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Social Media North | back to home

okay, so i just started reading the article ’3 Principles For The Future Of Gaming, From A Google Game Designer’ up on Co.DESIGN — not even all the way through it yet or anything — and i think a super-important phrase to check out and zoom in on is this ‘massive multiplayer experience’ sitting right there in the very first paragraph

i don’t think this is a brand new concept or anything

but the way that article author KYLE VANHEMERT coined the phrase, this new spin on what i think used to be called MMUDs or LARPing or whatever — this new terminology, this lingual reperspectivization of what this new gaming variation might be — starts up some interesting discussion and really captures a concept i’ve been thinking on lots lately

Total eXperience Design

that’s right — i said it here, outloud, on the webz — Total eXperience Design

anyhow, i totally thought i came up with some crazy, new concept in design a couple of years back while studying, researching and writing my design thesis at Dynamic Media Institute

as part of my thesis, i came up with a concept i called ‘cyberSurrealism’ — a notion that everything, at this point in time, is totally blurred together, in both a wonderous and confounding way for most people — we live in a technohumanic ecosystem of our own making, and for most non-digital-natives { which, at this point, is still most of humanity } with a perspective on realism that is still somewhat grounded between nature and the digital afterlife, we don’t quite have our virtual ‘sea legs’ established, ya know? we’re learning to live in a world where the real ‘flesh and blood’ wetware bodily presence gets mixed with other new, fantastic mediums, such as: technology; information; art; design; the internet; online social, participatory dialog; an so forth, and so on

so, anyhow — the concept of ‘cyberSurrealism’ — as amazing, fun and liberating as it might’ve been for me — seemed very impractical

… and i’m already pretty good at coming up with a LOT of impractical ideas

i wanted to figure out a countervailing force, something a bit more practical and maybe residing more on the side of my professional career in design as a user experience architect, less so on the more fine art side of my professional career as a performance artist — and this notion, this ‘opposite but equal’ Newtonian attempt at a balance for the sake of practicality became, for me, ‘Total eXperience Design’

MMX, or the very concept of this ‘Massive Multiplayer eXperience,’ could be one of many designerly considerations for ‘Total eXperience Design’

but first, maybe i should read the rest of that there article, right?

so, today i started to follow Phillip Kermin — aka @phillip on Twitter { see the little Twitter Profile screenshot included above }

i’ve barely started to follow him, but i wanted to reflect really quickly, share this instant Twitter memory with you while its still fresh in my little iSkull — i wanted to let you know, and remind myself, why i started following him from my official Mobiquity Twitter @uxmob

besides all the self-promotional hoo ha that typically goes into one of these profiley things, i really enjoyed this ‘about’ micro-bio details, especially these little bits:

self-appointed programming expert and anti-technology satirist/performer

this nice description seems to sum it up nicely, shows some balance, and helps inspire me to think about my own definition as a designer, as a performer and as a person in the modernday world

i am definitely a satirist — i tend to poke fun of just about everything, just about everyone — but i mostly make fun of myself and my own personal predicaments as a ‘transitional’ — yes, let’s give it a name, at this point, at this critical juncture in evolutionary history

we have the term ‘digital native’ to describe the younguns growing up in a world with digital technologies — what’s funny is that this definition, to me, better defines everyone outside of this particular demographic than it defines the actual natives — as someone born before the time of the interwebs, before the era of personal { and even impersonal } computer, i am a ‘digital tourist,’ i guess, or maybe a ‘digital foreigner,’ still very much trying to catch up and learn the language through active use of the myriad devices available to me via the technohumanic ecosystem — i’m not totally clueless or anything, and, in fact, digital technology is officially my specialty in many ways, my avocation being that of a user experience design professional

unlike our friend Phillip on Twitter, i do not program our technologies, but instead, i design for them — or better yet, i design for the people that use our technologies

i don’t consider them users

i think of them as people

i think of them as people looking for our technologies to deliver a human experience

but we all know the lines are very blurry right now

we’re all a little closer to being cyborgs than pure human beings, we’ve adapted and evolved into something a little different than what we were, let’s say, just 30 years ago

we now carry personal communication devices with us everywhere we go

its not quite as cool as Star Trek or anything just yet, and i don’t know that it every will be

i’ve been waiting and actually actively try to help get these experiences, these technologies to that ‘cool as Star Trek’ level now for over a decade or so, and i tend to think the outcome almost always falls a little short of the aspirations and intent of the original concepts

and not due to any fault in the original envisioning of these amazing and magical conceptual little helpers

but back, now, to our cyborgic new, post-human selves

we’re in the larval stage, right? not quite living in the age of implanted nanobotic technology, the intermingling of man and machine

we wear our technologies — on the outside

more on these ideas very soon …

Specialist Master at Deloitte Consulting Wuchun “George” Shen recently asked the following question on LinkedIn Answers:

Has American democracy been reduced to a simple yes/no question on only two candidates in presidential elections?

Here’s a link to the full question on LI Answers, just in case you’d like to add your 2 cents.

And then here’s my answer to the question, raw and honest and all over the place, as usual ;]

I think voting is only one way you can participate in a free, democratic society. Those that are lazy ( or too poor to contribute otherwise, meaning perhaps lacking the ‘free time’ to do more than vote ) will simply vote and then point the blame on this or that administration and complain that our government is responsible for whatever poor outcome immediately follows, no matter what that outcome might be. I think this is why ‘democracy’ as a philosophy and as a governmental movement, in general, doesn’t seem to work that well. ‘The People’ don’t understand how to participate. And so we have representatives of ‘The People’ making decisions on best guesstimates and / or personal and political interests in mind, which typically leads to bad decisions for society, good decisions for those in power. I think that Occupy and Tea Party endeavors are near-miss attempts to really drive toward some sense of greater accountability — but unless ‘The People’ start to put aside personal differences and start to help make decisions and hold government accountable for what might be best for our people, our planet, our society, its never going to work correctly.

Right now, due to an overall lack of citizen participation and a dangerous trust we seem to all put in our ‘elected’ leadership, we’re running on pure subconscious me me me kind of politics. Self-interests move to the forefront and everyone loses in a big way because ‘The People’ aren’t contributing properly, we’re not voicing our opinion enough, we’re not literally getting up from our seats to actively do anything. Until we all start to think like active designers of our own destinies, we’ll keep moving along in this sort of liquid pipe dream of hopelessness and nobody, unfortunately, will be truly serving the government in the way it was intended to function. We need to do more than protest, more than media-manipulate the system through mass media and the social web — these efforts are peripheral, not direct enough to truly make a difference to alter the course of where we’re all headed. I actually don’t’ know the big answer here, but I think those that ‘get it’ will start to actually participate. Democracy doesn’t just automatically happen, there’s some hard work behind making our government remain a valuable service to our society. We need to write and publish letters. We need to vote and visit and articulate intelligently about what really matters in running a free, democratic society. If we don’t, democracy will go the way of communism — as yet another concept that sounds really amazing on paper but doesn’t quite work effectively in practice.

There’s a huge difference, too, between a Democracy and a Capitalist Consumerism, from what I can tell from my own personal experience. Capitalism needs a little Democratic governmental guidance for it to not totally veer off into some total Freudian slip nightmare of pure unconscious bestial destruction driven by personal desire and animal instinct. Shame on us for letting it go on like this for so, so long.

We all need to do far more than merely vote. We all need to start directly participating.

I just posted this question to LinkedIn and Quora — its a topic that came up during a private discussion session with the designer Krzysztof Wodiczko following Dynamic Media Institute’s Annual Lecture last year. We were talking about one of my favorite topics of late — mobile phone use in public spaces, specifically in line at Starbucks or out in the aisles at Walgreen’s. It just seems to be the ‘new normal’ now to hear everyone’s conversational clutter, the very gruesomely boring details of everyone’s non-stop, erotic banter. Wherever you go, there you are — listening to some rather amazing person report back to the home base with lines like, ‘Yeah, I’m at the CVS, d’ya need anything?’ — really important real-time data that keeps us ALL connected in ways I bet we would’ve never imagined in the original imagineering of the portable communication device { Beam me up, Scotty }.

So, I asked the question to Wodiczko on that wonderful evening and now I pose the question to you too, my lovely, random audience du eJour:

Is it possible to be apolitical?

