Social Media Top 5: Thoughts on FourSquare, Personal/Professional Personae & More

Thoughts on FourSquare

I can’t bring myself to do a whole separate post on FourSquare, but too much has cropped up. Thinking on the “rules” and behavior has resulted in a stream of short thoughtful posts from Peter Kim (including this one). The thing is, the evolution of Twitter gave me a flavor of what a service could become if it let the users define what they wanted to do with it. I ended up with a bit of a problem due to my metaphysical posts, checking in from “The Ice Planet Hoth” during the winter and “On Mah Bike” during bike rides, which are necessarily not geographically stable. Dennis Crowley, FourSquare’s founder, is on record encouraging this kind of behavior, and indeed a look at Twitter, for example, shows that user ingenuity has led to some of its most essential features, like the ReTweet and hashtags.

Not that anything I do on FourSquare will become such an essential feature, but a note I got from their community manager seemed aimed at stifling this expression. Was I violating the rules (most people violate or don’t care about the rules of FourSquare “game”)? It wasn’t clear until I exchanged messages with Crowley, who finally revealed that concerns about server bandwidth were at the heart of asking people to rein in making up check-in spots. I can get behind that concern, just wish it was the community manager who said that up front.

One Last Thought on FourSquare

I think FourSquare may be taking over for Twitter n the “travel serendipity” department. To wit: I was walking from Times Square to Penn Station in New York City, and decided to check FourSquare for who was nearby. I discovered Shashi Bellamkonda was a block away, and shanghaied him for a beer before he was off to dinner and I to my train. Now that’s a great, not-quite-random usage.

Converging Personal and Professional Networks

Steve Rubel’s post breaks open an argument that will never die, and that’s probably a good thing (the “never dying” part): should our work and personal personae online be separate, or merged? Like Steve, I say merged (though Steve has promised a counterargument blog post as well). My thinking is that me is me, and that my personal “me” is interlaced, and a part of, my professional “me.” companies hire the people, and it’s an advantage for companies, even big ones, to show the human faces of their employees. Now more than ever there are many ways to do that.

I don’t have a real counterargument- though I am sure there are good ones, other than to say it’s a personal choice, and people should do what they feel comfortable doing.

Diagnostic vs Objective Metrics

Chris Penn takes on the disconnect that occurs when people ask for answers based on their objectives (“Are we there yet?”) but get diagnostic measures (“We ate 23 cheeseburgers,” or something like that). True that is a disconnect, and true, we need the objective metrics- ultimately. But at some stages, don’t we need to change the questions (“Have we all eaten lunch so we have energy for the rest of th trip?”), rather than skip to the final answers? The data along the way is also valuable.

Twitter for Droid: Will official Apps Take Over?

I like the Android Twitter app- an official application- but am not used to it. I may not change from Seesmic for Android, which I really like using. However- do official apps carry more weight just by being native to the service? Will that mean third-party apps could be doomed? Yes and no. There are so many things to do with Twitter and the content on it (see oneforty.com for the thousands of apps out there), that Twitter itself will hardly displace more than a few of them. But I bet they will displace a few of them in a bid for a little control over the experience (meaning Seesmic, Tweetdeck et al should proclaim their non-Twitter features as differentiators, for example).

Podcasting Adventures

Last week, I guested on yet another episode of Media Bullseye Roundtable. I spoke quite a bit about the dustup surrounding Millenials and corporate loyalty (basically, I say loyalty cuts two ways and ask employer to stop being so condescending about the so-called “trophy” generation). I also gave some recap to the new Communications Forum I had attended the previous week, based on my blog post for Voce Nation.

I also, with my employer, Voce Communications, in partnership with Jim Storer and The Community Roundtable, continued our podcast series “Conversations with Community Managers.” The latest episode features Shwen Gwee and a discussion of regulated industries and social media (in this case, pharma).

One Comment

  1. I don’t know how I feel about personal and professional lives converging. Surely the employer takes all of me — not just the part that knows SQL but also the part that knows who Stu Sutcliffe was.

    But at a certain point, I’d like to have some privacy.

    When does the need to, say, test me for alcohol, collide with my right to imbibe on a Saturday night in my own home when I’m not driving anywhere (I assure you, I am well over the age of 21)?

    If I want a wall to be raised between the Saturday night beer and the Monday morning at the office, well, it’s harder to do that if I don’t raise a wall between putting my work thoughts out on my blog or “liking” my company on Facebook or merging my professional and personal networks.

    Openness is all well and good, and employees are the full package. But let’s make no mistakes about this: we as employees are at a singular disadvantage. If, say, Ford Motor Company is caught with its hand in some sort of cookie jar, the absolute worst that happens is that the company is dissolved and the Board of Directors are led away in handcuffs. Both are unlikely scenarios (although not wholly unheard of). But if we as personnel are caught, say,
    * photographed kissing someone other than our spouse
    * cross-dressing
    * interviewing for another job while we’re employed
    * walking out of an abortion clinic
    * purchasing pornography
    * attending a Communist Party rally

    … or something similar (even though all of those activities are legal and some are even our rights!), we can potentially suffer a kind of social shunning that’s like a social death.

    Is it worse than having been to prison? I don’t know, but it’s certainly unpleasant.

    People have secrets. Some are juicy, many are not. But they’re still our secrets, still our private lives.

    I guess what I’m saying is, convergence of private and professional is good for some things, but this may turn out to be quite the slippery slope.

    Caveat emptor.

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