Thursday, December 31, 2009

When the conversation is mere speculation what do we gain?

Emerging into a world of transparency with new technology that allows any conversation in almost any venue, we may forget what would hurt us, still hurts others.

Today's reflective post is from Guest Contributor Jennifer Green. This piece first appeared on Green Parrot under the title Speculation.

I listen to PDXSucks. People who actually love Portland. “We think Portland, Oregon is just about the finest city on the face of the earth. We’re just more than a little frustrated in the path that Portland seems to be taking to become a ‘big city’ and we can’t keep quiet about it anymore.”

I frequently listen later, cause I’m not up at 8:00 AM, one of my most favorite benefits of unemployment. But I do miss being able to interact in the little chat box with the show by not listening at broadcast time. Today, (podcast of 12/22/09) they discussed the death of Brittany Murphy. I 100% absolutely agree with their conversation.

The instant someone famous dies, it starts.


Brittany Murphy, as they pointed out, is someone’s daughter, cousin, niece, granddaughter and friend. And now her family and friends will forever have the week of Christmas, when they lost a loved one, to remember as a time of devastating tragedy.

Speculation is mean, cruel and an opportunity for the Focus Puller to grab attention. I’ll call it the ‘Gloria Allred Syndrome.’ These are people so desperate for attention they will speculate on something that they know nothing about in order to appear on the news, get a book deal—or the ultimate—a show about nonsense on a plethora of cable channels.

How about this, she died.

We won’t know the cause of death for 4-6 weeks. At that point, if the family is inclined to release the results, we will know why.

Yes she was a public figure. Yes she chose a career that put her in the spotlight. But she was a person and she had a life and a family. Doesn’t that fact of humanness somehow allow her a level of privacy when it comes to the most intimate part of her life? Like her death?

It’s times like this that I become embarrassed for some. Yes, I’m interested in people and what they do, but not to this degree.

This is just cruel.

Edited by Carol Doane.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cut and Paste. It's kindergarten all over again

Since inception of my Twitter account, @TheClassicCarol, I have had a blog. It's a department manual and a catch all for discussions and meetings. It was self-defense. No one remembers everything I say. It serves to prove the point, "Yes, I did share that...more than once."

The blog is on lock down due to information only helpful to the sales staff, and honestly, no one cares about the pictures from our budget making breakfast, a study of contract terms, our criteria to order a polybag, the law behind alcohol promotion, how to pull canned reports, schedule a dynamic ad, or who's responsible to fill out the position book.

Now, that I'm blogging in public I'd like to be consistent with filling the space. But who has time for THAT? So, anyone besides Larry Chiang believe in cut and paste? And would you like to cut and paste your content and be a guest contributor at 360 Convos?

Apply below. In the comment section, leave a link to a favorite post you've written and we'll talk. I'll be the one with the scissors...approaching gently. You bring the paste. Don't spill.

pssst, it's helpful if the post has something to do with a conversation

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How I use Twitter

Ever followed someone and been disappointed when they did not follow you back? If it was me, I'd like to explain what may have occurred and at the end I'm hoping you'll appease my curiosity and share your philosophy and how you found me.

In communication auto-anything usually leads to auto-fail. I've noticed I do not always receive an email alert for everyone who follows me. I assume that is because they are doing some other-world, massive following program that misses the direct Twitter communication option. Without an alert how do I easily discover you? I don't. I suggest you go one-on-one with the people you are most interested in.

Participation in the venue is important. I review each Twitter email alert I receive and am disappointed if I don't see an Avatar. I want you to care enough about your online brand to include a picture that represents you. If you don't care... should I?

A close follow-to-follower ratio gets a thumbs up. If you follow 800 but only have 8 following you, I'm not likely to follow back. My goal is to encounter people who desire a conversation. Massive growth doesn't lend itself well to conversation (in my experience). Evenso, I scour  the list of who you are following to see if I can find my avatar. If I have to hit "Next" 4, 5, 16 times I assume you want numbers not people and I move on.

Conversation is interesting, information push is a turn off. I also read the tweets on your first page. If you only indulge in an information push, i.e. never re-tweet anyone (RT), never respond to anyone else's tweet (@TheirTwitterName), I pass.

Make money with someone else, please. If every fourth or fifth tweet is a duplicate that tells me how to make money or get white teeth I encourage you to keep trying, just not with me.

Web-sites say exactly what you think.  I'm excited to preview your Web-site and have found some very noteworthy bloggers among my following, but if yours is a money making scheme or a pop up window I have to click close before I even get to or through the first page, I understand my value to you is how much money I can make you. This is a relationship economy, relationships establish rapport, investment could be time or money. Value both, but don't knock me out with either one.

Speak, please. If you have no tweets, or only one tweet, try again later when you've developed your voice. If I've followed you and you're only lurking, i.e., you never tweet, that would be a reason for us to part ways. Participation, conversation, engagement... I weight these heavily.

You say BC, I say Washington. If you're from Vancouver, BC I'll wonder if you realize I'm not in Canada, but I may follow back cause we're Vancouver-Cousin-Cities.

