Living Social: Reflections from a Year of Web 2.0

Jerry BishopA year ago Christmas I dedicated 2011 to an experiment of living social through an immersion in Web 2.0 technologies and social media. My goal was to gain a deep first hand experience in social media and the applications of Web 2.0 technologies. I wanted a direct experience rather than relying on others telling me about the importance of social media in the future of business because of how I see the role of the CIO changing. 

Living Social

My plan was simple enough.

  • Sign up for and participate in a wide variety of social media sites and social networks,
  • Enter the world of crowdsourcing as a contributor to open innovation/collaboration projects including volunteer work and try out paid crowdsourcing work,
  • Write a blog about information technology from a CIO perspective.

The idea of dedicating a year to living social was mostly for professional reasons. Given the rise of the social business model and increased benefits of social media I knew I had to really understand it and build some street cred in the process. There were also personal reasons for wanting to explore living social in 2011 related to exploring my own boundaries for social engagement and online privacy.

Social Media

When I started the project I didn’t have any specific goals for the number of Twitter followers, Facebook Friends, LinkedIn Connections, or my Klout Score. That doesn’t mean I didn’t catch myself thinking I should have a personal social media strategy to increase my social networking numbers.

I did test many of the social media tools used in social media marketing to build followers which gave me some interesting insights into the application of game theories in social media. I also discovered an amazing world of scams targeting the vanity of people wanting to buy Twitter followers and find out who is searching for them online.

But in the end it seems I am more interested in a smaller circle of people I know well than large circles of acquaintances. I also reaffirmed that although I can sustain a fairly wide funnel for information gathering I still need a high signal to noise ratio.

Now that my Web 2.0 year is over and I now have roughly 75 social media profiles around the world, I need to decide what I am going to do to clean up all of these profiles. I really loved figuring out some of the China social media sites but for someone who does not speak any form of Chinese it is just too much work to keep them up. I just wish the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine worked on more sites.


I tried several crowdsourcing sites and crowd engagement platforms for the enterprise. Just as with social networking, the application of game theory in crowdsourcing was the most interesting thing I learned from this experience along with what makes for the best crowdsourcing initiatives.

Now that it is 2012 I am definitely done with Turking for good but will always wonder if I could have made a living on Student Of Fortune. The one crowdsourcing site I will continue to contribute to is which is a micro-volunteer site that connects non-profits to a crowd of volunteers. Sparked is also an social engagement platform for businesses looking to increase volunteerism and employee engagement.


Blogging was a big part of my Web 2.0 plan which was originally focused on simply getting comfortable putting my ideas out there for all to consume and critique. In order to get the full benefit from blogging it became important for me to have some readership otherwise it would be like yelling into the wind.

So while I worked on creating interesting and useful content and being a better writer, I also worked on the technical side of site optimization to help drive traffic. Unlike my social media goals, my blog ranking did matter so my approach changed in order to improve my rankings and readers.

Based on what I have learned from blogging I absolutely encourage every CIO to write their own blog so they can also test the clarity of their ideas and learn first hand the challenge of content and SEO.  There is nothing like having to write down you ideas and expose them to public scrutiny to tighten up your thinking which is an idea I will revisit soon.

What’s Next?

I will definitely continue blogging but will likely make some adjustments in how I use my blog and in the focus of what I write about. I have considered rebranding my blog but remain reluctant to do so for now so I can enjoy my pagerank for a while longer before taking the hit from a name change.

I will also begin producing more content for CIO’s in the form of tools and materials they can use along with some original research on issues of interest to CIO’s and college leaders.

I expect to begin using crowdsourcing and social media tools as a way of getting more done and gaining a wider perspective on certain issues. And I am contemplating ways of socializing traditional business models like I suggested in Socializing College Admissions.

Finally, I have a couple of ideas for some other blogs that are more for fun so I can try out some other ideas. So stayed tuned as I plan to share more details from 2011 while introducing some new ideas for you to consider.


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