Posts Tagged ‘google’

The Right Network for the Right Message

November 26, 2010

My recent brush with semi-unemployment taught me an interesting lesson about social networks (which I admittedly belong to far more than any one per should).  Each one has a unique place and when leveraged in a meaningful can drive results.

So among other places, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and right here on WordPress (which for the sake of this argument I will position as a social network).

Before I left my office at CBS News for the last time (this was late in October) I updated my Facebook status and put out a tweet.  Both were intentionally misleading, as people who knew my situation at work knew what was up–and those who didn’t had questions–but I really did not want to deal with it.

By the time I made my way to Penn Station (admittedly I stopped at a couple of bars) I had job interviews lined up one via a friend (who to this day I have never met in person) through Twitter and one through a good friend (who I actually know) via Facebook.

As the days rolled on, I came to realize that I could make connections to people or reconnect to people across the expanse of my social networks.

  • On LinkedIn I found some folks whose contact information I did not save to my file as I left my CBS office.
  • On Twitter I was getting @ messages and DM’s with links to posted jobs.
  • On Facebook came support and a few laughs.
  • On WordPress I found some tips for better presenting my skills and background.

I have always been a believer in karma when it comes to things professional–I help people (including employees) jobs.  Former employees always have a reference from me. Part of me wants to believe the great support I got was Karma coming back to me–because I will keep on doing what I do.

Beyond the notion of karma though is the reality that we can all be connected–and be there to support one another.  Knowing where to go and how to tap into that resource is part of the emerging field.

My quick takeaways–as I am not sure I have all of the answers on this–and the reality is the place I landed was born more from hard work than working the systems is something like this:

  1. Don’t try to solve all of your problems in an hour or a day.  It’s a process, treat finding a job as a job and make it part of your day-to-day.
  2. Accept help when it’s offered, and don’t be afraid to ask.  None of us have all the answer-but together we are a pretty good knowledge base.
  3. Make sure all of your networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) are presentable to anyone who does a Google search.
  4. Be an active contributor to the communities you want to work in.
  5. Be proactive.  This blog was born out of uncertainty about my job at CBS more than 2 years ago.  I wanted to have a place to send people to see my expertise.  Become and expert and have a place to share that expertise.

Let me know if you have any additions to my list–I am happy to add them on–and I always give credit.

The People Have Spoken: I’m Not So Bad Off

December 15, 2009

I very accidentally found out that just when I think things are going as bad as they can, from the outside it may not be so bad.  Perhaps the grass can be greener.

Last weekend a bunch of stuff went on (family, friends, loved ones, holidays)-you know just a bunch of stuff.  I was talking with a friend of mine who reminded me of FML–you know what you may say in a bad situation, “F*ck My Life.”

And as advertising has taught us–there’s an app for that as well.  So, I added the FML app to my iPhone and started sharing the happenings of my weekend and why I feel FML.

And much to my surprise, the community-hundreds of people at a time, determined that things are not as bad as I think they are.

My FML’s have been rejected.

And I think that’s a good thing for me.  After all, here I was thinking, “Wow, I am f’d.”  And hundreds of people didn’t think so.  Its kind of cathartic actually.

While I am not saying that every issue can be helped by simple crowd-sourcing, it is a powerful tool.  Let the people speak and they will determine just how worthy the cause is.

My friends at BNet recently pointed out some of the intrinsic value of crowdsourcing and why it makes sense.

From a business perspective–increased creativity, new voices in the decision making process and a true look into what I like to call vox populi (Google it).  It comes with some downside too, because business can’t control the conversation or the expectation.  Its a bit of sharp edge to walk.

However, it also answers the question–now that I have Tweeted, shared, Digged and Wiki’d everything-what happens?

Well the answer is conversation–and perhaps as I learned, things are not as bleak as they appear, or at least that is what the vox populi is telling me.

Guess I’ll Have to Go Old School This Time

December 4, 2009

12/5 UPDATE:  So it took two calls, but got the appointment I needed.  Still, it would have been better to search online for the test–would have cost everyone less in time and resources.

I’d like to think I am pretty tech savvy.  Yeah, there are some things I don’t get and probably don’t need to get, but overall I am certainly more than able to leverage the tools of my trade to do research, fill in blanks and  get things done.

As I tend to remind people though from time to time, at the end of the day we can do 1000 things exactly right, but when you have garbage in, you get garbage out.

