I once had a strong aversion to Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, pick the site of the week, …) but today I embrace it. In the old days, I thought these sites were silly, a waste of time, and preferred to spend more of my time pursuing technical / academic activities. In retrospect, I think I was feeling insecure in my technical abilities (placing to much focus on technical pursuits), I probably thought I had a boring life (and thought everyone else was bragging about theirs), and I certainly misunderstood the fundamentals of Social Media (somehow I thought being part of the conversation meant I had to consume everything).
I eventually realized that Social Media is a lot like TV. TV is overwhelmed with commercials and mediocre shows, the content is hard to find. When I watch TV (if I watch TV) I mute the commercials, flip through the channels looking for something interesting, and multitask (magazine, laptop, …). In the end TV is a leisure activity, I don’t try watching every channel (I know I can’t) and don’t pay attention to the advertisements. I do the same thing on Social Media sites too. I don’t pay attention to every post (I can’t) and I don’t pay attention to self promotion, promotions, or advertisements.
Today I embrace Social Media because it lets me participate in the conversation, share my opinion, connect with friends and family, and be an active part of our world. Oh yeah, and it’s fun too!
“Don’t be shy … or nobody will know you’re there” - Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens
Gary Vaynerchuk offers this piece of advice:
The only way to succeed now is to be completely transparent, everything is exposed, everything you do – Gary Vaynerchuk
For most web / knowledge workers, transparency is key to cultivating an online presence – today, your online presence (your Google search results) is your resume, everything you do online is fair game – your search results (or lack of results) generally reflect whether you're an overall good-person, experienced, or a bit outdated.
A reassessment: last month the faltering economy finally hit home – I was out of work. While search for a new job, I was surprised that most potential employers (nearly all) were looking me up on Google. From Google they'd land on my blog, my Twitter account, flickr, and so on. In one of my interviews I was told of an unfortunate candidate that had questionable content and photos online – this was a deciding factor in his no-hire decision. This had me feeling a little uncomfortable and begged for a reassessment of my level of transparency.
Randy Pausch once said:
I'll [hire] an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short-term, earnest is long term – Randy Pausch
I echo Randy's sentiments. If you're an earnest, authentic, and good natured person, then transparency can be a huge asset. You should be exposing everything you do! Well… maybe not everything, there's little value in knowing what you ate for lunch, or when you're sleeping / awake – practicing some self moderation and making use of your inner monologue is recommended, because excessive transparency can bleed into white noise.
no matter what remember the web is NOT Las Vegas. What happens on the web does NOT stay on the web. I'll bet this guy wishes he'd have remembered that. – Arcanecode, Guard your credibility
With applications like Twitter and Facebook it's easier than ever to be transparent, but do we run the risk of being too transparent? How much is too much?
Adam Geras originally wrote a script in PowerShell that saves all the Twitter posts for a specific user into a file (view Mr. Geras original post here).
I built on his script and extended it to:
- Post messages to Twitter
- Retrieve Twitter replies
- View my Twitter friends conversations
- Display the classic Twitter Fail Whale when an error occurs
Sending a Twitter message:
Viewing my friends conversations:
The classic Twitter Fail Whale:
There’s something beautiful about the classic green console on a black background – I think it’s about being closer to the metal. :) What do you think?
Contribute, view, or download the openly available script here: Twitter on Powershell
I think of Twitter as a mash up of instant messaging, IRC, and the web. It's a great tool for keeping abreast of the global technical sphere and a great place to connect with people from your local community. The flexibility of Twitter, it's growing user base, and it's APIs are probably what has accelerated its use.
A couple neat examples of the flexibility of Twitter that I've seen are:
What innovative uses of Twitter have you seen or do you use?