Are you a trail blazer?

White noise

information overload

Information overload

With all the feeds we get each day, whether they be Tweets or Facebook or email or news reports or telephone calls or even, yes, even a face to face meeting. It has been occurring to me that there is a lot of interference and traffic out there. Noise if you like. A white noise that obscures sometimes some very useful and genuine comments and info.

Filtration

Do we have a good method of filtration going on or are we being guided by everything that comes our way. I liken it to a video I once saw of an ant colony and the researchers were studying their behaviour and determining how they travelled and how they made their way back to base.

Obviously, they must use sent trails and they lay them down and everyone else follows them as well. Hey presto a fool proof system to get about and never get lost. Being researchers off course they have to test their theories and after the ants had created their best laid plans and trails the researchers created a circle of scents and trails all around some ants to see how they coped and would they get past it. Basically they surrounded them, with too much information to process, or white noise if you like, and they could not get back to the well laid plan. They were too distracted and could not get outside the circle. They really needed a method of filtration to find that one trail and stay on it at all costs and against all other distractions.

Unsung heroes

I know in amongst everything that bombards me every day there are unsung heroes who have gems of wisdom to help me on my way and keep me focussed and yes I do get a bit overloaded and distracted, but I do try and say to myself, be yourself,  do not try and be anyone else. Because someone finds a certain feed or path the way to go that is maybe not for you and you need to focus and keep going on the scent trail that you have visualised an laid down.

So do we curb our appetite for more info?

So what are the solutions and how do we cope? Do we simply switch off a lot of the noise and, I know a lot of contacts who have done this and are off various platforms and are in their case thankful for it. Bur remember that is maybe not the best approach for you.

Can we apply a filter to things then and just cherry pick what we see and what we interact with?

Well, yes off course you can, but there is always the fear that you filter out and disconnect from some info and miss a great nugget of gold and a gem that would benefit your business and your life. But hey, that is always the case, sometimes it is about being in the right place at the right time. Don’t let anyone tell you anything else.

Conclusion

I have to admit and say that it is an every changing medium for me and do encourage business owners to use the social media platforms and get out there. Join groups and contribute to what people and business are saying. I am, always changing what I look at and I am rather pleased with myself in the fact that I am now not getting as worked up about some of the feeds. No longer thinking every post is a nugget of gold but applying my filters, where do I want to be and how am I getting there, who can help and what can I do to contribute. I seem to be surviving OK.

How do you cope with all the info and what are your measures of filtration? Would be good to see some comments here. I hope to learn a lot.

Twitter #FF’s , (Don’t do it.)

#FF's Dont do it.

#FF (Don’t do it)

I’m writing this post late on Thursday evening, and my thoughts are already turning to one of my tasks for tomorrow morning – sending out my #ff mentions. But, then that got me thinking…is this just another social media ‘ritual’ that started out as a good way to ‘recommend’ people and is now just a way of clogging up our timelines.

I have been guilty of sending out #ff mentions religiously but as of today I will no longer be doing that.

Instead, I am going to make my #ff mentions real and more meaningful. So rather than compose a tweet with a list of @users I am going to select a few and take time to make the tweet count.

Take a look at the examples below…what one stands out most to you?

#ff My great friend and mentor @goshensai and an awesome trance vocalist

#ff @joebloggs @joebloggs1 @joebloggs2 @etc @etc 

So, before you go into the #ff mode,

Stop, choose some special followers and send a meaningful mention.

What are your thoughts on Twitter #FF’s, do you do them or not? Let’s hear your thoughts.

Our Guest Blogger is
Tim Thomson
Manager at Vine Conference Centre
www.vineconference.co.uk

The Communication Revolution

communication revolution

Communication Revolution

Nice to talk to you, how are things going?
Can you drop me a day and time for a meeting?
When can we talk about the training you need?

You know I see around a hundred questions a day coming my way in various guises and usually keep on top of them, but I have noticed recently that I have dropped the ball on a couple and  wondered why.

I use technology for most things and particularly admin, tasks and communication so how can this be happening? Well in fact the very saviour that I use to keep me organised is the very thing that is making me drop the ball.

How is technology failing me?

I have been doing some historical research and asking the question of how we communicate and of course using my age, no comments here please, as I remember using various versions of communication over my years in industry and business.

Here is a rough breakdown of what I experienced: –

  • Phoned into the office once or twice a day to see if there were any messages for me
  • Got a pager that bleeped when the office needed me, then found a phone and phoned into the office
  • Technology improved and I got given a pager that had a scrolling screen across the top and I could read the messages. This was amazing, where was technology taking us?
  • Got my first company car with built in car phone, large box in the boot and aerial on the roof. The handset took up most of the foot well and a microphone hung in your face as you drove. But, hey that was advances in technology and don’t be fooled I loved it. It also meant I now couldn’t hide anywhere.
  • The next was a company car with a cradle and no large box in the boot and no aerial on the roof. The phone had it all built in and could be removed from the car. What…I was lost for words and it was great. It fitted in my pocket and I could call the office or any clients I wanted. This was just amazing.
  • Then on top of all this I was given a small portable compute that had all my product range on it that I was selling and could work out a quote on the spot for a client. I was then hooked on technology. The tech kept me informed and allowed me to be more flexible in what I was doing, simply brilliant. I could juggle all these no problem and I was mobile even back then.

So where are we now? And I still haven’t answered why technology is letting me down?

Yes, sorry was caught up in nostalgia when times were developing fast and things were simpler.

Now I sound like my gran.

Well, now we have the Internet, the cloud, the web, back then we didn’t so communication was done differently. Now I can get communication from all sections of the Internet that I am active in and believe you me there are a lot of them. Because I am also mobile a lot of the time these communications come in as I am on the hop and I read them quickly and think I will answer that when I get back to base and have time to think it through and check a few things out.

So where do my communications come from now? Well here is the current list and I may have missed some: –

  • Letter, or snail mail as it is called.
  • Emails, quite a lot of emails to various accounts I use
  • Direct messages I get from Facebook, three possible accounts
  • Direct messages I get from Twitter, three possible accounts.
  • Emails I get from LinkedIn
  • Messages I get from my blog I founded and write
  • Messages form my website activity
  • Messages from any LinkedIn groups I am in
  • Messages from Facebook pages I manage
  • Google Hangouts, sometimes a few open at one time talking to more than one person, like holding two phone calls at once.
  • Skype, which I must admit I don’t use a lot really
  • Phone calls on landline and on mobile
  • Text messages
  • Even my file server at home emails me when it updates or has had a problem…….

So my dilemma is that I have on occasion been out the office and mobile and got a message through one of these mediums and read it over and thought I will answer that once I can put a reasonable response together. I then get back to base and there is something in my mind about a message I must answer so I open my emails and check each account, all emails have been read, which of course they have as I looked at it when I was out and about. So it doesn’t jump out at me.

Or on occasion I can’t find an email and think how else did the message come in and spend a bit of time going through all of the above until I hopefully stumble across it. An example recently was one that I had read over when I was out and about that it was a direct message and then my day got busy and confusing. When I got back to base I looked and it wasn’t there. I checked emails and other areas and couldn’t find it. Finally I think found it as a direct message to one of my Twitter accounts I use.

So maybe you can see my dilemma, the very thing I have embraced to make my profile and business public and found easily is also the very thing that is causing me to be juggling so many forms and ways to communicate that I occasionally drop the ball.

What’s the solution, or is there one?

Well, the solution is obviously a difficult one. I could peal back the activity to the essential areas and not over complicate things. Hence only check and receive important messages. But being into all the aspects of the current Internet I find this difficult to rationalise. I even teach people to use it to its fullest. No I will just have to be more organised again and make sure I am aware of the source of communications that come my way and prioritise and deal with them as appropriate. A few extra hours each day might be useful.

What are you experiences of this phenomenon, is it something you have experienced or is it just me?

It’s Friday, Suspend those thoughts!

twitterThought I would jot this down for any of you who have had a similar or might have a similar experience in the near future.

Let me explain what happened and the tile will become clear.

It was Friday like any other, well in fact it was a slightly busier Friday than most others and it meant that my timescales for my Friday routine would be changed drastically.

I have started the day by getting up earlier than normal and attending the launch of a new Business newspaper in Fife and a chance to meet and network with new people and of course some old associations were re-established. I then visited a company within the business centre, where the launch had taken place, about some business we were doing together and finally met a young entrepreneur for a coffee and catch-up about where he was and what he was embarking on now. Always and exciting meeting and very inspiring.

Social media wise this had meant that I had not done any of my Follow Fridays yet or even tweeted about the launch I had attended. Once back at the office I proceeded to open up Hootsuite and get down to the social media business of the day. I had lots of thoughts and wanted them out there.

Hootsuite on my mobile had registered an error when I tried to tweet from @itturningpoint earlier. I thought it might be my signal strength at the time and now that I was back at my desk and on the land based Internet I could get this done.

I duly opened up Hootsuite and went to it to find that I had a message pop up on the screen to say  that my Twitter account had been suspended……………What?

I then went and logged into Twitter in my browser and found that indeed my Twitter account was suspended. I had received no email or earlier notice of this event and the screen did not even explain why this was the case. I had no idea at all why I was suspended and for how long or how to get out of this situation.

I clicked on various links in Twitter and found a form you can fill in to ask for it to be reviewed and I did. I simply put Why? In the subject line and then asked why and how this can be reversed in the main body of the form. I submitted this and within a few minutes received an automatic email that told me I had been suspended and that the account would be deleted. No further details as to why.

There was a small sentence at the bottom however that said if you disagree with this decision please reply to this email and say you disagree and that we should not suspend and delete your account and we will review it again.

Obviously I diligently did this and then just had to wait.

In the meantime I had contacted Pauline at Floriizel Media and asked if she had come across this before and what were the ways out of this. Pauline suggested all the things she had experienced and I explained what I had already done. Between us we thought that was all we could do and the wait was on to see if Twitter would reinstate the account. Pauline also noted that another account I had @Invitebiznet was also suspended. Now I was feeling victimised.

You guessed it I had to go through the same procedure for that Twitter account and wait and hope that Twitter would reinstate it. I had Googled in the meantime to see if there was a surge of accounts being suspended and maybe Twitter had a problem out there and was trying to keep it quiet. I found nothing significant.

I waited and checked occasionally; nothing.

Then on Saturday I checked during the day and as if by magic both accounts were back up and running as if nothing had happened. No email of explanation, so I am as much in the dark as I was at the beginning. There are loads of articles on Google about how not to get suspended, but I have been doing nothing out of the ordinary and felt that I had broken no rules as far as I was aware.

The lack of explanation from Twitter I think is the most alarming thing and shows a complete lack of customer care and service.

So be aware and I guess keep pestering until they put it right again. Of course, unless you are breaking the rules, then simply stop.

Ian Thomson
Founder/Senior Trainer/Consultant
IT Turning Point
www.itturningpoint.com