Tag Archives: network

Vindication and Unintentional Plagiarism

[fr] Je retrouve dans Here Comes Everybody plein d'idées "à moi". Sont-ce vraiment les miennes? D'où viennent-elles? Peu importe, au final. Un livre dont je recommande chaudement la lecture.

I’m reading Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky. I should have read it a long time ago, like most unread books on my bookshelf. It’s about the behavioural and social change brought about by social tools. Each chapter is making me go “yes, wow!” and I get a sense of vindication, because so much of what Shirky so clearly explains is stuff that I’ve been saying for years. It feels like “he agrees with me”.

The truth is certainly more complex. These “theories” that I’ve come up with over the years to explain the online connected world to outsiders, and which feel like mine, well, I didn’t conjure them out of thin air. We all know about unintentional plagiarism, don’t we? Maybe I even read them on Shirky’s blog, once upon a time. Or heard them from somebody who read the book, or knows him.

Though Clay Shirky and I have never met, we have many friends and acquaintances in common. The Acknowledgements section at the end of his book is so full of people I’ve met and spoken with (when they’re not simply friends) that it’s a little surreal. I’m offline, or I’d check on Facebook and see how many contacts we have in common. Fair to say that we’re part of a tightly connected area of the network. (One notable difference, amongst others, though: Shirky took the trouble to write a book :-) )

Another possibility is that these are “ambient ideas”. I’ve forgotten the reference for this (but Scott Berkun‘s book The Myths of Innovation almost certainly talks about it), but innovation is generally not an isolated event. The climate is ripe, and it is not rare that more than one person comes up with a new idea around the same time. These are possibly the “collective theories” in certain circles we are part of. It’s at the same time fascinating and frustrating that it is not possible to trace precisely how ideas travel through the network.

It doesn’t really matter, though. It feels good to see in print what I’ve been thinking and saying for years, even if I don’t remember how I came to these conclusions. Allow me to risk basking in the warm fuzzy glow of confirmation bias for a while.

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Posted in Thinking | Tagged auchalet, clayshirky, here comes everybody, ideas, innovation, network, Theories, Thinking, unintentional plagiarism, vindication | 2 Comments

Fear the Culture of Fear (danah boyd SXSW 2012)

[fr] A écouter absolument, cette conférence donnée par danah boyd l'an dernier sur le lien entre la peur, l'économie de l'attention, les réseaux, la surcharge d'information, la transparence, et bien d'autre chose encore. Version écrite.

Danah‘s talk is titled The Power of Fear in Networked Publics. Listen to it as soon as you can. (It’s an hour long, and danah is a wonderful speaker.) Or do what I did, which is drop it into iTunes and have it come up randomly a year later when you’re listening to music.

The amount of content available fuels the attention economy, in which fear is a great tool to get people’s attention. The internet and social media increase the information overload issue (though it is not a new problem, as Anaïs Saint-Jude brilliantly explained at Lift12), thus intensifying the role of fear in our society.

Oh, and sewing machines are evil because women will spend their days rubbing their legs together.

Listen to danah. I’m going to listen again. These are complex issues and danah is absolutely great at laying out that complexity.



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Posted in Connected Life, Digital Youth | Tagged danah boyd, fear, information overload, network, sxsw | Leave a comment

Coworking Musings — Why is More Better?

[fr] A Paris pour Coworking Europe. Trois jours pour penser au coworking et à l'eclau! Là, je médite sur le fait que la mesure du succès pour un espace coworking semble être "plus de coworkers" ou "plus de revenu". Je ne suis pas d'accord, comme vous imaginez, si vous connaissez un peu l'eclau...

Here I am in Paris for Coworking Europe. Three days to think about coworking and talk with other people who are also running spaces or participating in the coworking movement one way or another.

Rather than live-blog, I’ve decided to take a few notes and write more synthetic posts with my thoughts and take-aways.

One of the first things that strikes me is how success seems to be measured by numbers here. More members, better space. I’m not sure I agree. That is in any case definitely not how I manage eclau.

More members means more connections. But at what point do more connections start being “noise”? Do we always need more connections? Is this the single only indicator of success? Take the Hub Melbourne. 700 members. Mind-boggling, but is it still a community? Also, how do you count members? Are they people who have signed up to be on a list, or people who actively and regularly come and work at the coworking space?

I know I’m very careful about how I count numbers. It’s simple at eclau: a member is somebody who shells out the monthly fee. And for that, they have to have signed up for six months minimum. Yes, six months! When I give numbers, I don’t count occasional members, who can come up to 3 times a month and are on the e-mail discussion list. Many of those who sign up for occasional membership never come. Or come once. Counting them feels like cheating.

