Monday, May 04, 2009

If You Had to Choose: Using Your Web 2.0 Dashboard

So I just spent 2.5 hours on my Web 2.0 tools; it all started with 1 LinkedIn invitation in my Inbox ....

Then I spent some time reconnecting through LinkedIn with people that I met at the recent GTD Summit, and enjoyed reading their CV2.0s in there (even their titles are interesting - wonder what The Chief Innovator's day looks like? Sounds great).

Then I sent a Tweet on Twitter about it, and while I was on Twitter I checked out the #GTD tag to see what people were posting about that. One of the GTD Coaches said she was just in Mexico and was happy that she did not come back with "Get rid of Swine Flu" as a Project. Which reminded me of some of my Mexican friends while I worked at LEAD. That took me back to LinkedIn searching for them.

While I was doing that I got a message from a former colleague asking me to join her on Facebook. I resisted the impulse to open that account and inevitably spend time looking at photos and reading updates.

While I was on LinkedIn, I saw my last blog post there, and also I read through the blog feeds from some of my other LinkedIn connections. That made me want to write a blog post. When I went to my Blogger dashboard, I got a number of feeds from other bloggers I am following through my blog reader - including a few I decided to invite to add to my LinkedIn connections (back to LinkedIn).

All those interesting blog posts and links reminded me of my social bookmarking account, which has been dormant for a while, although I do get daily notices through my Plaxo page (when I check it) about other people's additions (which for the most part are very interesting-thanks to them for filtering part of the deluge for me). Must go and tidy mine up, but not right now.

OK, so since I was putting in links to this post (not that anyone and their dog cannot find these sites, just for good practice), I went to Facebook (FB) to copy the URL (big mistake) and couldn't help pausing to read some of my Friend's updates and to ask if anyone there is using Twitter.

Big circles and lots of time. Where is this getting me? So many people are using these Web2.0 tools - how many times do we reflect on what we are getting out of them? What are we learning? Here's some of what I'm noticing:

LinkedIn: I think this is useful. I started LinkedIn when my neighbour got a job interview with Google through his extended LinkedIn network. Although I have not yet had such an offer, it has connected me with some interesting people I did not already know. Mostly it gives me updated contact information and reminds me of interesting people I have met and worked with. As we move through many jobs, processes and events these days, it is a great way of keeping your professional network in one place and available from anywhere. It's also good to capture feedback and recommendations, giving a different voice and perspective to people's work (not just self-reported, although some recommendations are really OTT).

I like the new LinkedIn features of blog feeds, and short updates like in FB; however I can't seem to get into TripIt, or the Amazon reading function, that seems too FB (as in too much information) to me. The Groups have not yet worked for me either, I think Listserves are better, at least you can file them automatically. People seem to use the Group affiliations to beef up their CV2.0 by association, but I don't see lots of activity there. Someone write and tell me about a good Group experience on LinkedIn. Finally, it seems to have reached critical mass for my age bracket, whenever I search for someone on LinkedIn, I usually find them.

Twitter: This is my newest interest, although unlike LinkedIn, when I search I rarely turn up people I know, although apparently there are millions in there and more than Paris Hilton and her 47,000 followers. David Allen is Tweeting and, since I have met him, I enjoy that. Many techies are in there (Guy Kawasaki Tweets many times an hour seemingly automatically, so I stopped following him), and some interesting learning people are using Twitter to speed link to all kinds of news and research, like Harold Jarche. I know that my husband was keeping up with the swine flu spread on Twitter, which made him altogether too paranoid for a while as the number of flu-tagged Tweets soared by the second.

What am I getting out of it? Well, it is new, so there is the gratifying heatseeker thing. I also think it has some intesting applications for informal learning - I enjoyed seeing how interactive the Twitter Fountain made the GTD Summit plenary session, which I have blogged before. I feel that Twitter helps connect me to some people I admire who are doing good things for the world, like Hunter Lovins, Alan AtKisson and Alex Steffan at, and who are using it to share their thoughts 140 characters at a time.

Twitter also introduced me to making Tiny URLs (because you can't have your URL take up half of your character allocation.) As a result of this brevity it takes only a few minutes to read your Twitter home page, if you don't click on any of the links or search the hashtags (#something) which takes you to all the other Tweets with that tag. You can process it quicker. You can even add and delete followers and followees in a second if you want to. So can other people. Which seems to translate into a lot of spam. I had "Prime Minister Gordon Brown" sign up to follow me today on Twitter - clicking back asks you to sign a petition.

Facebook: OK, in the last 10 minutes since I posted my update on FB asking people if they were using Twitter, I have had 3 comments from people in London, Geneva and Texas. Whatever you want to say about FB, that is where the people are. If you ask a question, you will get some answers. That's not always the case with most blogs or most Twitterers. However, for me, like others, FB remains mainly social, and most of what I learn is about the value of keeping social connections warm. I heard one of my Communications colleagues say that our organization was going to move from putting time and energy into a FB Group to using Twitter for disseminating updates on conservation action, because people aren't searching for that kind of information on FB.

And there are so many more...So what Web2.0 tools are you using, what do you like best and what are you learning?