Saturday, 9 July 2011

Google+ looks like it might suit...

I've not really connected with Facebook, because I have a healthy scepticism (well-proven!) about their concern for the welfare of our privacy.

Will Gooogle+ fit the bill?

I think it might. My first impressions give no cause for concern.

Circles

Using the metaphor / analogy of circles of family, friends, acquaintances etc. everything becomes quite intuitive. You set different sharing settings for each circle so the "heads" you drag and drop into each circle can get a different set of your "shares".

Adding new circles is really easy, as is managing who's in which circle (and of course someone can be in more than one circle).

Streams per circle

Again, this feels like a natural way of doing things - keep an eye on what your friends from the pub pool team are up to, or the latest stuff that happening with family.

Privacy

The privacy policy for Google+ is quite readable, if lengthy. And it looks like they are being fully transparent and playing the "good guys". Again, the concept of circles makes it second nature to stay in control of what gets shared with whom.
And if you decide after a while it's not for you, you can download your data and then remove the service by deleting your Google profile from your account. I'm not sure about the ramifications of this, though. It sounds fairly major.

Initial conclusions?

All in all I think this does what I'm after so I'm going to stick with it.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

How a positive attitude can turn problem into opportunity...

..or a bad outcome turned good...

Background

Go along with me a moment so you get a feel for how I felt...
I recently wrote a tutorial / guide for Zazzle storekeepers who were new to Zazzle's design templates and quick create tool.

I put in a huge amount of effort to produce a quality guide with as wide a reach as possible. I went through a proper review process, where volunteers of different skill levels tried it out (from self-professed dummy level to 'old hands' at the game) and gave their feedback publicly on the Zazzle forum topic dedicated to it.

All the feedback was then used to amend and polish the final product.

The knock-back

So I was really upset at first when one of Zazzle's high-profile pro-seller storekeepers somehow took offence at the fact I was selling the guide. It seemed to be down to the fact that she (and others) provide guides covering similar topics for free (with the sort of quality you get with 'free'). And all this was without actually having seen the guide!

Even allowing for the fact that things that folks write can often come across much more aggressively than was meant, or can even be completely misinterpreted, the sheer "acidity" of tone and content quite upset me for a while.

A great example of a positive attitude?

I gave an initial polite response (I am British after all!) and then mulled it over for a few days, trying to see some form of positive in it.

Then it came to me. First, there's no smoke without fire - so I needed to understand the stripped-down essentials of what she was saying and then see if she was either expressing a legitimate concern or had misunderstood something.

Secondly, if one person is thinking that and actually saying it, there's probably many more who are staying silent.

So by thinking laterally about it, I found a way to
  • let others judge for themselves and then provide feedback, helping waverers make up their minds
  • keep the discussion thread on the front page so folks who might have been put off get a chance to see that they actually can judge for themselves
  • A chance to do a promotion on my guide and keep it in the eye of potential customers
Given these great benefits to me, manners and an honest sense of gratitude behove me to thank the very person who initially upset me.

A great outcome, don't you think? How would you have handled it?

Have a great rest-of-weekend
~~Mark (Highton Ridley)