Talk: Being a Blogging Consultant [en]

[fr] Notes d'une conférence que je viens de donner en Serbie sur ce qu'est le travail d'une "consultante en blogs" (notez les guillemets). Je préfère en fait me définir comme une spécialiste de l'internet vivant (celui des dialogues et des relations humaines) et de sa culture. J'interviens partout où ce genre de connaissance est utile à mes clients.

Here are some rough notes of the talk I gave at [Blogopen](, reason of [my presence in Novi Sad, Serbia]( I hope they can be useful to some. Number between square brackets refer to slide numbers (

This slideshow could not be started. Try refreshing the page or viewing it in another browser.

( embedded below).

*If you have notes of this talk or by any chance have recorded it, please leave a link in the comments.*

**update: yay! some short recording snippets. see the end of this post.**

[1] [2] Two years ago I was a teacher, and if you had told me then that I would be here in Novi Sad, talking about what it is like to be a freelance blogging consultant, you would probably have seen me make a face like this:

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 9

[3] Later on I’ll tell you about what a “blogging consultant” like me actually does, but first of all, here’s my story. I grew up with computers in the house, discovered the internet in 1998 and soon after [created a website]( I [started blogging in 2000]( and gradually built a small reputation for myself online. By the time the Swiss media discovered blogs in 2004, I’d been at it for a while. When they started looking for Swiss blogs, they found me, and the phone started ringing.

You know how it is with the media: once one journalist has written about a person or a subject, all the others follow. I started [giving interview after interview](, exciting at first, but somewhat tedious after some time. But I was lucky to have very good local media coverage, which did help people find me or hear about me.

Just before the press started to show an interest in me (and blogs), a friend of mine asked if I could explain to her how to make a website. We sat together for two hours, and I told her how the internet was made of servers, and websites were in fact files that lived on those servers, files you can make in a text editor with special markings known as HTML, with CSS to control the visual aspect. She said “wow, you’re really good at this, you should get people to pay you to do it!” I was a bit skeptical, but thought it would be cool. So just before my first appearance on TV, I created a [professional website]( (just a few pages, and if you look at it now, it’s really out-of-date — I’ll be working on it during the [“Website ‘pro’ day”]( in a bit over a week). And on that website, I made [a page]( saying something like “I’ll explain to you how to make a website, this is how much it’ll cost”.

Shortly after my TV appearance, I was contacted by a school who wanted me to come and talk about blogs to a class of teenagers. It went surprisingly well and I really enjoyed it, so I added an extra page on my professional site saying [“I give talks in schools”]( Little by little, through word of mouth mainly, I started having clients. And at one point about 18 months ago, I started having enough clients that I could consider quitting my day job (teaching).

That’s how I became a professional blogging consultant.

[4] So, what does a “blogging” consultant do? It’s not just about blogs. Actually, one of my ongoing struggles is to find a “job title” to define myself. “Blogging consultant” already existed, and people knew about blogs, so it wasn’t too bad.

[5] Blogging is more than it seems. It’s a tool, but it’s more than that. It’s also a culture, and if you’re a company or an institution, blogging is a communication strategy. We see companies and media corporations using the blog tool to publish press releases or official documentation. That’s using the tool, but they don’t get the culture, and they haven’t changed their strategy. *(You might want to see the notes on my talk [“How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications”]( if this topic interests you.)*

[6] One expression we hear a lot in this kind of context is “social media”. Traditional media go in one direction. Journalists write, people listen (or put their fingers in their ears). It looks like this:

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 1

With social media, on the other hand, we have a new type of media (well, *reasonably new*) where conversations take place. Communication goes both ways:

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 3

So basically, being a “blogging” consultant has a lot to do with social media. (Understanding and explaining it.)

[7] All this kind of stuff is explained in a great book that everybody should read: [The Cluetrain Manifesto]( You can [read it for free on the Internet]( or buy it as a real book if you prefer. The Cluetrain Manifesto was written in the year 2000, so quite some time ago, but it’s still spot on. It tells us how people are sick of being marketed at and talked at, and how people are already having conversations everywhere about brands, companies, and these conversations are happening on the internet. Companies, politicians, and media empires would be smart to step in and join the conversation. Anyway… read the Cluetrain Manifesto if you have any interest in what’s going on on the Internet.

[8] So, in my job, I don’t just work with blogs. In addition to blogs, sometimes solution require wikis, podcasts, or social networks. [9] Using these tools brings up values like dialogue, transparency, authenticity, and often leads to rethink strategy. [10] Finding a solution for a client can be helping them re-organise their e-mail, set up a mailing-list, or simply build a website. Maybe it requires social tools like Twitter or Dopplr, or they might even want to know about virtual worlds like Second Life.

This is clearly not just about “blogging”. It’s about this bigger world blogging is an important part of.

[11] I like to think of myself as a specialist of **the living web** and its culture. The living web is the internet of people, conversations, and relationships.

My work is anywhere people need this kind of knowledge. Who needs this kind of knowledge?

[12] Schools, politicians, companies big and small, freelancers, non-profits, media, startups, people…

[13] Here’s a little more about what it means to be a freelancer consultant in today’s world.

