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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Manage your Online Obligations by Creating a Personal Dashboard

Once you have started out on the Internet to establish social, personal, and professional profiles to market yourself, disseminate information, publish articles, sell services, communicate with your friends, or do anything else at all; you need to have a way to keep track of your profiles, email accounts, bookmarks, shared links, online résumés, advertisements, traffic, classifieds, auctions, search agents and other registered accounts.

I said in my article yesterday, "There are approximately 10 sites that I visit daily and depend on them to be able to serve my clients" well I was off a bit there are actually 14. I manage these fourteen sites through bookmarks using Mozilla Firefox because the browser lets you create a tabbed bookmark bar within the browser that is always visible; but for the sites I browse and market products on, maintain profiles within, and receive offers that I signed up for I created a visual interface. Bookmarks just don't cut it, my bookmark file always seems to get out of hand, it was then then I created an interface or 'weekly dashboard' of sites on which I am registered on and placed it online and created password access, sure it takes a little html knowledge but it works really well and I am always able to keep up with correspondence and everyone contacting me.

I found that it is really embarrassing if someone tries to reach you and they send you repeated messages or emails and you tell them months later when they finally contact you that you never got the email or message. What is even worse is if you have email and fail to respond when sincere people who admire your work try to come in contact with you and you throw them in the category of spammers or trash their message without ever having read it. They could be students, potential business associates, or well wishers that really need your acknowledgment. Perhaps the only solution is to hire an email screener, so that's what I did.

I frequently have tried to contact top executives and CEO's with sincere requests to communicate and have almost always had to resort to picking up the telephone finding out who their secretary was and then contacting the secretary in order to contact the particular person. Let's face it, many of today's CEO's, corporate board members, and chairs of corporations, foundations and start-ups are just too important and too busy to communicate with their peers online, it's obvious from my experience that those who do have email accounts don't read their messages, or don't have time to share with regular people or mid-level executives that are trying to make their way up the professional ladder.

In my opinion having a published email account or profile online for people to contact you that you have no intent of responding to or maintaining is unethical, lacks professionalism, it's a fault of respect, and it is improper according to protocol standards. There must be a solution, sure you can filter emails and profile information to find what is important and filter out what is unimportant as spam; but it is most important to all professionals to be respected and demonstrate integrity and to do that you MUST be responsive to your peers and constituents. Failing to be responsive to clients and constituents is a disgrace.

I noticed on Facebook there are some groups of top Web 2.0 founders who together are trying to create a solution for social network management by getting all the social networks in one place, Power.com created a solution for a few, but they are pushing offers and prizes too much, I always suspect spam and stupidity from those who offer their members money and prizes. I use Digsby too, but their little green guy upsets me for some reason, I use it anyway though for a certain amount of time each day. Someone really needs to develop an integral solution.

My personal 'Conexion Globcal' solution involves a combination of email filters, employing a person as an email screener in addition to my secretary, frequent visits to 14 bookmarks, and using the personal online interface I created once a week; the result is I never miss an important email or contact, I am able to maintain my professional integrity, and never violate good practice protocol, it's more than I can say for some of my peers. I am considering now whether or not I should further develop my personal dashboard as a product for development like a piece of software or a browser extension, and often wonder also if a management solution already exists that may have escaped my notice. Perhaps nothing can replace good training, ethics, hard work, dedication, and an integral business model.

Now that I work as an Ambassador at XING for the country of Venezuela and as a moderator for XING Caracas it is more important now than ever to be a good communicator and to be highly responsive to a large group of people.

Those reading this article that wish to contact me should do so on XING: a network for professionals and business or on Facebook. Just to let you know I do not communicate with people that do not have an online profile, photograph, or those who use photographs of other people to represent themselves.