Archive for the ‘Time’ Category

TOOL TIP: The LinkedIn Toolbar for IE & Firefox (And Other Handy LinkedIn Tools)

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Are you integrating LinkedIn productivity tools into your day-to-day workflow? They’re not new, but if they’re new to you…they’re worth the minute they’ll take to install in your Internet browser or your email client.

I’ve already talked about how you can integrate LinkedIn with Outlook (click here for the Outlook toolbar download). I’ve also talked about how important it is to make the most of your LinkedIn invitations to connect. (I know that’s not a tool, but I wanted to work it in up front because it’s just so darn important.)

But did you also know LinkedIn has browser toolbars for Internet Explorer 3.2 and Mozilla Firefox 3.3 that make LinkedIn even easier to access in a single click? It’s true. I wouldn’t kid ya. Check them out! If for nothing else, the toolbar across the top of your browser will remind you that LinkedIn is there for you to leverage.

Do you have an email signature setup? LinkedIn can help you create a customized email signature for Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird.

Are you smartphone equipped? Keep your digital LinkedIn rolodex at your fingertips.


Are you making the most of LinkedIn Apps? They’re free and they can automatically integrate with other tools you may be using to further enhance your profile. I just added the Legal Updates app by JD Supra to my LinkedIn homepage so I can stay informed of legal issues in the categories of interest to me.Legal_Updates_JDSupra

If you’re job-hunting, then downloading the browser tool for LinkedIn Jobs Insider is a MUST. When you open any job posting at Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, Craigslist, SimplyHired, Dice or Vault, you’ll be able to instantly and automatically see the people in your network that work at the hiring company. You can then request an introduction to the hiring manager, get your resume to the right person or find out more about the company via LinkedIn.


LinkedIn Jobs Insider Sidebar box

It’s all there for you to use. And they all work to help you save time.

For the record, this isn’t a plug for LinkedIn. It’s a plug for WEB TOOLS! I try to keep my blog’s RESOURCES page up to date with all of the great web tools I come across, but every now and again, I come across a few that I find worthy of a little special attention. If you use LinkedIn at all — and, as of July 2010, 70 million professionals do — these tools are unquestionably handy to have in place.

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Feeling Anti-Social When It Comes To Online Privacy? (Part 1 of 2)

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Feeling resistant to all of this online sharing that’s going on? Don’t understand why people are posting information for the masses to read on Twitter? Don’t see why your “status update” would be of any interest to 150 of your closest friends, old friends, lost-and-found friends, sort-of-friends, co-workers, ex-co-workers, clients, cousins and loosely-held business acquaintances on Facebook?

I hear ya.

Your sense of personal privacy is being tested. Your understanding of work-life boundaries is being challenged. And you would simply prefer to remain virtually underexposed. You would prefer the security and familiarity of “controlled,” offline socializing in the “real” world.

I’ve been there. So how did I get here?

The answer? One connection at a time.

With every connection I have made on any of the social platforms — and I mean “real” connections…the kind where a real dialogue happens and you find yourself typing your reply with a smile or even scheduling a coffee meetup to further the conversation — I have become more and more comfortable with all of this information that “belongs” to me being released. Out there. To the world. To whomever may find it interesting.

And despite what you may be thinking…it doesn’t feel like a waste of my time or theirs.

I’m writing about this because people keep asking me about this. Here’s the deal: It’s fine with me if people don’t read what I write and it’s fine with me if they do. Throughout all of this “exposure,” my respect for personal privacy remains fully in tact. Believe it or not, I’m actually a very private person. I’ve set my own personal boundaries in these online spaces that preserve my sense of privacy. I also take personal security and identity theft rather seriously, so I’m not blind to the perceived risks. (Standby for “Online Privacy: Part 2 of 2.”) But, at the end of the day, what I’ve learned from social media is that the group exposure you allow yourself to engage in leads to one-on-one connections (nurtured old ones, interesting new ones) that are as tangible to me online as they would be if I were chatting with or introducing myself to you at a party or professional gathering. The risks can be managed and the rewards can be meaningful.

It’s not just staying in touch with people you know, but opening yourself up to meeting NEW people.

And once those online connections are made, it doesn’t feel so strange to “tweet” to the world that your basement flooded, or that you just got back from Jamaica, or that your fish just died or that you need another cup of coffee. While “personal” posts like those do not represent the bulk of what I post on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else…the life-stuff just slips in there every now and again. And whether it’s a great business link or a personal side note, what I post is of value to me FIRST…then I share it via these handy little (free) social tools to (perhaps) provide some value (or a little piece of humanity) to whomever might find it…um…interesting. These things I say online are the same things I’d be telling you in person because they matter to me. They represent part of my experiences. They may even resonate with yours and they may even ignite a new conversation.

