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Written by SteveEllwood

May 17, 2009 at 10:12 am

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office – social media experts?

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I’ve just remotely attended a really interesting presentation in London [OK, I attended remotely], by Media Snackers who talked about engaging with the young, through social media and so on.

Couple of things:

The world’s changed, and it’s not turning back

used to be their strapline – but they’re now emphasising

cheaper, quicker, sexier

as what the social media stuff can do. Look at their site to see what they are about.
A couple of the points they raised struck me – the takeup of social media amongst the young is astonishing; they highlighted a Forrester report which segment the social media area into

  • Creators
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

and this is segmented by age – with the creatives and critics highly represented in 16-24, with spectators and inactives being preponderantly 50+ (like me!)

perhaps nothing too new for some of us – although there are scary figures about the change in media consumption, but something he said struck a chord. More or less:

… a lot of people seem to be getting into the space; I mean, look at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office – they’re a lot of suits, but they’re on Flickr, on YouTube, on Twitter, they blog… where are you? I mean, c’mon guys…

I thought, that can’t be right, can it?
Hmm…
So, I had a brief look, and found a Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and blog platform presence for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. It may not be exciting, but it looks like they do have a coherent social media strategy.

What are you doing?

If someone looks for you on Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter – what will they find? If they search for a blog presence or social media involvement – what will they see?

If you’re not taking part in the conversation… it will go right on. Without you.

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Written by SteveEllwood

February 5, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Social Media & Knowledge Management

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scratching head

Social Media in the Enterprise

I wondered about the impact social media tools were making in knowledge management for the enterprise. We have got some very rapid growth in the takeup of the tools in my company; we have loads of wikis, internal blogs – growing use of Twitter.

I wondered about the difference between *Information* Management & *Knowledge* management.

Thanks to a tweet from @elsua I found my way to an excellent presentation given by John Bordeaux (@JBordeaux, since you ask).

As with many of these things, what you can take away from it depends to some extent on your organisational culture. I found it very interesting, particularly the view on

Basic information sharing infrastucture – just do it!

    Enterprise search
    Democratic web publishing
    Social media! Everything 2.0
  • Image Credit: I am K.E.B.

  • Written by SteveEllwood

    February 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Websites, blogs and content management

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    Cromarty CG

    Please, can we have a website?

    How many of us get questions like that?

    I did, and the Cromarty Coastguard website was the result.

    So, the answer was “Yes”.

    Recently, my local Coastguard Team decided they wanted to get a quick team website off the ground. Most of the team are happy with the internet for searching for technical information, they all use email, but they’re not really content providers of any sort.

    They seemed astonished when I said that they could have a website, with their own domain name within a day or so. They were then a bit surprised by the number of questions

    What’s your website for…

    Usually the first thing you should decide.
    Are you:

    • providing a service
    • sharing information
    • building your brand with it
    • selling something
    • or just learning HTML/CSS

    We wanted an information site, which would highlight the work we do for potential new members, and provide some easy reference material.

    Who’s going to manage this?

    The idea was, “Oh, the team’ll do it”. I’ve heard this before, so wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to provide content. I’ve offered to help admin things, but I expect the Station Officer will take a lead.

    What’s it going to run on?

    It’s a tiny wee website; I’m not expecting huge traffic. I expect regular changes as we respond to incidents and do training exercises. I thought I’d better get a content management system(CMS) . I’d heard about Joomla and Drupal… but I’d also read about using WordPress as a CMS. I blog with it, so am familiar with it. I’d been thinking about moving a couple of other hobby sites onto WordPress, so this was an ideal opportunity.

    So, our website runs on WordPress.com, with its own domain name. I’ll watch the stats with interest, and see how many members author content for it – and look for any links for other coastguard sites.

    From request to up took 2 days; much of which was finding content and getting the domain name up on WordPress.com. I’d certainly use WordPress again for a hobby/small site.

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    Written by SteveEllwood

    November 25, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Even Demos says allow Facebook at work

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    Facebook, Inc.

    Image via Wikipedia

    In an article on use of social networking sites reported on the BBC, a Demos report states that firms should allow the use of these sites at work.

    “Banning Facebook and the like goes against the grain of how people want to interact. Often people are friends with colleagues through these networks and it is how some develop their relationships.”

    When even the BBC and Demos are picking up issues @jobsworth was blogging about last year in Facebook and enfranchisement you figure this must be going mainstream.

