Category Archives: Communication

How to Write a How to Guide

If you’ve ever wanted to write your own how to guide, TokenUser shares these excellent tips with the community. If you have any tips or top five lists that you’d like to share (perhaps using these very helpful guidelines), please send them my way!

Before writing a guide on how to do something, there are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself: do you know the subject well enough to explain it in simple terms, and can you write a concise set of instructions based on that explanation?

If you are good to go on these questions, the best how to guides follow an age-old and simple principle: KISS — Keep It Simple, Stupid, or (in this case) Keep It Stupidly Simple. This will enable someone to more easily follow your instructions. I’m hoping to help you write better how to guides with this guide of my own…

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Is Google Plus Dying?

Matthew Rappaport seems to be concerned about what’s going on within Google’s social sphere:

Is Google+ still alive and what do you hope to see announced for it at Google I/O?

It’s not dead – yet.

I have little patience for the typical jingoistic navelgazing that often seems to come with some of Google+’s most vocal supporters, though.

I don’t eat, sleep, or breathe any single social platform, though – nor does my life revolve around any single company apart from my own.

For Google I/O, I’d hope to hear more about how they’re going to continue to improve the Android experience – and, with just about every change they make, Google only reinforces my positions early on regarding their platform (despite me being perceived as persona non grata by many whose personal identity is tied into a piece of fucking software).

Is Google Plus Dying?

How Do You Write Your First Blog Post?

Mushu had an interesting question about getting started with a new blog.

What are important points to state in an introduction post for a blog? (meaning – the very first post ever on your blog)

I don’t think it matters.

Honestly, few people are going to read the introduction post in the grand scheme of things… unless it’s being done for nostalgic purposes (in which case, make it memorable).

Then again, you should write every blog post as though it was your first.

No, wait. Don’t do that.

Your introduction post is your About page. Then, your first post should be whatever you feel like writing about right now.

If you don’t feel like writing, don’t do it.

And, trust me, 99% of blogs that are started never make it past the two week marker. 99% of the blogs that make it past two weeks never make it past two years on a regular publishing schedule.

Have fun!

How Do You Write Your First Blog Post?

What is the Biggest Impact of Social Media?

Christopher Bryan Lencioni had a fabulous question:

Name, in your opinions, one of the best cultural impacts of Social Media as well as one of the worst.

Certainly, “social” has brought us closer together; we should realize that each of us is not alone. People are the best part of “social.” Think about it: we’re connected to the entire world! There’s just no way we could do this without social media.

Unfortunately, however, jackasses who believe that the world revolves around their own social accounts and perspective still exist. People are the worst part of “social.” I get quite tired of these people. Entitlement – you don’t have it!!

Cloud Collaboration is the Future

Let’s face it: the world of business is changing at an accelerated rate. Every day, more and more companies are turning away from integrated local IT solutions in favor of cloud-based alternatives that are managed and supported by a team of individuals focused almost exclusively on keeping your business’ cloud services up and ready when you need them.

There’s a lot of time and expense involved with setting up internal systems for email, chat, document collaboration, and ad hoc audio conferencing. The expense of staffing alone to set up and manage these systems is often unpredictable as it becomes a part of your overall company footprint rather than a predictable operational cost.

So why should your company consider going with CDW Cloud Collaboration as its productivity and communications platform of choice? To start, CDW has a long history of supporting businesses and a stellar reputation for quality and reliability that stretches back long before most companies even knew what the Internet was. It’s currently one of the largest service and solution providers in the world, with over 4,000 Cisco Unified Communication deployments over the past decade alone.

Hardware

Enter CDW Cloud Collaboration, an industry-leading solution to bringing Unified Communications together with productivity on a platform that offers the freedom and reliability of the cloud. Utilizing a Cisco Unified Computing system throughout its impressive >485,000 square foot secured data center in Chicago, CDW takes on all the hassle and management of your company’s communications and productivity systems. Tier 4 CDW’s data center is secured with 24/7 security personnel and a two-factor authentication system for access (keycard and biometrics). In fact, CDW’s primary data center is currently the eighth largest in the world with thousands of clients ranging from small businesses to giant enterprises being served around the clock.

For those of you familiar with server hardware, CDW Cloud Collaboration is hosted on Tier III-IV (Type 2 SSAE 16 SOC 1) hardware. You certainly won’t have any problems with computational lag slowing you down when you need to get things done.

Software Solutions

CDW offers a series of packages designed to fit a variety of business needs. Its pay-as-you-go model allows for flexibility as your company’s needs change. You can buy in to a package that includes some of the more popular services with the option of expanding your package to include things like voicemail messaging, video conferencing, Webex conferencing, and more. A Premium account extends your service to include up to 10 devices per user and mobile access through iOS, Android, and Nokia platforms.

See the CDW’s Solutions blog for more — the service built on a partnership with Cisco Unified Communications in order to deliver world-class support and performance at a price that doesn’t break a company’s budget. These cloud-based solutions are fully managed and configured to meet the specific needs of your company.

In a world where as many as 75% of corporate employees work away from headquarters, bringing your business to the cloud just makes sense. Imagine the difficulty involved with setting up a locally managed solution that delivers instant access to your business’ data to employees anywhere around the world. It’s no small task, and that time can be better spent by your IT department doing what it needs to do to make sure the rest of your business operations run smoothly.

After all, isn’t it time that fiscal responsibility meant not having to compromise on productivity? If your company isn’t on the cloud yet, now is a great time to look into a solution built from the ground up to save your company money and scale as it grows.

CDW is a current advertiser on my blog. All opinions are mine.

Are Unified Communications Systems Right for Your Business?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BT. All opinions are 100% mine.

There is nothing that drives down overall productivity within a company more than lack of communication. Having everyone on one communication platform is often unfeasible, especially when you have some employees out in the field and others spending most of their time at their desk. This is where solutions such as the ones offered through BT Unified Communications can come in handy.

Cloud-based communication services have been available for free to the public for years. The problem with these systems is that, until now, they have been considered too unreliable for commercial use. When thousands, and even millions of dollars depend on you being able to coordinate with other members of your operation as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Pulling everything together in one centralized hub that allows your staff to reach one-another regardless of where someone is or what platform they have with them. Unified Communications can streamline how a business operates. Being able to reach someone with a click from your desktop regardless of if they’re at their desk or in the field with a single number is a great way to make sure that you’re able to reach them.

A solid communications system can also save companies money by reducing the need of travel. Face-to-face communication and conferences can be done without the need to travel. Sifting through various different messages sent through different communications channels is a time-intensive tasks that can add up to serious expenses even smaller businesses.

Remote employees can be a real challenge to keep up with. Coordinating tasks, sharing information, and keeping everyone connected is difficult when everyone has their own preferred method of keeping things organized. Bringing everything together in a unified manor would allow me to get things organized and share them with the right people once, freeing me up to get other important things done.

Customer service is one area in particular that suffers greatly when information isn’t readily available. If a customer has a question or problem with a product or service, empowering the customer service representative with the tools they need to address the problem and assign a resolution is essential. In an environment where everything is fragmented and scattered, this can be an incredibly long process that may result in losing the customer altogether.

The technology exists today to create a better environment for employees to stay connected to the information they need as well as each other. Keeping this in mind, there’s no reason why any business shouldn’t include some collaborative communications system in their infrastructure.

The Future of Real-Time Communications

Recently, I shared a Google+ Hangout with Jeff Pulver and Jonathan Taylor to discuss the state of the real-time communications industry. During the conversation, we discuss a wide range of topics including the history of communications technology and the latest innovations. We also touch on bandwidth caps and how single individuals can inspire change in the industry.

Jeff Pulver has an extensive background in the VoIP industry and has been a founding member of several major products including Vontage and the 140 Characters Conference.

Jonathan Taylor, the current chairman and CEO of Voxeo, has an equally impressive background in telephony and continues to work towards a goal of making it easier for developers to create telephony applications. Voxeo as a platform currently has around 220,000 registered developers with a specific focus on communications.

With the advent and extreme growth of social media, the way people communicate is changing and cloud-based communication systems are becoming more and more prevalent as older platforms are required to adapt to survive.

Thanks to platforms like the one Voxeo makes available to their developers, the creation of software allowing real-time communication between users is becoming easier and more prevalent. Just today (July 22) Voxeo has launched its new Phono Mobile project and made it immediately available to developers. The Phono Mobile toolkit leverages Javascript and HTML5 to enable high-quality voice and instant messaging features on mobile devices including those running on iOS and Android. One potential use of this toolkit can be in allowing gamers to use voice chat while enjoying multiplayer games on their mobile devices.

Moving forward, real-time communication is greatly dependent on the availability of supporting bandwidth consumers can use to take advantage of these services, and a continued lack of tight regulatory practices as the relatively new platform takes shape. Most importantly, it depends on the determination and innovation provided by an active development community.