To Facebook, or not to Facebook? That is the question.

photo by webgeek
photo by webgeek

Recently a friend from my old work sent me an out of the blue email. It was a standard message, friendly banter, disparaging remarks about my sexuality and some sort of quip about how amazing it was that out of 1 billion sperm, I was the fastest.

All joking aside, one point that struck me as interesting was that the company had decided to ban Facebook. Again.

It’s obvious that senior managers perceive Facebook and social networking during work time as unacceptable and a roadblock to productivity, however the back and forth clearly indicates that they’re not sure about the implications of banning sites such as Facebook altogether.

The Power of Expectation

Generation Y workers have an intimate relationship with technology. These stats from Wikipedia state:

  • 97% own a computer
  • 97% have downloaded music
  • 94% own a cell phone
  • 76% use instant messaging and social networking sites
  • 75% of college students have a Facebook profile and most of them check it daily

Simply put, the younger working generation is used to instant gratification, they expect to be able to access social media and probably have an addiction to doing so. With social networking, affordable web hosting and the ability to easily host blogs, people have come to depend on their connectivism.

What are the implications of taking this away?

Companies such as Google, with their gaming rooms, lounges and relaxed policies realise that the more free an employee feels, the more productive they will be.

Generation Y aside, taking away workers rights will only serve to undermine their motivation. Senior managers and supposed leaders need to realise that people will perceive taking away access to resources they’ve previously had (or believe they have to right to access) as a betrayal of trust.

Two steps forward, one step back?

If you’ve worked for a large corporate, you’re probably been to some sort of ‘Company Values’ training. The purpose being to instil the company values into you, so that you act in the best interests of the company; customers are the lifeblood of our business, increase your circle of influence, compete on value not price – and all that sort of wank.

These training sessions are not cheap, if a company is willing to spend so much money in order to get people invested, why throw it all away by fostering resentment towards the majority of their staff?

An alternative strategy?

That’s all good and well, but there is that niggly little fact that perhaps using Facebook does actually also lower productivity. With all the games, applications and video’s it’s no surprise. However the question needs to be asked: is there a way that staff could get their social networking fix without a massive drop in productivity?
Why not implement an in-house or bespoke social media package, there are many open source options available and if it enabled staff to feel free or empowered while still having some control over what can be accessed it has to at least be worth a shot.

Argument – a Waste of Time and Energy?

photo by papercuts
photo by papercuts

Have you ever been in a group discussion, disagreed with what someone is saying and felt a burning desire to ‘show them the light’? If so – and assuming you acted upon it – how did they respond?

I’m willing to guess not well. People are naturally distrustful of words, they are defensive and stubborn. Beliefs are shaped by experience and can harden into conviction. While your goal might be to influence someone to your school of thought, by arguing you may inadvertently be hardening their resistance.

On the surface, people may appear to agree with you, or at least listen to what you say. The reality is they are probably humouring you or waiting for their turn to speak. Argument is not an effective tool for influence and can have the negative effect of leaving you frustrated.

Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.
Unknown

If arguing doesn’t work, then how do you change someone’s mind?

First of all, be careful not to totally discount argument. Circumstances may arise when arguing can be beneficial, you may even consider intentionally losing an argument as a means of influence.

When you let someone else win an argument, often you both end up winners.
Richard Carlson

People need to come to their own conclusions

The single most effective method for influencing someone’s behavior is to lead them down a path in which they make their own decision. If they believe they came up with the idea themselves, the more successful you have been.

Continue reading

Nubtub Goes Dofollow – Get Your Free Links Here

Photo by Hamed Saber
Photo by Hamed Saber

What is Nofollow?

By default, WordPress – and most major blogging platforms – have a rel=”nofollow” attribute in the comments section. What this means is that if you post a comment and include your website, that the link will now count towards raising your search engine rankings.

By using a plugin that enables Dofollow, users are able to post a comment, with a link to their site that will count towards increase their search engine rankings.

Why use Nofollow?

The Nofollow tags exist mainly to stop spammers from posting useless comments. Also in terms of basic SEO, outbound links take some of your PageRank juice from the page, so aspiring web-domination rankers won’t want people to have control over their page’s outbound links.

While the majority of blogs still use the Nofollow attribute there has been an increasing trend towards using Dofollow. Communities such as Bumpzee are starting to spring up as bloggers are beginning to see the value in offering Dofollow.

