How to Find Your Next Job with Social Software

I spoke last week on 5/24/05 to the International Executives Resource Group. Marc Kalton wrote some detailed minutes, which he gave me permission to reproduce below. You can download the slides here.

Topic: How to find your next job using social software. PowerPoint presentation available as a download.

Presentation (see download for details):
• Introduction: What is “connecting” good for? ‘Influence and Effectiveness’. You value your network thru a formula he created around the seven components of a social network
o Character
o Your Competence
o Relevance of the Other Person
o Strength
o Information
o Number of People
o Diversity

The value of your network is a balance of strength and numbers

The presentation is divided between social software and these seven elements.

• Social Software: Social software is a way to leverage your network. It’s benefits:
o It’s searchable (by design or default – type your name into google) as you create a virtual self.
o Provides you with greater visibility
o Crosses boundaries of time and space
o Provides you with a passive presence
o Gives you the ability to form or participate in groups
o Provides interaction with reduced time and expense (relatively cheap)

A social software matrix chart was provided cross-referencing General, Business and Personal Purpose software by types of customers (Public and Enterprise). See page 10 of the presentation.

• Character: Character is the virtual you – your digital trail. It’s important for each of us to create events, articles, press releases, etc. that results in a digital trail on google and elsewhere. Each of us should have a site, issue blogs and try to own issues we address in this media that will bring traffic to us and enhance out digital footprint. Note, headhunters look for this footprint.

Biography Analysis Software, such as Zoominfo and Jigsaw for finding/researching decision makers and contact info (job hunting or marketing) is very useful.

Competence: A key way to project competence is thru blogging (web logs). They’re easier to maintain then websites, provide visibility, establish you as an expert (or at least someone with something to say), provide “google juice” and can be linked to associations, etc.

There are a number of Workflow Social Software that can help establish competence, such as groupware (i.e., Lotus Notes), Wikis (From Time Magazine: “A wiki is a deceptively simple piece of software – little more than five lines of computer code – that you can download for free and use to make a website that can be edited by anyone you like. Need to solve a thorny business problem overnight and all members of your team are in different time zones? Start a wiki.” – from site), Corporate Blogs and knowledge mgm’t software such as Tacit (“an active network of information sharing that enables employees throughout the organization to connect with one another on key topics and speeds the organization’s ability to solve problems and address issues.”) and Entopia (“a collection of products that assist companies in successfully managing and leveraging all of an organization’s knowledge resources – including its people – to capitalize upon and further drive effective collaboration.” – from site)

Relevance Capital Management (RCM) Software: RCM software, such as Spoke, allows salesmen and business developers to better organize their own network and interactively share networks with others subscribed to the system (“Spoke is a combination of a next-generation sales application and an information-rich subscription service designed specifically for the purpose of helping sales people sell. Spoke is based on the simple concept of representing in software the set of relationships held by an individual and the interconnections between those relationships and a larger network of relationships which can be searched by name, title and company.” – from site). Software like Spoke leverages an entire organizations network, not just the manual inputs at the salesmen level typical in most CRM systems.
The point was made that most jobs are not got via recruiters and the key is to target relationship building.
Building Strength: This is typified where “online meets offline” thru “Meetup” and “Event Management Tools” (Evite, cVent). It’s reinforced thru “Relating in Realtime with chat, IM, internet telephony, web conferencing, SMS, etc. In all these electronic venues, marketing/communication strength is leveraged thru group interaction.
Information: The information component is the employment of social software is about seeing and being seen.

• Contact management software (i.e., Act Goldmine and Outlook) allow you to build rich data on your relationships (family, connections, affiliations, interests, etc.) for future communications. David seems to like Act the most in this category.

• Blog readers (i.e., Blogline) are excellent to pull what you want to read. Blog analyzers (i.e., Pubsub) allow you to know everything about what is said about something (i.e., a competitor, target, etc.). A tool like Copernic searches 90 sites (i.e., 89 + Google) at the same time.
Number: Your social/network interaction can grow dramatically through online group membership, such as Censa, Alwayson-network.com, TheSquare (“TheSquare network aims to be the number one online resource for networking, dating, career advancement, thoughtful commentary and lively debate, and exchange of goods and services for its membership.”),etc., and selective online executive groups (i.e., IERG, ChiefOfficer.com, ValueInvestorsClub.com, etc.).

