flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘social media

Migrating from WordPress.com to self-hosted

My overall goal here is to organize my online assets and my specific goal right now is to move my 2 year old blog from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress blog on Dreamhost.  Though self-hosting costs a monthly fee and takes more maintenance, self-hosting allows me to control the theme, get Google Analytics and use advertisements.

So far, I have completed these steps

  • I bought a domain name, jojordan.org
  • I made a neat frontend for my domain using Posterous and connected it to the domain name that is housed at Dreamhost
  • I set up a sub-domain on Dreamhost flowingmotion.wordpress.om
  • I used Dreamhost’s one One Click install to set up WordPress including an admin account
  • I zipped a theme that I had edited on my local host version of WordPress and tested it on a dummy account

Uploading a theme

Now I am ready to import my own theme to my self-hosted version of WordPress.

I don’t need to login into Dreamhost.  I simply go to my browser and type in the address of my blog:  http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org/wp-admin and login in as admin (not me).

Now I can go to Appearance in left side bar and Add Theme.  I use Upload and Browse to upload the them from my hard drive.  Activate. Check. Done!

Setting up permalinks

Now the last task before I come to get the content here is to match the permalink style on my self-hosted blog to the style here.  If I don’t do that, then the post titles are going to get scribbled and people won’t be able to follow old links and bookmarks to find the posts.  I may as well leave them behind, in other words.

To prep the permalinks, I look at the bottom of the left sidebar, choose Settings/permalinks, and and choose the 2nd option, day and name.  Check they are same as usual.

Ready to import content

Now if I am right, I am ready to import content.  I will come to my hosted blog, go to dashboard and export all the content to my hard drive.  This usually trips up over size and timing.   As can never remember what I wrote, I will write it down this time and make post 5 in this series!

But that will be from the new blog!  See you on the other side!

Neat and tidy Posterous

I use a (free) Posterous blog as a tidy frontend to “serve” my CV at the end of emails and so on.  Here it is jojordan.org.

Redirect a Posterous blog to your own domain name

First, of course, you must buy a domain name.  Once you’ve done that, you will need to direct your Posterous blog to the domain name.

(PS You can buy a domain name through Posterous .  I didn’t; but it looks possible.)

Dreamhost

I bought my Domain name through Dreamhost and I intend to keep other assets on their computers, that is, use them to host some of my online assets.

“Redirecting” my Posterous account to Dreamost

My Posterous account will stay on the Posterous computer though.  But I want people who look for jojordan.org to be redirected there without them having to do anything extra.

The word “redirecting” is confusing, because it suggests the Posterous blog moves over to Dreamhost.  The opposite happens.  People looking for my Posterous blog will be sent by the world-wide internet system to Dreamhost who will redirect them, without them even noticing, to Posterous.

Settings on Dreamhost to “redirect” my visitors to Posterous

To setup Dreamhost to perform this magic redirection, you need to login in to Dreamhost and look in the left sidebar.  Pick manage domains.  Choose the domain that you will be linking to Posterous.  Then choose DNS.  You will get a wider screen. In the middle is the following information.

Copy the settings.  The numbers  in the second last line is the IP address of Posterous.  You will use your domain name throughout, of course, not mine.  The CNAME setting has the effect of allowing people to type your domain name without the www and finding you nonetheless.

Posterous settings

On the Posterous side, all you have to do is login, go to Manage (top menu bar), choose settings (tab one-third down) and type in your domain name.  It all looks like this.

The link up will take at least 30 minutes (the world wide web is a physically big place!).  Beware too, that once Posterous is directing to your domain name, if you break the Dreamhost side you won’t be able to get into Posterous because the WWW will still redirect anyone looking for http://yourblogname.posterous.com  to the domain at Dreamhost.  You are effectively locked out!  So remember to disconnect the Posterous end before you fiddle!

Problems

Let me know if you have any problems and I’ll adjust these instructions.  It’s sometime since I did this; though I did manage to lock myself out of Posterous today.  I got back in again with a bit of Googling and reading so, all good.  Patience and tolerance of geeky English and it comes together.

Social Media Fatigue

Earlier this week, Umair Haque wrote of his growing despondency with social media. It’s not an uncommon sentiment.  People are learning that social media is a tool that allows us to work and organize in novel ways.  It is not a panacea for all societal ills.  Indeed, like all tools, social media amplifies evil as easily as it amplifies good.

What is social media exactly?

Adrian Chan of Gravity7 sums up the issues better than I can and in suitably formal language.