[14] [The Balance of the Soloist]( according to [Stowe Boyd](

> The most difficult challenge for soloists is to find a balance between the various activities that must take place to survive. I like to oversimplify these down to three:

> 1. **Doing The Work** — The heart of consulting — of whatever description — is delivering the work. A soloist has to deliver value to the client in order to make money. Most consulting-oriented people start with this capability: it’s the other two that cause problems, in general.
> 2. **Marketing and Networking** — I have already noted that I principally market myself through blogging, and that I attend conferences: those are the outward signs of a willingness, or even an obsession with networking with likeminded others. When I find out about a web product that sounds interesting (my beat), I sign up for the beta, fool with it, write a review, ask for more info, and very soon I am involved in a direct communication with the company’s management. I read other people’s blogs and comment on their ideas. When attending conferences I try to chat with both old friends and folks I have never met before. I know many consultants whose natural introversion makes such activities difficult if not impossible. But these interactions are just as critical to being a soloist as performing the work, and are likely to take up just as much time!
> 3. **Prospecting, Contracts and Cash Flow** — I am always happy to talk about money, and as a soloist it is imperative to get what you are worth, and then to collect the fees. This is a blind spot for many, and a make-it-or-break-it issue. I know a lot of folks that find it hard — even with people they know well — to ask for a project, an engagement, whatever, and to demand payment later on. It may seem obvious but many consultants only get involved with this as a necessary evil, but it’s not. It’s just as central as delivering the goods and networking.

Stowe Boyd, “Going Solo: A Few Words Of Advice”

These are the three skills the freelancer needs. Often people drawn towards freelancing are people who are good at doing something (the work) and reasonable networkers — and the third part (money) is the most difficult.

[15] **the work**

This will of course vary from person to person. Depending on your skills and abilities, you will be doing different things. For example:

– talking (like this talk I gave — speaking engagements)
– explaining — talking with clients to tell them about things they need to understand
– solving problems
– gathering information (about your client, about a subject you need to know more about)
– managing projects
– installing tools (WordPress, wikis…)
– coding HTML, CSS, or even PHP
– doing graphical design in Photoshop (I don’t do this, I’m really bad at it, so I usually tell the client he needs to have somebody else for this)
– training — it’s not that easy for “normal people” to learn how to use a blog tool… and more importantly, understand the blogging culture. Linking can be the topic of a two-hour class! (what to link, when, with what text, trackbacks, linking technique… suddenly text has two dimensions instead of one, so it changes writing style…)
– “cluetrain 101” — explaining the basics of what the internet is changing to the way we communicate
– experiential marketing (I’ll blog more about this later) — where you use a client’s product and blog about it
– blogging for a client (even though it’s not something I believe in, and I don’t do it — some people might)

[16] **Marketing**

– blog, blog, blog. And blog more. Demonstrate your expertise. Look at how [Thomas Mahon]( used his blog to demonstrate his expertise at being a high-class tailor. Blog about what you know and what you’re doing.
– be a good connected net citizen. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, IM… be out there
– talk around you offline
– go to events — try to speak! send in proposals! [Barcamps]( are a great place to start because anybody can talk. Get somebody to film you and put it online. If you’re not speaking, [publish live notes of the talks on your blog (live-blog)]( People who weren’t there or didn’t take notes might appreciate yours.
– in short, take care of your social capital ([whuffie]( — your social connections
– if you’re lucky enough to have journalists call you — be nice with them. I would probably not be here today if it hadn’t been for the local press in Switzerland.

[17] **Cash**

Often a difficult point, as I mentioned.

– how do you actually get to the point where you close a deal?
– contracts
– you’re worth more than you think! Have friends help you keep that in mind before you negotiate with clients.
– will you be paid per day, per project?
– how much? fixing the right price can be tough — I haven’t completely figured out pricing yet.
– when do you ask for money, when do you not ask? Sometimes it’s [not that obvious](

In addition to this, going freelance might mean you have to think about:

– insurance
– taxes
– laws
– accounting
– invoicing

And also… balancing your personal and professional life. All this “taking care of your social capital” does tend to blend the two — in a good way, often, but also in a way that makes taking days off or going on a real holiday very difficult. Pay attention to that.

[18]-[23] So, looking back… After my initial “no way!” reaction to the idea of being a “blogging consultant” two years ago, even though I went through phases like this

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 2

and this

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 12

and this

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 11

and even

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 3

overall… I’m pretty happy about my life as a blogging consultant:

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 14

*note: I took all the rather cheesy “emotion” photos myself the morning before the talk, because I didn’t have the time and resources to go hunting for good “emotional faces” stock photography… I hope you’ll forgive me!*

You can find [more stuff about consulting in my links](

Thanks to everybody who attended my talk and gave me kind feedback. Many Serbian bloggers also mentioned my talk in their blog posts, but I’m afraid I can’t understand any of it! [Here are the links](, though:

– [Borska internet organizacija | BITNO na BlogOpen-u / 2](
– [Blogopen utisci](
– [BlogOpen & Novi Sad – dan posle | O zivotu, Vaseljeni i svemu ostalom](
– [BlogOpen – Elektro kuhinja –](
– [» Blog Archive » Susret na Blog Open-u](
– [Nemanja Srećković » Blog Archive » Utisci sa BlogOpen-a 2007](
– [BlogOpen Review](
– [Uh kakva subota! at Samo malo](
– [BlogOpen u Novom Sadu – total report | Webmasterov blog](
– [BlogOpen utisci | Dragan Varagic Weblog](
– [BlogOpen weekend](
– [Blog Open…i kako ga pregurati](

As far as I can tell, some posts simply mention me. But if there’s anything said worth to be translated or paraphrased, feel free to do so in the comments! (Just tell me what link it’s about…)


Thanks a lot to [darko156]( who filmed two short video sequences and uploaded them to YouTube. Here they are. The first video is slides [4]-[7] (what exactly a blogging consultant is, social media, The Cluetrain Manifesto):

The second is slides [7]-[10] (Cluetrain, social media tools and values — dialogue, transparency, authenticity, strategy…):

Curious about [what I was waving in my right hand](

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FOWA: Making Your App Social (Rashmi Sinha) [en]

[fr] Notes prises à l'occasion de la conférence Future of Web Apps (FOWA) à Londres.

