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Spoiling the Journey April 29, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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There are many effects on using the web to stay current on that which interest us. One of those is being able to find out thing quickly. Like now. I just read an article that talks about the ‘Age of Immediacy’. A good term actually and one you can relate to quickly. We all know the Stone Age, Ice Age, Industrial Age. Now we have the Immediacy Age.

The main point of the piece was how we now want ‘spoilers’. We want the answer. Now is the time, I don’t want to wait; spoon feed me. Our attention span is getting shorter.  It’s not about the journey, it’s about the result. The web makes getting the answer easy.  No more hassle, just google it.

Too bad. I think the journey is the point. You learn much about yourself, others and the topic of interest when you are vested in it. Spending time and energy, pursuing the information scent, analyzing clues, sorting the useful from the worthless. All good. Makes the effort worthwhile when you arrive and provides a of accomplishment that is earned.

Of course, we can all rationalize jumping ahead and using a spoiler can’t we? I need this. Just  this once. Really. I’ve done that.

Reminds me of  the  Robert Frost poem “The Road not Taken

For him it made all the difference.

That’s not to say I won’t seek help. But that is different. I will try leave the journey unspoiled and it might make a difference for me.

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April 27, 2009

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I want my (redefined) MTV! TV via Mobile handset. http://ping.fm/aXGST

April 27, 2009

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Twitter study yields insights on motivation & values.
http://ping.fm/LGxUP

April 27, 2009

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Follow Publishers Clearing House tweets.
http://ping.fm/Bepy3

Thoughts from your Leader April 27, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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Recently I came across a statement related to Social Media and how we use it. The author essentially said that via the web, everyone can be a Thought Leader.

Imagine that. Everyone. You. Me. Family. Friends. Acquaintances. People you kind of like. People you don’t like. People you don’t know. Everybody. All Thought Leaders. Pretty heady stuff actually. A beautiful thing. Are you ready to take on that role? Are you up to the challenge and responsibility?

We live in an age where each and every who can be heard. This wonderful ability for every voice from Whoville to share thoughts, reactions and opinions on any subject is unprecedented. A question that comes to mind is – If everyone is leading, who is being led?

OK, rhetorical question. Let’s agree that we can do both. We are capable to lead on some topics and be led on others.

As everyone is a leader, we all have the power to accept or challenge each others’ thoughts. How we reach consensus to a common perspective is changing right in front of us. Some changes we notice – use of the Social Media tools like Twitter, Facebook and so on are clear examples. We all have looked at tweets, FB notes and have learned new things, provided insight others may not have seen. Ultimately, our views can and will be influenced by what others post.

Another question- is everyone ready to lead? Not so rhetorical. In fact, I think (intentional pun notwithstanding) that having the ability to communicate broadly does not equate to being a leader. Certainly everyone has opinions and ideas. These days, you don’t even have to ask someone what they think. As thought leaders, we provide our comments and observations for others to peruse. Our thoughts are voluntarily shared online for you to find and be led. If you want to. Or, not.

All this sharing helps sort out what we think. It helps me at least. Not that I am easily influenced as a rule. View it as another source that shapes your  take.  I certainly believe having exposure to thoughts of the many, as opposed to the few, is a good thing. We want to be heard and make a difference. That’s why we share. That said, there is a difference being leading and sharing. I hope that does not change.

The change effect on our behavior in the real world is in process.  Who you look to as an authoritative voice now includes your contacts and peers in the virtual world.  It’s happening right in front of us and how much of an influence they have on your thoughts is up to you.

Those are my thoughts. Now, I am your leader. At least, that’s what I think.

Will Community = Service? April 24, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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There a lot of people talkin ’bout the on-line community. A few people are also listening.  I’m referring of course to the Social Media community.  Your on-line buds, the homies you hang with on the net. That community. All great stuff – love it. I do. But, it seems to me that while we have this great on-line network, there is something missing. The human element. Stay with me.
I mean, we have all the wonderful tools to connect with people from our past and present and even, make new connections so it shapes our future. Like me, I’m sure you all have friends on facebook, followers on Twitter, an active network on LinkedIn and so on.

But, we don’t always have a human connection. It’s virtual, man. So you and I have this great community that we interact with.  And I do all the time. But, if I have a problem with my phone, or cable, I don’t talk to my community. I interact with a call prompter.

And that’s where I see a disconnect. We have this wealth of  social interactivity for advice, staying aware of  a cornucopia of myriad and multi-faceted topics. But, if you have a real life problem that you need help with, you call a 800 number and navigate, sometimes correctly, through a byzantine call prompter. Have a problem with your credit card? Call prompter. Need to report a car accident? Call prompter. You get the gist.

We all have our ‘War Story’ of a horrible and/or humorous experience dealing with these systems. My wife was so frustrated recently using a voice activated call prompter, she was yelling into the phone “I want an agent, agent! Human! Human!” Of course, I found it hysterical.  My wife, eh, not so much.

Back on point – Call prompters  save companies money – makes them efficient, handle large call volumes to have satisfied customers. Not always as companies can lose business when customer are frustrated enough. Trust me – been there, done that.  BTDT – is that an acronym like BOGO (buy one, get one)?

I don’t want a machine interface when I’m trying to solve a problem. I want a carbon-based life form from the community to help me. Are you listening service providers? Get human.

And, oh, yeah another thing. Now that I think about it, all those people looking for jobs can be great customer advocates. Giving answers to people – using Social Media of their choice – chat, email, tweets, FB updates, phone calls. The mind reels with the possibilities of the win-win-win. A big Win for us consumers; win for companies; win for people looking for meaningful work. Simple and I like simple solutions.

