hankrules2011

Book reviews, health, hockey, publishing, music

Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Visit Some Of My Updated Social Media Sites

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 30, 2018

Hi! I haven’t been blogging as much as I want to, nor have I been as active on some sites like I’d prefer to be, but lately I have been more active on some of my social media and other sites, and I thought I’d let you know about them.

Years ago, I got caught up in the Pinterest craze, created some boards, and pinned quite a few things to my boards. I developed a good number of followers, especially for a couple of my boards, such as my Amazing Men’s Watches board.

Well, for whatever reason, I got tired of it and haven’t been back in a long time. Like four years. 4 years! I was last active on the site in 2014. For some reason, a couple of months ago, it occurred to me to go visit my site, and I suddenly became interested again and started pinning new things to my boards. In fact, I’ve gotten so into it, I’ve created a number of new boards, and I’ve pinned quite a few things to them. And I’ve slowly been getting a few new followers here and there, so that’s been nice. I now have 18 boards with over 2,500 pins! While my watch board remains my most popular, with 368 pins and 524 followers, I’m particularly fond of some of my new boards and have been busy pinning pics, etc, to those especially. Among them are boards entitled Art I Like (262 pins as of today), Favorite TV Shows (58 pins as of today), and Boutique Computers (245 pins as of today). My Sports board has 8 sections with 459 pins. Some other, original, popular boards include Music, Musicians & Bands, Cute Animals, Books Worth Reading, and Places To Visit. So, please come check out my Pinterest boards, and feel free to follow me. Also, if you have a Pinterest site, let me know where I can find it and I’ll check yours out!

Another site I’ve been very active on for the past year and a half is Discogs, the audiophile’s online music site. I’ve bought and sold a number of really great items there, and among the great things about that site is, not only do they have just about every album ever made in their database, with most having copies for sales by people all over the world, but you can get great deals and find out the media and sleeve gradings, join discussion groups, and put your collection on your site for people to see. And one of the cool things about that last bit is Discogs will list the value for your collection, and in Minimum, Median, and Maximum value. I actually just got rid of triple digits of albums, so my collection is actually one of the smaller ones I’ve seen on the site, but I’m still proud of it because I have some good, rare, and valuable items, which is totally cool. Some of my more rare items include a Russian version of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, a Greek Public Enemy album, a Portuguese Depeche Mode album, a rare red vinyl Czech Iron Maiden album, a Chinese Linkin Park CD (which technically does not exist — I had to work hard to find it and get it out of China for a customer, who then didn’t want to pay the bucks for it…), German and Australian editions of Gary Numan’s debut Tubeway Army album, an old French Devo EP, and many more. I currently have 823 albums listed, with a Median value of $6,920.90 and a Maximum value of $11,883.21. You also are rated on your purchases and any sales you make, and it’s strongly recommended to try to maintain a high rating. In fact, they’ll kick you off the site if your rating drops too low. Fortunately, my ratings as both buyer and seller are 100%, so that’s awesome. I’ve worked hard to satisfy everyone I deal with there. The only thing that bugs me is everyone is supposed to provide “feedback” (ratings) for every buyer and seller, but I’ve sold quite a few items on the site and only about a third of my buyers ever bothered giving me feedback, even though most sent me private messages expressing satisfaction. But it looks like I haven’t sold much there, which isn’t the case. I used to have a large listing of items for sale, triple digits, but selling became too time and labor-intensive, and my health has become so bad over the past five months, that I basically shut that down and now I have just five items listed for sale. Still, I’d love it if any of you went to my Discogs site and looked at my profile, as well as my collection. Let me know if you do, and let me know if you have a profile and collection there, so I can go check those out. You can find my Discogs profile here, and my collection here.

I’ve also been fairly active on Goodreads — but not active enough. The site reports 1,467 books on my bookshelf there, with 1,061 read, 207 to be read, and 199 that I’m allegedly currently reading! Now, I’ve always read numerous books simultaneously — I have a system — and I have indeed let it get out of hand, but I’m certainly not in the middle of 199 books at the moment. A number of those books are ones I’ve finished, but haven’t had or made the time to review yet, and hence list them as Read. I’ve got several stacks of print and Kindle books to review. That being said, I probably AM in the middle of over 100 – 120 books right now, with me actively reading about 40-50 on a semi-daily basis. I read a few chapters of one book, switch to another and do the same, and continue on. And I get into phases, so that for several months, I was mostly reading religious, philosophical, and scientific books, other months nearly only sci fi books, other months mostly biographies, but lately it’s been a hodge podge of stuff — a combination of technology, biography, sci fi, business, history, nonfiction, and technical/scientific books that are mostly military in nature (electronic warfare, nuclear, etc.). As you know, I sometimes post some of my book reviews I write here on this blog, but I don’t do that for every book or every review — just some of them. So if you’re interested in my reviews, go check out my Read section (my most recent completed books are Philip Matyszak’s “Sparta: Rise of a Warrior Nation,” John Hernandez’s “How To Become A NFL Sports Agent,” and Joseph Siracusa’s “Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction.”), and if you’re interested in what I’m currently reading, go here (the newest books I’ve started reading are “The Holy Bible” –  ESV version, “The Quran,” “802.11ac,” and “Basic Security Testing With Kali Linux.”), and if you’d like to see what I’ve got lined up, go here (They’re ordered from oldest, chronologically, to most recently added to the list. My most recently added are Thomas Asbridge’s “The Greatest Knight,” Andrea De Martino’s “Introduction to Modern EW Systems,” Will Storr’s “Selfie,” Gordon Colbach’s “Wireless Networking,” Michael Steer’s “Microwave and RF Design,” Mark Richards’ “Fundamentals of Radar Signal Processing.”) and also, feel free to check out my Author’s profile page, and feel free to send me a friend request. Also, if you have a Goodreads’ site, let me know so I can check it out!

I’ve also been active on other sites, only two of which I’ll briefly mention. As some of you may know, over two years ago, Gretchen and I founded a small technology startup, which has gone through changes, difficulties, evolutions, and is currently on hiatus due to my extremely poor health. The name of the company is WireMe Designs, LLC. The original business model is described on the website, but it’s evolved this year to focus more on consulting, and we thus had a new website created early this summer to reflect that. It’d be awesome if you checked it out, and let me know what you think. Greatly appreciated. You can find it at https://wiremedesigns.com. Secondly, if you look back over my blog here, you’ll note I wrote a couple of posts in May about my LinkedIn site and profile, and my experience to date on building my network in both quantity and quality. Well, it’s gone REALLY big since then, and I intend to try to find the time to write a post about it here with updated information. When I last wrote about it, I had expanded my network from a little over 400 people in January to over 3,300 in mid-May, listing 171 “notable” connections, including the CEO of Symantec, the president of Dell, the CTO of the ATF, several major UN connections, the CISO of Nissan, CISO of US Department of Education, CIO of USDA, CFO of Sprint, CISO of IBM, and CISO of The White House.