*Here are my live notes of this [Future of Web Apps (FOWA)]( session. They are probably incomplete and may contain mistakes, though I do my best to be accurate. Chances are I’ll be adding links to extra material and photos later on, so don’t hesitate to come back and check. [Suw also took notes on this talk.](*

Rashmi does Slideshare, which is 1 year old today!

The idea behind slideshare: presentations are hard to share. Pictures of Flickr, videos on YouTube, but what about the slides?

*Again, nothing against the person presenting, but a case study of SlideShare shouldn’t be titled “Making Your App Social”*

People share varied stuff on SlideShare. After the initial “2.0” uploads, realised that PowerPoint is the simplest way for people to share a bunch of photos or stuff.

FOWA 2007 92

10 lessons…

– forget the iPod (good design, but it’s not social)
– give up control, it’s messy
– plant seeds, let people connect
– should have a strong individual focus; don’t count on altruism
– try to solve one problem really really well

*steph-note: can hear Leah Culver (talking in the other room) in here really clearly, it’s quite annoying*

What kind of social? Social space or widget? Facebook app? own a piece of the social network *steph-booth: ew, [another use of “social graph”](–1.html)*

FOWA 2007 93

Privacy is social: sharing is often in closed circles *steph-note: yes!! yes!!* There is a whole continuum between “public” and “private”. Important to be able to shift back and forth between public and private. By setting the default to public, really enabled the sharing of bookmarks.

FOWA 2007 94

Brian: how do you carry privacy settings outside? (feeds, etc)
Rashmi: give control to the person. The social connection is the carrier of the “privacy metadata” (ie, tell your friends to not share further).

*steph-notes: some of my thoughts on privacy are in [Ethics and Privacy in the Digital Age]( I agree that for the moment, privacy is **mainly** managed through our relationships with others, rather than technically.*

Privacy is a tough issue.

Levels of participation: everybody is not a creator.

Popularity. Metrics:

– favorite & tag
– comment
– view
– embed
– download
– e-mail

“The Wisdom of Crowds” by James Surowiecki– add to reading list.

Get into a conversation with users. You can’t get away from them, particularly if you’re in the social application space. Customer service as user research. Answer e-mails personally, monitor blogs… etc. *steph-note: cf. [Satisfaction](*

Launched SlideShare by just embedding a slideshow or her talk in her blog. October 4, TechCrunched.

Designed SlideShare for people like themselves, but quickly saw that people were using is to upload art, etc.

Rashmi believes more in “putting it out there”, and letting the people who need it find it, rather than a closed beta which is a lot of work. Hard to find the right people for the closed beta too. Launch first, refine later. *steph-note: I kind of agree, but in the case of coComment, for example, launching too early actually did them disservice.*

**Important:** make sure that what you “put out there” works. Little by little. Indeed, if it’s broken, people might try it and not come back. The “put it out there” philosophy works for non-critical stuff.

Be agile. Fail fast to get to the right answer. Track metrics, adjust, change.

Allow for play.

*steph-note: I’ve written about quite a few of these privacy issues on CTTS, and had a nice discussion over lunch with Rashmi. Start with [Ethics and Privacy in the Digital Age](*

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FOWA: 10 Cool Web Apps Demo (Ben Forsaith, Adobe) [en]

[fr] Notes prises à l'occasion de la conférence Future of Web Apps (FOWA) à Londres.

*Very brief notes from [Ben Forsaith](’s session at FoWA.*

FOWA 2007 5

– Slide Rocket (Keynote/Powerpoint online)
– Scrapblog: make visual stuff
– Picnic: very easy to use, full online photo editor
– MTV Video Remixer: not working
– BuzzWord (recently purchased by Adobe)

Examples outside the browser (AIR):

– Fine Tune: web radio station with randomized playlist
– eBay
– a Media Player of some kind
– Pownce
– a Google Analytics tool (sounds nice)

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FOWA: What is the Future of Web Apps? (Ryan Carson, Om Malik, Michael Arrington) [en]

[fr] Notes prises à l'occasion de la conférence Future of Web Apps (FOWA) à Londres.

*Here are my live notes of this [Future of Web Apps (FOWA)]( session with [Om Malik](, [Michael Arrington](, and [Ryan Carson]( They are probably incomplete and may contain mistakes, though I do my best to be accurate. Chances are I’ll be adding links to extra material later on, so don’t hesitate to come back and check.*

*steph-note: arrived really late to this session (not quite as late as Arrington, though), so vaguely trying to pick up a few snippets here and there as I get organized for the day.*

FOWA 2007 3

Gphone. Gphone. Gphone. *steph-note: as I was entering the room.*

Launching a DRM-free music store would be a good business idea right now. But please, says Om, not another Office clone. We have enough.

