Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Social Media

Beware of Burning Bridges via Social Media

Bridge with the setting sun

I wrote something similar to this on my Facebook page today.

I think I've only posted about half a dozen political posts these past two years. Admittedly, for reasons I care not to discuss here, I didn't invest a lot of emotion into this election cycle. What has disappointed me most about this election isn't the election results despite my opposition to Trump but the behavior of friends, peers, and acquaintances. I've seen friends, relatives, and in-laws burn bridges on long-term relationships for nothing more than the sake to showing their anger against another one's viewpoint via social media. I can survive four years of Trump, but witnessing the lack of respect people are showing one another is a much more difficult hurdle for me to go through emotionally and spiritually.

I wrote in comment on another friends post that I think a lot of the discussion of late is the results of both sides demonizing the other side and refusing to acknowledge the human side of the equation. Neither Trump or Clinton are evil people yet many have come to believe such is true about the opposing candidate. When you take this approach it ultimately backfires on you and as a whole on our nation. Anger can be a good tool for motivation, but when we display hatred toward others we really have gone too far.

Ambulance Chasing: A Social Media Success Story

When it comes to posting online about my own personal misfortune, I have one simple rule. Don't talk about it until you can tell the story with a sense of humor. When it comes to a visible personal injury the first question you inevitably have to answer is, "What happened to you"? Three weeks ago, I was in a bicycle accident where I landed on my shoulder and broke my clavicle (collar bone). I'm better now but I'm still wearing an arm sling. My first attempt of bringing humor to the situation was on Twitter.

In the past, I've joked with my wife that every time I've had a physical injury it when I'm doing some type of physical exercise. My accident happened during a 26 mile bike ride on the bike trail when a skateboarder accidentally or on purpose (I want to believe it was the former and not the latter) put his skateboard in front of my bicycle wheel. I flipped over on the bike, landed on my shoulder, and by the next day found that I had broke my collar bone. The doctor said to expect my arm to be in a arm sling for two to six weeks. It took me almost a week to admit the specifics of my injury online. This time with a little less humor on Twitter.

Argus Leader inverview for #dontjerkanddrive

Keep Calm and Don't Jerk the Wheel

I was recently asked by the Argus Leader, a local newspaper in Sioux Falls, to give my two cents on the controversial South Dakota #DontJerkandDrive campaign. Since then the article has been syndicated out to USA Today and other publications. It seems that I caught the attention of a reporter when I labeled the campaign as "brilliant" on Twitter.

The word on the street is that the State of South Dakota is pulling back on this specific campaign. I can't say I'm surprised. I understood the gamble Lee Axdahl, the Director of the Office of Highway Safety, was taking when he signed on to this marketing strategy.

Bryan Ruby, owner of the web consulting business CMS Report, was impressed with the campaign from a marketing standpoint. Online, he called it "brilliant."

"I thought it was a bold move for the state of South Dakota," Ruby said in a telephone interview. "It definitely requires a sense of humor, and that's the risk you're taking. But if the point is to get the message out, this does it."

Social Media Killed the Family Website

Image of Bryansplace.com from around 2003

For the first time in 15 years, my family doesn't have a website to call their own. In January 2000, I registered the domain Bryansplace.com. This was the first website I ever built outside of work and it became a sandbox for me to express my interests as well as a way to seek personal growth. From handwritten HTML pages into Frontpage to a number of CMSs, the software and content at Bryansplace evolved as my life evolved.

Bryansplace.com was the website where my girlfriend and I announced our marriage to the world. As a married couple, we eventually publicly announced the birth of our son via the site. This domain was the site where I talked about camping, computers, and my latest beer recipes. It wasn't all about me either. My wife showcased her photography for the first time online via Bryansplace. This was also the website my son learned how to navigate the Drupal content management system and talk about his gaming skills. Bryansplace.com was synonymous with "family news". Despite how much I valued the domain, last week I unceremoniously killed the website.

Is the end near for large professional organizations?

Last month, the Board of Directors for the Content Management Professionals announced the ending of CM Pros. The decision to close down the organization was evidently made by the Board in Summer 2014.

A couple years ago I joined CM Pros, paid for membership, never got billed, and never heard back from the organization. Knowing that some good people were involved in the organization told me that they were facing an uphill battle. The battle for an organization to have identity and play a role in the industry they wish to advocate.

