Every employee can impact your companies image

granite-hardwoodsLOGOThis is a bit of a rant, but I’m going to do it anyway. I drive a lot for my job. I spend endless hours on the road driving between client locations. I often have my iPhone on the dash where it gets better reception and use bluetooth for calls and even have it plugged into my car stereo via one of those junky tape deck adapters so I can listen to music, Podcasts, or more recently streaming Podcasts via Stitcher (which in my opinion is one of the killer iPhone apps).  It’s also very handy for snapping photos of interesting things you see on the side of the road.
This morning, I was driving from Raleigh, NC up to Blacksburg, VA where I’ll be spending the week for work.  I got off I-81 to fill up my car and when I was getting back on, I had a small altercation with a semi-truck driver. It was a typical entrance ramp on the right and as I was coming down the ramp a big rig, who was accelerating, got up close to the van in front of him in the right lane, making it impossible for me to merge. I am a pretty safe driver, so I slowed down almost to a stop and eventually was able to get in the right lane, but I was already in the gravel.
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Online video viewing growing exponentially … duh

1video-footage_id1907591_size450According to this article from US Telecom, online video viewing is growing leaps and bounds. With 74% of broadband users downloading or watching videos online.  The article is based upon two studies from Pew and the American Life Project.
What’s amazing about the numbers is that 15% more adults are watching online videos than using social networking sites. Another number that’s amazing is the “near-universal” use by 18-29 year olds (old media beware).
I work with a lot of communities who still think that “broadband” is just high-speed internet and nothing more (which granted, all this online video viewing is occurring over today’s broadband). I often coach them on the fact that broadband will deliver all of your telecom services in the future including services we don’t even know about yet as well as those we do (like cable TV, telephone, etc.).  As more and more folks experience video online, they will pressure their local community leaders to become active in promoting broadband availability and broadband adoption so that they can experience the same services that those of us who live in more urban or suburban areas do.
Personally, I watch videos on my TV over Netflix from my Tivo, but also have a MythTV computer acting as a video server where I have ripped most of my DVDs and downloaded (mostly legal) videos.  I also watch plenty of youtube, google video and plenty of old media sites (like comedy central).
If you don’t have broadband, why not?  Is it too expensive or is it not available?  If it’s not available, contact your local elected officials and ask what they are doing to bring broadband to your area. It’s not just for browsing the web anymore and has serious economic development impacts on your locality.

Blogs, Social Networking, Twitter, etc…

My boss and I were talking recently about blogs, the Internet, Social Networking (Social Media), Twitter, and the like.  He brought up some statistic about blogs that I found interesting.  That only 5% of blogs have been updated in the past 120 days (according to a New York Times blog entry from June).  He considers himself one of the early bloggers and has had a blog since the dinosaurs. He regularly updates it (at least once per week but sometimes as frequently as dozen times per month) and has many opinions about the value of bloggers and blogs in general.  I’m not going to go into that, but he can on his blog if he so chooses.
It got me to thinking about my own blog and the fact that it’s not something I update regularly. I sort of go through spurts where I’ll write blog entries a few times per week and other times where I either can’t think of a topic or I have bloggers block  I just don’t want to blog on topics that may be on my mind.
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Remove my Twitter Tools tweets from my main blog page

twitter-128x128It’s been a long time since I posted a blog entry.  Chalk it up to being super busy at work, selling our home, preparing to move, and spring.  I noticed that my the main page of my blog was top heavy with the weekly tweets posted by from the Twitter Tools plugin.  Why do I have my tweets show up on my blog?  No particular reason, but I figured that it sounded like a good social networking thing to do.
As it was looking like my blog consisted of nothing but tweets, I wanted to hide my weekly tweet posts (from Twitter Tools) from my main blog page. I still wanted them available for search engines, or if someone just wants to see my tweetroll (hey baby … want to see my tweetroll?) (did I just coin a new word? – A google search indicates I did not).
After poking around on google and the WordPress site, I figured out a pretty easy way to do what I wanted.
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Old school veterinary medicine and web2.0?

veterinary-symbolSomeone I am very close to was recently writing an article for a professional journal for veterinarian medicine. She asked me to proof read the article, but was unhappy with my recommendations and suggestions. The topic of the article was the Internet and veterinarian medicine. She presented a couple of angles on the potential uses and misuses of the Internet by veterinarians but failed to mention web2.0, social networking, social media, and viral marketing.
She asked that I help her with some changes, but when I started making suggestions she was reluctant to include my changes in her article because the audience had never heard of “web2.0” and were more concerned with the loss of prescriptions as a profit center to 1800petmeds.com.
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Online book swapping, the Internet's Used Bookstore

8_bookstoreMy wife and I are planning on moving in the next few months. We’ve started to empty out the basement and have successfully gotten rid of stuff (and made money at it too) on eBay and Craig’s List. We also started going through the various book shelves in our house and deciding what to keep (i.e. pay someone to haul across the country) and what not to keep.
I’ve had a crate of used paperback and hardback books in the basement for months. When friends come over, we offer them any book in the crate that they want free of charge just to get it off our hands. We don’t have a local used bookstore so we were going to toss them if we couldn’t pass them on. We are trying to be environmentally friendly and were loathe to put the stuff in the trash so we have identified ways to recycle them (our local recycle pickup will accept paperback books and the local YMCA will take old text books and hardback books). However, even that just seemed wasteful.
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Facebook changes content rights

fbFacebook, the social network of social networks, recently changed it’s data retention policies by changing it’s terms of service. They basically have modified the data retention policy for deleted accounts.
I love Facebook.  It’s a great way for me to keep in touch with friends and for me to let them know what I’m up to and vice versa. In fact, it’s let me get in touch with friends from Elementary and High School which I haven’t even thought of for decades. However, their privacy policy has left much to be desired. I am not a privacy nut. I have a blog, twitter account, personal web pages, use Google and Amazon (another topic all together). However, the type of data that Facebook is collecting is a bit scary, even for me.
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Tweet Tweet


Twitter is all the rage.  Is it the next facebook?  The next version of social networking?  Social network without wiress?
I created a twitter feed.  You can follow me here, or you can simply text “follow sidboswell” to 40404.  You’ll be requested to respond with a username and you’re off.
Twitter is like a combination of SMS (texting) and facebook. The basic question is “what are you doing now.”  That can only get you so far. Do I really need to know that my friends are cooking bacon or driving to work. Is that valueable?
Rather, use clever updates to your twitter feed. Consider it a micro-blog. Follow some others that you find interesting and respond to them (using the @username command). I can think of 100 utilities for twitter, but for now, I’m going to stick with the social side of things. When I’ve mastered that, I may try some utilitiarian tasks in my professional life.
Until then…..