Diversity: Similar to the above, significant value can be realized by leveraging virtual community platforms, such as Linkedin, Ecademy, Ryze ( From site: “Take for instance Ryze, a hotbed of online networking. Members can post their profiles, bios and photos. The site is divided into special-interest “tribes” that cover “almost every possible subject in the universe…You can create this long list of interests, and if somebody else has that same interest they can send you a message on your guest book …..From there people get to talking and, in many instances, new business relationships arise.” – Small Business Computing; “Ryze charges $9.95 a month for a gold membership that gives users advanced search capabilities and allows them to set up groups that are focused on industries or geographic areas. – Forbes). David is not a big fan of Plaxo, primarily because its not discriminating or as a robust as other software available.
Additional Resources:
• Teten.com: Great advice, downloads, Circle of Experts (can register for indep. Cnslt’g), etc.
• Networking and Referral software: YorZ.com, H3.com, Accolo.com
• Inexpensive website and brochure design: eLance.com, others

Recreating TheVirtualHandshake.com

My name is Jason Coward of OpenGeek.com, and webmaster of TheVirtualHandshake. I’ve been invited by David Teten and Scott Allen to post this quick case-study of our recent relaunch of TheVirtualHandshake.com web site, in order to explain what we did, why we did it, and how we did it while spending very little money.

Background
Scott Allen and I have worked together and been friends for many years. We have a shared passion for technology and even some affinities in our political and socio-economic viewpoints. Several start-ups later, Scott started sowing his own seeds of entrepreneurship, and I decided to start my own web design and development business, OpenGeek.com. It was only a matter of time before we started working together again, only this time as individuals exploring our own independent visions, rather than the corporate visions we supported together with relatively little return.

While Scott was writing articles and books, networking with other entrepreneurs, and blogging, I was exploring the world of LAMP development, open source business models, and doing contract work to pay the bills. The contract helped me strengthen my J2EE, XML/XSLT, and my SQL skills, while I worked on graphic design and PHP in my spare time for direct clients. I first got involved with the website because David and Scott asked me to provide hosting services through MultiDomain-Hosting.

Rebuilding TheVirtualHandshake.com
I finally got involved directly with TheVirtualHandshake.com, beyond just supporting the hosting account, in December of last year when David and Scott approached me with a web site rebuild project. The site was at that time a collection of Dreamweaver templates, html pages, php scripts, and a WordPress blog installation. For about $250, they received the following services:

  • Replaced the header with TheVirtualHandshake book graphic, title, and background
  • Cleaned up the HTML, removing TABLE tags used for layout purposes and converting all formatting to CSS
  • Upgraded their WordPress installation (I believe 1.2 was released around this time)
  • Added a plugin called SpamKarma to solve their comment spam problems

This was just the first step in crafting the current TheVirtualHandshake.com, but the new markup and CSS which better isolated the content from the layout, made the next steps much easier to accomplish.

Content Management
The next two months while David and Scott were busy finishing up the book, I spent exploring a new LAMP-based, open source CMS (or Content Management System) I found as part of the constant research and development I do as part of the foundation of my web solutions business. With a strange name, Etomite was the lighweight, flexible, and easy-to-use CMS I had been looking for, and I began a mass migration from the bulky and bloated world of the popular Nuke-based community portals (PHPNuke, PostNuke, MD-Pro), back to the emerging web and design standards I had been getting excited about, but could never use in my ‘Nuked’ sites.

When David and Scott approached me with a proposal for redesigning the entire web site, I immediately thought of how Etomite could help me re-implement and manage this rather large site with a lot less effort than making updates via Dreamweaver. So I proposed that I use it on the project, David and Scott agreed, and the project got underway.

