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4 things to learn from Jeremiah Owyang

August 27, 2009
Web 2.0 Expo - Social Media Town Hall - Jeremi...
Image by thekenyeung via Flickr

Jeremiah Owyang, a leading Forrester analyst who has build himself a solid name in the Social Media world, is leaving Forrester to focus on a business of his own. In ‘the year of Social Media’ where social media value is widely recognized and everyone is a Social Media enthusiast, building a name for oneself is not easy – always being in the stream of news and conversation, blogging and tweeting quality content that adds to the conversation as well as do your day job, and Owyang has managed to do all this and make a his name a brand.

How does one do that?

There is no magic trick – social media requires effort and time and thought if you want to build a name for yourself, and nothing happens overnight, just like anything else in life. Social Media, however, gives you a wide variety of free and easy tools and easier access to those who you want to listen to you – something no other media channel gives you.

How do you build a name for yourself?

1)      Be out there – Participate in conversations in different networks, share your knowledge and get involved – social media is about the community first, and what you contribute to them.  Be Present: Pose questions, answer questions, link to sources – be useful to your network.

2)      Be dedicated – Owyang mentions he dedicated time for research and blogging, every single day. This may sound like a lot, but looks very different if compared to doing the same thing with no online tools.

3)      Add Value – letting people know your opinions and thoughts about decisions and opinion, legal trends, on appointments is great, but ask yourself what is the one bottom line, one key message you are adding to the discussion that makes someonewant to respond, to trigger more thought.  One of Owyang’s greatest contributions to the social media conversation is the Social Media Eras structure and analysis – an analysis which combines business, academic and behavioral elements that have never been mentioned before in the social media discourse.

4)      Have a planNYT mentions Owyang has always planned for blogging and participating in conversations – it was a part of his routine “”My use of social media and my career advancement are intrinsically tied,” Owyang told us by phone today. “I started my blog as a practitioner at Hitachi. I budget time every morning to read and blog. I do that before I check my personal email or work email.”.

Jeremiah Owyang build a name for himself with passion, interest, a good plan, and a laptop. So can you.

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Execute command: Forget My Network Activity

August 16, 2009
Wired Magazines
Image by Johannesen via Flickr

Wired has a great article (that wasn’t formally pushlished online yet) in this month’s issue from Clive Thompson, talking about maintaining your privacy and allowing social networks to ‘forget’ your activity on the network. “What happens in Vegas stays in… Twitter, Flicker, Digg, Facebook, YouTube, etc” is one of the strongest facts noted in @mashable‘s social media stats presentation. And indeed, the web doesn’t forget. All the you have posted stays up there, for good and for bad. Clive Thompson brings a gret example of a site that allows you to ‘expire’ your contribution.

This is an interesting concept. As online profile reflects ‘you’ online, how you percieve yourself and how others percieve you, should and would you want to be able to simply ‘delete’ your contribution conciously from your and the collective memory, what would be the impact of that on ‘authenticity’ ?

what do you think? should we be able to delete social activity online at the cost of interfering with ‘truth’  ?

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Healthier by 2010 – and I ran, I ran so far away…

August 11, 2009

I started running 13 years ago.  I don’t remember what led me to do that, I  think I wanted to lose weight and that was the cheapest, most accessible sports to access, independent of gym fees or specific time of day.  Living in Tel Aviv, my students flat was right by the sea, so going out for a quick run by the beach was something I could do anytime, for however long I wanted. I started with 2k, which at the beginning seemed quite an achievement to me.  As time passed and I was introduced to the intoxicating feeling known to many runners, I started stretching the 2k limits – one more kilometer, just one more, slowly reaching 12k and sometimes more. Not much to those of you running marathons and half marathons, but to me – a girl who couldn’t throw a ball in highschool – this was an achievement.

For different reasons of knee squeaking, life changes and other excuses, I have kept in the same loop of quitting and starting running for too many times. This time, with #healthier2010 I decided to target 2010 NY Marathon to allow me to consistently build strength and stamina for long enough time, and give me an excuse to go for that daily run and not ‘just do it. tomorrow’.

so why do I run?

There are many known physical and mental benefits to running. I trust you know them and I won’t bore you with them.

The reason I run is not only to burn these calories, I run because it is one of the single activities I do that centralizes and focuses me. Some people meditate, some people paint, some people cook and some people build plane models – Everyone has that once activity that balances them out, that cleans and focuses the mind and that’s the one for me, what’s yours?

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Rules of Twitter Following

July 22, 2009
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Looking for interesting posts around Twitter Policies and Guidelines in preparation for Connected Social Media Policy week, I ran into this interesting guidelines around the rules of following are posted on By @JeffreySummers. [Update: these are suggested rules for not following someone]. The suggested rules include:

  1. do not have a website. Engage with the process or don’t.
  2. do not use a picture of yourself or your business logo or any avatar that reflects who you are. Pictures of your cat or your mom’s 86th b’day party don’t cut it.
  3. do not follow others – following 250 people but have 25,000 following you makes you undesirable to me, no matter how important you think you are.
  4. send me ads about buying your latest ebook on raising Alpacas.
  5. do not have a biography. The whole point is to get to know you right?
  6. never post anything. I’ve seen people with 1,000 followers but only 7 posts. And those were spread out over 8 months. Again, be committed to the process or not.
  7. ignore questions or comments I send you in regards to your posts. The medium is about engagement.
  8. take more than 3-5 days to reply back to me.
  9. have nothing remotely intelligent to say. Blaming France for your economic woes doesn’t cut it.
  10. talk over other people’s conversations or hijack them in mid-stream. If I’m having a conversation with someone, don’t butt in.

