Tag Archives: collaboration

Facebook Questions: Here to Stay?

7 Apr

Facebook recently published for general public consumption the new questions feature. They tout this feature as assisting users by enabling them to, “learn from their friends, see what you know, and see where people stand.[facebook]” While questions seems to have taken off in its general use by the facebook community (my own page has been littered with polls over the past week) does the app really have both staying power and the potential to overcome other popular question/answer sites?

Mashable published a wonderful rundown of the facebook questions features earlier this week:

  • Photo questions: For example, if you take a picture of a bird, but don’t know what species it is, you can post the picture on Facebook Questions and get your answer.
  • Polling: If you’re simply looking for the answer to Which city is better: Chicago or Dallas?, you can get your answer by creating a poll.
  • Tagging: The company seems to be placing a lot of emphasis on tagging questions based on category or topic. The goal seems to be to make Q&A discovery an easier and faster process by making it simple to look up questions on cooking, photography, San Francisco or a variety of other topics.
  • Topic exploration: Facebook described this as a roulette-type feature that allows users to browse Facebook’s eventual mountain of Q&A. Under the “Questions about” drop-down menu, there’s a feature called “Everything” that allows users to browse the company’s catalog of questions.
  • Following: You can follow specific questions for updates and new answers.
  • Updated homepage: Facebook Questions does actually change the homepage, adding a new bar at the top of the page where you can choose to update your status, ask a question, add photos, or post a link. [mashable]

Last year facebook released a similar feature by the same name in a limited beta form. The app did not enjoy a welcome reception and was eventually removed largely because of overwhelmingly poor reviews. The original Facebook Questions was a direct competitor with other Q&A sites on the market, most notably the (at the time) new start-up Quora. This new feature shares some commonalities with its past counterpart but is no longer a direct competitor with other Q&A services which means facebooks answers may have a better long term survival chance.

Similar in concept to Yahoo! AnswersQuora and Mahalo, Facebook Questions gives users the opportunity to ask questions just by clicking the “Ask Question” button on the homepage. Questions is also available on friends’ profiles just as you would post on someone’s wall. [mashable]

Unlike the Q&A site Quora,Facebook Questions allows brands to ask and answer questions. On Quora you have to be a person, but Facebook Questions uses your nonprofit’s Page and avatar as your Facebook Questions identity. [NonProfit Tech 2.0]

One of the big questions is if Facebook Questions can avoid (or survive) some of the things that plague Yahoo Answers and some other Q&A sites: spam, uninteresting chit-chat posed as a question, and so forth. If it does, it will probably be due to the size of Facebook’s user base and the depth of the personal connections that many users have made. Facebook is building a Q&A service around an existing and popular social graph; the competition, to a large degree, is trying to add social features on top of a Q&A service. [search engine land]

Facebook has also captured a new market that is otherwise overlooked by other Q&A sites, Businesses and Organizations. Over the past couple of years Facebook has improved its business offerings and has made a nice place for itself as one of the top tools for online business promotion.

…Questions has a lot to offer small businesses. For example, are you straddling the fence over two ways to change a product or service but can’t make up your mind? Use Questions to ask your business’ friends list or followers whose opinions, of course, you care about. Their friends’ opinions are worth a lot as well since they very likely share similar wants and tastes with your businesses’ network. The polling results that Questions offers can also help you quantify and analyze responses. [pcworld]

The virality of questions and the prominence Facebook is placing within newsfeeds and notifications should capture the attention of brands with fan pages.  Questions are a utility specifically built not just to facilitate a fan page to ask a question to a base of their fans, but for that question to go a network beyond, and further if possible. This is an exciting engagement opportunity for branded pages to utilize. [Ignite Social Media]

Only time can tell for sure if Facebook Questions will be a success story but the very accessible app seems to have a lot of promise.


Notes on Writers Block

30 Mar

Most would agree that one of the keys to success with social media is creating content consistently. This was actually the basis of my first post to this blog. Ofcourse at some point almost everyone will come across a tiny bit of writers block. If your lucky it will move on in a day or two but sometimes you have to be proactive and assist writer’s block out the door. Thankfully there are more than a few ways to get the creative (or at least productive juices flowing again) here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Handy Dandy Notebook – sure it may be low tech compared to alternatives, like the smart phone, but there is something wonderful about carrying around an actual paper and pencil all day. Most of the time just having the small reminder that my goal is to come up with ideas will be enough to fill up a page with various blog topics or a series of tweets.
  2. Reviews – if your out of ideas yourself then piggy back off of someone else’s creativity. Review a series of similar items… for an extra boost you can even post a title like “Top 5 ___!”
  3. Play Games – it may seem a little odd but interactivity and engagement can be a very viable substitute for actual content. There are a multitude of games that can be played between you and those that are following you on twitter and the same goes for you blog, facebook or other social media outlet. If you can’t come up with meaningful content at least you can have fun.
  4. Switch Mediums – sometimes its good to mix things up, this is true both as the writer as well as the reader. If you normally post long and detailed blogs consider posting a collection of photos instead. You may find that your readers appreciated the change of pace as well.
  5. Ask For Help – every once in a while writer’s block is just bad enough that its best to just ask for some help. See if you can cash in on some guest posts from friends who had always offered or ask a coach for some prompts.

