Tag Archives: internet

Manners, Please.


Last week I listened to a National Public Radio On Point segment called Where the Web Went Wrong, about the impact of social media on relationships, individuality and communication skills and a new book by Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto.

The show covered many issues, but the one I can most resonate with is the deterioration of manners, interpersonal communication and good judgment.  A 28-year old man who called in to the radio program complained that in person meetings were always interrupted by friends distracted by their devices, checking what’s going on elsewhere.  Complaints abound about the lack of manners in public places, of the lack of live personal attention. The endorphins we get from hearing a new text message come in are beating out our real, in person conversations.

This fall I watched a prominent panel of business experts talk and noticed that all but one were in wrinkled street clothes, despite the role they had at a major business conference. The moderator wore a baseball cap which concealed his face, and the presentation started with the showing of a video was predominately expletives. I was interested in what this panel had to say, but I was also offended. Maybe I am old school, but I still think that manners are important, and, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it,  that counts.

With all of the useless content one must wade through to get to the valuable insight, don’t complicate the already muddy waters with time-wasting drivel, or worse yet, offensive and glib presentations. If we take our roles as ambassadors of our brand (personal or corporate) seriously, we should respect our audience and be useful and polite.

That means, don’t clutter the email boxes of others with chain letters, don’t post mundane irrelevant updates on Twitter. Remember that you are communicating with people, not computers. The quality of your communicate (or the lack there of) is equal to your image, your personal brand.

These tools are not going away. While the way we communicate evolves, we should always bring along the basic manners we were taught before they came along.

Ideas Worth Spreading about the Internet

275px-ted_wordmarksvgIt’s surprising in a way that in all the time I’ve been using the Internet, I’ve only recently discovered TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). Catherine Weber told me about it awhile back and with so many things to be checking out and keeping up with a daily basis, I never made my way over. I’m so glad I did.

If you’re not familiar with TED, Wikipedia describes it this way: “TED is famous for its lectures, known as TED Talks, which originally focused on technology, entertainment and design, but have now expanded in scope to a broad set of topics including science, arts, politics, education, culture, business, global issues, technology and development.”

This morning I watched a talk by Stefana Broadbent, “How the Internet Enables Intimacy.” It’s a fascinating talk about how people are using social media, mobile phones, IM, as ways to stay connected to a surprisingly small core group of the people in their lives.
She offers some intriguing facts:

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What’s your policy…er, I mean, guidelines?

Edited social media guidelines

Recently, we have been working with clients to develop their organizational social media policies.  We have seen dozens of examples and read many blog posts about what they should include and how they should be presented. Some were developed collaboratively by employees, sometimes using a wiki, and posted online to share with the general population.

Since we’ve seen many companies approach their thinking about this process ineffectively, we’d like to share our thoughts on how to do this well.

What is the purpose of a social media policy?

Social media policies are intended to make clear to employees what is expected of them, when and how they use social communities and blogs, and acceptable ways to mention their company. Often companies embark on the development of the document as a legal tool to prevent employees from engaging in unfortunate online behavior. When you look at large corporate policies, they often have a feeling of a legal document, with a lot of “thou shalt nots” in them. We advise companies to approach this differently.

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Social Media: It's About More Than the Numbers

horse riding into the sunsetWhen I hear people espousing how many Facebook friends they have, or how many people are following them on Twitter, sometimes I feel like the Lone Blogger calling, “Hi-yo, Silver, away!” as my laptop and I gallop towards the setting sun. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a little uneasy; like I’m back in High School, in the cafeteria before homeroom. (Sorry, that’s an other issue, one for a different audience.)

I admit, I check our blog analytics regularly, as well as the activity on our other social media sites. I’m a firm believer in monitoring, and having the knowledge about who you’re reaching, with what content, and how they’ve found your company. (Besides it’s very cool information!)