Well, as I said, my network has seriously EXPLODED since then, and as of this morning, I now have over 11,600 connections and it’s a VERY high-quality network, with 44% of my connections being senior executives, many of them C-level executives. I now have the highest connections at nearly every company in most major civilian industries, nearly a thousand US and international military connections, many of them generals, at the Pentagon, and even on the Joint Chiefs. I also have over 1,600 federal and international government connections at the highest levels, including most agency leaders, intelligence agency executives, the Senate, House, dozens of people at The White House, a dozen directors and above on the National Security Council, connections in so many countries that I have no idea, hundreds of connections at the European Parliament and European Commission, Interpol, NATO, nuclear connections in over 45 countries, numerous ambassadors — foreign and domestic — and about 75 connections at the UN, including several on the UN Security Council, and executives in the Secretary General’s office. It’s truly stunning. It just keeps growing, and as a result, I’ve been offered some mind blowing opportunities in a number of areas. And, as as for recent “notable” connections, I now have over 1,400 listed, among them recently the CLO of Sony, COO of Universal Music Group Nashville, CIO KraftHeinz, CIO of AIG, CIO of Nike, CPO of Shell, CFO of NBC Sports, CPO of the US Navy, CTO of HP, CTO of WebMD, CSO of Fidelity Investments, CTO/CIO of AAA, and the CDO of GE. Simply amazing. So, feel free to check my LinkedIn profile out, send me a connection request with a personal message to let me know who you are and how you found me, and a link to your profile if you have one.

I could keep writing more, but I’m not well and this has taken too long and tired me out, so I need to stop. I hope some of you will check these sites out, as well as others, which you can find on a page located at the top of my blog called Find Me Here… It’s got links to Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as others. You can catch up on me in many ways, even though I haven’t been blogging here very often. Thanks to those of you who have stuck with me here, and for the comments. I appreciate all of you very much, and feel free to remind me to visit your blogs, because I’m bad about that and I admit it. Something I need to work on. I hope everyone is having a good weekend and cheers!

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LinkedIn and my Recent Adventures There, Part II

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 15, 2018

This is the second part in a two-part blog post about LinkedIn and my recent experiences there. You can find Part I here. This section I’ve worked on carefully because if read the wrong way, it could come across as bragging — which is NOT my intention! It’s just that some shocking things have been going on for me there and I wish to share my amazement and astonishment. I’m getting a kick out of this, and it’s been a little surreal, and I want to describe that here. So please don’t think I’m a narcissistic asshole now, because I’m really not. I admit I’m no one special in this post, but I’ve gotten others to buy into me, without lying about a thing, with my redesigned LI profile. Okay, here goes…

 

Part II

 

As I stated previously, I’ve been on LinkedIn probably since their beginning, or at least 13 years. LI usually tells you how long you’ve been connected to someone else, and my oldest connections are 13 or 14 years old. Over time, the number of my connections slowly increased, but they typically fell into two categories. Either they were people I had met in person somewhere, most of whom I sent requests to, most of which were accepted, or more commonly, others have sent me connection requests over the years, often headhunters, recruiters, and HR personnel, as well as others usually in my several fields who somehow happened upon my profile. I’ve usually accepted all requests, because I rarely have an objection – unless the profile has only one or two connections, which I then view as suspicious because why are they targeting me, so I reject those. And over the years, a couple of things have happened to me on LI. One, I’ve been contacted numerous times by recruiters or HR professionals about potential jobs, both contract and permanent, as well as simple inquiries and requests for interviews. This has led to both telephone and in person interviews, which have led to a number of job offers. This is good. This is something you typically want out of LI. The other thing is people often let you know they’re either in the market for a specific type of job or they’re looking for people to hire for a specific job, and the more contacts I’ve gained, the more frequently this has happened. And I’ve been able to put people in touch with companies and the reverse, and I’ve been able to help others in this way, which makes me feel good. I like to help others.

Now many of you know that some eight years ago, I developed extremely serious health problems, forcing me to prematurely “retire” and I was out of the workforce for some time, have really been out of the corporate world ever since. Yet I kept up with my profile in the hopes that one day I would improve enough to begin working again, perhaps as a consultant from home. So my connections continued to slowly increase. And I’ve padded my profile with things I’ve done since, mostly volunteer work, as well as a short-term contract gig or two, but as long as my profile seems to indicate I’ve been somehow active this whole time, that’s the important thing. It’s a strategy one has to develop and hone over time.

Two years ago, I decided to create a new IT startup after much thought, and did so with a partner. It still exists today and I remain somewhat active, but it’s been a struggle due to a variety of factors, most especially my health, as well as some technical and unforeseen financial complications. But I ended up working my ASS off for this, much more than I ever anticipated, coming to regret this decision. So what did I do? Come up with an idea for another startup last year, in a totally different field, in which I’ve worked my ass off for that one too – simultaneously – and while I’ve enjoyed myself to a degree, I’ve also had moments of regret, because my health can’t tolerate this degree of work.

However, I continue to hope that at some point in the next couple of years or so, I’ll be moderately healthy enough to do more serious IT consulting, possibly in networking, more likely in security, and I’d stop the second business and migrate the first one to a different role. With that in mind, I’ve been doing research, taking relevant classes, testing, experimenting, etc., in preparation – even for something that far in advance – while continuing to work in my two dual roles with the two small businesses. You can never be too prepared. So at the beginning of this year, I decided to seriously upgrade my LI profile, make it as appealing as I possibly could, reword some things, take a few things out, add a few things, make myself look as good as I could. Don’t lie. Never lie. But you can make things look pretty good if you know how to present them. During January, I had gotten to the point where I had slowly built up to 444 connections. That’s a nice number by many people’s standards, but I started lusting after the magic “500+” number that goes beside your name once you reach that mark, and I decided to be proactive and pursue reaching that target. And I’d do so by blindly sending out connection requests to strangers in the fields of my background and interests, but even though these would be “blind” requests, they’d actually be targeted intentionally to people with shared backgrounds and/or interests. And I’d do so in volume, making it unrealistic for me to personalize most requests, which I used to do, which some people do, but which most people do not do. You can send a connection request with a personalized message, or you can just click on the “Connect” button, which automatically sends that person a generic, automatically worded announcement that someone, in this case me, wants to connect with you. Most people are used to that and will respond favorably, but some people take offense at the impersonal, generic request and will reject it because it wasn’t personalized. However, I decided that danger was worth the risk because I’d send so many, that sheer statistics would assure me a good number of people would accept my requests and would connect with me. And so this is what I did, almost exclusively.

How did it work out? Oh.My.God. Unbelievable. I sent out quite a few, a good number each day, and within days, I had met and passed the magic 500 number. I was elated. But the connections kept building, which gave me pause to think. And two thoughts occurred to me. I thought since I’m adding connections, why do I have to stop now that I’ve reached my goal of 500? And then I thought, maybe I should aim for more higher up execs, “better quality” connections overall… I had already gotten some impressively high level execs, in the commercial sector, state and federal government, and the military. Some of my new connections were very impressive indeed. But I thought, why not conduct a little experiment? Why not target high level execs – directors, vice presidents and higher, with “C” level execs as my top goal – at a greater rate just to see how many would accept my connection requests and from what types of companies or organizations? How high could I go? And so I began to pursue this. And it turned into a living, breathing entity with a life of its own….

I started getting more and more connections at greater quantity and higher quality than I ever expected. Which inspired me to keep sending out connection requests. Which resulted in more connections. And the more high-level, high quality connections, the more these people wanted to connect with me. And I’ve continued this for nearly four months now, and it’s gone nuclear. The results have been and continue to be staggering. It’s been blowing my mind daily, and for awhile now, I’ve been largely targeting almost exclusively high level, high profile execs and officials with stunning results! And I’ve been receiving connection requests from such people in return. Yesterday, the CFO of Sprint sent me a connection request. The same day, a director from the US Department of State sent me a request. I’ve also been getting job queries. This morning, I’ve received two already, tentative offers for jobs in various fields in various locations. Of course, I’m not ready, not prepared, nor can I move for a job, nor can I work in an office environment – I have to work from home, and I need to be independent to set my own hours. Additionally, I’ve been getting requests from senior level connections to read their white papers, their test results, their scientific data and marketing materials, to analyze them, comment on them, reference them, tell others of them, etc. I’m talking Pentagon stuff!!!