On the other hand, I see other coworking spaces boasting large numbers of coworkers but which are not “fuller” than eclau on a normal working day. Maybe we should count people actually present in the space instead. Coworker-days or something.

Something else to take into account is the size of the city the coworking space is in. You don’t have the same scale in Lausanne, which counts barely over 100K inhabitants, or London or Paris or New York. The pool of possible coworkers just cannot compare. A space with 700 members in Lausanne? That is the size of a major company for our part of the world. 12 full-time members in London is probably laughable.

Peace. I like small numbers, small groups, small communities — at least offline. I’ve been holding monthly blogger dinners for many years now, and our record attendance is less than 20 people. Despite that, these dinners have allowed countless people to meet and get to know each others, and there are many friendships and business relationships who can boast some kind of Bloggy Friday connection.

The question of numbers, and therefore connections, is probably also different whether you’re catering primarily to entrepreneurs or freelancers. Most established freelancers have their own networks. What interests them (as far as I can see at eclau, at least) is more the network of peers than a network of possible clients and business opportunities. Of course those exist and are there, but I think it’s the peer support that is at the core of eclau’s success.

These observations might be biased as there is certainly some self-selection going on. People who need more connections might go somewhere else.

For the moment, I’m quite happy for eclau to stay “small” — a coworking space where there are sometimes more cats present than humans. ;-)

#back2blog challenge (10/10)

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Posted in Coworking | Tagged Coworking, coworking europe, coworking lausanne, members, more, network, scale, size, success | 2 Comments

Losing Credit

[fr] De plus en plus, quand je partage un article intéressant sur Twitter ou Facebook, j'ai complètement perdu la trace de comment j'y suis arrivé. Ça m'embête, parce que je trouve important de donner un "retour d'ascenseur" (si petit soit-il) à ceux qui enrichissent mes lectures.

I have about 20 tabs open in Chrome with articles to read. And then, I have a scary number of links stacked away in Instapaper and (OMG how will I retrieve them all) many more in my Twitter favorites.

My sources for reading this day? My facebook news stream, Twitter, Tumblr, the odd e-mail from my Dad (he’s the one who pointed me to the BBC piece on the Ugly Indians of Bangalore — check out my post about them — amongst other things). I’ve signed up for Summify and though I have barely set it up, I find good reading in the daily e-mail summary it sends me. I can also see that Flipboard is going to become a source of choice for me once I’m back in Switzerland and have normal data access on my phone. And of course, once I’m reading an article, I click interesting links in it and often find other interesting articles in the traditional “related” links at the end.

Once I’m reading an article, I post snippets I find relevant to Digital Crumble, and depending on how interesting the article is, post it to Twitter, Facebook, or Climb to the Stars.

Why am I telling you all this?

I believe it’s important to give credit to those who point me to stuff interesting enough that I want to point others to it. The traditional “hat tip” or “via” mention. But I’m finding it more and more difficult to remember how I got to a particular page or article. Actually, most of the time, by the time I’m ready to reshare something, I have no clue how I arrived there.

This happened in the good old days of blogging as only king of online self-expression, of course, but less, I think. Our sources were more limited. Concentrated in one place, the aggregator. Shared by less people, in a more “personal” way (how much personal expression is there in tweet that merely states the title of an article and gives you the link?). When I click an article in my Facebook newsfeed, I don’t often pay attention to who shared it. It’s just there.

So, I wish my open tabs had some way of remembering where they came from. That, actually, is one of the reasons I like using Twitter on my phone, because the links are opened in the same application, and when I go back I see exactly which tweet I clicked the link from. Sadly, sharing snippets to Tumblr (something that’s important to me) does not exactly work well inside the mobile Twitter app.

Is anybody working on this? Is this an issue you care about too? I’d love to hear about it.

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Posted in Thinking | Tagged credit, india-2011-2012, network, sharing, sources | 4 Comments

Survivre à l’heure du trop d’informations

[en] The key to surviving in our age of "too much information out there at our fingertips" is to give up all hope of keeping up. Keep your network and connections healthy. Dip in the river of updates the network provides you with (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, RSS feeds maybe) when you feel like it, and take a snack. Some snacks make you feel like a full meal -- just go for it. I view these streams of updates as a 24/7 radio that I switch on for a few minutes every now and again.

