Category: collaboration

FileStuff: Canadian cloud you can count on, eh?

FileStuff: Canadian cloud you can count on, eh?

Some will insist saying “eh” is not universally Canadian. Perhaps. But no race is actually ever 100% linguistically uniform either. Dialects will always persist due to environmental factors per evolutionary science. So take that, naysayers.

That was the “eh” bit of my headline. Now on to what I really wanna share.

source: mediacore.com

Your digital life on the cloud

As a tech enthusiast and social media nut, I’ve recently been participating in beta tests. One of those experiences was checking out filestuff.ca. FileStuff is the Canadian version of Dropbox for business. And this cloud box has chops.

I asked Steve Rogoschewsky, CEO, what inspired them to create this. ” We found that more and more people are not able to store files on Dropbox due to USA security concerns (location now) and they like the fact that everything is encrypted (not even our own techs can “see” the data if the client does not want us to).”

FileStuff boasts “military grade end-to-end AES encryption”. AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. Now I’m no engineer but you don’t have to explain how important this is to your average person, who likely has a lot of their own personal digital assets living online.

Now imagine how clunky it would be if businesses were to revert back to the jurassic days of back and of forth with offset printers to publish. SMB’s in particular thrive because of cloud-based operations.

Continue reading “FileStuff: Canadian cloud you can count on, eh?”

Social media: the profound, instinctive and unquantifiable

There were a few instances this week that reminded me of :

(a) how profound social media can be—a particular depth of awareness and appreciation exists, which we easily take for granted as we are swept away by the immediacy of what fascinates and confounds us in the ‘here and now’, as well as

(b) the prevailing yet invisible evidence that reasoning guided by intuition and instinct remains largely untapped and suitably (if not beautifully) unquantifiable.

Let me parse through the density of these thoughts in more digestible terms:

1 – Collaboration looks easy but really only works with earned trust

imageAt the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will continue to maintain that Twitter is the iconic face of social media. It is, indeed, what I consider the universal core from which all other social networks triangulate and map their respective bearings within the unfathomable grid of cyberspace.

As such, Twitter is where I’ve truly established my public voice and presence – professional or otherwise. Where I’ve organically built my tribe, nurtured online/offline relationships, and depended upon them for support and affirmation.

Clear proof of this is how @andymci and I quickly agreed to revive a startup themed Twitter chat (#canstartchat) and pick up where we’ve left it last spring.

How we reacted ‘in-a-flash’, without hesitation typifies what most call ‘earned trust’. If any of us ever fail to value this non-metric based element, then we’re fretty much pucked.

2 –  The human psyche will always underpin the evolution of social media

First, kudos to TechCrunch for tweeting about emotion-driven marketing and to TheNextWeb for the pyschology of social media tweet.

Admittedly, most of us marketers (well, the cool ones anyway) are properly conditioned to develop a flare for snark. However, my poor attempt at joking about the redundancy of  having “psychology and social media” in one breath is ironically what inspired me to hammer out this post.

What’s even more painfully ironic, is how the above (bolded!) statement makes me sound like Captain Obvious. But you know, there may well be other factors at play as social media evolves,  not least of which is the technology that drives it to transform.

Most revealing for me has been how tech itself is getting closer and closer to mapping out parameters that characterize the human psyche. With promising advancements in automated systems, robotics and AI, we have never been more thrilled nor vigilant about the possibilities.

So lets hope. That the human psyche will continue to underpin its evolution. Not Goo–I mean, Skynet.

3 –  Philosophical consistency is the hallmark of expertise

I often reflect upon one of my tweet replies to @jetude after I once quickly pinged back that “I am a die-hard existentialist at heart.” I questioned this for a nano, only because I doubted how true that statement really was.

Or perhaps I wanted to see if I remained true to this conviction. To be honest, the existential philosophers have strongly influenced my perspective.

But whatever your philosophical leaning may be: rationalist, post-modernist or say-it-in-plain-English-ist, remaining consistent with your personal reference point (your philosophical predisposition) strengthens the logic of your own convictions.

image (1)When @banovsky had a brief lapse about ‘keeping up pace”, I was glad to remind him of his own philosophical consistency. And to avoid second-guessing himself:

4 – Early formative years are more critical than later stages of development

My peers (folks of my generation in the cusp of Boomer and GenX) may agree with me when I say that we have had the privilege of the best years of education (at least here in Canada).

I don’t say this to brag. I say it with big sigh of relief, as I hear horror stories of how challenging learning can be for the young minds of this generation.

In retrospect, my high school years have been the most impressionable and formative. Of course, post secondary schooling and eventually being in the workforce played important roles. But I would not have been as confident had I not undergone the level and quality of training I did in high school.

The same phenomenon applies to how well you bet on social media’s power. Yes, we are betting on it. We are counting on social media to open many doors. Not just for selling, marketing or selfie-ing. But for actualizing democratized and uncensored access to aspects of our life, which we used to never be able to see or hear about. In an instant. In a tweet.

So be thankful.