Whether we like it or not, isn’t every action we take in the world some sort of sociopolitical, economic statement? Even if we’re not vocal about our course of actions and behaviors, doesn’t everything we do in some way produce a ripple effect throughout: specific communities; society; the world?

Feel free to comment here on Social Media North or drop by the LinkedIn or Quora questions I posted and give me your 2 cents. I’d love to hear what you have to say — oh, and hey, put that mobile down when you’re talking to the barrister or ‘counter intelligence’ out there, its the social and polite thing to do — random strangers everywhere will love ya for it ;]

Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, smok...

Image via Wikipedia

okay — i apsolutely needed to post about this one because it is apsolutely hilarious from a ‘live user testing’ scenario

aight

so here goes

i signed up for the free trial to a new web conferencing solution called iMeet … i think i actually clicked on an ad on LinkedIn + i was extremely excited because the visual design + the promise seemed to be everything that Dimdim was supposed to be … + after working for both WebEx + Dimdim over the years, i still think these technologies just aren’t quite right yet, they’re like still in the larva stage or somehting, right?

anyhow, it was cool to have the grand professional excuse to check out a myriad of competitive online conferencing solutions during my short but rocky stay at Dimdim { recently purchased by Salesforce dot com, NOT a direct result of anything i did for the Dimmrz } — i really got to dig deep + think about all the features + functionality i would want from a virtual meeting product … i even got so inspired by the crazy swirling activity ‘out there’, about all these meeting experiences, that i fantasized i would have the time to compare, contrast + blog about meeting software + put my design thoughts ‘out there’ through the website ‘binarAwardz‘ where we would not only do a product analysis, sort of spinning the wheels + doing the heuristic review of each site, but we would also give out awards to amazing Webinars { hence the ‘binar part of the domain name } in a very platform-agnostic sorta way

cool idea, right?

anyhow, when i saw the ad for iMeet on LinkedIn i knew i needed to click here

i need to know if they finally got it right, right?

i mean, what if they were able to do what we couldn’t do at WebEx or Dimdim? nobody really does this right, right? i mean, everyone uses Skype, + i think that Skype is probably the most elegant solution ‘out there’ to date { let me know if you happen to know of others that are really working effectively, both for ease-of-use but also somehow simulating some sort of real presence } … others i know of, that are in my virtual meeting radar, include: FuseMeeting + GoToMeeting, but i’m sure there are others too

so, 2 first impressions to share here for iMeet

firstly, like … + i don’t even know how to say this, but … so, everything looks so cool + pristine, i mean … its like this nicely designed experience that doesn’t even belong in a browser … just the sign up is cinematic … you know they were goin’ for that ‘Apple Design‘ shit everyone is looking for right now, you know? drives me a little crazy, but i guess there is a formula to this stuff + business owners are just askin’ for it { in more ways than 1 ;] } … so, here is this elegant promise that quite literally alludes to Heaven … there’s a beautiful, nebulous horizon, a sky full of desaturated clouds + little birds flying by … + as you sign up they’re putting you in your own box somewhere near the center of the screen … the metaphor is a little strange, but this is your iMeet product i guess, this is you on iMeet … so, they’re building this wonderful expectation up, this amazing + heavenly experience + then …

BLAMMO!

i can’t fncking sign in

yep

you got it

i don’t remember now if it was due to my own impatience, but for some strange reason the experience, almost assuredly due to its high level of Flashedness, the experience was lagging as it was building my iMeet Profile out + for one reason or another i didn’t get the expected email from the system + i couldn’t sign in with the credentials i thought i just established in the sign up flow

ho

ho

ho

WRONG

i mean, we’re talkin’ 2:13 am a few weeks back + i’m somewhat disappointed, a little motivated to get it working no matter what, + just plain exhausted + needing sleep … i think i emailed them, so on + so forth … no immediate response, but maybe 20 minutes later or more i was finally into an experience that i couldn’t even really fully test because the context of a ‘meeting’ includes more than me, right? + nobody else is ‘out there’ at 2:34 am that i can ‘poke’ or rattle awake to do some heuristic analysis with, which is too bad

i barely used iMeet

i might’ve logged in 1 more time

it just LOOKS so fncking cool

so

secondly, i tried signing in today, right? i forgot my password + follow the ‘forgot password?’ flow + i get this strange error message that makes no sense to the average human, but in DevSpeak it means that someone forgot to come up with a post-trial upSell message that could have encouraged me to ‘try again’ or buy a subscription to iMeet

huge wasted opportunity

but, whatevs, right?

