Category Archives: Social Media

I Want Your [insert social network here] Login!

Employers Without A Clue

Reading several articles and seeing numerous Facebook posts about this situation:  You’re looking for a job.  Maybe you have aced the initial resume screen, phone screen and are in the face-to-face interview.  Maybe you’re not quite that far in the process yet.  It doesn’t matter.  What does matter is you know employers are searching you out on your social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, LinkeIN, YouTube, [insert social network of the day here].  What you may not know, is they are asking for your login credentials these days.

Say What?

Yes.  Read the articles: CBS Money Watch, Boston Globe, Information Week.

Say What?

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Entitlement Reaction

Social Media Landscape
Image by fredcavazza via Flickr

Jason Tryfon, a swell guy and app developer, writes on his blog about Entitlement and questions whether or not Social Media is furthering this mentality.  You can read his full post here:  The Culture of Entitlement, Is It Forming Thanks to Social Media Sites?

The sense of entitlement isn’t just confined to the Internet and Social Media.  More over, especially American society, has gained a perspective of it is for me, my benefit and you need to make sure you do what ever it takes to make sure I stay happy.  To the point that legal action gets taken, smearing across several avenues takes place, and generally ill will and the perception that it is okay to do whatever it takes to cause any type of harm because something did not work out as planned.

Far too often I think people feel that they have ownership in these services, products, companies, and even other people.  That somehow by providing content, value, or time they have a vested “ownership” that is merited a return on investment.  As the original article points out, most of the sites and services that are being questioned in creating a Culture of Entitlement are free and/or “freemium” services.  In other words there generally is no cost, save with some advertising being shown.

That brings me to another point that was discussed in the comments over on Jason’s site.  Fullbirdmusic states if people spend all this time creating content on these sites, putting time and sweat equity, there should be some form of return.  Randy stats that members on these are not just membership numbers in a database, but are partners in these networks or apps.  Which stands to reason – put something, get something out.  Is that true of life in general?

If we voluntarily use a service, without paying for it save viewing some advertisements and the time we “opt” to put into it, should we have any expectations of return on it?  When we go to work for the day, we expect that we will give an honest days work for an honest days pay.  When we volunteer in our community, we expect that we will see betterment of that community.  When we create content on a service or site of someone else, is it reasonable that we “expect” a return from that, even when they are providing us, the user, with the tools for free or next to free? Are we entitled to expect anything from a free tool when there are plenty of alternatives in any variety of locations, contexts to which we could still publish and push our content?

I used to always take advantage of the $4.95/month hosting specials.  Hey, you got a free domain name, they setup all the DNS, MX mail records and everything.  They even gave you a control panel so you could control any aspect of your account, your site, your email your everything online.  Yet, frequently in the early years of doing web development I constantly found myself persuing open source scripts to speed up development time and to learn from and unfortunately many times this allowed me to find limitations on the hosting provider.  Maybe I needed shell access, or root access.  Maybe I needed a special Apache configuration.  On these shared hosts, it just was not feasible.  My solution?  Instead of expecting them to fix my problem to better my return, I created my own solution and since 2004 have owned and operated my own web, email, dns and database servers.  Sure I could have purchased a dedicated server from the same hosting company – well leased it – but now I own the hardware and pay for a certain amount of bandwidth and IP address, to which monetary value is exchanged for a certain guarantee of service.

So if you are not getting the expected return from what ever tool you are using, maybe it’s time to find a new tool, make your own tool or change what you are doing.  Quite simply, you are getting a return – you are getting a free tool to use, free search traffic, free analytics, advertisement supported applications, services and more.  If there are issues with any of these services, to which you are not paying for a dedicated service level, use a different one, make your own or stop all together.

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Old West Meets High Tech

Professional Bull Riders
Image via Wikipedia

What do Cowboys, Computers, the Web and Social Media all have in common?

They are joining forces to bring high-tech into the daily happenings of the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series. Through the use of social media, the web and computers (and by computers I mean desktops, laptops, netbooks, smartphones and more) they are expanding their reach into new markets, new genres and opening up the sport to a much wider audience than ever before.

