and people they like”
and people they like”
We all know “times there are a changin” as the virtual world becomes an integral part of your business’s marketing strategy (not to mention your life).
But it’s really not that different from the pre-Internet days, apart from a remarkable change in format. Sometimes old fashioned, hackneyed, over used maxims are still completely appropriate.
1. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”
Still the first step you have to take when setting up your business. This will never change, the plunge into the great unknown.
2. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”
Manners matter and professional etiquette is still the only acceptable type of behaviour in the online business world. You still have to show up on time, play nice and “please” and “thanks yous” never go amiss. Establishing a reputation as a credible business person who is fair and dependable, is probably even more important than ever, as the Internet enables people to reach farther and provides them with a much longer memory.
3. “Burn the candle at both ends.”
Get the rest and sleep you need. Just because the world has shrunk and everything is running 24/7, doesn’t mean you can or should even try to keep up. You won’t function properly without sleep and your colleagues and clients will be grateful if you stopped storming about and screwing up. Honestly it’s for you own good. Functioning and awake we can put up with you. Unreasonable, obstinate and irrational, well, hide the fire arms.
4. “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.”
Backup backup backup – I know a lot (OK more than 10) people who have lost data because they didn’t backup. Family photos — gone. Essay you’ve been researching for weeks (OK hours) — gone. Reports, invoices, documents blah blah blah — gone. Hard-drives don’t cost much, aren’t complicated to use and if you haven’t got room for one then use the Cloud. (I could wax lyrically here about Dropbox but will resist)
5. “A Jack of all trades and a master of none.”
No one can do everything. It’s your primary responsibility to focus on the success of the product or service that your business provides and to get the help you need to ensure success in the areas where you have little or no talent. Marketing, social media, human resources, accounting whatever. There is no need to do it all and your business could suffer because of your reluctance to delegate.
6.“Take it with a grain of salt.”
If one person says you’re doing it wrong – ignore them. If ten people tell you in a week – do something about it!
7.“Go the extra mile.”
I was initially reluctant to do this as I thought 1. who’d listen and 2. if I give my advice for free who’d hire me!? Upon reflection (and with further experience), now I’m in complete agreement. Give advice for free. Even better – give good quality, well thought out, honest advice for free. You’ll develop an excellent reputation as a reliable source and people will want you to provide them with a service because you have shown yourself to have the required knowledge base, the skills and the savvy. They’ll want you because, frankly you’re good at it and they have better things to do.
8. “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”
Disconnect from the Internet for a day, and go out an play – Digital free days/holidays/weekends away/etc aren’t skiving. They’re an opportunity to get away and reflect on your accomplishments, assess your future and they give you the impetus to come back to the office with renewed vigour.
The Internet has brought with it different ways of doing business but always remember:
I’ve been online over 20 years (not constantly! there was a lunch break or two) and I don’t want to go back to the “good olde days”.
What’s not to love about being online, chatting and sharing and keeping in the loop. We like finding out answers to niggling questions instantly and with seemingly little effort. We enjoy playing games, downloading music, streaming a film. It’s never been easier to not miss out.
Now I’m going to spoil that mild reverie with a timely reminder that the cybersphere isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. Like all good things there’s another side and I’m opening that can of worms for just a moment.
To list a few there is:
– the debate about the Internet’s overall effect on learning and understanding – see Nicholas Carr – “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
– the growing phenomena of “moral disengagement” – people becoming online bullies as they feel safe hiding behind a computer screen (anonymity) – the more distance someone has from the consequences of their actions the easier it is for them not to care
– governments shutting down libraries across the world because everyone can get what they need online – Really!!?
– Wikileaks – who has the right to know what, how much, when….
– Google’s massive Library digitisation project – who should store all this information, who has access, what are the restrictions?
– Copyright issues
Privacy issues – is our concept of privacy changing and does it make a difference? Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook doesn’t think privacy matters anymore. Again – Really!!?
A few points to ponder on.
Not that I’m going to delete my online existence and go off-grid. But if you’re serious you could permanently delete your account on a number of popular websites. A tad extreme but always an option.