As of this morning, I now had 3,313 connections. (I’ve gotten 220+ in the past day and a half!) I have connections at the highest levels at huge corporations, state governments, the federal government, international governments, think tanks, and organizations around the world. I have senior executive connections at Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel, Lyft, Google, Indeed, Visa, Ticketmaster, the NASDAQ, most of the security companies like Symantec, Trend Micro, Malwarebytes, Webroot, Sophos, McAfee and others, with defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, with RAND, with companies like HP, Dell, Cray, IBM, with intelligence agencies like the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, DIA, DISA, NSA, with numerous government agencies like the State Department, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, with the US Army, Navy, and Air Force, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the US Senate, within the White House itself, with the European Parliament, with the European Commission, and within the United Nations, including the UN Security Council. And these are senior executives.

I also have non-senior executive, but still high-level connections such as IT specialists, network engineers, security specialists, managers, researchers, economists, scientists, etc., at places like Facebook, Amazon, Indeed, PayPal, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Ford, Hertz, Nike, SAP, Motorola, Verizon, Bitdefender, AVG, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, NASA, several national laboratories, CERN, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), IRS, US Marshalls, CIA, HUD, NIST, DEA, the Pentagon, the IMF, Interpol, and many more.

It’s mind blowing.

I’ve been keeping a list of both “C” level executives and some notable people who stand out, mostly for their positions or organizations. You wouldn’t believe this list if you saw it. Of course, you can see my connections any time you want by going to my profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottholstad/. (Feel free to send me a connection request!) Of my 3,313 connections, 1,023 are senior executives (31%) and of those, 434 are “C” level executives, or 42% of my senior executive connections and 13% of my overall connections. Those are staggering numbers for an “average guy” like me! I’m going to list some of these people and positions at the end of this post just so you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s built into a monster storm of epic proportions and it’s self-propagating now. The more high level connections I get, the more high level people want to connect with me. And I’ve been invited to join some excellent professional organizations and I’ve been approved to join others, some of which have high standards to be accepted by them. One is so elite, I’m literally shocked to the core that they approved and accepted me into their organization. I’ll mention it in a minute. I’ve rejoined two professional organizations I belonged to years ago. These are IEEE: The Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers and Usenix: the Advanced Computing Systems Association. New ones that I’ve been approved to join include ACM: the Association for Computing Machinery, ISSA: the Information Systems Security Association, ISACA, another elite security organization, and most mind blowing of all, the AOC: Association of Old Crows. Just what is that, you ask? Well, here is its description: “The Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.” Yeah, I got in. We’re talking VERY high ranking government, research, and military officials. It’s a true honor, but surreal too.

So, my “experiment”/professional networking profile improvement has succeeded beyond my wildest imagination. And it keeps growing daily, many dozens a day. One of my new connections is the Director of Security at the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Another is the CISO of Xerox. Others from this weekend are the CIO of the US Navy, CTO of IBM, Director of IT at the US Senate, COE of Dell, CISO of Dell, a Director at DARPA, the Director of the US Army Targeting Center, the CEO of Kaspersky Lab, Global CISO of Carnival Cruise Lines, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the US Department of Homeland Security, a senior VP at Cisco, Chief of Staff at the State Department, an economist with the IMF, the Chief, Executive Support Team at the White House and the CISO, White House. And those are just some from this weekend! IT BLOWS MY MIND! And the connections continue to grow. I don’t know what to make of it, or when it will slow to a trickle and stop, or how I can benefit, if at all, from this phenomenon, but I’m just going to ride it for awhile to see how far things go, how high things go, where it will stop. There isn’t yet an ending to this story or a moral to be learned, that I know of. So, if the end of this post seems somewhat abrupt, forgive me, but I’m virtually speechless at this point. My mind is blown. I’ve been joking with my wife that surely I must now be the most powerful man in America, after Donald Trump. There are others with more connections, and others may have more connections in the commercial sector or the government or the military, but I find it unlikely that there are too many people who have so damn many senior connections in all three sectors like I now do. No, there won’t be too many people with connections in all of these sectors at these levels. So, I must be the most powerful person in America after Donald Trump, right? Well, maybe Bill Gates probably has me beat. LOL! I’m honestly not trying to brag so much as to share my astonishment. Cause this all seemed pretty unlikely at the beginning of the year. I’m certainly joking about being powerful, that’s for sure!

A closing. I started this post a few days ago, and over the weekend I decided to limit sending out very many targeted connection requests without personalized messages. This means I will probably send far fewer, because it’s more time consuming now. But I think that’s okay. I don’t actually NEED to keep adding to my network; I’ve done well enough as is. But this new strategy will likely earn me a higher connection request acceptance percentage, which was already pretty good. (Although, as I mentioned, over the past day and a half, I have over 220 new connections!) But I’ve been interacting to a degree with many of them, which is good. Maybe they’ll remember me down the road and who knows where that could lead? I guess I’ll end this abruptly, as I predicted. I think I’ll attach a list of some of the better known or more significant companies and agencies represented by my contacts, as well as a list of some of the more notable contacts, by title, not name. Again, I do not intend to brag. I’m doing this to share my astonishment, because while I’ve been fortunate enough to have some cool jobs and a decent career or careers, I’m really nobody special, and yet for some reason, these people – or at least some of them – apparently think I’m somebody special, which is the biggest irony of it all.

PS: For those of you who are among my older connections and for those among you whose position I did not list, please do not infer that I do not value you or your connection. Indeed, I do or we wouldn’t have connected. Some of my most valued connections are among my oldest. This blog post was written to describe my initial recent goal, subsequent experiment, the results of such, and sharing astonishment at some of the connections I’ve recently made that, by most people’s standards, I have no business having. So, please do not be insulted if you are an older connection or not singled out; I’m merely concentrating on the most recent ones. Thank you.

 

 

LinkedIn Connections: 3,313

 

Senior Executives:       1,023 (31%)

“C” Level Executives:  434 (13%)

Network Engineers:    147

Developer/Software Engineers:         143

HR/Recruiters:            110

Project/Program Managers:   124

Writers/Editors:          118

Engineers:       220

IT Professionals:         313

Security Professionals:           372

Federal & International Government:            234

 

 

Most Companies Represented:

 

Cisco:                                       115

Malwarebytes:                        84

C Spire:                                    75

Microsoft:                               67

TVA:                                        54

Teklinks:                                  53

Regions Bank/Financial:         45

BBVA Compass:                      40

EPB:                                         35

Dell:                                         31

BCBS:                                      30

 

 

