The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 02:02:28 PM on Monday, November 24th, 2008
In a discussion today in a group chat (that is based around an upcoming conference) it was brought up how to effectively communicate and locate each other when there will be upwards of 8,000 people there, in person.  How do you quickly sort through a large Twitter stream, or how do you build a location awareness service around conference rooms spread across 3 hotels and open areas?  Without making your own tools, it adds a high level of complexity.  Services like Brightkite are not really made for that type of location service, even with the awesome ability to upload pictures.

What soon came to mind was that this little micro-community, far exceeds the benefit of posting and weeding through the larger macro-community.  That is why sites such as Ning as so popular.  You can build a smaller, manageable community that deeply serves the needs of the users, instead of being trapped in function based on large scale deployments.  I whipped this ugly drawing up quickly.

Image:My micro-community is better than your social network


Examples of any micro-community is one built around your blog for starters.  You are the core of everything involved.  It revolves heavily on the core's participation and draw as a person with content needed or wanted.  No matter how niche it is.  Those of you that read this blog on a consistent basis have grown to become my community, where I pay close attention to your comments, feedback and how you share and/or "like" it on sites like Friendfeed.  It helps drive the future postings and I watch my micro-community closer than the rest.  It is the strength of the rings themselves.  Each of you is a core with your own micro-community.  As you share content across your own micro, the intertwining begins.  In saying this, you may have started numerous micro-communities.  For example this blog, IdoNotes and TheSocialGeeks.  While they inter mingle in some areas, they are distinct.

The macro-community is how sites like FriendFeed show content from outsiders in your stream, based on who you currently associate and follow.  It assists in helping grow other micro-communities, not just to broaden your knowledge.

 From there we expand out into the true social networks where our percentage of reach is smaller and dilutes as you see the ring go further outward.  Once in a while, one of the outer rings slowly strengthens in tighter and soon becomes part of the core.  The social networks are the containers of both macro and micro and the pendulum swings inside of them how the larger micros demand.

Once you break the barrier of any social network an leap into another one, you start the task again of building a micro-community, or do what some of the big names do and bring your micro with you.  Social networks then intertwine and your micro-community expands and grows through branches.

So how big is your community?

by Chris Miller at 07:53:57 AM on Thursday, November 20th, 2008
I attended a conference on Tuesday from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) put on by their Center for Realtor Technology.  Here are some interesting statistics from a room with almost 300 people, all in the surrounding area of St Louis, MO.  Keep in mind anytime you see the number of people saying yes, that would include me raising my hand.
  • Who has a blog - 12
  • Who has used Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or the like - 30
  • Who has kids that have used those - 100
  • Who has used Twitter - 3
  • Who reads RSS feeds - 2
  • Who uses instant messaging - 100
So what I began to notice was the average age in the room was well into the 40's.   I am not saying this is old at all, just a large gap in how this market does business.  Agents there live in the world of social networks.  Real social networks of friends, family and then the tiers around those people.  That is how they get business.  Referrals are the goldmine.  Cold calls suck.  Here is the gap.

As more people search first on the Internet for homes (see the new service coming from Dwellicious) they spend less time have agents randomly look for homes.  It is not surprising when a call is received with the prospect stating, I want to see a specific list of houses I have already gathered, shall I email or fax it.  That should have been the first sign to realtors that the way they did business needed to change.  What should change?

First off, they need to get involved with promoting themselves not just in a blog or their company webpage, but in other areas.  We created a new Twitter account (@Stl4closures) to start feeding our properties out in the foreclosure market and we had 5 followers within a day.  Sounds small, but each of them were either agents or someone wanting to buy properties.  So imagine they are agents with a pool of buyers.  You are now reaching hundreds by making a simple posting.

From there you get involved with the other networks as you see fit.  There is actually some networks built strictly for the real estate professional.  Yet none of them were involved.  The value in the amount of tools, mashups and ability to network far exceeds the time you will spend to learn how to use the tools themselves.