The use and abuse of the Twitter stream and what can be done about it. A few thoughts on doing better as it’s getting noisy out there and you’ll have more success if you shine than if you …… don’t.
* Note: As before I’m claiming some authority on this subject due to painstakingly acquired experience and years of geeky knowledge. I’m trying to use my powers for good and point out a few possible foibles you may suffer from and to direct some people to the “naughty step” if I have to!
A (loose) dozen things to stop doing:
1. Your stream is all about you!!!!!!! Me, me, me and blah, blah, blah. The absolutely key to an effective Social Media strategy is understanding it’s a communication tool and that communication needs to go both ways.
2. When you have NOTHING to say – you say it anyway. Relentlessly. Musing is fine, but endlessly pondering your navel is not OK. Maybe you need to get out more?
3. You don’t interact. You never RT, you don’t re-share anyone else’s great stuff and if someone does share something you said you never say thank you. Rude! And you’re surprised no one wants to talk to you!!!!
4. You share nothing original and only RT. Um…. your point?
5. You know where I can get a free iPad. Really!!!? Aren’t we done with this one yet?
6. You’re still just talking about you.
7. You promise me that if I follow you, you will teach me the secrets to finding 1,000,000 new followers. Liar! Almost as old and as bad as telling me I have a long lost uncle in the jungle and if I send you ￡250,00 to your Cayman Island bank account……
8. I don’t understand you. Obviously you are 2G2BT but I 404 what you are saying so ,!!!!
(the translation – Obviously you are to good to be true, but I don’t understand what you are saying, so talk to the hand)
9. You tweet too much! My Twitter stream is full of you. Seriously, you do need to get out more.
10. Um, it’s still just about you. Yes, I’ve mentioned this before, TWICE! It’s THAT irritating.
11. You automate your tweets (I’m fine with that) but they all come at me one right after the other. There’s no opportunity to see what could be of interest because it’s overwhelming and I’m off.
12 You’re always asking for stuff. Please RT this, pass on that, my cat is swimming the channel for charity please sponsor him (10th time this year), donate to that, Does anyone have one of these (for free) ….. and so on.
OK done the rant now. If anyone has any Twitter grievances I haven’t mentioned, please let me know. We can commiserate together
Continuing my mission to make the Internet a more inviting place for humans.
This is the first of a series of blogs I intend to write on what you (some of you) are doing wrong and plead with you to STOP IT!!!!!!
What are my credentials?:
I’m striving to make the Internet a better place for humans.
This first article is directed at your website
2. Really, really, really big files that take forever to load – Bored now, leaving……. Speed matter check it here
3. Ads! So many of them. Buy this! Go here! My book! My awesome seminar! Get updates email to you here! – You sound so needy. Self esteem issues perhaps?
4. Things that move, things that swirl, things that blink, things that have a life of their own. Do you remember the helpful, jiggling paper clip on Microsoft Office, who popped up every 30 seconds? Did you note the PAST tense!
5. Overzealous claims. Subscribe to this blog and you will lose 50 pounds! Don’t believe you already. Don’t undermine your credibility from the start.
6. Don’t leave in dead links. We can’t find you and won’t make the effort.
7. A colour scheme that matches the grout in my bathroom. Beige is beige not biscuit, or fawn or stone, and a rainbow banner won’t make you interesting.
Here I’ll do that again
Hope this helps. I do mean well. Well, at least I mean something.
Thank you for reading.
As many things it started off so well and I had such good intentions (yes the big sign before you hit the road to Hell!).
Also as with many things, it didn’t quite go as expected.
Being honest here, for the last few weeks it hasn’t really gone at all. But it’s Christmas! Back to being practical now, on a scale of one to 10, this location independent working without my Mac is about a five.
What went right (because there were a few things that did):
– I have still very successfully been able to manage my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts,
– I’ve update The Honest Blogger regularly and, well, my blogging has been a bit scarce and yes, I could have done it more often. That’s a big human fault and nothing to do with managing IT in the Cloud or being multi-locational.
– I’ve taken a lot of photos and been able to add a few shots to my portfolio
– Emailing as been a breeze and everyone still knows I’m in the loop. Its great to not be forgotten!
