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Blogs of Note

AND Weblog
Charlene Li's Weblog
Column Two
Creating Passionate Users
Dan Pink
David Weinberger's Blog
Employment Blawg
Fast Company Now
Feld Thoughts
Focused Performance
Globally Local
Intranet Blog
IT Facts (ZDNet)
IT Services Insider
Jonathan Schwartz's Blog
Long Tail
Monster Blog
Ray Ozzie's Weblog
Ross Mayfield's Weblog
Seth Godin's Blog
Social Software
Tech Crunch
Technology Review
Tom Peter's Weblog
Web Strategy Blog

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This blog includes news, trends, commentary and events affecting the enterprise workplace and intranets, extranets, portals, web 2.0 and web applications in particular. Learn more about our Enterprise Solutions offerings.

August 21, 2007

Facebook rules for the rest of us

facebook2.jpgWhat is the best way to use Facebook? Can it serve as a business networking tool? Or is it just a social networking site that should be used to reconnect with personal friends? In an attempt to answer some of these questions, I've developed a set of Facebook rules. Rules for those who are in the workforce and a little worried about their privacy.

1. Only accept invitations from people you know.
We usually get invitations from people that we have at least a passing acquaintance with. But also some invitations from people we do not know at all. Quite simply, do not accept invitations from people you do not know.

2. Be picky about who you give access to your complete profile.
Many of us ignore the limited profile feature but it is very useful. You may not want someone you have just met to discover your high school nick name when he browses your "Wall." Nor may you want him to see the photographs of the party you attended the previous weekend. The solution - provide access to the limited profile and only in time change those settings. Maybe establish a one year rule - give complete access only to people whom you've known for more than three months

3. Do not publish phone numbers online. An email address is enough.
Did you know that random strangers can view your complete profile even if they are not your friends? Facebook's default privacy settings allows strangers to see the profile of all a person's friends. That can be dangerous. Solve the problem by not including too much contact information.

4. Do not accept random application invitations. They aren't worth it.
Alright, some applications can be a lot of fun. Whether its poker or the globe application, they let you share more with friends. But many of these applications also gather your personal information and market it to others. So don't accept too many application invitations. Or if you must, at least read \the fine print first.

5. Ignore the pokes. It will save you embarrassment.
A girlfriend poking her boyfriend is very different than getting a poke from a colleague. The best solution? Simply ignore the pokes. Don't poke anyone and ignore the pokes you receive. It'll save you embarrassment. Instead send them private messages or add them as friends. Unless that is of course, you truly mean to poke them.

6. Petition Facebook to improve its privacy settings interface.
The truth is Facebook succeeds when our privacy is compromised. The more we share about ourselves, the more our friends and their friends get hooked on the service. So while Facebook may say they respect our privacy, they'd rather we be as expressive as possible. But at the same time, they need to educate us about the risks of sharing too much. And just as importantly, they need simpler interfaces for changing one's privacy settings.

7. Don't expect too much from the Facebook groups
One of Facebook's killer applications are its groups. They combine the best of evite and meetup and are useful for organizing events. But beware of group invitations from strangers. If the groups are inactive or are marketing ploys, leave them immediately.

8. Use the send message feature. Friends may prefer it to the wall.
Everybody else may not be as open as you. Some may prefer to have conversations using the private messages feature rather than the wall. Keep that in mind as you talk to your friends. And whatever you do, don't compromise their privacy by posting something confidential on their wall.

Web 2.0: Profiting from the Threat

You know a web trend is "tired" when the strategy consulting firms discuss it. They're often the last to pick up technology trends. So when I started reading this Booz Allen Hamilton article on web 2.0, I expected more of the same. But it is slightly different. Rather than just lamenting the end of traditional marketing, it also discusses how Web 2.0 provides new opportunities. Now that's a nice change.

Must Read Intranet Blogs

I stumbled upon this list of seven must read intranet blogs put together by James Roberston of Column Two. I was pleasantly surprised to find The Workplace Blog mentioned with this description - "Published by Shiv Singh in the US, this blog comfortably sits at the intersection of intranets, portals and web 2.0." Thank you. He also lists useful content management, usability and information architecture blogs.

August 16, 2007

What is Enterprise 2.0?

This wonderful slide deck explains what enterprise 2.0 is. It's useful for the executive who's trying to understand these new trends. Thanks Charlie!

