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Archive for August, 2007

According to Shel Holtz’ insightful blog, a shel of my former self, employers are increasingly blocking Facebook usage for fear that it cuts into employee productivity. Okay, collectively now:  Duh!

His posting, Facebook Blocking: It Doesn’t Add Up, cites several UK and Australian examples of corporate constraint amid fears of dings to productivity. Shel raises a valid point about whether or not employers’ fears are based on solid evidence that accessing Facebook or any other form of social media is time wasted or part of legitimate networking.

Enter Twitter. The More With Les Learning Community discussed Twitter some weeks ago. Robert Scoble, writing in the September 2007 issue of Fast Company, says since its introduction last spring, Twitter has been one of the fastest growing applications in internet history. He describes Twitter as a “microblog service in which you tell people what you are doing or thinking at any given moment, limited to 140 characters.”

The point is it adds up to a new way to share information, like Facebook and MySpace. Twitter appears to be finding a legitimate place in sales and marketing. Scoble extolls the value of the “professional intimacy” use of Twitter can generate. He cites a valuable truth about sales and marketing, that people do business with people they like. If by sharing information on personal tastes, ideology, or actions, people can get to know you better, perhaps even develop some trust, then part of the sales and marketing battle is won.

Twitter also demonstrates to potential clients and customers that you are available. With both Twitter and Facebook, users give out much information on what they are doing right now.  For the savvy sales and marketing type, that signals an oppportunity. Maybe you need a product or service at the moment. I can help.

This brings us back to the blocking of Facebook or other forms of social media by employers: maybe their employees are finding innovative and high-potential business contacts via social media. It would be wise to know what’s what before blocking employee access.

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Students should be alert to a fast-growing trend that has serious implications. Various entities — employers, college and grad school admissions offices, clubs/organizations, to name a few — increasingly surf the internet including social media sites for information about you. Your potential candidacy may be adversely affected by what they find. Graduates looking for jobs or concerned parents are two groups who should be aware of the effects of online image. 

I recently learned of a way to check out and manage, maybe even clean up, your online image — for a fee. It’s called Reputation Defender. I don’t know how effective it is, and I am not endorsing it at all, just bringing it up as yet another interesting aspect of the social media revolution. Its founders are targeting a niche trying to fill a need that may be growing in importance.

There may be other such services available. Does anyone have any experience here to share? I believe it’s an important subject that needs to be reinforced.

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After two surgeries and 76 consecutive days in the hospital, I am back home now. I was rushed to a local emergency room June 1, 2007, with triple-digit fever and two kinds of infection from a long-standing wound that would not heal. Due to the nature of the specialized wound treatment post surgery, I was unable to use a computer. I had to lie flat on my back in a special bed for the healing to work. Hence my long absence from this forum.

I was discharged August 15. While still confined to a special bed here at home, I can at least get up for short periods. So here I am.

So much has happened that I would love to have discussed here, but that was then, and this is now. I had so much time to think during the last two-and-a-half months of confinement, perhaps too much time to think. But it is over now.

What I want to say now is my heart-felt thank you for the hundreds of cards, letters, and gifts so many of you sent me. Thank you for your prayers, your good will, your loving kindness and generous outreach. I could not have endured this past 76 days without your support.

I will be back in the class room teaching my four fall semester classes beginning August 27. I can’t wait! More later, as I dig out and try to get back to normal. Thank you for your patience as I do this.

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