LinkedIn Appreciation [en]

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of LinkedIn. And recently, I’ve been thinking about why that is the case.

When LinkedIn started out, it was really not much more than a glorified online resumé. Facebook and Twitter and blogs were much more alive, and I pretty much wrote it off (specially when French speakers were discovering it and pronouncing it leenk-euh-deen).

Since then, LinkedIn has evolved tremendously. I’ve spent some time on it recently, and I have to say the user experience has improved tremendously, the news feed is alive, and I really like the new “skill endorsements” (as opposed to “recommendations”, which usually serve to show how good you are at getting others to write nice things about you, rather than properly reflect your professional value).

LinkedIn actually managed to make these skill endorsements fun and pretty addictive. Go to a connection’s profile (here’s mine ;-)) and endorse any skill. You’ll find yourself with a box such as the ones below at the top of the page when you scroll back up.



I think this works because:

  • You are asked a very simple question: “Does Kevin know about blogging?” — yeah of course he does. Endorse.
  • Don’t know? Just hit the little cross and the problematic case (!) is replaced with a new one which you may be able to answer more easily. You don’t get stuck.
  • There is an element of “intermittent rewards” here: clicking “endorse” is satisfying, and you never know if the next question you’re going to be asked will be easy to deal with or not.
  • The skills and people you are asked to endorse are “random”, so there is little pressure to endorse all the skills of a connection, or any skill — the system gives you plausible deniability (your contact or that specific skill you didn’t endorse can simply not have showed up)
  • You are asked to endorse only a small aspect of a person’s skillset, participating in some kind of crowdsourced recommendation. It’s much less “costly” socially than a proper recommendation (not to mention cognitively lighter by a few factors of ten).

Back to why I’ve shown little interest in LinkedIn so far: I think a lot of it has to do with my status as a freelancer who

  • works a bit on the fringe of big business
  • has a very strong online presence (blog, Twitter, and Facebook, mainly)
  • has very intertwined personal and professional lives.

One of the characteristics of LinkedIn is that it is “100% professional” (quotes because, as I responded to a student yesterday, I don’t believe we are ever 100% professional; we are whole human beings who behave differently in different settings, but it’s only a matter of time until a cat photo finds its way into LinkedIn).

The “professional network” brand is reassuring for those who like to keep business and personal separate, but for those like me who don’t, it’s kind of boring. Facebook is way more fun. People are on Facebook anyway to share their cat photos, and in between a status update and a funny video, there are plenty of opportunities to bring up business. It’s part of our lives, after all.

However, this means that there is a pretty different population on LinkedIn than on Facebook. Who is your audience? Who are the people you are trying to connect to or be noticed by? Go where they are.

And even for me, I have to say it’s nice to have a chance to discover more about the professional lives of those I hang out with on Facebook. But that brings us back to the online resumé, which in itself is a pretty important thing: it means that in the age of LinkedIn, we can all be on the job market without being in job hunting mode. Before, we would polish up our CV when we felt the wind turn. Now, our LinkedIn profile is part of our online identity.

If you want to share what usefulness LinkedIn has had (or has!) for you personally, I’m interested in hearing about it — specially (but not only) if you’re a freelancer.

Quelques recommandations de lecture [fr]

[en] A bunch of books I recommend reading. Descriptions are in French, but titles are in English!

A l’occasion du premier module du cours MCMS au SAWI, j’ai brièvement présenté quelques livres qui me semblaient intéressants/pertinents aux participants. Je vous redonne la liste ici — un jour je ferai une page correcte avec mes recommandations de lecture, mais c’est un début!

Les liens sont vers parce que c’est par là qu’il faut passer en Suisse pour avoir les frais de port gratuits.

Naked Conversations: un livre qui commence à dater un peu mais qui reste néanmoins une splendide collection d’exemples d’utilisation des blogs (et des conversations en ligne) par des entreprises/organisation. Inspiration, exemples concrets, modèles à suivre (ou pas). []

The Long Tail: la longue traîne de Chris Anderson. Je ne l’ai personnellement pas encore lu (shhh, motus!) mais c’est une référence pour ce qui est de la diversification des marchés à l’heure d’internet. []

Drive: pas encore lu non plus (je l’ai commandé il y a peu), Drive est un livre sur ce qui motive les gens. J’ai parlé de Dan Pink dans Carotte et créativité ne font pas bon ménage et vous pouvez déjà regarder sa conférence TED en vidéo pour vous faire une idée. []

Predictably Irrational: ce livre, qui n’a de prime abord pas de lien direct avec les médias sociaux, fait partie de la catégorie « a changé ma façon de comprendre le monde ». On est fondamentalement manipulables, nos réactions sont irrationnelles même quand on les comprend. Qu’en faire? A lire absolument pour comprendre tout un tas de phénomènes qui sont en jeu dans le milieu « organique » en ligne. []

