Is Facebook the New AOL?

I remember a conversation with my mom in the mid-90’s about wanting to get “on the internet”. She had been listening to stories from me about my work at an early web design agency and decided she was going to take the plunge. Not wanting to play tech-support all day I quickly recommended AOL.

Remember the dial-up sound that was likely to be happening as you saw this

I made that recommendation for a few reasons – they had nationwide coverage (I had a local ISP with a local number), it was easy to install and for the most part it was the internet on training wheels. Sure, you could get out on the big bad web, but for the most part sticking close to your AOL home base you could send email and visit the AOL sites (keyword anyone?)

While I am happy to see more people comfortable with posting, viewing and participating on Facebook these days I can’t help but wonder – is Facebook the new AOL? Will it get huge while trying to contain the whole internet experience in one place and then blow-up massively, maybe linger in some form or format. Perhaps a final Jeopardy question in 10 years? Or will the team find a way to stay relevant and pivot/turn/twist/re-shape itself over the next few years? Only time will tell my friends, but I am definitely keenly interested.



Holding It Down for Content Marketing and The East Coast

If you’re a fan of content marketing, then you are probaly in awe of all the infographics, corporate journalism and general social goodness coming from Mindjet. Over the past few months together with Jess3 they’ve had an on-going series called “Between Minds: An Ongoing Taxonomy of Team Dynamics”. They have highlighted optimists vs. pessimists,  left-brained vs. right-brained and my favorite – thought leaders vs. do leaders.

When they released their latest post “East Coast vs. West Coast: Bridging to the Coastal Divide”  for the first time I wasn’t quickly and clearly on one side. I was born and raised in New England, of course I might still say “wicked” and eat grinders, but my career began in Los Angeles at the start of the 90’s dot-com boom. How would I choose?

After quite the spirited debate among my coworkers, conclusion was I am an East Coaster in business with some West Coast consensus skills and in my personal life I am West Coast laid back with some East Coast-in-your-faceness. Frankly, I don’t think of it as having 2 distinct parts, so guess I’ve got that work/life integration worked out well. If you believe differently, you should know I was tagged near fisticuffs in the original post below. Guess I might be a bit more East Coast huh?

Between Minds: East Coasters vs. West Coasters Names Infographic from Mindjet

Empathy Is The Most Important Ingredient To Social Business Transformation

If you have read any social business articles, whitepapers or blogs lately you probably read that you need to have a plan, deploy the technology and engage the users. Such advice barely scratches the surface.

It fails to advise how to plan, how to deploy and how to engage. It is like describing the ingredients to a gourmet dessert but failing to explain how to make a mousse.

What guides successful planning, deployment and engagement is something much fuzzier and difficult to nail down: empathy.

For more on this, see the full article at Social Business News

The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time – From the HBR Blog

I enjoy reading Harvard Business Review, the subjects they cover and the authors writing for them are usually pretty spot on.

There was a piece today from Tony Schwartz around lost productivity that really resonated with me. Highly suggest you read the whole article but if you’re looking for just the takeaways here they are:

If you’re a manager, here are three policies worth promoting:

1. Maintain meeting discipline. Schedule meetings for 45 minutes, rather than an hour or longer, so participants can stay focused, take time afterward to reflect on what’s been discussed, and recover before the next obligation. Start all meetings at a precise time, end at a precise time, and insist that all digital devices be turned off throughout the meeting.

2. Stop demanding or expecting instant responsiveness at every moment of the day. It forces your people into reactive mode, fractures their attention, and makes it difficult for them to sustain attention on their priorities. Let them turn off their email at certain times. If it’s urgent, you can call them — but that won’t happen very often.

3. Encourage renewal. Create at least one time during the day when you encourage your people to stop working and take a break. Offer a midafternoon class in yoga, or meditation, organize a group walk or workout, or consider creating a renewal room where people can relax, or take a nap.

It’s also up to individuals to set their own boundaries. Consider these three behaviors for yourself:

1. Do the most important thing first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time. If possible, work in a private space during this period, or with sound-reducing earphones. Finally, resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you’ll be. When you’re done, take at least a few minutes to renew.

2. Establish regular, scheduled times to think more long term, creatively, or strategically. If you don’t, you’ll constantly succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. Also, find a different environment in which to do this activity — preferably one that’s relaxed and conducive to open-ended thinking.

3. Take real and regular vacations. Real means that when you’re off, you’re truly disconnecting from work. Regular means several times a year if possible, even if some are only two or three days added to a weekend. The research strongly suggests that you’ll be far healthier if you take all of your vacation time, and more productive overall.

You can read more from Tony, President & CEO of the Energy Project, on his blog.