Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Keep an Inventory
The first step is to exactly know where you have a social media profile and where you do not. Start by checking with Check User Names, which will search dozens of popular social media websites to see if your username is active. Check any you normally use. If any don’t ring any bells, see if it’s yours or if somebody already owns it.
Preserve (Reserve) Your Identity
Mashable Tip: Always keep note of other people using your most common username. Making sure people don’t confuse you for somebody else is important for friends, potential employers and particularly if your business is on the web.Therefore it's important to sign up for the most popular social networks regardless of whether you are going to use them all. This prevents someone else taking your online presence, being mistaken for you and it protects an account that you may want to use later.
This doesn’t mean you should be active on all of these services. Take a long, hard look at all of the services available and your time constraints and choose the ones that pique your interest the most. Keep some focus when choosing platforms. For the rest, place a note on your profile with contact information and links to your favorite social profiles.
Organise, Centralise and Synchronise
Keep track of your email accounts and other feeds. The best tool for me has been netvibes.
One tab has all my email accounts on one page, plus twitter feed and facebook feed. Another tab has various modules plus direct links to all my sites, my client sites and any admin areas. Netvibes starts every time firefox does.
Do not become a Robot, but keep similar tasks together. For example a common action on social media is sending an update that you have updated your blog. Normally, you would have to copy and paste this type of message into Twitter, Facebook, and so on. With services such as Ping.fm and Twitterfeed, this can be done without any work on your end. Find tools that can help you spread you reach without eating up your time.
Atomkeep is a cool tool for updating all of your social media profiles at once - it connects to your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other accounts and allows you to change bios and profile pictures with one action.
I also use PeopleBrowsr to create a more dynamic dashboard for special events and handling the group concept. It combines multiple sources of information in one place. PeopleBrowsr is an online visual dashboard that combines your Web profiles and connections. For an event like SXSW it has created a centralized dashboard for SXSW and all conversations, parties, and events related to the big festival.
If you’re unfamiliar with PeopleBrowsr, the site functions similar to TweetDeck providing users with a column view of status updates and custom created groups, but it also combines your friends and updates across a myriad of other social sites like Flickr, Facebook, FriendFeed and LinkedIn for an all-in-one Web-based view of your social world.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
The hum sounded like a swarm. I'd noticed the dead and exhausted bees on the driveway, the ants tidying up their surprise feast. I just couldn't see the swarm. I step back to survey the tree. A tree that survived the 2003 Bush fires that destroyed a fire truck on the road 50 yards from here, and burnt out the 2 houses behind it.
And then I realise. The tree is flowering. The hum is the noise of thousands of insects, not just bees, finding food and drink at the end of a parched Summer.
Weeks of drought, the occasional bush fire, and sometimes, just sometimes, days of nectar. Days to enjoy and savour. May you have days of nectar this year.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
The effect of putting aside time to communicate and socialise is counter intuitive. Many years ago, when programmers punched cards, Managers noticed that the programmers would gather around the water cooler at the back of the punch room and chat. There is a quick solution to that sort of wasteful behaviour - the water coolers were removed. The outcome, however, was that productivity dropped. The coolers were put back and productivity went up. So what was happening? The exchange of problem solving, competition, energising and other aspects of social exchange were helping workers achieve breakthroughs, or take diffeent approaches to existing problems. Today, for the solo practitioner or an expert isolated from like-minded individuals, meeting with peers in real life is a challenge.
One approach is Coworking. Coworking is cafe-like community/collaboration space for developers, writers and independents. Basically, start with a shared office and add cafe culture. This ensures there is desk space, backup and so on. (Thanks to @NathanaelB). The Concern I have now is that there are usually fixed costs - like a monthly access fee - that none of us want to take on during a serious downturn. That brings us to the next best thing. Some places have a "Freelancers Friday". The coffee and code is more like an open invitation to drop in. Of course, we'll have to watch just how much coffee we consume.
Yesterday, I held the first Coffee and Code day at Toronto’s Urbana Coffee, at the corner of Bay and St. Joseph Streets. The Coffee and Code plan is a simple one: about one day a week, instead of working at the home office or Microsoft’s Toronto or Mississauga offices, I set myself up in a wifi-equipped cafe somewhere in Toronto. As a result, instead of being tucked away, I’m easy to reach, where you can walk up, join me for a coffee and talk about Microsoft, programming, the industry or just about anything else.
Urbana’s Bay/St. Joseph branch used to be a hair salon, which means that its south half, where the stylists used to work, has plenty of power outlets. Although their wifi requires a password, it’s clearly written on the chalkboard behind the counter. As long as you buy something, they don’t seem to mind people hanging out all day – I was there at 11 a.m. and stayed for a full seven hours.
I love it and I'm now looking for suitable cafes with free wifi.