Monday, October 08, 2007

I don't have time not to have time.

I've realize that there are two options for those of us who like to spin a lot of plates on the end of a stick . . . Limit sleep or work faster. I've yet to determine which will work best in the long run, but I have a new mantra . . . I don't have time not to have time.

All the plans, projects, and visions in the world cannot slow down progress, so we have to pick what we get involved in. Sometimes I pick too many, and they seem to self-prioritize. Infrequently I pick too few, and I go stir-crazy for up to ten minutes.

In any case, we have our networks to depend on (and to support). Wouldn't it be great of we could share the load with them?

The Cop Connection Intro Video

In a prior post, I outlined my thoughts on network(ing) terminology. I've yet to receive any serious confrontations, so apparently there's a consensus.

John Dierckx recently revisited Michael Pokocky's essay on The Collaborative Concentric Networking Model where it was noted that no one really knows what networking really is. It means different things to different people, and the constant is that people are desperate to belong to something larger than themselves and willingly join network after network until the idea finally sets in that they really don't want their lives to be so complicated. Interestingly, Fred Thompson's wife, Jeri noted in a recent interview that she learned growing up that 'There are things in life bigger than yourself: God, government and the greater sense of community are three of them.' See the Tennessean article.

Our networks cannot replace any of those, but they may try to take time away from them. Pokocky noted that Collaborative Concentric Networking supports those of us who feel the need to connect without the need to connect in each location. He noted that it encourages multi-community networking for the purpose of building one's own Collaborative Concentric Network, which is unique to the individual, and effective in building relationships between friends, colleagues, business associates, etc., to build one's own center of influence while reducing the time wasted now by not using one's communities effectively.

See Michael Pokocky's essay on The Collaborative Concentric Networking Model, reprinted here.

Will Reader of Sheffield Hallam University in Britain observed: "Although the numbers of friends people have on these sites can be massive, the actual number of close friends is approximately the same in the face to face real world." He noted that most people have five close friends, and this was no different among users of social networks. If we could all stop there, what would be the point of having technology that helps us track everyone? I appreciate and agree with Reader's observations, but I am confident there's something missing in the analysis . . .

Meanwhile, in the David and Goliath like face-off (Facebook vs. MySpace), it appears spammers and Microsoft may be increasing the odds. Wee and Levy pointed out what I think seems to be the deciding factor . . . Facebook won users because the site may be more private. It is designed to encourage people to use true identities, whereas MySpace has more anonymity and has been forced to confront reports of sexual predators on its site. Facebook also started a $10-million (U.S.) fund to encourage software developers to create customized games and videos. See the Globe and Mail.

I'm still working out the kinks on the Cop Connection, and currently focusing on adding new friends (with whom I am, admittedly, building not-so-deep relationships) so when we see where opportunity and preparedness meet we will be able to focus. We've got a Facebook group, a MySpace Group, a LinkedIn group, and a Google group, and there's the main site, as well, at In the coming week we'll be in several discussions on how best to implement the mix of overlapping groups in need of security and privacy, while mixing in content and connectivity and interaction . . .

So we proceed while the larger social networking battle continues, and the results will be interesting. One thing's for sure, though . . .I don't have time not to have time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

All for one and one for all

In my post regarding Networking, online networking, audio networking, and direct networking, I described networking, ultimately, as the action of building one's network of friends and acquaintances. If networking doesn't require action, what does it need? I mention that in this context because I am loathe to try to harness the wind. I am also disinclined to limit my network to just one site. This view, however, promises to make life very challenging unless technology catches up (fast) with vision . . .

At present, there is a presence of some kind for the Cop Connection Network on 1) The CCN site, 2) LinkedIn, 3) Facebook, 4) Myspace, and 5) Google groups (and the Facebook and MySpace Groups have a link to the Introductory video). In the near future, I will add 6) MSN, and 7) Yahoo, and will then begin prioritizing a strategy for evaluating the need/benefit of a presence on sites like Xing and Xanga and Bebo and others (I'll gladly accept recommendations, by the way :-). The essential reason for this decision is that I think at some point we use these sites due to habit and preference. Ultimately, there promises to be simple-to-use software that will allow cross-platform postings and updates. I believe it will be soon (about the time that managing an umbrella network like CCN becomes unworkable) that a useful interface will allow us to do cross-platform communication (maybe a translator widget :-). There's more later on this solution, but first let's examine networking in policing.

