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Posts tagged ‘work’

Be Careful With Your Online Footprint

There have been many articles over the past couple of years telling you to watch what you say online. The same holds true for who you associate with. Your Facebook, My Space, Blogger, etc. pages are burned into the archival powers of the Internet for years to come. You are leaving footprints every step of the way. Many have warned that this information may be used against you when applying for jobs. And that is true – I know hiring managers that will do a quick Google on your name before hiring you (note to self: take down picture of me & Michael Phelps).

We are starting to see incidents of companies disciplining employees for their online behavior. Offending postings don’t have to be made on your employer’s computers or networks and they may well be made during your personal time. While you may think the constitution protects your freedom of speech, it only does so to the extent that the government won’t stop you from expressing yourself. If the private sector takes umbrage with your words, they are free to dole out the discipline. It would be just like dis’ing your friend – he wouldn’t be pleased, why should your employer be any different?

A recent article expoesed this phenomenon in the world of journalism. A reported had sent ‘Friend’ requests to managers so that they would join his Facebook page. Only, they weren’t really his friend. In fact, one turned him in for his ciriticism of the company. A News Media Guild representative summed up the situation:

 

“We have seen about six Facebook problems over the last two months, with employees — maybe managers you have as friends — reporting potential issues to management,” union guild chief Kevin Keane wrote in a memo to union members last week. “You must be careful who you allow on as friends.”

 

To take it a step further, you need to really be aware of the friend of a friend concept and not put anything negative out on these social networks. I know you still will, but I at least warned you.

Read More –> AP Reporter Reprimanded For Facebook Post; Union Protests

Testing Some Automation

One of the powerful features of Delicious social bookmarking is the ability to follow the updates of other members. I am not sure where this concept fails, but my guess is that it requires effort on the follower’s part. At McKesson, our work networking solution includes bookmarking similar to Delicious, and a watchlist. The watchlist allows you to watch a person or a particular tag.

My hunch is that the watchlist is simply not in your face. We have an Updates page that shows all of the happenings in your communities, as well as any new items that have appeared on your Bookmark Watchlist. The power of bookmarking is generally not yet realized by the masses, so that is an additional strike against rapid creation of watchlists.

One of my goals for this site was to be able to experiment with code, social networking, and any other random stuff. Beginning today, I am going to automate the posting of my Delicious bookmarks to this site. You should see the title along with my notes (often just a copy/paste from a few key sentences on the site) and my tags. This is an experiment and may cease at any time.

The Video Bug Report

There is a first time for everything, and several weeks ago I experienced my first video bug report. At first I was excited – it's not often that you can follow a use case all the way through and see a random defect on a client machine. Then, I was dismayed. You see, it came as an attachment to an email. The subject line was "Authenticated search bug". The body of the email only contained the video attachment. The video did not have sound. So, I watched the video and played go-fish for the bug.

In the end all I saw was a beautfully rendered search results page.

Requirements Management Requires Flexibility

Integrating commercial software into your enterprise can be a daunting task. Hopefully your project is interesting enough that the solution is complex. At the same time, you hope that the product you purchased isn't confounding. In the case of integrating Connections into McKesson, I found that exact situation -> the products are complex, but not confounding. They are architected in a well thought out manner, although I found each of the modules to have their own personality.

Along the way, we were presented with a lot of challenges, not the least of which was managing the project requirements. The original project was blue sky in nature. We knew we wanted to bring in content tagging, group discussions, and ways of identifying expertise in the organization, but Lotus Connections was in release 1.0 when the project was conceived and still relativley young (2.0) when the project received funding and started to get off the ground. An outside firm conducted interviews and discovery of a cross section of employees and added their own touch to what the end result of the project should be.

At that point, there were plenty of opinions about what was a must-have for the project. We were also convinced from a technology perspective that Connections would be a great foundation to integrate and build upon. And thus, the rub was created.

When you buy software, you are not only buying something that has been thought out to work today, but you are typically buying something with a future. You want the product to evolve and expose new feature over time. You also want the product to look like it is part of your enterprise and integrate with other systems (HR, LDAP/AD, Finance, etc). Add on top of these basic needs the desire to transform it and you have a recipe for future headaches. These integrations and customizations need to be done in a way that your upgrade path is not broken. This is where flexibility comes in and your job as a software architect or engineer transforms into that of the diplomat. At the end of the day, you need to be the gatekeeper of maintainability and extensibility and ensure that the message is clear to your stakeholders. And hope that they are understanding and flexible.

Social Networking – It is all about me

It's really not, but at first it is. I am talking about social networking here. Initially, you joined Facebook and set up your profile and waited. It was about you and what the system could do for you. Then you became a more active contributor and collaboration happened.

Several weeks ago when I was blogging more regularly, I talked about automating affinity -> having the system tell you people you SHOULD know rather than people you may know. Ultimately, this requires you to have a profile in place with enough semantic information in order to generate a machine interpretable profile. There are a few algorithms / semantic languages forming to assist in determining affinity. FOAF, APML and SIOC all seek to provide a means for determing things or people you might be interested in.

One of the neat features we're rolling out in the release of our social networking platform at McKesson is the integration of social search results with traditional search results from our intranet. When a user performs a search, in addition to finding regular content, they will be presented with "Related People". For the searcher, we've implemented discoverability simply by hooking into their search request. For those who fill out their profiles, we have containers in place that allows them to drop information into containers (about me, certifications, customers, etc) that are then indexed appropriately and served up based matching search terms. This looks like a recipe for successful matching of expertise & interests – we'll see how it turns out over the next several months.

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