It’s odd to see how conspiracy fantasies, suspect sources, disinformation and deliberate emotionally provocative or even antagonistic wording are on the rise on my LinkedIn timeline.

I first encountered a QAnon account in a comments section last August, but that person was still many steps away in my network. Now I see things popping up from direct connections and their connections. I had assumed that LinkedIn being tied to your professional reputation would go a long way to prevent such things, but apparently not any longer. In some instances, it’s almost as if people don’t realise they’re doing it, a boiling-a-frog effect of sorts.

One person being called out for some under-informed reactionary content by pointing out that their employer has the capabilities and resources to prove them wrong even responded “leave my employer out of it”. That’s not really possible though, as your employer is in your by-line and accompanies your avatar with every post and comment you make. Seven months after first encountering something like that on my LinkedIn timeline it is now a daily part of my timeline, and all coming from my Dutch network and their connections.

LinkedIn is starting to feel as icky as Facebook did three years ago. Makes me wonder how long LinkedIn will remain a viable tool. I don’t think I will be spending much or any attention on my timeline moving forward, until the moment LinkedIn is as much a failed social platform as others and it’s time to let go of it completely. That doesn’t mean disengaging with the people in my network obviously, but it is not at all my responsibility to help LinkedIn reach a certain level of quality of discourse by trying to counteract the muck. I was an early user of LinkedIn (nr. 8730, look at the source of your profile page and search it for ‘member:’ to find your number) in the spring of 2003, I know there’s already a trickle of people leaving the platform, and I wonder when (not if) I’ll fully join them.

Talking with E tonight about how many people we know are involved in organising their own events, we made a quick list. That list now contains 38 people, most of which we’ve known for a long time. That’s a group big enough to do a unconference / barcamp style event about event organising in itself!

The experiences of those people run from small workshops to global conferences. Myself, I’ve been active across that full spectrum as well. From BlogWalks and IndieWebCamps with two dozen people, our birthday unconferences (40 people in our home, 100 at the subsequent bbq), to national conferences, side-events at European and global conferences, European conferences in different countries with 300-400 people, to an edition of the global FabLab conference. The interesting bit is that for myself and almost all of the people on the list we just made, organising events wasn’t/isn’t our main activity. Often those events basically are a side activity, an emergent property of other work.

Ross Mayfield in a blog conversation in 2005 said “it’s cheaper to host your own event than attend one”. Not always cheaper I know, but it’s definitely more logical a lot of times. It’s a logic E and I, and those many people we listed just now have followed for about two decades now. Where can you and us take that the coming years?

Peter in his bookmarks points to a description of Bookfeed.io by Swiss blogger Lukas Mathis. Bookfeed.io lets you make a list of authors you are interested in, and then provides you with a RSS feed that will alert you to new books published by those authors. It uses the Google Books API. It’s a clever small personal tool that Lukas Mathis built. I like it. I’ve added a handful of authors from the top of my head, and subscribed to the resulting RSS feed. I also added a monthly reminder to my task list to add or remove authors from the list.

Lukas Rosenstock posted a write-up of a group discussing their personal CRM routines he organised. A little over a year ago I was impressed with how Rick Klau (an old blogging connection) described his ‘homebrew CRM‘.

Lukas mentioned there were three groups in his conversation, one using specialised tools, one group using no digital tools, and one group using more general tools (“like Roam, Notion or Airtable“). I’m definitely one of the latter.

After reading Rick’s posting a year ago I parked it for a while, but when I adopted Obsidian for note taking, after a while I also started using it for some light weight CRM notes. Unlike Rick I haven’t added any process or automation, but I did start creating CRM notes so that something like it might become possible over time.

What I started with is making notes about people I encounter.