Notables Executives’ Companies

TVA, TekLinks, Shipt, Wendys, Nationwide, BCBS, Kaiser Permanente, Visa, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank, Bank of America, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Ticketmaster, Carnival Cruise Lines, Nieman Marcus, Scripps Networks, Authors Guild, Discogs, Morgan Stanley, PricewaterhouseCoopers, JP Morgan Chase, NASDAQ, USAA, AIG, Time Warner, AT&T, Sprint, Vonage, British Telecom, Plantronics, C Spire, Palo Alto Networks, Godaddy, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services, DC Government, State of California, ConocoPhillips, Nissan Americas, Lyft, Xidax, HP, Dell, IBM Watson, Xerox, IBM, Intel, Cisco, VMware, Oracle, Cray, ACM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Malwarebytes, Sophos, Trend Micro, McAfee, Symantec, Webroot, RSA Security, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Mandiant, Rand Corporation, Idaho National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab, Association of Old Crows (AOC), US Army, US Army National Military Cemeteries – Arlington National Cemetery, US Army Cyber School, US Army Targeting Center, US Air Force, US Navy, US Pacific Command – US Navy, Missile & Space Intelligence Center, Secret Service, ATF, FBI, DIA, DISA, NSA, DARPA, CERT, US Securities and Exchange Commission, US Department of Commerce, Federal Reserve System, Medicare & Medicaid, USDA, US Department of Education, US Department of Energy, US Department of the Interior, US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Veterans Affairs, US Defense Logistics Agency, US Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Senate, US Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, US Department of State, White House Writers Group, White House, HAE (Hungarian Energy & Public Utility Regulatory Authority), European Parliament, Europol, United Nations, International Economic Arbitration Court, United Nations Security Council, International Criminal Court

Other Notable Companies (typically mid-to upper management or IT personnel, etc.)

Facebook, Amazon, eHarmony, eInsurance, OpenTable, Expedia, Indeed, CareerBuilder, CDW, Groupon, PayPal, Citi, Uber, Volkswagen, Ford Motor Company, Hertz, Nike, FedEx, Cigna, BMI, QVC, The Home Depot, WalMart, Target, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney World, Mayo Clinic, GE Healthcare, Delta Airlines, SAP, Deloitte & Touche, Nokia, Motorola, T-Mobile, Verizon, EarthLink, BitDefender, AVG, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Kerberos International, Honeywell, Tennessee Attorney General, US Attorney General, NASA, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, CERN, Missile Defense Agency, European Space Agency – EC, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), NIST, HUD, IRS, US Marshalls, DEA, CIA, US Marines, Pentagon, Office of the President – White House, Securities & Exchange Organization (SEO) of Iran, European Commission, IMF, Interpol

 

 

Scott’s Most Notable LinkedIn Connections

3,313 Connections

These connections are not in order of “importance,” but in chronological order of when we established a connection, from oldest to most recent.

 

  1. Global IT Manager, Apple
  2. CISO, TVA
  3. CIO, State of Tennessee, TennCare
  4. Director, US Department of Energy
  5. Director, Office of Policy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
  6. Chief of Staff, US Department of Energy
  7. Kevin Mitnick, “The World’s Most Famous Hacker”
  8. VP, Head of Cyber Defense, Visa
  9. VP Cyber Programs, Raytheon
  10. CIO, Secret Service
  11. Chief, DHS Joint Analysis Group D-JAG
  12. Global Sr. VP, Symantec
  13. Chief Federal CyberSecurity Architect, Dell
  14. Deputy Director for Intelligence at US Pacific Command, US Navy
  15. Sr VP & CSO, AT&T
  16. Global CISO, Vonage
  17. Deputy Director, G6, NETCOM, ARCYBER, US Army
  18. Sr Cyber Security Manager, Lockheed Martin
  19. Director of Security, Google
  20. CISO, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
  21. Sr VP, US Public Sector, Cisco
  22. Director of Malware Intelligence, Malwarebytes
  23. Director Cyber, Lockheed Martin
  24. Sr Director, Global Customer Success, Malwarebytes
  25. Head of Global Infrastructure, Microsoft Azure
  26. Sr VP, Americas Partner Sales, Cisco
  27. President, FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association Executive Board of Directors
  28. President & CEO, Symantec
  29. Member of Board of Directors, former Microsoft CIO
  30. Director, Systems Engineering, Cisco
  31. VP, Corporate Development & Strategy, Malwarebytes
  32. Director, Global Security, Risk & Compliance Practice, Amazon Web Services
  33. CTO, IBM Watson & IBM Cloud
  34. CISO, US Department of the Interior
  35. Director, Global Pursuit Organization, America’s Data & AI at Microsoft US, Canada & LATAM
  36. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Military Personnel & Quality of Life, US Army
  37. VP Global Physical Security, Oracle
  38. Global Director, Justice & Public Safety Solutions, Oracle
  39. Director of Engineering, Oracle
  40. Chief Enterprise Architect, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  41. Sr Technical Advisor, NSA
  42. CEO, Cray Inc
  43. Special Assistant to the President & Associate White House Staff Secretary at Executive Office of the President
  44. Data Scientist, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  45. Lead Data Scientist, Microsoft
  46. eGov Consultant, United Nations
  47. Managing Director, White House Writers Group, Inc
  48. Information System Security Manager, Northrup Grumman
  49. World Wide Head of Print Communications, HP
  50. VP, Oracle Cloud
  51. Director, Anti-Terrorism & Emergency Management, US Army Europe
  52. Special Investigations Officer, United Nations
  53. Chief of Staff, Director North American Operations, Oracle
  54. Chief, Current Operations Division at White House Communications Agency
  55. Sr Advisor to the CTO, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  56. Foreign Service Officer, US Department of State
  57. Global Network Manager, United Nations
  58. Coordinator of ISIL, Al-Quaida & Taliban Monitoring Team, UN Security Council
  59. HP Fellow & VP
  60. President & CCO, Dell
  61. Director, Fort Worth Regional Office, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  62. Deputy Commandant, National Cryptological School, NSA
  63. Sr Data Scientist, Microsoft
  64. Economist, United Nations
  65. Deputy CIO, Idaho National Lab
  66. Assistant Director, Office of IT, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  67. Sr Ops Analyst, CIA
  68. Director, Advanced Programs & Innovation, Office of Commercial Space, Federal Aviation Commission
  69. CTO, ATF
  70. Head of Tactical Force Unit, United Nations
  71. Director of Operations, White House Communications Agency
  72. Presidential Writer, The White House
  73. Sr Research Fellow Scientist, CERN
  74. Deputy Military Advisor, United Nations
  75. GM, Chief of Staff for CEO, Microsoft
  76. Interim CTO, Microsoft
  77. Data Scientist, Apple
  78. Ambassador At Large – NGO Diplomatic Envoy, United Nations
  79. Director, Apple
  80. Program Manager, US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security
  81. Chief, IT Project Management Office, ATF
  82. Vice President Ops, Apple
  83. Regional Director, Business Development, NASDAQ
  84. Executive VP, CSO, CIO, Malwarebytes
  85. VP Infrastructure Engineering, JPMorgan Chase & Co
  86. VP, Global MSP, Sophos
  87. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, US Department of Energy
  88. SCCM Engineering SME, NASA
  89. eCrime Threat Intel Analyst, Facebook
  90. Sr Information Consultant, European Parliament
  91. Global CISO, Societie Generale International Banking – 2018 Global CISO of the year
  92. CISO & VP, McAfee Labs Operations
  93. VP & Global CISO, Webroot, Inc
  94. Director, RSA Security
  95. Sr Accountable Official for Risk Management, US Department of Homeland Security
  96. Branch Chief, Office of Compliance Inspections & Examinations, US Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.)
  97. Director Cybersecurity, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  98. Technical Director, CERT
  99. CIO, IT Acquisition Advisory Council
  100. Deputy Commandant, US Army Cyber School
  101. CISO, Nissan Americas
  102. Director of Marketing & Communications, Association of Old Crows (AOC)
  103. Executive VP, Global Defense & Cyber Strategy, AECOM
  104. Director of Global Services & Intelligence, Mandiant
  105. Director of Special Operations, Asymmetric Warfare Intelligence for Complex Operations Ltd (AWICP)
  106. CISO, Lyft
  107. Sr Director of Security, Microsoft
  108. Cybersecurity Data Chief, Federal Reserve System
  109. Vice President Security Research, Trend Micro
  110. VP & CISO, Rackspace
  111. VP Engineering, Symantec
  112. CISO, US Department of Education
  113. CISO, DC Government
  114. Director of Digital Innovation & Solutions, US Department of Homeland Security
  115. CISO, State of California
  116. CIO, USDA
  117. Director of Operations, DISA
  118. Director Systems Engineering, VMware
  119. Director Global Cyber Defense, Johnson Controls
  120. Deputy CIO, US Department of Homeland Security
  121. Global CISO, Carnival Cruise Lines
  122. CEO, Kaspersky Lab
  123. CFO, Sprint
  124. Director of US Army Targeting Center
  125. Chief, Executive Support Team, White House
  126. CISO, Xerox
  127. Director of IT, US Senate
  128. VP, Dell Consumer PC’s
  129. Chief, Cyber Strategy & Policy, USAF
  130. IBM Fellow & CTO, IBM Z at IBM
  131. Chief Data Scientist, Department of Defense
  132. CIO Plans & Programs, US Navy
  133. System Engineering Director, Cisco
  134. Director of Security, US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  135. Chief Scientist & Technology Leader, Cisco
  136. Director Network & Security Engineering, Time Warner
  137. IBM Fellow, VP, CTO Watson, IBM Academy of Technology
  138. Deputy Director NTIS, US Department of Commerce
  139. Secretary General & President of the General Assembly @ World Organization on Economic Digital Monetary & Social Development, United Nations. Supreme Chief Justice & Minister of Foreign Affairs, The International Economic Arbitration Court
  140. Diplomat, Lagos, United Nations
  141. Deputy Assistant Director, Information Technology Branch (ITB), FBI
  142. Policy Advisor, DG CONNECT – Directorate-General Communications, Networks, Content & Technology, European Commission
  143. Future Studies Technology Development & Frequency Management Engineer, European Space Agency, European Commission
  144. Director VA Privacy Service, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  145. Technical Director, IT Operations, US Department of Defense
  146. CISO, IBM
  147. Advisor for Communication & Outreach @ European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission
  148. Deputy Assistant Attorney General & CIO, US Department of Justice
  149. Principal Deputy CIO, Department of Homeland Security
  150. Chief of Staff, US Department of State
  151. Head of Forensic Laboratory, Europol
  152. Director First Responders Group, Department of Homeland Security
  153. Director Chief Threat Communications, Trend Micro
  154. VP & CISO, Dell
  155. CISO ConocoPhillips
  156. Deputy Chief of Staff, DISA
  157. CISO HEA (Hungarian Energy & Public Utility Regulatory Authority) – NATO: Top Secret Clearance
  158. Chief of Staff, US Army National Military Cemeteries/Arlington National Cemetery
  159. CIO Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  160. COO, 10th Panzer Division (Germany)
  161. CISO, Kimberly-Clark
  162. Brigadier General, US Special Forces
  163. Executive Director, Interpol
  164. CTO, Ticketmaster
  165. Head of IT Security, Wendys
  166. CISO, CTO, British Telecom
  167. COO, Joint Forces Headquarters, DoD, Pentagon
  168. CDO, Bank of China
  169. Board Member, Public Policy Executive, Rand Corporation
  170. CISO, Ministere de l’Agricuture, Quebec
  171. CISO, White House

