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2013-9-30 Office décor. Edited with G+ Edit & ipiccy, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Photo: Office décor. Leppävaara, Espoo, Finland 30.9.2013
(Edited with G+ Edit & ipiccy,
CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

First hand experience

I can’t say about what other people would do, but here’s some first hand experience from few months ago.

My contract at the Career Services was terminated last October after 15 years of service as the result of general co-operation negotiations in the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

Openness: theory and practice

I had been pondering a good deal about privacy issues when entering the social media sphere – both on personal and professional level.

I had also got familiar with the idea of openness as a part of work processes, as a way to achieve enriching encounters with colleagues and beyond.

I had fallen in love with concepts like serendipity, iterative processes and agile development.

The only way I could think of handling the pink slip, was to tell openly about the situation and hope it leads to new openings.

Walk the talk – online and in real life

Pretty soon after I got the news that I won’t be needed at the workplace anymore, I started to inform all relevant parties both online and in real life. Below is quite a long list – I wonder if I’ve still forgotten something.

On duty

  • social media
    • Facebook
    • Google+
    • Twitter
    • xTune
    • Yammer: Metropolia, Finnish Universities and a project network
  • other
    • colleagues on phone and face to face
    • automatic replies to email: personal & team 
    • emails to network connections: Finnish Career Services Network, steering group of the nationwide Jobstep.net 
    • removing eg my name and contact info from the company website – sort of negative informing

Off duty

Results

I got a heart warming amount of kindness, support and job tips after I came out with my situation.

Can’t say it’s all due to my openness, but in less than two months I was back at work.

Funnily enough, I got a 10 months fixed term contract from my former employer as a Programme Coordinator for the Faculty of Welfare and Human Functioning.

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Related:

Metropolia: Career Services
Metropolia: Faculty of Welfare & Human Functioning

xTune
Yammer

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Statistics on Google url shortener http://goo.gl/lbvejA+

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2012-10-10 Seascape, Vuosaari, Helsinki, Finland

Photo: Afternoon seascape. Rantapuisto, Vuosaari, Helsinki, Finland 10.10.2012
(Edited in G+ Lightbox: Cropping, exposure, colours & watermark, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Google encourages people to send feedback. It has discussion forums for both developers and ordinary users. It has community managers in Google+. It has “Google+ Feature Requests” list. It has sites for coders and developers.

The more open feedback Google gives to the people participating in reporting bugs and suggesting features, the more it will get out of the crowdsourcing. It’s about give-and-take – the essence of social media.

Lack of feedback kills enthusiasm

If you get unsure whether there is anybody listening to your feedback, it’s easy to decide not to bother next time.

Recently I noticed few comments to Jaana Nyström’s post in Google+ that complained about the lack of response when sending feedback to Google (you get a standard message saying roughly “thank you, sorry we don’t have time to answer everyone individually”).

Later when I browsed the “Google+ Feature Requests” list, some of the requests sounded familiar and I wondered if they had taken out the features that had already been realized. I felt discouraged by the idea that I was maybe voting in vain and stopped browsing.

Quality feedback inspires

Good experiences make you believe in the power of giving feedback and you’ll probably even encourage your fellow users to do the same.

When I  encountered problems with my Summer Photos theme page in Google+, I sent feedback to Google and pinged Brian Rose, the community manager for Google+ Photos. It felt great to get a response from him: I was met by a real person and I knew that my case was in good hands.

The quality of the feedback I got was quite different from the automatic email answers many ERP systems send to customers (“Thank you for contacting! Your inquiry is now registered…”).

Flipped feedback

More “counter feedback” from Google to the people giving it “feedback” would probably foster more participation among the active users. Goodwill and information from Google, technical etc suggestions from users.

The term “flipped classroom” came to my mind: there seems to be a demand for “flipped feedback” or “counter feedback” eg in Google+. The current use of the term “feedback” in customer service has somewhat lost the original idea of a circuit or a loop, hence these thoughts.

Gamification, cost-effectiveness

The community managers already provide positive feedback to people addressing them with problems in Google+ and the forums, the “Google+ Feature Requests” list shows the accumulation of votes etc.

Here are some things that I remain pondering:

  • Could there still be more or different feedback?
  • Could the idea of gamification be used somehow?
  • Could the feedback process be more transparent and open, thus more encouraging and inviting?
  • Would the cost of giving more counter feedback be less than the benefits gained (more quality participation)?

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Related material:

Google Code

Google+

Google+: Brian Rose

Google+: Jaana Nyström (post on 15.10.2012, edited on 18.10.2012)

Google+: Summer Photos

Google+ Feature Requests

icrossing, Daniel Fernandez: Is Google using gamification to increase engagement on Google+? (23.1.2012)

Venture Beat, Dean Takahashi: Five predictions on where gamification is going next (21.9.2012)

Wikipedia: Feedback

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Edit 16.1.2013: Statistics on Google url shortener http://goo.gl/Z8z9d+

2012-4-26 Math slip

Dressed up. Saint Petersburg, Russia 26.4.2012
(Edited in Picasa’s Creative Kit: Colours & watermark, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen 2012)

The post by Lane Langmade about her experiences in USA regarding openness in web made me think about the recent encounter at work that I had here in Finland, Northern Europe.

I work for the Career Services in our school and when I met a former IT student of ours in the hall I had a chat with him. I asked him about his career plans and if he was in LinkedIn. He said that due to privacy considerations and identity thefts he doesn’t want to put anything about himself out in the internet under his own name, that he always uses nicks and aliases. He said his CV should be enough when applying for a job.

There’s a definite gap between career services and recruiting professionals talking about personal branding and recruitment 3.0 (not utilizing CVs but the stuff that you’ve made publicly in the net) and eg IT professionals living off the grid due to privacy and data security issues – even when they’re ready to look for job on the global job market.

The text was published originally 17.6.2012 in Google+ as a comment to Lane Langmade’s post.

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Related:

Google+: Lane Langmade (edited post 18.6.2012)

Google+: Tiina Niskanen (post 17.6.2012 re-sharing Lane Langmade’s post)

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Edit 16.1.2013: Statistics on Google url shortener http://goo.gl/7kwRz+

Content CC BY Tiina M Niskanen

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