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Or-Tal's Writings

entrepreneur/mother/education revolutionist/high tech addict

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social networks

Confession of a Social Networking Discriminator

I’m a social networking racist. I admit it. If you’re not there – you’re not. As simple as that. As I start browsing for business connections for my new startup, either service providers, potential employees, strategic partners – you’ve got to have an online presence, and a maintained and updated one.

Too often I am approached or connected with people who aren’t. Not online, or not updated, or think they can maintain their anonymity in this day and age, and still be looking for a job in hi tech, internet or marketing. I almost think it’s ridiculous. It’s like looking for a job as a life guard when you can’t swim. Really!

Thanks - http://politicalirony.com/

The common argument I hear is “I’m entitled to my privacy”, “I am a private person” and the best is “I don’t think the world should know when I have to go…”. -which proves my point exactly. These are not sentences a person who knows a thing or two about social networks would say.

For the benefit of those who don’t understand it yet, but want to, here are some replies and tips.

First of all – people can preserve their private lives to themselves even if they have a Facebook or Twitter active accounts. It’s your choice what you put up and what you don’t. You really should avoid reports on “when you have to go” – because no one cares.

Second – if you have any professional value, then you have content to share, and hopefully a valuable one. You don’t have to open a blog,  just join the conversation, one way or the other.

Joining Social Networking Stages
1. Share Knowledge You Came Across
Being a professional persona I bet you are exposed to professional knowledge which you can share. Assuming you haven’t started to write articles and blog posts yet – start by sharing links.
2. Share Your Opinion
Share comments on items you read. You can actually post your professional opinion on market news, even if you read them offline. Just don’t forget to mention what you are referring to.
3. Get Knowledge from Others
Look at other professionals in your area and see what links and opinions they are sharing.
4. Share Information by Others
If those links are valuable – then share them with your friends and followers too (retweet/share).
5. Converse, React
Reply to those who shared knowledge with yours, or with thanks. Don’t forget to reply to those who replied to you or thank your retweeters.

Privacy Preserved
All of those have nothing to do with your meals, children, spouse, sleeping habits, entertainment preferences, religion, or any other personal information which you would rather keep private.

Your online presence is yours. So avoid using the photos of your children instead of your own. Show online a simple photograph that would help potential business contacts find you in events.

Choice of networks
The most popular networks for business networking are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. There are other social networks of course, but I’d like to review my own choice of how I use those:

1. LinkedIn is a networked résumé. It is based on the same Curriculum Vitae one might submit when searching for a job. So it’s an important network to be on, but it’s beneficial only if you make sure your CV there is really kept up to date. Another benefit is the ability to collect recommendations from people you worked with in the past – colleagues or clients. These are usually traded for your recommendation, but do reflect positive working relations. You will eventually decide which connection you’d want to make on each network. On Linkedin I’d start with people you have worked with or done business with. This can evolve later to potential employees or partners. Remember the main benefit of connecting to someone on Linkedin is to be able to connect through them to someone else, who might be a useful connection. Obviously, in a similar way, you should be able to help your contacts connect through you.

2. Facebook can be both a work tool and a personal tool. You can use it for both; you can group your business and family connections in two different lists and choose which items posted are exposed to which group. But for those who fear the leak of their personal information let’s just discuss the business use.
Facebook is an excellent communications tool. You start by connecting to your business contacts, colleagues or clients and begin by following them. Except for links and updates that they share, some might be more interesting than the others, look at groups and pages they join and of course – events.

Groups and pages are in fact smaller communities within Facebook with shared interests (I’m referring to professional interests). Some of these groups meet on various events, which would give you a perfect opportunity to meet with those colleagues of yours and expand you networking relationships beyond. Who would you connect to on Facebook? For me Facebook is rather personal so I try to limit my connections to people I’ve met or done business with or am already connected and familiar with over a longer period of time (for international contacts). When people who I don’t know ask to be friends with me on Facebook I will try to find out what is their interest. I would rather offer my personal email for assistance, than add them to my list of contacts. By adding them to my list of friends their updates are in my feed (are they interesting connections for me? Is their feed relevant?), and also they get updates from me on their feed (do I want to share with them?). The other suggestion I make to those who want to follow my updates – is to follow my twitter.