Everything is Miscellaneous: David Weinberger, co-auteur du Cluetrain Manifesto, explique comment s’organisent tous ces « objets numériques », dans un ordre qui va parfois à l’encontre de notre conception de ce qu’est l’organisation. Ils peuvent être à plusieurs endroits à la fois, comportent des méta-données sur lesquelles on peut effectuer des recherches, etc. Un ouvrage important pour comprendre les caractéristiques physiques du monde numérique. []

The Culture of Fear: un regard (un poil polémique et qui date un peu) sur le rôle des peurs collectives dans notre société. Il y a toujours quelque chose qui fait peur. A mon sens, ce livre est pertinent pour remettre en contexte toutes les peurs qui circulent autour des nouvelles technologies, internet, les médias sociaux, etc. []

The Myths of Innovation: huit idées préconçues sur l’innovation, exposés de manière claire avec plein d’anectodes à l’appui. (En résumé, Gutenberg ne s’est pas réveillé un matin en se disant « hmm, qu’est-ce que je vais faire aujourd’hui… Eurêka, je vais inventer l’imprimerie! ») []

L’âge de peer: un livre (en français!) sur la co-création et l’économie du monde du peer-to-peer (P2P). Le chapitre « nouveaux modèles économiques » et « nouveaux modèles de création »… []

We Are Smarter Than Me: utiliser en business le pouvoir de l’intelligence collective. Livre co-écrit en ligne avec une myriade de contributeurs. []

LeWeb'10: Tell Us Which Bloggers or Podcasters to Invite [en]

Pay attention: this stage is not about pitching yourself, it will come later (September) — this is the time to tell us who else we should not miss.

As you probably know, I’m managing blogger accreditations for LeWeb in Paris for the third time. We’ve decided to change the system slightly this year to ensure a more balanced representation of countries and linguistic groups. We’ve also decided to do away with the big deadline to request an accreditation, and will be evaluating applications on a case-by-case basis.

Basically, here’s what we’re going to do:

First, reach out to motivated and influential bloggers and podcasters in all countries and linguistic communities. We need your help for that — to identify them, and maybe also to contact them. This is what this post is about.

Second, in September, we will allow individual bloggers/podcasters to apply for an accreditation.

We have thought quite a bit about what we expect from official bloggers, as a conference, and what kind of population we want to reach and invite. Our criteria this year will be stricter. To make it clear: if you work for an industry agency or big company, your company should be paying for your ticket — unless you are primarily known as a high-profile blogger, independently of your work. But more on that in good time (September).

So, back to our plan for July: the problem with the system that we used over the last two years is that it was perfectly possible for us to end up with no blogger from country XYZ covering the conference — or no coverage in certain languages. We want to make sure that LeWeb’10 echoes beyond political and linguistic barriers.

We have a pretty good idea who the main players are in anglophone and francophone circles. However, you probably know your country or linguistic group’s bloggers or podcasters better than we do.

Here’s who we’re looking for. Official bloggers and podcasters should:

  • have a passion for content and reporting
  • commit to attending and covering the conference (it’s in English!)
  • have significant reach and influence inside their community.

Although the accreditation allows to attend the conference for free, we cannot cover expenses.

Got a few people in mind? Great! Please use this form to recommend three bloggers/podcasters from your linguistic group or country.

Thanks a lot for your help! Please tell your friends speaking other languages or from other countries to send in their recommendations too.

Not Writing, Again [en]

[fr] Clairement, un autre phase de non-écriture. Ça passera.

Another post on writing/blogging, yes, another one. I am in a “not writing” phase. I actually want to write. Ideas keep flapping around in my head. But the idea of actually disciplining myself to focus on writing about them just makes me want to hide under the covers.

I go through these phases regularly, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few months. They last for a moment, and then I get back into writing.

I haven’t yet clearly identified what sets them off and what makes them end. I know there is a vicious/virtuous circle effect involved. The less I write, the more stressful the idea of writing again becomes, because all the things I have wanted to write about — but haven’t — during the “no writing” phase have piled up in my mind, and I feel that blogging regularly again means that I have 20 posts to write, and that they all need to be long, documented, enlightening masterpieces. It’s as if the “idea of blogging” or the “idea of the blog post” grows like a weed in my mind when I’m not actually doing it, and that makes the process much more scary than it actually is.

On the positive side, I know that “blogging again” always starts with publishing a blog post or two — which is what I’m trying to kick off here. Never know.

This is a pretty boring post. My apologies.

I’ve gone down the rabbit-hole of blog-reading on Penelope Trunk’s blog. Go read her. (And follow her on Twitter if you’re so inclined.) I’ve finished reading the Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin J. Anderson (not this Kevin Anderson! another one!) who is also on Twitter, I’ve just discovered. I love the idea of being able to follow SF authors I’ve enjoyed on Twitter. Cinema-side, I recommend you go and see The Hurt Locker if you haven’t already done so. It’s a beautiful — and hard — movie which rattled me a bit in the same way that the essay “I Miss Iraq. I Miss My Gun. I Miss My War.” did. (You might want to read that one with Readability to make it a more comfortable experience.)