Emerging Web Memo (not his real name, I'm jussst guessing) is looking forward to our upcoming panel at Enterprise 2.0, "How Twitter Changes Everything." Apparently, the post's wonderful author was inspired by our blogging panel last year - to the extent that his blog got going as a result. Now what if we flop? Patti Anklam, Bill Ives, Clara Shih, and Isaac Garcia and I are partners in crime in this one. We had our planning conference call today and I think, judging by the energy of the conversation, it might be not a flop. In fact, quite good. Come. Everyone.
Robert Scoble is a legend in social media - I think he must be a legend because I "hear," i.e. read, his name all the time, often with pointers to his posts. This one is not to be missed.
Scoble went to visit Zappos, the shoe/handbag/sunglasses distributor with free shipping that certain female relatives of mine obsessed with shoes (no names, please) loves. Alas, as previously disclosed, I am not much of a shopper, online or otherwise, but if I need shoes, etc., going forward (early indications are that this might happen), it's Zappos for me.
Here's why, as reported on Scobleizer, Robert's blog.
And it ain't because the CEO, Tony Hsieh, tweets. It's because this view of corporate transparency and employee responsibility is precisely what the world needs more of. Presidents! Generals! Chairs of Boards, hark hark!
You know I'm a fan of the folks at Common Craft, who have the unique ability to translate the strange world of new media into words that just-plain-folks can understand. They have a whole series of "...in plain English" videos, some of which I've written about here.
While writing a description of an upcoming Twitter session that I'm moderating for the Enterprise 2.0 conference here in Boston June 22-25, I found this one, which I'm posting for everyone who's asked me about Twitter, Web 2.0, or anything else that wasn't a word, phrase, or idea, say, 20 minutes ago.
Be advised: this explanation focuses on the use of Twitter with friends. There are countless other uses - from emergency work to news to marketing to customer service to...you name it. Keep it short and it Twitters just fine.
The story of how that book came to market someday will, or rather, should appear in the annals of publishing -- first publisher (Methuen, a British publisher aiming to break into the US market) shelved its whole list just after we'd submitted manuscript; Doubleday picked it up, offering more than twice the original advance (great agent at time, Ron Bernstein); we got the contract to do the electronic typsetting, making it the first commercial book to be electronically typeset under auspices of the authors, never having been retyped by its publisher; translated into Japanese by that country's Economic Planning Agency, and on and on -- but alas this post is about the treasure hunt that we're launching here today.
Networking was, as its subtitle says, a "report" on 1600 grassroots and nonprofit networks focused on the seven topics listed on the cover, along with a directory of those networks.
Within the book was everything from the theory and practice of networks -- with a chapter-long essay devoted to each topic -- to the directory itself, organized in various ways -- by organization name, by location, by keyword, and by title of the network's publications.
We did all the research via networking, beginning with one letter (as in type it, sign it, put it in an envelope, attach a stamp, go to the post office - remember that?) that we sent to one person whom we knew to be a richly connected networker, who suggested nine others, whom we wrote to, who in turn sent us other suggestions -- and within 18 months, we'd received the names of 50,000 "networks" around the world. We wrote to 4000 of them and got back an astonishing 40% response rate - 1600 letters, packages, publications, descriptions, many with heartfelt expressions of why their leaders networked and how they did it. Incredible experience, to say the least. No Internet. Limited email (a little because a few of us pioneers were already online). Need I say: No web, no listservs, and, of course, no Google, Wikipedia, Twitter or Facebook. Just the poor postman, who left a trail of whiskey nips along our sidewalk.
So now it's 2009, more than a quarter-century later and we're wondering how many of those networks have survived (I chose the ones above that I could google). Why now? Not just idle curiosity but intense awareness that there are similarities between the early 1980s and today. Principal among them unemployment, as per Paul O. Flaim's, "Unemployment in 1982: the cost to workers and their families:"
The economy entered 1982 in a severe recession
and labor market conditions deteriorated throughout the year. The
unemployment rate, already high by historical standards at the onset of
the recession in mid-1981, reached 10.8 percent at the end of 1982,
higher than at any time in post-World War II history.
A few other interesting stats from then: the Dow was, get ready, 776 in August of that year, down 30% from its high of 1011 five years earlier. And, the drop in exports and spending just announced is mere fractions shy of "the 6.4 percent rate drop seen in the first quarter of
1982, when the economy was in a recession that lasted 16 months," according to Lucia Mutukani's "US economy weakens," in the Feb 29, 2009, Boston Globe.
Clearly, we made it through that tough time, not purely because of networking, of course (I'm not that much of a romantic), but in part because people got together and figured out some things they could do themselves. We're interested in how those networks have survived and intend to include them in the new bit of writing we're engaged in, details to come.
So would you please pass this note along to anyone you know who might have been in the book? When we have a spare minute (ha!), we'll scan the whole list and begin publishing that. Thanks in advance! And, Networking networkers, please post comments here.
Pat Lencioni, the team book writer/expert (disclosure: though we've had the same publisher, I've never read his books, so apologies to him), says so in The Catholic Reporter. OK, not exactly. Here's the precise quote:
"..one of the most frequently asked questions I get has to do with
managing groups of people who are geographically dispersed, a.k.a.
virtual teams. This surprises me a little because the topic, as well as
the solution for addressing it, is certainly not very sexy."