If you've taken care to build and maintain a quality network (and that is your responsibility), then important news will find its way to you, through more than one channel. You never have to be worried about "missing something" again.

Of course, if you're in the breaking news business, this won't apply to you. But honestly, who really wants to be in the breaking news business? Can one outlet really beat the network to it?

Lors du très sympathique Bloggy Friday d’hier soir, la conversation est à un moment donné partie sur les fils RSS, Twitter, le temps que ça prend, et la quantité d’informations à s’enfiler chaque jour, si on rentre là-dedans.

Je vous présente donc ma recette pour survivre à l’heure de la pléthore d’informations à portée de nos souris qui est la nôtre. Elle est très simple, la recette:

  • lâcher prise et abandonner tout espoir d’être “à jour” ou de “tout lire”
  • mettre l’accent sur les connexions et le réseau (quelles personnes je suis sur Twitter, connexions facebook, abonnements RSS)
  • considérer que tous ces flux sont comme une rivière où l’on fait trempette de temps en temps, ou comme une station radio diffusant en continue et qu’on allume lorsqu’on en a envie.

Quelques éléments supplémentaires:

  • si l’information est importante et que le réseau est de qualité (voir le point ci-dessous), elle vous parviendra par de multiples chemins (exit donc l’angoisse de “rater” quelque chose de vital)
  • la qualité du réseau est cruciale: ce n’est pas juste une question de quantité de connexions ou de contacts (même si cette dimension joue un rôle), et chacun est entièrement responsable du réseau qu’il construit et maintient autour de lui.

Pour ma part, j’ai depuis longtemps accepté que je ne suis pas une lectrice régulière de blogs. Je sais, cette information en surprend plus d’un, car je suis perçue comme une personne très connectée et “au courant”. Mes lectures sont des butinages, incités par ce que je vois passer dans ces différents flux (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, surtout). De temps en temps, je vais expressément voir le blog de telle ou telle personne, ou son compte Facebook, ou son Twitter — parce que j’ai envie d’en savoir plus sur ce qu’elle raconte récemment.

Mais je ne cherche pas à “tout lire”, oh non, au grand jamais. Et je m’en porte fort bien!

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Posted in Connected Life | Tagged abonnement, blogs, facebook, flux, information, information overload, network, réseau, réseautage, rss, stress, surcharge, surcharge cognitive, surcharge d'informations, twitter | 1 Comment

A Thought or Two on Social Capital

[fr] On parle en anglais de "social capital" ("capital social", ça se traduit?) pour exprimer le "poids" ou l'autorité que quelqu'un a dans sa communauté (ou encore le respect et l'admiration qu'on a pour cette personne). Ce capital social peut être "dépensé" sagement ou dilapidé. C'est un peu la mesure de "combien de faveurs peut-on demander autour de soi avant de se faire envoyer balader?" -- On peut aussi perdre son capital social en faisant quelque chose de stupide ou pas éthique (se faire payer pour écrire des articles sur son blog sans être transparent à ce sujet... ou même en l'étant).

Je trouve que "capital social" est une expression plus intéressante que "popularité" ou "autorité" parce que d'une part on comprend mieux que c'est une donnée multi-dimensionnelle, et d'autre part elle exprime bien que c'est quelque chose qui se transforme en actes, en concret. (On "fait quelque chose" avec son capital social, on ne le laisse pas juste dormir.)

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a nice afternoon in Geneva (a surprise for me!) sipping an ice tea on the terrace of a café in the Quartier des Bains. The people around the table were interesting, as was the conversation. At one point, I was trying to explain how I viewed “social capital” and the meritocratic nature of the connected lifestyle.

As with many things, the Internet has not really created anything new, but given more visibility or weight to something that already exists in the offline world that everybody knows.

As an individual, I have certain connections with other individuals, and a certain reputation. If I’m respected and appreciated, then I have a certain amount of social capital that I can either accumulate or “spend”.

Here’s an example of “spending” some of my social capital: I’m organizing a conference and ask people to blog about it or introduce me to possible sponsors. In “normal” speech, we’d simply say I’m asking for favours — and that’s what it is.

The amount of favours people will do me depends on how much “social capital” I have — how much they respect, regard, appreciate me. It’s pretty simple, really. “Social capital” is just an expression (like “whuffie”) used to give a name to this “thing” that people have more or less of, and which gives them power as an individual in their network.

Social capital can be well spent, or dilapidated. It can also be lost by doing stupid things (the kind of things that “ruin a reputation”). I think it’s a better expression than “popularity” or “reputation” because it stands a chance of being understood as multi-dimensional.

