Friday, December 24, 2010

Working like a dog?

I'm not sure why people say that. From the looks of our dog, I'd like to "work like a dog!"

Merry Christmas and the best of the New Year to you and yours!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's following me!

Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that people really aren't following you.

The Third Place, unlike a physical cafĂ©, is a bit different and you have to be aware of it. Things that you put on the web as opposed to things you say in conversation never go away.  You can be haunted by things you wrote in a less-than-cogent moment for a very long time. And people do look -- potential employers, colleges, and who knows who else. Things can stay around for years. Even if you are successful in removing them from your place, who knows who else has copied them and referenced you in theirs? The bottom line -- if you don't want something you said or did resurfacing years latter to bite you, don't post it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Check out this Place

Take a look at this article about YouMedia space in Chicago. An innovative idea for creative youth. This is an excellent idea to put young people constructively on the Internet and to get them together in a space where they can share their creativity and energy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Isolated by the Internet

The Internet was supposed to open the world to us, but I wonder if we are being isolated by it instead. I think we need to ask some questions of ourselves:

  • Where do you get your news?
  • What sites do you visit?
  • Who do you friend, follow, link to?
  • Who do you communicate with?
If the answers to these questions is people like me or people who share my views or people who support my views,  then I think there may be a problem here.
I just listened to a great TED talk Ethan Zuckerman: Listening to global voices  which got me thinking about this issue.  (I'm developing my thoughts on this, so by the time it gets out, this might be an old issue.) He contends that the problems today are getting more global, but the news is getting less so.
I agree. You can see it in the unwillingness of people to listen to other views or to incorporate them into their world-view. We friend and follow and like, but I wonder how many differing opinions we allow onto these lists. I wonder how much effort we take to seek out opinions which don't support our own or to discover new and interesting things to expand our view of the world? Not much, for most of us, is probably the answer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Where do you spend your time

Where people choose to spend their time says quite a bit about them. More and more people are choosing to spend their time online rather than in proximity of other people. And even when they do go out for coffee, say, they spend their time with their cell phones or laptops online with people in entirely different places.

My experiences with Starbucks has been interesting. I have had the opportunity to walk by a Starbucks in a Barnes and Noble store on different occasions at about the same time. The demographic has been interesting.

The first time, EVERYONE was on their laptop. Most of the tables had one or two people at them. But, even the tables with two people had both people on their laptop and didn't seem to be interacting. It was like your kids texting each other while sitting on the same couch or in the car. People were probably communicating, just not with those in their proximity.

Next time was much more social. It seemed that this time, there were larger groups. Some seemed to be families while others appeared to be groups who were doing something together. Perhaps the fact that they were out for other things made the social interaction more prevalent. The interaction was more on a personal level and some of it appeared to be quite intense.

The next time, there were a couple of large groups. You know, the type who pull chairs and tables together in order to be with each other. This was a very lively atmosphere with lots of interactions, some of it quite boisterous. These were groups of younger people, apparently out to have a good time. My suspicion was that this was just one point on their time together.

Social situations might dictate interaction in social spaces. More thought is needed.

The cycle of attention

I have not had a great deal of time to spend in my third place lately. Work pressures, especially, have kept me from other pursuits. This got me to thinking about the cycles of use of social media that I seem to go through and to wonder if others do so also. It seems logical that they would. After all, time is finite and often there are more things to do than there is time to do them in. I'm sure it's the same for everyone. When we reach that point, then something has to give. We need to spend more time on the higher value things and less time on the lower value things. I guess for me, social media is just lower value.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Taking Your Place with You

Over on the BobBreedlove blog, I talked about my ideal Netbook/tablet. It's a mobile place. One thing I didn't mention was battery life. I would like about 5-8 hours to make sure that I can attend meetings, go to the library, and generally be in other physical places for a good amount of time before needing to plug in. I purchased a 9 cell battery for my current Acer netbook. This gives me just under 8 hours of moderate use before I have to plug it back in. I find this sufficient to go to most meetings, sit at a coffee shop, etc. for the type of content creation work that I normally do. I can browse the Internet through WiFi and get the things done that I want to accomplish. It is a bit big, but I don't mind that. The battery actually puts the keyboard at a good angle when the netbook is on a table as it is where I normally work. It actually makes the system easier to carry around the office where I use OneNote for taking notes at meetings. I'd like a bit faster machine, but all-in-all, this is working well. (I have just added Ubuntu Linux to the machine to see how that works. Unless I find an equivalent for OneNote, however, I don't think I'll switch from XP as my primary operating system.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Google Chrome, Default Browser

I have decided to try Google Chrome as my default browser on my home machine. It seems faster than other browsers and handles most of the things I need to do. I have been working some with FireFox 4 beta also, but find that is has some problems (of course, it is beta). We'll see if this is the tool that I want for my place.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Inviting New People . . .

