One Man and His Blog: February 2010 Archives

February 2010 Archives

February 28, 2010

The Forgotten World of the Web Introvert

There's a fascinating post up over on GigaOM which starts to address something that's been niggling at me for a while:

Much less noticeable is another trend: the rise of the web introvert. But while some web introverts might be introverted in the classic sense -- that is, uncomfortable in social settings -- many of them aren't shy at all. They are simply averse to having a public presence on the web. 

I have several people like that in my immediate circle of friends and family, and I think this is rapidly becoming the elephant in the room of social media discussions. The rush by Google and Facebook to push social interactions into the public space to support their business objectives has made this problem even more acute. And the fact that even with privacy settings in use of, say, Facebook, you are beholden to the tagging behaviour of your friends to maintain discretion around social activities makes this even more acute.

Unless we can find a way to draw these people into the social web - and that probably means more thought around both privacy and data ownership - we're only ever going to get a subset of a subset of people involved. And that, in turn, will massively limit its potential.

What's the solution?

One Man in Action

Apparently this is what I look like in full-on liveblogging mode...

Weekend Coffee Reading

When it's too cold and wet to go out for the Sunday paper, just follow the links:

February 27, 2010

Internet Stat Porn 2010

I love these things:

February 26, 2010

#likeminds - Coupons are not conversation

A restaurant run for Twitterers. A hotel with blogger specials. They make you feel special. They make you feel part of a community. 

We love feeling special. Chris Brogan is entertaining us.

Chris Brogan
Paraphrasing: What we can do with Twitter is live in 60% of my time is there. Are you connecting with people, or are you just blurting stuff out... People are surprised when you reply. That's a competitive advantage over the other social media blogger turdheads? WTF!

"All social media is not so much about the technology as about remembering to be human."

Mr Brogan, it should be noted, is one of those wonderfully rambling, anecdotal speakers who defy live blogging. You should have been here. :)

#likeminds - rescuing dying business models

Panel on rescuing dying business models which is being moderated by Vikki Chowney of Reputation Online

Kevin Anderson:
The scarce commodity is not content, it's attention. You can't win just by creating good content, because there's so much of that. You need to build relationships. 

Edward Barrow: engaging with users around content can help cut costs and give information that can allow you to survive longer.

Kevin: What will be the differentiator between those print titles that survive? The recession has increased the politics between the digital and print divisions. They need to bury the hatchet and work together. And they need to realise that big budgets do not mean big impact. They have no adopted to the idea that they can't spend seven figures on a  relaunch and expect that to save them. We're now in a low margin business. 2005 was the highest year for newspaper profits - achieved by cutting staff. We now have to work smarter - we don't have the bodies to do everything we do now. We need to cut things. 

We're in the news business, not the newspaper business. Are you in the music business or the silver disk business?

The difference between journalism and blogging, asks James Whatley, kicking off a bit of a barney... 

And this is where I lost my temper. Some complete and utter horseshit being talked here. Blogging is opinion, journalism is edited facts, apparently. Nonsense. Journalism is an activity, blogging is one format in which journalism can be done, like newspapers, like magazines, like TV, like books. It's just done in a more social, interactive way. 

And I just got asked to make that point on microphone. :-)
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#likeminds - How can organisations take the first steps towards integrating People-to-People?

IMG_3048 - Version 2.jpgGood questions being raised by this panel: Do we need to change how we recruit? Do we need to change people's job descriptions? How will they answer?

Olivier: Every organisation has people who want to do this. Management need to understand how it's going to benefit them in the long-run. Until you get management buy-in, you're never really going to move forward. It's always be at arm's length. 

Benjamin Ellis: Not a fan of specific social media strategies. Installed a wiki in an organisation where you said anything out of management line, you got into trouble. You need the culture to enable it. Job description: I've never seen one that says that you should answer e-mail or letters... We're moving from a world where you only publish the good stuff to a world where everyone publishes. 

Steve Bridger: On the other hand, a diktat where everyone must participate is bad. You need to go with the flow. 

Gabrielle Laine-Peters: Most employers know hat younger people are already on these platforms. Educate before you set guidelines. Social media: they're tools in a toolbox. It's about integration and evolution. Find champions in each department

Olivier: Lots of social media people are hired because they can blog and know Facebook, but they have no operation experience. Data analysts should not be community managers - totally different skills. 

Gabrielle: Tweeted that my Moo Cards had a problem - they biked me replacements.

Andrew Gerrard: Difficult for big companies to do that.

Benjamin: The power has moved from inside the organisation to outside it. It's a hard time to be a big company. 48 hours to reply to a tweet, while all the boards approve it - you can't operate like that. 

