick, Fad or Tool?

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Initially I thought Twitter was some gimmick through which celebrities (insert your own definition of celebrity) fed their own egos by posting snippets of their life.  I didn’t care, so Twitter did not interest me much.  I did not even watch Entertainment Tonight, so following some “celebrity du jour” as they tweeted arcane details of their life in short snippets just did not appeal to me.  I considered it a gimmick that would never catch hold.

Before I knew what happened, Twitter transformed from a gimmick to a fad.  Am I one of the few without a Twitter account?  Maybe.  Virtually everybody who does any public relations has an account, and a group of followers.  That is interesting to me, because somehow I don’t view my life as being interesting enough for someone to want to follow.  Headlines such as “emptying dishwasher” or “running errands”, or even a commentary such as “just helped client solve a major crisis” seem a little trivial, but I’m not LeBron James or Lady Gaga, or some of the other more popular Twitter accounts.  But what do I know, because I might be one of the few not tweeting social updates, commentary on world events, and generally espousing about what’s happening now.

As I ponder the real value of Twitter, the value has to be in the immediacy of the messaging.  My son and I were talking about this recently when he shared a story about how he knew of the horrible bombing is Oslo minutes before it broke on any of the leading news networks.  How did he know?  Somehow, one of his buddies received a tweet from someone on-site announcing the terrible news.  Now most journalists would fret about unverified sources and balancing timing with accuracy, but the reality is that Twitter is proving to be a tool for breaking news at it very roots.  The concept of a “reporter” is literally out the window when the story is relayed by someone who is part of the scene. The individual becomes the channel; there’s no need to wait for a major outlet to break and package the story.

That started me to thinking about some of the ways to use Twitter as a tool.  One that came to mind was up-to the minute traffic reports.  How about a twitter “channel”  for ABC County traffic where people instantly post tweets and re-tweets such as “two car accident at Elm and Main – avoid area”?  Or “one lane traffic on Rt 1 due to construction northbound…traffic jammed”?  It would certainly gain my attention as something I would follow.  Or maybe my favorite theater could tweet “7:20 showing of My Favorite Movie is sold out” to let me know I need to change plans.  Or maybe my project team uses it for instant updates “vendor conversion complete – please start validation process”? When can Twitter effectively replace SMS and email messaging? Can it? To me, in its current state, it needs more signal and less noise.

The reality is that when you start to consider the power of Twitter to mass distribute messaging to people sharing a common interest, maybe there is something to this, and maybe there is more to what I initially saw as a gimmick and a fad.  It seems to me that anything or anyone with a “status” could become a candidate for Twitter, but I’m starting to think that’s not the main use case.  It’s probably not fair to say that the future is limitless, but there are some very interesting concepts to ponder as to how you can use Twitter as your own personal news transmitter or receiver.

How do you use Twitter? Aside from hashtags and massively curating my follow list, is there a better way to focus what I absorb on Twitter?


More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 7/8/11

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When I tell people I do web/social media marketing work, that basically I’m a full-on web nerd, they look at me funny.  Like, “Oh, how long have you been unemployed?” funny.  After we get past that initial awkwardness, they invariably ask two things: (1) Can social media help my business? And (2) What is your computer hardware/software setup like?

For this Friday post, I will tackle both questions.

For (1): yes.

For (2), I will answer in the format of The Setup’s interviews, because I can read that stuff all day and have found some excellent software from them.  Here goes.

What hardware are you using?

In the office, I use a super-gonzo Dell Precision laptop running Windows 7 Professional connected to three 24″ monitors.  Multiple monitors are the single best thing you can add to your setup next to a jetpack to improve productivity, and I would be far, far slower without them.  If you don’t have multiple monitors but can afford them/are allowed to by your IT team, you’re cheating yourself.

At home, I use a pretty banged-up early 2008 MacBook Pro with 4 GB of RAM that’s connected to a 2002 HP 2335 LCD monitor.  I use Apple’s wired keyboard because I have to have a number pad for data crunching, and I have a filthy — disgusting, really — Logitech wireless mouse whose model number I can’t remember because it was made before the dawn of language.

