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Seth Godin: “The internet has allowed an enormous amount of fake networking to take place.”…socialgood.html

(Originally tweeted here and here – Not on twitter? Join and Follow me!)

Just watched a brief two minute Q&A from Seth Godin, marketing guru. Godin answers a question from an audience member about social networking and small business. His response indicts social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter as potentially “fake networking.” And it’s hard to dispute his simple argument: if you have 5,000 facebook friends or 20,000 twitter followers, does it really matter if none of these people will go to bat for you when you really need them to? Networking has (traditionally) implied that a relationship translates into real action.

Godin is asking an important question: where does the rubber meet the road on social networking? It’s hard to say. The same criticism is levied by David Wong in his piece on 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable. Sure you’ve got a bunch of internet “friends,” but if all they are doing is sending you wall posts on your birthday and are otherwise nowhere to be found in your life, does it really matter?

I’ll save the flipside to this argument for another time. Here’s two quotes from the clip from Seth Godin:

Networking is always important when its real and it’s always a useless distraction when it’s fake. …

The internet has allowed an enormous amount of fake networking to take place.

Ok I have one more thought I want to share: my facebook/twitter policy: I keep my facebook profile somewhat elite and restricted to friends in realspace or internet-friends with whom I’ve had extensive interactions. With twitter, on the other hand, anything goes. I think social networking on twitter, as “fake” or cheap as it may be, still can serve a purpose. More on this later.

Also see my brief explanation of the difference between Facebook and Twitter.

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Thoughts on Explaining Twitter (vs. Facebook)

(12:31:51 PM) Shannon: how do you explain what twitter is to people who don’t know?
(12:32:44 PM) Shannon: whenever i do it, they end up asking me “so, it’s like the status message thing for facebook?” and in a way it is, but it seems like it’s more than that. only i can’t describe it well.
(12:34:26 PM) Justin: yeah … I’d say its a way to stay in touch with friends and acquaintances
(12:35:30 PM) Justin: that allows you to share cool stuff you find, follow people who seem interesting — even celebrities
(12:37:03 PM) Justin: it’s more about communicating dynamically with others whereever you happen to be or about whatever is on your mind whereas facebook is more about keeping in touch with people generally and giving everyone some sort of internet presence no matter their tech savviness

Cross-posted to tumblr.

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Cory Doctorow: Writing in the Age of Distraction


Originally furl’ed here

Some great advice on avoiding distractions while writing. The quoted bit is just one of Doctorow’s gems (One I find particularly apt), but the rest is worth reading, as well.

Realtime communications tools are deadly The biggest impediment to concentration is your computer’s ecosystem of interruption technologies: IM, email alerts, RSS alerts, Skype rings, etc. Anything that requires you to wait for a response, even subconsciously, occupies your attention. Anything that leaps up on your screen to announce something new, occupies your attention. The more you can train your friends and family to use email, message boards, and similar technologies that allow you to save up your conversation for planned sessions instead of demanding your attention right now helps you carve out your 20 minutes. By all means, schedule a chat — voice, text, or video — when it’s needed, but leaving your IM running is like sitting down to work after hanging a giant “DISTRACT ME” sign over your desk, one that shines brightly enough to be seen by the entire world.

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10 Steps to getting a job through Twitter…gh-twitter.html

Some advice on using twitter to secure a job. Some of the advice is obvious, even as it probably needs to be said — i.e. remember that your tweets are public, so think before you tweet. I’ve also now signed up with Mr Tweet, which has opened my eyes that I probably link too much.

It’s intriguing to see over and over again that:

  • Celebrities use twitter
  • Tweeting celebrities often interact with followers

I wouldn’t have expected that, but maybe twitter gives celebrities the opportunity to achieve a semblance of normal human interaction. This could happen as followers on twitter are removed enough (thanks to physical distance) to keep the celebrities’ walls/bubble intact while enabling followers to remain composed (even when a famous person is interacting with them). Hmm.

4. Ask people who to follow. Poke around the people that your friends follow. One person you should definitely ask is Mr. Tweet. By following the Mr. Tweet account, you’ll get a customized recommendation list based on the people in your network. This works if you know a lot of people in your industry, but probably won’t be as good if you’re a student or you’re looking to break out of what you’re doing. That’s why I suggested Twellow first. Just don’t follow too many people, though. When I see someone following 6,000 people, I automatically think they’re trying to just gain followers to sell something or they’re a bit too much of a self promoter–because clearly you can’t listen to 6,000 people. If you’re not really listening, I don’t have much interest in speaking with you.