Social media  “facilitates asynchronous communication between people whose mutual connectedness online can make them present to one another in a fashion that transcends the limitations of physical co-presence. And which, for its capture and storage of that communication in the form of a digital textual artifact, renders this communication in a way that, within the medium only, lends it some persistence and durability. All of which leaves behind content for later use, re-use, recontextualization, and what have you. That’s what it’s good at: mediated communication and interaction.”

In plain language, this means.
  • Social media allows us to talk more easily to more people than we can by phone, email or in person.
  • Our connection online allows us to work on projects together.
  • Social media keeps record of our communication with little effort on our part.
  • We can remix our communication for other purposes.
Social media is just a tool of communication that allows us to interact through digital media.  No more or less.

Why I am fascinated by social media

It’s what we do with social media that is interesting.  And for me, anyway, it is the possibility of ‘pull’ models that is interesting.

But just because we can do interesting things doesn’t mean to say that we do.  Nor does the presence of boring things stop us doing interesting things ~ well not so far.   It is not like work where you can be forced to do dull, useless things all day long.

That is why I am interested – the potential of organization structures that are vigorous and successful yet do not require people to do dull useless things all day long.

How, of course, are organizations that require us to do dull useless things profitable, we might ask.  Dull we know about.  Jobs were divided into small parts and done repeatedly to produce uniform products at speed.  We get MacDonalds.  Not all bad, but not fine food either.

Useless comes when the food value of a hamburger is no longer food.  How does that come about?  By what is known as “rents”.  The system allows people with vested interests to impose exploitative relationships.  Social media won’t make that stop.  We would all like to impose rents.  We plan to.  We aim to.

But social media make it possible to create new business models that don’t have to pay those rents.  That’s why so many institutions are coming under pressure.

Who will win or lose remains to be seen.  That’s the entertainment of the teen years of the 21st century.  What undermines ‘rents’?  How do ‘rent-seekers’ respond when their rents are undermined?  How does the battle play out?

The rent-seekers can still win.  This is an open-ended story.  We have to wait to the end to find out.

My blog as my whiteboard

Welcome.  This is my personal whiteboard where I jot down thoughts and notes as I read things around the net and make sense of what is happening in the world of work and social media as we race through the 21st century.

Positive psychology

A psychologist by training, I follow the rise of the positive movement.  Many people think positive psychology is just a surge ‘touchy-feeling’ gush that matters little in the world of hard-knocks.  Certainly, I have some reservations about the political stance, and even ethics, of some positive psychologists who appear to willing to serve the ‘haves’ and to leave the ‘have-nots’ to the protocols of self-help.

I also have some reservations about the self-proclaimed scientific or evidence-based approach which depends up on linear models and ‘positivism’ and a methodology that outsources reality and morality to forces outside our control.   Proclaiming this position while stating the ‘have-nots’ are responsible for their well-being appears to me a double-bind.  I am still to meet a positive psychologist who will engage in this debate.

Positive psychology and social media

The positive movement is far more than these reservations though and we ‘should not throw the baby out with the bath water.’  The positive movement is also the bedrock of the new networked age ushered in by the internet and more urgently by the readwrite, two-way, 2.0, or social media, the media where we communicate laterally.

In this field too, a big question is whether we are going to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Here the ‘baby’ is the command-and-control structures in the world of work.

The future of work

The world of work is not a world of positivist science, much as many of my colleagues in science try to claim. It is a world that we have made. To use Dan Pink’s words, the world of work is akin to a TV set. Our workplace procedures are a bundle of ideas that allow us to create particular solutions for a specific age.  As our circumstances change, so do our solutions.

Nonetheless, habits die hard and for that reason many methods of work will not change until there are no ‘takers’ in the community.  Working methods will survive for many reasons and in different forms, just as The Worshipful Company of Pewterers, for example, survives as a charitable organization run by descendants of pewterers and supports medical research and inner city schools and those few people still earning their living through pewter.

Changes in work that we can count on

So bearing mind that work is a matter of culture that has quite different dyanamics from high school experiments in physics, we can look at changes that are taking place in the world of work for heuristics, that is, ideas about how to run our own affairs.

For anyone well versed in management history, they know that a management system must create value.  In simple terms, the value produced by management must exceed the cost – and by a large margin.  When we are destroying value, we must go, because when we cost more than marginal value that we add to a firm, the direct producers are better off without us.

BPR, business process re-engineering, and Toyota methods of management, despite its current troubles, have already shown us how to use computers to simplify processes within an organization and between organizations and to significantly enhance our ability to deliver better products and services more reliably and less expensively.  At best, management work changes. In many instances, management work disappears.  The structure of organizations changes.  No longer does communication go up-and-down the organization.  It goes across and out.  This is not a trivial change.  It is not a matter of putting in computers.  It is a matter of taking out the cost of management.

