John’s Recon

November 12, 2008

The front page attracts the audience

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 6:24 pm

The front page is everything to a newspaper; it sets the style, it attracts the readership, and it tells what is most important to the newspaper by its location on the front page. A lot of argument/discussion happens over what goes on the front page and where. The National Inquirer has real news in it … it just chooses to go after that impulse buying that happens while waiting at the cash register … it places its sensationalism at the top. News, that is just news, goes at the bottom or on the next page. The Dallas Morning News goes for a different balance. It has some sensationalism too but it is trying to attract a different readership. Web sites are the same way … even our own company site outward facing … and our own internal facing corporate page.

We have a strong slightly rogue element in company. Rogue is too strong a word. Anti-establishment is a better word but still has negative connotations. I don’t mean the “agitators”. I mean the “catalyzers”.  I mean the independent thinker who isn’t always driven by establishment thinking (we’ve always done it this way or everyone else does it this way), who doesn’t always get his/her information from standard sources, who isn’t afraid to get help and information from alternative sources, etc.  At least they are until they become successful and then we re-evaluate them to see if we shouldn’t adopt some of their successful style and logic. Then they appear somewhat normal until they do something else “not normal”. What can I say … I grew up in the 60’s. The Blackberry, the Treo, the Razr, and the iPhone were developed by rogue elements within their company. Rogue elements and anti-establishment thinking drive change and sometimes success and sometimes real growth.

That was the set-up and now my point … which elements are we trying to attract with our conversations platform? … which elements are we wanting to bond together by finding and comparing notes and styles with each other all over the company? … the readership who reads the corporate news or the “different” thinkers/doers that are the future power of our company?

I’m for having the front page (the landing page) of the conversations platform look a little less “establishment”.  Why?  I’m hoping to attract that slightly rogue element. Get these people talking and finding each other and comparing notes and the power of our company goes up 10-fold. If our front page looks a little too current establishment, a little to standard corporate push news, then it might affect adoption. I am hoping that our conversations platform is adopted by our working class and that they not feel that it is owned by corporate communications.

November 7, 2008

Email, Crop, and Zoom

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 12:04 pm

I have been busy editing and uploading pictures for my family and friends. Here is the URL which has both the upload “photostream” and the “sets”.  Every once in a while I come across an old photo and have no clue of why I took it. See in photography you are supposed to zoom and frame for photo composition so that you know what the subject is. Now sometimes you are photographing the whole thing but then you should be framing so that people will know you mean the whole thing. Then there are times when the zoom isn’t there (my older cameras) or won’t go small enough or doesn’t have the right framing. This is where cropping comes in … an after-the-event zoom. But in cases where I can’t even guess what the subject is then it should be thrown away because you shouldn’t ask the viewer to guess … “I don’t know what this picture is about but maybe you can figure it out”.

Ever notice how email should be the same thing. First there is the original zoom for content … this isn’t used enough … seems the zoom is always on wide angle. OR sometimes the lens is on super-telephoto or even close-up macro so that the subject is disguised. So in these cases when I forward it I always try to use the crop to at least let the reader know what I thought was important. Usually I put a mini-copy of the lines I thought important first with my comments and then I include the rest sometimes in its entirety. I wish more people did this for me so that I saw the point immediately and didn’t have to read the entire thing to see if there was a reason someone forwarded it to me. I guess they were saving themselves some time.

Wait a minute. If you wanted to save the company time then why not spend the time once at the sending/forwarding stage instead of spending it over and over by making the multitude of recipients spend it. By the way, I don’t buy that its because the sender is more important than the sum total of the recipients.

November 6, 2008

Conversation and Friending: two sides of the same coin

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Prichard @ 1:25 pm

The two biggest “conversation” platforms, Telligent’s Community Server and Jive’s Clearspace, have recently added “friending”. What is friending? Basically the art of people networking of which FaceBook and MySpace are the biggest platforms (also LinkedIn). Although typically favored by separate groups of people, conversation and friending platforms are really two sides (perspectives) of the same networking coin. I have an analogy to explain this.

When you go to a symposium held in a giant room full of tables, the leadership typically asks that you sit at a table that you don’t know yet. They are pushing social networking. I’ve noticed only a few of us comply especially when it is an internal symposium. Why only a few? My guess is that it is more comfortable sitting at a table full of friends. At another table you don’t know if you will be accepted, if you will be able to hold your own in the conversations, if you will be interested, or if everyone at the table is a dud. I get a few dud tables but more often I get new perspectives with interesting conversation and wider/different views of the company. I make a few acquaintances but I really don’t make new friends and many times never see these people again. However, the ideas I’ve learned from them and the thoughts/perspectives implanted are carried with me to other tables I sit at. And sometimes I get to pass it on or incorporate it into the views of these others. I and others like me are networking the information and not necessarily the people. We are like “bees” helping to cross-pollinate thoughts and ideas between different islands of people. You don’t have to be a professional or full-time bee. All of us can be part-time bees about specific passions or knowledge. An exciting new prospect to me is our conversations platform because I get to hear the conversations before I sit down … how cool is that!

Of course, there is another perspective going on here, the people at the table itself. They are the community of friends who are networked together under common interests. Sometimes they invite people into their community who will carry different thoughts … I see this most often when they invite the Keynote or Guest speakers or other leadership to sit at their table. Sometimes they just meet people because they sit down with them (like me) or because one of their members brings a new friend. This is very comfortable way to learn and grow with the reassurance and backing of their friends/community. We have this behavior in our company in a very big way … sometimes with organization … sometimes with workgroup … sometimes with mailing list centered around a specific idea or task.

If 50% of the people traveled to other tables while the other 50% stayed at their own table, it would be pretty hard to distinguish which was which. We would have fluidity in thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. We would have very dynamic associations that formed and re-formed around tasks, problems, and situations. We might even develop a culture that was a compilation of all our others … not just in people but in style and science and the way we tackle problems. This is very powerful stuff. From what I have read, it is game-changing. Today we have the people networks behavior in our company. Should it/could it get stronger and better connected, absolutely. Currently we really don’t have the information network behavior except in isolated cases. This is why I constantly push to attract more bees and why I favor pushing the conversations platform behavior over the friending behavior … we got to have a better mixture in our company. Fortunately our conversations platform can accommodate both FaceBook and Conversation styles.

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