3. Twitter is a different platform. It’s the easiest and in a way the smartest tool of all. As a default your twits are public. You can make them private, but what’s the point there? Quoting someone smart – “it’s like going to a nudist beach fully clothed”.
So what is the business use of twitter? It does 2 main things: on the first level it allows you to gather professional information from your preferred sources – be it your colleagues or international bloggers or any knowledgeable sources who are sharing their wisdom on this platform. If a couple of years ago I needed to perform a daily search to find my most relevant news items, then today I get the most relevant items from my preferred sources, which already sorted a lot more than I could have scanned.

The second use of Twitter is to get your word out there. Use it when you feel ready. As stated above, social networking is a conversational tool. You join the conversation when you have something valuable to contribute, and you follow simple rules of courtesy towards your connections there.

To social-net or not?
This is an existential question especially if you are in marketing or marketing related industries and in the internet related industries too. I feel this is where markets go to. If the masses could have influenced the choice of logo of the Gap (just an example), then anyone ignoring social networking in today’s world is attesting to their staying behind.

Follow Your Followers

Well, these two guys, veteran internet entrepreneurs, are starting a new web venture. Obviously I got curious. So I googled them up and found that each of them has about 3 pages: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In that order. Their LinkedIn profiles seems relatively detailed, but I noticed for the first time that there’s no way to discover when they visited LinkedIn last or when was their profile updated. Their Facebook pages where private – which is understandable. OK, but their Twitter pages where the final straw: just a few twits, from about a year ago.

My instinctive reaction: these guys are talking about a new web venture? They don’t get the present day web at all!

Hey, I am open to your feedback on this one. Is it possible that because I am so very much connected and involved with a cloud of undefined worldwide web community that I am biased? It just feels to me like this is what the current web is all about, it’s a global conversation, and if you are not part of it – how can you make any offer to this web community, trying to sell a new web venture, product or service??

These guys are obviously not alone. I’ve recently came across several people who are similarly not “floating on the web current”. I divide them to two major groups: one is those who have never been involved in any type of online presence, and find the current personal openness and entangled involvement in this elusive community somewhere between overwhelming and intimidating.
The other group is actually people who were pretty much on top of things up to 5-10-15 years ago, but sort of let go in the recent years, to a point where they missed the big and still growing social revolution. At this point they are too embarrassed to admit they are no longer on top of things, and they claim they are either not interested, or don’t need it, or – those very important persona – don’t have time for it.

Well, just so you know – I too do not have time for social networking. Strangely enough I also don’t “make time for it”. Facebook and Twitter are present in my work day the same as my outlook, Firefox, post-it, my pens and pencils, my mobile phone and my coffee.

I found various tools that help me stay connected to my trade floor, that’s this odd social web community, with minimal time investment.

First of these tools is Digsby. This is an instant messaging program, but it also connects to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and my major online email accounts. It allows me to get streaming updates, and I don’t have to open any web page for this.

The second tool I use occasionally is Tweetdeck, which is of course useful when you create twitter lists. I only start Tweetdeck when I want to take an active role in a twitter conversation, like #edchat for example.

But really, the Twitter lists should be the topic of this post. I think each of us have several areas of interests and we follow people who belong to various groups of topics. When Twitter introduced the lists earlier this year it was one of the smartest things they have done. I can’t remember the prehistoric era. I’ve created several lists among them lists of educators, gamers, techies, entrepreneurs. If I do have some reading time allocated, I browse the lists, according to the most relevant topic to my work at the time.

Today I started to wonder how comes that Facebook, who allow grouping of contacts for ages, doesn’t enable sorting the news stream or recent updates, to group views. This would save so much time!

If you want to look for me online search for lemino. Just letting you know.