In their new book, The Online Communities Handbook: Building your Business and Brand on the Web, authors Anna Buss and Nancy Strauss write,

“…you can have ten thousand followers on Twitter, you can have five thousand friends on Facebook, you can have one million connections on LinkedIn through six degrees of separation—but often times that doesn’t translate into cold, hard cash.”

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Social Media: A Strategic Approach to Authenticity

Celine Rogue has an interesting piece, “It’s Not About the Tools, It’s About the Strategy,” on the New York Times website.

Rogue writes that with so many choices of social media tools available many people are spending too much time obsessing about which ones to use, instead of developing strategies and plans.

Rogue offers five areas to keep in mind when focusing on
Social Media Strategy
1. Define your goals
2. Find your audience
3. Keep it simple
4. Stay authentic
5. Know when to stop

Her message about staying authentic is a good one for anyone who writes for online media, regardless of whether it’s a 140 character message or 500-1000 word post.

So what do we mean by authentic?
The Oxford English Dictionary describes it this way:
“Of authority, authoritative; entitled to obedience or respect.”

Yes, by all means we want our messages to have authority and be respected. But how can you be sure that’s what you’re doing if you don’t have an editor looking over your shoulder?

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Technological Change — Yes We Can!

Today’s Boston Globe features an article Obama brings cyber sensibility to office which describes how president-elect Obama is “in the process of choosing the nation’s first chief technology officer – a post that’s long existed in most corporations, but never in government.”

The article goes on to report that the US ranks 15th out of 30 industrialized nations in the percentage of citizens with access to the Internet, and that Obama promises to make Internet access as commonplace as telephone service.

Obama reportedly wants to put YouTube-like videos of government meetings online and has proposed a Google-like database of federal grants and contracts so people can see where there money is going; and will require his Cabinet members to hold regular online town hall meetings, where they’ll field questions from the Internet audience.

To keep up-to-date as we transition into Obama’s Presidency, visit Change.gov, a website and blog, launched by Obama’s Presidential Transition Project team (very soon after last week’s election) which documents the transition into power as well as soliciting ideas from the public.

Not only is change in the air –it’s in cyberspace, too!

Your Website: Meet the iPhone

While standing in line today at the post office I observed a lady in front of me check her email, myspace her mom, and check the weather in London just before she was called for her parcels. While it was unfortunate that she wasn’t checking The Blogosaurus (I assume that had to wait until after the post office), it was another reminder of how businesses and clients alike need to focus their attention on the new method of accessing their websites: via PDA Smartphones.

iPhone Sales Chart
If we look at the rising sales of the most popular mobile PDA Smartphone – the iPhone – we will see iPhone sales in the second quarter of this year have reached over 5 million. Keep in mind this is a quarter before the latest G3 iPhone that just came out, with Forbes reporting the opening weekend sale of the G3 (July 11, 2008) added another 1 million users to our above list.

While this number is staggering, we must also keep in mind the iPhone is not the only phone that can reach the internet and your web pages. This list from wikipedia shows the breakdown of various PDA Smartphones with Internet capabilities, and the crucial web development related features like Flash support, Operating system and the web browser which will affect how your viewers view and access your website. We can easily see manufacturers are going to continue to create PDA Smartphones for the public, so you will need to know how to play nice.

  • The first thing you need to do is view your website with one of these phones, and see how your viewers are accessing your website and if it’s compatible. Knowing how your website is laid out and viewed in this environment will help change your outlook of your website, since you may be used to viewing it only on your computer screen. The Smartphone screen is obviously much smaller, and you might need to compensate. Even if you aren’t cool enough or have the equity in your home to purchase an iPhone, download this simulator iPhoney and you will quickly be able to see how your website is viewed in this environment.
  • Always place your navigation menu and website logo at the top of the page. Users should not have to scroll down the page to find the links for the rest of your website, or your website’s content. Make all links very accessible for both viewing platforms.
  • By now your website shouldn’t be using html tables and frames to support your website – the scourge of web design before CSS. Tables and frames can be inaccessible on many computer based browsers, and with the Smartphone this is especially true.
  • Developers can use the web browser Safari as a good proxy for designing your website for the iPhone. Testing your website using this browser will be almost identical in the iPhone and other Smartphones, and will save your web developer time with your website’s code.
  • If you simply don’t have the budget or time to rework an entire website for Smartphones, then simply create a smaller version have the viewer be automatically sent to the portion of your website. Webphone users will appreciate this greatly.
  • Build your website to load fast and scroll less, making it that much easier for users in both environments.
  • Images shouldn’t be so large that it will leave your viewer waiting for them to load. If your website uses large images, break the large image down into smaller sized images, or decrease the actual size of these images to save load time.

