Friend Connect for Blogs?

May 15, 2008

You might have read about Google’s new Friend Connect service. There’s definitely been no shortage of news coverage about it.

I haven’t seen that much of it so far, other than the examples on the web site. I’m looking forward to watching the campfire videos over the next few days. But I have to say, I am very interested and intrigued by the service. So, I’ve signed up for the preview release.

Lots of bloggers, myself included, want our blogs to be about community. We want our blogs to be not just a place where we can be heard, but a place where people can connect, and have their say as well. We want it to be a conversation, a community.

As such, I’m sure there’s got to be a use for a service such as Friend Connect. In trying to build a community, an easy, one-click way to add social features has got to be useful.

That said, I don’t have any concrete ideas yet. I’ll definitely be thinking about it, especially as more demos and videos come out. But I thought I’d throw it out to you guys as well. Lots of you are smarter than I am.

So, what do you guys think of Friend Connect? Useful? Any ideas already on how you’re going to use it?

The offline world still exists

May 12, 2008

Stowe Boyd posted his story about his experience with Clear, and “bet[s] that Clear is going to do everything wrong“.

More than the customer service aspect of it, one thing that really struck me is this. With all the focus on online tools and Web 2.0 and all, it’s really easy to forget the basics – the offline things. Basic things like the sign on a door.

There’s so much talk about how companies should join the online conversation, create more engagement online, make their online tools more personal, etc. It’s easy to forget that for most companies, a large part of the customer experience is still the offline aspect.

It’s a simple thing. But one that we need to remember. As companies, or as individuals building our personal brands, even. We need to remember that there’s still an offline component. It’s easy to forget, especially when we make changes, because online is so much easier to change. It’s easier to change a website than to change the sign on a door. But they’re both just as important.

You’ve got to make sure that what you say and do offline matches what your behavior online. Not everyone’s going to check your website all the time.

Yes, the web allows you to spread your message further and establish your brand more. But your brand still exists offline. You’ve got to pay just as much attention to the offline experience.

There’s still an outside world that exists offline.

Your Web 2.0 Story

Apr 28, 2008

I’ve been thinking about the intersection of the things I write about here. I blog about things from technology to sports to personal development. And I do think there is a central theme. Obviously I deviate from it sometimes. But in general, I’d like to think that I’m still holding true to my original intended message: an encouragement to realize your true potential and not settle for anything less.

The sports parts are related because, well, I think sports are a very good analogy to life. The mental aspects and decision making – the games are almost like a miniature replica of life.

The technology aspects come in because I believe that technology (especially in today’s Web 2.0 world) can be an amazing resource for that. It makes it a lot easier to realize your potential.

And so, on that note, I want to ask you to share your thoughts.

How has social media and Web 2.0 impacted your life? Has it helped make you a better person or improved you in any way?

I’d love to hear your story.

Feedback Loops

Apr 25, 2008
Classical ideal feedback model. The feedback is negative if B < 0.Image via Wikipedia

We’ve all heard the high pitched squeal that results from feedback from speakers. And I’m pretty sure most of you would agree that it’s annoying. It’s not something you want to hear.

Feedback occurs when a microphone picks up it’s own sound from the speaker. The sound gets trapped in a loop (microphone picks it up from the speaker, amplifies it and sends it to the speaker, where it gets sent back to the microphone, etc), which causes that annoying whine that we all know (and most hate).

The thing is, with the power of Web 2.0, it’s very easy to get trapped in our own ‘feedback loop’. The web allows you to amplify your voice. With blogs, podcasting, Twitter and all the other Web 2.0 tools, you can speak and be heard.

But social media is a conversation. It’s not a one way broadcast. Yes, the tools help to amplify what you have to say, but if you’re just trying to build yourself up, it’s not going to work. You’ll just get annoying.

Companies which blog and only plug their products aren’t going to get much value from social media. Companies which blog and listen to what their customers say back will.

Same for individuals. You’re more likely to gain from social media if you’re listening to what others say, and feeding off each other, inspiring each other. If you’re just amplifying yourself over and over, you won’t gain value, and you won’t be adding value either. You’ll just be making noise.

How do you keep yourself from getting trap in a ‘feedback loop’?