There's always hope. Twice a year I check to see who's still following me. If you've hung on that long I'm likely to check you out again and give you a second chance.

Speak to me, anytime. If I choose not to follow you, but you draw me into a conversation I'm extremely likely to take notice and follow you. How do you start that conversation? Find something that I'm interested in and draw my attention to it. You can check out my bio for what's a hot topic for me.

So that's how I use Twitter. Now's your chance! Leave me a note on your Twitter rules, and appease my curiosity and tell me how you found me. Thanks!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Twitter Feed: 30 Hour Day to stock the food bank

Portland podcasters begin a global conversation to stock the Oregon Food Bank, to offer computer assistance to low income residents via Free Geek, and to collect Toys for Tots.

It's Live. It's Streaming. It's Entertainment. It's 30 Hour Day.

A local team has gathered international celebrities including international nonprofit tech consultant Beth Kanter, author Tara Hunt, Mayor Sam Adams in a pre-recorded interview, and other local online and offline celebrities.

The 30 Hour Day Web-site notes an evolving schedule with updates promised, and a timeline that is 'ish.'

Twitter capture (see below for link to podcast):
Click for Live Streaming of 30 HOUR DAY

30 Hour Day Event Web-site
@30HourDay Twitter account

ReadWriteWeb Blog of web trends and products

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gist: 360 Biz of the Month

For a generation taught to demand privacy from the companies it transacts business with, Boomers have readily abandoned that concept and joined Gen Xers and Gen Y in a very vibrant, public information sharing performance. Transparency is touted as the answer to what ails us and everyone is encouraged to step out on the information dance floor and boogie.

With each rotation of the mirrored information globe the dance hall twitters with life and we attempt to catch the flickers and make sense of them. In one ear interesting voices chirp in 140 characters, in another social media presentations sing. Associates are LinkedIN, family and friends are Facebooked, and everyone wants to know where and when via Plancast, Foursquare or Gowalla, and we blog all about it.

We share a lot, but most of it is lost in the mayhem.

Garnering salient information about the people who are important to us, especially in business, can be as illusive and dazzling as chasing the mirrored reflections of the disco ball. Gist, a Washington State corporation founded by T. A. McCann, created software for "relationship-centric professionals" to address our need to sort and prioritize the dazzling information mayhem.

For its unique, relationship deepening, innovation, Gist is my choice for 360 Biz of the Month.

I was introduced to Gist by a fellow Twitter-mate turned real-life friend, Ed Borasky (@znmeb). Boraksy is geekedIN and has enough online influence to beta test new products. He received a first round Googlewave invite and tossed one my way before I barely knew what a wave was. Right on the heels of Googlewave Borasky gifted me with Gist.

I like being among the first to know things and seeing the big picture puzzle in a comprehensible map. Gist provides me with all that and a scorecard. My relationship with the people and businesses in my database are weighted or scored based on a proprietary algorithm. A yellow or red alert tells me when too much time has passed between interactions with my inner circle. A detail screen offers an in-depth look of who our shared contacts are, and constant information monitoring keeps me abreast of their blog posts and news mentions.

Gist integrates inside Outlook, Salesforce, and the iPhone, and allows me to focus on my contacts one at a time—in order of their importance to me.

It's most valuable asset is that it saves me time. Instead of me plowing through a sporadic stream of Twitter submissions to find the person of the hour I want to connect with, then tracking down the latest piece of news on them, or signing up for constant Google alerts, Gist allows me to review that individual’s entire online interactions and news spotlights in a date sort that includes a company profile from Dow Jones Business & Reltationship Intelligence. Gist creates a clear portrait, a complete dossier of my contact, and reduces the time needed to pull the varied pieces together to the time elapse of a log-in. The information can be browsed lightly or explored deeply by following provided links.

Gist can be used as a brand monitoring tool, too. I had no intention of using it for this, but it unearthed a dozen copyright infringements for the company that employs me.

Because I have a native bias of Washington State businesses, I took the time to reply to the emails Gist sent asking for feedback. As a result, I connected with Greg Meyer, Customer Experience Manager. He was easily coerced into doling out a generous number of Gist invites for my network. Don’t be shy. Gist is ready for more people to test its beta product. And it’s offered free to my blog readers.

Click the link for complimentary Gist invite:

Congratulations Gist and T.A. McCann for earning 360 Biz of the Month for January 2010 status. I was too enthusiastic about your product to hold this post until after the first of the year. Wishing you much success in product development.

About Gist Corporate Web-site
T.A. McCann Gist Profile
Microsoft Case Study: Gist Document published October 2009
Testimonial: Michael Michaels, recruiter at Verticalmove and organizer of Seattle Job Social YouTube 

I receive no remuneration for the companies I recommend. You can’t buy me. You can wow me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Supported, uncovered, volunteered, stayed... what I should have done

I'm only beginning to get comfortable with mixing online with real life, and my associates laugh at me when I confess I'm trying to keep my professional life separate from my online commentary, because, let's face it, no one wants to be Danah Boyd'ed. Shudder. So, we do what we can to protect our fragile egos, which sometimes means we fail to attach our real names to our e-trail.