Plugins. Facebook. [Organizing the buddy-list]( Facebook Appls: we haven’t seen that many game-changing apps (besides Scrabble, says Om).

Om: Facebook as directory service. Ryan: critical mass. BBC/Radio4 talk about Facebook.

Arrington thinks there is a chance that Facebook will go the [portable social network]( way. (Ryan seemed skeptical.)

Arrington: more mobile stuff, and more “virtual reality” — using your body to interact with the computer.

Om loves his Crackberry.

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BarCamp Lausanne: Facebook (Raphaël Briner) [fr]

70% des gens inscrits à [BarCamp Lausanne]( sont sur Facebook. 30 contacts (médiane). Idée intéressante: donner à Facebook un fichier texte avec des noms, et en retirer une liste des relations etc. entre ces gens.

BarCamp Lausanne 24

[Raphaël]( est sur Facebook depuis février 2007 (*steph-note: je vous mets une [saisie d’écran de son profil]( ;-)*), n’a pas fait grand chose en deux mois. Juillet/août: lancement des applications Facebook => pénétration++.

Audience européenne a triplé en 2 mois. 42’000 en Suisse. Tilllate a des soucis à se faire. (Si ça continue, FB aura 200’000 utilisateurs en Suisse à Noël — autant que Tilllate.)

Design graphique old school en L. 5 tailles de typo, minimal. [analyse détaillée du design de Facebook.] Petits détails soignés, tout de même, malgré un design super classique.

Développé en PHP. Marche relativement bien.

BarCamp Lausanne 29

Objects à usage social principalement. Applications: plate-forme géniale pour ça.

Par rapport à MySpace, possibilité de se différencier: pas de MP3 illégaux, d’images dont les droits ne sont pas respectés, de vidéos piratées — ou uniquement via des applications tierces.

Intérêt de Facebook: pour l’individu, générer du “bruit” diffusé à un public restreint. Evite les problèmes de droit de distribution.

*steph-note: intéressant comme présentation, bonne analyse du design (même si j’ai pas tout remis ici, ça me dépasse un peu j’avoue) — mais une analyse des enjeux sociaux est à mon avis à faire. Je me rends compte que j’ai des articles à écrire sur ce sujet en français.*

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Satisfaction Looks Neat [en]

[fr] Un outil de "customer care" qui permet d'une part aux "clients" de s'entre-aider, et au personnel de participer à la conversation. Ça semble vraiment pas mal! Quelques petits problèmes après 20 minutes d'utilisation.

I read about [Satisfaction]( yesterday somewhere and saw it again today [in Brian Oberkirch’s blog]( I went to [sign up]( and [give it a quick toss around]( Here are the first screenshots.

The nice thing is that as this is a support tool, I used it to [record the problems I bumped in]( too.

Satisfaction: submitting a problem_idea_question_chat

I think it’s a pretty neat tool and I’m going to use it in future when I bump into problems, in addition to [posting them to Flickr with Skitch]( It’s community-based support, but with an option for company employees to participate with a “label” that identifies them as staff.

The first thing that annoyed me was that I had trouble finding where to change my profile photo. I clicked on “Account” and expected to find something there, but in fact it’s under “Dashboard”.

Satisfaction -- change image

Here is [the topic I created about this problem](

Next issue, a rather important workflow/design flaw:

Recently active topics in Satisfaction Unlimited about Satisfaction Beta Release

I was a bit wordy in [explaining it]( (early Sunday morning here), but I hope this makes sense:

> Ideally, when fill in the first “chatbox”, I’m going to want to check out the links before saying “not quite right, want to add details and submit”.

> Unfortunately, once I’ve done that, it seems I can’t come back to the page with the link inviting me to “add details and submit”.

> That doesn’t encourage me to click the links and check out first! It encourages me to go straight to “add details and submit”.

> So, if those links are really expected to be useful, encourage me to click on them by providing the “add details and submit” form on them too.

Last but not least:

Get Satisfaction: two gripes

1. If you’re telling me that I’m set to receive e-mail updates, that’s really nice of you — but it would be even nicer to give me a link to where to change it.
2. Please, please, please. [Space-separated tags]( At least support them. I’ve talked about this [elsewhere]( (and before, too, but I can’t remember when or where). It breaks the current input model we’re used to (, Flickr…). It makes us type an extra character.

Go try out Satisfaction!

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Ethics and Privacy in the Digital Age [en]

[fr] Même si tout le contenu numérique que nous produisons court le risque de se retrouver un jour sur l'internet public, cela ne veut pas dire pour autant qu'il est acceptable de rendre public des informations qui ne le sont pas.

En l'occurrence, les réseaux sociaux comme Facebook permettent uniquement aux amis ou contacts d'un utilisateur d'avoir accès à leur profil. On n'y pense souvent pas, mais de plus en plus, ce qu'on peut voir sur le web dépend de qui nous sommes, et des relations (enregistrées) que l'on entretient avec d'autres utilisateurs.

Il convient donc d'être vigilant, sous peine de commettre des erreurs diplomatiques. Un ami à moi a ainsi rendu public aux 10'000 lecteurs d'IBcom une partie de mon profil Facebook, en illustration d'un article qu'il a écrit. Pas de gros désastre heureusement, mais s'il m'avait demandé, j'aurais tout de même fait un peu le ménage avant qu'il fasse sa saisie d'écran.