 

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LinkedIn and my Recent Adventures There, Part I

Posted by Scott Holstad on May 14, 2018

LinkedIn and my Recent Adventures There

 

My LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottholstad/

Let me first say that this is going to be a strange blog post. I’ve been wanting to write it for awhile, but the topic is fluid, always changing and growing, so it’s hard to set a point to write about it in absolute terms. Moreover, I have struggled with how to frame this topic. If I’m not careful, I’ll come off sounding like the most narcissistic braggart on the Internet. If I approach it more cavalierly, I risk insulting countless good and kind people who have reached out to me. I want to explain a situation, starting from the beginning and describing its evolution, both in my mind and in reality. Without coming across as a giant asshole. It’s a tough task I’m placing before myself. But I’m going to try. I expect the writing and editing of this post to take several days, as the situation remains fluid and evolving, and as I try to gather my thoughts and describe things in a hopefully careful way. I guess I’ll begin at the beginning.

I have been on LinkedIn for at least 13 years now. That’s a long time. If you’re somehow, and I don’t know how this would be possible, unfamiliar with it, it’s a professional networking site that originated as somewhat of a glorified online resume service where companies, recruiters, and employees/job candidates could find one another. Its scope has grown over time. While your profile still has the appearance of a fleshed-out resume, and one can make it as detailed or not as they wish, now it’s possible to join innumerable groups of professionals with similar interests, occupations, memberships and the like, to share information, interact with others, engage in educational activities, and seriously network like a fiend. I’ve read countless articles over the past six months that all assert that HR people and recruiters look for a candidate’s LinkedIn profile in addition to or in lieu of one’s resume, often after receiving a job application or after an interview. Having a good profile is evidence that you take your profession seriously and that you are to be taken seriously. And one way to be taken seriously is by both the number and types of “connections” you have on your profile, for LinkedIn shows how many professional connections each person has right beside their name, initially maxing out at 500, indicating a person has more with “500+” beside your name. There are two things to know about this. One, you can of course exceed 500 connections. Your actual number of connections, or “followers,” is reported beneath your profile “header” in your Activity feed. There you can see just how popular or “important” someone really is: Do they have 730 connections, do they have 2,100 connections, or do they have a monstrous 22,000 connections? It matters. The second thing to know is while your profile shows you maxed out at “500+” officially, and while you can exceed that and people can see the true number, there actually IS a maximum number of connections one can get on the site. It is 30,000. I’ve only “met” one person who had reached that figure, and he had started a second, “personal” account, which when I saw it last, had nearly 14,000 more connections! That is one seriously well connected person. An aside. There is a program I don’t know the exact details of called “L.I.O.N.” People who are L.I.O.N.s are people who are serious about networking, about collecting as many connections as possible, for a variety of reasons. Not everyone with a ton of connections is a L.I.O.N., but in order to become one, you basically have to be a connection hog. These people “advertise” the fact that they are such by listing “L.I.O.N.” after their name and title. That way, if you’re interested in obtaining more connections yourself, you can send them a connection request and rest assured that they will accept. Because, you see, that’s the downside to LinkedIn. While people can send you connection requests, and you can decide whether or not to accept them based on whatever your criteria is, people are most certainly NOT obligated to accept YOUR connection request you send them, which can be both insulting to some and can render a proud, or insecure, person humble within a brief time. If you send out 10 connection requests, but only one accepts, that indicates the other nine did not deem you worthy of connecting with for whatever reason. And there are many reasons. One is quite simply that you are not in an industry they care about and you have little to nothing in common, so they see no point in connecting with you. That’s pretty common. Another is many people only send out and accept connection requests from people they actually have met or know. Those are actually LinkedIn’s official guidelines, which almost no one follows. If you meet or know few people and subscribe to this philosophy, obviously your list of connections will be quite small. That is why many people join various groups – to connect with others of shared interests, etc., in an online forum, hoping it’ll lead to personal connections with some in the group. Or more often, most people send out connection requests to strangers, usually because they’re in a similar industry, are alumni from the same school, live in the same area, WANT to connect with a public or high profile person and are hoping for an acceptance, or something similar. Meanwhile, all of the research I’ve done over the past half year unanimously indicates that recruiters or HR professionals view people with few connections as less desirable, interprets the small number of connections as proof that no one wants to connect with you because you’re not professionally worthy – you’re small fry with no assets to offer anyone. Fair or not, true or not, these are irrelevant. It’s the perception that matters, so it behooves those who are job seeking, or who simply want to maintain a current or updated professional profile, to always be trying to add to their connections and make sure they have “enough,” whatever that means. And, yes, that has been quantified. I’ve seen published a consensus on the part of many recruiters that one should have at least 10 connections for every year of your birth, or if you are 30, you should have at least 300, and if you’re 45, you should have at least 450. The reasoning is, one should encounter at least 10 people in a full year they could legitimately connect with on a professional basis, just in your daily job, life, travels, meetings, etc. Yet, you’ll see numerous profiles that don’t meet this standard. I can’t count the number of profiles I’ve seen that have only 75 or 50 or 20 or even fewer than 10 connections. And what that tells me and what that tells recruiters is that this person doesn’t take their professional profile and professional life and making their online “resume” important seriously enough to make it as appealing as possible. These are people who are lazy or don’t give a shit. Again, that’s not always necessarily true and is often unfair, but that’s the perception, and in candor, that DOES describe a whole lot of people. They don’t take it seriously enough to enhance their profile, and thus recruiters aren’t going to take them seriously and they’ll lose out on job prospects. And this is fact, not conjecture. But back to L.I.O.N.s Being one can be a stigma, as some people – mostly recruiters – actively hate them, others observe them as attention or connection whores who don’t care about who they connect with – just that they do. The two arguments I’ve seen not to become one has been that it dilutes your connection pool, and subsequently everyone else who connects with you, and second, it somehow leads to exponential spam growth. As I’ve added connections, I’ve seen about 1-2% more unsolicited messages, emails, and the like, so possibly this is true of “pure” LIONS, but if you’re merely adding a lot of more “targeted” connections, I don’t believe this is true at all.

