Sunday, February 28, 2010

Drawing a Facebook line - this far no further

Call me loco but am I getting more Facebook friend requests from total strangers then ever before?  Not talking about "friend recommendations" or a "friends in common" request but total strangers. I am, I'm not crazy.

I've been writing recently about how email clients and the act of emailing has evolved thanks to social networking tools.  Earlier this year it was reported that texting, IMing, Tweets and social networking has outpaced the actual "phone call" or voice interactions we once had with each other.  It's far more efficient to send out blast messages and inform dozens or hundreds at a time rather then making one phone call to one person at a time.  Yes, I agree we loose that personal touch unless of course the blast can relay our creative or our persona.  We all know how well our emotions and charisma can be translated into the digital stream - or not.

I recently had a conversation with my good friend and co-worker Danielle aka @starfocus about the increased number of friend requests I have seen since opening up my Gmail profile and the Buzz bizz.  I think we are in two different camps on this one.  Where Danielle sees Facebook as a tool to connect to as many people who relate or respond to her passionate love for wildlife, I have struggled over the years as to who I should be friending in Facebook and why.

Originally it was connecting to folks I had met or interacted with on a professional level before I had gotten started with LinkeIn.  The professional people I wanted to stay connected with on a personal level who went beyond LinkedIn made the FaceBook list.  Then of course co-workers started to jump on the list - this was good and bad.  Of course came the eventual class mates, old friends, distant friends requests.  Eventually family who ventured into the Digital Immigrant land, but even that was met with resistance.  Do I really want to mix this menagerie of friends in one place?  I know folks who actually keep separate Facebook accounts for this very reason - talk about going Loco, I would be bonkers keeping it all straight.  

But it's too late, Facebook has become the mechanism to communicate for everything.  I have seen spouses sitting in the same room having conversations on their mobiles . . . with each other!  It's cute and it's bizarre all at the same time.

Recently my wife who teaches high school students overheard her kids stating to each other at various times in the day: "oh just Facebook me"  or "no, don't email me, send it my face".  Is this possibly why Google has transposed it's Gmail client to be more socially interactive?  Why Microsoft Outlook will be placing Social network gadgets into the mix like the OSC? ( Outlook Social Connector - yes, another acronym to learn ) They already have some plug-in's like with Yammer and LinkedIn - Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are logical next step progressions, yet I have to ask: Where is the line now?

For those of us charged with infrastructure and security concerns of our respective organizations the hair on the back of your neck should be standing at attention, mine is.  That line in the sand is quickly fading and that English chick who I don't know but wants to be my Facebook friend is looking awfully tempting . . . 

Posted via email from Michael's Ramblings . . .

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Google Buzz, the biz is buzzin

Pardon the pun but there has been a lot of buzz about Buzz. I know, it's not original but what do you want for nothing? :)

I see a lot of potential in this little add-on as Google makes another attempt at bringing the social networking concepts more integrated and more intertwined. They took a page right out of my very own playbook on a recent SharePoint project - people manage and live via their email client.

When I started at NWF my first project was launching an upgrade to the SharePoint platform that had been put in place but had slow adoption by the staff. I made the case that unless our organization was on Outlook and using Exchange as opposed to Groupwise we would never fully harness the integration services that the SharePoint platform has to offer. This sounds familiar, yes?

It was agreed, the application for email management was the key to bringing these tools together and hence I started an Exchange / Outlook migration because I wanted integration beyond plain email.

So no surprise at all to see the Google designed gadgets and new Buzz features which totally integrate with Gmail. But it has not been without some worry and pain.

I can't say that their claim to privacy and notification restraints are there yet, in fact when I was getting flooded with updates from total strangers tweet feeds via Buzz, my patience wore thin. To complicate matters I have my Gmail set up to notify me on my Blackberry when new mail arrives - - - that now includes Buzz whether I want it or not and I can't seem to stop it.

And another pet peeve I have is there seems to be no rhyme or reason when the updates to Buzz are delivered. I see them hitting the account in waves, not in real time.

And then of course lets not forget how Google totally forgot that eMail services has a perception of privacy - that went out the door with Buzz, oops. ZDNet goes into the legal aspects of this little flub but it says a lot about the maturity of the interface.

There are a lot of folks already jumping on the Buzz-wagon and rightfully so, it has tremendous potential and could become yet another easy tool and stomping ground for people in the Non Profit world to collaborate and share their causes.

My concern is centered around the time aspects - do I have time to scroll through yet another tool that collects and distributes observations, thoughts, comments, pictures, links . . . isn't that what Twitter is for? Is Buzz the new Twitter, the new light at the end of the tunnel? Or is the light yet another on coming train?

Posted via web from Michael's Ramblings . . .