LinkedIn has one glaring hole in its functionality and that is allowing me to add something about the context of when I met someone. After using LinkedIn for 16 years I now sometimes come across a LinkedIn contact and then don’t remember how or why we connected. LinkedIn by now does show when you connected, allowing me to browse through someone’s CV to see what that person did when we connected and try to remember the context of that connection. Xing, mostly used in German speaking countries, had this from the start including a field for a few notes on when / how you met someone. That has proved valuable. [UPDATE In the comments Aad points out such a feature has been present at some point. Online search suggests it was introduced in 2013/4 with LinkedIn Contacts, and became a premium-only feature from 2017. By 2013 I had some 2k contacts, 8 years worth of interaction, where such contextual info was missing, and I use the free version, so the general point stands, even if factually not correct since 2013]

Back when I used a wiki on my laptop for notes, I also kept CRM style notes in it, especially 2004-2008. The useful bit was that I could link to a person’s page in the various notes I made about meetings, events etc. That ‘backlinking’ overview in itself was a great way of adding contextual info.

With Obsidian and the use of simple text files in markdown I have that back, and actually in a better way than in that wiki of old. Because those text files can be approached by a wide variety of software tools, not just Obsidian.
I’m not attempting to be complete in these CRM notes, I grow them the same way as I grow the other type of notes: when I encounter someone new I make note of it. Especially when I don’t know someone yet, or don’t have a strong connection to someone I make those notes. Not so much of people that I’m already connected to like colleagues. I’ve started a few new projects in the past few months, which is always a moment when you encounter a lot of new people in a new context. So those I’ve made notes for, as it helps understand a new client organisation, relevant stakeholders and context. For now backlinking in meeting and project notes is the way for adding a record of interaction.

Maybe in a year or so I can start doing more pro-active things with those notes, like Rick has built into his routines. Another element to me is potentially leaving LinkedIn behind at some point in the future, or at least be somewhat prepared when LinkedIn goes away, as all these platforms do.

Do you have some personal CRM-type routines or automation?

HandShakeHandshakes and conversations is what I’m interested in, not marketing instruments. Image Handshake by Elisha Project, license CC BY SA

Replied to Losjes de leesmap lezen by Frank Meeuwsen (diggingthedigital.com)
Eens in de twee weken ben ik vrij op woensdag. Vandaag. Dat betekent voor mij niet dat ik offline de dag beleef. Verre van dat. Die woensdag is voor mij een dag om zelf op zoek te gaan online. Om mijn inbox, leesmap en losse flodders te bezoeken. Allerlei URL’s die ik gedurende de week tegenkom ma...

Zoals je weet lees ik mijn feeds op basis van sociale afstand. Bij weinig tijd kijk ik alleen even naar de feeds van mensen die ik het hoogst heb zitten, en bij meer tijd schuif ik op naar uiteindelijk de groep mensen die ik wel lees maar verder niet ken.
Grasduinend lees ik eerst uitsluitend door de feeds, wat me interessant lijkt open ik in een tab in de browser, maar lees ik nog niet verder. (Daarnaast heb ik gerichtere lees-taktieken als ik bijvoorbeeld gericht naar een onderwerp zoek, of op basis van een eigen vraag zoek). Als ik door mijn lijstje ben kijk ik pas of ik ook tijd heb voor het bekijken van de geopende tabs, of dat op een later moment doe. Ik benader feeds lezen dus een beetje als triage, zoals bij e-mail ook: van de 300 berichten vandaag vind ik er 12 interessant en de rest wordt gemarkeerd als gezien. Die 12 komen aan bod in een volgende doorgang. Of niet. Ik verlies me makkelijk in exploratief browsen, zoals jij ook beschrijft, en ik probeer er dus bewust een moment voor te creëren.

A question I have is whether the pandemic will mean a slow-down or pause in tech-innovation?
Innovation in part is based on serendipity, on the pseudo-random meeting and interaction of people, ideas, skills, capital etc. Those meetings take place in cities for instance, as they are serendipity hubs.
Yet this year I noticed how online interaction tends to stick just to the topic and agenda at hand, and there’s much less place for riffing off eachother’s ideas and suggestions for instance.

Apart from innovation driven by necessity (e.g. vaccin development), would a slow-down be visible in tech start-up founding, start-up funding (maybe not yet, as funding emerges some time after founding so it might be a delayed effect)?

Would there be a discernable impact on a city level?

Are there compensating effects? I’ve noticed that the pandemic in our company and for me personnaly led to more introspection, and meant more focus on developing things, also because there was less activity around us. A reduction of movement, a reduction of social dynamics, but the stillness enabling more action as a consequence.

How would one go about trying to see such effects, and in which data?