Learning to network

February 20, 2009

How to create the best profile picture

Filed under: career, Publishing, Self-marketing, Social Media — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 3:37 pm

Having done plenty of work on the written elements of my personal brand, its now time to take a look at … well … how I can look my best? Because online networking is so common nowadays it really helps to publish a picture wherever you write, which aims to serve two primary purposes:

  • People who know you recognise you instantly
  • People who don’t know you yet begin to get a great impression of you

And actually, these two things can meet together in a third, combined purpose

  • People who know you remember you in a positive way

We are so used to picking up visual signals when we deal with people that a tiny static image next to something we write can have a tremendous impact on the way that people feel about us when we read it. This is why it is so important to get your profile picture looking as good as you possibly can.

There are two elements to getting a great profile picture – having the right image, and publishing it well. There are actually two great articles on the Personal Branding Blog that can help you do this:

  1. To get yourself the ideal picture to start with, have a look at 11 Rules for Best Personal Branding Results with Avatars
  2. Once you have captured the best of you in a file, here are precise “mechanical” instructions for how to prepare that file for upload so you look the best you can on all the popular social media sites: The 2009 Personal Avatar Size Reference Guide
    . And even better, it explains a tool you can use to do all the hard work for you!
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December 4, 2008

Growing by blogging

Filed under: career, Learning, Manage my network, Publishing, Self-marketing, Social Media — Tags: , , , , , — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 5:15 pm

Inspired by a discussion with Karin H. on her 1 plus 1 makes 3 blog about using blogging to grow, I started to think about all the things you can grow with a blog:

  1. To grow your own personal understand of a subject.
  2. According to Yogi Tea “To learn, read. To know, write. To master, teach” – in other words the act of writing what you have learned consolidates it in your own knowledge. And of course in blogging the fact you share it with others is simply an act of generosity

  3. To grow your own personal awareness of the world
  4. This starts from the similar point 1 above, except that it leads blogging from monologue into dialogue. Your participation in the blogosphere, groups and lists means that you are interacting with the topic of your attention, and with other sharing similar interests, so your growth of understanding is accelerated.

  5. To grow a community of like-minded individuals
  6. This extends from point 2 to focus exclusively on a given topical area, and many people share the podium instead of one. This either becomes a group blog or it could be based on other media such as mail lists.

  7. To grow your own individual career
  8. Rather than focussing on self-education under point 2, this becomes more informative and the conversations exploratory.  This is of course the art of personal branding, where you turn yourself into a thought leader in your chosen subject by sharing your wisdom (at least that which you’re prepared to give away for free) and nurturing communications with people in your same field

  9. To grow your own business
  10. This could be similar to 1 or 2, but the objective is more commercially oriented.

  11. To grow the market’s awareness of your business proposition
  12. Like the personal branding in point 4, this is the commercial branding that helps get your message out.

  13. To grow a community around loyal customers and interested prospects
  14. Perhaps this is the true way forward for growing your business by blogging. You give your prospects free information to help them make their choice. This encourages you to distinguish yourself by making your proposition more enticing or even “remarkable”. And at the same time you nurture a community that includes existing customers as well as potential customers, who can all give you very direct feedback about what they want, what they have liked, and what they would love more of.

Of course all this potential for growth relies on people making time to share their ideas with others, so there is a cost. But if you think about the nature of the relationships you can build within the micro-communities that form around you, that sounds like an excellent investment in your future.

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?

February 18, 2008

Web 2.0 is just the inter-network of people

Filed under: Publishing, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:35 pm

It suddenly dawned on me the other morning, what this latest “revolution” is really about…

The internet, fuelled by the world wide web, ushered in a communications revolution,
as connections between computers all over the planet allowed them to share information

The current snowballing of social media that is often branded Web 2.0 is merely
the internet moving from technology towards people.

Instead of gaining collective value by connecting up the world computers,
we are beginning to gain colossal value instead by connecting up the people themselves.

We are beginning to share the value of relationships, in just the same way that we previously
shared the value of information, and it is empowering and enriching us as we go

January 21, 2008

How LinkedIn helps you strengthen your network, even by chance

Filed under: LinkedIn, Manage my network, Social Media — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 12:08 am

Scott Allen recently wrote about the way he likes LinkedIn because it helps him make fortunate discoveries by accident – Serendipity, Or Why LinkedIn Really Works

I could not agree more about the way “chance” discoveries help me strengthen my network. And I think this is one of the great reasons to maintain a quality network of trusted business colleagues, rather than casually connecting with open-networking link seekers.

