Thursday 27 January 2011

Thought Picnic: I am available, let's talk

What I have to give

Each time I have the opportunity to return to the market at the end of a project I wonder about what it is I can give to those that could use my skills.

My skills acquired over 22 or so years of working in IT, maybe skills of a lifetime too because a good deal of how I project myself comes from everything that makes the person that I am.

Behind the façade of assuredness about ones abilities lays a niggling concern about relevance, you read the job offers and measure yourself against the requirement wondering if you do match them or you are extending yourself beyond your capabilities.

I am able

Now, I believe I have always risen to the challenges in terms of projects or problems put my way for solutions or innovative ideas.

The whole workshop of my expertise is brought to bear in crafting the concept, the process, the workflow, the solution and the implementation giving due consideration to maintaining operational effectiveness whilst improving the environment.

However, I have somehow been unable to put that level of passion into my marketing literature, my curriculum vitae shows so much but probably does not reveal enough about my usefulness.

Looking further afield

In some cases, I tap my resource of professional contacts built over the years who have been my source of jobs in the last 15 years, but in tougher times, the net has to widen to include new contacts and people who hardly know what I can do and probably may never appreciate that who they are getting is a lot more than what they are seeing.

Sometimes I feel I am a man of many abilities without a coherent channel of expression, it becomes a bother gnawing at my confidence and contributing to my sense of uncertainty.

Yet, I believe, things would turn out right, I just have to keep letting people know I can bring something valuable to the table and it would be of use, worthwhile and of good quality helping their organisation be better at what they do.

Maybe it is also time to begin something anew, my ideas of what makes for the conversion of crazy ideas into viable solutions – that is a process towards avoiding irrelevance.

In any case, I am ready for a new job, can we talk?


LinkedIn Profile

Monday 17 January 2011

Facebook: Close your freak show to the voyeurs

What Facebook is up to

If you do not understand Facebook by now, it has placed a bet and you had better get ready to fold, bluff or show your hand, the way you play the game is not dependent on Facebook but you.

The news now is that Facebook is now revealing personal details [1] like your phone number and home address to developers.

That means if you have not tightened the security on your Facebook profile, that information can be extracted by applications and tools that are seeking that kind of information about you.

It is like being clothed and having a body scanner seeing through your clothes to see what you have concealed on your person inviting the curiosity of security to give you a hand job – sorry, the polite term is a pat down.

However, if you are concealing nothing on your person, there is no need for a pat down, you pass through the system, offer the viewer the barest titillation and you are on your way.


In other words, regardless of how computer savvy you think you are, why are such details on your Facebook profile?

Why does your home address have to be on Facebook? Friends who know you probably have your address, if they don’t they can ask and you have through one single transaction of a telephone call, a text message or an email send your address to them.

There is just no particular reason for your address to be in your Facebook profile, even you were suffering from amnesia and needed an aide memoir for your home address, Facebook does not by the most incredulous stretch of the imagination qualify to be the repository of that standard of personal information.

The question still is why?

The same goes for your phone number; I had a private message exchange with a friend the other day when I wanted to share my phone number. It was just between me and him, I could after sending that message and he calling me delete the message

It was a private information (message) that is stored on Facebook servers, probably retrievable by Facebook but should by no means to shared by Facebook with anyone else.

Following the standard set by Twitter, if authorities make a sealed request for that information, they should seek to reveal that request to me allowing for me to challenge that request in the courts if I feel that disposed.

Just because your life, your views and your pictures are on Facebook does not mean your home address or phone numbers should be on Facebook. I would hope if you published the pictures of your car, you will blank out the license plate number too.

An empty safe eliminates the threat

Just as an empty safe opened to that view of a robber satisfies the robber of its emptiness, if you do not fill that information in on your Facebook profile; by that, I mean your home address, your phone number or any other distinguishing information as your birthdate, your hometown, your current location and so on, developers cannot suddenly have that information to play with and reveal to others.

The circumlocutory argument I am making here is you are primarily responsible first for what you put on Facebook, if you do not put it on Facebook, Facebook cannot use it or abuse it as it shifts the goal posts of security seeking to create business opportunity for itself at your expense and folly.

If it’s about, it gets out

So, you can go into your profile now and start to remove the unnecessary personal information you are sharing like an exhibitionist offering a freak show to leering voyeurs who are ogling with glee free of charge and having a laugh, pimping you off to others of that ilk whilst you think you are all safe in your version of the proverbial emperor’s new clothes.

If in doubt, leave it out, if it’s about it does get out, the choice is yours – is your Facebook an open book for everyone to poke fun at? You are the master of your Facebook destiny, how you lay it out is how you will be seen.

Like I have said before, put on some clothes, close some windows, slam some doors shut and draw some curtains, you do deserve some privacy for your moments of intimacy, don’t you?


[1] Huffington Post | Facebook Starts Sharing Your Home Address, Phone Number With Developers

Friday 7 January 2011

Thought Picnic: C'est la vie, c'est la Facebook

Your numbers are yours

My recent blog about Facebook elicited a comment that I felt I should immediately address and draw into context.

There are probably 6.5 billion people in the world, it must be a popular place and I interact with probably not more than 5000 and that is a stretch including everyone I might have ever met.

On Facebook, there are over 500 million users; my own managed network contains a figure less than 200.

Facebook is what you make it

Facebook's popularity has no bearing on my network of friends and relations, I take out of it what is of value to me, what others do is of no particular consequence.

