Learning to network

May 5, 2008

Who is striving to fill the need for Private Social Networks?

Filed under: Privacy, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 1:45 pm

In his article Is “My Dow Network” a “Social Network”, Dennis McDonald describes a series of reasons for a company to want to offer the social networking experience to a limited internal audience.

In the collaboration systems space there are plenty of examples of private platforms. Systems such as messaging, newsgroups, document sharing and information portals, and especially the old mainstay email are commonly used in a closed environment. Companies can supply them internally (or have hosted on their behalf) and they match well the need for internal consumption and privacy whilst allowing an interface to and from the outside world. But what about the particular dynamic that is fulfilled by online social networking?

Are there any social networking platforms that can host a private instance for clients who want such features in a ring-fenced social sphere?

Or are there any software providers or open source projects that allow companies or societies to deliver an internally housed service to their stakeholders?

And increasingly the more important questions will be:

  • how can such systems provide interfaces to leverage information, connections and features that already exist in external (or partner) social networks?
  • How could the private system allow a limited flow of information out into third parties, or onto the public domain?
  • What provision could there be to allow new joiners to import information, and individuals to retain a copy of information they might want to take elsewhere?

I’m afraid I don’t have any answers to these questions right now, and perhaps that’s a shame. After all, the bulk of our modern economy is based upon information, and unless the entire world of commerce turns around and says “nah, its just hype – there’s not really any lasting value in information about people, their relationships, and anything they share or transact!” then I’m certain there will be a lot of attention (and by consequence cash) being focussed in this area in the coming months and years.


March 7, 2008

Where are you and what are you up to?

Filed under: Manage my network, Privacy, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 3:43 pm

I learned about new “location brokering” services such as Mk Loki and
Yahoo’s FireEagle through a thread in the LinkedInBloggers group. The following article gives a brief intro, in case this is a new idea to you: Information Brokering: MyLoki provides granular control of your location – O’Reilly Radar

Through the discussion it seemed that online business networkers would find this kind of information valuable, so that they could take those rare opportunities for face-to-face meetings when they suddenly found themselves to be in the same part of the world as someone else in their network. However the disadvantages appeared to be in planning a meeting with sufficient notice to get a common slot of free time.

This is where I considered the possibility of allowing your future personal free-busy information to be viewed by your network, along with your projected location – that way a system can easily hook you up with close matches amongst your first degree connections. And to be more sophisticated you could indicate which areas of your personal network were “hottest” for you right now, so it would allow a slightly more “fuzzy” match. After all, you might be prepared to switch your appointments or travel a little out of your way to go and see someone who’s in a line of business you’re particularly into right now.

Interesting idea but it begs the question, would you be prepared to publish information to your trusted business network about where you are planning to be and when you might be free?

January 26, 2008

Sharing with others does NOT take away from yourself

Filed under: career, Manage my network, Privacy, think positive — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:17 am

I found some excellent market research yesterday that could well help me find work in the future. I wanted to post it to my technology-related blog, but I had strong reservations about actually publishing it (Look who’s been doing my market research for me). “But should I share useful information with my competitors?”, went my self-protective thoughts. “Other people I know are effectively in competition with me for roles, so I should keep this to myself.”

Fortunately I published it anyway, and this morning I realised why this was the RIGHT thing to do. Even if my ex-colleagues are in the same sector as me, offering similar services, and aiming at similar prospective companies, this can still be an advantage to me.

You see I am me, with a different personality, different characteristics, different experience and a different approach from other people I know. If its the right role for me, it is quite possibly not right for the other person, so I would be more likely to get the work. Likewise, if it’s right for the other person and doesn’t really suit me, then why would I want to be doing it anyway? Because we are unique individuals we are not actually direct competitors, and have nothing to fear from each other.

What’s more, by sharing openly with others, when I find a role that doesn’t quite suit me, I could easily recommend that the other person goes for it instead. And because what goes around comes around, other people I know, and who I share openly with, are more likely to approach me if they find a role that they are not ideally suited to. So we continue to help each other, not compete with each other.

Helping each other and sharing is always a better approach than “us and them” – it enriches everyone.

May 29, 2007

Realising the value – THE END of the beginning

On the 19th February my online business networking paid off.

Well, by the time the invoice got sorted it was much later than that, but the point is that an ex-colleague of an ex-colleague to asked meet me, then offered me a busy role that kind of didn’t allow time for learning to network.

Well, I have still carried on networking when feasible, but I have not had time for the luxury of researching and reporting on the topic. However I have learned so much by sharing this experience that I am determined to apply many of the publishing and marketing skills on something that is close enough to my day job to make it compatible and feasible


Look me up on




December 6, 2006

7 simple steps to share your soul safely

Filed under: Learning, Privacy, Publishing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 5:49 pm

(I am still drafting this post – please excuse any hiccups)

One day this paragraph will magically turn into a short but irrefutably compelling piece of prose that will convince you that even your pet dog should be writing regularly to a web log. Then you will be ready to dive into the steps I offer below.


November 16, 2006

Who are you actually Replying to?

Filed under: Privacy, Publishing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 3:44 pm

Darn it! I have just been caught out by an interesting “feature” of yahoo groups (and maybe other mail-lists too).

I wanted to send a reply to a post, let the person know how much I valued the information they posted. I pressed the Reply button – not Reply to All -because it was only intended for the original poster. Unfortunately the Yahoo group email shows the senders address in the From field, but under the covers it is marked with a “Reply To” address for the group. Inadvertently, then, my “personal” message went out to the whole group!

And, what’s worse is that I had included a link to my blog in the mail. So now I’m going to look like all those other “look at me, aren’t I wonderful!” attention-seeking networkers that I dislike filling my inbox. So much for lurking discretely until I have worked on my self-marketing!

Up to now I had only learnt to be careful in reviewing my blog posts, before hitting the publish button. Now, however, it seems I should be far more circumspect when replying to group email posts. Lets just hope I learnt from this mistake. In my mind its an even bigger slip-up than forgetting to attach the file you mention before hitting Send.

November 14, 2006

Will your past catch up with you?

Filed under: Privacy, Publishing — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 12:22 pm

Although some people actively publish to look for work, other appear to have been refused jobs because of what they have published:


November 2, 2006

Coming down?

Filed under: Privacy — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 3:39 pm

Hmmmm, I think the initial high of “going public will take you places” has worn off. I have started to have cold feet about putting information about myself into the public domain. Its not just about what my current privacy settings are, its also about what they have been in the past.

If you’re not sure about what I mean, think about search engine caches, and tools like the Internet Way Back Machine at http://web.archive.org/ – I have used them in the past to access information that site owners have since torn down, but I am hesitant now I think about people using them “against” me.

With the degree of record retention in the modern world a choice to go public is to a certain extent irrevocable . . . so whilst I ponder a little longer what I want to be on my public facing pages, I have just turned my LinkedIn public profile back to basic.

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