January 30, 2008

Bulk view

Passed it on!

I came across an internal blog post about making sense of the intranet social networking tools. Joseph, a communications assistant from the UK, asked us to help him make sense of the overwhelming choices we have in terms of Web 2.0 tools. When I checked out the wiki he created, I found out that Joseph was doing his Ph.D. dissertation on social computing in the enterprise. This just happened to be the area that I got my masters in, so I sent him an instant message and I shared a copy of my thesis with him, in the hope that my bibliography might save him some time. He had read some of my blog entries, but he hadn’t realized I had done my master’s research in the same area. I then proceeded to brain dump a whole bunch of tips, such as:

  • Blog about your research. This is the single best thing you can do to get the word out and to find people who are interested in this kind of thing. I can’t begin to describe how helpful people were. And if you end up falling in with the way the company does social networking (like I did!), people will help you find a great job too!
  • Build relationships. Again, the internal blog’s a terrific place to do that, particularly for this area of research. Invest time in scanning the blogs and commenting on things you find interesting.
  • Don’t worry about disappearing off the dashboard. Plenty of people use feed readers and subscribe to specific people or tags, so once you get on their radars, you’ll stay there.
  • Use a feed reader that lets you create keyword searches. That way, you never miss discussions that you are interested in. Feedreader, Omea, and FeedDemon all have this feature.
  • Get to know people. I recommended a whole bunch of people who are interested in social computing. =)
  • Read these books: Crossing the Chasm, The Diffusion of Innovations, The Tipping Point, and Influencer.
  • Check the blogs for news about interesting tools. Our internal early adopter program is good, but the internal blogs catches the coolest hacks from all over.
  • … and other tips! =)

I tried to squeeze as much as I could in half an hour, but I’m sure I’ll think of other tips! I loved just passing on everything I could think of. It was the best way to give back to all the people who helped me with my research, and I was happy to have stumbled across someone else who could learn from what I did. Besides, it was the Right Thing to Do.

Thank you, blogs, for this opportunity to help!

Blogging works in mysterious ways

When Melissa, an associate partner in Learning Strategy, sent me an instant message, I nearly missed it because I was in the middle of an energetic brainstorming session with Aaron, Jen, and Bernie. I’m glad I saw Melissa’s message when I was packing up. She told me how Jennifer (another Learning consultant) had been demonstrating the way we use blogs and wikis to a group of clients. The clients happened to see my post linking to the Lifehack post on how to become insanely useful, and they wanted to know more. Melissa knew that I had crossposted it to my external blog, so she asked my permission to send them a link to it. Of course, I was happy to help, and I was even more thrilled to hear from other consultants also doing social computing adoption and evangelism. Because of that conversation, Melissa invited me to join their Lessons Learned review. I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to swapping ideas! =)

I shared the Lifehack article because it described many things I work towards, and because I thought other people might like to read it. Looks like that paid off!

From Lifehack: How to Make Yourself INSANELY Useful

Here are some great tips on how to become insanely useful.

  1. Share what you know
  2. Be confident in yourself
  3. Solve the current problem
  4. Give willingly — even when it’s your job
  5. Satisfy your own curiosity
  6. Listen to others
  7. Don’t take over
  8. Know when to stop
  9. Teach, don’t tell
  10. Be sensitive to people’s feelings and shortcomings
  11. Ask for help
  12. Model best practices
  13. Be reliable

Being useful, even insanely useful, doesn’t mean allowing yourself to be used. It means offering what you can, when you can, and doing so gladly. This applies whether you’re doing favors for friends, working with a team at work, writing instructions, or anything else — set limits, but within those limits, be wholly available.

Lots of people are useful — they do the things they need to do, solve the problems they need to solve, and keep things chugging along. People that are insanely useful are in high demand by the companies they work for, the organizations they take part in, the clients they serve, their friends and family, and society in general because they not only solve problems and make things work but they add value to every relationship they take part in.

Lifehack.org, How to Make Yourself INSANELY Useful

Check out the article for concrete tips. =)