The theory of online social networking is great and I certainly enjoy the opportunities I have through such services as LinkedIn and OpenBC, to connect with people across vast oceans and continents, not to mention timezones and cultural differences.

But there can be challenges in getting the systems to work effectively.

Having decided recently that I should put some effort into building the OpenBC network, where I have a Premium membership, I found the exercise less than totally enjoyable.

Here’s a message I sent to OpenBC over the weekend. I think it’s fairly self-explanatory:

I have spent a couple of hours trying to sort through the process of finding people in my outlook address book who are in OpenBC, so I could invite them.

Frankly, this is not a user-friendly system. I thought I had to go through and cull the addresses I did not want compared, so I did that and then got a cross-checked list. I had no sooner invited the first two to connect than the list disappeared!

I thought LinkedIn was confusing but its system of cross checking and inviting people in the address book is a dream compared to this.

What about a video or some sort of walk through to show people what to do and not to do to make the process applicable?

Then today I received this response:

Thank you for your email message. The suggestions and comments we receive from
our members are very important to us because we give them consideration when
optimizing openBC.

Our development team will give your suggestion consideration for possible

I know OpenBC is a good organisation and I enjoy a number of good connections through this network, but I have to say the support response reminded me of the form letters that used to go out from a government department where I once worked in a senior position and where the Minister held a very important portfolio. The response included – from memory – the following assurance:

The Minister has asked me to say that everything you have said has been noted and will be taken into account.

Sometimes, after the day’s work is done and in a reflective mood over a glass of wine, I think about my collaboration in that practice and I wonder, pessimistically it must be said, whether of the probably thousands of people who received those letters, any of the recipients actually believed  that  the concerns or sentiments they had expressed would actually have been given any serious consideration.

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