Free Online Account? Trust No One.

Ning deciding to gradually terminate their free service came as a serious shock to many of their users, especially those who established various free social networks based on the its platform.

If you are not familiar with it – Ning is offering a platform for quick and easy creation of social networks.

It seemed like Ning’s free service should have lasted forever: you open a network, recruit between tens to the hundreds and sometimes even thousands of members to your network, Ning plant ads on the network’s pages. Revenue goes to Ning.

However, since it’s totally free to create, not all the networks could bear profits. Some networks were created and then forsaken. It’s been sitting there for 2-3 years. Some photos, some blogs, poems, personal pages of 84 members, generating no real income as there are no visitors. However, this network costs. Someone has to maintain the data. It is stored somewhere. It’s taking space, resources.

Less then an hour after Ning has made their announcement the net was flooded with offers for backups, migrations and alternatives to the Ning platform, for educators or for any one. But the Network is now tainted for ever.

Trust no one!

What was accepted and perceived as a Free For Ever service – is not free any more. And if Ning can do it, why not Facebook, or Twitter? Or Gmail?

Leaving the business consideration aside for a moment what really bothers me is the question -what made them do it and why now? Is it the beginning of the content explosion?

I know several people who opened more than a single Facebook account. The most common reason is losing the password, but I know kids who opened several accounts so they can send themselves Farmville gifts, or people who opened separate accounts for connecting with family and connecting with business associates. Each account consumes system resources. Abandoned accounts don’t generate income. And double accounts, sometimes hosting double feeds or photos, take up a lot more space then the revenue they can generate.

And in the meantime we are all reading and writing and referencing and cross referencing and I see how the volume of contents keeps growing infinitely. In a presentation I watched recently the speaker revered about how our grandchildren will be able to share details from our lives in a much more vivid way then we can share our parents’, because all of this information is going to be stored online forever.

Really?

For free??

The United State of Now

The “140 characters – The state of now” – a globally wondering conference by Jeff Pulver arrived in Tel-Aviv this week, and I was proud to be there, even if I couldn’t attend the full day.

As I was wandering about, saying a personal face to face hello to my work colleagues, people who I meet daily online, but only get to meet offline in such events, I thought about this thing that connects us all to this event. Teachers and students, marketing specialist and technology geeks of various sorts, journalists, writers and bloggers, artists and musicians – all were there to socially network about social networking.

Social networking, since status updates and twitter – had become indeed a “state of now” thing. The sense of immediate reach is intoxicating.

But here is the thing: the dimension of now is not really there. Now turns from “in a minute” to “a minute ago” faster then we can blink. We cling to our social networks in the constant pursuit of the illusive state of now.

Journalism is probably one of the first trades to be equally threatened and excited by this new development of the NOW. Old school journalism defined the reporter as a human channel through which the news flow from the happening to the readers, listeners or viewers. In this modern “state of now” we are all reporters.

We are creators of news, transmitters of news and consumers of news. We are also editors – having to choose from the enormous amounts of channels at our disposal. We don’t have to watch the news at 8 o’clock when they are aired in order to remain up to date. We get to watch the news sources hours earlier when someone posts a link or reveals a discussion on our networks. We get to choose when we want to consume our news, what topics really interest us, how much time to dedicate to each piece of information – and Oh! We get to talk back to the news, and not just make faces to the news anchor behind the screen.

Are we infantilizing? “We are like a very young child demanding to get our satisfaction NOW! Right NOW!”, Said Yoav Tsuker from TV channel 1. “If I need help in homework – I need it NOW!”, said Michael Matias, 13 years old, “Yesterday’s news won’t help me”.

And so the attempt to capture the moment continues.

It’s Kidsville!

It’s kidsville time!!

I admit it.  I gave in to my youngest child and let him get an account on Facebook. Farmville was the trigger, and though he is apparently the first among his 2nd grade classmates to play it I am not convinced he is the first one to have a Facebook account. He started by playing Farmville with his brother (6th grader) and sister (10th grader). But his network of neighboring farms is expanding to include their friends and more distant family members.

