Downtime messages – When “making it personal” makes it personal


NZPost has a tracking facility (as most postal services do). One of their offerings with this tracking service is to send automated tweet notifications from a Twitterbot when the status of a tracked item changes. Pretty cool, definitely handy. 

To set this up requires “following” @nzposttracking. You are automatically followed back and send you a direct message when the status changes.

On the Twitter homepage I got to read some of the public tweets that this account has been sending out…


These “friendly” tweets that were sent out, for “routine maintenance“, made me smile.



The best no-bullshit “Rules of Networking”


The question was asked, on Quora,  “How do I get better at networking?

There were 38 answers. The response that got the most upvotes, was the one by Zach Freedman. Someone who tells it like it is. His response was certainly different from the other responses, and garnered the most comments (and, as mentioned, upvotes)…

  1. Networking is bullshit. You don’t “network”, you meet people. Get out of the results-oriented mindset and enjoy the conversations. Be a goddamn human about it. Put down your phone, because…
  2. Comfort zones are bullshit. The only network worth having is one that has a diverse group. Wide and shallow is the name of the game. With a wide network, you have more interesting conversations, more options for solving problems, and more ears on the ground to spot trends. Grow some balls, leave your silo, and make friends with people who are utterly unlike you. Twitter and Facebook shield you, which is why…
  3. Social media is bullshit. Talk to people in the real world. A lot. Expand your options using meetups, clubs, mixers, and getting friends to drag you along to their social stuff. Try and talk to everyone at the event. Ignore your business cards, because…
    Business cards are bullshit. There’s exactly one reason to use a card – you take their card because you want to follow up on something they said. They like old Benzes and you have a friend who collects them? Ask for their card, write “Connect w Jeff re Benzes” on the front, pocket the card, and follow up with it. Don’t give out your card unless asked, because…
  4. “Let’s talk later” is bullshit. They’ll never follow up with you. The ball is firmly in your court. If the conversation went well, call them back within two days, link them with what you wrote down, and check in every two weeks or so. Two weeks?! Yes, because…
  5. You never stop selling. You never stop shipping. Your life is vibrant, fascinating, and fast-moving. Every week, you have new people to connect and new developments to tell others about. And you do so.

Your regular contact builds friends. Your excitement makes them want to listen. Your activity spreads the word that you get things done.

Conversations aren’t “How are you doing? Fine, how are you?” They’re real, visceral, and worthwhile. Most importantly, you’re actually helping people, and that’s why you start networking in the first place.

 You can read the original in Quora here.

Test Driving the Bottlenose

It’s amazing how you can stumble upon things. In reviewing the results of a Google Alert for “Hootsuite”, I came across a reference to a new Twitter client called “Bottlenose“.

Bottlenose looks like a pretty powerful tool. You can read about it in this post on, and check out, on the Bottlenose site, the “tour” of its features.

I have just signed up, and I’ve got to admit, it looks impressive. I understand that the beast is still in BETA, and that there are a few limitations, but I am going to give it a good try out over the next couple of weeks.

I’ll let you know how things go…

Controlling the “Knowledge Enrichment”

I’ve built up a collection of high quality Tweeps that I follow.

These are people that either have smart things to say, are giants in their industry, or add value to my life through sharing information that expands my knowledge or understanding of various areas. (For more of my thoughts on this, see my earlier post “Sorry – I don’t follow you“.)

Constant Flow

As happens, when you get input from all these people, there is a constant flow of information. I use Hootsuite as my tool of choice for “knowledge enrichment“. And to cope with the “knowledge enriching” stream, I turn off the auto refresh. This allows me to  scroll through the tweets at my own leisure, saving links that are important (Diigo for the “useful to have for future reference” links, and EverNote for the “plan to do something with this” links), or responding as appropriate.

However, there times when I am unable to look at my tweet stream for a long time. Hootsuite is good enough to show a message telling me that it’s missing x number of hours of messages. I have the option of displaying these, but then I often start participating in conversations that are already outdated, or have moved on to new topics, etc. And… after spending 10 minutes working through the old tweets, I end up skipping the rest and jump to the most current tweets.

So, this looks like a case of “Information Overload”, right. Well, Daniel Hudson, retweeted something the other day from Anthony Poncier that describes this a lot better:

I found that so valuable, I’m going to repeat it:

Information Overload is not a problem, it’s a filter failure

This reinforced something that I have been aware of for awhile. I need some way to filter the tweets that I am getting. In other words, I needed to create some Twitter lists. This would allow me to display the all the tweets grouped according to whatever category I wanted to use.

I created a number of lists, and started the process of adding the people I follow to that as I saw fit.

