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?

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 4, 2008

Understanding your readers

Filed under: Publishing, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 8:53 pm

Incoming links shows which paths readers could use to arrive at your blog, and indicates your level of support from your blogging community. However if you want to know how they are arriving, and which are the most common ways they click through to you you need to track referrals.

Once again, your blogging software is lilkely to have some information, but you can improve your statistical information gathering by including some scripts in your pages from one of the following tools:

  • AWStats (Advanced Web Stats)
  • MyBlogLog
  • Google Analytics
  • StatCounter
  • 103bees

The first two seem to be the most respected – although Google is one of the most common, some suggest that their statistics may be subject to some bias. Other tools are available but some are tied to services (like AdSense) and others involve payment (like the good but rather costly Overture).

January 3, 2008

Understanding your community

Filed under: Publishing, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 10:08 am

If you want to know who is linking in to your blog, then the first place you can look is in your own blogging system. Many, such as WordPress have a dashboard with statistics including incoming links. If you still want to know more then you can use one (or more) of the following tools:

Feedburner (http://www.feedburner.com/)
GetClicky (http://www.getclicky.com/)
Google Analytics (https://www.google.com/analytics/home/)
Lijit (http://www.lijit.com/)
MyBlogLog (http://www.mybloglog.com/)
Sitemeter (http://www.sitemeter.com/)
StatCounter (http://www.statcounter.com/)
Technorati (http://www.technorati.com/)

Thanks to Dennis McDonald (http://www.ddmcd.com) for providing this list.

Comments from fellow LinkedIn Bloggers suggest that Technorati is no longer providing a complete picture of incoming links.

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


Look me up on




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.

February 6, 2007

Reach out to more readers – fit in with their rhythm

Filed under: Publishing, Self-marketing, Social Media, Technologies — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 9:08 pm

Everybody has their favourite time and place for reading. Some people like to wander gently through crisp web pages, some like readers that aggregate by subject and bring new items to their attention, and others want to get every post slapped in their face via email. We each prefer our own personal rhythm for reading, so we would do well to adapt to the habits of our audience when we write.

You guessed it, I’m talking about that 9th deadly sin, “making it hard to subscribe”. And subscribing is not limited to RSS, but can just as easily apply to email too. It might not be your favourite way to read blogs, but why should you cut off potential readers just because they have not yet gotten the hang of feed readers (or because business pressures have them intavenously attached to their inbox). (more…)

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