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Posted in Connected Life | Tagged authority, balance, favours, network, popularity, relationships, reputation, social capital, whuffie | 1 Comment


[fr] Le "retweeting", ou l'équivalent chez Twitter du forwarding d'e-mails.

So, lately, when people have asked me for a hand with something, all I’ve had to offer (due to a very tight time budget) has been along the lines of “I’ll be happy to retweet it”.

I got a few (virtual) blank stares.

Retweeting is the Twitter equivalent of e-mail forwarding.

It’s used to help spread requests for assistance further, or let more people know about fun and interesting stuff.

How does it work?

You write a tweet. Keep it under 120/125 chars (to leave a little space for the retweeting).

Twitter / charbax: Looking for $1000 sponsor ...

Some Twitter clients, like twhirl, for example, offer a “retweet” feature: just hit the retweet button and the tweet in question is “forwarded” with a prefix (I choose “RT” as it’s shorter than “retweeting” and each character counts).

twhirl - re-tweeting

If your client doesn’t support this, you can always just copy-paste the tweet by hand. The format is:

retweeting @somebody: original twitter message here!


RT @somebody: original twitter message here!

If I retweet something, my followers get to see it too.

Twitter / Stephanie Booth: RT @charbax: Looking for $ ...

The big difference between forwarding an e-mail and retweeting a tweet is that when you forward an e-mail, you are the one who decides who it goes to. With twitter, your tweet is sent to those who have elected to follow you.

Hopefully my retweeting will help Charbax find his sponsor for LeWeb’08!

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Posted in Social Media and the Web | Tagged explanation, forwarding, instructions, Kit du blogueur, microblogging, microsharing, network, retweeting, Social Software, tutorial, twhirl, twitter, user/07467067922840649993/state/com.google/read | 3 Comments

Becoming a Professional Networker: Tags in Address Book OSX Needed!

[fr] Besoin, de toute urgence: plugin Address Book.app permettant de taguer ses contacts.

For some time now, I’ve been aware that I’m becoming a professional networker. Almost all I do to promote Going Solo, for example, relies on my reputation and the connections I have to other people.

Now, I’ve never been somebody to collect contacts just for the sake of collecting contacts, but until LeWeb3 last year, I had just been content with butterflying around and stacking business cards somewhere near by desk. At LeWeb3, when I started telling people about Going Solo, I also started realising that the people I met and contacts I made were going to have more importance for my business than before.

And if I’ve learnt something during these last two months, it’s the importance of getting back to people. I’ve figured out how iGTD and GMail can play nice together to help me with that, but it’s not sufficient. I need to keep track of who I’ve asked what, of who can help me with what, who has this or that connection. And yes, I have too many people in my business network to keep everything in my head.

As I explain in the video above, the lovely Cathy Brooks put me on the right track: use Address Book.app. I don’t really need to keep all the contact details related to a person close at hand (ie, phone number, e-mail, etc.) because I have that in LinkedIn, Facebook, GMail address book, or on business cards. I’m not interested in keeping an exhaustive repository of all the contact details of all the people I’ve met. What I’m interested in, however, is keeping the names of these people somewhere I can attach meaningful information to them.

Where we met. What we talked about. Stuff that’ll help me remember who people are.

So, I started simply adding names (Firstname Lastname) into my OSX address book, along with a few words in the Notes field. The nice thing about the Notes field is that you don’t have to toggle edit mode on to add stuff in the Notes. So, of course, I started using the notes field to tag people. Not too bad (smart folders allow me to “pull out” people with a certain tag) but not great either, because tags get mixed up with notes, and it’s a bit clunky.

Somebody suggested I create a custom “Tags” field (a “Names” type field is fine). Unfortunately, though this looks like a good idea at first, it fails because you have to edit a contact each time you want to add tags. Also, you can’t create a smart folder based on the contents of that field — you need to search through the whole card. Clunky too.

I don’t know how to write Address Book plugins, but I know they exist, and I have an idea for a plugin that would save my life (and probably countless others) and which doesn’t seem very complex to build. If there’s anybody out there listening… here’s a chance to be a hero.

I want a “tag your contacts” plugin for Address Book.app. What would it do? Simple, add a “Tags” field that behaves similarly to the “Notes” field. That would allow me to separate notes and tags — they aren’t quite the same thing, don’t you agree?

In addition to that, the plugin could display a list of all contacts tagged “thisorthat” when you double-clicked the tag. That would be nice.