I have a first-gen iPad that I use for everything except longform content creation.  It’s awesome, if a bit heavy and sharp-edged.  Still, it has replaced a laptop for 90% of my tasks when my son isn’t stealing it to play Dungeon Raid.

Right next to my iPad you’ll almost always find my iPhone 4, which I take with me everywhere.  Literally, everywhere.  Well, except the shower and the gym, but aside from those caveats, everywhere.  I’m not sure if I own it or it owns me.  I suspect the latter.

And what software?

Being a web dork means having a romantic relationship with your browser, and I am an unrepentant Chrome devotee.  It runs on both my work and home laptops.

For longform writing, I get all weird: I will use Ommwriter, WriteRoom, BBEdit, Sublime Text or even the WordPress editor.  It depends on my current propensity to get distracted.  For a pure, clean blogging on the Mac, I couldn’t live without MarsEdit.  On Windows, Windows Live Writer 2011 is pretty solid, if a bit slow (thanks .NET!).

For mail, I am a gigantic Gmail nerd.  Gmail might be the best implementation of email in the world.  And by might I mean is.  At work, I have to tolerate Outlook, which is really starting to feel like something wet, angry and smelly that crawled onto my computer from the late 1990s.  Because it is.

For keeping the soul-crushing silence at bay and the voices in my head arguing amongst themselves instead of with me, I fire up iTunes or Rdio.  Lately, a lot has been Rdio.

For keeping track of stuff, I use Notational Velocity on my Mac and SimpleNote on the web and iPhone/iPad.  I would probably keel over dead within a half hour without Dropbox.  Whenever I have a thought that doesn’t fall apart like a soggy box after a few seconds of critique, it goes into one of these apps for later curation.

For photography, I use a Nikon D90, Canon S90, or my iPhone 4 (don’t laugh — it’s the most popular camera on Flickr).  For post work, I use iPhoto, Photoshop CS5 and occasionally Acorn, which is a terrific OSX application that does, for me, 90% of what I use Photoshop for.  On my iPhone, I am a huge Instagram evangelist, along with Camera+ and Photogene.

For social media stuff, I use Tweetdeck on Windows (still wish it was a web app though) and the official Twitter client on my Mac.  I have an entire monitor devoted to Facebook, blogs and Google+ sessions running in Chrome.

What would be your dream setup?

My MacBook Pro is getting long in the tooth, and the screen does a weird flicker thing against certain gray backgrounds, so I’ve been thinking about a replacement.  I’m torn between two masters: portability and power.  The idea of a new 27″ quad-core iMac is very appealing because of the screen real estate and power, but it’s a desktop and who buys those anymore?  On the other hand, I’m waiting for Apple to stop being so jerky and release the new MacBook Airs with the Sandy Bridge architecture so maybe that will be enough power and I can nerd out in lightweight, sealed, portable style.  (That option might actually steal time from the iPad.)

Oh, and I’d like software that does what I think, no questions asked.  That’d be cool.  Also, Google search box for my brain because, yeah, it’s come to that.

Shut up about your dumb nerd stuff.  Do you have any links?

Yes, yes I do.

This man won $3.4 million — and then went back to work as a janitor.  The world needs more people like this.

Here’s a site that provides the best introductory books for myriad topics.  Tons of browsing pleasure here, folks.

Have a good weekend, everyone.


More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

How Clear Is Our Definition of Information Privacy?

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In today tech-heavy, socially-enabled world, each headline seems to cloud the line that defines an invasion of privacy. There are so many cases today where technology blurs our view of what is public information andprivacy what should be private. Facebook has been kicked in the teeth for it repeatedly (as have other web apps), and Twitter recently made the news when it challenged DOJ court papers ordering the social service to quietly hand over a slew user information without the users’ knowledge.

Privacy, it seems, is becoming a topic whose subjectivity is a matter of context – and who holds the information that is considered private.

Running quickly through some current headlines, one example is the recent story about the couple in Pennsylvania that is suing Google over their Street View application, a program that provides eye-level views of locations that you can find via Google Maps.

In this couple’s case, their road is marked as a “Private Road”. So, I ask you, if you lived on a private road, does Google have the right to drive on that road for the purpose of photographing, indexing and publishing photos of your residence? I don’t live on a private road, but if I did, that would probably bother me.