5. On that note, listen! Yes, that’s right. Before you go blabbing your mouth off about all your brilliant insights, listen to what the people who work in the kinds of places you want to work and who are doing what you want to do are talking about. What articles are they reading? What events are they going to? This is the pulse of the most innovative part of the community. Look up what you don’t know and make sure you’re on top of this.

6. Use search creatively. Is anyone looking for someone with marketing experience? How about a product manager? Is anyone hiring?? Tweetdeck lets you create several saved searches that update live, so you can see up to the minute updates about your topics of interest. You can also feed them into a reader using RSS.

7. Cross-pollinate. Create thoughtful presentations on Slideshare about some research or thinking you did. Write blog posts about your take on what others are talking about. Create links for them on (so you know how many clicks you got) and share them on Twitter. Use creative and compelling titles like, “What you didn’t know about SEO” or “Buying drugs in the year 2020” versus boring ones like “My post about SEO” or “A presentation on the future of pharmaceuticals.”

8. Get in conversations. Ask questions directly to people, in public, about something they posted. You’d be surprised about how accessible some really high level people are on Twitter. Even celebrities seem to be pretty responsive. This is where your links to other places come in handy. When someone new responds to something I say, I generally check them out to see who they are. Don’t comment just to comment, but when you have something interesting to say or a good question, don’t be afraid to participate! One of the best ways to engage with people is to talk to the people already following you that you don’t know. They came in somehow–ask them about their jobs, their companies. Call out their interesting blog posts or things you like that their company does. It shows you’re paying attention.

(H/T Gary)

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There’s No Biz Like No Biz at Twitter! (And Will Google Swoop In Before It All Comes Crashing Down?)…-crashing-down/

Another dotcom valuation – is Twitter worth $250mm? More?

Since BoomTown constantly called the $15 billion valuation of Facebook “insane” when Microsoft forked over $240 million in 2007 and gave Slide’s Max Levchin a very hard time when his widget company got a $550 million valuation a year ago, it’s only fair that I say something equally appropriate about Twitter. The hot microblogging service just got its very own $250 million valuation, all without a dime of revenue in sight. (I know, Bijan, it’s coming, it’s coming!)


Follow me on Twitter

I have caved in to micro-blogging. I’m on Twitter, which I keep mis-typing as Twister (Brain fail). You can follow me at

I remember when I was first told about twitter a couple years ago by @MatthewKrivanek. At the time, I couldn’t understand why anyone would be willing to blog about the mini-events of their day-to-day lives. It seemed a bit vain. The name “twitter” put me off, too — after all, “twit” doesn’t have the greatest of connotations.

A long while later I stumbled upon Mobog, which is a photosharing site that users can link up to their cell phones either via MMS or email (I use the latter as I have a Blackberry Curve and unlimited data). Mobog made sense to me almost immediately as it took a tool most people have, cameraphones, and enables individuals to take snapshots of their lives. I used mobog a great deal when I was traveling in India. My family thought it was great because they could follow along with me on my travels as they were happening. That may not seem like a big deal, but traveling is an inherently spontaneous adventure, by live-blogging it with pictures, family/friends can vicariously travel with you. You can even ask them from around the world if they would like some item at a store you’re at (I.e. bangles in Baroda).

In short, live-blogging via photos has been a lot of fun. Twitter is simply live-blogging with words or photos (via

You’re still not convinced? Why the fuss? And isn’t this vain?

The fuss is simple. Full-on blogging serves a purpose, but takes a more concerted effort of time and energy. The cost of traditional blogging is not insignificant. The cost of micro-blogging via services like mobog or twitter, on the other hand, is next-to-nothing. I can quickly fire off a photo with a 100 character blurb on a dish I just made. I can micro-blog a sentence on a movie I just watched. It’s simple to fire off an email (or SMS). Since the expectation (nay limitation) on twitter is 140 characters, you can blog life that would otherwise fall through the cracks. Really, much of life is the stuff of tweets, where you go, what you see, what you eat or do — the stuff that stretches between the big events and big ideas you can blog 500+ words on.

Micro-blogging fills in the space between, thereby capturing much of the stuff of life.

Is it vain? Maybe but it is useful vanity. It keeps you plugged into your friends. In a way, it encourages you to be more active and do more interesting things. After all, if you’re only tweeting “just watched tv” for the umpteenth time, it won’t be long before you realize that a) no one cares and b) your life is kinda boring (not that I don’t watch tv).

Of course, getting your friends and family plugged in and using a service like twitter isn’t easy. But twitter is free and simple to set up. So give it a try and see if you aren’t surprised to find yourself a little addicted to micro-blogging.

You can follow my latest tweets either on or at this site’s home page.

Admin Note: Now that I have twitter set up, I might discontinue mobog as it seems a bit redundant. Just FYI if you see my mobog disappear.