Monday, February 15, 2010

Facebook - aka the new Pen Pal, self expression optional

This past week I was introduced to a piece from Andrew Sullivan titled "Facebookistan" where he shared a contributors comments on what I will tag as the "evils of Facebook" Katja Grace opened the first paragraph, and I quote:

. . . while Katja Grace considers Facebook social conventions:

People who talk about themselves a lot are generally disliked. A likable person will instead subtly direct conversation to where others request the information they want to reveal. Revealing good news about yourself is a good sign, but wanting to reveal good news about yourself is a bad sign.

Best to do it without wanting to. This appears true of most human interaction, but apparently not of that on Facebook.

There is a sense of truth to this, I have in the past taken shots at how people use Facebook. My exception to this line of thinking is, I think the bigger point is being missed. Now before I state my point I want to go on record as I do have this yen to not only being likable but as factual as possible: I have no scientific proof or any case studies to make this claim, only observations, conversations and actual participation.

People can get lost in the genre if they let themselves, they tend to feel empowered by the keyboard and expectation of having an audience, they want to express themselves in an area that reaches a far greater range then their network could ever reach face to face. They connect with people they would never ever normally have reached without the platforms social networking offers.

I think Grace's comments miss the mark. People who talk about themselves are NOT disliked, some of the most outgoing, charismatic people I know break the very rule Grace seems to think is bad about Facebook which I find to be not only endearing but expected of the personalities.

We are looking at the change our next generations is in the process of - there will soon be no more "pen pal" experience. Our means of connecting is now digital and if I WANT to reveal news about myself or talk about myself and what I'm doing with myself ( in a PG family way of course ) then I will as that's what we now can do.

Get your head out of your butt Katja and tell us what you had for breakfast - I had a bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries a sprinkling of organic cinnamon and a touch of honey . . . . mmmmm

Posted via web from Michael's Ramblings . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Daily Show takes "Unusually Large Snow" and "Global Warming" to new heights

Love this piece from Jon Stewart - I often get mocked about Global Warming every time it snows but this cracks me up. Global darkening and Dingos - how else to you make the point that "oddball winter weather" is a result of global warming.

NWF recently posted a piece called "Global Warming Bringing More Oddball Winter Weather" There's a lot of truth to this and the reality is there may not be enough snow blowers to go around - especially electric ones!

Posted via web from Michael's Ramblings . . .

Monday, February 08, 2010

Time drain or Time savings - your call but Facebook is here to stay

I have been seeing some friends and family start turning off of Facebook and justifiably so.  

My 17 year old son for the longest time has been avoiding it, he keeps calling it evil.  A few weeks back he announces he joined but would keep a very limited friend list, limited family and more importantly a very guarded account.  All that came crashing down when a family member asked to be friends, he graciously declined trying to explain his desire for NOT using Facebook as an open door into his life and he then got blasted for his action.  He got so frustrated that he quit the program as it did exactly what he expected, caused friction and drama within the family.

It reminded me of the dinner table during a holiday meal where all members of the family are present and when conversations can get heated or combative but in this case it was with a keyboard and those pesky unemotional words.

We all know how our words without the one on one facial and tonal delivery can have different meaning.  For some it's a challenge to be "PC" with what they write and for others there is little filtering between brain and keyboard.   Others get so wrapped up in the social aspects they get lost in the games, the posts or just can't NOT comment on everything they see.  Now before anybody I know get's their panties in a knot, I'm not judging nor am I being critical.  

I am as many of you know a big fan of self expression.  I celebrate how easy it is for all of us to share our opinions and have a voice.  It's the story telling I am most interested in and whether it's Facebook or Twitter or any of the social networking genres it's the writing, listening, reading of the stories that enriches us all.  At least that's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.

I know how this can be a time drain, I know how frustrated and hurt people can get and I know how much time being online can take away from the day to day living that many of us did before this Web 2.0 world took off.  I have strict rules about using Facebook during the day - never on my work PC or during work hours.  Occasionally on the Berry but only in the "reading room" will I reply or contribute to FB.  Twitter on the other hand . . . all bets are off.  It's a huge time saving tool for me as I use it for research and getting fast and accurate news about the industry I work in.  But here too, the urge to get personable and comment is strong, I find myself falling into that "relationship" mode way to easy.

It's the personality aspect that I think drives how we use these tools.  I like to think I'm outgoing even though I spend a lot more time  behind the keyboard then in front.  But than again, I have so little time to get out and mingle or engage that the keyboard saves me time. Plus I like how when I do actually get face time I feel like all the small talk or catch up is over as I've been online and stalked your profile.

Multitasking has a whole new meaning when it comes to Web 2.0 . . . now if I could just master those little symbols for laughing, winking and sticking my tongue out without it looking like I'm giving the bird.  That was a joke, in case you didn't hear my tone!  :-0

Posted via email from Michael's Ramblings . . .