CNN titled it “Social networks and kids: How young is too young?”
They mention, among other things, Susan Greenfield who was quoted on “The Mail”, an article which I already covered in my February post. How young really? My daughter joined on 8th grade. My son at the beginning of his 5th grade. And then my youngest at the beginning of his 2nd grade. That’s probably as young as possible for a text based network.

But here are two new facts to consider:

First, the PEW report published a day after the CNN item. It’s titled “Social Isolation and New Technology” which “finds that Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the Internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – Internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.”

The second is this item, published on National Geographic about 2 weeks earlier, titled “Googling Fights Dementia, Study Suggests”.

So let’s stop and think for a moment.

What do kids find in social networks?

I think that … big surprise, the same as adults: Accessibility. Of people, of course. Why is it OK for me to use social networks to connect with colleagues who I never met and may never meet face to face in my life, from other parts of the planet, but it’s dangerous for kids to use social networks to connect to classmates or school mates or soccer team members who they cannot meet on a daily basis after school hours?

Well I am no fool. Some people jump at this question with the dangers theme. There are many dangers lurking around the cyber corner and these are more meaningful to innocent young kids then they are to adults with some life experience or to teens with some networking experience.

Yes, some teens are more network savvy then some adults I have met. They understand what details one never reveals, what information to present or not to present in the first place, how to block unwanted communications… They know the network’s right and wrong as well as they know the streets’ right and wrong and sometimes even better. Those streets that bear dangers to innocent young kids too – so what’s the difference?

The difference is that we know the streets, we feel that we can see the streets and imagine we can anticipate street behavior. However the network is perceived as not visible and unpredictable. Personally I might be a different mom. I fear I cannot see what is happening with my kids on their way home from school. It’s about 300 meters walk, through a path between trees, and it’s scarier in my view, then the time they spend online – either chatting or on social networks.

The Internet, as I see it, is a channel of communications which is here to stay. The question we are facing now is not how young is too young, or how to control the younger generation’s use of the network, but rather – how do we make it more visible and more predictable to us, their parents.

I keep remembering this “House on the Prairie” episode “Cross Connections” where they introduced the telephone and switchboard in the town. There will always be those who abuse the innovation, but can you imagine our world without a telephone connection??

hopcc

Facebook Therapy for Teens

I have a privilege. I am connected to so many young people, my kids age, around the world, and basically invited to peek into their lives. I am not involved. I dare not speak. But I look and listen and try to grasp their reality. I have an opportunity my parents never had.

So, first of all, I am flattered, of being trusted enough. Now comes the observation. What are they talking about? What is the mood? What impresses them or occupies them? How much of their social life is managed online, and how much is offline?

And when I am looking for the answer to this question, I wonder about the difference between online and offline socializing. What does online give, that offline can’t (there’s been enough talk about the other way around…).

There has been so much criticism about the online social life. About kids clinging to their facebook-myspace pages for hours a day. Fears regarding net-safety and cyber bullying. Scares about the re-wiring of these young brains. Talks about their physical shape, changed by the growing number of sitting hours that they spend each day.

But I would like to point out some really great things that the online socializing does and might be overlooked.

I don’t know if anyone ever bothered to run a statistics about the percentage of teens who kept a diary or expressed themselves in various forms of writing 10 or 20 years ago. But I do know they percentage of teens who do it nowadays is extremely high. According to a recent publication from PewInternet.org 93% of teens ages 12-17 use the Internet. 64% of teens are content creators. Writers.

What does it mean? And why is it of significance? I am thinking writing and biblio-therapy here. Venting.

I remember what it was to be a teen. Flooded with extreme emotions. Living a daily drama. Struggling to gain my independence, discover and re-shape my self. Wanting to do well at my studies, yet stay alive socially. I used to write a diary. I also wrote hundreds of poems. That was my way of venting. However, I didn’t have too many sharing options, and at times, the feeling you are alone, was the toughest. This sort of writing was more “for the drawer”. Looking at my kids I see something else.