The creation of CM Pros dated to the early 2000s. The organization was originally designed to unite professionals in all facets of the content management world.

In the years since, that world fractured and subdivided considerably, and other organizations emerged to serve the needs of the resulting sub-audiences. In particular, the emergence of the "content strategy" segment of the industry subsumed a large portion of the audience that CM Pros was originally intended to represent.

Given that the audience had become broad and fractured, the concept of a "content management professional" became too vague to effectively support. Thus, the Board determined that the organization had run its course and come to a natural end.

The LinkedIn group is still available, though it no longer represents any formal organization. It is unmoderated and open for unrestricted membership.

Although the CMS Pros didn't play a significant part in my content management endeavors, I'm nevertheless a little saddened by their departure. I understand the difficulties of advocating the technical side of content management when the more glitzy marketing side of the house is talking content strategy. But this isn't the cause of my sadness, it's my nostalgia for the days professional organizations had real value to people like you and me.

How YouTube and the Social Web Saved Winter

My Snow Blower

My back hurts. As with the rest of the United States, my neck of the woods has received more snow and cold weather than one could possibly want for the winter season. Due to the constant snowfall, I have spent a number of my days clearing my driveway from snow with the help of my 15 year old snow blower. Several days ago, the snow blower's auger died on me leaving me with a useless rusting piece of machinery.

Auger Belts

1. Remove the plastic belt cover on the front of the engine by removing two self-tapping screws. See figure 23.

2. Drain the gasoline from the snow thrower or place a piece of plastic under the gas cap.

The death of my snow blower couldn't have come at a worse time. Most stores in my area have already sold out their snow blowers for the season. The waiting list is long for seeing a small-machine mechanic to fix this heap of metal. I didn't even bother calling knowing full well I likely wouldn't even hear from the mechanic until March whether this snow blower was fixable or not.

3. Tip the snow thrower up and foward so that it rests on the housing.

4. Remove six self tapping screws from the frame cover underneath the snow thrower.

There was only one option left, I needed to fix the MTD 22 inch 5HP Snow Blower myself. I would need to start with a replacement part, Auger Belt OEM-754-0430.

5. Roll the front and rear auger belts off the engine pulley. See figure 24.

6. Unhook the idler spring from the hex bolt on the auger housing. See figure 25.

7. Unhook the support bracket spring from the frame.

The problem is that I'm not a mechanic but an information technologist. Not a single computer processor can be found on this snow blower. No keyboard, no user interface, and no scripting language came supplied with this equipment. They say manuals for computers can be confusing, but have you ever tried to decipher an owner's manual from Cleveland, Ohio for a 1996 snow blower?

Note: it may be necessary to loosen the six nuts that connect the frame to the auger housing to aid in belt removal.

8. Lift the rear auger belt from the auger pulley and slip belt between the support bracket and auger pulley. See Figure 24. Repeat this step for the front auger.

9. Replace both auger drive belts by following instructions in reverse order.

Before there was YouTube and before there was Web 2.0, I would have resigned myself to spending the rest of this winter shoveling my driveway without the aid of a snow blower. But this isn't 1991, this is 2011. I can't think of a better moment in time to show positive proof the impact the modern Internet has for improving our daily lives. For if you ever find yourself in need to fix your snow blower, you can thank the social web as well as YouTube's Donyboy73 for reminding me once again that there is purpose in Web 2.0, social media, and information systems.

Without a doubt, my snow blower would have landed in the junk yard and my back ruined if it hadn't been for that video. Instead, I spent my Super Bowl Sunday knowing that the next time it snowed, I had a snow blower fixed and ready to be called back to duty. I am tech geek, hear me roar.

Another new term: Social Content Management

I like to keep things simple and prefer to use content management system (CMS) as the term used to describe the information system we use to manage all content. However, I will acknowledge that it is sometimes good to categorize a CMS by purpose. This differentiation of a CMS by purpose has given us subcategories of the CMS which include the enterprise content management system (ECM), the web content management system (WCM), and the social publishing system (social business system). In a press release this week, Alfresco introduced me to social content management, another new marketing term to describe a CMS with the purpose of managing social media.

Alfresco is tying to evolve the social content management system higher than the social publishing system within the information system food chain. If you ask them, a social content management system would do something much more than a social publishing system. I'm not convinced of that, but they do make a good argument.