After all, resolving problems is giving back to the community, isn’t it? For me, that’s a community service. One does not equal the other, they are synergistic and influence each other.
So, then  it raises the question – would you be willing to work as a Service Representative? I’ve always felt a rotation between  service, repair and development roles keeps you energized and brings new challenges to a job. The management of your rotation within a work team takes a bit more work of course.  Here’s an example could be – 3 weeks Help Desk answering customer issues. This could be email, phone, chat and the like. Then, 3 weeks peforming field repair where you could inherit a problem that you logged while on the Help Desk and now need to fix, either remotely or on site. Be careful what you reap, eh? Last, 3 weeks to work on a development project.

The time duration cited is just for the example. It could be longer or shorter based on the business. The point is, you see things from different perspectives. And that keep it fresh; stimulates new ideas. Avoids the same old, same old routine. So, while you are developing, you have insight as to how to eliminate future support problems. You can envision what you need to enhance a widget – either talking with a customer or fixing a broken one. You get new ideas by having multiple perspectives. Also, provides built-in cross-training for coverage and increases employee education.

Won’t happen though in the short term. Too simple. We like our community to interact with and will endure call prompters for our business.  I hope it does change though. And when it does and there  is a company that offers the human service element, I’ll friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Because I want that service  as part of my community.

Going to the Fair April 22, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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I had an interesting afternoon while attending a Career Fair here in town. Employers and recruiters were there.  The nursery rhyme pops in my head about the birds and the beasts and baboon combing his hair – but I digress.

To me, this was informal and low key. Many companies had a table staffed with people to talk to.  It had many people attending but you could visit your targeted companies easily.

The routine of what to do at these things is quickly learned. Line up, make your pitch, provide a copy of your resume and business card, Thank them for their time and on to the next. When there is a long line, you ask someone at the end, “Are you waiting to speak with ABC Company?” Spent some time in one of those – even tweeted about it.

You meet some interesting people at these events. That may sound snarky or a back-handed compliment. I don’t mean that in a snobbish type way at all. What is interesting is that instead of reading about the statistics of people attending that are looking for work, I am now one of the statistics.  That changes your perspective to know how many others are in the same situation.

I’m optimistic that I and others, will get a new job. Good skills, perseverance and timing will prevail I’m sure. I have marketable skills combined with knowledge that not may others have. So, I got that going for me, which is nice. Plus, a good network of contacts pulling for me and then there is eternal happiness in the after-life.

 

Keep moving forward and begin the day with a friendly voice.

Electric Kool Aid – That’s really trippy, man April 21, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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The boomers are getting older and they (we?) will reminisce more and more about the past. Saw this in the latest Rolling Stone – a new film about ‘Electric Kool Aid Acid Test’. Will this be a trend? Will there be a sequel that Hollywood will latch onto?

I hope the movie is far out in any event and the music is decent. The music can help bring you back to a time and place. Of course, smell is the strongest sense to bring back  a time & place, if you know what I mean.  And, no, I’m notcondoning anything, man; just laying it out there.

After all, if you remember the 60’s, you weren’t really there right? Hope the film captures the essence of the movement so I can relive that early part of my life.

Disclaimer – I was in Jr. High in the late 60s. Just missed all the hoopla. Heard stories about what happened in High School from my brother of course. But, for those of us in 7th grade, nothing really radical went down.

What was your best memory from the days?  A be-in? Protest March? Burn your draft card? Stick it to the Man somehow?

Funny how all the sayings which had such power then and implied a sense of the unrest, the change that was occurring between the generations. A sea change for those in power having to listen to those about to be in power. Starting in the mid-60s and accelerating through the 70s, there was lots of change. At times, you didn’t know what was certain. There was that much potential for the new, anything could happen and you would say “OK”.

Fast forward to today and some things are different. Yet, sadly, some things remain. You know the failings of the social changes  attempted – inequality, discrimination, women’s rights. Still there today, still work to do on all those areas. The boomers were gong to change the world. Well, we did. But not always in the utopian ways the Acid Test gang proposed.

Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss. So true. Maybe we sold out and learned to accepted the status quo as the stakes got higher. More risk, more to lose. I’ll leave the full analysis to others. Me, I think we did make things  better but there could have been so much more.

And so, on this Earth Day eve, maybe it’s time to re-charge. How can we sleep while our bed is burning? We have time but not as much as we used to. Remember the bumper sticker “Be kind to Mother Earth – she’s the only Mother you’ve got.” 

At least, that what I remember it said. Be cool, man.

Are you Snarky or Earnest? April 20, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Miscellaneous.
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Recent post from Seth Godin on this topic. Snarky is easy, earnest is preferred over time and take work. Which best describes you?

Seth is another great Subject Matter Expert (SME) I found some time ago. I have seen him in person at a local AMA event. Funny and insightful and always stimulates the mind grapes.

Twitter Analysis thoughts from Avinash April 20, 2009

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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When I first started looking at Web Analytics, I found Avinash to be one of the best Subject Matter Expert (SME). He always has interesting topics to share in a way you can easily follow. Here is his recent post about twitter that talks about revenue, cost and  customer satisfaction. If what you are doing does not relate to those three, why are you doing it? I like simple and this is a simple as it gets.

If you had 1 Q on web analytics, what woudl it be?

If you had 1 Q on web analytics, what would it be?