This was laborious. After adding four people, I gave up. It was taking too much time. I started looking for an easier way to add people to lists. A Google search didn’t seem to return precisely what I wanted. (Here also – not really a case of “Information Overload”, but a filter failure – my query obviously wasn’t specific enough.)

Solution Found

Another couple of weeks went past, during which I would half-heartedly try rephrasing my query hoping to find that “great tool”. I even posted a question on Twitter (more a plea), but heard nothing back.

Yesterday however, I discovered what I was looking for. It’s a site called Twitilist by Ben Gdovicak .

After giving it permission to connect to your account on Twitter, you are presented with a split screen. In the top screen, you see all your followers. It the bottom screen, your lists are displayed (as pages from a lined notepad.) Then you can drag each of the “followees” to the appropriate list, or lists. Precisely what I needed. It gave me an overview of my followers, and my lists, and allowed me to simply drag and drop.

Every now and then I needed to add a new list, which I did in Twitter. To refresh the lists displayed in Twitilist, I would go to the Home page, and then reconnect. The new list (or lists) would then appear. However, all the names that were showing in each list, were gone. Initially I though that I go through the whole process again. but then I noticed that if someone was already in a list, when you selected that person, the list would go opaque, and you couldn’t do anything more with it. (Notice, in the above screenshot, that the list “ECM”, at the bottom of the screen, is opaque. Christian Walker is already in that list.)

Now I can easily add people to my lists. If I am following you. Expect to be grouped, and categorised.

My Twitter Lists

(Social) Networking

Recently I read a post that resonated with me.

It was written by Charles Blakeman, and he questioned what was so special about social networking.

With his permission I have included his blog post below…

When we use the phrase Social Networking, do we really get it?

I’m not at all opposed to online networking – I use it all the time to build relationships, but no matter what medium you use to connect with people, it’s not about CONTACTS, but meaningful and lasting CONNECTIONS. It’s ALWAYS about being social. So maybe I don’t get it.

“Social networking” is the apparent standard description of online networking. But how is it that “social networking” is somehow just an online thing? I get business from my neighbors, my family, my bicycling friends, my golf friends, my business friends, my clients, and from people I meet in a restaurant, as well as from people on Twitter and Facebook.

“SOCIAL” networking is a great idea, in fact it’s the only way to network, by being social, not salesy – making friends and meeting needs. But most people who do offline or online networking aren’t social about it at all. Most networking opportunities are simply a place to collect business cards and try to sell things to people, which is why most serious business people with a true network and lasting connections don’t show up at networking events.

They’re too business doing real social networking – playing golf with a friend, hosting a small and intimate wine tasting at their house, having a cup of coffee with a few business associates, riding a bike with a half dozen others, or meeting with their very committed referral network. And in all this, their objective is to serve people and meet THEIR needs, which is the opposite of most classic networking strategies.

When truly social business people move online, they have no interest in networking, but in building a network, and they don’t focus on contacts, but on lasting connections. Twitter and Facebook look the same to them as a cup of coffee with a few friends – they’re focused on trying to serve others and see how they can push them forward, not on selling things to everyone that says hello.

So I’m confused. If “social networking” is something you do online, then what is connecting a friend with a potential employee for her, or meeting someone over a cup of coffee – is that “unsocial networking”?

The communications medium is not the magic. The willingness to serve other people where they are at, not where I want them to be, and to get them to their goals are the keys to the business kingdom. No matter what the medium, I will get farther by serving people than selling to them.

I can’t bring myself to call either online or offline networking “social networking” because it implies there are types of good networking that aren’t social. If people don’t like me, they won’t buy from me. What part of building a network SHOULDN’T be social? Maybe I just don’t get it.

More of Charles excellent posts can be read on the businessblogs site here

Learning about Klout

One of the people I follow on twitter is Shadeed Eleazer (@mrshadeed). He’s a cool guy and blogs about the digital world. He also creates video blogs.

One of the ones I watched recently was about Klout. He talks about what it is and how it works.

Definitely worth 3 minutes and 48 seconds of your time to view/listen to it.

My Diigo bookmarks for the week

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

I’ve just signed up for…The AIIM Social Business Virtual Conference

AIIM social_business agenda

I decided to sign up for the AIIM Social Business Virtual Conference, scheduled for 8 September 2011.

Looks like an impressive line-up. Really keen to hear what each speaker has to say. (The fact that the sessions will be available for up to a month after the conference is going to be invaluable.)


There are three tracks:

  • Strategy
  • Use Cases
  • Governance


Click here for AIIM’s Conference agenda.