You make your Facebook world what you want it to be, pointless or valid; useless or useful; a waste of time or wonderful – it is a template given to you to mould to your own requirements. That is work you need to put in it, it is not handled to you bespoke and tailored to your specifications.

Off the shelf, Facebook is nothing, but once populated with your relationships, it becomes your own little Facebook corner.

C’est la vie, c’est la Facebook

There might well be a lot of fickleness on Facebook, but that is hardly what I get from those that are my real friends or those who want to engage me positively, productively and in edifying ways, I also have the option to de-friend another who comes into my space fouling up the ambience I am trying to create and maintain.

There is also a lot of fickleness in real life but you make your value judgements and gravitate towards the more wholesome interactions whilst giving little time to those who want to waste it.

Indeed, one can easily begin to look at Facebook as some phenomenon in the context of everyone there but why should that have any bearing on your particular circle of relationships, you are not everyone and everyone is not you.

My own little Facebook world

I do not link initiate link-ups with people I hardly know, I am interested in being seen in the social circle of presidents, CEOs or gurus of snake-oil remedies for life, which is not what Facebook is for in my view.

With Facebook, I have re-established contact with long lost friends, relations, people and situations, just as I have established contact with like-minded people I would never have met in other circumstances – just as airplanes have made the world a smaller place through making travel easy and fast, Facebook allows you to create a more global community for sharing views and ideas, engendering discussion and useful conversation.

Online networks are part of you today

I have seen great value in my many networks, through LinkedIn that has helped me professional, my blogs where people have followed my thoughts and views or even empathised with me in very trying times, on Twitter where a quip or thought just crystallises a situation and could generate interesting interactions and now Facebook where management and control is very much in your hands to work it effectively or mismanage it and consequently it yields no pleasure.

Now, my view of Facebook and my Facebook personality cannot be extrapolated to help people see it the way I see it, I am just having fun with it, I hope everyone else can have just as much fun.

Humanity is being expressed in person and online, the train is leaving town, even if you do not have a ticket, you should be on that train.

Thought Picnic: It is happening on Facebook

It is happening on Facebook

There is a discussion happening on Facebook that you have to be a part of, in fact, there are many discussions that do not appear on blogs, on Twitter or in the news but it is wholesome, interesting and engaging.

I joined Facebook just over a year ago after years of taking the media reviews of it being fickle, feckless and hardly rewarding.

More so, we are told it is inherently evil, every missing person, abused person or unfortunate victim of crimes, some as heinous as rape or murder appears to have some Facebook assailant.

You manage your Facebook

The problem is really not Facebook, you can have as many friends as you want on Facebook; a good many you will know from all walks of life and others would just latch onto you, however, you can clearly choose what you want to share and with whom, primarily by making lists and managing permissions to your content by lists.

Very personal and private information should only be shared with those you know, in fact, the people you really know probably have other means of contacting you and it is best to use those channels than Facebook messaging.

If you properly compartmentalise the wealth of information you share on Facebook, distinguishing between the groups of people you meet just as you do not get too familiar with strange and unfamiliar people in real life, you should be generally safe.

You manage your Facebook, do not let it manage you, you have the right to click Cancel, click No, click Ignore, click Later, you do not have to click OK, Proceed, Accept, Allow – DO NOT feel compelled to do anything and do not let your curiosity get the better of you; you can wait until you have acquired more knowledge about a setting or situation before proceeding – a simple Google search could give you a general risk profile of the option.

Boxing your friends

The groups you can manage range from parents – these might include other relations with whom certain levels of openness have not been established; relations – these might be cousins and many others removed who you have grown to know through the relationships established through your parents.

Friends – you probably want to separate your current friends from those you have long lost contact with and these might well be different from another group or supposed friends; ex-schoolmates – ranging from those you met in primary school who would be quite different from those you met in secondary school and ultimately different from those you met in college or university.

Each set of friends probably know different things about you and you either want them to collide or you manage their access to your details.

There are levels of granularity of access to information that Facebook offers from who can see what like your birthday and age, who can send you messages, you can update your statuses, where you want to get notifications from and so on.

Acquaintances may be fans not friends

You do have to take your time to put the people in your life in the right context of relationship they have with you, you will probably be uncomfortable with people you barely know being all too familiar with you and that brings us to another group of Facebook befrienders – acquaintances – people you hardly know but have networked themselves to you through other contacts; if in doubt, ignore them, if you must do due diligence, ask one of your other closer friends about them.

You can also acquire friends through their interest in what you have been saying on Facebook and since it is difficult to make the distinction of those being fans rather than your friends, they are probably the ones you do not want to share your photo albums with and other intimate information you have shared on Facebook.

Keep true but manage it

Facebook has a tendency to draw out all your interests, likes and peeves than create relationships borne of those choices, just remember that everything you put in Facebook becomes a reference data point for analysis and suggestion – in most cases; you probably do not want to put those things online.

Obviously, you do not want to be an Internet schizophrenic, you want to maintain one true identity about yourself based on fact and truth or else you are left with the unmanageable portfolio of lies told to different people at different times with the impossibility of keeping track of who have been give what information and when.

Think about if you are being extrovert, an exhibitionist or a subject for voyeurism; think about why you are sharing what you are sharing and with whom; think about retaining a bit of mystery about yourself – think about the situation where your history is in the mouth and words of others completely out of your control, think about the need to be a bit reserved and exercising some discretion and Facebook could be great fun rather than a tragedy waiting to happen.

Get on Facebook but you do not have to join the bandwagon or be part of the crowd, make it unique and culture it well.