What social networks give them is the opportunity for a natural support group. The discovery that they are not alone. This is a great social achievement.

So once we take a break from criticizing teens’ “inappropriate” online behavior, let’s talk about the cultivation of a new type of teen empathy. It might be difficult for them to note in the classroom that one of the students is ‘depressed’, but once he wrote it on his FaceBook status it generates a flood of comments. Suddenly the depressed is not alone, they “joined a club”. There is a kind of comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. That’s the start of therapy.
fbdperssd1
So I am watching with wonder and see the budding of empathy, caring, humor and intellect of the next generation. I am also seeing how different this blossom is, from any previous generations.

Beware the Social Networks!

About 12 hours ago “The Mail Online” has published an article titled: “Social websites harm children’s brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist“.

The top neuroscientist quoted is Lady Susan Greenfield. She is an amazing 59 year old woman and a specialist on the physiology of the brain, a professor at the department of pharmacology at Oxford university in the UK.  A serious, serious academic.

I am dedicating this post to her achievements and to the Ada Lovelace day, and to this pledge.

I had to read the article several times to try and understand what she is saying. After all, she is a top neuroscientist. You can’t simply dismiss what she says. Being a mother of 3 children – I want to know.

I am already poisoning my kids with un-organic food, we live in a polluted city, there are cellular antennas in the neighborhood, not to mention their personal mobile phones. Am I doing some more damage to their brains by letting them have a Facebook account??

Anxiously I was looking for scientific hints in the article. The research conducted… the methods and subjects… anything to learn a little more. But the most scientific reference I found was: she “believes repeated exposure could effectively ‘rewire’ the brain”.

OK.

The article quotes her saying “Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centered” and then adds the quote “My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.”

Last month, the same lady, who is a member of the house of lords said “I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitized and easier screen dialogues…, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf,” arguing that exposure to computer games, instant messaging, chat rooms and social networking sites “could leave a generation with poor attention spans”.

Well, hello and welcome to E V O L U T I O N.

Indeed not all evolutions do well for the specie. Think Mammoth for instance. Perhaps we are doomed.

But, does this mean we have to exclude all new media and stick with the old ways? Is preserving the current wiring of the brain more important than developing and arriving at new, yet unknown, places?

Here is something to think of. My 9th grader told me about her new History text book. Text books are rarely noted or gaining any sort of comment from a teenager. But she actually pointed out that this is a rather good book to study from. The book’s uniqueness is by adding several different fields of information into each page. Allowing the students to follow the main text while absorbing other types of information, some are minor others are accented.

When I encountered this fantastic presentation by Sarah “Intellagirl” Robbins – things fit. I already wrote about it here.

I am not a scientist. But I believe that Lady Susan Greenfield is right. The young brains do go through some re-wiring. Sarah Robbins is right too. Students today are capable of handling a lot more information then students in the past. Call it “poor attention spans” if you like. I actually think it’s rich attention span.

I know that my Kids find it easier to absorb and process several sensory and information sources at once. They are certainly more successful at it than most adults I know and I believe they are better at it then I was as a student. Excuse me for not crediting social networking or penguin club with these achievements. I give most of the credit to the environment they are growing into and the future they are naturally preparing for.

Some of the many comments made to the article on “The Mail” try to dismiss everything as an oldie attacking the younger generation. Which makes you wonder really, about how society related to various media changes in the past century, or better yet – from print, through phones, to mass and digital media.

Still one question remains: can we really fight it, or should we find a way to use it to society’s advantage?

The Best Networking Startup Competition

Am I in the right neighborhood, or what? I know all startups who won the TWS2008 Promising Israeli Startups Competition, held yesterday by “the.co.ils“.   I feel very “in”, to find out I am networked with the selected.

All 10 finalists have been networking intensively and efficiently. You’ve seen the people or the company at every relevant event, on or offline. As all companies are web related, the web, especially the web 2.0 tools, are the main channel of promotion and an essential ingredient in the company’s strategy.