The impressive line-up of speakers includes:

Andrew McAfee – Founder of the term Enterprise 2.0
Keynote Speaker: Driving Collaboration and Engagement with Social Business

Dr. David Weinberger, – Author & Public Speaker
Keynote Speaker: The Network Way of Knowing and Deciding

John Mancini, AIIM, President
Keynote Speaker: Setting up for Success, The Social Business Roadmap; Lessons Learned & Next Steps

Claire Flanagan – CSC, Director, Social Collaboration Strategy
Getting Beyond The Field of Dreams: Building a Successful Social Business Strategy, Inside and Out

John Stepper – Deutsche Bank, Managing Director
Change the Work! Stop Evangelizing and Start Doing

Debra Logan – Gartner, Vice President
Key Issues for Enterprise Information Management, 2011

Edsel David – Fannie Mae, Director, Knowledge Management
Building an Effective Collaboration Framework

Andy MacMillan – Oracle, Vice President of Product Management
Today’s Successful Businesses are Social Businesses

Dianne Kelley – Viacom, Director of Records Management
Records Management in the Social Media World

Dan Latendre – IGLOO, CEO
Social started in the cloud – why should it live anywhere else?

Billy Cripe – BloomThink, Principal BloomThinker
Why Go Mobile? Am I Cool Enough?

Hanns Kohler-Kruner – HKK Consulting, Owner
How to Develop a Governance Policy for Facebook

Jacob Morgan – Chess Media Group, Principal
The Business Impact of Collaboration

Ajay Budhraja – Department of Justice, Chief Technical Officer
Agile Collaboration for the Enterprise

Carl Weise – AIIM, Industry Advisor
Survey of AIIM & ARMA resources

Bert Sandie – Electronic Arts, Director, Technical Excellence – Knowledge Workers
The Emergence of a New Breed of Savvy Employees

Ming Kwan – Nokia, Marketing Manager
Share to Connect at Nokia

Bob Larrivee – AIIM, Director and Industry Advisor
How Mobile Devices Will Transform Paper Processes

Jennifer Leggio – Sourcefire, Senior Director, Online Marketing
The State of Social Business and What to Expect in 2012

Ken Bisconti – IBM Enterprise Content Management, Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy
Social Business meets Enterprise Content Management

Andrea Baker – Chief Social Engineer
How IT Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Facebook

Gayle Weiswasser – Discovery Communications, Vice-President, Social Media Communications
How Discovery Engages with their Audience

Jesse Wilkins – AIIM, Director Systems of Engagement
How to Develop a Governance Policy for Twitter; Records Management in the Age of Twitter

Steve Ressler – GovLoop, President & Founder
Community Development for Social Business, A GovLoop Story

Related Links

Speakers :

My Diigo bookmarks for the week beginning 8 August 2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

A meeting of the great ECM minds – the #ECMJam

Today the second ECM tweetjam was held. The topic:

the connection between ECM and SocBiz

Organised by Bryant Duhon, the list of participants looked like a veritable “Who’s who” of the giants in the world of AIIM and ECM.

As mentioned – this was the second ECM tweet jam. You can read Bryant’s initial explanation of what it is here:


And…here is Bryant’s report on the first ECM Tweet Jam:


Bryant will be writing a report of today’s ECMJAM. It will be worth waiting for.

If you want to read the raw tweets though, check out the tweet stream

Related Posts

Laurence Harts post on the ECMJam

I’m new here


Ok – so I got myself a Google+ account.

Now I have to get used to using it.  I’ve never done Facebook (and was damn proud of it), so this side of the online social media world is new to me.

What I mean, is that I had gotten used to checking my Twitter stream regularly, and kept an eye on Delicious’ “Recent” bookmarks (to see if anyone else had found anything interesting), but Google+ … well that was new for me.

So – I caught myself smiling when I saw a post on Google+ by someone that I had inadvertently “invited” when I had included him in one of my “Circles”. His comment was:

Ok, here we go…another social obligation. I wonder what the chance of me maintaining G+ as well as my Blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I felt exactly the same way (with the exception of Facebook).

At the same time, I was hitting the Random button on the xkcd site, and came across this:


Note: I never waste my time with social media at work



Social Media in Business

Life is social.” …  “Business is social.  People buy from people they like and they like people who know them.  When we meet someone in their office we look at pictures on their wall so we can share something in common.  We want to build intimacy and trust.  Social media is just an electronic way to listen and engage…extending the old school way of going to someone’s office.

The above is a quote from a Forbes article (by Gene Marks) that I recently read. The article was discussing the adoption of social media in business.

While it seems that there is certainly a lot of interest in using social media in a business sense, there just hasn’t been that “compelling reason” to adopt it without question.

However there are still those that seem to see a real benefit (as seen in the quote above”, there are still a lot of people who don’t.

