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.