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Month: February 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?

Weekend Coffee Reading

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

#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 search.twitter.com. 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.