Looking to 2008

I know, I know... not only has it been a long time since anyone has posted anything to read here, but now we have the obligatory "it's a new year..." conversation. I have to say, I deliberately didn't post at the start of the year, because fundamentally I'm against the resolution notion. At least in the form it takes for many. For me, it is much more satisfying and useful for goal setting to review what I learned in the year past, and focus on that. I find that if I do that, rather than setting some arbitrary goals for the year to come, I actually find better direction. So, that said, here is my list of things I learned in 2007. To be honest, this is for myself, as much as it is for anyone who happens across this blog. But I hope this list might encourage others to stop and really pay attention to the things you've learned, because only when we recognize them can we put them to work for us. So, here we go.

Top things I learned (realized, came to terms with, etc.) in 2007:

  1. Life moves very, very fast, on many, many levels.
  2. No matter how much you plan, you never, ever know what's coming.
  3. Dealing with big, personal issues changes how the world feels. And sometimes, that's for the better.
  4. It's ok to not know everything. And you don't have to pretend that you do in order to be taken seriously.
  5. Owning your knowledge means sharing it. If you don't, it's only your perception.
  6. Living for today does not have to be at the expense of taking care of your future, and vice versa.
  7. It's important to look at people objectively, not through the lens of your own beliefs and perceptions. If you don't, you really don't know anyone.
So, there you have it. Nothing earth shattering, but looking at each item on this list reminds me of many moments from the past year, and the lessons they taught me. What does that mean for the year to come? Well, for me it boils down to 2 things:
  1. Continue to remember those lessons learned, and not let them go to waste.
  2. Use those insights to figure out what it is I keep feeling in the back of my soul, pulling me to do "something" with that knowledge. I have a feeling if I can narrow down what that "something" is, my list will look very, very different this time next year.
With that, I wish you a happy 2008! And a happy Valentine's Day. (Just so I'm actually ahead of the curve on something.)


Facebook: Keeper of the Rules

Jon Swift was kicked out of Facebook. Why? Because Facebook determined he didn't use his real name, which is in violation of their TOS. I'm so torn in my opinion on this. Maybe its because of my curse in seeing all sides of a matter, but more importantly I think its because there are 2 very strong sides in the matter.

On one hand, I can understand the security arguments. It would unnerve me to find out someone I interacted with online wasn't really who they said they were. And I understand that this is why sites have TOS. If you want to play, you have to follow the rules. I also see how not using your real name can directly fight the notion of transparency in social media and networking. I mean, if you aren't transparent with something as basic as your name, how can you be trusted with your intentions in interactions?


Does using your own name really ensure honesty, transparency, and intent? I mean, just because you post your real name to your Facebook account means that everything you say is ok, and it can be assumed that your intention for participation is honest? I think that is naive. I post under my screen name "deziner" all the time. Does that make me less qualified to participate in the conversation?

I think requiring people to open themselves up in a way that is uncomfortable to many by requiring their name is is stifling the conversation. Just because someone doen't use their real name, because they may be worried about supplying personal information, does not make their contributions any less credible, or useful, or inspiring, or any other positive adjective we attach to the open dialog. In fact, in this new world, I think the merits of the contributions are what should be monitored and evaluated, not the name behind it. If I am offensive to the community, if I am caught deliberately lying and manipulating for the sake of my own benefit, or I am using my contributions to cause harm to others, then action is sanctioned. But if I am just me, and just happen to be known online as "deziner" and not "Cindi" I shouldn't be removed from the conversation.Personal opinion

I know. If "Jon Swift" didn't like the rules, he should have gone somewhere else. But I say, if Facebook or others like them don't want to truly forward the conversation and connections, they should have evaluated their rules in place in the first place.


Messages to the Brand also apply to the Person.

I was recently engaged in a conversation with a colleague regarding their trepidation to jump into the conversation and "put themselves out there" in regards to the social netmosphere, (a term I use in my own thinking, not necessarily part of the English language) and it prompted me to draw some parallels to the messages we are delivering to our clients. If you think about it, the same requirements apply to you as a "Person" participant as apply to the "Brand" participant.

  1. You have to decide to participate. If you are dragged in, its the wrong attitude, and you won't benefit.
  2. You have to be willing to let go of control. Your words/thoughts become part of the whole, to be shaped and used as others see fit. You have to be comfortable with that.
  3. You have to be willing to hear the bad along with the good. Not everyone will agree with you, or even acknowledge you all the time.
  4. You have to talk with not at others. Nobody likes a sandbox bully. It's "we" now, not "me."
Since we know the its the minority that contribute, perhaps if we acknowledge these "objections" to participating in the conversation on a personal level, the same way we educate brands, that minority would become the majority. Can you imagine the power that would bring?


Twitter - just a conversation

I just read Dr. Mani's post, relating Twitter to coffee room conversations. Read it here.

There's been much debate around Twitter and platforms like it. Many just don't "get it." They don't see the purpose, or what it can do for them, or why they should play. But like so many other social web outlets, Twitter is just another tool that is bringing already established social interactions to a new medium. Twitter is merely a conversation. One that you participate in or merely listen to. And like offline conversations, the subject matters vary from from personal, to business, to directional. The fact that people Tweet about the lunch the are eating, does not in and of itself make Twitter invaluable, it makes it more real. Because people talk about the lunch they are eating offline as well. They also talk about blog posts that might be of interest to you, theories that make you think and when and where you might meet for a drink.

I think the questions becomes one of personal preference rather than validity of a platform. There are people who like to converse and connect with others, and there are those that don't. Plain and simple, no right or wrong. My suggestion is, if you are on Twitter, choose who you follow carefully. Choose those who you find value in their words, and want to hear about. Hmmm... sounds like some other words of advice I've heard... "choose your friends wisely." It's amazing how it how it all circles back, isn't it?