The Social Networker

As I sat yesterday at ILUG2008 listening to the keynote address by one of the evangelists from Lotus (Alan Lepofsky), he brought up a section on attention management.  Under it were three areas:
  • importance
  • urgency
  • interest

He brought up some quick areas that had me thinking more.  Importance is a key factor into what you should be looking at and investigating in the workplace.  While you are allowed to stray into numerous sites and other activities, you have a primary job focus that must be met.  With the infiltration of social networking into not on the business, but personal lives, people are drawn away from the primary and into secondary and even tertiary interests.

Social networking fights attention management in some ways. Other people try to send to you, bookmark to you and even drive communities around their interests and what they feel is important.  I know I do that daily with Twitter and blog postings.  When someone sends you an email with the high importance exclamation mark (signifying high importance), they are saying it is important to them (taken from Alan during his keynote).  What he says rings true.  People are telling you their item is important.  You are not flagging it yourself through some rules or tagging magic.  The same holds true when I send a link in Twitter.  I have filtered this information and think that it should be important to you. (Sure I use the Tweets as an archive for myself sometimes too), but I feel that my followers there and even on Diigo want to see it.

Does it automatically have urgency?  No.  No one sets urgency outside of yourself on any given email, IM, tweet or bookmark.  You control the urgency at which you must view it.  So that one really doesn't fit.  No one forces you to open or respond to any of these in any given timeframe.  While you may be looked upon differently if you do not promptly send an out of office to an email, or even ignore IM's, you are not required.  Social networking begs you to make things urgent.

Interest links us right back to importance.  If I carry an interest in a topic or mindset, I follow you on Twitter, read your RSS and see your bookmarks.  How much interest I have in the information you provide is how important it becomes to me.  You do not get to set an importance factor on social networking, I set it by my interest in what you have filtered and presented.

I came in saying how social networking fights attention management.  Let me bring it all together since I don't like you reading terribly long blog postings.  If you follow so many people, have so many RSS feeds and constantly check bookmark services, location awareness sites, lifestreams, you are being driven by social networks to fail attention management to your primary job focus.  Yes there are some of you that this is how a living is made.  But when you introduce a social network to the enterprise, without the proper management you introduce a fractionating of attention management.  You push your users not to focus on what they do, but to explore those tertiary interests that they already have.  No, I am not saying social networks are not valuable to the enterprise, I support, urge and consult on  the implementations, done properly.

Just because you put a business controlled social network into your company doesn't mean you are helping right away.  You might be driving attention management in the wrong direction without offering guidance to employees on personal interest that becomes so important it makes that information more important that their primary attention focus.

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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)

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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.


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


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.


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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.

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delayedcustomer visitMinneapolis, MN
Mar 31 - Apr 4Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Upgrade SeminarCopenhagen, Denmark
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