Over the last year, I’ve repeatedly asked for finer privacy control in the social tools I’m using (see [here](, [here](, [here](, [here]( and [here](

To summarize, tools need to let users add **structure** to their social networks, which in turn will allow privacy management of data made available in or through the tool: “let people I tagged X see everything, let people I tagged Y see this and that, and let people I tagged Z see everything apart from that.”

If you think of how relationships and social networks function offline, this makes perfect sense: some people are part of your friends circle, some people are close friends, some people are co-workers, some people are acquaintances, others are business contacts, judo pals, people you meet up with to play cards. And you don’t say the same things about yourself to all those people.

Your “social network” is not homogeneous. It’s a collection of little sub-communities (which can be as small as one person), with fuzzy edges, overlapping, ever-changing. Why on earth an online social network should place all the people I’m connected to on one level (or even two, or three levels) is beyond me.

Were getting there (but way too slowly). [Pownce]( and [Viddler]( allow you to tag your contacts and use those tags to control privacy (though with interface issues). [Facebook](, [Flickr](, and probably various others don’t allow you to tag your contacts, but do provide a few (insufficient) levels of privacy. [Twitter]( lets you choose if you want to protect your updates.

What I’m getting to is that in today’s web of social tools, what you get to see is more and more personalized. And **the information you can access about other people is often the result of your relationship to those people**, and what they decided to give you access to. **Just like in offline relationships.** This means that you, as the person with access to the data, **have an ethical responsibility towards the person who made some of his/her personal information available to you**.

**Because you have access to it, does that mean you have the right to publish it in a more public space? Well, I’d say the answer is most obviously “no”. By doing that, you’re betraying the trust of the person who made the data available to you.**

Now, of course, I’m the first to say that [you cannot control digital stuff you create]( and should be aware that you run the risk of seeing your private digital data ending up on the public internet at some point. “Even if it’s in a private setting, anybody can copy it and make it public.” Sure. But that doesn’t mean it’s *right* to do so.

So, why am I writing this? Somebody just brought to my attention that [IB com]( published an article about Facebook in their latest issue. And **to illustrate that article, a screenshot of my Facebook profile was used**. The article was written by a friend of mine (“friendly-business-acquaintance” friend), who obviously had access to my “friends only” Facebook profile.

He didn’t ask me if it was OK to publish my Facebook profile in print. If he had, I might have said “no”, but I might also have simply sanitized my profile so that he could take a screenshot I would have felt comfortable showing to the public.

He didn’t realize that by publishing my Facebook profile or showing it to others outside my friends’ circle, he is making information I would like to keep somewhat private available to people I would not necessarily choose to give it to. In this case, it’s not disastrous, because I *am* pretty conservative about what I put online, even on my Facebook profile (and I’m more transparent then most, so there aren’t *many* things I keep private). But there are at times things there I would rather keep for people I know — not the 10’000 readers of IBcom.

Just like most bloggers do not consider everything said in a conversation over a glass of beer “fair game” for blogging (when in doubt, ask, unless you’re ready to jeopardize your relationships over this kind of stuff), not everything you access in social networks is fair game for publication.

As social networks get smarter about privacy, I think we’re going to bump into this kind of problem more. For the moment, it’s up to each of us to be vigilant about what we take of others’ content and make available elsewhere. And maybe we need tools that can help us keep track of privacy settings better, and warn us when we’re about to make such a “faux pas”.

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Manuel de survie Twitter pour francophones [fr]

[en] A survival guide to Twitter in French. If you're an English-speaker, head over to the Twitter support site or fan wiki.

**Mise à jour 03.2010:** Une grande partie de ces instructions (tout ce qui touche aux SMS, en particulier) n’est plus valable aujourd’hui. Par contre, les explications sur la nature de Twitter et son caractère public restent valables.

Cela fait des mois que je veux écrire ce « manuel de survie Twitter pour francophones ». Si vous débarquez (vous êtes pardonnables, ne vous en faites pas), filez vite lire [Twitter, c’est quoi ? Explications…]( ou écouter [la Capsule de Pain consacrée à Twitter]( Si votre première réaction est de l’ordre de « c’est nul, ce truc ! », vous pouvez encore lire [Pas capté Twitter](

En très simple, Twitter est un service qui vous invite à envoyer la réponse à la question “que faites-vous en ce moment?” à vos amis — par internet ou par SMS.

Vous êtes encore là ? Très bien. Voici **trois points importants à retenir** :

– avec Twitter, on ne choisit pas à qui on envoie ses messages ; ce sont les destinataires qui choisissent ce qu’ils veulent recevoir
– Twitter permet de faire la jointure entre le Web et le téléphone mobile ; le service y fonctionne de façon quasi identique
– Twitter ne devient véritablement intéressant que lorsque l’on est connecté à plusieurs personnes. N’hésitez donc pas à convaincre deux ou trois amis de s’inscrire en même temps que vous.

**En pratique**, comment est-ce que ça se passe ? Je vais vous présenter deux façons de vous inscrire (sur le Web et par SMS). Ensuite, je vous apprendrai les quelques commandes importantes pour pouvoir utiliser cet outil de façon agréable.

#### Inscription par SMS

Si vous avez reçu un SMS d’invitation de la part de Twitter, c’est sans doute que l’un de vos amis, déjà utilisateur du service, désire que vous le rejoignez.

