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The Sad State of Friendship

As Brian and his wife wandered off toward the No. 2 train afterward, it crossed my mind that he was the kind of guy who might have ended up a groomsman at my wedding if we had met in college.

That was four years ago. We’ve seen each other four times since. We are “friends,” but not quite friends. We keep trying to get over the hump, but life gets in the way.

Our story is not unusual. In your 30s and 40s, plenty of new people enter your life, through work, children’s play dates and, of course, Facebook. But actual close friends — the kind you make in college, the kind you call in a crisis — those are in shorter supply.

As people approach midlife, the days of youthful exploration, when life felt like one big blind date, are fading. Schedules compress, priorities change and people often become pickier in what they want in their friends.

No matter how many friends you make, a sense of fatalism can creep in: the period for making B.F.F.’s, the way you did in your teens or early 20s, is pretty much over. It’s time to resign yourself to situational friends: K.O.F.’s (kind of friends) — for now…

As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.

Via Friends of a Certain Age

Networking for the Win

Too many people fail at the followup, IMHO.

1. Press the flesh.

The core to networking is meeting people face to face. Except for rare occasions, such as long-distance online romances, all the friends and business colleagues that we trust we’ve met in person. If you think you can be an effective networker solely by engaging in social media, you’re sorely wrong. You have to get out and press the flesh.

4. Always follow up.

This is the core of all networking: following up. If you don’t do it, you might as well never have met the person. I would estimate that one out of 20 people I hand my business card to follows up. Collecting business cards without following up is a wasted engagement. It only takes days for the person to completely forget meeting you. If you follow up with some level of context of your meeting it increases the value and impact of the meeting. To remember that meeting, take notes on the business card.

When you do follow up, be specific about your follow up. Don’t just say, “Nice to have met you,” or, “We should meet for coffee sometime,” because that now puts the onus on the other person to set up the meeting and discuss its purpose. That’s quite a burden. If you want that to happen, you need to set the place, time, and purpose of the discussion.

7. Listen.

Yes, it’s good to be directed about what you’re doing and have focus, but you’ll be a far more effective networker and make better connections if you simply listen to others. If someone else isn’t as much a talker as you are, then ask questions. Pull them out of their shell; that will let you to listen to them. Networking is not an opportunity for you to spout out marketing copy that you hope someone else will absorb. Your job is to listen and create a relationship first.

Via 10 networking tactics that most people screw up

The Platonic Version of the News Tweet

Steadiness — compelling news expressed in straightforward, not hyperbolic, language — is actually a component of maximally shareable content, the algorithm suggests. And this particular tweet is also sent from a credible source, The New York Times, which makes it extra-spreadable. It’s about technology, the most popular, shareable category of news story. It’s engaging without being insistent. And it stars a company — Apple — with high name recognition.

The algorithm comes courtesy of a fascinating paper [pdf] from UCLA and Hewlett-Packard’s HP Labs. The researchers Roja Bandari, Sitram Asur, and Bernardo Huberman teamed up to try to predict the popularity — which is to say, the spreadability — of news articles in the social space…

To develop their algorithm, the researchers hypothesized that four factors would determine an article’s social success:

    • The news source that creates and publishes the article
    • The category of news the article belongs to (technology, health, sports)
    • Whether the language in the article was emotional or objective
    • Whether celebrities, famous brands, or other notable institutions are mentioned

Via Why the World’s Most Perfect News Tweet Is Kind of Boring

Hi, My Name is Lisa…

The Ideal Elevator Pitch

A successful elevator pitch must:

  1. Grab the attention
  2. Lay out a solution
  3. Adjust to the audience
  4. Demand Action

 

The Future is Here

How do I cite a tweet?

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You

1. Your time in fraternity basements was well spent. The same goes for the time you spent playing intramural sports, working on the school newspaper or just hanging with friends. Research tells us that one of the most important causal factors associated with happiness and well-being is your meaningful connections with other human beings. Look around today. Certainly one benchmark of your postgraduation success should be how many of these people are still your close friends in 10 or 20 years.

2. Some of your worst days lie ahead. Graduation is a happy day. But my job is to tell you that if you are going to do anything worthwhile, you will face periods of grinding self-doubt and failure. Be prepared to work through them. I’ll spare you my personal details, other than to say that one year after college graduation I had no job, less than $500 in assets, and I was living with an elderly retired couple. The only difference between when I graduated and today is that now no one can afford to retire.

Trust Needs to be a Two Way Street

Jeff Bullas writes a great article with 7 Reasons Why Companies Should Blog.

  1. It helps your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as Google loves new content!
  2. You can engage and understand your customers better.
  3. You are seen as an expert in your field, a ” Thought Leader”
  4. Great new content gives people a reason to keep coming back to your site.
  5. Blogs are a much more trusted source than companies press releases and official company PR.
  6. It moves customers to a conversion point where enough trust is created for people to take the next step and buy.
  7. By writing you are learning.

Fantastic list.  However, I’d modify reason 2 to read, “You can engage and understand your customers better.  & vice versa.”  As a customer I want to engage and understand your company better by being able to ask questions & offer feedback.  Show me that you want my input, not just ear.  User experience is so important.  This type of two way street is the is the strongest way to bullet point 6: Moving  customers “to a conversion point where enough trust is created for people to take the next step and buy”.

Once your company has decided to blog, what functions and features should a blog include?

After stellar content, definitely give users a way to share that content via share buttons from the following:

  • Digg (Over 20 million  people visit this site every month)
  • Reddit (Alexa rank of 664 and a Google page rank of 8.. this means one of the top sites in the world with a large number of inbound links and over 6 million unique visitors a month)
  • Delicious (nearly 2 Million unique visitors per month)
  • Stumbleupon (over 5 million unique visitors a month)
  • Facebook ( over 250 Million subscribers)
  • Twitter (No 2 Social Media site and is monitored by search engines and becoming more important for SEO)