2007 Intranet & Portal Strategies Survey

Jane McConnell is running the 2007 Global Intranet & Portal Strategies Survey. Submissions close on August, 30th 2007. If you participate in the survey, you'll receive a free copy of the standard report while the enhanced version of the report will not be free. She has also published some preliminary results of the survey. To participate email Jane.

August 14, 2007

Enterprise Software and Partnering with the Business

The Sloan Management Review discussed the challenges surrounding enterprise software in an article recently. They quote a multi-year study of over 400 companies which showed that IT departments tend not to be innovative leaders within an organization but rather conservative forces. Forces who are viewed by business executives as "cost sinks and liabilities". Is that a fair characterization?

I do not want anyone who is managing an email infrastructure or a company-wide customer databases to be too innovative. I'd choose conservativeness any day. But at the same time, there are other areas in which IT managers can be innovative. Like in its uses of web 2.0 technologies. Rather than deriding these technologies as light-weight fads, IT departments can help their business clients and themselves by setting up web 2.0 labs to explore new uses of these technologies.

More importantly, IT managers should form closer relationships with their business counterparts. In today's context, every business leader needs to understand IT well - so let them. It may bring in new ideas and new champions. IT infrastructure (like ERP systems) is increasingly getting commoditized or outsourced. Value is derived from the fringe, innovative end of an information technology infrastructure. IT managers may not have all the skills to reap those benefits so befriending a business head may not be such a bad idea even if it means less control.

Social Computing Magazine & Facebook Privacy

Social Computing Magazine republished my post on how Facebook is blurring our professional and personal lives. It seems a lot of people are worrying about how Facebook is making our personal lives more public. However, some like David Deal at Avenue A | Razorfish, are comfortable with the idea of mixing the professional and personal on Facebook. He says that when people sign up, they are aware of the risks involved and implies that our professional lives are personal too. Interesting point, after all strong professional relationships always evolve into personal friendships.

July 21, 2007

Facebook - Showing every side of you

facebook.gifEverywhere I turn people seem to be talking about Facebook. Whether it is the exponential growth, the shrewdness of Mark Zuckerberg or the new widget strategy, Facebook seems to be everywhere. In fact, the latest issue of The Economist magazine devotes a full page to the Facebook phenomena and to Zuckerberg.
But should you really care? Yes, and here's something important that you need to know about Facebook.

Continue reading "Facebook - Showing every side of you" »

Knowledge workers requiring new publics

Danah Boyd is probably my favorite social networks researcher. She's produced some formidable research and is one of the leading thinkers on social networks and the online youth culture. Here's an interesting quote of hers in which she explains why social networking has captured the imagination of so many teenagers.

"Publics offer youth a space to engage in cultural identity development. By engaging in public life, youth learn to interpret the cultural signals that surround them and incorporate these cultural elements into their life. For a diverse array of reasons, contemporary youth have limited access to the types of publics with which most adults grew up. As a substitute for these inaccessible publics, networked publics like MySpace and Facebook are emerging to provide contemporary American youth with a necessary site for peer engagement.”

The critical question is what about us in the workplace? Do we have a shortage of "publics" in which to interact with one another? Traditionally conferences served as our publics. But our industries have gotten so fragmented that we need to attend several in a year to keep pace with our fields. Unfortunately, carving out the time or the dollars for this is often difficult. Also, with Internet time affecting every industry, attending conferences a few times a year don't provide the immediacy and intensity of engagement that we now need. Maybe that's why more companies are gravitating to online communities like LinkedIn and Facebook. We too are having to create new online publics!

July 09, 2007

Google - The new Salesforce of the enterprise?

Google continues its march into the enterprise with its acquisition of Postini today. Postini is an email service that monitors communication for brokerage firms to insure regulatory compliance. It is a 100% hosted service. As the New York Times and others have reported, this acquisition allows Google to offer services to businesses via its enormous network of data centers. Yes, we're talking about software as a service again.

What does this mean? A couple of things. Google is getting extremely serious about the enterprise space. Google's strategy is to buy or build tools that enable it to take its consumer offerings into the enterprise in a credible and secure manner. Rather than build software products, most of its enterprise attack is going to be driven by software as a service solutions. And its offerings are going to be dirt cheap (or maybe even free) as it hopes to leverage economies of scale, its past investments in data centers and of course depend on advertising. In other words, Google wants to become the Salesforce of everything other than CRM in the enterprise. It sounds like a good strategy. Lets see whether the CIOs will buy it.

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