Si vous n’avez pas reçu d’invitation, rien n’est perdu! Il vous suffit d’envoyer un SMS au +447624801423 (le numéro de Twitter) avec votre première mise à jour. Twitter vous répondra par un SMS demandant de choisir un nom.

Répondez au SMS de Twitter par un message contenant le nom d’utilisateur que vous aurez choisi. Vos amis utiliseront ce nom pour s’adresser à vous ou vous envoyer des messages directs. Gardez-le simple ! Les messages que vous envoyez à Twitter seront disponibles à l’adresse'Utilisateur (voir plus bas, « C’est public ! »).

Ajoutez également le numéro de Twitter à vos contacts.

**Attendez** le SMS de confirmation de Twitter. (Si vous êtes trop pressés, comme il m’est arrivé, votre deuxième message risque de dépasser le premier, et vous vous retrouverez avec un nom d’utilisateur faisant 15 km de long. On peut le changer par la suite, mais c’est embêtant.) Si le SMS n’arrive pas, je vous suggère de passer directement à l’étape d’inscription sur le Web, que vous devrez faire de toute façon.

Lorsque vous allez finaliser votre inscription sur le site Web et que vous utilisez déjà Twitter, on vous invite à [spécifier d’entrée votre numéro de téléphone](, qui sera ainsi automatiquement relié à votre compte.

Twitter par SMS

Attention, utiliser le format international de votre numéro de téléphone ! (Pour la Suisse, il commencera avec +41…) La suite de la procédure d’inscription à la même que si vous n’aviez pas encore commencé à utiliser votre téléphone avec Twitter.

#### Inscription sur le Web

*Si vous n’avez pas été invité par SMS, et que vous voulez faire tout ça sur le Web, il faut commencer ici.*

Bon, c’est en anglais, mais ce n’est vraiment pas sorcier. Direction [le formulaire d’inscription]( (si vous avez fait l’étape précédente, vous y êtes déjà) :

Twitter / Create an Account

Pas dur, non ? Vous pouvez maintenant vous lancer :


Si le coeur vous en dit, [ajoutez une photo]( pour vous représenter et [quelques informations supplémentaires](

#### Activer les SMS

*Attention, étape inutile si vous avez commencé à utiliser Twitter depuis votre téléphone mobile.*

Pour que tout soit bien, il nous faut ajouter le téléphone mobile. N’ayez crainte, Twitter ne fonctionne pas aux SMS surtaxés. En Suisse en tout cas, recevoir des SMS ne vous coûte rien, et envoyer un SMS à Twitter, même si le numéro de téléphone est anglais, coûte la même chose qu’envoyer un SMS en Suisse.

Twitter: ajouter téléphone

Twitter va vous demander de confirmer votre numéro de téléphone en envoyant un SMS avec un code. Cela évite que des personnes malintentionnées n’utilisent votre numéro de téléphone pour s’inscrire !

#### C’est public !

Prudence ! Rappelez-vous que les messages que vous envoyez avec Twitter apparaissent sur le Web : n’importe qui peut donc les lire. [Même avec un pseudonyme](, quelqu’un pourrait un jour vous reconnaître. Tenez-en donc compte.

Vous avez bien entendu la possibilité de protéger vos messages en cochant la case « Protect my updates » sur la [page des réglages]( Ils ne seront visibles qu’aux personnes qui décident de vous suivre, ce que n’importe qui peut faire sans demander votre autorisation, même si vous avez la possibilité de bloquer certaines personnes après coup et à qui vous aurez donné votre autorisation.

Cela ne rend pas vos messages privés, mais vous donne un peu de discrétion. Gardez à l’esprit que vos mises à jour vont apparaître sur les pages de ceux qui vous suivent, et qu’il est vite fait d’oublier que quelque chose est privé. Une saisie d’écran, c’est si facile!

Comme toujours, donc, les choses « privées » que l’on ne désire pas mettre sous les yeux de tout le monde (inconnus, mais surtout amis) ne devraient pas se mettre sur Internet, sauf dans un espace protégé par un bon mot de passe (et encore…)

#### Inviter des amis

Plus on est de fous, plus on rit, et plus on est d’amis, plus Twitter montre sa valeur. Inviter donc quelques amis à vous rejoindre, surtout s’ils se connaissent ! Envoyez-leur aussi l’adresse de ce guide de survie pour leur faciliter la tâche.

La formule magique, c’est « invite +417xxxxxxxx », sans les guillemets et en remplaçant le numéro de téléphone par celui de votre ami bien entendu, que vous pouvez envoyer par SMS à Twitter ou bien [directement par le Web](

Ils recevront donc un SMS d’invitation de la part de Twitter, auquel ils pourront répondre comme décrit plus haut.

#### Suivre des personnes déjà inscrites

Si vous connaissez des personnes qui sont déjà chez Twitter, demandez-leur leur nom d’utilisateur. Vous pouvez les ajouter soit en envoyant le message « on nomd’utilisateur » à Twitter, soit en vous rendant sur leur page Twitter (’utilisateur) et en cliquant sur le petit bouton « Follow » qui se trouve au-dessous de leur nom :

Twitter -- Follow

Ensuite, cliquer sur le bouton « on » pour activer la réception des messages de cette personne par SMS :

Twitter, SMS on

En cherchant, vous pourrez trouver les [annonces officielles Twitter]( ainsi que les comptes de la joyeuse équipe qui fabrique ce merveilleux outil : [biz](, [ev](, [jack](, [blaine](, [britt](… Moi, je suis [par ici](…

#### Gérer ces satanés SMS

Suivant combien de personnes vous décidez de suivre, vous courez le risque de vous retrouver assez rapidement inondé de SMS — particulièrement si vous comptez parmi vos amis des irrépressibles bavards [comme moi]( En plus, on a tous des seuils de tolérance aux SMS différents.