  I know the learning curve was steep when the man next to me saw the laptop and said, do you get what they are talking about?  I could only smile and send him my contact info from Rmbrme.

by Chris Miller at 12:42:13 PM on Monday, November 17th, 2008
It has been a couple months since I had another VGS posting in the series,  I need to address all the publisher's of random content just to blog, serve a feed or tweek a twitter.  With the introduction of both aggregation and lifestreaming (definitions here Link )  sites that pop up like a high schooler's acne, we are drawn to learn every infinitesimal detail about someone.  People that start strong with business purpose and a particular topic in mind are soon flung into VGS where they must tell us when they wake, how many times they put spoon to mouth with cereal and then how bad traffic is.  I am not saying that for extreme and funny stories this is not appropriate, but everyday?  When do you realize that you are no longer lifestreaming and are minutia-streaming?  I don't need to know you cat took a nap (mine does), I don't need to know how long it took you to drive to work today (34 minutes), I don't need to know how many spoonfuls of cereal you had (large spoon and half bowl so I guess 35?) nor do I want to know your location information on every block corner as you walk to lunch (10th and Washington).

How much time do you now lose daily not only putting out as much content as you can, but sucking it down from others like it is the life giving superstitious water only found in movies.  Can you quantify the return you get from the amount you publish?  Is there value in the information you are serving?  Do you lose followers based on specific types of postings?  If this is a yes, admit your VGS and fight it.

Learn how to rationalize what needs to be lifestreamed, what is quality content and what should go to friends only.  You know it is possible to maintain more than one account that pulls different information right?  Don't fall into the grips of VGS where you are not only the consumer but the server of immediate data into each other's lives.  Be strong in the drive to push the screen on the iPhone, spin the ball on the Blackberry and for damn sakes, stop learng how 2 shrtn each wrd to fit n2 SMS screens.

Since you need something more to read for your VGS, here you can see all the previous postings:
Created Subject
09/18/2008 Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) - Social Stalking
06/23/2008 Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) - Forcing Temporary Remission
05/12/2008 Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) - Profile of a Social Networker
05/08/2008 Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) - the dosage issue
04/14/2008 Tweeting in the bathroom - the new social crime
04/07/2008 Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) - the variance
03/11/2008 Virtual Gratification Syndrome (VGS) - you have it

by Chris Miller at 07:45:22 PM on Wednesday, November 12th, 2008
Recent events in Twitterland have brought into question how easily we trust any website that simply asks for our password, while informing us for no reason do they maintain or record it.  We simply shrug and willingly give it away.  So where is the breakdown?

The first one is in the difference between a new site needing access to account information that is not possible through the public feeds or profiles.  So to compensate, we get asked for our password.  In the fray of getting a ranking number, you the user, missed an entirely serious issue.  Not only were you sending your credentials to a non SSL login area, it was clear they were using the login for something far more than stated in the About pages.  I prefer the sites that offer a string that you provide (like FriendFeed) that is unique to you, but not your password.  You then enter this API information and the site goes about their business.  You can then change your API key if required to protect your account while never giving up your password.  Looking through EverythingTwitter this evening, I realized that quite a lot of the web based add-on tools (see the category there) do not ask for a password.  They have found a way to access enough information via API calls that the site in question today cannot for some reason (according to the site owner)?

Second is the amount of times we enter our password in general.  Let's presume that this site was collecting user passwords.  How many of you avid readers of mine use the same password on each site?  Almost all of you have 2-3 password strings.  You have the uber-secret string used for banking, credit and other personal items.  You have the super-secret used for controlling your blog and hosting accounts, etc.  Then you have the less secure you fire up everywhere else for any other new social service you wish to test.  The idea is limiting your exposure right?  But how log would it take you to go through each service and change/update to a new password if you get compromised?  How many of you have generated a string of text that makes each site unique?  I have, and it is now ingrained in the way I do business.  Sounds like a new posting.

So the new sites need to fully develop the solutions based on API work and refuse to ask for passwords, or we need to step ack and refuse to provide them.  I was surprised at the sheer number of people that not only attempted to use Twitterank today, but Twitterawesomeness.  An identical twin that appears to have actually copied your password no matter what the page source says.

by Chris Miller at 02:34:00 PM on Friday, November 7th, 2008
Downloadable OPML file

I saw the link today for a list compiled of the top 150 Social Media Blogs.  I liked it but was disappointed to see that it was not in OPML.  It was far easier to add the feeds and then whittle them down if I didn't like them.  So I went ahead and did it myself as a gift to all of you

Here is the OPML file, just download it and import into your favorite feed reader!  And once again, if you are not sharing links with me on Google Reader, get at me!   add IdoNotes gmail com on google chat and get to sharing!

