Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I got my new horizons!

I have really enjoyed the break from blogging and, I have to admit, spending the New Year in Southern California wasn’t all that bad! I had left Boulder on New Years’ eve and had seen 0 degrees Fahrenheit show up on the car’s thermometer, but the next day I was having pizza in Santa Barbara and enjoying a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit! The drive back home down the coastline in the early evening, with the views of the sea under cloudless skies, is a drive I never get tired of doing.

That night I pulled out a Moody Blue’s concert DVD that was recorded back in 1992 at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. And I thought it was pretty appropriate to start off the New Year seeing them sing “I have my hopes to comfort me, I got my new horizons out to sea” from the song New Horizons. I have the feeling that 2008 will see a lot of new products and solutions coming from HP even if, for the moment, they are just over the horizon out of sight. But I do take comfort knowing that HP’s support for NonStop shows no signs of easing up!

New Year also brings with it New Years’ resolutions, and one news report did catch my attention. Not long after New Years’ eve’s celebrations had wound down, experts were reporting that most resolutions would be broken within a few days. It appears that it takes about 21 days to develop a new habit or routine and then another 6 months to integrate that routine with other routines already wired into our behavior. For me, the interest arose as one routine I am working on is to regularly visit a number of social networks that I like.

While I was at ACI in Omaha a few weeks back, I was asked if I would be interested in participating in a new social network they were just rolling out. While I have concerns over the change in direction ACI has taken recently and wonder about their future support of the HP NonStop platform, I am always interested in working with a user community and so I agreed to provide opinions and commentary. It’s still very early days with only minimal content – mostly from moderators as they set up different topic forums – but I will be very interested in the kind of network that develops around the site.

It came as no surprise then when Nina Buik, President of Encompass, emailed me to inform me that Encompass was investigating technology that would best meet their needs as they too introduced a new social network into the Encompass community. Check out her latest posting “Fishing for friends or customers? Social networking communities provide a feeding frenzy for all” that can be found at http://president.blogs.encompassus.org/ Nina does a great job of explaining the value that social networks provide, as well as giving some good tips about the software needed to support such a communications vehicle.


I will be definitely watching how this develops and will be looking for any and all tie-ins to the ITUG community. I just have to believe that, with time, this will have a positive impact on all HP user communities, and I could easily see it expanding to embrace NonStop topics as well. Whether it’s using something pretty basic, such as the business-oriented Linked-In site, or the more feature-rich offerings like MySpace and Facebook, there are many options out there and their number is increasing rapidly. Social networking and web dialogues, that encourage individuals to get together around a common interest, are becoming an increasingly important way to share information.


As an Australian living in the US, there would be no way for me to stay on top of my cricket and rugby without access to such sites, and if you wonder onto some of them, you will see me posting comments - particularly about the cricket! As you begin to develop the social networking habit, you will see that the number, and variety, of networks you access grows considerably and that it’s not uncommon to find that four or five networks draw you back on a regular basis. Provided, of course, you suffer from insomnia or bouts of loneliness, on your weekends as keeping your need for information under control will always be a challenge.


I am not yet convinced that there will ever be a substitute for face-to-face networking, particularly for my generation, where participation in events, conferences, and seminars is how we stay current with IT. Talking to participants is where I usually first hear about a new technology or solution, and where I can first see real enthusiasm about a product directly from those actively engaged in deploying them. But more often these days, I am finding that with time and budget constraints I can’t always attend them all and I don’t get to listen to everyone I should. Social networking helps me stay connected when otherwise I wouldn’t have the opportunity.


Not every social network is effective nor do they always attract return visits. There’s never any guarantee that they will attract a following. It takes effort and time to narrow your focus and to target just the sites where the value is clearly tangible. It’s not easy – not just for those providing content but for those who have to find the time to read. But the knowledge that there is a place to go and read about NonStop, and to catch up on topics of interest and issues facing the community, helps develop a growing readership.


I do believe there is real value from social networks, and I hope that this blog develops into such a place. I see how they can effectively complement other forms of networking and may sometimes offer the only way we can comment on a subject that interests us. And I do believe the sense of community that develops around them will only get better with time and with greater awareness of their existence. The Moody Blues song New Horizons goes on to ask “Where is this place that we have found? Nobody knows where we are bound?” and then later “I'm beginning to see! Out of mind, far from view!”


Yes, we are seeing the number of social networks growing rapidly and we know that many of them are providing value – but where the journey leads and how dynamic these communities become, we will all just have to all wait and see. It’s the start of a new year, resolutions have been made (and many already broken), but as far as integrating my interest for social networking into my daily routine, I am anxious to see how it all goes. Just by reading this blog posting you have become a participant in this explosion of information sharing. And for this, I thank you and wish you a happy New Year!

1 comment:

David Finnie said...

Richard,

Happy new year to you and Margo !

I'd be very keen to see a follow up article on your experience with the ACI user community proposal.

Dave