I don’t necessarily agree with some of the above, but they raise interesting codes of ethics and perceptions about online behavior for discussion.

Key aspects are the bullets that speak of validation of a twitter user as ‘a real person’ – has a profile pic, a bio, user that tweets and participates in conversation. People need to know they engage in conversation with other people, that are there for the dialog, a 2 way conversation. Without this, there is no engagement.

An interesting point is raised by “do not follow others – following 250 people but have 25,000 following you makes you undesirable to me, no matter how important you think you are”. does the number of people you follow, or follow you, give an indication of the value of content, or engagement you provide?

The last bullet is an interesting point – talking ‘over’ other tweeple conversations. The question to be asked is, why do people have ‘public conversations’ if they don’t want others to get involved? If this is a private conversation – why isn’t it ‘conducted’ as direct messaging or email exchange?

which of the above resonate with you? what would you add to these?

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Community – from start up, to borg; from an idea to embedded behavior

July 20, 2009

It’s so sad when your local neighborhood café becomes a massive international chain. The Barista that used to be the owner as well as waiter, the face of the café, who knew your name and exactly how you like your espresso, is now gone, sitting behind a desk somewhere or vacating on some sandy beach. The hand made muffins, in different shapes and sized, are now all mass manufactured looking all the same. The few people that knew about this hidden neighborhood gem, sharing a secret together, are now replaced by the world and his wife coming to buy in bulks. The personal touch is gone.

For a successful community and social/professional network, this is one of the key stages in their lifecycle. The moment it becomes widely used is also the point where it could also, potentially, become impersonal, commercial and… tasteless.

2 things come out of this discussion, one is an observation, the other – a question.

First, We all witnessed Google’s evolution from a cool startup to a “borg”. Are we now witnessing the same thing happening with Facebook? Is this the web evolution cycle? a startup or idea that has successfully passed the online behavior test and has ingrained into our behavior is simultaneously shifting from a start up – an idea – into a monopoly. Search was an experimental concept – it is now a must in every site. Social Networking was an experiment, it is now becoming a must in all sites.

Second, is the first (and main) factor of a successful community, its size?  “Quality and Quantity. How is your community value measured?” This topic has been occupying me very much lately.  I finally found a reason to write about it as Wired published a somewhat sad article covering Facebook’s growth and strategic positioning in its competition with Google. The past few weeks have seen many top publications scrutinizing Facebook’s “monstrous” growth. Is it a “monstrous” growth? Interestingly today a very relevant discussion has developed around the topic in Doug Cornelius’s Blog ComplianceBuilding: does a mass community make a successful one? do you need a community large in numbers to have a successful community? is it just about number? or is it about WHO is a member of the community that makes it successful?

Curious to hear your thoughts.

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Healthier by 2010 – not just me

July 20, 2009
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2 more online personas I follow religiously and with awe have decided to focus on better self and document it online. One in the past one in the future. One Chris Brogan and other Tim Ferriss.

Chris Brogan told a personal story about ‘scorching earth‘ : clearing his fridge from all unhealthy food upon return from vacation. Tim Ferriss is sharing his secrets in a new book coming out soon, and has dedicated many posts to discussing his transformation. These guys are an inspiration to me and I am so happy to be reading their documentation of their journey to better health.

Me I have decided to dedicate myself one hour a day in the gym, 5-6 times a week. Will that make a change? we’ll wait and see. I have consulted with a good friend of mine who considers the gym his home and here are the tips I got:

* to burn fat – do aerobics aerobics, aerobics. When I do get to run, I usually go for a 3-4 mile run. I will aim for 4-5 mile run 5-6 times a week.

* add weight training for upper body and back muscles strengthening

* food (yeah I was eager to get to this part already): 2 schools of thought here. I tend to go with ‘eat an energy bar 1 hour before training’ and my friend goes with ‘eat half a bagel and drink coffee with no milk or sugar 30 min before training”. I am curious about his approach which is suppose to ‘skip’ the 20 first min of protein burn straight into fat burn.

5-6 time a week is a lot, but if I keep it short, it should be sustainable. 21 days to build a habit, right?

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My Grandma’s Community

July 18, 2009
copenhagen, treasures about to be packed
Image by svanes via Flickr

As a kid, I used to spend hours at my Grandma’s. In a hidden house, in a hidden street somewhere in Tel Aviv, I used to help her sew new cloths. My Grandma, a well-kept polish women, always wearing Lipstick on, was using Burda, a german magazine, to cut patterns and sew suits, shirts, My Purim customs, any piece of garment you could think of, my Grandma could do.

I was reminded of Burda when I was going through Time-Out this weekend, and ran into a short piece about Burda online site which one of the editors was using to as a creative and economically efficeint way to get new cloths. I checked the site out and was blown out by the transition this magazine has gone through: open source based with community, wiki and amazingly cheap, simple and quick way to download patterns.

Going through the site, I was in awe. What an amazing tranformation for such an old, traditional brand, such a nische activity, using latest technology and  collaborative participation:  The site allows one to create a profile, upload a creations, participate in forum discussions, refer to a ‘sewpedia’ with explanations of unclear sewing tactics and terms,  watch how to videos and read the professional Burda peeps blogs and download patterns for as little as $4.

A true fashion community.  I might go back to my childhood days and start sewing again, if only just to participate in this network.

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