Key Features
The project plan called for some fairly complex features. Here’s a list of those features, and how I approached each one:

  • Easy to Update – It was important that David and Scott have a simple, web-based mechanism to update the site. Etomite provided this out-of-the-box, with each page in the site represented as a document in a tree, editable using a WYSIWYG editor or as HTML directly. And since Etomite allows you to separate templates from documents, changing the layout or look and feel of the site is as easy as editing a single HTML template or the CSS that is attached.
  • Friendly URLs and Old URLs – For maximum search engine exposure, and better interactivity for users, Etomite provided the optimum platform, providing easily configurable URL prefixes, extensions, and document aliases. In addition, internal links within Etomite (in conjunction with Apache’s mod-rewrite module) provided a great way to support old site links, getting users to the appropriate location, no matter which URL variation they used to access the page.
  • Secured Content for Book Readers – Providing extra content for those that purchase the book was another driver in my choice of Etomite, which along with some custom modifications being provided by the Etomite developer community, provided an excellent platform for building the Readers Guide.
  • Turn Social Software Guide into Wiki – Providing a Wiki interface for users to contribute content to the Social Software Guide section of the site was another requirement, which we initially considered deploying MediaWiki (which powers WikiPedia) for. However, I found a very elegant and simple PHP wiki implementation which I converted into a snippet in Etomite (a snippet is a reusable PHP script element). I chose this approach as it allowed me to more closely integrate the Wiki into the site. This was especially useful when securing the Wiki so only Readers of the book could contribute.

The remaining PHP scripts I turned into snippets, and the site content was further cleaned according to XHTML standards and the principles of semantically correct markup. We upgraded WordPress yet again, to the latest 1.5 release, and created a new theme that used the same CSS file as the CMS-managed pages.

The entire project, started in late February, was deployed into production, replacing the existing site, in less than month, including several rounds of design and functional revisions. The initial test site was up within days of the start of the project, and provided a great place for David and Scott to review the new site, exactly as it would be in production. And, since we used free software, we were able to do the entire project for a very reasonable price; way under $1000.

The Future of the Site
There’s still much to do to improve the site, but the core is solid and will grow as the CMS product that powers the site continues to mature. Since the initial deployment, I began using a fork of the Etomite CMS that featured several mods to the core product that led the developers of Etomite to ban these mods from the forums at Etomite, as they prepared to abandon the GPL in favor of a commercial CMS venture. The fork, currently known as MODx, will remain GPL, and will continue to follow the core principles of the original product. The original decision to ban the MODx mods was disheartening at first, but I addressed the issue by joining the core MODx development team. In the upcoming weeks ahead, look for big announcements from the group regarding our new branding and product road map.

In any case, I replaced the Etomite core of TheVirtualHandshake.com with MODx a couple of weeks ago, and completed some more revisions to the wiki and Reader’s Guide this week. We’ll continue to add features, functionality and content. Immediate plans include adding advanced Technorati tag capabilities to both blog posts and other site content, creating dynamic taxonomies of categorized profiles in the Social Software Guide, as well as major improvements to the content manager interface and WYSIWYG editors used when editing the content.

We welcome feedback on the site.

Loosing Google's Lock on the Past – New York Times

More on the ever-popular topic of how to clean up your online image: Loosing Google’s Lock on the Past – New York Times.

Power Play: How Online Communities Got Control of Your Brand and What to Do About It

My colleague Dan Koifman pointed me to this free webcast of Edelman’s recent program on Power Play: How Online Communities Got Control of Your Brand and What to Do About It.

Panelists included:

* David Adelman, Director of Emerging Media, Johnson & Johnson (NY Event)
* Pete Blackshaw, Chief Marketing Officer, Intelliseek (CHI Event)
* Chris DeWolfe, Co-Founder and CEO, MySpace.com
* Judith Meskill, Technology Industry Analyst and Founder, Meskill.net
* Pam Talbot, Chief Executive Officer, Edelman U.S.
* David Dunne, Executive Vice President and Director, Worldwide Operations, Edelman Interactive