its their product + i can cry if i want to

but then, here’s the motherfncking kicker — here’s the bloody cherry on the experiential cupcake of missed opportunities + Freudian slippage supreme

being the UX dude that i am, i decide to find a way to get in touch with them + let them know about this crazyAss message:

Password undefined local variable or method `logger’ for CdpRest:Class #

… + how this could be a golden opportunity for them, right? if they change that message, they might have me for a little more

so, i hunt around for a contact form + after 6 minutes or so finally find some footer item, lamely tucked away + nearly invisible, but i find it … i fill it out + then realize after spending another 2 minutes or so that …

there is NO submit button

NO SUBMIT BUTTON

WTFffFfFfF?

right?

what’s iMeet tryin’ to say here? what’re they subliminally letting us know?

sure, they followed the nicey nice standard web convention of letting us get in touch with them on their website, but …

OoOOooOOOoOOOooOPS!

they don’t really want to hear from us

they don’t really give a flying shit in iMeet Heaven whether we iMeet on their site or on someone elses

they don’t really care about getting this right at all

welcome to the onslaught of Horrible User Experience 101

you got it wrong, bitch

wrong again, i’m afraid

+ despite all the efforts to create an utterly beautiful visual experience paradigm, to really get a casual + fun tone of voice goin’ on, to attempt to get some of these critical flows down pat, despite all that … you lose

but its not too late

just start by giving us a ‘submit’ button

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My good friend and colleague on LinkedIn Dave Maskin — founder, owner and operator of WireNames.com { check him out } recently posted the following LinkedIn Answer:

The original question from Dave out on LinkedIn Answers.

The rumor is that Linkedin is about to become a paid subscription job board …

… and scrap the q&a, groups, our profiles and all discussions, as we know them, etc.

If that is the case, are we all simply wasting our time here, as, after their IPO, Linkedin will most likely simply disregard and wipe away the very people who have built this site up?

It’s their site and it’s free, yes that’s true, but do the owners of this site have any idea how boneheaded this move is, not to mention really rude to the millions who use the site daily…?

I found this to be a rather interesting rumor and decided to post my ‘Answer’ or reactionary response to add to the mix.

Here’s what I had to say:

I’m sure this sort of thing can happen to any of the social networking sites ‘out there’ that we all contribute to and participate on. I think it would be incredibly naïve ( but not outside of the realm of narrowminded thinking and possibility ) for ‘the owners’ of LinkedIn to suddenly decide to make the site a paid subscription service. Of course, they’re just trying to monetize this big, brilliant experience that services thousands upon thousands of professionals on a daily basis — and who can blame them?

But, key to all of this is a funny little thing about the social web. We’re all assuming ‘the owners‘ are some dudes in suits in an office in an office park in a city in a state in a country in the world — when in fact, ‘the owners‘ of the site are us. Yep, that’s right — WE own the site. After all, WE put our profiles up here; WE contribute to the crazy zillion status updates and hook our Twitter feeds into this experience; WE answer the questions ( or Answers or whatever their called — I think its now called ‘The Old Quora’ ;] ); WE post or apply to jobs; WE set up Groups; its all us all the time.

WE own LinkedIn.

And I’m sure that a certain percentage of LinkedIn participants would pay for these services on a subscription basis. But I think a LOT of people won’t. And they’ll just go to another social web experience or 3 ‘out there’ that offer the same thing — or some portion of the same thing — for free again.

But, this is evolution on the web. Live, real, amazing evolution of systems. And evolution — or decisionmaking — on the part of people ( or ‘users’ they would call us, right? We’re ‘the users’, they’re ‘the owners’ … ha HA! Right! Sure, okay … tell me another one ).

So, what I suggest moving forward — use the site and use it wisely. Take screenshots of valuable contributions to LinkedIn as often as possible. Updates to your Profile. Content posted to Groups. Questions, Answers and assholes. Go forth and interact — realistically knowing that:

‘They don’t NEED to give us LinkedIn for free. They could shut down the site tomorrow — they could just … take it away … take it away from all of us. This sort of service — this site — and similarly any social web experience — can all go away or change or evolve at any minute of the day without even advanced warning.’