Heureusement, Twitter nous donne le moyen de gérer tout ça. Ce qu’il faut comprendre, c’est qu’il y a une différence entre les personnes auxquelles vous êtes abonnées et les personnes dont vous recevez les notifications.

– Les messages des personnes auxquelles vous êtes abonnées apparaissent sur votre [page d’accueil](
– Les messages des personnes dont vous recevez les notifications arrivent sur votre téléphone portable.

Il est donc possible de « suivre » ou autrement dit, d’être abonné aux messages de nombreuses personnes, et de garder ainsi un oeil plus ou moins distrait sur leur quotidien ou leurs activités, sans être pour autant noyé sous les SMS. Il est possible de :

– désactiver les notifications par SMS : « off »
– réactiver les notifications par SMS : « on »
– désactiver les SMS de telle heure à telle heure (pendant la nuit par exemple)

De plus, on peut choisir de ne recevoir des notifications que pour certaines personnes. Par exemple, je suis abonnée à près de 200 personnes sur Twitter, mais je ne reçois sur mon téléphone portable que les notifications d’une toute petite dizaine de personnes proches.

On peut donc contrôler, personne par personne, si on veut recevoir leurs notifications par SMS :

– pour arrêter de recevoir les notifications par SMS d’une certaine personne (par exemple quelqu’un qui parle trop !) : « off nomd’utilisateur »
– pour commencer à recevoir les notifications par SMS d’une personne (par exemple quelqu’un dont on a auparavant désactivé les notifications mais que l’on désire de nouveau ajouter, au quelqu’un dont on ne reçoit pas habituellement les notifications mais qu’on veut recevoir sur son téléphone portable pour une raison ou pour une autre en ce moment) : « on nomd’utilisateur »

On peut aussi faire ses réglages depuis le Web :

Twitter : following detail

Un petit truc : si vous êtes en train de recevoir les notifications pour beaucoup de personnes, cela peut être fastidieux d’aller les désactiver une à une. La commande « leave all » permet de faire le nettoyage par le vide et de désactiver les notifications de tout le monde. Vous pouvez ensuite ajouter manuellement les quelques personnes dont vous désirez recevoir les notifications par SMS.

Si vous ne recevez pas les notifications d’une personne, mais que vous désirez tout de même recevoir par SMS le dernier message qu’elle a envoyé à Twitter : « get nomd’utilisateur ».

#### Web, SMS… Et quoi d’autre ?

Que vous utilisiez Mac ou Windows, il y a un petit programme très sympathique que vous pouvez installer (c’est gratuit !) et qui vous donnera directement accès aux messages Twitter des gens auxquels vous êtes abonnés, sans que vous ayez à vous embêter à aller sur leur site Web à chaque fois. Il ressemble un peu aux programmes d’« instant messaging », comme MSN par exemple.

– pour Mac : [Twitterrific](
– pour Windows : [Twitteroo](

#### Et la messagerie instantanée ?

Oui… On peut aussi choisir de recevoir les messages Twitter par messagerie instantanée (Jabber, Google Talk). À mon avis, ce n’est intéressant que si vous recevez la messagerie instantanée sur votre téléphone portable, et si ça vous coûte moins cher que des SMS. En Suisse, ce n’est pas encore vraiment le cas.

Sur l’ordinateur, je dirais que c’est plus dangereux qu’autre chose, surtout si les gens que vous suivez sur Twitter sont des gens avec qui vous chattez : vous risquez de ne pas réaliser que le message vient via Twitter, et d’y répondre comme si vous chattiez (en privé !) avec votre ami. Du coup, risque d’envoyer à toutes les personnes qui sont abonnées à vos messages Twitter un message que vous ne destiniez qu’à une seule personne… Ça peut être embêtant !

En plus, si votre client de messagerie instantanée est réglé pour envoyer une auto-réponse, ces auto-réponses risquent d’être envoyées comme messages Twitter… Pas forcément très embêtant, mais ce n’est pas très classe !

#### Les messages directs

Vous pouvez envoyer à une personne qui vous suit sur Twitter un message direct (privé) : « d nomd’utilisateur texte de votre message ». Attention, vous ne savez pas si cette personne va recevoir votre message sur son téléphone portable ou non !

#### D’autres questions ?

D’autres questions, quelque chose qui n’est pas clair ? Laissez un mot dans les commentaires je me ferai un plaisir d’y répondre.

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We Need Structured Portable Social Networks (SPSN) [en]

[fr] Nous avons besoin de réseaux sociaux que l'on peut importer/exporter d'un outil/service à l'autre. Nous avons également besoin de pouvoir structurer ces réseaux sociaux qui contiennent souvent un nombre important de personnes. Nous avons besoin de réseaux sociaux portables structurés.

Christophe Ducamp s'est lancé dans une traduction de cet article. Allez donner un coup de main ou bien en profiter, selon vos compétences! Je n'ai pas lu cette traduction, mais je suis certaine qu'elle est utile. Merci Christophe!