A recent post from a co-worker captured my professional name in reference to this blog. So, I'm working on exposing myself and testing it in small venues.

A comment left on Oregon Media Central in reference to my post regarding the We Make The Media event essentially said, huh? "Maybe I needed to be there." Ouch. The event was organized to build a new 'community journalism enterprise' for the Portland metropolitan region. My bad for hitting that send key before corralling clearer and more salient thoughts.

Of course, I realize, it's bound to happen: every blog post is not perfect and someone will create entertainment at  my expense—whether they know me or not. (Note to self: Get over it).

That was not the intention of the Twitter Corner—to create entertainment—as they reacted to the key-note speaker and organizers of the November 2009 WMTM event and texted gut reactions (and not all negative). Nor, was it the intention of the organizers to ignore ideas and feedback from the corner, but, well, we are what we are and we don't always hear everyone's voice as they enter the conversation, and it was with dismay that Abraham Hyatt noted on the #wmtm Twitter stream many voices... exiting.

After the event I arrived home drained and not able to shake off the experience. I'd met well-spoken, thought provoking people and in trying to capture what had distressed and overwhelmed me, that not all the voices were heard, I scrambled my thoughts together and blasted out a post. Then I went twitter-hunting for someone of like mind and connected with Alexander Craghead right after he posted his thoughts on Civics 21.

There is a vast gap in our ages, (I'm estimating), but our #wmtm experience felt oddly similar and our experience of the event began to echo throughout the community. This disenfranchised storm grew and gathered in the Twitter #wmtm stream and pointed fingers at 'old white dudes' who cut off the comments of most of the women, and the younger people in attendance of either gender.

Welcome to the newsroom.

Right about now, you could assume those pale-stale-males do NOT want to have a conversation with me. In reality, that's not true. From what we've experienced in the public-arena-aftermath, those white dudes who were criticized have tip-toed into the fray, some (at least one) have dove in and literally broadcast, blogged and tweeted about what went right and self reflected on what went wrong.

What management has taught me, or to be precise my current director: people who can self-reflect and own their errors are people you can build a team with. I would like to be counted among those self-reflectors, so, here's my confession, borne out of my desire to get what's bugging me (about me) out of the way, so we can work on the real task at hand, crafting our future:

  • I should have gravitated to the arena I am not familiar with instead of falling back on what I know. I attended the revenue generation break-out session, but what did I learn that I didn't already know? Had I chosen unfamiliar ground it would have situated me as a listener-learner, and not a 'you need my expertise' persona which I fear I may have projected.

  • I should have supported (interrupted) the male facilitator of our group and directed him toward better practices. Number one: introduce everyone. That should have been required before launching any discussion. We were only asked who we were if we commented. Our group included a gentleman from the music industry, an arena which has faced almost identical concerns of 'content' ownership and distribution issues. (Brilliant post on the music industry woes: Dear Musicians, Please Be Brilliant or Get Out of The Way, by Dave Allen). What could we have learned from his reflection had we uncovered his voice sooner?

    In addition, I'm left to berate myself on the voices we may have neglected to encourage because they were too timid to speak. Introductions would have given value to everyone's voice.

  • I should have discovered on the front end who thinks differently. Mid-way through our discourse we discovered there were those who believed we should not sell any ads to support the emerging journalism enterprise. One of the guys proposed a subscription based concept, and also noted he had crafted several successful Facebook ad campaigns. Now, I'm forced to wonder, 'why did he think that? What does he know/think that I have not considered?'

    Had we introduced ourselves and given a one sentence hope for our outcome we could have flushed out opposing concepts on the front end and been able to explore alternative paradigms immediately, instead of finding half-way through we were not of the same mind. A missed opportunity for all of us to crystallize our thoughts and seek deeper understanding.

  • I should have volunteered to take our discussion points back to the main group. Our facilitator did a 6o second summary of ... I'm still trying to figure that out. I photographed our flip chart and will capture our notes and reproduce them on the blog. But clearly, he was ill prepared to represent our discussion and scurried through his task as if we were running out of time, or as if he wasn't comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.

    We would have been better served had we taken five minutes to summarize our discussion, vote on what we felt the most valuable thoughts, and ask who would be willing to represent it to the group. I seldom skirt the limelight, but ran out of the room with the rest of the crew and left it in our facilitator's and scribe's hands to figure out the next step. (Note to self: boo, bad girl!)

  • I should have stayed to the bitter end and headed to the bar with the rest of the 'hell raisers.' Some of the best ideas come over a beer. Therefore, I owe you all one. How about a pitcher after the next event? Heck, this blog should host the after-party.
Let's talk. Let's listen to each other and seek mutual benefit, and I promise we will craft a very interesting, if not engaging and profitable future.

We Make The Media Follow-ups: 

Fast Company: Automated AOL News: Heralding the Future of Online News Writing?
FTC Workshop: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
Mediactive: Journalism's slow, sad suicide
News Inkubator: What is News Inkubator?
TechCrunch Comment: What Robert Scoble Would Pay for News via Twitter
The Faster Times: A New Type of Newspaper for a New Type of World
The Nation: How to Save Journalism
Vancouver Observer: The Death of Journalism