I feel I get a great deal of value for the time I spend “casually browsing” my own extended network. When I successfully connect to someone, I find it’s useful to peruse those people they have brought me as new second degree connections. And it’s often interesting to note who is adding new connections and occasionally who they are.

Its not just that I can develop a better understanding of the industries and markets (my current ones, and others). I actually develop a better understanding of who I know out there, what they are up to and how we are intertwined. Its like being able to see the wiring under the covers, and realising how it all comes together.

And of course spending time nurturing my network can only help it grow – in strength as well as numbers.

October 28, 2007

Your terms of reference can cover all your networking activities

Filed under: Manage my network, Publishing, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 2:04 am

One of the things that I realised very early on in my blogging experience, is that its important to stay focussed (especially when you put pen to paper “creatively”). Encouraged by the value of having clear terms of reference set out for my professional engagements, I decided that having such clearly mandated objective was a very positive way of keeping my blogging on track, and consistent for readers too.

Recent articles from Dennis McDonald have enforced this idea, but shown that they can also extend to other parts of our online social interaction. Rather than explicit guidelines about what is in or out of scope for a particular blog, he shows what kind of interactions he encourages in each of his online social channels A Map of My Online Networking Tools: Part 1. Naturally, these two definitions can start to overlap, giving a list of which channel is preferred for what, and what are the typical constraints you would put on communications in any of these channels. I’m not saying you need to formalise all of these definitions in writing, but if you decide to yourself what is acceptable and encouraged and where, it can help you stay focussed in this world of increasing choice, where there are myriad tools for any given task you might have, and where our time becomes increasingly precious.

Facebook is not just a social network, more a Web 2.x platform

Filed under: Manage my network, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 1:22 am

I have been reading a number of article discussing “social networking fatigue”. Unfortunately I have been slow to catch up on them, finding the odd moment in the wee small hours – and that’s the point … too much to do, too many networks to maintain.

However, this lines me up nicely for one of my standard excuses as to why I’m still not even in the mass adoption phase with Facebook. I could pull up a number of other excuses, but of course the old “four young kids and day job to hold down” is still my favourite.

However good I am at swimming against the tide, however, there is one fact about facebook that I can’t deny is _very_ appealing. Extensibility! What moves it from a Web 2.0 social network to a web 2.x environment (I’m not gonna count my web 3.0 chickens before they’re hatched) is the fact that is has become a “platform”. This all comes down to the fact that Facebook opened up “API” accessibility to it a few months back. This effectively means that instead of all our wonderful information on profiles, groups, connections, etc being locked in (like in LinkedIn), it can be accessed by anyone with the right widget, or sufficient determination to write a new widget for their intended purpose.

Now as much as this customised access is putting a strain on the servers and the Facebook code, it does mean that you can start to do things that you wouldn’t have thought possible until just before some bright spark made them work. Errrr, is it called leveraging? Or is it called creating a brave new world?

Anyhow, enough eulogising – find out some examples of how you can “leverage this Web 2.x platform” (can’t believe I actually wrote that!) by reading Facebook as a Learning Platform on Paul Coyne’s blog, or better still, spend inordinate amounts of your precious time in the world of profiles, personal associations, pokes and now platforms for profitable interaction.

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

SO IT’S GOODBYE FROM LEARNET.wordpress.com

Look me up on

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22Arthur+M.+Gallagher%22

CUround

Artemgy

February 13, 2007

More of my own sins

Filed under: Publishing, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 9:29 am

No, my conscience has not suddenly developed a perspective – I was not the one who worked out these were other sins, I have merely recognised myself as a perpetrator.

Lorelle on WordPress has made a fine wish for this new year – “Things I Want Gone from the Web in 2007“. She eloquently explains why her individual gripes are bad, and what individuals can do about them.

Unfortunately, I have fallen foul to one of these demons, Link Spawning. I profess innocence – my WordPress editor would offer me the choice “open link in this window, or open in new window”, so of course I chose new window so the reader would not find themselves inadvertently take away from my site. However, Lorelle quite rightly says that readers are not as stupid as you might think, they know how to go “back” or to open content in new windows on their own.

Its not our job to mollycoddle people and guide them in browser usage – merely to deliver content that interests, engages and enthuses them. I am grateful for Lorelle’s “call to simplicity”, because it is easy to become overwhelmed by the cool features you hear others talk about, and start to feel insignificant if your own blog does not include them. But, lets face it – if you want to educate users about how to improve their interface-experience in the blogosphere, write a post, or even a whole blog about it – but don’t overload your blog with tools that treat your readers like fools.

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