Euen Semple

-

Euen Semple

148

Linkedin - professionalism - or keeping up appearances?

Euen Semple

I reckon people who say that Facebook is for friends and Linkedin is for business are missing out on the wider changes in attitude to work and business that the social web is enabling. The web is all about people. It''s about connections, relationships and energy. So is doing business. Energy and connections are what help you do your work. Facebook, for all its faults, is good at increasing both. Linkedin in, in contrast, is full of people in suits being "professional".

Trending Sources

From gatekeepers to enablers

Euen Semple

It is easy to get carried away with the possibilities of new technology, and networked ways of working, and assume that this makes it possible to sweep away large chunks of our current corporate overheads. IT, HR and Corporate Communications are usually the targets for this - oh and don''t forget middle managers, wherever they work, who are always a target for "delayering". But do we really want to get rid of them all.

"Employee engagement" and online bosses

Euen Semple

You may have seen me being grumpy in the past about the phrase Employee Engagement. It’s one of those buzz phrases that get bandied about and in fact end up becoming devalued as a result. But it would be foolish to ignore the truth that more managers making more effort to connect better with their staff would be “a good thing”. I began to wonder how employee engagement manifests itself online and realised that it is probably quite a big challenge.

Curatorship

Euen Semple

Many of you will have noticed, either through my Facebook updates or my newsletter, that I like to point to interesting things. Whether stunning images, quirky insights, or ideas that interest me, they are all things that have made me think "Ooh that''s interesting." The things I find interesting say something about me. Shared links are like the clothes you wear, they project an image of yourself that you hope some people will find attractive and be drawn to.

A rant about IT and losing our grip on reality.

Euen Semple

<rant> Foursquare just gave me extra points for having checked in at airports continuously for the last eleven weeks. This is a dubious distinction. In that time I have been to Riga, Amsterdam, most major cities in Australia, Hong Kong, Washington and Dubai. As a result I have gradually lost my grip of reality. My circadian rhythms are no longer disrupted by jet lag as they have no idea any more what they are meant to be.

Courage and patience

Euen Semple

Almost every day I hear people''s stories about how frightening it is to say what you think at work. Sometimes it is the fear that by speaking up on social platforms inside the workplace they will be opening themselves to ridicule or even hostility. Other times it is the fear that even saying what they think as a private individual online outside work can be traced back to their employer and get them in trouble. I also hear stories about outrageous acts of bullying in the workplace.

You can't enforce curiosity

Euen Semple

The Internet is all about learning, even if just which film to watch on TV tonight or where to shop for the best prices, but it is all learning. Likewise social tools at work are great places for learning. Learning from the experience of others, learning what is happening around you, learning how to improve yourself and become better at what you do. All of this depends on curiosity.

Price 79

Love at The Commission

Euen Semple

This wonderful article, reproduced with her permission, by Maria Podlasek-Ziegler at The European Commission totally nails why social matters in organisations. Love’ at the Commission By Maria (DG EAC). I was rather sceptical when somebody told me about using Facebook, Twitter and so on.

Hiding from ourselves

Euen Semple

I sat next to someone at a dinner recently who very confidently said “Oh I only use Linkedin - Facebook is a complete waste of time”. The degree of confidence and venom with which this statement was delivered belied something deeper. What is the reason for such a strong aversion to Facebook? Why does it matter so much that she felt the need to put it down so vehemently - to put distance between herself and Facebook? What was she so afraid of? What was she hiding, perhaps even from herself?

Better the devil you know

Euen Semple

Organisations fear the apparent messiness of internal use of social tools. They fear the possibility that people will waste their time. They fear the risk of dissent and disruption. These fears are raised and articulated in this article from Oliver Marks. I would refer, yet again, to the wise words I once heard Vint Cerf utter about the Internet, namely that it is just a thing.

Tools 82

BG, Ryanair, JP Morgan and Disco Dads

Euen Semple

There has been a rash of Twitter “events” recently in which senior executives have been thrust out in front of their organisations for grandstanding occasions on Twitter, with predictable results. You have to wonder who was advising them. It would appear that a lot of PR, Communications and Marketing people just don’t get the social web. They still think of it as a channel. They don’t understand the power of real relationships.

Giving up on the grown ups

Euen Semple

The first chapter of my book is called "We all need to grow up". In it I hoped to encourage people to make the most of the wonderful opportunity the web gives us to step forward and take responsibility for ourselves. And yet I have always mistrusted people who were too keen to grow up.

“Blogging is just people showing off”

Euen Semple

This was the reaction someone had to the discussion the other day about the benefits or otherwise of blogging. I hadn’t heard it expressed so vehemently for a while but it used to be a very common reaction in the early days, especially in Britain for some reason. Perhaps it is just not the done thing to have opinions in public, maybe it is “who do you think you are to assume people want to know what you think”.

