Archive for October, 2009

Chirp – What am I going to do with that?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by Lance Strzok

This week Chirp was added as a service to our enterprise. Chirp is much like Twitter, a micro-blogging service.

At its core is the ability to write 140 characters of text in a message box, and broadcast it too everyone in the enterprise. Each Chirp has a time stamp and who sent it attached to it and are chronologically ordered.

Sounds like something you may not want to do – or is it?

Well, what if I said that the only people that would really care would be the people that choose to listen to you. They choose to follow you because they want to hear what you have to say, and if that changed, they could simply choose not to listen anymore. You can likewise choose to follow those people that you want to listen too, and if that changed, you could self select not follow them anymore as well.

Like many very flexible tools, there are a lot of things you may be able to do with this tool.

I would like to share some ideas that I am going to use this tool for since I have been looking forward to something like this for quite some time.

I have been waiting for a tool like this primarily for its logging features. One of those features was the ability to easily put down what I do during the day, that I can recall later. I wanted to use this to help me when I am asked to provide input for end of year performance assessments. Long ago, I made recommendations on several ways people could keep track of what they do, but I wanted to make it easy, and this service gets us pretty close.

The service is primarily a text box that you can put up too 140 characters of information into. You can enter links into the text area, so if you choose to inform your network of followers (friends), then you can post that you are starting work on something and send them a link to that file. You can also simply make them aware of what you are working on that day. Or you can include a link to your finished work so that they can read it. There is a URL shortener that you can use to shorten long URLs if you need too. It can be found in the Tag|Connect (social bookmarking) service if you need it.

You can use it to create groups. After there is a group, and if you are a member of a group, you can track all group member “Chirps” and know what people in the group are saying about that topic. Groups are usually topic centric (like what forums used to be). When you click on the group, you can see all the posts (chirps) made to the group by group members.

In addition to groups, there is the ability to create your own topical “tags”. Those tags are prepended with a “#” symbol and look something like this: #collaboration for example. This means that anyone that adds #collaboration to one of their chirps, will automatically become a member of that “hash tag”. That post will show up if you click on that hash tag along with any others that are in that group.

So how am I using it in the enterprise? Well, for DCIPS, I am using a hashtag for each of the Individual Performance Objectives that I have this year. #GLS123IPO1 for example is a hashtag that will be where I collect all the chirps that are related to my 1st performance objective. That way at the end of the year, if I have used this tool to track the things I work on during the day, I can click on that hashtag, and it will chronologically list all the work I did on that objective this year. This should make creating my input for end of year evaluation easier. Also, since I can include links, I may make a unique hashtag for my products, and one for time keeping like #GLS123P and #GLS123T where the first would be products and the second time entries for recalling posts that describe when I arrived and left on any given day. I can use them where needed.

The tool also has a built in RSS feed, so that I can share with my manager what I am working on, where I am going too (meetings) and anything else I choose to share about what I am doing, and where I am at any given time. If my manager subscribes to my feed on that, and wants to know where I am, when I chirp that I am giving training in a specif place for a specific time period, then he and others can know where that is. Again, but only if I willingly and purposefully post those kind of entries. He may ask others to do it as well, and that is one way to keep track of what people are working on.

Alternatively, if our office had a group name, and we all included a !groupname in our chirps, then all the chirps with that groupname would appear in that space, and an RSS feed of that would be available for the manager in charge as well.

I have listed some things I am going to use this for, and in time people will use it for things I can not even imagine yet. But this tool allows for RSS, groups, tags, and chronologically lists the returns of those results. My peers and friends will likely “follow” my chirps, and maintain situational awareness of what I am working on and where I am as well as what I am producing and for which IPOs I am doing the work. They can see and join the groups I am in, or get feeds of what I am chirping about, what groups are posting about etc… My manager may choose to follow what I am doing, and I of course have a responsibility to chirp about meaningful things that are work related. We have all heard of the person “Tweeting out about going to get a drink of water” which has no real impact or significance and ultimately adds only to the noise around us. I should only hope that we use this tool to share things of value, what we are working on, who we are working with and what we are trying to accomplish. That would be the primary difference between what I Twitter about outside work, and what I Chirp about inside work.

If you like what you have read and found it useful, feel free to check it out, (it uses your intelink passport username and password. Once in, feel free to follow my chirps, ask questions, or post some of your own. I look forward to seeing you in there.