From what I’ve seen, business is still being run by a generation that hasn’t grown up with the web2.0 “idea”. And…there still isn’t a real business use that makes “C” level staff decide to implement it, without trying to work out first what they are going to use it for. (For some ideas on this, check out one of my earlier posts “ESS (Enterprise Social Software) – user adoption“)

Here’s the link to Gene’s post: Am I Wasting My Time On Social Media?

Google+ – Early Research

 Google+ has been announced.

It is a Facebook-like social tool, and one of the defining features is that it allows you to refine your online social network so that it represents real-life more.

About a year ago, I came across a presentation on SlideShare that showed some of Google’s early research into social networks. Now I see that this was for what is now “Google+”.

Interesting stuff…

The Real Life Social Network v2

Social Media and Pharma Industry, a Paradoxical Oxymoron?

The following is an article that was originally posted on PharmaIQ.

The author is Cristina Falcão.


The world’s most highly regulated industry seems doomed to “forward retreat” tiptoeing into social media. Why? The reason lies on social media’s gist – user generated content (UGC) is the raison d’être but also the main drawback, since the lack of rules on the accuracy of online content (written by the users of websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) makes pharma accountable.

Effective guidance, equally issued by the EU and US drug agencies, is urgently needed, before pharma companies can use social media’s valuable contribution in areas such as pharma-vigilance, clinical trials, R&D, and employee- recruitment.

What is the current guidance situation?

Unlike in the US, the European Directive 2001/83 (Community Code) forbids public advertising of “prescription-only medicines”. On the other hand, EU offers little specific guidance on social media (apart from some EFPIA -guidelines on websites, and the PMCPA’s (UK) “Brief guideline on blogs”), and waits for the US approach; however, FDA rules on pharma, internet and social media, which draft was due at the end of 2010, still have not been issued.

Major concerns

Pharma companies are responsible for the contents of a sponsored website (sponsorship can simply be advertising); yet, it is virtually impossible for the industry to control a website’s UGC without undermining the dynamic nature of social media. Adverse events reporting (AER) is a nightmare: the law states pharma companies must report all those events to the respective regulatory agencies, where they are stored in databases to monitor drug safety. It is impossible for the industry to monitor all AER’s, and marketers fear that user-generated content will include complaints about their drugs’ side effects; what makes it even worse, is the fact that FDA’s databases are regularly searched by lawyers for potential class-action suits.

Nevertheless, there are many pharma companies using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media tools; the only way out, is to monitor activity on any social media platform where they are present, using disclaimers, reserving the right to remove unwanted comments and redirecting drug questions to the company’s website.

Clinical trials

Patient-recruiting for clinical trials through social media, grants decreased R&D costs to the industry. However, clinical trials have several types, designs, and sample groups; social media, alone, is not the universal source. It can prove to be a double-edge sword, if patients interact and exchange information before the whole trial is completed; also it does not ensure evaluable data in the end. Patient- recruiting outside the physician’s own pool of patients has high dropout rates; tweeting about a clinical trial may build awareness of the opportunity, but does not guarantee an engaged PI, who will lead the patient through the clinical trial, thus assuring collection of meaningful data.

Although ‘social media’ is the overhyped buzzword of our time, for pharmaceuticals it will be a treacherous route: regulations will undoubtedly limit (further) interaction with the public, but increase accountability – it not being worth the effort or risk.

All we know for sure is that the debate has only started.


Click on this image for the original post



Related Posts:

Thoughts on Blogging

When I started blogging, it was because I had been inspired to “write down” what I was doing. Just as a way of keeping a personal record. I just wanted to start…something.

At the same time, I discovered that I was actually having to “think” more about things. I found this really inspiring.

A post at the end of last year, by Bjørn Furuknap, led me to question this. In his post, Bjorn stated that if a blogger was offering no real value, then he/she would be better off doing nothing. (I wrote a post about this, that you can read here.)

To be honest, Bjorn’s post (as well as older post by Laurence Hart, aka @Piewords), make me think seriously about the posts I write.

On the one hand, I didn’t want my posts to fall into the “might as well just shut up” category, but I still wanted to use them as a way that I could record my thoughts, or offer tips, or advice.

In fact this conflict, would often prevent me from actually writing anything. I would start, but then doubt would enter my mind, as I tried to work out whether the post was indeed too much of the “just shut up” type.

Thanks to a tweet by @BizTeam lead me to a small video in which Seth Godin, and  Tom Peters, talks about blogging. Seth commented that a blog is free, and it doesn’t matter if nobody reads it. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it – the “thinking” about it.

Wow – when I heard these words, it really brought me back to my original “purpose” for writing. It’s something I mention in that earlier post – I blog so that I am forced to THINK about things.

Have a look at the video, and let me know what your thoughts are…

Vodpod videos no longer available.