So let me show off and present a partial summary of my networking with these great companies :

Worklight – the natural connection is the Founder and CEO, Shahar Kaminitz. He has one of the best blogs I am following. I met him at his offices about a year ago, learned about his startup strategy and management perception, and understood at once the meaning of investment in people. Shahar, of course, has a distinctive presence on Facebook and Linkedin. Hadn’t seen him in many events though. Worklight is well covered by all web media and was featured on the 2007 Demo in the US. (It was called serendipity at the time).

Nuconomy and Yosi Taguri. I am not sure which is more familiar. Yosi lives and breaths the web. Nuconomy, based in Tel-Aviv and San-Francisco, already got coverage at TechCrunch, ZDNet, Crunchbase, Venturebeat, Readwriteweb, SiliconAlleyInsider, Ynet and many many more. The company was chosen to take part in the IsraelWebTour held last February in the Silicon Valley. Yosi is a compelling web-celeb. He always seems to me like having a blast-in-and-out of parties kind of guy. We met on several occasions including the Eurekamp, a fun get together for the finest web minds in Israel, organized by Roostam Tiger. At every web/industry/entrepreneurs related event I participated I met him: From Meetups to Jeff Pulver’s events, to MashBash and more. One of the promoting agents working for him is the light, humoristic, web-tv program he started to make with Lior Zoref from Microsoft on December 2007. Titled “experimental broadcasts” (Shidurei HaNissayon) it talks about industry news and, well, who doesn’t want to be in these news? Needless to say Yosi can be found in most social networks and is twittering vigorously.

Mo’minis and Aviv Revach can be found almost at every event Taguri is attending. Great minds think alike, don’t they? I first met the very tall Aviv Revach at the Tel-Aviv-Yafo Entrepreneurs Meetup Group I organized. Then we kept meeting at the same events: the Pulver breakfasts, conventions, MashBash, and so on. I was flattered to be invited to his birthday party! Aviv is a warm and smiling guy. His height gives him an advantage, as there is no way he will attend an event and won’ be noticed. Needless to say we are connected on facebook and linkedin and probably several more networks. He and Mo’minis, his company, have great coverage in all blogs that count.

WIX ‘s CEO, Allon Bloch was interviewed on several blogs just recently. Among them VCAFE and TechAddress, CenterNetworks, TechCrunch sited VCafe, even on empowerwomennow.com the company has received coverage and at least 90 more blogs wrote about the WIX offering only in the past 2-3 months. But let’s socialize: Allon Bloch is a member of linkedin, of course. I found him in the NY Israeli Entrepreneurs Meetup Group. On facebook too. The mutual contact is Amit Knaani, who is a product manager at wix. Amit and I connected on thecoils, and our paths have crossed on many networks and events since. We’ve been net-friends by public exchange of views and opinions, experiences and mutual friends, without ever having a proper meeting.

Qoof, located in Bet-Shemesh and Manhattan, was founded by Richard Kligman. I first “met” him online when he requested to join my Linkedin group “Israeli Hi-tech Entrepreneurs Wherever” last March. The company was founded nearly two years earlier. I got to see the people in the flesh at the MashBash event in Tel-Aviv last month.

Dapper is one more fantastic winner. They probably spend some effort on SEO to be first on a 9 million Google results for the word dapper. Eran Shir, CEO, has co-founded the company with Jon Aizen, CTO at the end of 2005. Both have nice presence on Facebook and linkedin. Jon Aizen joined my linkedin group last February. Shir hasn’t made contact, yet.

Kaltura is located in New-York. It was founded about two years ago by Ron Yekutiel, Shay David and more. All have nice presence in social networks. Shay is a member of the NY Israeli Entrepreneurs Meetup of which I am also a member (you never know…). His call for voting from December 2007 is still posted on the message board of our group.