Case in point is my five-day quest to find a lab to perform a very specific medical test that my doctor has prescribed.  Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong.  But I did a blood test a few weeks ago and there were some abnormalities–I chalk that up to mostly being north of 40.  So my doctor asked me to go have this test done.

Pretty easy I thought.  My health insurance company has a pretty good website, I am sure I can put in some keywords, locations and piece of cake–data.  Not so much.  I can get a list of labs near my house or near my office but I have no idea if they perform this test.

Sounds like a solvable problem right? Just a quick call, because this data has to exist somewhere in the insurance company database, right?

Yeah, not so much.  After waiting on hold for 15 minutes the guy at my insurance company offered to do the same search that I did and give me a list of places I can call.  So I ask him, “Can’t you search by procedure or test?”  “No,” is his response.  “Did you want me to send you a list?”  “No,” I responded.  “I already have that.”

So I figure I would ask my pals at Google.  After all Google knows everything right?

Yeah, not so much.

Now, I can do some deep reading and scare the crap out of myself with what if’s about results of this test, but I still can’t find a place to actually get this test done.

So, to the phones I go.  A little old school for you.

The Social Network v Google

October 30, 2009

So lately I have come to realize that I can get better information (and get it faster)  by tossing a question out to my social network than I can get by doing a Google search.  It makes me wonder if there is some real possibility that my social network will replace Google as a core source–and probably sooner rather than later.

A lot of brands are spending a lot of money to “work the system” and be in the top three results for Google.  These strategies include among other things SEO, buying keywords and keyword optimization in metadata on sites.

Or, I can just float a Tweet, or post to Twitter, Facebook and MySpace all at once–and sit back and wait.  Generally speaking in the time it would take me to go through the paid placements on Google and get the information I am looking for–I not only have the data I am looking for, but I have a link that is on point for my query.

Try it yourself.

My case study was a search for cool extensions for Google Wave–I am determined to truly figure out how to make Wave work for me and make it a cool experience (this is a subject for another blog perhaps-but I think the framework is there, just need to figure out what to do with it).

As my list of Wave contacts grows–its kind of interesting to see how people are using the product–and how they are innovating within the environment.


Rules of Engagement

September 27, 2009

Just how prevalent and meaningful has the “gibberish” of your Twitter stream or Facebook wall gotten? There are a lot of companies – both large and small that are creating policy for their employees about how they are expected to conduct themselves.  Not only conduct on “official” Twitter pages or Facebook fan pages, but extending that expectation to personal social media accounts.  And you know what-its a good thing.

I can tell you from personal experience-it was pointed out to me that at one point my Twitter stream (and downstream of that my Facebook wall) had gone too far.  And I appreciated that little heads up and I have modified my behavior since then because social media (even personal accounts) are and extension of our selves (as our jobs, families, background etc).

I did a quick Google this afternoon of the term “Twitter policy” and I came up with rules about the way NFL players can Tweet, guidelines for NBA players, rules governing social media for ESPN employees and tips about how to create policy and some blog comments about policies that have been implemented.

I did a quick read through some of the memos that have found their way to the internet–and there are varying degrees of regulation.  The important part though is no one flat out banner Twitter.  Some of made it a little more generic what can be Tweeted or posted–but the conversation is open, and the sides are engaged.

And that is a good thing, it’s about time.

Once those rules of engagement are open for discussion, implementation and modification an end goal is in sight.  Once the use of social network is defined-employees can begin to implement policy and reach the goal.

For a long time, social media has been an experimental ground-drive brand awareness, drive consumption, drive something.  But the scale to measure impact has not been there.

Now it is-and rules legitimize it.

Yes, it would be great to have the wild-west mentality and just a straight up land grab for every inch we can get.  But that’s not the way business works in 2009.  Business is as much about image and awareness as it is about customer loyalty quality.  Those business needs extend beyond company websites and official destinations–and now that conversation is engaged.

An Unexpected Boost

February 23, 2009

So my Sunday morning (and in fact most of my Sunday) did not go exactly according to plan–but there is a happy ending to it all, so I guess I should not complain.

It was about 730, and I was on my way home and getting off the LIE notfar from my house.  Suddenly, although my foot was on the gas pedal, the car was not accelerating. It was still moving, the engine revving, just not going over 25 MPH.  I knew the problem.