Earlier I wrote “one way to be taken seriously is by both the number and types of “connections” you have on your profile.” I’ve just addressed the number, or quantity. Now, the types, or quality. People want to see that you matter and that others think you matter. If all of your connections are what some would consider “minor league,” i.e., low level blue collar, secretarial, restaurant servers, etc., while there is nothing inherently wrong with those professions, people want to see that people higher up the career ladder than you are also connections, i.e., people above you take you seriously enough to connect with you publicly and professionally. So, not only your fellow administrators, but senior managers, a director, possibly even vice presidents or “C” level execs, such as COOs, CTOs, CISOs, or best, CEOs or Presidents of companies. Does it matter what the breakdown is between working grunts and higher ups as connections? I think the answer would vary from recruiter to recruiter, but I personally don’t think the ratio matters too much, at least the lower down the career ladder you are. As long as you have some “decent” connections, most can be at your level or even lower. But for people higher up in their career path or for people trying to scale the corporate ladder, the ratio DOES matter. You want as many connections higher up and more impressive than you for connections as possible. The more, the better. That’s why I’ve seen it written that when you send out “blind” connection requests, you should aim higher rather than lower, knowing your acceptance rate will be lower, but also knowing it’s highly likely that at least a certain percentage of these people will accept your request, thus enhancing your profile and hence your credentials. Because connection quality matters possibly as much as quantity, perhaps more so. Of course, it’s cool to connect with all of your friends, but unless your friends are all senior execs, you need to develop a strategy for attracting execs to connect with you. And two things can affect this. One, how fleshed out, fully developed, and thus appealing have you made your profile. Because that’s the number one thing. It is, after all, essentially your online resume no matter how you look at it. But the other variable that can factor in is, the more high level connections you have, the more OTHER high level people will want to connect with you, because they’ll see that you are desirable to some higher ups, and therefore to them as well – even if they don’t know why! Ultimately, your “regular employee” to “high level” or executive ratio should be tilted toward the higher, the better, because once you’ve achieved that, such people will be sending YOU connection requests based on the quality of your connections, which they’ll want to join. Fact, not conjecture.

All of which brings me to my story…

To Be Continued…

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Subtle Changes To My Blog

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 2, 2018

Hi All,

I haven’t written a new blog post since the last one, but I’ve been working on updating my blog. I was nosing around some of my PAGES (as opposed to Posts) and was horrified at how out of date some of the information was. For instance, my beloved wife of five years was still listed as my “girlfriend!” Geez. That’s bad. So, I spent some time updating some of my sections, and I thought I would key in any of you who might be interesting in seeing or reading over the changes.

First of all, I changed the About section at the top (upper left) section of the page. While I retained some of the older material, I both updated it (from one cat to two) and added some newer relevant material (entrepreneur, audiophile, etc.). So, if you want an updated bio to find out where I’m at these days, there you have it.

I also added some books to my Favorite Books section. Two new novels, one new work of nonfiction, five new science fiction novels, and one I call a “Straggler,” that doesn’t fit anywhere else. I don’t have links for all of these books to Goodreads or Amazon, and maybe I should, and I really don’t think I have the time to do so, but it’s a good idea I just thought of, but in the meantime, there are some good books listed there that might appeal to a lot of people, so feel free to check them out.

One of the biggest changes I made was to my Find Me Here section. First of all, some of the websites and social media sites were outdated to the point of no longer existing, so I had to make some edits. Secondly, I had sites listed followed by hyperlinks. So 2013. I thought why not make the site words themselves the hyperlinks? That’s only the obvious thing to do. So that’s what I did! Check that page out, please!!! You’ll notice two Instagrams and two Twitters. That’s because I have an individual account for each and a music business site for each. They’re both listed separately to make it easy to know which you’d be accessing. I have 13 links/sites listed there at the moment, and while there are more I may add in the near future, I thought that was a good place to start. And I need followers on my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter music business pages, so please feel free to drop by and follow me in those places. Also, feel free to make recommendations or requests, because I’m totally open to all.

Next, I briefly updated my Penguins Fan Page, although not by much. It essentially takes you to my website, to my Pens fan page there, but it also admits that it’s not up to date, and that I want and need to update it, and I plan to as soon as I find the time. Not too much there, and I won’t blame you if you don’t feel like visiting that page, although I’d be grateful if you would, obviously.

Finally, as far as my PAGES went, I made substantial changes to the My Sports Teams page. I made a lot of additions, with links to all of the teams I follow. I added an MLB team, three NCAA football “teams of interest,” two NCAA men’s basketball teams, a second women’s basketball team, a second women’s softball team, a second women’s volleyball team, and two NFL “teams of interest” as well. All in all, there are 25 teams listed for 10 sports, ranging from high school to college to the pros. If you enjoy sports at all, by all means, check that page out and feel free to leave comments!

Okay. Those are the changes I made to my PAGES at the top of my blog. But I didn’t stop there. I made more changes to the lists and widgets on either side of my main blog wall. On the left, I changed my Twitter feed from @scottholstad to @scottsmusicshak. So too, I changed the Instagram feed from @scottholstad to @scottsmusicshak also.