In the context of networking with those involved in policing, I have learned a few things. For the most part, cops like to be social, but they also like their privacy. Anyone who has ever read any pre-1990 Joseph Wambaugh books can attest to both of these claims, but I want to explore a bit more. The challenge of encouraging many in the field to do any sort of online networking can be tough.

I'm not sure, though, whether the effort that it takes to do online networking is the problem, or whether it is the perceived lack of privacy provided by these networks. By privacy, I am actually referring to a combination of 1) not wanting anyone else to "know my business" and 2) not wanting those who I don't affirmatively share "my business" with to have access to it. The first can be overcome with time - as we get to know people (and their "business"), we tend to share more of us with them. The second is more difficult to explain.

I spent some time working in the area of Crime Prevention, a field that has now become a very lucrative (for others) calling. The focus of crime prevention consultation, as we practiced it, was finding the balance between security and convenience. It was not unlike the method we use to choose a password for our techno-presence. Most have figured out that choosing no password, or one that replicated our username, is the easiest (more convenient) way. But there are people in this world who have the desire to cause us harm (physically, financially, or otherwise) and those people are smart enough to try those easy (convenient) passwords in order to get to our stuff.

So the experts recommend that we use a strong, tough to guess (security) password, one similar to the combination of your initials and 6-digit date of birth shuffled in with those of your wife, mother, and twenty of your closest neighbors. None of us could remember a password like that, so we would be required to write it down, thereby exposing ourselves to those wishing to do us harm that have access to where we stored the password. Consequently, we come up with something that is easy to remember (convenience) but hard to guess (security). In my case, I would intersperse numbers that looked like letters into a fairly long word that I could easily remember -- like razzledazzle (or R@zz13D@zz13, in encoded form).

Feel free to Google that - you can use it as your own password, too if you want . . . I never have.

Note that this method looks remarkably similar to the cyberspeak seen on todays walls and text messages. I'm thinking the criminals of tomorrow are learning their code language today . . .

If that makes sense to you . . . Here's the follow up. Many cops feel the same as I do. We like convenience, but we need the perception of security. It may be that no online site has real security, but at this point in time, the open concept just doesn't seem to work well.

Consequently, this network -- the Cop Connection Network -- will need to exist in more than one location -- like air, our thoughts, and (of course) God. It cannot be limited to one location, as this constriction could cause the network to fail (or at least be more limited than needed).

There may be good news on the horizon, and some of it may be right here, right now. There are indication that we already have a form of hub for our social networks available so we can take the time used to log in to all our networks and apply it elsewhere -- check out what Gmail (or any E-mail Account) can do, with these step-by-step directions on how to:

  • use Gmail to post to social networks
  • track your friends and their replies using Gmail
  • build a "lifebase" inside Gmail that maintains a record of your various friends/connections
  • use Gmail to prioritize the right friends and weed out the ones you want to un-friend
In this post, Steve Rubel provides examples for using Gmail to collect Facebook and Twitter posts. It appears solutions for other social network sites won't be too far behind.

Meanwhile, Jay Deragon is providing a glimpse at the (apparently) not-so-distant future, when he notes the forthcoming emergence of a user centric social web portal in which we can manage all out activity -- like a social dashboard. Jay has apparently seen a demonstration of this capability, so stay tuned.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Online (Social) Networking - What does it really mean?

I've realized that many of us are experiencing a terminology challenge as we explore the online social networking world. There are some who use the term social networking to identify the action of building one's network, whether in the real or virtual world. Others limit their use of the term to those actions where they are adding and cultivating their relationships with friends and acquaintences they have officially connected to in an online social networking site. And others distinguish between the connections made for business and pleasure. (a service of Tech Target) defines social networking as "the practice of expanding the number of one's business and/or social contacts by making connections through individuals." They note that the "unparalleled potential of the Internet" serves as a major catalyst, and that the social networking sites serve to "help people make contacts that would be good for them to know, but that they would be unlikely to have met otherwise." See

PC Mag has no such definition for the action, but they do define the result. A social network is an "association of people drawn together by family, work or hobby." They note that the term was first coined by professor J. A. Barnes in the 1950s, who defined the size of a social network as a group of about 100 to 150 people. PC Mag also notes that social networking sites compete for attention much like the first Web portals when the Internet exploded onto the scene in the mid-1990s.