Social media has stepped up our potential to deliver quickly to an entirely new level.  Transaction costs in many industries have plummeted and entire industries, like journalism, are about to be made redundant. Social media has changed our relationships with each other within industries and organizations.

It is no mean change that news is transmitted around the world via cell phone cameras and Twitter.  Nor is it any mean change that students can pull up HSBC on Facebook for unilaterally changing their contracts.

Yes, we will resist some changes – because we like the way we do things.  But we will probably pay dearly for that resistance.

Guessing at the other changes in  work

What is more interesting to me and the bloggers I follow is how do these new organizations work?  What opportunities do they offer?  How can we see ahead so that our actions today are relevant to our choices of tomorrow?

  • So I follow social media closely and I encourage people to acquire social media skills and experience.
  • I write up examples of social media in the world of work and business.
  • And I drill down to the principles and rules-of-thumb that we use to bundle up the solutions, the TVsets, that are working organizations and fun and viable businesses.

The positive movement and the future of work

The positive movement is part of this great wave of change. We have five basic principles that are phrased one way or another but go generally like this.

#1 This is our story

We are trying to jettison the pseudo-scientific language and management-speak and  we trying to learn to speak in terms of the hopes and dreams of the people around us. Narratives, hero’s journeys, poetry and snappy engaging talks are the mode of our time.  We encourage people to talk in their own voice.  In the social media world, we counsel against using false persona’s on Twitter, Facebook, etc.  He or she swho speaks must have the authority and experience to hold the conversation.

#2  Each of us is important

We recognize that each of us is our own hero and we have our own journeys.  Yet our own journey is also a journey of relationships. Much of leadership is hearing and understanding the journeys of people around us and finding the common cause where we journey together or part of the way.

#3  Life is an open-ended adventure

We understand that life is an open-ended journey.  We don’t know where we are going or what the new day will bring.  What we do know is who we have with us and what we do well. We know our hopes and dreams.  Rather than commit to a destination into which we shoehorn ourselves and our companions, we proceed more cautiously, reviewing as we go and shaping our destination as learn. It’s like the old advice to travellers. Taking half-the-clothes and double-the-money.  We keep ourselves flexible so that we can respond to opportunities that arise along the way.

#4  We move in the direction of the questions we ask

We manage ourselves through the questions we ask.  We know we cannot do everything and decision-making takes time, attention and resources.  So we are careful about our questions and we focus on what is worth doing and we ruthlessly rule out questions that are based on fixed ideas.  We don’t waste time worrying about what has not happened.  We attend to what we want to do and the resources we have at hand, including what we do well. Point #1 converges with this idea.  Failure and disappointment makes us moody and despondent.  We watch our language and the words we use so we don’t mood-hoover our motivation and abandon our journey downhearted and dejected, we have to do some work to watch our language.  As David Whyte says, sometimes life depends upon a walk around the lake.

#5  At any minute, we like to be in control

We celebrate the active nature of human beings. We love to do.  Give us half-a-chance, we learn new skills, try things out and help others. We like situations like computer games where can jump in and try, where we can learn and go to new levels and where we can play with others. The game designer, Jane McGonigal, described our needs as urgent optimism, tight social fabric, blissful productivity, & epic meaning.

Fortunately we know a lot about the psychology of situations that allow us such an engaged and vital existence. All the information for doing and being must be stored in our heads and and organized there in coordination with the hand that writes, the eyes that see, the feet that walk.  The thinking and control must lie with us. Then we feel like a superhero. Sometimes we are. We certainly feel alive and in flow.

The general change to working style

We don’t know where the world of work is going, in detail.  But we do know the focal point of control has moved to the consumer and therefore to the front line.  We do now that patterns of communications have changed.  If you send me a message, I expect you to answer my reply and answer my questions – quickly.  We are going to judge each other on our ability to respond quickly.

Like many people I worried about quality.  There are some jobs that require more than a 30 second response.  I no longer wonder whether the changes will happen, though.  It is only a question of how.

To find me on the internet

JoJordan.org

Linkedin

Xing

@jobucks

jo at working2 dot 0 at gmail dot com

Facebook

What does it feel like to learn social media on the double?

My computer knowledge is like that old fashioned holy cheese that you never see in the shops any more.  It joins from end-to-end, and thankfully, it rests on a solid foundation of computer science, but it has holes from years where I’ve either worked with someone who was very good with computers, and they did everything, or we had little to no IT at work, and we were back to taking our work home at night or working on the back of an envelope.

So holes, I have. I know what it feels like.  But I have surrounding ‘cheese’ to guide me and some sense of the basics.