With some cajoling I got it to a service center I knew would be open on a Sunday, if for nothing else to confirm the worst.  My 8 year old (150k miles) Saturn has a blown transmission.  According to the diagnostic, the car was not seeing second, third, fourth and reverse.  About what I expected, but not good.

So, what does all this have to do with social media you ask?

This is where it all comes together.

Partially because I was going to start dumping plans for the day, partially because according to one of the Twitter analysis services (I can’t remember which one) and partially because it was something to do, I put out an update that I was off to the land of the car dealer.

On my way I got a DM from Twitter from one of the best negotiators I know with some tips on how to position this instant purchase to my advantage-thank you, it worked grat.

I got a Facebook message from an old friend who’s husband has  a couple of used car dealerships in his portfolio-could be a destination for what is left of my Saturn.  Thanks.

I got a slew of recommendations on cars. Always helpful since I was going to make a car purchase with no research.

And when I settled on the Forrester, I got information on the costs and sticker prices seen in  CA, MA and TX.  Again thanks for all of that.


A couple of Tweets/FB updates and I had a negotiating strategy, research, well wishes and a possible disposal of my old car.  Now that is effective since the car dealership I was going to is no more than 20 minutes from my house.

Outside of walking away from financing under 4%, $5k off sticker and a dealership that jumped through hoops to put me in my car on a Sunday–there is a great case study here about the true power that these tools can harness.

Just for the fun of it, last night, I started to Google a little bit of new car information, and I was well into it for 45 minutes, with not nearly the progress I made in less than 20 from posting on Twitter and Facebook.  and I still did not have a full picture or the comparative analysis.

Yes, I have a pretty broad network (perhaps too broad).  But its a great tool to tap into–because I am not an auto-motive expert by any stretch.  I am not a keen negotiator by any stretch.  But yesterday-because of my extended network, I was.  And when I needed it, it was there.

So thank you to all who shared with me yesterday, and I look forward to helping–as I did ot a friend who dropped their Bold into a sink.

We’re all in this together–and unless we are getting direct TARP we need to help one another (OK that was a little political).

Its All Connected, Beware

January 29, 2009

So, it seems like there are signs all over the place that I should really think long and hard about this–and who know perhaps you should too.  I will give in and spend some time (here) and elsewhere thinking about the downside to being so connected-its all out there.

Back in the early days of the web (1995-1996) when I was still working in local television, I remember producing a series of stories on the emerging threat of identity theft through on line scams, and just poor on line security.  Unfortunately, when I Googled for those, they are not available, and to be honest looking back 10+ years, its common sense stuff.

But it was eye opening for me, and there are a lot of take-aways from that reporting that I use this day, and I read a lot about it.

Fast forward to the last couple of weeks-first a very dear friend had her world’s collide, and some of what she said on the internet in her personal life helped fuel that. The details are not important, but the lesson is-and its something I learned from a very unlikely source, an octogenarian news manager: Don’t put it out there if you don’t want it on the front page of the New York Times.

Last night, I got that rude lesson. Granted, in last night’s case (again the details are not germane to the lesson) it was deeper than the poor electronic data management I applied, but that is a contributing factor to today’s (personal life) mess.

So, as I was sipping coffee this morning and flipping through today’s NY Times ruminating on these events, there was a great write through right on subject in the paper: Learning How Not To Share .  And the reality is does it all have to be out there?

Although that line can be a little blurry, and there are people who can not see that line at all, and others (like me) who straddle it-there is a difference between what is done and said on line and what reality is.  And perhaps, those real differences are becoming less and less, and I update my little Twitterverse each morning about the gym, the world and waking my kids.  Perhaps that is my lesson to take away….

But there is also a catharsis to it.  Take the case of my friend, she posted a blog last night (its invite only so I won’t piss everyone off with the link) expressing her feelings.  Over the summer while my wife was doing a pretty heavy dose of chemo I used Twitter to send messages to the presidential contenders about the state of the nation’s health-care system (at least how I was experiencing it).

Do I think they read them? No. But you can Google them, and when Obama and health care are Googled, somewhere in that return are my ramblings.

And there is the cusp of the moment in history we are on.

We have these powerful tools to add to the national debate, update our friends and family–but we are also accountable for what we put out there, and have to know that even in the world of cyber there are real world repercussions.

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