Connect.me is a socially verified reputation system in which people vouch for other people using customizable tags. This is called social vouching. The whole system is based on it, so someone has to vouch for another person to join the network. The purpose of this session was to help a group of people get their initial vouch and learn how to use this new network.
It works in conjunction with/on top of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If you follow or are connected to someone in one of those networks, they show up in your network as someone you can offer a “vouch” for. For example, I vouched for Drummond with tags “digital identity” and “trust frameworks,” which are both areas that he has done considerable work in for years. I also vouched for Kaliya (one of the organizers of this event) with tags “identity” and “digital identity” because she’s known widely as “identity woman.”
People can refer to others on this site by their reputation, as represented by their tags (what people know them for). One of the tags I’m known for is “early adopter.”
Much of this session was working through some of the user interface glitches and idiosyncracies. This was a great opportunity to see how things work with more people doing the testing. Once we got past some of the early work-in-progress, it was clear that there is a good networking resource in the making.
For anyone at IIW who wants to start using the network, you can either: 1) have anyone that is already using it — and that you have a link to on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn – vouch for you (and then you’ll be sent a custom invitation link), or if you’re not at IIW, 2) go to http://connect.me, sign up, and then either give the username you registered to Drummond (or send it to him at drummond — at — connect — dot — me ) and he will vouch for you as an early adopter to get you into the beta.
Apparently, LinkedIn has recently done us the “favor” of having a default setting whereby our names and photos can be used for third-party advertising. A friend forwarded me this alert (from a friend, from a friend…) this morning.
Since Facebook has been such a good model of creative “reuse” of our personal information, and consequent destruction of personal trust in social settings, it seems corporately fitting that LinkedIn would try the same.
Coaching moment: Doesn’t it bother you when people make self-serving assumptions about what you want to share with others? True, you did voluntarily share this information, but shouldn’t you be able to express clear limits on how this shared information is used—before it’s misused? I think so!
This is the delicate balance that exists for those of us representing our companies thru social media. Since conversation is king, those who are great at engaging in dialog both online and offline will likely become the voice of their company whether intentionally or by accident.
We become part of “the brand”–the marketing and communications efforts that help distinguish our company from the rest of the marketplace. In a sense, we become our work and our work takes on life through us. This is interesting because people don’t always have good filters to separate their personal “self” from their work persona (or lack the ability to be professional enough to represent their company).
I asked my friend Neenz Feleafine for her thoughts on this. Neenz uses social media tools like Twitter and Facebook for her professional life.
JC: Do you think people ever find this confusing–as if you were being a commercial?
NF: A few years ago when I first began participating in social networking sites it was out of curiosity. Today, it’s purely for business. I use social media tools to build my network, but I engage in relationships through other more intimate forms of communication: emails, VoIP, IM, telephone calls and most importantly real life meetings to maintain my network.
One of the greatest things–although making friends was never a goal for my use of social networks or social media tools–I have discovered very good people, and am developing not only solid business relationships, but lifetime friendships.
JC: Do people ever confuse you and your personal network with the companies that you promote? I mean do people think that Alltop is involved with some of your personal interests?
NF: My role with Alltop is Chief Evangelist which means that I am to spread the good news of Alltop without ceasing. And, it’s my honor to do so. I have been blessed with a much coveted opportunity to work with Guy Kawasaki–learning and growing, loyalty and perseverance, and grinding it out are my personal interests.
I have also recently launched my social media marketing startup, Pono Media–as an entrepreneur there isn’t much else to be interested in except for its success.
I am fortunate to have the unconditional love and support of Lilinoe, Chelsea, and Jayden for me to invest so much of my time in Alltop and Pono Media.
JC: What are your thoughts on managing your digital self in mixed purposes?
NF: More than 95% of my network met me as “Alltop’s Chief Evangelist”. Only in the recent months have my classmates, friends, and family members taken an active interest in Facebook. And, I have exactly 2 friends that I knew since childhood whom have joined Twitter, but very rarely participate.
Coaching moment: Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, and LinkedIn often work to blur the distinction between our personal and professional lives. It’s not enough to compartmentalize yourself with the confines of a specific service. For example, your personal (e.g., Facebook, MySpace) life can–and sometimes does–crash into your professional life (e.g., LinkedIn, or a potential job interviewer Googling you before your interview). Your Twitter stream (sometimes referred to as a form of “life streaming”) likely contains conversations about all parts of your life.
Whether you are online to represent your inner personal self and/or companies that you do business with, it’s worth noting that services and people on the Internet are archiving everything, and they have no particular reason to keep everything in context. Until tools are developed to help us manage our conversations, transactions, and relationships, we’ll need to be mindful of who we really are.
It turns out that ice cream and VRM, or Vendor Relationship Management, have a lot in common. VRM is like the truck that drives into Scoopville in this video.
Here’s a video by Rob Knight that explains VRM pretty well. The whole idea behind social media and VRM is that it empowers people. You and me, our friends, our relatives, people we don’t know, and even people that also represent companies. It’s about people, and it’s about time.
Coaching Moment: Do you use social media like MySpace or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Flickr? There are many more, but you don’t need to use them all. The current set of sites and tools aren’t for everybody. What’s the worst thing about the current “social media” tools? Each one is proprietary, so you have to find and connect with your friends in each one. What a pain! Think outside the box. What would your ideal network do for you?
Note: There are two conference coming up next week that deal with topics of VRM and Identity. I’ll be blogging both. Stay tuned for updates!
(Holy cats: 10 days since my last post. Where does the time go?)
A little while ago I had the distinct joy of talking with my friend Jean Russell when she was en route to Boston. I always come away from our conversations with a warm glow and lots to write about. Alas, I did not get my thinking into words fast enough to do justice to our conversation about social networks, and how we effectively (creatively) integrate and braid the threads, interests, and work of our lives with our friends, colleagues, and supportive strangers. I do remember that as she was arriving at her destination with time to spare, I was able to call another friend (hey Judy!) in Boston and hook them up. Each of them reported having a fascinating conversation; both reported that the timing was weird and interesting. That’s sometimes how networks work.
This taps into a post that Jean has today about becoming “sticky” in other people’s memory. Jean is a busy gal:
I “follow” abut 700 people on twitter, with about 1000 following me. At scale like this, the question I often am asked is, “How do you remember all those people?”
You know that anyone whose “network [is] made of hundreds of brilliant, interesting, inspiring, compassionate people” is a person to be reckoned with. Additionally, you know that getting a new job or new clients is often (at least partly) about who you know and word-of-mouth. It’s worth noting that your social network can help raise you up in times of need, and all boats rise with you (meaning others benefit too).
Coaching moment: Your reputation is part of who you are. Your social network is where your reputation resides. This doesn’t mean that you need to use all of the social media tools available. Pick one or two and try them out. If they feel right, add a few friends and keep testing. If not, delete that account if you can, and start on a new service. You might wish to find a service where your friends are (like MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn) and start there, as your friends will be your early support for exploration and learning.