I mean, let’s at least give thanks and praise — LinkedIn is a wonderful experience. I use it daily and appreciate the connections I build and the way I can reach out to new prospects or partners. Its been great. And I appreciate it.

But we OWN you LinkedIn.

We OWN you.

Be nice.

Recording Of Give Peace a Chance. 1969 with Ti...
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, according to this distilled interpretation of an article from iVillage out on AllTop, supposedly Yoko Ono believes that John Lennon would’ve been all over the social web … here’s the quickhitter from AllTop:

Yoko Ono: John Lennon would have loved Facebook and Twitter

A little excerpt for you in case you’re staying here to read my thoughts about this proclamation:

“He’d love the internet and Twitter,” Ono shared in a new interview with The Daily Mail. “He’d be sending out pronouncements and messages and giving his opinion all the time on everything. He would be 70 years old, but he’d want to know everything that’s going on. We share that curiosity and energy.”

And then, most disturbingly hilarious — if you go out to the full article out on iVillage, the strangeness balloons out even further as clearly established right in the title of the article:

Yoko: John Lennon Would Have Loved Twitter — And Lady Gaga!

Oh Yoko … really?

All we are saying is give tweets a chance

I dunno, I read just the shorter thang out on AllTop and the Kawasakizian bits alone were enough to disturb me. Would Lennon have loved Viagra and Reality Television? What other Lennon trends can we extrapolate from Ono? Or could we potentially create a database from Lennon’s pre-death preferences to determine what Facebook Pages he’d ‘like’ in the depths of a postHumanic eveningtide?

The way things are going they’re gonna friend and poke me — yeah, that doesn’t have the same ring to it now, does it?

I guess my main reaction to the article and these comments from Yoko Ono is to wonder how social media would’ve changed John Lennon — and more importantly maybe, my perception of John Lennon as an artist, musician and socio-political force in the world. For instance, instead of having wonderful ‘Love In’ events with his artist-wife and little entourage, maybe these experiences would’ve turned to the ‘Tweet In’. Or maybe some sort of cyberSexual nearPorn online interpretation of such an historic event.

I think I pay little attention to the tweets, comments, likes and other social media artifacts left by celebrities, but do these lifeStreamed echoes of the modernday artist diminish the very notion of artisthood? There does seem to be this grand leveling going on in the world, partially due to globalization and then finally slammed home by the world-wide spread of the internet. And by ‘spread’ I guess I intentionally imply disease-like behavior of a medium and its junky-like usage of a collective subconscious internation.

Imagine all the comments
Its easy if you try
Almost automatic
People falling in line

Imagine tweets from Lennon with shortURLs of peace oh oh oOoOo

You may say that I’m facetious
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll tweet us
And the world will tweet as one

More important to me right now, beyond Lennon or any data-exhumed projections of what he might’ve loved, liked or tweeted — what would McLuhan say about all of this? If The Medium is the Massage and if McLuhan were alive and tweeting today, what amazingly insightful thangz would Marshall pick up on and express about how our tweetings influence and mold our behaviors? Lanier definitely seems a bit sour about where we are in the current moment, longing for the days when we didn’t start all new web designs by downloading and installing WordPress and an interesting template. Do we become our tweets? Do we become our Facebook Wall in some ways? Do we behave as our media suggest we behave.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Dance Bitch!

Just some random questions that come to mind as I think about what Lennon would do on Twitter or Facebook — or even Bebo. I mean, would he have 7 little start-ups ‘out there’ that somehow raised awareness of specific issues — social media does allow us to get the word out in a way not previously possible — without editors, ISSNs or any intermediary processes or policies { so far }, which does allow us all to become these amazing mini-forces for social advocacy and broadcast. But, uhm, what can we really do about it all? Do our expressions on the social web ever effect real change? Do they empower us? Or do they create another illusion of empowerment? You know? Like the concept of voting, democracy and all that.

This question seemed to hit me hardest right around the time of all these WikiLeaks. OoooOOooOh, we got them now, didn’t we? The data is OUT! All the dirt’s been revealed and, woah, guess what? There’s corruption! And we have proof! Its all right there, plain as day. And, uhm, so now, what’re we gonna do about it? What’s happening? It was all over the net a few weeks ago, right? WikiLeaks and movements to promote antidata — already some vicious means to prevent this sort of information from getting ‘out there’. But besides the broadcast of this proof of corruption, where’s it all going? Nowhere, right?