I look at people who are hastily climbing on the social media band-wagon.  And I wonder what that feels like.

How quickly can someone learn to use social media?

  • How happy are they to use a computer, or do they inherently distrust the box?
  • Do they use Google and email?
  • Do they have the first idea what to do when “everything changes”? Do they even have somebody to call when their router mysteriously stops working?
  • Do they use YouTube or Flickr?
  • Do they have their own website?
  • Do they use Skype?
  • Do they know anyone on Facebook or Twitter?
  • Do they blog or know anyone who does?
  • Have they set up a web2.0 community?

And this is on the technical/use side.  What social skills do they have?

  • When was the last time they spoke to a stranger (about something meaningful or useful)?
  • When was the last time they were surprised by a stranger or formal acquaintance?
  • Do they relate as readily to a 15 year old as to a 45 year old as to a 75 year old?
  • Do they talk easily to people of all walks of life and cultures or do they get confused?
  • When was the last time they worked in a group when they were not “in charge” or “following orders”?
  • Can they make the distinction between ‘letting things unfold’ and ‘being lazy”?
  • Do they make the distinction between stiff “politeness” and warm “courtesy”

How quickly can someone take up social media?

My own best guess is that it would be a couple of years to learn social media from a good start.   For many people making a standing-start, it might take a decade because they need to learn a whole new set of social skills.

I don’t even think training courses are sufficient.  Training is for people who have the basic ‘education’ needed to turn general skills into specific, contextual skills.

We can train a geek to set up social media and we can train a community organizer to use social media.  For a deeper understanding, and wider reach to the larger community, we need systemic change.

We need a roll out which helps change the way we do business with each other and increases the use of technology on a day-to-day basis.

Which firms will win the social media race?

I know this is a big ask.  And that is why it is a revolution.

Firms which don’t go through a big re-think are likely to be overtaken by ‘new kids on the block’ who aren’t carrying the baggage of old ways.

Individuals should just get moving using social media at home for personal business and doing community work.  Then move to socially-mediated organizations as soon as they can.

Investors will be watching.  Many are disbelieving that life is changing.  Well, I have seen that before in other contexts.  They will lose their shirts.  Early adopters, though, will not necessarily make much money but they will make a lot of contacts.

Timing is of the essence.  But as we cannot switch without skills and experience, gaining both is key to our future prosperity.

For all of us, doing ‘two’ both at once is key – continuing to make  living from the old (which will get overtaken) while investing in the new.

While the big institutions don’t manage the change, we will have  to do it ourselves – work in old organizations and socially-mediated organizations at the same time.

The cloud, work, working and the cloud

For three years now, I’ve been engrossed in the overlap between social media and work psychology.

A  memo published by Techcrunch today purporting to come from Steve Ballmer, head of Microsoft sums up the new opportunities in the cloud wonderfully simply.

Substitute “work” for “cloud” and you have the vision of work psychology.  We don’t only work with the cloud.  We work in the same way though on all dimensions.

  • The cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities
  • The cloud  learns and helps you learn, decide and take action
  • The cloud enhances your social and professional interactions
  • The cloud wants smarter devices
  • The cloud drives server advances that drive the cloud

Poets make exactly the same points.  We are shaped by our work and work is shaped by us in turn. Work is good when it actively engages with our imagination, helping it to flourish and in turn being shaped by our curiosity and innovation.

Clearly Ballmer is talking about the artifacts of the virtual world of telephone line, servers and satellites in space.  If imagination is our fifth dimension.  Then the cloud is our 6th.

Work psychologists think about work on all  dimensions: 3D, time, imagination & the cloud.

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Social media, advertising & FMCG’s

Lots of my friends in social media have been chasing what, I imagine, they see as lucrative work for advertising and media agencies. Seeking Alpha has an article today that they should read.

Seeking Alpha explains the income statement of FMCG firms.  FMCG’s, like Coca-Cola, stack them high and sell them cheap.  FMCG = fast moving consumer goods.

Collectively, FMCG’s account for 40% to 50% of the world’s advertising.

The flip side of this small fact is this.  If you are chasing advertising accounts, then you are probably chasing work with FMCG’s.  It’s worth knowing that.

The alternatives, of course, are durables and cars, which are relatively slow moving; capital intensive firms like aerospace.  There must be a 4th category.  There always is in business theory which is fond of 2×2’s.  The public sector is another.

Social media and collective purpose

Personally, I am a little more interested in social media for collective purposes – like disaster response, for example. When we compare the task of coming together to achieve something quickly with individual behavior, like grabbing a fizzy drink, we can see that social media has to be be vastly different.

Which sector are you in to and how does that affect the social media that you do?


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