The 2009 season has seen quite a few changes at the PBR – from the main web site (http://www.pbrnow.com) getting a complete face lift early on, to the event information pages being completely redone to provide more information and better timed, to using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to not only communicate with fans, but provide more pertinent information even faster, the PBR has expanded its high-tech offerings to the world at large in the digital age.

You can follow @teampbr on Twitter to get behind the scenes photos in real-time from the events, including the currently happening PBR World Finals. They also provide some scores as they happen in real-time, along with photos of riders, bulls, opening ceremonies and more. They also run some trivia and other fun items during the events to engage followers even more. The same can be said for their MySpace and Facebook pages, with information going out faster and through more outlets than ever before.

One of the late offerings of 2009, which debuted two events prior to the PBR World Finals, was the addition of the Live Event Center. What the Live Event Center brings to the fans is a real-time, live updated ride-by-ride scoring system viewable in their web browser. Within seconds of a rider either riding a bull or bucking off, fans have the ability to see the rider score, buck-off-time if the rider bucked off and in all cases the bull’s score. The fans now have the ability to see the scores and other information at times they cannot watch it on television or the broadcast is delayed rather than live.

Additionally, one of the staff writers, Keith Ryan Cartwright, is “live blogging” – sending updates every few rides with information about the riders, their rides, the bulls, their bucks and behind the scenes text commentary with the riders, and others. This has been placed on to the live score page, so that visitors not only can see the scores, but then get a flight-by-flight “blog” update of all the action that gives some perspectives behind the scores. So now visitors to the PBR site can not only get live scores, flight-by-flight commentary, but they can follow the @teamPBR team and get some photos from in arena as well as other updates in regards to the rides, riders, bulls, bull fighters and more.

If that were not enough, for the debut of the 2009 PBR World Finals, visitors to http://www.pbrnow.com can click on the live photo page and get a very special treat. Andy and Matt from Bull Stock Media, the official photographers and stock provider to the PBR, are posting real-time live in-arena photos. These are in-your-face photos of the bulls, the riders, the rides – all the dirt, grime and hustle that makes the PBR THE Toughest Sport on Dirt. The photos are posted from the start of the show, including the rider introductions, the bull introductions, during the presenting of the American Flag, all the way through to the round winner circle, and eventually at the close of the 2009 World Finals World Champion ceremony.

Combine all of that with a mobile powered web site with the latest news and feature stories, http://mobull.pbrnow.com, blogs from some of the best in the businesses, including 9-time World Champion Ty Murray, and a complete online Audio podcast and Video archive located at http://pbr.tv – it is easy to see how the Toughest Sport on Dirt is fast becoming a high-tech sport – reaching new fans, new avenues and generating more content for viewers than ever before.

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Who Is In Your VAN (Value Added Network)?

Swedish Mini van
Image by MGSpiller via Flickr

Who is in your VAN?

No, I am not talking your grocery-getter mini-van, or your creepy stalker van, or any other gasoline powered vehicle of the boxy van type. I am talking about your Value Added Network. Say what?

We seem to spend so much time these days building networks of all types. Whether it is a computer network, a social network, a family network or what ever type of network – we are fervently trying to connect all the various pieces of our lives together. The people, the places, the things, the ideas – trying to connect it, make sense of it and build our lives from it.

Maybe, just maybe, in our quest to build our networks – online, offline, within social circles and outside the social sphere of our lives we have failed to cue into what should be the most important part of our network – our Value Added Network. So, what exactly is a Value Added Network? I will explain my view of it below.

Value Added Network – the portion of our network that we either directly receive value from, or directly provide value to.

That’s a pretty broad definition if you ask me, so let’s break it down a bit. In any given network we possess, use or a part of, there are any given number of nodes, people, places, things or ideas. These nodes, people, places, things and ideas all have the ability to either give, take or destroy value to our network. This can happen any number of ways – which I might explore in another post later – but will touch on here.