Alfresco Enterprise 3.4 is purpose-built for managing content in a social world. Enterprises are increasingly deploying social business systems like Jive, Salesforce.com’s Chatter, Lotus Quickr, Drupal and Liferay, among others, in the hopes of making employees more effective. According to Alfresco, these social business systems are creating volumes of unmanaged content if left un-checked. Using open standards like CMIS & JSR-168, Alfresco Enterprise 3.4 is a content platform with a goal to co-exist with social business systems to help manage and retain the content created by social business systems.

The marketing team over at Alfresco are pure geniuses. In this case Alfresco is using the social business systems as another catch phrase to describe what I know to be social publishing systems. Alfresco on the other hand identifies their product as as a social content management system that co-exist to manage the social content created by all these other systems. A CMS that is needed to clean up after the mess created by all these other social publishing systems.  I'm not sure I buy the argument that there is much difference between a social content management system and a social publishing system. But I will bite that social content management has a much better ring to it than social publishing system or any other term we use to describe the management of social content.

From now on when I describe a CMS for the purpose of managing social content, I'll likely use the term social content management instead of social publishing system. It seems to be a more fitting term for describing the direction the CMS is currently evolving toward. So hats off to Alfresco for pushing this term in their marketing. In a CMS world where ECM and WCM can exist, I see no reason why there can't be a SCM. On face value, there is nothing wrong with this logic. Except, of course, I like to keep things simple and prefer to simply call all these information systems a content management system. However, who am I to argue with progress.

Introducing SocPub.com

A couple years ago, Jeff Whatcott introduced to me the concept of a social publishing system. Within minutes after reading his article, I knew I wanted to expand further on his idea of social publishing and discuss the potential impact social publishing would have on content management systems. During this time period, Andrew McAfee was continuing to observe the emergence of Enterprise 2.0 into the normal day to day business world. From these two moments, I couldn't help myself from dreaming of the opportunities I had before me to learn more about social publishing and collaboration tools.

I have waited for almost two years for the right time to start a new website that focused on Enterprise 2.0 topics which were beyond the scope of CMSReport.com. Starting with the new year, I began to realize this is the right time to introduce a new site that focuses on social publishing and collaboration. Today, I want to introduce you to SocPub.com. At the time, there isn't much to see but I promise you the future is bright for this domain.

Coerced into Twitter

CMS Report and I now have a Twitter account.  This adventure into micro-blogging reflects my willingness to be easily coerced into doing things I normally wouldn't do after long months of winter cabin fever here in South Dakota.

Personally, I cannot see the real benefit of answering Twitter's question, "What are you doing?".  Does anyone really want to see me tweet, that "after I'm done blogging, I'm going to take a shower" on the Web?  Deane Barker once called Twitter "creepy" and I tend to agree with him.  Sadly, Deane Barker allowed himself to be coerced into his own Twitter account last Fall.

While I do not see a personal advantage for displaying narcissistic behaviors on the Web, I can see some benefits of using Twitter for some business or organizational purposes.  At least, I should say I can understand why businesses hope to leverage the power of Twitter to their advantage.

Knowing that I haven't done Twitter justice, I recommend you read Scott Abel's twitter article at The Content Wrangler.  He does a very nice job in explaining what Twitter is and how people use it.  In the mean time, come follow me on my Twitter account.

Coerced into Social Networking Sites

Julia Angwin of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote that she wanted to remake herself into a new person...at least into a new person as seen by Google.  When Ms Angwin searched on Google using her own name she continued to see an old article written by her on top of the search results page .  Although the link to the old article was popular, she didn't feel the article was her best work nor that it reflected who she was today.  She then starts on an adventure into search engine optimization (SEO) as she tries to get what she tries to get the search engine to list instead the artides and Internet sites she would want people to see on top of the search results page.

Personally, I don't have any issue with search engines determining which of my work, sites, and references of me float to the top of the results page.  If a search engine decides to use my name as reference to Internet pages that best reflect who I am....hooray for me. If a search engine points to something truthful about me in an embarrassing way, that is fine too because it will serve as a reminder to me just how much I have learned and evolved since that page was posted. 

What I do have a problem with is when Internet surfers are pointed to another Bryan Ruby that isn't me.  I do not like it when people are searching for me on the Internet and find another me that isn't me.  I'm sure there are others that feel the same way as I do.