Steve: If you try to layer this over a company that's closed or hierarchical, it won't work. "the line" isn't always in the same place - even companies can change their minds on the basis of new informations. 

Tools for internal communications hub? Olivier recommends Yammer [we use that successfully]

Interesting side debate about the problems of government - and, in particular, the clash between internet time (seven times faster) and government time (seven times slower)...

#likeminds - Integrating People-to-People

The keynote/panel rotation carries on ruthlessly, switching to Olivier Blanchard's keynote. 

Problem: lack of integration with the rest of the organisation. Lots of people have jumped on it as the "next big thing". The thought process should be "what are we trying to achieve? Your presence online is pointless, unless you do something with it."

How can social media augment what is already being done? You don't plug into social media, social media plugs into your business [Hmm. Not sure I agree with that.]

[Getting a feeling of 'don't scare the horses' about this presentation - make social media feel safe and traditional, somehow.]

Olivier is postulating an escalating process of social media integration, spreading from specialists, through marketing, into operations and up into management. Buzzwords of "engagement" and "conversation" become "online reputation management", "real-time customer support" etc. [I wonder how many organisations have actually made this transition?]

Three step process:

  1. Strategy & development
  2. Operational development
  3. Management & execution
Don't try to block employees from using social media - it doesn't work, they'll just work around it ot go work elsewhere. Give guidelines and training.

The head of social communications is more of a mentor and enabler. To make this work, you need an internal collaboration hub. Lots of people are monitoring - they need to be able to inform each other when there was a problem. 

Imagine if Eurostar had enables social media to let customers know what was going on when they were trapped in the tunnel?

That's how you should develop from one guy doing "social media" into being a social media business.
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#likeminds - What are the tactics, tools and methods for engagement today?

Panel discussion on engagement, lead by Lloyd Davis.

Illico and Madlen
Madlen: Kodak Zi8 - feedback helped shape the product, but also suggested the name was rubbish. They started a programme to gather feedback on that, with many name suggestions. One was "pocket rocket"... New version: PlaySport. All are going to be Play<something>. Probably won't do it again, she admitted, after questioning by Illico - suggests that they've learnt the lesson about number names.

Lloyd Davis: "So this is a shower you can play with in the shower...?" Use your own imagination there folks.

Illico: What we wanted to do was allow people to access our content and have conversations about it. We wanted to give "normal" people access to "big" people through us. Social tools allowed people outside the room to have access to the room. 

Lloyd: How have the panel engaged with social media?

Illico: David Cameron continued to use our hashtag - I asked a question (but it didn't get answered). Need to do more moderation - if people ask similar questions, rise those up the stakes.

Joanne Jacobs: Currently doing a campaign for a very large brand who want to tell the truth. Social media is full of mis- and dis-information. They're trying to get the scientists to speak. Scientist suck (she's related to them. As mentioned earlier I'm married to one, so I disagree with this remark :) ). They don't communicate well.

Q&A is in danger of turning into buzzword bingo: "add value" "contribute" "open source".

Good question about the Christmas number one. 

Joanne: It was a novelty. Wether it will continue ever year is a question. It was a grass-roots response to a predictable situation. People wanted to play.

Andrew Davies: It was social media trumping traditional media.

Joanne: No, that was Trafigura. It was the only situation where social media acted alone.[Disagree somewhat, because old media were then able to report on social media's activity]

#likeminds - Emergent Media for person-to-person communication

Joanne Jacobs is up and talking.

Joanne Jacobs

These are emergent media. There is a perception out there that social media has produced personal to personal business. It could be the other way around - because we're naturally social, we had to produce this system.

We are now at a point where you can explore where these tools can help you in your business.

"The vast majority of the market don't have an iPhone and aren't going to get one"

The ability to have conversations based on location, based on context is interesting.

Symbian - already capable of geotagging. Technology is here.If you have a service you can offer to people, you can use existing technologies. 

Augmented reality - retail - good way of informing customers about alternatives on the shelf.

We are developing society which is more visually-orientated. People over 30 are more text-oriented. Under 30 are more visual. This is where games are an opportunity. 

We're spending 68 hours per month online. Time is precious -  we need to be doing things that are interesting, engaging and effective. Right info, right place and right time - we need filtering systems. 

Most techs are at innovator stage - but gap between that and mainstream adoption is five years. Invest now

Everyone in the world is a publisher and player. What becomes scarce? Editors and referees. Create businesses around better filters. That creates better person to person communication. 

#likeminds - B2B lunch time discussion

Sent from my iPhone

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#likeminds - What Are the Key Components for Social Strategies?