Organisational anarchist or corporate jester?

Euen Semple

Phillipe Borrowmans just posted a great post about the possibilities of truly social business which he titled "We need more Corporate Anarchists". Please go and read the whole thing but hopefully Phillipe will excuse this extensive snip: Immanuel Kant describes anarchy as "Law and Freedom without Force" - this idea combined with one school of thought of anarchism - where the focus is on non-hierarchical organizations - was to me a kind of ultimate long term result.

I get so tired of social media

Euen Semple

Some days I get wearied by it all. The latest tools, the latest memes, the constant updates, the selling, the PR, the self promotion, the cats. I wonder if we''ve lost the plot and the opportunity the web gave us to change the world. I sometimes feel like giving up. But then I think about all the wonderful relationships that I have been able to establish and maintain thanks to the online world. How much doing so is now part of my life, and a part of it that I would never want to do without.

Tools 53

"Real Life"

Euen Semple

It is interesting how we cling to the idea of real life isn’t it? The most common push back on those of us who spend time online is that we are somehow cutting ourselves off from real life, that our exchanges are less than face to face in some way. But how real is real life anyway? We filter massive amounts of the reality around us. We can only cope with noticing a tiny percentage of the stimuli received by our senses.

67

The perils of projection

Euen Semple

It is interesting thinking back to the Thatcher era and how polarised we became. You can see it happening now online with the news of her death. You can see the same thing watching the current conservative government demonising people. Whether it is immigrants, skivers, it is always "them". We fall into the same trap in organisations. Management are always dealing with "them" - employees, time wasters, even antagonistic customers.

"Most people"

Euen Semple

I love the ability the Internet has given us to share what we think with others around the world or around our organisation. Yet you would be amazed how often I get the reaction "Most people don''t want to have to think too much, especially at work".

68

Us and them

Euen Semple

It's so easy to do, to identify "them". Those not like us, those from that other "tribe", those we look down on, the enemy. I am as guilty of this as the next person and can slip into demonising managers, IT, and those who don't "get" the internet or technology. The next step is to devalue those others, to dehumanise them, to find reasons to reject them, to exclude them and at our worst to justify killing them. But there is only us. There only ever was.

Intentional marketing

Euen Semple

I am increasingly asked to work with marketing departments and run workshops for them on social media or "digital". This despite making no claims to expertise in the "profession". Listening to the conversations about their day jobs I am frequently surprised at the degree to which process takes over and thinking stops. A senior group or individual in a corporation decides on a new branding exercise or new angle on a product which may, or may not, be based on the interests of the customer.

I don't get the iPad

Euen Semple

I bought the first generation iPad as soon as it came out. Couldn''t wait to own one. But three years later I still don''t get it! My problem is not so much the old argument about the iPad being a consumption rather than a production device. There are so many really effective tools that you can use on an iPad these days to do really useful work. In fact it was various podcasters'' enthusiasm for those tools that made me go back and have a second try at using the iPad seriously.

Tools 67

We the media

Euen Semple

A friend in Australia just asked me what I thought about an article on celebrities leaving Twitter as a result of trolls and the amount of vitriol they increasingly face. My initial response was "Don’t follow celebrities or people who post bile! Oh, and stop reading newspaper articles about it.". I said this for two reasons. The first is that I see none of what she was talking about. I don't see celebrities, nor the appalling behaviours that they unfortunately attract, when I visit Twitter.

Why blogging still matters in business - and always will.

Euen Semple

It''s not about marketing, or SEO, or "going viral". It is not about internal "enterprise social" or external "social media" It is not even about the platforms or tools on which you choose to write. It is much simpler and much more powerful. It is about developing our awareness, our communication skills, and our collective intelligence. It is about thinking harder and writing better.

Dumbing down and victimhood

Euen Semple

I have to confess I get frustrated when people complain about technology dumbing us down. The fear is often expressed that short attention spans will be forced on us by Twitter's 140 character updates or that we will all succumb to mob mentality as memes sweep through Facebook. Writers like Nick Carr and Andrew Keen appear to be making successful careers out of fuelling these fears. What a bunch of wimps. Are we really that out of control?

A slow and willing death

Euen Semple

Sometimes the furrows we plough at work get very deep. We stick to the familiar for so long that doing otherwise just doesn’t occur to us. Processes steer our days and straying from them causes enervation at best, fear at worst. The familiar feels safe even though it may prove our undoing. There is lack of curiosity in many of our workplaces, an absence of tinkering. In these places the web is a distraction. What’s in it for me?” Does it make my processes more efficient or less onerous?” “I’ll

Unsettled

Euen Semple

This nice little blog post from Jamie Notter caught my eye the other day - It’s Good To Be Unsettled. In it he talks about working with a senior group on various strategy choices and one of the participans came up afterwards to say that he felt unsettled by the conversaiton. Notter then talks about life’s natural ups and downs and how having too much of the opposite of feeling unsettled is bad for us. We get complacent and stuck. Over the years I have learned to appreciate feeling unsettled.