Does anybody else want this? Does it already exist? Would anybody be willing to build it? (If other people are interested, I’d be willing to suggest we pool some cash to donate to the kind person building this life-saving plugin.)

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Posted in Being the boss | Tagged address book, address book.app, code, contacts, details, entrepreneuring, field, Geek / Technical, mac, network, networking, notes, osx, people, plugin, software, Software and Tools, tagging, tags, tool, utility, Wanted | 13 Comments

From LIFT06 to LIFT08

[fr] Un petit coup d'oeil sur les différences majeures entre mon expérience de LIFT06 et de LIFT08, à deux ans d'écart.

As I said in my open stage speech, two years (and a few days) ago I was sitting in the CICG conference hall, but things were very different from today. LIFT06 was, if I remember correctly, my second conference. I’d been to BlogTalk2 in 2004 and met a few people there (live-blogging already!). So, in 2006, there were very few people at the conference which I had actually met. I knew Lee Bryant. I knew Martin Röll. I knew Laurent Haug. I knew Björn Ognibeni (I think he was at LIFT06, but couldn’t swear it). I knew a few local bloggers, and some people from online. (My memory is a bit fuzzy.) But most of the people who make up my network (both online and offline, personal and professional) were not part of my world yet.

LIFT06 is where I met Robert Scoble, Bruno Giussani, David Galipeau, Euan Semple, Hugh McLeod, and a bunch of others. It’s where I got to know Anne Dominique Mayor (we both sat down smack in front of Robert Scoble by pure chance, because we were going for power sockets — that’s how I met him), and she has since then become part of my close circle of friends. LIFT06 felt a bit like San Francisco felt a year later: my online world had suddenly materialized offline.

Retrospectively, I’d say that in 2006, I was introduced to people, but that today, in 2008, it is people who introduce themselves to me. It’s not as clear-cut, of course, but it’s the general trend.

At LIFT08, I’ve lost count of the people present whom I’ve already met. There are almost too many for me to say hello to each one. I’m holding a workshop, and giving an open stage speech, so I’m much more public — more people know me than I know them.

It’s a bit scary. I don’t know who I want to spend my time with anymore, for one (old friends? new, unknown people?) — and my brain just can’t keep up. I forget who I’ve met. I try giving Going Solo moo cards to old friends more than once. I feel like I’ve become a networking automaton, and I don’t like it. I’m not good at faking it, I’d rather tell people that I’m over-socialized and that I have trouble processing all this.

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Posted in Conferences | Tagged blogtalk2004, conférences, Events, going solo, lift06, lift08, meeting, network, networking, people, Pieces of Me | 1 Comment

I’m Starting a Company

[fr] J'ai décidé de créer une entreprise. Eh oui. Sans donner trop de détails, je peux déjà vous dire qu'il ne s'agira pas principalement de consulting web (même si je ne renonce pas à mes activités professionnelles courantes) et que ce ne sera pas non plus une application web. Par contre, ce sera l'occasion de faire bon usage de mon réseau.

Un peu étrange pour moi, mais ce sera aussi la première fois dans ma vie que j'entreprends quelque chose dans le but avoué de gagner de l'argent. Bien entendu, ce ne sera pas aux dépens des produits/services/clients/utilisateurs/employés/collaborateurs/partenaires... Je reste qui je suis et j'ai des valeurs auxquelles je tiens ;-)

If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve certainly already heard the news: I’m starting a company. Now, though I’ve told a few people online and off what it was about (shhh), I’m not going to spill all the beans right now (have to keep you wondering for a bit, right?).

What I’ll say for the moment is the following:

  • I’m not “retiring” from any of what I’m doing now (I’m still for hire for my usual consulting/speaking/experiential-marketing/etc. stuff, though I might be a bit busier in the coming months, so plan ahead!)
  • my company’s main business will not be consulting, and it will not be a web app (that narrows it down, doesn’t it?)
  • strange as it may sound for me to say this, for the first time in my life I’m making a professional decision with the intent of earning money (though not at the expense of my products/services/users/clients/employees/partners, obviously)
  • I’m still thinking about a name (“Pink” stuff is out, unfortunately — that should give you a serious hint)
  • this will be a chance for me to put my network to good use (amongst other things, I intend to surround myself with great advisors/partners/collaborators).

I’m excited! Full of questions and ideas, but really excited :-)

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Posted in Being the boss | Tagged company, entrepreneuring, network, startup, stephaniebooth, teaser, web2.0 | 25 Comments