Why Dofollow

Why then, would a blogger want to have the Nofollow attribute removed? Simple, to encourage participation and reward contribution.

Most bloggers are constantly on the looking for ways to raise their profile, increase traffic and rankings. The major source of this is quality inbound links.

Dofollow is a great way of giving something back to the community, but even if your motives are not altruistic Dofollow is a viable strategy for building your brand.

For me personally, I believe success on the internet is about adding as much value as possible for the minimum user cost. My goals for Nubtub are to write quality content that either helps people or challenges their current perspective, to increase traffic and community participation. In order to achieve these results I results I realise I need to offer as much incentive to readers as possible, that is where dofollow comes in.

What are your thoughts, Nofollow or Dofollow?

And if you answered Dofollow, is it because you want to give something back or as a tactic to grow your blog?

UPDATE – Aly from SEOAly and Pet Insurance pointed me to an even better dofollow plugin that allows you to customize and specifiy a lot of options, such as the user must comment x times before the link turns dofollow. The default was 10 but I’ve set mine to 3 :p – Thanks Aly

Free groceries, anyone?

photo by said&done

When I was 17 I used to work in a supermarket on the checkouts. Occasionally an item wouldn’t scan properly and it would need to be rescanned.

I decided any customers that I liked, that greeted me warmly or were a hot girl, would not get their items rescanned. That I would pretend not to notice, effectively giving the item to them for free.

Warning bells

With so many beeps going off in front and behind you I quickly learned that the way not to get caught was to pretend not to notice miss-scanned items. The store security looking out for dodgy behavior from checkout operators couldn’t distinguish the beeps (or lack of) and would rely on reading the people and looking for nervous behavior.

I recall one girl in particular; she had a warm smile and was pleasantly engaging. I liked her immediately. For some reason an unusually high number of items were not scanning correctly.

And she noticed.

When she noticed, she looked me directly in the eyes; I could read the question on her face but waited to see if she would say anything.

She knew I was doing it on purpose.

I knew that she knew.

Neither of us said a word.

I’m no different from everyone else; there are people everywhere in positions with some responsibility making whimsical decisions simply based on how they feel about you.

Do you take the time to smile and say hello? You may get some free groceries.

Want to leak a secret and not get caught?

Wikileaks is developingan uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking

Photo by Zara
Photo by Zara

and analysis.

Wow. This is an example of how the Internet changes everything. For so long we have lived with the belief that one man cannot make any real change.

We may say to ourselves; sure, Malcom X made a difference, Ghandi changed the world, but these kind of people are fanatics. They devote their lives to change, what can I really do?

With the advent of the Internet, the sudden overwhelming availability of information, one person can make a difference. Wikileaks is a great example of a group of driven, intelligent and Internet savvy people collaborating towards achieving a specific goal.

They want to stick it to the man

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. Continue reading

The 5 Barriers to Personal Growth on Company Time – Part 4: Deflect Envy

The green eyed monster! 

 Photo by mmlobster

The people in your direct proximity are your biggest danger of being discovered slacking, be it on purpose or inadvertendly. You cannot hold it against people for revealing your true game plan, they may not share the same beliefs as you. That energy is better spent learning from your mistakes and devising methods to fly under the radar.

When someone has it much easier then you it’s natural to feel envious. It raises all sorts of ugly and confrontational questions such as; Why do they have it easy and I don’t? Are they better then me? Am I getting a raw deal?

If it gets to the point that these questions are being asked then it’s already too late. As a successful Productive Slacker you need to wise to the beginning signs of envy. Recognising it will allow you to take steps to deflect it. Continue reading

The 5 Barriers to Personal Growth on Company Time – Part 3: Let Details Tell The Story

Let the details tell the story

Photo by lesec 

So far we’ve established that you need to look after number one and discussed the importance of not working too fast.

In this post, I’ll be talking about the perception of being busy and how it’s all in the details.

“Why do the Yankees always win? The other team can’t stop looking at the pinstripes.”

Frank Abegnale

Having read the previous two posts, you may be thinking; it’s all very good to say we should spend half our time working on personal growth and pursing our own interests on the company clock but what happens if I get caught?

A very valid question. Obviously the methods for actually achieving this need to be given considerable thought because being caught could have serious potential consequences. Continue reading