LinkedIn and Cute Black Pumps

9 Mar

At 18 I was managing a small coffee shop and enjoying many many aspects of it. I loved the interactions with customers and having a limitless supply of coffee drinks was very nice too. Aside from the very low pay, the thing I disliked the most about my coffee shop gig was the dress. Sure its nice to be able to roll out of bed 7min before work starts but its also nice to wear cute clothes an open-toed shoes. This was the mindset that prompted my first real job search, I was very open to any number of job options, the only thing I was really set on was that I wanted to be able to wear cute black pumps to work.

And so, at 18 years old I sat down and started revising my resume. To my credit, I did have a number of nice jobs during high-school but it was still the resume of someone that had only been supporting themselves all of 3 months. I worked tediously to express fully the asset I had been at each of my working and volunteer experiences. When all was said and done I had a very nicely formatted page that contained almost no information which would be helpful in attaining the type of job I was searching for. But with great amounts of optimism I started applying to job after job.

After not too long I found a temp agency that placed me in a couple of admin jobs – this was great, it payed well (compared to what I was used to) and I loved the change to a corporate environment. The problem was that the positions were temporary, I stayed anywhere from 2 days to 9 months but no matter how long I was a temp the rules made it very hard for the company to hire me outright. Little did I realize at the time it was this series of small opportunities that would ultimately give me the resources I needed to get the job I was looking for.

Almost a full year after starting my job search I finally landed a position as an office admin in a medical clinic. The dress code included cute black pumps and the atmosphere was just geeky enough that I really thrived and loved going to work. The funny thing was that I didn’t search for this job at all, it was just presented to me. In all honestly I haven’t really searched for a job since that first time at 18. Sure, I’ve had times when I’ve wanted more employment and times when I’ve wanted to adjust the criteria of what I do but its been the better part of a decade since I’ve dealt with truly hitting the pavement for a job.

So how does this happen? How is it that someone can have very little experience but still land a job they want? To be truthful I’ve wondered this myself and spent many a time thankful for my luck. But upon examining things I think there are two factors that likely have a significant influence on my easy job transitions: connections and a positive attitude.

Aside from the temp agency, every job I’ve ever had was acquired because of a recommendation. This is one of if not the most crucial thing that LinkedIn provides as a service. By connecting people to other people they work with and providing a way to see the degrees of separation between the person you know and the person you want to know LinkedIn creates meaningful interactions around networking. Not that facebook and twitter aren’t meaningful, I just wrote last week about the role they can play in job searching, but the networking provided isn’t nearly as powerful as the recommendation from a mutual colleague can be.

LinkedIn connections should be thought about carefully, you may love your goofy cousin but are they someone you’d bring along with you to an interview? If the answer is no, then I’d recommend leaving that relationship for facebook. Another asset of LinkedIn is that you can ask for written recommendations and they are available for viewing by prospective employers as well as all of your connections. I’m not overly active on LinkedIn but I still get contacted once a month or so about a possible gig, and until recently I wasn’t actually searching. This alone makes me really appreciate LinkedIn.

The other key thing I attribute to my past job hunting luck has to do with those black pumps. Indeed my priorities when vetting potential jobs have changed, from simply the most interesting attire experience to things more centered around security and growth, but the approach I take is the same. Searching for work is not about finding the ultimate most perfect job ever – that doesn’t exist. Successful employment is about focusing on the benefits that a job provides (new experiences, connections or even enjoyable tasks) and then moving on in a mutually beneficial way if all of these positive things don’t outweigh the negatives that a job may have. Simply being a happy worker will improve the relationships you have with coworkers and employers while you’re working with them and ensure you many great recommendations once you have departed.

The moral of the story… go visit LinkedIn, and always remember to enjoy nice pair of little black pumps.

Social Media as a Tool for Collaboration

25 Feb

With the rise in social media technologies over recent years there has been a constant question in place, “how will social media change the world.” While many people propose that the change has to do with mass distribution of information I argue that while increased access to and distribution of information world wide is an amazing and earth-altering advance in technology it may not be the biggest thing that social media has to offer us.

In the midst of the great discussions over the role of social media outlets, like twitter, during the then eminent revolution of Egypt a thought occurred to me… it then became a tweet.

RT @breannadrew : Does the use of #twitter in north african revolutions show promise of twitter as a tool for political collaboration

The idea that twitter and other social media tools could do more than just inform people but could truly connect people around topics provides long-term promise for the platform and differentiates it from all previous methods of information dissemination.

What was initially most off-putting to me about twitter was the idea that all day long large groups of people go about their day and periodically publish to the world short bits and pieces of their lives. This behavior seemed, in short, useless. Aside from my mother, very few people are deeply interested in my daily musings and activities. The functionality of twitter increases slightly as a tool to publish information about broader topics, but in this manner is used mostly for posting links – not purely tweets. But the holy grail of twitter use comes as a tool for social collaboration.

Yes, oftentimes input comes in forms that are greater than 160 characters but more often it doesn’t. After a month of waiting, observing and stewing over the possibilities that twitter may hold for collaborative tool it all became clear. Low and behold @KQEDnews confirmed my suspicions that the next big thing in social media will be collaboration.

@KQEDnews KQED News

#BaySnOMG is phenomenal! Who says you need a bunch of meetings to produce a collaborative media project??? @TheBayCitizen @CCTimes
Three news agencies all working together to develop a common goal, and doing it in segments of less than 160 characters. Now I’ll admit that developing a hash tag for a possible weather event might not be the most significant collaboration ever but its proof that it can be done. And further, the goal was to aid the most effective dissemination of bay area, snow related information.