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In addition to asking for constructive criticism on this blog post, I will part with these questions-
What are you using Chirp for? What may you use it for in the future? What did this tool make easier for you?

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Individual Performance Objectives FY 2010

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by Lance Strzok

1. Publish on Social Media and Collaboration.

-Compose, review and publish to the workforce, a quarterly newsletter “The feed”.
-Coordinate with the CIO, KM, Hopper, Innovation Office, KTP, Social Media, and Training departments to maintain status on programs, dates, and articles on related content of interest.
* Ensure that at least one article on relevant material is reviewed and included in the quarterly newsletter.
* Ensure that the status report items in the newsletter reflect current information on existing programs, and include new or dropped programs as well.
* Include one personal freeform exposition per subject area with an “outlook” and or “something to ponder” subject.
-Write on collaborative culture.
* How is collaboration different then coordination?
* What are some of the challenges to collaborating in our work environment?
* What are some of the fears of collaborating?
* What are some of the values, ethics, and motives in a collaborative culture?
* A definition of collaborative culture within our community.

* Supports CIO FY10 requirements for information sharing, knowledgement IAW http://www.doncio.navy.mil/uploads/DONCIO_Campaign_Plan_FY2010_v2_508.pdf

2. Social Media, Collaboration and Web Security Training

– Provide a minimum of 4 courses on Social Media and Collaboration to the workforce before September 30 2010. This course shall cover at a minimum A-space, Intellipedia, Inteldocs, Blogs, Intelink, Gallery, iVideo, Microblogging, IC-Connect, Sharepoint, Tag|Connect, and Instant Messaging.
– Provide social media and anonymous browsing training for a minimum of 3 opensource classes.
– Provide Social Media training to a minimum of 3 Tools 101 classes.

3. Provide consulting on Social Media tools to the IC, departments, divisions, fleet assest and individuals on an as requested basis. Provide chat room support to A-space, Collaboration Help, Intellipublia, Compass, and Evolution IC.

– Actively seek, identify, and make recommendations for business practices that may be enhanced with the use of social media tools.
– Document these activities with specific customers, providing clear problems and potential solutions for lessons learned and best practices usage.

4. Identify, test, and evaluate emerging technologies and best practices for incorporation into our IT enterprise.

– Implement 3 new technologies by end of FY10.

Blog vs email – Which one is work?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by Lance Strzok

So the other day I realized that I need to keep track of the blogs that I respond to.

I realized that my responses to many blogs are very thoughtful and include quite a bit of cognitive effort to respond to in a meaningful way. This time, and effort, is not being captured and considered a part of my “work”.

How then are blogs and blog responses any different than emails and email responses? And why is one clearly considered work and the other considered a toy? Are my blog entries and blog responses any less valuable than an email? In fact how is it that my blog entries are not more valuable and more authoritative than an email since they are drafted to a greater audience and require more thought than a simple response to an email from a single person? I would argue that the transparency that my blog responses embody have just as much if not more value than something in an email. In addition to that, I contend that my blog entries are persistent, discoverable, and can be referenced by others (ping backs) when and where appropriate.

When I draft a response to a work-related issue in a blog, it is potentially being viewed by many and will persist. I am compelled to ensure that my reply is meaningful and accurately represents what I think about a given topic. That it is written with the intent of sharing or collaborating on the subject at hand.

When I draft an email response to a colleague, I do the same thing, but to a lesser extent because I know it is to a smaller audience.

So who really benefits from my insight and cognitive effort between the two mediums?

The greater good comes from my sharing my thoughts on a subject via a blog, where many can discover the conversation, and use my cognitive work. This is far more useful than an email that is sent and sits in a single individual’s saved email for future use by only that person.

Now to consider how to move ahead.

If I receive a work-related email involving an issue that is potentially pertinent to multiple people and will require considerable effort and thought when drafting a response, why wouldn’t I consider posting the question and response in a blog? This invites my network of peers and colleagues to enhance the response and send a link back to the originator. Who really benefits here? Everyone.

This is not to say that email should never be used. But, perhaps, its clear-cut use has and should be primarily the realm of personal and private conversations. If it is work, why would you share it with so few when so many could benefit from your cognitive effort? Not only could they and learn from you, but they could also help you learn if they feel compelled to add to the response as well.

So, tell me what you think? Are my blog responses work – or not? Are yours? Why are email messages considered work and blogs not?