Nowhere Man

Lennon already knew what was goin’ down way back when, back when he was with The Beatles. And we didn’t need the full Beatles archives digitally available for purchase and download from the great musical commodifier iTunes to get it in our heads. Just place out some of the lyrics and we might parodisiacally see the general effects of our new means of subconscious expression:

He’s a real Nowhere Man
Tweeting from his Nowhere Land
Sending all his Nowhere Tweets to Nobody

Or not

Let me know what you think the potential of the social web might be for effecting social and poltical change. Have any amazing stories or cool proof? Let me know. I’d love to hear both extremes — an amazing success story or 2 { and that’s all we’d need to truly say it was all worth it in the end, right? maybe save a few lives through tweetings, yes? } &/or the horrible failures of the medium

Peace

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New social web book for review
Image by inju via Flickr

Joshua Porter inspires when he writes about design for the social web … each + everytime.

I just recently dug an entry or 2 back on the Bokardo bloggosphere + found this interesting post about his talk in October at ‘The Warm Gun Conference’. In the mix of his presentation is what he calls The Delicious Lesson, which I think sums up a notion that might be very critical for people and businesses to all wrap their heads around when it comes to the social web:

Personal Value Precedes Network Value

I think of this concept with different terms. Its the main reason why I keep using the phrase ‘the social web‘ versus ‘social networking‘ throughout most of my posts here. And in some huge ways its why being a user experience design professional in this field is a powerful perspective to come from.

As an advocate for the user, for the human element most companies aim to engage by building out these new social websites, I continually bring the human perspective to the table and ask the all important questions, ‘So, why do I want to use this site? Who is this for? What’s in it for me? Do you really think there’s a business opportunity in all of this? And why? What’s most compelling to the user?’ After all, the social network alone will not magically ‘robot-buy’ whatever it is you’re trying to sell ‘em.

I mean, believe me … I don’t want to discourage the enormous amounts of work I could take on to build this site or that { typically too, it all comes with the ridiculous NDA signage up front ( as if the self-found CEO sh!ts gold for a living ) and the promise of sweatshop equity for all the preLaunch design initiatives you hang yourself with if so choosing to take this mission … give me the funded startups any day a the week, eh … the value of a designer is all in that stealth phase building of the platforms, systems and sites, not in the maintenance + such, although I’m sure the potential to earn a real living is all along it in the mix }, but I do want to find out the best way to leverage this interesting intersection between content, design and technology … and more importantly, for your business and mine, the MOST important intersection to leverage is that between the brand or business and the target audience { client, customer, prospect, user, subscriber, victim, what have you }.

When Joshua says Personal Value Precedes Network Value, I think what he’s saying is watch what the actual users start doing with your site once its launched { analyze and tweak accordingly for maximum, optimized performance }. Or at least really delve into all the primary, secondary and peripheral potential uses of the online experience you’re building and leverage that.

The point I’m most interested in is this: the social web is for the people. Businesses might be trying to sell something ‘out there’ on the webs, but ultimately most people are online to post images, comment, viralize content … that is, to be social. All of these interactions are what it means to be social on the web. Sure, we buy a book, rent a movie, make some purchases of one sort or another … but companies need to keep in mind the idea that sometimes the user is not excited about the modal window that comes up with some sort of inane internal advertisement to upgraded services on thisSite or that. Sometimes the business is actually the secondary or peripheral functionality of the system ( a lot of times the business is in the way ). And that’s okay. Seriously.

You’re not that important, Mr. Business. Step off. Back up. Pipe down. Play the right way and maybe I’ll talk about your vaguely interesting product that almost does what you claim it does. Maybe I’ll sign up for the newsletter with a fake email to get your whitepaper. Maybe, someday, I’ll even do what you intended to inspire me to do when you built your web presence across 65 different channels. Or maybe not.

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Perfil
Image by david_gdg via Flickr

So, for those of you not in the know … I am a bit of a social networking researcher, on the experimental edge of what these new systems and interactions do … and specifically investigating in a playful way the sorts of potential good and bad behaviors that come with these bleeding edge terrains. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Bebo, Treestr — whatever the site might be, I am there to naïvely bump around in the dark closet of the social web to see what we can do with these little pockets of subconscia.

