Six things coaching Pre-K soccer taught me about public speaking

With the end of winter comes the arrival of spring soccer. Last fall, I coached 25 Pre-K soccer players and it was a challenging and yet rewarding experience. Surprisingly, there are multiple parallels between the lessons I learned in coaching and the strategies I use in public speaking. In this post, I will summarize six key learnings that apply equally to both activities. Hopefully you will appreciate these real world learnings and get a chuckle along the way.
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Google+ – The Elephant in the room or the ugly step child?

The Twittersphere was abuzz when Google announced their new Google + social networking functionality.  For me it was déjà vu as I remembered similar enthusiasm over Google’s ill-fated Wave service.  Thanks to Greg Knierieman I have been playing with G+, and at this point, I am undecided about its usefulness and here’s why.

There are a myriad of Social Media tools and networks and as a potential user you need to rationalize the innumerable options.  I have found it simplest to categorize my primary social networking tools into buckets which define when to use what.  Here is my categorization: Continue reading Google+ – The Elephant in the room or the ugly step child?

Twitter reliability problems: Should we look elsewhere?

I am an avid Twitter user and enjoy the interactions the service creates.  It is amazing how you can build relationships through 140 character discussions.  In many respects, Twitter has become an integral part of my daily schedule, and I view Twitter as another medium for communication like phones, email or texting.  However, the recent outages experienced remind me of the immaturity of the service and how it cannot be consistently relied upon.

The excitement of the World Cup has had a negative impact on Twitter.  For the last week or so, Twitter has experienced frequent outages which result in an inability to send or receive messages.  Unfortunately, Twitter’s response has been to report on the issues, and they appear to be powerless to resolve them.  More recently, they created a new strategy to limit access and disabled features during times of heavy usage; however, this is a stopgap measure and a long-term solution is needed immediately.

Twitter is currently the standard in micro-blogging, but faces a a major challenge.  It lives and dies by the quality of its service and these periodic outages alienate users.  Every fail whale is a reminder of Twitter’s inconsistency, and drives users to consider alternative platforms.  I have considered migrating to Google Buzz and continue to look for other options.  At the very least, the outages are a reminder that Twitter is not a highly reliable medium like the traditional telephony-based solutions; Twitter is a toy in comparison.  I frequently throw out broken toys and am considering doing the same with Twitter.

On social media – location-based services, privacy and risk

I was recently listening to the Infosmack Podcast #50 over at StorageMonkeys and the speakers were discussing location-based social networking applications. Specifically, they talked about Foursquare although the same discussion could be had with any social networking tool where you disclose your location. For example, if you are a California Twitter user and Tweet about attending a show in Massachusetts. I think that there is value in sharing thoughts and locations, but it also creates new concerns about privacy and risk.

The proliferation of data on the Internet means that it is simple to find detailed personal information on almost anyone. For example, you can find someone’s general location from where they work, GPS coordinates included in Twitter or references in blog posts. With the location, you can use an online phonebook to search for the person and easily find their home address and phone number. This is the reality of today’s Internet and anyone who is an avid user of social media must recognize it, and learn to live with it. However, the addition of location-based services adds another level of detail that I find troubling.

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