Usefull Links

Apple has a great website dealing with developing for their iPhone. iPhone chooses to work with similar browsers and web coding here. If your website is lucky enough to use the great blogging platform WordPress (which Impressions Through Media uses), there are several plugins that are very easy to place on your website which might ease any headaches from designing for your Smartphone audience – The iWPhone Plugin can be found here and WordPress PDA & iPhone Plugin can be found here.

In conclusion, it is very crucial for your website to reach every possible audience effectively, since any malfunction will quickly turn your viewer away to another website – or worse yet your competitor’s. Designing your website to easily comply with the millions of users trying to reach it now with their iPhones, or other Smartphones, will greatly help mend any divide that you may not even know about.

I'm with Stupid

I'm with StupidYesterday I was arm distance away from The Atlantic Monthly’s July/August issue, and stopped dead in my tracks; eye level with the magazine, I read the title of the cover story, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr.

Carr writes, the Net is “chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

I think I know what Carr means. My mind is often running ahead of me calling, “Hurry!!!” Come to think of it, sometimes I think I’m looking for hyperlinks where they don’t exist; I’m searching for twists and turns to unexpected destinations.

I google everything-people, places, directions, current events, history, restaurant reviews, movie times, businesses, store hours, physician’s credentials, conferences, research, authors’ bios, how-to unclog a drain, recipe ideas…you name it.

The Internet has made information wonderfully accessible, and I love it. I do. I love being an online tourist in the wee morning hours, or as a night owl. I love knowing there are people all over the world accessing information in different time zones, but essentially at the same exact moment. I love seeing the keywords people enter, how others search for information.

I think Carr’s question is a good one. I think his concerns about online reading shouldn’t be dismissed. But for me, reading online or with a book or magazine in hand, are two different things. While I love the online world, there’s still nothing like discussing a good book, hearing an author read, perusing bookstores and libraries, looking words up in a dictionary and thesaurus. And I may be one of a handful of people who actually like the Dewey Decimal system (and not know why).

I’d like to suggest Google and the Internet as a whole, have made us more efficient, smarter users of information, and have exposed us to an even larger world to be read.   And, if that translates to Google making us stupid, well then I guess, I’m with stupid.

Your Enterprise 2.0 Story in Six Words– and a chance to win a Platinum Pass to Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston

Enterprise 2.0 Conference

Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Last year, SMITH Magazine re-ignited the recountre by asking their readers for their own six-word memoirs.

Now we are taking it a step further. Interested? Read on>

What’s Your Six-Word Enterprise 2.0 Story?

Many people have a desire to learn how to leverage new social tools and technologies, and reinvent the way work is done. When you get right down to it, many people have a reason why Enterprise 2.0 matters to them.

Can you tell yours in six words? Submit your story by using the comment link at the end of the post to be considered for a Platinum Pass to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, June 9-12, 2008.

Whether you are leading the effort or exploring your options, the Enterprise 2.0 Conference brings the newest trends and practical information together in one place.

Entries must be received by Tuesday, May 13th, 5 pm (EST). The winner will be announced Thursday, May 14th and awarded a Platinum Pass to the Conference. This special pass includes access to all tutorials and conference sessions across all 4 days!

Go ahead, tell us in six words why Enterprise 2.0 matters to you.