    Now, as long as companies can hold their nerve and not retreat into the comfort zones of “retrench/forbid/ban” – and revert to centralised command & control, maybe some of the innovation at the edges, and the contacts people build will help us get through the recession; if not, at least it will give their people some more human contact and stability in difficult times.

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    Written by SteveEllwood

    October 29, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Is Yammer really a Twitter in the Enterprise?

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    scales

    I don’t think it is.

    Having seen a posting from @pistachio about Yammer, I wittered on our internal blogging sytem about this – and was astonished and delighted to get a ping from @richarddennison saying there was a BT group on yammer.

    I joined it. Nice sign up, requires a corporate address, a confirmatory email is sent to the address. There’s a nice web interface, and a cute little AIR desktop client.

    There’s a familiar ability to follow people, see “All” – basically a corporate public timeline, and  an in-built tagging and search facility.

    I really quite like it.

    But – and there’s always going to be a but – their monetisation model seems to be that you can have a network free; it’ll cost you $1 per person, per month if you want to admin it.

    That includes removing people, setting session details, branding. Note, some later experimentation confirms that any member of the network can block another by going to the admin section and saying the user is no longer part of the network. This forces a reconfirmation of the email address; if the blocked individual no longer  has an email address then they won’t get back in. That addressed one of my larger concerns.

    I don’t anticipate a huge signup from within BT. Say 100k employees, 2% signed up… that would require $24k a year; and a huge control overhead, given that there’s free signup. As we have people retire, leave for other contracts they’d all need to be excluded.

    We have some internal tools, that link to our HR system (so low admin costs for us) which might be easier, though the interface isn’t as fancy.

    I’d add that I miss the “broad church” of Twitter. I wish it luck, but I don’t see it taking over my microblogging.  It may, perhaps, give people new to blogging/microblogging a quasi-safe environment to try in. I think if it gets taken up for that we’ll need to remind folk that it isn’t really a controlled environment.

    Of course, the easy sign up process means that anyone with a domain could use it. I could set up an Ellwood Family group.  But why wouldn’t I use Twitter instead, where I can choose to follow my family – and whoever else I’m interested in?

    Image Credit: action datsun
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    Written by SteveEllwood

    September 16, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Posted in blogging, Twitter

    Personal branding and blogging

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    Sherlock Holmes

    … or what happened to ShaiDorsai?

    Following a personal branding/social media engagement post on Richard’s blog, I thought “Yes, fair, I ought to make it plainer who I am, and take more open ownership of my opinions”.

    Another guy whose blog I read (actually, I take an RSS feed but that’s another matter), and whose posts I admire is Chris Brogan. He’s written a whole series of post, including Elements of a Personal Brand:

    Build a Destination

    This comes first in giving people a way to reach you, to see you, to know what you’re about. In this case, I mean giving people a website (preferably a blog), a phone number, an email account, a twitter account, a LinkedIN profile, and a Facebook profile. At minimum.

    Now, I had the last 3 in my name, so it seemed churlish not to provide a recognisable blog and email address…

    Get your blog a domain name

    Now, I started *this blog* on WordPress.com, as it was easy – but the wordpress.com suffix takes away from my identity…

    I use 1and1.co.uk, amongst others, for domain names and I ordered steveellwood.com from there. It’s about £11 a year. Initially, I just had a frame forward to my blog, but then decided I’d rather do it *properly*. I followed the instructions at the WordPress FAQ – after a moment’s hesitation, as you can’t pay for the domain upgrade until you have pointed your domain at the WordPress nameservers. That came at a cost of $10 a year.

    Sort out your email

    In line with WordPress’s suggestion, I used Google Apps for Your Domain to sort this out, again there are easy Google Mail configuration instructions. [It’s probably easier if you don’t already use GoogleApps – but if you do, you can find your configuration code at https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/YourDomainName/VerifyOwnership%5D

    So, I can now be contacted at my domain, too. Currently I forward mail to another account, but can always find it through Google Apps email.

    Why not self-host?

    I have another blog (at http://shaidorsai.co.uk) which I self hosted, so I could learn about WordPress, and I may even do that at sometime.

    Until then, it’s easy to use WordPress.com, and since *I* own the domain this blog now sits under I could easily point it to a self-host if I want – and WordPress.com makes it easy to export your blog to ease the transition…

    Image Credit: gregwake

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    Written by SteveEllwood

    August 26, 2008 at 6:56 pm