What didn’t go right:
– Via the Internet, I have access to my Dropbox and Evernotes but I can only used half of what these applications have to offer as I can’t down load them on to “borrowed” computers. I can get t them online but I’m not able able to add anything. A bigger hazard than I anticipated. I have many notes in my Moleskin. Written notes, how quaint.
– I haven’t been able to edit any of my photos properly. The quality of screens I have been “borrowing” aren’t adequate and the photo editing programs generally available aren’t flexible enough.
– A few of the databases and records I manage for my clients aren’t quite as up-to-date as I would generally like (my clients are happy, I just have very high standards) as using memory sticks has just become a pain, doable, but a pain.
– Working conditions have been extremely variable and at times too interesting (right now I have a dog on my knee). And often too interesting in almost a good way but not a good way if you have to concentrate. I can’t work consistently at a coffee shop or the like as there is always something going on that’s a lot more fun than what I’m doing. I need to get my head down at the library sometimes as I can have a dreadful attention span.
Conclusions (there are ways around these “inconveniences”):
1. Better planning.
2. Better discipline – there are few excuses for a lax blogger
3. And finally, bring the “office”!
What I will actually do:
1. Plan better and be more disciplined!!!!!
2. For short trips i.e. a weekend. I will leave the Mac at home – Unless the trip is specifically for work. I still believe in Digital Free Days
3. For long trips I still don’t want to haul my “office” – the Mac BookPro is still a lot of kit to trek about considering I have to take my camera and assorted sundries.
I’m buying a iPad.
1. I’m still trying to wean myself off my intensely digital life and have one digital free day week
2. I’m 4,500 miles away from my usual work place and will continue to manage my business with my clients with my usual efficiency
I’ve spent a great deal of time in the last few months on the Internet. Probably (not probably, very actually) too much time. Strolling, trolling, sifting, sorting and a whole lot of meandering has been taking place.
These wanderings haven’t been completely aimless as there is a point. As a reformed librarian (read that as Information Goddess) I’m extremely interested in: 1. what sort of information other people are interested in and why, and 2. how to use the Internet and its tools (eg social media, the Cloud, online resources etc) more effectively. So, see it’s work! Indeed my curiosity and, therefore my business, depends on my ability to sift through the “stuff” to find out what people need to know (very different from want, that’s a another chapter).
And there is A LOT of stuff in the ether. There’s a lot of clever, gorgeous, mind-blowing stuff, quite a bit of mundane yet useful stuff, and vast waste lands of “OMG why did they bother???!!!” stuff.
Sadly percentage wise, 86.4% (how to lie with statistics – that’s a fictitious stat, but I’m sure the number is high), of the visible Net is “OMG What were they thinking!”. Like with driving, you feel there should be a test to pass before people are allowed to upload to the Internet. Really, there are some treasures out there (and some that should be buried!)
I expect we are supposed to be egalitarian about the Internet, so anyone can come to play. But I, for one, don’t have to pay attention.
Which comes nicely to the point of this blog (yes I have very long introductions). The Internet is wonderful and exciting but also not. I think its a brilliant platform for many people, organisations and assorted humanity but for many more it’s just another empty space to fill up. Like a loft.
I’ll continue to spend too much time on the Internet, but feel (for me anyway) that I need to get away from the “empty space” sometimes, and even the mind-blowing stuff en masse, can lose their WOW factor due to over indulgence.
I’m going to spend more quality time with some of my favourite carbon based life forms (e.g. family, friend, colleagues, friends’ pets). Or, get this, a book!
I’m going to instigate digital free days. As I’m self employed this has to be feasible so it’s not a total ban.
My new rules for DF day:
At least one day a week, I pledge;
– not to use the Internet,
– to keep the computers turned off and not to sneaking off to a friend’s to use their’s
– my antique mobile phone will still be checked for messages but not on all day
– no Twitter (not even scheduled messages)
– no blogging here or on Tumblr (but I can make handwritten notes :-))
– radio is OK, CD collection is better, no TV
*Caveat – If someone else has an emergency that I have to deal with, then all rules can be broken.
Wish me luck.