I'll skip the next couple of possible paragraphs of speculation about how face-to-face teams might or might not be sexy, depending on the circumstances, and go directly to Lencioni's ideas about how to make virtual teams better, or, I guess, less not-sexy.
I quote again: "Once a team understands the disadvantage of not being co-located, then
it will be more likely to take on the next mistake that virtual teams
make: wasting the precious time that they do spend together."
But rather than play the part of the cynic-critic (even if I find people throwing out ideas about this as if they were really well informed), I'll leave it here: When Lencioni says, "What teams have to do—and I told you up front that this is simple and
unsexy—is make a serious commitment to one another that they will
maintain a high standard of behavior during conference calls, even
higher than they would for an in-person meeting," I have no disagreement except that it's just not enough.
There is evidence, and plenty of it, that commitment is not enough. There are practices, outlined extensively in the above research and by numerous other thinkers, that turn conference calls into superb, better-than-in-person events. Combine the best practices of virtual teams in your face-to-face groups and ooo-la-la. Veddy sexy. And very effective, Mr. Lencioni.
Uh-oh, I just can't leave it without mentioning the new media tools. Much as I believe in the "90% people, 10% technology" dictum that we've been espousing forever, those 10% tools have gotten so remarkably better in the past few years that mentioning virtual teams without encouraging use of the new media is, well, uninformed.
We all know my fave coffee house and you're beginning to get the picture of how much I (and we) frequent said establishment. And so it was no strange event that took us there last Sunday, collllllldddddd as it was, following a walk along the Charles River in nearby Cambridge. And we all know that people have a habit of offering me their tables when they are one and I am more than one (which is a bit of an existential statement).
Happened again this particular day as the place was packed at 4 in the afternoon. Nary a table in sight so we took our places at the bar, also a congenial location as you get to watch the baristas performing their art. I had turned my back for a moment when a man sitting near the window motioned to Jeff and, next thing I knew, we were relocated to the front of the house. I stopped along the way to admire the photo exhibit now showing (here's one of those great photos).
Enjoyed the cappuccino, as always, came home, and there were a coupla twitter messages a-waiting:
ctanowitz: was that you at Taste today at 4:15? ctanowitz: I was the guy at the counter who let you have the table.
Of course, I inquired why Chuck Tanowitz, photographer, blogger, and new media strategist at Schwartz Communications hadn't said hello. He wasn't sure it was me and, thus, being a nice person didn't want to pester someone if not the right one.
So we almost met - and to underscore how silly the virtual world really is, it turns out we live just a few blocks apart. And still haven't met.
Waving to Chuck as he's probably walking past right now.
We’re all aware of the explosion in the use of social
tools—teenagers embrace them, our new President used them extensively
in his recent campaign, and the press is full of hype about their
potential. And books and articles on virtual teaming abound.
But what value have they had for business enterprises? Who is really getting value from them?
In this symposium, we will explore virtual teams and social
tools—and their value in leveraging knowledge. We will discuss tools
and techniques, share learnings, and hear case examples. Our speakers
will be: Jessica Lipnack, CEO of NetAge and co-author of Virtual Teams, and Suzanne O. Minassian, Lotus Connections Product Manager, IBM, Ken George, New Media Manager at WBUR, Chuck Hollis of EMC, and Sadalit Van Buren of Knowledge Management Associates.
Register here 8:15 AM - 4:00 PM, March 31, 2009 Bentley College, Adamian Campus Center, Waltham, MA
A new person has joined the Web 2.0 revolution. A man who knows a thing or two about change. The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (OHHDL to us tweeps) is on Twitter. After less than a day, OHHDL has 13,241 followers and has put up 30 updates. Here's the latest post, which gives a look at what life in the viral world is like when the world's most famous Buddhist joins Twitter:
Our office is
currently overwhelmed by responses from our first day on Twitter. We
will make every effort to answer your questions in time.
The few of the updates are worth posting too:
Welcome to the official Twitter page of His Holiness the Dalai Lama - administered by The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The OHHDL would like to graciously thank our Twitter mediator, Deven Hk, for providing insight and logistical information.
thought it was prudent to make his office open and assessible to a more
youth and technologically advancing audience.
I agree. And as I've said here, there, and elsewhere, if you have the chance to see HHDL in person, do it. Repeating: there will never be another mature Dalai Lama in our lifetimes and any Dalai Lama who twitters is worth listening to in real.
It defies analogy and description. It's addictive. It's useful.
Twitter, for those who haven't, which is most on PE (Planet Earth), is the website, technically, on which you post messages no longer than 140 characters.
That's short. That last paragraph, for example, was 14 too long.
I (that link is my Twitter address) continue: You post messages and share them with your "followers" who may or may not be following you. You find them (followers) by searching on the names of people you know or by seeing new names when you read the posts of others you know.
Who has time for this, you ask, and why would you bother?
1. You learn. 2. You see what others are thinking. 3. You see really new things. 4. It's fun. 5. It's an incomparable writing discipline.
Thanks to Marko Saric (no idea who he is other than that he started following me and that he is a self-described "Internet marketer" and lives in London) who "retweeted," meaning he posted again about someone else's "tweet" (as the 140-character posts are known to those in the know), we all can read a history of "How Twitter Was Born" by Dom Sagolla.