On the right side of my blog, I deleted some obsolete blogs in the Blogroll, added a couple of Bookstores, and made some significant changes to the Music section, where I deleted over a half dozen groups, such as Hungry Lucy and Unto Ashes, while adding over a dozen new groups, such as KMFDM, Rammstein, Pet Shop Boys, Within Temptation, Flora Purim, Neal Schon and others, AND I added a number of audio companies, largely audiophile-quality companies for those interested in such things, such as Bryston, Klipsch, Pro-Ject, Krell, Rega, and others. If you’re willing to spend the money, you can find anything from affordable entry level audiophile-quality turntables from Pro-Ject for $500 to Bryston amps for $6,500 to a Rega RP-10 turntable for $7,000 all the way to the new McIntosh XRT2.1K loudspeaker system for a small, little $130,000/pair. Yeah, you read that right. But hey, if you’re a REAL audiophile, you find ways to feed your obsession, right? Heh. Finally, I added a new section called Boutique Computers, listing some of my favorite custom designed and built computers and the companies that make them beneath the heading. It’s a long story and the subject for a blog post some time, but suffice it to say that after experiencing some unexpected tech disasters in the spring of 2017, I decided to go high end with the idea of very high end for a very long time with the goal of expandability, so I had a “boutique” computer custom built for me, realized I had been short sighted and that it wasn’t sufficiently expandable, returned it, had another with 34 drive bays started being built by the same company, but work on it got bogged down, I grew impatient with what I viewed as their ineptitude, so I cancelled our contract, and I went elsewhere. I ended up with a Xidax X-8 Glacier, the specs of which are pretty awesome. I could have gone even more awesome, and maxed out some rigs to see how much it would cost to go uber awesome. The Falcon Northwest Mach V maxed out at $24,000 while the Digital Storm Aventum was just about $30,000! For a tricked out PC. One that would still be tricked out five years from now. But the Xidax I got cost a great deal less and will still be a quality computer five years from now and has enough storage capacity to last me at least 10 years or more, and that’s what I was looking for after a quality processor and quality GPUs. Anyway, like I said, a story for a different blog post….

And I guess that’s about it. For now. Next, I’m going to have to write another “real” blog post, eh? I’ll try to do so sooner than it took me last time. By the way, in my last post, I mentioned that I have seven online shops at the moment, although I’m trying to close two of them. I’m also considering opening my own e-commerce-based website, my own shop, and shutting down all but one of these shops (because this one, on an audiophile site, gives me lots of sales), but that would be a major commitment, both in time and money, and I’d lose the global audience that’s built into some of these sites for the uncertainty of people not ever knowing about or ever finding my own new site. So, it’s a bit of a gamble. But I wouldn’t have to pay all of these fees for transactions, I wouldn’t get banned from listing items because I’ve allegedly listed “too many” of a certain type — when I’ve never listed ANY of that type before! — I’d have complete control over my inventory and pricing, my marketing and promotion, and my social media sites could all point to my website instead of my Facebook site — which has not translated into sales at all — and ideally, if I could get people to jump to a “landing page” on my site and enter their email for a discount or a promotion of some sort, I’d be able to send out email newsletters on a semi-regular basis, maybe weekly or bi-weekly, offering both tips and promotions, which is what you’re supposed to be doing to get sales, according to all the data. So, if anyone reading this has any opinion on this gamble, I’d love to hear it. I think longterm, the good outweighs the bad, but upfront, it would be a massive timesuck, a hell of a commitment, and I’d have to work very hard to get people to notice this site. But it couldn’t be any worse than several shops I have right now, so I don’t see what I have to lose in that regard. I really only have 2-3 sites where I’m selling anything, really only two, and I’d be glad to dump the rest in exchange for full control over my own inventory, pricing, shipping, listings, promotions, everything. Lemme know your thoughts and thanks!

Okay, have a great weekend everyone. Cheers!

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Pinterest is third most-visited social site

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 8, 2012

Think back six months. You probably never had heard of a little website called Pinterest.

Now it’s the third most-visited social-networking site in the United States, according to a report released Thursday by Experian Marketing Services, a digital marketing firm.

Pinterest, which lets its users “pin” photos and info from the Internet onto virtual boards, ranks behind only Facebook and Twitter in terms of total visitors, according to the analysis, titled “The 2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report.”

The ranking is based on the total number of U.S. visitors during March and does not include mobile traffic, according to Experian spokeswoman Jennifer Marshall.

Last month, Facebook had more than 7 billion total visitors; Twitter had 182 million; and Pinterest had 104 million total visits from people in the United States, according to data sent to CNN by Experian.

That ranking puts the newbie site ahead of heavyweights such as LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace and Tumblr.

“The site has really just rocketed,” said Matt Tatham, another spokesman from Experian. “It’s just been tremendous since Pinterest took off around October and then in the last few months. With Pinterest, it’s kind of a new take on an old thing. Social networking is great. Pinterest is great. The way people are sharing on Pinterest is new.”

via Report: Pinterest is third most-visited social site – CNN.com.

___________________________________________

I admit it — I love Pinterest! I’ve been on it for several months now, and I’ve got 12 boards on my site and 718 pins on those 12 boards. My favorite — and most popular — board is called Amazing Men’s Watches. I have 148 watches of all sorts pinned, and I’ve got 66 people following my board. I try to add to it on a regular basis. And I love to see what other people out there are pinning to their boards.

I have to admit I’m surprised that Pinterest is bigger than LinkedIn and Google+. That’s kind of shocking. So, my question is, is Pinterest just a passing fad, or is it here to stay? I honestly have no clue, although I’m leaning toward fad. I don’t see how it can go head to head with Facebook or Twitter long term. But you never know, right? If you haven’t checked Pinterest out, maybe now’s the time to do so. It’s fun and it’s a good way to be exposed to other people and their interests. Cheers!

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Google+ (and my social networking history…)

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 20, 2011

OK, I admit it — I’m on Google+.  And I freakin’ LOVE it!!!  Am having the best time just playing around on that site, seeing who and what I run across.  If you want to find me there, here is my URL:  https://plus.google.com/113745399994458455981/posts.  Ever since I ditched FB last December, I’d missed that sense of … something, which I’ve tried to fill (or perhaps re-fill) with blogging, mostly on my old Xanga sitehttp://www.bukowski-rules.com/ and more recently, through my new WordPress blog here.  But it’s different, and we all know that.  Totally different animals.

Anyway, Google+.  I love what you can do with it. I love the photos, the circles, how you can post to only certain people via specific circles if you want.  I love how you can include and exclude info about yourself that somehow gives me a certain sense of (limited) privacy and security I never felt I had at FB.  I love how you can find certain people you find interesting, put them in a circle to “follow” or whatever and vice versa and how you never really have to “friend” each other to do this.  Cause trust me, while I literally did know some 99% of the 550+ “friends” I had on FB IRL, I quickly and sadly found out how few of them were really true friends.  On Google+, you don’t have to fake it. I dig that. I also like their Sparks feature, kind of like tags you’ll find on most blogging sites. All this being said, it’s still in field trials and there are still some things that could and should be done to improve Google+ before everyone in the entire world jumps aboard whenever Google decided to fully open it up.