Scrolling through my “trash” e-mail address to report spam, I spotted (quite by chance, I have to say) a nice e-mail from Barney, who works at [Lijit]( Barney asked me if I had any feedback, [which I’ll give in my next post](, because I need to digress a bit here.

Lijit is a really fun and smart search tool which allows to [search through a person’s complete online presence]( “See mine.”), a remedy, in a way, to the increasing [fragmentation of online identity]( that’s bothering me so much these days. Actually, it was already bothering me quite a few months ago, when I wrote [Please Make Holes in My Buckets](

>So, here’s a hole in the buckets that I really like: I’ve seen this in many services, but the first time I saw it was on Myspace. “Let us peek in your GMail contacts, and we’ll tell you who already has an account — and let you invite the others.” When I saw that, it scared me (”OMG! Myspace sticking its nose in my e-mail!”) but I also found it really exciting. Now, it would be even better if I could say “import friends and family from Flickr” or “let me choose amongst my IM buddies”, but it’s a good start. Yes, there’s a danger: no, I don’t want to spam invitations to your service to the 450 unknown adresses you found in my contacts, thankyouverymuch. Plaxo is a way to do this (I’ve seen it criticised but I can’t precisely remember why). Facebook does it, which means that within 2 minutes you can already have friends in the network. Twitter doesn’t, which means you have to painstakingly go through your friends of friends lists to get started. I think coComment and any “friend-powered” service should allow us to import contacts like that by now. And yes, sure, privacy issues.

One thing the 2.0 world needs urgently is a way to abstract (to some extent) the social network users create for themselves from the particular *service* it is linked to. **We need portable social networks.** More than that, actually, we need **structured portable social networks** (SPSNs). I’ve already written that being able to give one’s “contact list” a structure (through “contact groups” or “buddy groups”) is vital if we want to manage privacy efficiently (in my horrendously long but — from my point of view of course — really important post “[Groups, Groupings, and Taming My Buddy List. And Twitter.](”):

> I personally think that it is also the key to managing many privacy issues intelligently. How do I organise the people in my world? Well, of course, it’s fuzzy, shifting, changing. But if I look at my IM buddy list, I might notice that I have classified the people on it to some point: I might have “close friends”, “co-workers”, “blog friends”, “offline friends”, “IRC friends”, “girlfriends”, “ex-clients”, “boring stalkers”, “other people”, “tech support”… I might not want to make public which groups my buddies belong to, or worse, let them know (especially if I’ve put them in “boring stalkers” or “tech support” and suspect that they might have placed me in “best friends” or “love interests”… yes, human relationships can be complicated…)

> Flickr offers a half-baked version of this. […]

> A more useful way to let a user organise his contacts is simply to let him tag them. Xing does that. Unfortunately, it does not allow one to do much with the contact groups thus defined, besides displaying contacts by tag […].

In fact, we need structured social networks not only to deal with privacy issues, but also (and it’s related, if you think of it) to deal with social network fatigue that seems to be hitting many of us. I actually have been holding off writing a rather detailed post in response to [danah](’s post explaining that [Facebook is loosing its context for her]( — something that, in my words, I would describe as “Facebook is becoming impossible to manage in a way that makes sense with my life and relationships.” Here’s what she says:

> Le sigh. I lost control over my Facebook tonight. Or rather, the context got destroyed. For months, I’ve been ignoring most friend requests. Tonight, I gave up and accepted most of them. I have been facing the precise dilemma that I write about in my articles: what constitutes a “friend”? Where’s the line? For Facebook, I had been only accepting friend requests from people that I went to school with and folks who have socialized at my house. But what about people that I enjoy talking with at conferences? What about people who so kindly read and comment on this blog? What about people I respect? What about people who appreciate my research but whom I have not yet met? I started feeling guilty as people poked me and emailed me to ask why I hadn’t accepted their friend request. My personal boundaries didn’t matter – my act of ignorance was deemed rude by those that didn’t share my social expectations.

danah boyd, loss of context for me on Facebook

I think that what danah is expressing here is one possible explanation to why people are first really excited about new social networking sites/services/tools/whatevers (YASNs) and then abandon them: at one point, or “contact list” becomes unmanageable. At the beginning, not everybody is on the YASN: just us geeky early adopters — and at the beginning, just a few of us. We have a dozen contacts or so. Then it grows: 30, 50, 60… We’re highly connected people. Like danah, many of us are somewhat public figures. From “friends of our heart”, we start getting requests from **people who are part of our network but don’t fit in *segment* we want to reserve this YASN to**. We start refusing requests, and then give in, and then a lot of the value the YASN could have for us is lost.

Unless YASNs offer us an easy way to structure our social network, this is going to happen over and over and over again. For the moment, [Pownce]( and [Viddler]( allow me to structure my social network. A lot of work still needs to be done in the interface department for this kind of feature. (Yes, [Twitter](, I’m looking at you. You said “soon”.)

So, to summarize, we need **tools and services** which make our **social networks**

– **portable**: so that we can import and export our relationships to other people from one service to another
– **structured**: so that we can manage the huge number of relationships, of varying and very personal degrees of intimacy, that highly connected online people have.

**Update, an hour or so later:** [Kevin Marks]( points me to [social network portability]( on the microformats wiki. Yeah, should have done my homework, but remember, this post started out as a quick reply to an e-mail. Anyway, this is good. There is hope.

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