I could go on to unveil the roots of connections to HiveSight, Mocospace and WikiAnswers, but I think I have made my point: None of the winners of the TWS2008 were new to me. And that’s good news to these companies (and to me). These guys network! And networking is one major task on the CEO/Founder’s desk today. Can’t lead if you can’t network.

Congratulations!

networking

Socially yours…

I love social networking. Online and offline, virtual and real world networking. Over the past couple of weeks I have participated in several real life social networking events and enjoyed every minute of them. Reports will follow.

Here is an observation: social networking has always existed. In my life it has always played a major role. After all, I began my journalistic career at the age of 16, and what do journalists do? Network!

So what’s the big deal? Why do the 20-something walk around proudly as if their generation has invented social networking?

Well, the fact is they didn’t invent social networking, but social networking has been re-invented. First of all, it is not profession-dependent any more. You don’t need to be a journalist to network. Come to think of it, you don’t need to be a journalist to write…

Then, you do need the double channel for networking today. The online-offline go hand in hand. Online can allow a certain reach. Offline extends and enhances networking.

And here enter the 20-something. I started to type my stories, news and reports on a PC in 1990. That’s only 18 years ago. The 20-something were just about to start school. They started their reading and writing with the computer already present in their lives. Computer games, which were never present in my childhood, took a major bite in their childhood. If my better hours of childhood afternoons were socializing around the neighborhood, some of their better hours were already dedicated to solitary relationship with the computer. And yes, I know, you can socialize with friend around the PC too. I have a 10 year old son. Let me tell you something – it is not the same type of socializing, nor networking.

This generation was in the most desperate need for social networking. So when social networking finally arrived (did we mention web 2.0?), they claimed ownership, naturally.

Being a 40-something doesn’t mean I can’t benefit or I fit less. Au contraire! With my real-world social networking experience, the online-offline game is a true pleasure.

Next: Web 3.0 – semantic web, who is going to claim ownership for that??

Ninges

I am increasingly ninging. That is, I am a member of more and more networks which are built on the Ning platform. I feel like a teenager browsing through a street full of clubs, each one more inviting and exciting than the neighboring club.

Following my previous post I joined Fireside Learning, which is a network of educators, who are seeking answers in their way to integrate the web into the education process.I also joined some neighboring networks. I am a member of Edureshet, a Hebrew speaking sister of the Fireside learning network. I joined Teachers 2.0 and the French-English “Hors les Murs” (Outside the walls), Mr. Caro’s Teachers and Students, International Teachers, Passionate Teachers, Classroom 2.0, Classroom 3.0, Connected Classroom, Flat Classroom, and these in addition to the Hi-Tech oriented networks I am a member of like GaragGeeks, TheCoils, iDrink and more.

Working alone in my study, I begin by checking email at 07:00AM. Then, after sending the kids off to school, I go back to the study and I am there for 5 hours or so. Five very short hours. I sometimes go through them without getting up, for any sort of biological need… And the strange thing: I don’t feel alone or get a chance to be bored or tired. I manage numerous conversations, sometimes with several people at the same time, with friends from all over the globe, using the various networks or IM systems. Those conversations help me gather information for my business and learn the industry I am about to embark, and also strangely enough, fill some social need. I am not alone.

Ning

One example to this not-alone situation is the incredible help I received this week from a woman I have only met online. She is the tech teacher at the Maaganim elementary school, at Maagan-Michael. Her name is Susan and she established, on ning of course, two networks – Edureshet, mentioned above – for teachers seeking to integrate the web into the education systems, and inhebrew.ning.com, where she offers help to those who want to translate the ning platform to Hebrew. Susan provides the basic translation files and the style sheet which turns the page to right-to-left.

I needed those files because, another network friend, from somewhere in the United States, have encouraged me to take the ning platform and experience it on the local kids. He has done it with his students, ages 12-15. So I have established a social network, in Hebrew, aimed at the graduators of the 8th grade in the Ramat-Gan elementary school my kids go to. And hopefully I will be able to report back on the development in this network soon.

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