One of my favourite mediums diGiorno = LinkedIn Answers. Its probably one of the most dynamic areas on ‘the professional network‘, allowing users to post a question and get a response from the vast ocean of LinkedIn participants. It also happens to be one of the best ways to meet new active LinkedIn people that care to share their voice + take a chance with what might otherwise be a electronic Rolodex with some decent jobsearch and careerbuilding tools sewn in. But anyhow, I must’ve been feeling a bit feisty yesterday and decided to not only knock off a few ex-colleagues of mine from my LinkedIn Network but also publicly announce + encourage this sort of behavior. Get rid of that baggage + lean up the community of professionals you network with on a semiregular basis by tossing the driftwood aside … or at least the truly rotten apples that have been nothing but negative inspiration in your previous lives ‘out there’ on the job.

Here’s the original LinkedIn Answers Question I posted { I’m always confused about what to call this, but that’s what I call it }:

http://www.linkedin.com/answers/using-linkedIn/ULI/768001-214189

Pruning your contacts

I just found out how to remove contacts from your LinkedIn account. And I firmly believe that a healthy and happy network occasionally needs pruning.

In 2011, go out and get rid of 11 of your contacts here on LinkedIn. Its a polite, quiet way to inspire better behavior ‘out there’ and helps you bring up the collective value of your network by getting rid of contacts that provide only detrimental affiliations and bad energy.

I personally am tired of pretending some of these people that have been nothing but horrible to my career are even remotely fantastic. I just cut 2 and looking for 9 more to cut away and help set me free from the chains of pretense.

What do you think? Are there 11 contacts you can get rid of? Is everyone adding to the value of your network? Are there some people that aren’t even worth a click anymore. Get rid of ‘em. Join me in my crusade to make the professional network experience the most valuable and professional social web ‘out there’.

Peace!

Clarification added 8 hours ago:

I just got rid of another 9 contacts and I have to say, it was just too easy. And I bet from their perspective, they probably were never intending to ever contact me for project work or even for casual catching up anytime soon anyways.

Well, if nobody else takes me up on this rather provocative expedition in pruning I at least feel like I’ve made some honest and helpful decisions that clear my head and contacts a bit and gently send certain people a superfacetious ‘thank you’ for a job well-done. Just a few less people to feel guilty about if they call to potentially ‘reach out’. I’m sure there are a few more I could easily prune away as well, but let’s just see what lies ahead in 2011 ;]

So anyhow …

I’m assuming this is ‘bad behavior’ on the social web. We don’t want to burn any bridges now, do we? But what happens when the behavior of that connection to a previous lifetime just seemed totally inhuman and indecent to you? Why not promote the truly incredible + talented people we love by demoting the ones we don’t anymore? Seriously? Forget about the social rank and reputation system of the previous Spock social network { ‘Single Point of Contact and Knowledge, now long gone, it seems, from the web }. We don’t need a new social web experience to ‘make it happen’, right? Let’s do it on the social webs we already weave. Let’s lead the way by shedding any evildoers or detritus from our little networks. Why should they silently benefit from the web hooks and affiliations from my network any longer? I mean, I guess I’m talking the real assholes here, right? Lurkers are okay I guess, those folks that barely update what they’re up to + just poke around to see what the really active set are up to.

In some ways, as pointed out by one of the people answering my LinkedIn Answers Question, strangers or relative newcomers to my LinkedIn Network might be safest from such scrutiny + LinkedOutings. After all, these are the potential collaborators in all future-facing initiatives … those that haven’t muddied their own names yet. But I have to say this … for me at least, this is liberating stuff. Taking away the connection to some of these despicable losers is like shedding the remnants of a negative cloud from some darker chapters of my life. Getting rid of the toxins in some ways I guess. In others, like taking a sh!t.

So, my friends … get rid of 11 contacts from your LinkedIn Account today. Let’s start off 2011 right. A little lighter. Less negativity. More efficient energy streams. Let’s do this sh!t right! Let’s set up 2011 to be the bestest, most funnerest year of work in the social web ever!

Peace!

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