Q&A time, moderated by AJ Pape, with Maz NadjmCharlie Osmond and Gemma Went

Mazi at Like Minds 2010
The privacy issues is a big one. Bell suggested that if you use Facebook, your privacy is essentially dead. An earlier questioner pointed out that he doesn't add business contacts on Facebook, because he keeps getting tagged in naked Facebook photos/videos thanks to his rugby club shenanigans... And, indeed, the reduction in privacy social media brings means that "false faces" - non-transparent ways of dealing with people on social media, are easily exploded. Brand image management is much harder...

But, as Mazi points out, even if you have a personal profile if you are associated with your employer's brand, you still need to be careful. 

And the issue of control comes up. How do you stop your scientists chatting on social media and blowing your R&D secrets? The answer seems to be "long social media guidelines", but I have to say, my experience of scientists (I'm married to one) is that they really aren't keen to share things on social media...

And, as the panel draws to a close, the point is made that we're in an area where new forms are always emerging. You may move from having a social media "face" to multiple "faces". Strategy needs to evolve as the tools, media of expression and numbers of touch points expand.

#likeminds - Beware Social Media Tokenism

John BellAfter a public information film for the charity sector, we're on to John Bell of Ogilvy.

And... he opens well. "How do we go from social media being a token effort for a brand."

The CMO's dilemma: after a year of experimenting with social media, they really thought they'd cracked the social media code: Facebook apps, blogger outreach. But with no real way to measure, it seemed like a whole load of work for very little tangible return. He longed for mass media... They'd just ported traditional marketing over to social media.

  • 90% of Facebook interaction happens on the Wall - so is an application the right way to go? <--good question, too infrequently asked.
  • Are your people sharing their best practices internally? Do you have a forum for sharing this? 
  • Leadership tends to go to the highest budget - this can be a problem. 
  • Paid media is not the antithesis of social media - it is not the antichrist. It can be a quick way to boost awareness.

In essence, he's arguing that a successful strategy is not just a series of disconnected initiatives that chase after the latest social media "hot thing", it's about a co-oridnated and managed series of activities that lead to a brand community forming (and that doesn't mean building a "community" on your site - but building a real community across active social media sites). 

Some key questions:

  • If you met your brand at a party, how would you describe it?
  • How would it speak?
  • If it could invite its customers over, what would they do together?
Great talk. Hope that the slides go up afterwards.

#likeminds - How Are We Changing The Way We Communicate

The early session has been very much a beginner's guide to social media.

Anyone who thinks that curation is the "next big thing" in social media, as I saw one person say on Twitter, has obviously missed the last 10 years of blogging, for example. 

IMG_2920 - Version 2.jpg
In fact, many of the key messages are "here are the big mistakes" - just pushing the marketing message, not being authentic - and a few inspirational messages - "social media" saves lives!" - without much depth. It's baby steps stuff, the basic concepts you need to operate in this space.  This is an opening session, true enough, but it feels like an opening session targeted at those who are only just dipping their toes into this stuff. 

Some good insights that the more "social media forward" people sometimes missed are buried in there - that the civil service will never really make use of social media until they get proper internet access. And that (in my experience) can apply just as much to businesses which lock down anything that looks in any way "social" as being inherently non-business. As if business isn't extremely social...

UPDATED: It should be noted that others found more value in these opening sessions than I did.

At #likeminds 2010

Conference time...

I'm lurking at the back of Like Minds in Exeter, being a little bored right now. Getting a horrible feeling I may not be the target audience for this conference. We'll see how it goes.

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February 25, 2010

Morning Coffee Reading - 25th Feb 2010

Hipsta CoffeeThis morning's "social media will eat you" links:

February 19, 2010

Friday Afternoon Coffee Reading

Paul CoffeeSome interesting posts to while away the last few hours before the weekend:

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February 18, 2010

A Day In Photos

Elevenses in Progress

February 17, 2010

The Obligatory iPad for Publishers Post

OK, folks, I've held out long enough. Here it is: the obligatory iPad post. Enjoy it while you can, because I'm going to shut up about the damn things from now until I have one in my hands.  

The Apple iPad
Let's get one thing clear up front: the iPad will not save the publishing industry in its current form. Nothing will save the media business in its current form. We're in an "evolve or die" stage, and if you haven't got your head around that idea yet, there's a bunch of far-right pseudo-Christians who will probably welcome you as a member...

However, I believe tablet-like devices have the potential to be part of an evolution that preserves professional journalism, and that missing that could help doom us for good.

But let's face it. We don't have a good record here. We, as an industry, botched the transition online. We treated the internet as, at best, the poor cousin of the print title, to be filled with the left-overs from the established product and, at worst, a mere marketing device. Then, when the invention of the single most efficient information distribution mechanism mankind has yet come up with transformed our industry and its economics, we descended into panic. The attack of the snails, as Kevin Anderson characterised it at The Frontline Club the other week, managed to take us by surprise.