Social tools and the filter problem

Euen Semple

I just saw someone comment that "Twitter would be improved by better list functionality". For years my only experience of Twitter has been through a list of about a hundred people who I trust to add more signal than noise. I have also been adjusting my Facebook lists, after watching Robert Scoble''s enthusiasm for adopting that technique, to raise the level of stories I see and reduce the number of pictures of cats.

Tools 52

Radical transparency

Euen Semple

I am attracted to the idea of radical transparency both for individuals and organisations. The idealist in me believes that more openness speeds up the evolutionary process, even if it can cause considerable initial discomfort. We stay stuck because we hide the things we don''t like about our character. We hide them from ourselves let alone other people. Learning to own up to our failings and challenges and dealing with them seems like a good thing.

2.0 on the outside but 1.0 on the inside

Euen Semple

When I came up with the caption on the slide in the photo above I was thinking about organisations but it occurred to me tonight that it applies at least as much to us as individuals.

Why blogging still matters

Euen Semple

"?Most of what we inherit is so clearly correct it goes unseen. It fits the world seamlessly. It is the world. But despite its richness and variability, the well-defined world we inherit doesn't quite fit each one of us, individually.

Working out loud

Euen Semple

Our new found ability to share thinking and insights so readily using our online tools is key to solving some of our biggest challenges. Our problems are too big for single individuals or isolated organisations to deal with. As I wrote in a previous post we have to get better at working things out together. The hard bit is that this involves working out loud which can feel scary and challenging.

Don't wait for HR, or anyone else for that matter, to save you at work.

Euen Semple

Here at HR tech World in Paris yesterday I heard Yves Morieux from Boston Consulting Group make the case that in a post industrial world an organisation's people, and their willingness to collaborate, are their greatest assets. He also suggested that given that organisations play such a large part in modern civilised society, and that HR are responsible for the people in our organisations, that therefore the future of society was in HR's hands.

Blogging angst

Euen Semple

My friend Dave Tebbutt is wondering whether to give up his blog or not. Many of us over the years go through periods of questioning why we blog and if it is worth it. For me the biggest reason to blog is personal. If I don’t blog I don’t think as much, or at least not with as much focus. I don’t notice as much. I am less aware of what is happening around me and what it might mean.

In praise of good managers

Euen Semple

I am aware that to some I may come across as anti-management in my writing. I am not. Most organisations, certainly those of significant size, need managers. They need people to design effective processes, select good teams, help them get a sense of direction, and help them resolve any issues that they face. I have been lucky enough to work with a few great managers in my twenty plus years of corporate life and one characteristic they all shared was that they trusted me.

A healthy outlaw approach

Euen Semple

"To live with courage in any work or in any organization, we must know intimately the part of us that does not give a damn about the organization or the work. That knows how to live outside the law as well as within it. We do this not to create a veneer of protection through cynicism, but so that we can meet the powerful structures that inform our existence on equal terms, and in a real conversation of equals. In a conversation of equals, there is all to play for.

Keeping up with aliens

Euen Semple

I heard recently of a senior manager who has to quit his and re-open his browser every time he wants to search for something on Google as it is set as his startup page and he knows no other way to get back there. This was a stark reminder of just how challenging many people still find technology. Sure things are getting easier, and more people are comfortable using their ubiquitous mobile computing devices than ever before, but for many, possibly most, it is still all a bit mysterious.

Making an impact

Euen Semple

We celebrate those who change the world rather than those who just talk about it. But isn't this the western disease? Seeing problems as out there in the world rather than within us, sorting others instead of sorting ourselves? Aren't most of the world's biggest problems the result of our previous attempts to make an impact? Both of the main words in that phrase are problematic. Making something happen implies force or coercion, impact is what happens in collisions.

Supping with the devil

Euen Semple

Big Data is the latest wave of oversold and under-understood hype to buffet people. Social Media", "The Cloud", "Big Data". They get wielded aggressively like blunt instruments. Big Data is the worst. As I said in my earlier post on patterns there is nothing wrong in us collectively being better informed as a result of the patterns we leave on the web but so much of Big Data is about people who don't contribute to those patterns making money from them.

Telling stories.

Euen Semple

Present a human being with disparate bits information and we will try to make sense of them, to give them meaning, to get them to tell a story. We can''t help ourselves and do it all the time. We also try to get the world to fit our pre-existing stories. Those we learned from our families, our colleagues, our neighbours. We feel better when it does. In fact having our stories disproved unsettles us and challenges our very sense of self. We cling to them for dear life.

43