How do you decide to invite new people to your third place? That is, who do you decide to follow, friend, track . . . ? I have just been through the process of removing people I follow on Twitter and adding a couple of new ones. Is it common interests that make someone worth following? If you are running a business, I suppose that you follow folks who will make you more money. I work for a business and follow people who will provide the tools I need to remain relevant to the management by improving my contributions to the success of the business. If you are on the net socially, then you probably pick people who share you common interests. I do this some, but also try to select people/groups who will expand my world.

So you have people you follow, friend, etc. When do you decide to remove them? It appears that some do not. I'm astounded when I see that someone follows thousands of people on Twitter. How can they possibly read and digest all that noise? I suppose that they don't, but possibly follow someone only because they might benefit their bottom line. But, it has to be impossible to actually benefit from all that information. I remove people when they seem irrelevant to my interests. Many feeds simply repeat other things that you see on the web or aggregate them. I want to get to the source in most cases and eliminate duplication in my effort to educate myself.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Following Me!

Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean people really aren't following you.

Unlike the conversation you have or the pictures you pull out of your wallet in a PHYSICAL third place, the things you say and show online follow you . . . forever!  Therefore, in your online third place, you have to be  bit more careful, more conservative, more thoughtful. Potential employers are getting online to see what you are like. That embarrassing picture of you at the party or the statement about your previous boss, or . . . are influencing their decisions. You need to treat online spaces more like business meetings where you boss is present than casual meetings with friends at the local coffee shop. Be careful with what you say and show. If you wouldn't want your boss to see or read it, don't put it up in the online third place.

They ARE watching you!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Maintaining Community

Today, I purged a follower on Twitter. It's part of my regular cleanup of my community. I have few enough followers to know that, at least some, people do that periodically with me. But, I'm wondering if most people ever do that. I sometimes do what I call followsurfing -- following people who follow someone who follows someone who . . . I still wonder how someone can follow hundreds or thousands of people. It's kind of a volume over value mentality. He who has the most stuff when he dies, wins.

But today got me to thinking about followers on Twitter and community. Getting a new follower or following someone else is like having a new person join the conversation in your third place physically.

It might be that a friend brings in someone new. This is like seeing a retweet, liking what it has to say and following the individual. I have had mixed luck with this much like you might expect from a friend of a friend at at cafe. They might have something interesting to say at the beginning, but be uninteresting after that. I have also found that some of these retweeted followers tend to "run off at the mouth" (or "tweet") and produce a large volume of "noise". I tend to eliminate those folks from my list as I don't like working my way through the flack. Other times, they may have had the one thing to say of interest to you, but not much more.

I have also added members to my community through visits to their web pages. If I find something interesting there, I will join their community to see what they have to say. I also check my followers. I must say that I don't follow everyone who follows me. I think some of them join me just to get me to follow them so I can buy whatever it is they want to sell. Not interested thanks.

The bottom line? Pick the people you follow like you pick your friends and acquaintances. In my case, I'm loyal as long as they have something interesting to say and I benefit from it. Sort of mercenary, I know, but I'm in this community for the benefit, not the social interaction.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Where do you live?

OK, not really where -- meaning your physical location -- but what applications do you use most often, that is live in? For most of us, it's e-mail or text messaging and the browser. More and more, our live in application is the browser or some variation of it. More on this later, so be thinking about it . . .

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Attracting Community

Before you can foster community you have to attract it. People won't find your physical or virtual third place unless they know about it and find it interesting. Physical places rely on word-of-mouth. and, I suppose, virtual places do also . . . virtually . . . well, you get the idea. So how do you do it? Perhaps one of the best ways is to participate in other places and invite people to your place. If you seem interesting and contribute to the other places, people might want to come by your place to see what's going on. If your place sells something or promotes your services, it can become the place to be for those goods and services.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Community as a Sales Ploy

Community on the web seems to be primarily a sales gimmick. You attract as many followers, friends, subscribers as possible to

  • get ad views up, 
  • drive people to buy your products
  • promote your services
Little actual community building there. But, I suppose this isn't much different than groups like the Elks, Chamber of Commerce, etc. Although they are social or societal in nature, the underlying thought is to get involved to make contacts to sell yourself, your products or services. Community has probably always been about that sort of thing. Pre-technology, people would get together physically. Now, with instant communications across the world, people get together electronically to promote themselves, their products or services.

An exploration of Community

I have gotten interested in the concept of Community. This blog is associated with my Third Place page. It is a place to put those more fleeting thoughts, ideas, and concepts which come to me as I encounter community throughout my life.