Chris Hardie

Blog, Tech, Business and Community Building

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February 20, 2014

Book Review: Hatching Twitter

hatching-twitterThe cover art and subtitle of Nick Bilton's Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal are perhaps more sensational than the actual story of Twitter's creation turns out to be, but it's still a really interesting read for anyone who's curious how a company with such a dominant place in our culture came about.

Bilton takes us back to the tentatively formed relationships that brought Twitter's founders together, the failing startup idea that necessitating thinking up a new idea that would become tweeting, and the tangled web of investors, supporters, detractors and high-profile users that would redefine Twitter many times along the way.  If the account is to be believed, and Bilton seems to have done his research, there was a fair amount of drama along the way: ego and jealousy between founders of the success and limelight the others received; dealing with conflicting demands from users, media, investors and employees; inexperienced leaders finding themselves in over their heads, and so on.  I doubt these scenes would be sufficiently exciting for a Hollywood dramatization a la The Social Network, but it was actually refreshing to learn of the real and human ups and downs that were at play.

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May 29, 2013

How I'm using social media today

Crazy BusMostly for my own reference, but also to invite comments about what others are doing, I'm taking stock of how I use (and don't use) various social media tools today in my personal life.

Twitter

Twitter is probably the social media tool I post to most frequently. With close to 700 followers and 700 people I follow, I enjoy the quick and easy perusing of other people's tweets, the sharing of interesting / useful / important links, and the witty repartee that can result.  Since joining in 2008 and initially making fun of it, I've come to embrace the challenge of saying something meaningful or interesting in such a small number of words.

I've found a good mix of Twitter accounts to follow that both give me access to articles, ideas and resources I know I'll find interesting, and accounts that challenge me to think differently about the world.  I try to follow at least one link every day to a resource/site/article that I know I'll profoundly disagree with.

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April 21, 2010

Customer service FAILs (and a WIN)

A few short stories of recent FAIL and WIN experiences in customer service:

Trying to stop getting unsolicited postal mail from Comcast

I'm not a Comcast customer, haven't been for a long time, and never at my current address. I get postcards, letters and brochures from them on a regular basis - sometimes several times a week.  It's annoying and wasteful.  I searched the Comcast website and the Internet at large for a while for a web-based form to get on a "do not send me mail" list, and couldn't find one.  I called their 800 number and hung up after too many minutes on hold.  I finally sent in a generic inquiry through their online form, providing the addresses I wanted removed.

Done, right?  Nope.

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February 15, 2010

12 kinds of social networking status updates

If you're new to Facebook, Twitter or some of the other social networking spaces out there, you're probably asking yourself, "what should I expect to see when it comes to the status updates that people post in these places?" Or if you're a social networking veteran, you might still be thinking, "what's my niche online?  How do I decide what to post?"

Well, you're in luck!  I really enjoy cataloging and categorizing these kinds of things, and so I've put together this list of 12 kinds of social networking status updates.

Most every status update will fall into one of these categories:

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October 27, 2009

5 ways to use Twitter without being a Twitter user

Beautiful TreeI have a lot of friends and colleagues who are rightly skeptical of the value that Twitter brings to the world, but who are also aware that there are things "happening" there that might be of interest.  Often the perception is that they either have to break down and sign up for a Twitter account to use it full force, or that they have to miss out on those happenings altogether.  Here I offer those folks (and perhaps you) a list of five ways you can use Twitter without actually being a Twitter user:

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June 14, 2009

Things to know if you follow me online

If you spend any amount of time following my online adventures - through my blog, Twitter, Facebook, or otherwise - then there are some things you need to know:

  1. Please don't assume that you know me because you read my posts or status updates. I'm not saying this because I think I'm mysterious or hard to know, I'm saying it because I believe reading someone's status updates does not constitute an engaged and genuine human relationship.  I do use the Internet to express myself, but only one very particular slice of myself.  I hope we can talk "in real life" or even via more direct online communication if we really want to get to know each other better. - Read More -
May 30, 2009

Blog salad

P8200016Most of my blog posts are a main course dish with one primary taste.  This one is more of a salad with a bunch of different tastes thrown together.

I did eat a salad for lunch today (nice transition) - radish, green onion, and goat cheese on spring mix greens, with poppy seed dressing.  Everything but the dressing was grown/made at Abundant Acres Farm, the provider of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share that I bought this season.  Friends Kent and Dori have again done a great job making fresh, local, chemical-free food available, and I'm grateful for it.  I don't have a garden on my own land right now, but having a bag of garden-fresh stuff delivered to me every week is hard to beat.  There's still quite a gap between my ideals about where my food comes from and my actual diet.

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April 14, 2009

Good PR via Twitter done right by Sonos

JazzI love the Sonos multi-room music system.  It's a ridiculous luxury to have and I could fill up another blog post apologizing for it, but it's too much a fulfillment of the dreams I had as a kid about what the households of the future could be like to pass it up.  "Wait, you mean I can have N-Trance's Set U Free blaring in every room of the house at once, perfectly in sync?  OMG!"  I used to do this with FM transmitters, spaghetti audio wiring, and various mediocre gadgets - not any more.

But I'm not here to indulge in gadget lust, I'm here to tell you how Sonos, the company, is making great use of Twitter for its public relations and customer service efforts (and, by extension, how Twitter is turning out to be pretty useful for that stuff.)

Thomas Meyer (who is hopefully a real person) is the voice of Sonos on Twitter, and here's all the stuff he does right: - Read More -

March 25, 2009

Remember that one time?

CanopyOne of the trends that disturbs me about social networking sites and perhaps even online conversations in general is that the experience of interacting in those virtual spaces is seen by some as a substitute for real world experiences and interactions.  Or put another way, it's like we spend more of our time talking about how interesting and good we are at talking to each other, instead of actually talking about something.  I don't say this to discount those who have meaningful online exchanges or who find authentic joy in their online relationships, but I wonder what kind of meaningful definition of humanity we're creating for future generations, when what it has historically meant to "experience the world together" is being replaced with "experiencing Facebook together."

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