Downloadable OPML file

by Chris Miller at 01:00:09 PM on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
This idea of using a private, open-source microblog service for reporting and alerts intrigued me.  I was posting some tweets and received a response from  @DomiNoYesMaybe.  What I found was that they had configured Laconi.ca for their company but went far beyond normal communication channels.  They had found out that their 'engineers' (for lack of me knowing a better word) had the daunting task of watching production machines on the shop floor.  They had to check how they were performing as well as the current status of all sorts of variables.  What they also discovered is that the software running on the machines was able to product a HTTP post/get command ability.  Before I describe, this was the outcome:
@IR_CK1_001 #data Temp:146 Hum:4.36% Yield:98.6%

What they have done is enabled each machine with it's own Laconi.ca account covering 20 plants in 10 countries in the range of 600-700 machines.  I am sharing this since his twitter feed is not private nor was this a DM.  In essence, the engineers now can run a client and subscribe, or follow, all of the machines across the globe to get a constant flow of performance.  Not only are they able to see a trend coming, but they can get to repairs and downed machines faster.  While letting the machines themselves cry out for help.

Take that to all the pundits that say there is no benefit in this type of microblogging technology


Conference/Article Materials

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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

Also Known As: Chris Miller (when awake)

Boring Certifications: (only because someone asked twice)

  • Workplace Collaboration Services 2.5 - Team Collab and Messaging
  • Domino 7 Certified Security Administrator
  • PCLP ND7
  • PCLP ND6
  • PCLP R5
  • PCLP R4
  • CLP Collaboration (soon to be retired Aug 2006)
  • random former R4 exams
  • CLI for numerous admin areas including Domino, Sametime and Workplace
  • CLP Insane

Yes, I write some of those dreaded admin cert exams you take. I won't say which ones so you don't come looking for me, but I will say they are the real good recent ones that have been coming out.

Weapons/Equipment:

  • At work an IBM 2 GHz
  • At home a plethera of 6 machines with various Windows versions and Red Hat on a wired/wireless LAN
  • A Toshiba E740 with 802.11b (yes geek toy)
  • An Apple 40GB iPod that is filled to the brim
  • Compaq RioPort MP3 player (now in storage)
  • An EBook (REB1100) also for travel (Love that darn thing)
  • Verizon and they always seem to know how to find me, damn cell

Animals:

One dog, a Pug. He has been on this world before and seems to understand slippers and a fine cigar. Mind you that is him in the chair and not me.

Let us now also add a deranged cat that is in the process of being toilet trained. Update: Toilet traning was very very close.

Music:

Non-stop. At my desk, in my car, walking to work and back to my car downtown. In the house there is a crazy zoned set-up for you home automation geeks.

I am a self-proclaimed MP3 fiend, to which I have tried rehab 4 billion times to no avail. Next is the MP3 hard-drive for the car that I found. Now what kind of music you ask? I will never tell.

Languages:

  • Incredibly fast English
  • Very slow Spanish
  • Emoticon-ese
  • Learning Korean
  • HTML
  • Advanced Sarcasm

Geek class special abilities:

  • Notes/Domino overdrive
  • Workplace
  • Sametime
  • Active Directory (huh? kidding)
  • Quickplace
  • LMS, LVC and the other L's of elearning
  • Windoze junk
  • MS Exchange versions
  • LAN
  • TCPIP
  • Server Iron
  • Yeah, yeah it goes on some

Skills:

Get back to you here

Spells:

Hershey’s Stomach of Holding: Jess and I are fighting over who eats more chocolate. TWDUFF can help me out and vouch for me.

Character Bio:

This will take far more time than I have today. I will start with I was born and still live in St. Louis, MO. Even though for a couple years I was never, ever here and always on the road, this is smack in the middle of the US. Everything is just a few hour flight. That part is nice. No beach/ocean/coast isn't the best. But with the travel I make up for it.

Don't Panic

Looking to find me in person? Here is where I will be.




DatesEventLocation
delayedcustomer visitMinneapolis, MN
Mar 31 - Apr 4Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Upgrade SeminarCopenhagen, Denmark
Apr 30 - May 2Admin2008Boston, MA
May 10 - 15Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Upgrade SeminarLondon
Jun 4 - 6Irish Lotus User Group 2008Dublin, Ireland
Jun 16 - 19Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Upgrade SeminarSan Francisco, CA
Jun 21 - 29VacationSome island I am not telling you
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