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Social Web & Tech Experiences

The last weeks in my office had been filled with a lot of intense new developments. Last Tuesday I was in the management board of my office (Red Cross) together with a colleague presenting ideas for launching social web activities for making our activities better known besides the main website. Three years ago, at the time I started this blog, I had tried to convince the officials to open up for blogging, but there had been a lot of reservations. Now the time had changed. The International Federation of Red Cross Societies has given out recommendations to the national societies to actively take part in Web 2.0 and they just had run a campaign around the celebrations of 150 years of Red Cross (Solferino) accompanied by a lot of activities  in blogs, Facebook, and the like. Our management board was now very open, and the new director very much in favour. So we got a green light for starting activities, of which I’m now in charge. Wednesday I set up a blog at the Google blogger platform, but it only will become more active in the later part of the summer. Then I started a Facebook account for my office.

Personally I’m very reluctant about using such a platform: a month ago I got an unrequested invitation by Facebook – spamming me – to join them. The wrote: “Hi… The following people recently invited you to be their friend on Facebook: (and there were six names of persons from my mailing list contacts all over the world, who had sent me invitations in the past, to which I had not responded)…

And then: “Other people you may know on Facebook:” and there were 6 names I all know, from South America, who never had contacted me about Facebook. So they are profiling my contacts, though I never had entered into any contact with Facebook. A very aggressive web 2.0 marketing strategy. Of course they mentioned, nearly illegible, in grey letters: “This message was intended for If you do not wish to receive this type of email from Facebook in the future, please click here to unsubscribe.” I never had asked them to subscribe me.

On the insistence of a colleague from the ICT of my office I had joined some weeks ago the professional contact platform Xing, because there is a Swiss MS-SharePoint community and I’m in charge of the SharePoint-based intranet of my office and document management. Hardly had I registered in Xing that I got a phone-call from a web agency offering me support services. And a information technology courses provider contacted me several times to get me into their mailing lists or on some courses. I declined these contacts…

I’m very much interested in good, relevant contacts, but at the same time very selective as per what is relevant. Friends are not gathered the fast way the social webs promise with “friends” and “followers”.

Last Wednesday I was at a presentation in our office about the latest Microsoft Fast data search technology. Fast had been acquired by Microsoft in 2008 and will be part of SharePoint from 2010 on. A specialist from Munich gave us an introduction into the working of this most modern search engine with a lot of fascinating features. Since I’m just running a pilot project about document management together with an external agency to implement a new system, this was particularly thrilling for me to see. The ways we had been searching up to now require quite a lot of work from the staff to relate the documents with so-called meta data. Now this new search engine promises to extract the meta data automatically. We will set up in August/September a test environment to compare the different solutions envisaged. By October we will decide which way will be the most viable…

Reflections on the globe in the court of the Cité des Sciences at Paris, photo by a friend.

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