Archives for June 2004

Free Ryze profile critiques

Ever wonder what people really think when they see your Ryze profile? Or how you can best attract the kind of connections you want? Now you can find out, in a safe, supportive, and constructive environment. Every four days, we review a network member’s Ryze home page. You will typically get ten or so idea-filled critiques by people who look at a lot of Ryze profiles.

To get in the queue, join the Using Ryze Effectively Network, send me a Ryze private message saying you’d like your profile reviewed, and then contribute at least three critiques of others before your turn comes up.

I also highly recommend reading through the archive of some of the past ones, and you’ll probably make quite a few changes to your profile before your turn even comes up.

Synchronicity and the Web

Flemming Funch discusses how the Internet may in the future enhance synchronicity. The technology for what he proposes exists today — it just hasn’t been applied to this space. One could potentially see tremendous benefits if this were implemented within social networks, but the potential abuse by unscrupulous marketers and overly invasive governments is high, as well.

Social Software and the Next Big Phase of the Internet

This interview with Clay Shirky on Social Software and the Next Big Phase of the Internet dates from December 2002, but it is still very timely.
I really enjoy reading Prof. Shirky’s provocatie ideas.

For Liars and Loafers, Cellphones Offer an Alibi

According to the NY Times, I guess there is honor among thieves. “For Liars and Loafers, the Cellphones Offer an Alibi”. I think it’s interesting that these total strangers are trusting one another to lie on one another’s behalf.

Review of new book on social networks

From this review of THE HIDDEN POWER OF SOCIAL NETWORKS: Understanding how work really gets done in organisations, By Rob Cross and Andrew Parker, Harvard Business School Press :

The authors describe a comical scene where they had been invited to a breakfast meeting with the partners of a consulting firm prior to an all-staff workshop.

There was nothing wrong with this firm’s internal networks, they were told. The partners were happy that hierarchy did not constrain information flow at all. The partners were accessible, indeed staff at all levels were comfortable and willing to share information and talk to each other.

As the participants for the workshop arrived, however, they quickly split up, choosing to sit themselves in four neatly defined groups – partners, managers, senior consultants and junior consultants.

Social Issues Surround Social Software

Social Issues Surround Social Software , from eWeek

Blogs: A whole new medium for payola

In the latest WebProNews, Sharon Drew Morgen wonders if blogs are a new communication tool or a marketing avenue:

Most people are using their new-found recognition to offer up their best: their interesting opinions, their hidden theories, their creative thoughts. Certainly the passionate and opinionated now have a venue to vent.

But others are using the blogging world for fame and gain – and we have no way of knowing the difference between opinions and sleaze.

She comes down pretty hard on the new wave of buzz marketing companies:

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? If every aspect of the web is fodder for manipulation and abuse, who do we trust? How do honest people compete in this environment and scrupulously manage their marketing or web or competition challenges?

Ultimately, she takes a strong stand:

I, for one, will never trust a blogger’s recommendations again. And that’s a shame, because there is really some innovative, exciting information on the net that I would never have learned about in any other way.

I know Sharon Drew, and I understand her frustration and lack of trust.

But what about industry analysts who charge customers and investors for their reports, and then turn around and charge vendors in the industry to consult with them? And guess who ends up favorably in the reports? It’s a huge problem, which has been written about extensively by those brave enough to make a stand. In fact, a whole cottage industry has grown up around providing hedge funds and other institutional investors with direct access to front-line sources largely because of this problem (IMHO). The investors don’t completely trust the analysts, so they get direct sources themselves in addition to the analysts.

The same is true of industry magazines and journals. Many automotive industry and computer industry publications have been accused of showing favoritism towards their largest advertisers in product reviews, especially in multi-product reviews in which they pick a winner. That’s why Consumer Reports exists.

And television? Don’t get me started! Or what about radio payola, that became such a scandal in the 1950s?

It really boils down to a very personal level of trust, and that gets built up over time, and by word of mouth. For example, I partner with two or three vendors in the social networking space, and am working on deals of some sort with several others. And I write about them, too, but I say what I think, whether I have a relationship with them or not. David and I have both been openly critical of particular decisions by people who are our clients/sponsors. But I won’t let someone specifically pay me to write about them favorably, without disclosing that.

My point is that all media is potentially suspect if it takes money from both sides of the fence. This has been going on for years. Blogs have just provided a new medium for it. And just because a media outlet is getting advertising money doesn’t mean it’s unreliable. It’s something to be mindful of, to be sure, but not a reason to single out blogs.

Racial Diversity pays off in your network

Diversity has been a buzzword in organizations for at least fifteen years. How much is really known about its effects on performance? Harvard Business School professors Robin Ely and David Thomas investigate.

Using AdSense to make money with your blog

Darren Rowse of Living Room is actually making money with his blog “about Emerging Church, Blogging, Faith and other General Silliness from South of the Equator.” How? A combination of Amazon affiliate links and Google AdSense. In accordance with Google’s terms of service, he won’t say exactly how much, but he says it did pay his rent at least one month.

While he claims to be no expert at it (entire books have been written about AdSense), he says that so many people came to him for advice that he decided to put all the information together in one place. So here is his excellent five-part series on monetizing your blog with Google AdSense:

Part 1 – Adsense Tips for Bloggers
Part 2 – Is Your Blog Suitable?
Part 3 – An Equation for Success
Part 4 – Increasing Traffic
Part 5 – High Paying Ads

Practical Networking: Make Your Own Luck

VentureBlog: Practical Networking: Make Your Own Luck: some useful thoughts on meeting people the old fashioned way, in person.