The iPad, and devices like it, offers us at least some opportunity to redeem ourselves. It offers a form factor that more directly equates to the traditional magazine reading experience, and holds the promise of allowing digital consumption of media in venues and occasions that laptops and desktops can't really manage (Two days before the iPad launch, I was catching up on my feeds while horizontal on the sofa, and muttering to myself about a laptop's basic unsuitability for that task). The strength of apps on the iPhone platform offers us another way to reach readers with an experience we have some control over (and the iBooks route is likely to prove unfulfilling for a number of reasons). 

Here's what we should do: Look at this form factor, its user interface and its potential uses within our target markets. Figure out what we can usefully provide to our audiences through this device, which elements we can charge for, which we can't, and what other revenues streams we could create, and build something from the ground-up that is tailor-made for this device. Create something new, under our existing brands, for our existing markets, that feels natural and inherent to the device. Profit. 

Here's what will probably happen: companies will seize on the magazine-like form factor and the "book replication" iBooks interface to build what are, in effect, straight replications of print titles on the platform, with the sort of "interactive" extra elements that made CD-ROMs such a compelling experience back in the 90s (please note: that was sarcasm). Readers will try them out, find the experience unfulfilling, and return to just using the web via the browser on the device. As HTML5 takes off, the web experience will accelerate away from the print one, leaving all but the most innovative, up-market print titles on the steady spiral into oblivion. 

Of course, there's a big "if" in this - and that "if" is iPad-like devices taking off and becoming a significant enough sector of the market to matter. However, this device looks, to me, to be the sort of computer that's far more suited to the mass market - the maket that consumes more than it creates - than even a laptop. And if it hits that demographic - and Apple's pricing looks very aggressive, for them - it will become an important platform for any publisher. Care to place a wager against that? 
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Morning Coffee Reading - 17th Feb 2010

Breakfast Club coffeeOnce more unto the feed reader, dear friends:

February 16, 2010

Morning Coffee Reading - Lingering Tabs Edition

Stuff I've had in tabs for ages:

10 Lessons in Online Video for Journalists

Possibly not entirely serious...

February 15, 2010

Wisdom for Web Journos (in one panel)

A useful lesson in web graphics formats...

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Innovation in Blog Platforms

Occasionally in recent months, I've bemoaned the lack of innovation in blog platforms. However, I'm not being very precise in my use of language there. What I actually mean is the lack of innovation in self-hosted blog platforms - ones you actually upload to your own servers. In the world of hosted blog platforms there's a whole world of interesting stuff going on. TumblrPosterousTypepad Micro and Squarespace are all creating new paradigms for the blog platform, one that I want to explore more in the coming months. For example, I've spent part of this morning setting up a group blog on Posterous for a work-related event coming up soon.

And I've decided to connect OM&HB to Posterous as a side-project to see how it goes. 

This post was written in my e-mail client and posted directly to Posterous, from where it should find its way to my blog. Fingers crossed...

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February 11, 2010

The Olympics Site From Above

Laura McBride from Estates Gazette has just been on a helicopter flight over the Olympics site. This set of photos is the result:

via Paul Norman's Olympics Blog

February 10, 2010

Getting the Buzz

Like the rest of the world, I've just had Google Buzz activated in my Gmail account.

You can follow me, if you're so inclined... Interesting having a Facebook-like service integrated straight into my Gmail. 

Journalism/Community Job Going on Farmers Weekly

Farmers Weekly and cableI've often blogged about Farmers Weekly and the great work they've done in creating a cross-platform brand. They've got a great forum, successful blogs, and a strong print product still.

And there's now an opportunity to join them.

We're recruiting for a Deputy Community and Farm Life Editor, a role that involves mixing community and journalism skills across both the web and the magazine itself. It's a great job working with a great team, which is why I'm taking the time out to plug it in my blog. 

Looking for a job, or a more social media-orientated challenge? Have a tolerance for livestock, fields and late nights at Young Farmers' parties? Check it out. :-)
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February 9, 2010

Everything You Need To Know About Comments

February 4, 2010

When is a Blogger not a Blogger?

Isn't it interesting how the broadening of the communication channel causes gatekeepers of all stripes (in this case, the Tory press office) to tie themselves into knots trying to define who is "media" and who isn't? 

Incidentally, I think they'll live to regret that attitude on display here should the Tories win the election. 

(UPDATE: the linked post appears to have been pulled by Tory Politico in the last 45 minutes. It's still viewable in Google's cache)

UPDATE 2: Perhaps he has more on his mind that a 6-month old post about daft PR decisions, given that he's fighting a cease-and-desist from the Capital News Company. The Register has covered the story

UPDATE 3: And it's back... 


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