Well, this topic made me start thinking about my own social networking (now social media?) history during my many years on the Internet (I wrote my first email in 1987!), so I think I’ll briefly touch on that, just for the heck of it. I’m just going to ignore the old BBS’s of the good old early Internet years, pre-Web. I think I’ll just skip ahead to my first known dive into social networking, even though it wasn’t called that then. Any old timers remember 2003? Yeah, it actually wasn’t that long ago. Still, a friend of me told me about a new website called Friendster where you could meet others online (but not as a dating site) and say different things about yourselves and each other and how it seemed like a pretty cool concept. So, I joined Friendster. And if anyone can remember back that far, it was really a pre-MySpace before MySpace was even founded. I consider Friendster to really be the innovator. Too bad it’s now basically dead and has been for years. Pity. Anyway, I quickly found out that everyone was on Friendster within months! And I met some very cool people that way, people I had things in common with or lived near or whatever. It’s how I met a woman who I had many things in common with (such as same alma maters, same degrees, same professors, same love of literature, same politics, etc.), who I then met IRL, and who I then (foolishly, in retrospect) agreed to marry when she proposed to me a very short time after. Sometime during 2004, though, Friendster did something foolish. For some odd reason, a TON of their users had set up accounts for their pets and they made many friends that way. Well, Friendster booted them all off the site, deleted their accounts, and created a great deal of animosity and bad PR in the process. Stupid decision.

Meanwhile, my new (and now ex) wife was a blogging fool on Xanga. I had never heard of blogging or Xanga. I used to tease her about having more of an online life than a real one. However, she set up an account for me in February 2004 and I tentatively started out writing a few lines here and there, not having a clue what I was doing. That said, I had moved back to Knoxville from L.A. and nearly everyone I personally knew in Knoxville was on Xanga, so that was kind of cool. AND, through Xanga’s Blogrings, you got to know other people and it was awesome to run across someone you knew from Xanga while out at a coffee shop or bar, etc. To this day, I still have my Xanga site and I have blogged off and on there since early 2004.

Speaking of 2004, I think it was that time that MySpace sprung up. Well, you know how things are online — fads. Friendster was forgotten by the world in under a month while everyone jumped ship to MySpace, where it was hip and cool to have your own page there. And I jumped over to that site along with everyone else, although I didn’t immediately abandon Friendster. Wow, MySpace was different though. It was what Friendster wanted to be, but didn’t know how to be at the time. And the thing that really hooked me was that so many bands had MySpace sites, increasingly as the years went by. That’s the only reason I maintained a MySpace account through, IDK, maybe 2009? I ran across some awesome bands that way, such as Android Lust, and I loved being exposed to new things. However, I never felt fully comfortable with MySpace, and I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, other than I sometimes felt like I was being stalked in some weird way by various people I didn’t know or want to know. So, I still concentrated on my regular blogging on Xanga.

I don’t remember when I first heard of Facebook, but it was back when it was only open to college students and then, shortly later I think, to high school students as well. I had no interest. But when FB opened itself up to everyone, I became intrigued, so I signed up and was delighted that it was becoming and did become an easy and exciting way to get connected with old high school and college classmates, old work colleagues, etc., who you hadn’t seen in years and who you’d lost touch with. That was the big time seller for me! Shoot, that was years ago too, long before everyone and their brother was on it. Toward the end of my time on FB though, I had been making some critical mistakes. I wrote things on my mind. Yep. On my own FB site. I know, the audacity! And much of the time, I wrote about political issues, such as back in 2008, during the election season. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve been both a Republican and Democrat (although these days, I am pretty embarrassed to admit to having been a Republican at some point…), but when I lived out on the west coast, I was a fairly moderate fellow. Down here in the Red south though, while I still view myself as fairly moderate, leaning slightly left, I’m viewed as a flaming liberal and I quickly found out that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of old high school friends and some college friends just crucified the hell out of me for having the gall to express myself in terms of what I thought about Bush, the war(s), Obama, etc. I literally had over 100 people de-friend me cause of that! Yeah, good friends, right? Long story short, by November 2010 I was becoming seriously disillusioned with FB and my damn friends there, all 550+ of them. Frankly, not too many seemed like friends to me, even though I knew virtually all of them IRL. However, I had felt compelled to stay on FB because by that point, everyone in the universe was on it and more importantly, well over half of my own Xanga blogging pals had abandoned Xanga to move over to FB, and Xanga became like a ghost town quite quickly, where they at one point at over 40 million bloggers! But in late 2010, largely due to some completely unexpected relationship and legal issues, I was advised to do what I had decided to do several weeks earlier — delete my FB account. God, that hurt at first. However, as time has gone by, you know what? I don’t miss that damn drama one bit! I’m SO happy not to be on FB. That said, I still missed the daily connections, at least with the few people I cared about.

Most of you probably know about Twitter; who doesn’t? I joined Twitter in December 2009 and have been tweeting away ever since, mostly about useless crap. I have no idea why I have any followers at all. It’s still fun though, cause I have run across some really interesting people, most recently a cool girl up in NYC named Athena E. Stone who loves Queen possibly as much as I do, even at her young age. I really like that. I’m still on Twitter, but it just doesn’t appeal to me like other other social net working sites have.

So, that brings us to Google+. Please God, let it be the true social networking site everyone says it will be, the one of my dreams! Let it be as awesome as possible! You have to admit, while Google owns the Internet like Microsoft owns PCs, they’ve consistently failed in their weak social networking experiments, such as Orkut, a site I joined after leaving FB, since I was desperate for some sense of community. I still have a profile there, but I only know a few others who do and it’s mostly Brazilians for some odd reason.

There have also been other social networking sites I was talked into joining at one point or another. Hi5 was one. Gag. Terrible. Did not stay there very long. I can’t even remember the others. So I guess I’ll end by touching on the “niche” social networking sites, the ones that are theme-based and aren’t “true” social networking sites in the sense that FB is. My favorite is the professional networking site, LinkedIn. Wonderful site, great business plan, wildly successful, especially for what it is and is meant to be. There are now other professional networking sites, at least one of which I was invited to join, did and promptly left. No comparison.

There are literary sites too. Goodreads might be best known, but I never liked that site and quickly grew to hate it for so many reasons. One thing that irritated the hell out of me was that several of my books were on that site, owned by and reviewed by various members and users. The thing that truly pissed me off was when one of my books got a bad review by some asshole in some Middle Eastern country I can no longer remember, who admitted in his stupid review that he hadn’t even READ my book, but it sounded stupid so he was giving it a 1 out of 5! WTF? Are you shitting me??? Bye Goodreads. I had a gazillion friends or whatever they’re called there, and I didn’t care about any but maybe 20 of them. A far better literary site, I believe, is LibraryThing, which I think actually preceded Goodreads in its existence, but for some reason, has never caught on as much. Maybe that’s cause it started out strictly as a personal library cataloging site, but it expanded as time went by and I think it’s excellent.

Well, there are a bunch of other blogging sites, and I’ve obviously joined one here — WordPress — while still not having abandoned Xanga. I also occasionally blog on my Red Room author site, but that’s not too frequently. And I’m sure I’ve missed so many other blogging and social networking sites I’ve seen and tried out over the years, but I’ll stop now as I’ve gone on much longer than I intended to (and it’s long past time for breakfast!), so back to my original topic, Google+. How many of you reading this are on it, and what do any of you reading this think will happen with it? Will it be a Twitter killer, like many expect, or even an eventual (possible) FB killer, like many people hope? Or will it merely be Google’s final attempt at getting social media right for once? I want to know. Please, please leave any comments you might have about this. Cheers!

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