That's why I think the network-without-walls concept is needed. Perhaps it's too trusting in the advances of technology, but if a network is constrained by competition, doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose (and fly in the face of the underlying purpose of free enterprise)? My thought is that a network (before the "unparalleled potential of the Internet") was not limited to one household, city, profession, website, or even language, and it should not be so limited now. A network should be comprised of a variety of people of multiple ages, races, experiences, skills, callings, locations, and passions. Otherwise, the plain-vanilla flavor of the old-school corporate "build it how you want it, not how they'll use it" mentality that still plagues the likes of IBM, General Motors, and the government officials in a variety of locations, will take over the social networks and we'll all be back to square one.

So what do we do with these definitional challenges? As I've stated before, I am convinced of the power of online (social) networking, but we have to be able to use a term that all can relate to.

Thus, I propose we refer to the action of building one's network of friends and acquaintenances, whether for personal or professional reasons, as networking. I also suggest that when we refer to the action of building one's network of friends and acquaintenances, whether for personal or professional reasons, in the online environment, we call it online networking. And, I propose that we refer to the action of building one's network of friends and acquaintenances, whether for personal or professional reasons, in a voice-only exchange (whether on a traditional phone call or any number of digital connections like VOIP) as audio networking. And, if we are engaging in communication with other individuals where we can see their expressions and actions (like in a video conference or face-to-face encounter), I propose that we refer to that action of building one's network of friends and acquaintenances, whether for personal or professional reasons, as direct networking.

What do you think?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Declaration of Social Neworking Independence (User Declaration of Independence)

Monday, October 01, 2007 - We, the people of social networks, should declare our Independence from social networking platforms for personal and professional gain. We declare the emergence of The Relationship Economy based on individual freedom for collective gains from value given. We, the people, see our world as an abundance of opportunity to create increased value for our networks throughout our world.

When in the Course of Human events it becomes necessary for one people to stand for the bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of technology, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to the opportunity of gain from their efforts which are gains for others.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all networking platforms are created equal, that they are endowed by their creators with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Economic gains.

That to secure these rights, Networks are instituted among individuals, deriving their just powers from the consent of the networking platform technologies, — That whenever any Form of a Networking Platform becomes limiting of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to expand it, and to institute new A Networking Platform Declaration, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to enhance their Life, Liberty and Economic gains.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Networking Platforms long established should not be changed for irrational limiting causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to follow, while following is sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the platforms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of usage and lack of user focus, pursuing invariably the economic gains for platform operators evinces a design to reduce the economic gains for those that produce the platform value, it is our right, it is our duty, to enlighten such platforms and their users, and to provide new models for ours and their future security. — Such has been the patient following of users of networking platforms; and such is now the necessity which constrains us to alter the former models of networking platform thinking.

The history of the present Networking Platforms is a history of repeated business models that prescribe to scarcity thinking and top down hierarchies, all having as the direct goal the establishment of an absolute use of we the peoples efforts, contributions and content that drives the economic value of a networking platform. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

1. Networking Platforms make money off the time and contributions of we the people.
2. Networking Platforms are not thinking abundantly for the accommodation of a larger market of people, instead they assume existing users will continue to provide content and increase the size of networking platform by inviting others to join and do so without compensation.
3. Networking Platforms are creating silos which steals the very productivity of we the people as individuals.
4. Networking Platforms are not listening to We the people who create much of their value.
5. While there is an abundance of networking platforms there is a scarcity of time for we the people to maintain our contributions across multiple platforms.

We, therefore, the Representatives of Link To Your World, in consensus, appealing to the individuals using networking platforms worldwide for the rectitude of our collective intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of Our World, solemnly publish and declare, That these united individuals are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent Individuals, that we are Absolved from all Allegiance to any one networking platform, and that we are entitled to unite and create new thinking that expands the very nature of “social networking” to include increased gains from those that create the very value of “networks”.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our individuality, our voice, our efforts and our honor to help one another improve our world through creative development of our own networking platforms where we the people share economic gains with our technological, advertising and content partners.

We the people declare our independence from any one networking platform and unite our world through the development of our own individual networking platform for the cause of The Relationship Economy. The Human Network is being born.

If you agree with this Declaration please declare your support by digital response and agreement. Your support can be facilitated by voting your position using the posted poll and digital signature with your vote, name and email will suffice. Visit Link to Your World to do this.

That's my digital response. What do you think?