Archive for the ‘Communities’ Category

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150 Relationships

So how many relationships can you maintain – and for how long can you maintain them without face-to-face contact. 150 and six are the numbers. The Dunbar Numbers:

For Dunbar, there’s a simple explanation for this: In the same way that human beings can’t breathe underwater or run the 100-meter dash in 2.5 seconds or see microwaves with the naked eye, most cannot maintain many more than 150 meaningful relationships. Cognitively, we’re just not built for it. As with any human trait, there are outliers in either direction—shut-ins on the one hand, Bill Clinton on the other. But in general, once a group grows larger than 150, its members begin to lose their sense of connection. We live on an increasingly urban, crowded planet, but we have Stone Age social capabilities. “The figure of 150 seems to represent the maximum number of individuals with whom we can have a genuinely social relationship, the kind of relationship that goes with knowing who they are and how they relate to us,” Dunbar has written. “Putting it another way, it’s the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar.”

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How Do You Start The Day?

Loic asks how do you start the day online… this is how this blogger/marketer/entrepreneur does it…

Here is my sequence in general, but it does change depending on the day’s priorities. It’s a mix of reading, replying and chatting…

  1. check email, both gmail and Outlook – scan and empty inbox
  2. check and thedailylark
  3. scan Google blog search for Dell terms and my name
  4. check the company chat (which is mostly outside the company)
  5. scan Google reader
  6. Fire-up Tweetdeck and see what is happening
  7. Say hi to my community on Twitter, Facebook etc…
  8. Fire-up Skype and see who is lurking about…
  9. Post to thedailylark…

Normally takes about 30 minutes or so…

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and your computer most looks like a…

  1. magazine
  2. email
  3. tv

TV right? And so the stupid movement begins its attack on vlogs and Internet video in the workplace… The Wall Street Journal reports that a growing number of companies are thinking about blocking online videos in the workplace — blaming productivity loss and bandwidth (a garbage argument created by the technologically weak). Here are the benefits as I see it:

  1. Getting employees to use the likes of YouTube is a great first step to actually getting them into your properties on YouTube
  2. Video is the future – when faced with a choice, employees would rather watch than read… so get them to love watching
  3. They come to understand the implications of this new platform.  Anyone can be a producer – and hopefully they will
  4. More controversially, its just fun.  Happy employees are productive employees.
  5. It plugs them into the culture, sub culture and conversation you so desperately want to be part of

Finally, like you really have a choice…

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Blog Censorship…

The Blog censorship raises its ugly head not once but twice today.

First, from GMSV, the US military is clamping down on bloggers requiring that superiors approve of Blog posts. There are a large portion of US employers that require this if the blog is on company time and about company matters. This clearly doesn’t work for the Military who have a far broader reach.

“This is the final nail in the coffin for combat blogging. No more military bloggers writing about their experiences in the combat zone. This is the best PR the military has — its most honest voice out of the war zone. And it’s being silenced.” — Retired paratrooper Matthew Burden, editor of The Blog of War anthology, on a new Army directive requiring soldiers to submit the contents of blog posts, message board comments and e-mail to their superior officer for a security review.

I read a few of these blogs and have been surprised that they have been able to post so freely. But then, isn’t free speech one of the things we are fighting for?

Second, Digg removes posts with code in order to avoid legal action – and then says they’ll stop doing that and bear the consequences. Some call this move to keep the site up an act of commercial imperative over community responsibility. I call it commonsense expediency. The notion that bloggers can post whatever they like, anytime they like, is nonsense.

In a post, founder Kevin Rose published the key himself and said: “We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code. But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.”

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Ray Is Wrong…

Sometimes the V in VC stands for vested. As in vested interest. For this reason, Ray Lane’s comments on press releases aren’t that surprising. In this BusinessWeek interview, Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers calls standard media and press releases “a waste of time.” Instead, they should use “blogs and wikis and podcasts and videos.” Ray says:

What’s going to happen is, employees are going to start podcasting and blogging about what’s really going on in the company. It’s going to cause huge legal concerns on the company’s part. But companies are not going to be able to stop it. Outside the company, you can’t tell people not to talk about their products. We’re not China. We can’t shut it down.

The reality of how employees feel, and the reality of how customers and partners get information about your company, are going to change in the next five years from standard media and press releases – which are a waste of time now – to these other methods like blogs and wikis and podcasts and videos

He’s right that companies should be using blogs, wikis and podcasts. He’s wrong that press releases are a waste of time. In fact, they remain hugely valuable. That I place would place more credence on the drivel pouring out of most corporations whether in a blog or a press release is just misfounded. What is needed is better, clearer, more compelling communications – period. Whether a press release, podcast or blog – I really don’t mind. What I would prefer, personally, is short blogs and podcasts on the corporate narrative – and I want a press release for all formal communications.

Ray’s argument is also founded on a pretty major assumption – that employees will blog about “what is really going on” inside a company. Really? Not too sure about that Ray. First, they’ve got jobs that come with a fiduciary responsibility. Break that and they are out the door. Last time I looked, mortgage payments trump blogging on the list of things they are worried about.

Dana makes a point that I agree with – it would be terrific to hear directly from leading lights like Steve Jobs. I want to hear more from the thought-leaders and innovators. I don’t need to hear from everyone – I’d love to here more from the people that matter.

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