“Silly” is in the eye of the beholder.

If it’s not privacy concerns, again and again and again I hear people who are not online talk about why they’re not online — because of how ridiculous some people’s status updates are and how they don’t care about what Sally had for breakfast, and they don’t have time for all of that nonsense…yada, yada, yada. Well that’s fine. But chances are that someone cares what Sally had for breakfast, so get over it. If it feels like noise to you, it’s pretty darn easy to scroll right on by to something else that may be of great interest to you. We all lead busy, busy lives these days, and I’m THRILLED that social media tools enable me to remain connected to people I do care about but aren’t able to see quite as often as life once allowed. If the choice were between never getting to see those people or getting to see one of their so-called “meaningless” status updates, I choose the meaningless status update — and when it’s a good one, I’ll likely retweet it or give it a “like” when I can.

Does telling “the world” that I have a dog (or three), that I have a life outside my business, that I like sailing, that I love Nanci Griffith, that I went on vacation or that I love a particular song make me somehow more vulnerable or less productive than people who aren’t publishing online content? Does it make me feel like my privacy is compromised? Does it make me feel a tad bit silly?

The truth is, it just makes me feel…good.

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TEDx MidAtlantic Live Video Stream

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

ted_conference_ideas_worth_spreadingNot able to make it to TEDx MidAtlantic (TED = Technology, Entertainment, and Design Conference) at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday, November 5th? No worries. Watch the TEDx MidAtlantic live video stream.

TEDx MidAtlantic Live Video Stream

TEDx MidAtlantic Live Video Stream

Click the image above or head on over to

See how nice it is to share? 😀

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Social Media Italiano

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

scopa-05To begin (and for transparency’s sake), I should say I’m not Italian. Not even a little bit.

But this is not the point.

I was scanning the Twitter stream the other day and noticed one of my posts was “retweeted,” so I went to send a “Thx for the RT” which led me to a closer examination of the fellow’s Twitter bio — now he turned out to be very Italian. That’s when I officially met the “master of the Italian card game Scopa.” And then I took a moment to enjoy a flashback to more than 15 years ago when I played the game on a regular basis while living in Europe. Molto bene!

But this is not the point, either.

I invite the two of you who are still with me to follow this pictorial trail (if you’re reading this through your RSS feed reader or your email inbox and not seeing pictures, click here) and I promise to usher you directly to my point, which is about how you can use social media to build a community around ANYTHING that is of interest to you and why that matters.





Hmm…what’s this “Meetup” about…(click) –>




Hmm…wonder what other groups are on that would interest me…





Okay…I’ve arrived at my point. (Grazie for your patience.)

THE POINT: (drum roll…) My Twitter time went from Scopa (a long forgotten personal interest) to Meetup (an online community building tool I simply hadn’t stumbled upon before) to a search of other Meetup groups…and, because I can never turn off the marketer in my mind, the realization that if I were the community manager for a business, I’d want to know what Meetup groups are out there and where they’re meeting. I’d want to see how my business could add value to the group, whether in promoting group participation within my own company or in offering a sponsorship of an activity to one of the groups — whatever. The point is (another point?), THIS is where social media and social business meet. (Or, “meetup” in this case.) And is just one of the multitude of places they’re meeting using social media tools.

On a personal note, I found some groups that appeal to my unique interests, such as groups for “Chinese Language Learners.” Seriously. Who knew people were meeting up to chat in Chinese (or to try to, at least!)? I think that’s .

Business. Personal. Italian. Chinese. Social Media. Social Business. It’s a mix that requires you — the mixer — to stir things up and engage.

I think this post serves as a case study on multiple levels:

  • How Twitter can be a valuable tool for business AND personal use
  • Why it’s important to READ PEOPLE’S Twitter bios and make sure yours reflects your interests
  • Why taking a second to send a personal note to someone on Twitter can be worthwhile
  • There is some truth in advertising (when they say “there’s an app for that,” they’re not kidding) 🙂
  • There are people meeting up everywhere over just about everything — consider what that could mean for you and your business
  • There is networking value to overlapping the professional and the personal online (safely and cautiously, of course)
  • And for my new Italian friend, be careful where you invite “@usegraymatter” because she’ll end up posting about it

Scopa Cards (translated in Italian, "Scopa" means "sweep"). Points are awarded on each deal and when a player "sweeps" or wins all the cards on the table.

To think, all of this came out of a little tweet about a little deck of cards.

Meet online. Move offline. Maintain your network.


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