Let’s examine the three things that can happen. Give – this does not mean a physical object, material object, or even any object at all. We can receive value from our network in many forms. We might get an uplifting note on a day we are struggling, which is good because it may improve our outlook and allow us to do something spectacular that day. We might get a small bonus or token from a client, customer or friend…just something to let us know we matter. We might get help from someone on a project, maybe an idea from them that helps us solve a problem. We might setup a new connection that we find is a wealth of information that we can personally apply to our activities and enrich those around and give back. Speaking of giving – we must do our part back to our network. If you can give an encouraging word, do so. If you can give some ideas, help or other resources, do so. Likewise maybe you can give someone an object, something material or whatever that enriches their life within their network, and within yours since they are a part of it.

Taking – yes there are those items, people and places that simply take and never provide any value back. We do have to be careful of these. Why? Sometimes it is wonderful to give, have it taken and not have any expectations in return. However, sometimes people, places and things simply take all they can, and we willingly give all we can and run to the ragged edge because of it. How? Take the highly addictive games we play on our computers. How many hours can we spend doing that? At what point to we cross the boundary and it becomes a time waster? What about the days we spend several hours doing activities that take away from things we really should be doing? Maybe we spend 2 hours being sidetracked on a web site, in a store, driving aimlessly when we really need direction. See how it can run our network dry? Sometimes we become the taker – simply consuming the people, places, things and ideas around us – needlessly, endlessly, ferociously, and selfishly. If you find your self doing this – STOP. It will better your network and those whose network you are drying up.

Destruction. It happens to us all. Those things which simply have no good outcome. There are things in our networks out to destroy out networks – whether it is a person, a piece of equipment, a place – they are there. The sole purpose is to disrupt as much as possible. If it is a person, it might be jealousy, anger, hate or malice that is driving this destruction. If it is something, say a computer or office equipment, maybe it is old and needs replaced, maybe it is malfunctioning, maybe it was no good to begin with. Either way, this destruction can not only destroy and dwindle our networks, but also destroy and dwindle ourselves.

So what is a VAN? A value added network is ensuring that what we spend the most amount of time with in any of our given networks is that which provides a harmonious balance between giving, receiving and realization that we can each give and take as much as it takes if we have built the proper network of people, places, things and ideas. It is merely the idea that we want to give and take, and get rid of that which is not balanced – if we are taking too much, out to destroy or not giving enough and are out of balance, we have a limited value from our network. If those items in our network are taking too much, out to destroy or not giving enough, again it is a limited value network. However, when we can find that balance, we have our value added network – the proper balance of give and take…whether it is interaction with people, places, things or ideas – they all can effect our network equally, just as we can equally effect them.

Your thoughts? Have you evaluated your networks recently? What did you find? Did you find any of the things discussed? Do you agree or disagree with the analogy? Share below in the comments!!

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Sunday Star #1

Danny Brown

Danny Brown

One of the people lately that has had a tremendous impact on my life, and one of the reasons I decided to start #SundayStar hashtag and blog post series is Danny Brown. Not only is Danny a pretty great guy, but he is also the founder of 12for12k.

It’s what he does beyond that though that makes the difference. Danny is a great connector – connecting people through Twitter, blogs, fund raising Tweetups and more; he has got a great sense of community. Just reading through his blog, watching his Twitter stream and seeing how he interacts with all levels of people is a wonderful and learning experience.

One of the best things I take from Danny is challenges. So often at the end of a blog post he leaves the reader with a question, usually one that challenges their thought process, their being or the way they conduct themselves, in life and in business. At least for me, many of his blog posts do that, as do many of his tweets.

Danny also is a very compassionate person – I have seen this through the 12for12k project he created. He has a genuine interest in being the best he can be, while helping those around him – in his local area, or around the world.

That is why I have chosen to lead my #SundayStar series off with him. He has made me challenge myself to become a better person, think things differently, check how I act and react and given me things to think about that have lead to changes inside and out. When you find a person like that, you really should just say “Thank-You”. And why not do a #SundayStar post and send a Tweet or two about it.