Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

(January 07, 2008) The commoditization of friendship is just the next step in the development of prime real estate on the word wide web. Do you remember when ‘community’ meant a place with buildings and people or at least a sense of belonging? Can you recall talent pipelines full of people not data?

Language has not kept pace with the changes that come from and through technology.  The relentless marketing machine dumbs down experience in order to standardize terminology. It’s how strip mining works in cyberspace.

You might trace it back to the Clintons. Remember “Friends of Bill”? That was the term of endearment for the world’s largest (at the time) political Rolodex. Friends of Bill paid small fortunes to attend  Renaissance Weekends. Being a friend, in theis context, was more important than actually knowing Mr. Clinton.

Recently, I asked a fellow who I’ve met a couple of times, swapped email with a couple of times and am generally aware of in the industry to be my friend on Facebook.

He said:

Hey John,are we “friends” ?i know we “know” of each other virtually … but i was actually going to try and limit my facebook to people I actually converse with 1:1
wanna start that ?

I replied

I went to bed wondering about the same thing last night. I really value words/concepts like friend, network and community. They are getting sliced really thin. Community means mailing list. Network means database. Friend means record.I don’t particularly like it.Have you noticed, though, that there’s an interesting new category? I think of it as people who are aware of each other and should be friends?

If we needed to talk to each other, we just would. No intermediaries or networking required.

That’s what I meant when I sent you the invite on Facebook. We’ve known of each other a long time and would most likely pick up the phone if the other called. The difference is as simple as I’m responding to your concern rather than going “okay” and hitting the enter button.

That may be too thinly sliced for your tastes.

If I’m beyond your cutline, that makes perfect sense to me.

However you decide, it might be interesting for us to have a deeper conversation about the implications and limits of friendship online in various settings.

Is one setting different from another in Profound ways? (Can you have 89 Million connections on Linked in and 3 friends on Facebook with a straight face? Why?

Do the differences in setting make a difference in Recruiting technique, reach or research results?

Like that.

Thanks for provoking my thinking another notch and good luck.

What do you think?

John Sumser. – © 2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA


(January 03, 2008) I have been experimenting.

In 1993, I was working as the Executive Director and Editor for the Point Foundation in Sausalito. Point was the non-profit founded by Stewart Brand that ‘owned’ the Well, the Whole Earth Catalog and the Whole Earth Review (a quarterly magazine). It was the job of my dreams

The offices were on the docks. It was a very unlikely place to be ground zero for anything. Imagine a big grimy garage full of smart, independent visionaries. Imagine a complete lack of funding. Imagine a place where the only fertilizer for a new idea was the idea itself.

One day, a fellow who worked for the Well walked into my office with his Mac Laptop in hand. “You’ve got to see this, John.” He had installed a copy of a software tool called XMosaic, fresh from the labs in Switzerland. It was one of the first copies of the original browser in the United States (like maybe there were two or three others).

He showed me a “home page”. If I remember correctly, it was by a guy in Japan. “John, we have to build a home page for the Point  Foundation,” he pleaded.

With all of the wisdom I could muster, I looked him dead in the eye and said, “Who would ever want one of those?”

The point of the story is that it’s possible to miss the future when you are staring right at it. After a couple of days of experimenting with Facebook, I am reasonably convinced that I made the same sort of mistake again. While Jobster was colonizing Face-space right under my nose, I was able to avoid giving the tool a fair try for nearly a year.

The good news here is that the mainstream recruiting industry and enterprise software vendors will take the usual five years to begin to adopt the new technology.

Facebook is other than I imagined. Everything I heard about sex was different than sex. Facebook is like that, too.

This morning, I received a gift from Chris Russell. Last night, I began working on prototypes for the Recruiting Roadshow logo. I like to have something in hand when I talk to the graphics people. I uploaded my experiments into an album. Chris saw what I was doing (we’re friends on Facebook) and had a few spare creative cycles. So he made and sent me an alternative version of the logo.

Facebook allows a kind of collaborative work that I haven’t seen anywhere before. More tomorrow.

John Sumser. – © 2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA