SC World Congress Sound Bites

A Much delayed post, but I never got around to fitting it in while out of town. I attended last year’s SC Wold Congress in New York at the Sheraton. I look back on it now and it was influential in my search for new employment for companies on the leading edge of security.

I wanted to post up a few sound bites, I picked up from the congress… Note that these are now 9 months old:

In October 2009:
“If Facebook were a country it would be the 4th largest in the world”

“Ashton Kusher has more twitter followers than the entire population of Ireland”

“80% of companies today use social media in their recruiting process”

From the CSO of AT&T Stephen Hutnik, “70% of their bandwidth traffic is malicious or junk”

“AT&T is working on ‘Black Cloud’ services for intercepting and stopping DDoS attacks on their network, before they get to their intended targets”.

That last part concerns me as it involves the ISPs to get smart about the routes and type of traffic they are sending – which means they’ll have to scan it first to determine it’s nature and destination. Who’s to say what’s negative or positive, appropriate or indecent, private or public – privacy rights should be watched closely with what ever AT&T, Time Warner, Verizon or any other service provider decides what to do with traffic running over it’s networks.

Let’s Get Physical

I haven’t written many blog posts for the last few months of the end of ’09. Mostly because I’ve been traveling and visiting with with family and friends I haven’t seen in over 6 months. When I travel my primary way to interact with people is in-person. I check email, social sites and twitter less frequently as I fill my time with meeting people for personal or business reasons. I’ve become aware in both my work and personal life, one of the few problems I have with so much reliance on [social] technologies is it separates people from the in-person nature of relationships.

We write an email, chat and even phone in a call to catch up but I and many psychologists agree that this can never equal the chemical, emotional and physical bonds created when people are engaged at a close proximity or in-personal relationship.

There are five human senses (hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste) and of those, social technologies only cover one, if you count reading someone’s thoughts put down in text some kind of hybrid of sight and sound. Of course video conferencing will bridge some of the sensory intake, but you can’t shake someone’s hand to get a sense of their confidence, smell their sweat if they might be nervous or… well I don’t recommend trying to taste your business partners and friend but there are reasons you may want to taste someone.

The integration of all these senses along with a mysterious 6th, intuition (which can be just as important in nurturing relationships with people), have the ability to create robust profiles of in-person interactions that singular communication via text, web and even video chat can’t substantiate.

Realistically, social networks and internet content services like Twitter are hear to stay (interesting article by David Carr NY Times on reasons why Twitter is hear for good) but we should all keep in mind that these services are still tools to be used to improve information exchange, facilitate personal or business relationships and transactions. However, eventually we’ll all have to step outside the house/apt and have a few pints with friends, catch up with the family over dinner or engage with your mate for some…. carnal knowledge.

Here’s to getting out in public more in 2010.

Shot at one of many street fairs in New York – most likely between the sock guy and the grilled corn

Yelloman – Physical

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Twittering stems from a lack of identity and narcissism!

twitter-crapI joined Twitter a few months back, but even I haven’t found the exact value in it. I’ve discovered the virtues of the desktop application from TweetDeck which allows me to aggregate a few IDs (personal and professional) and messages all in one panel, which is a time saver. I’ve also found the integration of Twitter with Facebook a time saver so I can post status and tweets as if they are the same to different pools of friends/subscribers.

This union of twitter and facebook, however, has forced me to be a lot more conscious of what I Tweet because I have co-workers, friends and family all together following the same stream of thoughts I post. Even more, I continue to remind myself, anything that goes public now becomes record and future employers, friends and family will or could read what I write. So I’ve started to re-evaluate my Internet “profile” and begin to market it to my advantage. Or so I hope.

Within Twitter though I follow more than just professionals and friends. I connect with the occasional celebrity (Shaq, Russell Simmons), but I’m also tied into many local tweeters for info on broadway shows, local restaurants, sports, writers, free concerts, bars, politics and of course news. I’ve also found quite a few job posting tweeters which have been helpful exploring the market. Where I see much of the value for Twitter for business though, until it’s swamped by spammers, is in the real-time search of updates which would allow people to get up to the minute news, deals and updates on the subjects that matter most to them. I’ve already found value in Jet Blue‘s weekly Tweet specials.

If you don’t join, know that you’re not alone. There are at least 100 more things more popular than twitter including Google Mail, AOL IM, Ross Perot (really? he’s 45 on this list?), WordPress,, and Fanta. There’s still a stigma around the service that it’s just a bunch of adults acting like kids posting nonsense to “feel live”.

For Alain de Botton, author of Status Anxiety and the forthcoming The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Twitter represents “a way of making sure you are permanently connected to somebody and somebody is permanently connected to you, proving that you are alive. It’s like when a parent goes into a child’s room to check the child is still breathing. It is a giant baby monitor.”

We are all now part of a reality-world, me-too, wanna be superstar society but people! Do you really need to push this crap on everyone? There’s some real numbers to back this unfortunate trend, that 40% of Tweets Are Pointless Babble but this number is a little misleading because this accounts for original tweets, not people re-tweeting (or reposting someone else’s tweet), so this number is actually much higher. I have certainly unfollowed people for too much crap and it will continue until people learn what their audience really wants.

With the social media meltdown earlier this month, it’s obvious that for the online community, Facebook and Twitter have become just as ingrained into the users daily connected lives as email, IM and the iPhone have become. As businesses find ways to make money off social services, these services will become increasingly susceptible to more DOS attacks and both internal and public facing hacks.

For those that do decided to jump on the trend, make sure you use it constructively. I’d recommend a few articles on How to use Twitter and learn from journalists on best use.

I admit, I’ve picked up my blackberry and typed in some nonsensical tweets, but I’m progressing as my audience expands and look to use the service to further either the most entertaining comments, useful items, inspiring quotes, or useful notes to further my business partners and customers. However, if Twitter goes down, life goes on… Pick up the phone and call someone or better yet, get out of the house and meet someone. My primary concern is the value of personal, face-to-face correspondence is getting lost in all this online and social “technology”.