Sometimes, what you can’t measure, what you can’t tag a price to, can be the most profound experience you will ever have. Or recall to have.

The Power of Online Communities

This post was inspired by a random DM from @RepuTrack

As social media inculcates itself into the mainstream, it becomes obvious that the principles governing its successful use have indeed been around for years, echoing traditional models of engagement that have formed the basis of many a tried and true best practices for business, social relations and information aggregation.

SingSing tribe gathering Papua New Guinea

photo sourced from Flickr via Mct-Enigma

But I rarely come across promoted evidence of the raw power of online social interaction, specifically in the way it yields tangible results for established online communities.

Now I don’t discount the fact that many social sites have ran successful campaigns by leveraging influence within their own respective ‘tribes’. So I’m shining the spotlight on this one example:

Tribal convergence
Thanks to a link referral by @RepuTrack, I was compelled to share the story of certain members of an online community (Collectors Society) who recently reached out within its tribal ranks to raise funds in honour of a fellow member (Nik) who suddenly passed away and has left a family behind. The link is a must-read as I won’t be citing specific references to this touching story here. Long and short of it? If I were to encapsulate it in a headline: Loss of valued tribe member (and his influence) fuels tribal convergence and call to action.

Leveraging native tools
What fascinates me with this story is how the fund raising process takes place: an auction process, which also serves as a central tool used by the community. Now that’s what I call true leverage. A tribe that uses tools, which typically benefit individual means, can equally turn around to transform and use the same tools towards a common altruistic goal.

WYGIWYG
What you give is what you get. In a matter of days following the initial arm that reached out, donations to help Nik’s family have reached well over $23,000. And that’s just monies from a single donation source! The last comment line on this thread sums up the profound impact of communal action: This place is more of a family than most families. I am so proud of all of you. That’s quite the statement. Moreover, it’s hardcore testament to how tightly-knit this community really is.

Faith as objective catalyst
I keep coming across many lessons offered on social engagement. At times I hear rumblings in the form of tweets that question whether or not we are over-using (or really *getting*) the term engage, engaging and engagement (via @Filterologist) Her point is well taken. Often these references are thrown around gatuitously that they risk being perceived as lightweight buzzwords.

But I think this story here begs to differ. Call it faith, communal spirit, tribal consensus, or just plain human compassion. It’s a visceral reality—a natural reflex in the form of an emotional response borne out of significant social engagement. And yet despite its subjective quality its purpose remains objective: to help, to contribute, to make a difference.

There is untold power within well nurtured communities. If you feel you’re part of one or aspire to help build one, ask yourself: will my call be heard if I ever need to reach out?

Wikis for Enterprise

New entrants to the social media sphere are getting their feet wet, googly-eyed while sorting through the hype and determining what to leverage and how.

autom8 iconFor business communicators keen on emerging web-based technologies and their various applications to existing processes within the enterprise, a good starting point would be to look at how wikis (not blogs) are being leveraged for internal collaboration, particularly when managing projects involving several players in a team.

This post is geared to help familiarize communicators with the potential of using wikis as a collaborative tool within their organization.

Blogs vs. Wikis 
Blogs are great vehicles for enhancing external marketing and communications efforts, managing brand awareness/reputation, improving lead generation, etc.

Wikis, on the other hand, can be an efficient platform for streamlining processes within the enterprise, either for a given operational unit (e.g., marketing or corporate communications) or for cross-functional collaboration (e.g., between marketing and IT).

Advantages

  • Streamlined communication. Imagine eliminating more than half of your day-to-day project-related email communiqués that tend to clog your inbox.
  • Virtual access. Users can easily access a wiki online through secure login, view/modify content on the fly and track what others are doing with the content.
  • Archiving ease. Each page revision is kept as a version. Hence, a previous instance of a given page is archived automatically and can be easily accessed.
  • Collaborative input and validation. Wikis are an open content management system since every user has a say and is able to input, modify and vet content accordingly.

autom8 iconBest Practices
A recent wiki-related project has prompted me to jot down some key notes to keep in mind. The same best practices are observed in project management.

  • Define scope. If you don’t define this from the get-go, you’ll easily end up moving out of scope and missing your target deliverable.
  • Establish a timeline. Be clear on mapping out a critical path for your wiki-driven project. A drop-dead completion date will serve to align the wiki’s life cycle with the project.
  • Identify content owners. While wikis are indeed an open platform, users’ settings should be configured so that there is at least one overall owner or point of contact assigned for a given wiki page/section. The onus is on this person to oversee the progress of their respective content entity and keep a pulse on all other entities related to their content.
  • Unified moderation policy. This point is subjective and at times almost impossible to map out and implement, since each user has their own style and approach for managing content. However, at best, a set of over-arching rules should be enforced and observed for content modification and internal collaboration among team members. These rules are based largely on common sense (e.g., refraining from using inappropriate language, offensive personal attacks, airing dirty laundry, etc.) Sound familiar?

Is your organization using wikis? What have you observed and found helpful?

Additional Sources on Wikis