Is this Future Shock?

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Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

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

Will your social media engagement scale?

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gig audience

Do you listen to your customer?

We do … that’s what we all say. It’s what we all want to do. Sometimes, particularly in a big corporate, it gets to be a bit difficult to hear what they’re all shouting to you.

Sometimes, it might be “Thanks”; sometimes, “Can you do it tomorrow?”; it might even be “I want to complain”. We want to hear all of those. We want our customers to know we’ve heard them.

How do they talk to you

Ideally, how they want to. They can ring you, email you – hey, even write to you.

What if they use Twitter?

@SouthwestAir and @ComcastCares are examples where corporates engage with an audience – they look for who’s tweeting at them, and talk back to them or help them.

@stephenfry is an extreme example of an individual – some 63k people follow him and he follows back about 32k. He can’t hope to see everything that comes through [replies virtually every 5-10 seconds], but he does engage with his audience. [You can find me at @steveellwood, but I only have 203 followers – but I follow 234 people!]

What if they use Facebook

What groups are being set up around or about your brand? Are they positive? Are they YourFirmSucks? How are you going to deal with it? If you don’t, what’s the message you’re giving? Not saying anything, is making a statement – whether you mean it or not.

Should you engage with your customers via social media

If you start to, and more customers pile in, will it scale?
Chris Brogan (surprisingly enough @chrisbrogan) says in Are you Important to me?

No. No, it will not scale. You cannot … maintain a 1:1 relationship with every single person who interacts … I think the same is true of using these tools within an organization. Only, the beauty is this: inside an organization, you can spread the connections out a bit. Not everyone has to talk with Tony Hsieh at Zappos. They might want to, but they will find that there are plenty of other great folks there.

Ditto Comcast. Ditto Dell. Ditto every brand that’s trying to figure out these tools and this space.

It will not scale, but if you want the bottom line return on investment value, you’d best remember to remind people that they’re important to you. And that’s what these tools do best.

What are you doing to engage with your customers in social media? I’d be interested to hear.

Image Credit:svenwerk

Written by SteveEllwood

January 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm

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

How to use social media?

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jigsaw imageHow to deal with multiplicity?
I’m deeply puzzled – not that this is at all unusual.
There are lots of social media tools, and many of them link to each other. Like quite a lot of dabblers, I’ve ended up with a mish-mash of updates appearing in varied places. How best to use the wide variety of social media tools at my disposal? I’m coming to the conclusion I need to list and separate what I use – and how.

What do I use?
I’m trying a fair range of things. A fairly full list is below, sorted more or less in frequency of update.

Do I set my location?
Well, yes. Sort of. When I remember.
Largely I use microformats in twitter, as I indicated in Twitter – what it is, and how I use it.
I’ve also used Plazes.
I’m registered with FireEagle but no-one seems to be using that.

How do I update these?
On the web interfaces, often.
For twitter I’ve used and like both snitter and twhirl
For pownce, I’ve used a similar air client.
I’ve updated via voice on phone using Spinvox and by SMS to twitter. I’ve also used ping.fm both on the web and as a WAP client on my mobile.

Where are they aggregated/streamed?
Often, bits are currently fed one to another – meaning that twitter feeds to jaiku, which feeds to Facebook, which feeds to friendfeed – which is echoed back to Facebook. Which is cluttered, untidy, and very likely the sign of a grasshopper mind.

I currently have some life streaming services I’m playing with at the moment, friendfeed which though I like the interface doesn’t seem to pick up all that’s going on – and onaswarm which gives a nice feel for what’s happening in my area. I’ve also given soup.io a shot but I haven’t made my mind up about that yet.

Which way am I heading?
I think I’m going to bite the bullet and take out all the inter-tool updates, with the probable exception of twitterfeed which lets people know when I’ve blogged.

Then it’ll be twitter for quick “What I’m doing/thinking”; del.icio.us for those important bookmarks; tumblr for future blogging ideas or GTD Someday/Maybe, Facebook for contacts, flickr for photos.
I’ll – eventually – choose an aggregator, probably friendfeed as it seems to be gaining traction…

Maybe, then, people won’t see the same wibble in 4 places from me – and won’t that be an improvement?

What are you doing?
I’d like to find out what others are doing.
Are you more choosy than me?
Am I a grasshopper bouncing from one thing to another?

Please, let me know your solutions.

Partial Inspiration
This is also the first blog post I’ve tried following Chris Brogan’s guidelines to Writing Effective Blog Posts. How was it for you?

Picture Credit place light – on a a project –

Written by SteveEllwood

April 3, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Data Portability – Data Ownership

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having seen Robert Scoble’s latest post on Facebook’s rant about dataportability problems I thought it might be necessary for me to try and hone my understanding a bit.

I have data on A Social Network (ASN); this might include my name, email address, and a photo of me.

I also show other data on there; the identities of some of my friends, possibly including their contact details. A few RSS streams, some photos of some buddies when we went climbing…

ASN also shows some data about me; my subscriber status, my feedback rate and so on.

Which is mine? Well, my address and email; my assertion about my friends.

Which is my friends? Their email addresses; their photographs possibly .

What belongs to ASN? At a guess, my subscriber status, and possibly the feedback rating that members of the site have co-operated to give me with ASN’s system.

What can I take with me? This is where it gets tricky…

I can/should be able to take my name/identity/email address.

What about my friend’s email address? They might not want me to take it to another site.

What if I can identify them another way? How about their ID? My current OpenID is this blog… If someone wants to assert they are a friend of https://shaidorsai.wordpress.com should that bother me? I freely make my blog available; if I can link to you(your OpenID) – I’m not linking to anything you don’t want used.

Just like with content, if I pass it off as mine, that’s wrong. Linking to things is what holds the internet together – so, I can link to the information that you do make publicly available. That may, or may not, include your email address.

What about those photos my friends took? Well, to be honest, it depends what they want to do with them. Howsabout if I say that I can point a link to them, if publicly available? If the link is on a commercial website, and they don’t want their pictures used there, they can either tell a linker to take them down on a case-by-case basis (unless we believe that most people will ask for permission) – or licence them with Creative Commons.

How will that work with my FOAF? I don’t know – yet – but am starting to play with this.

Would you object to me asserting a relationship to your OpenID? If you did, what do you think I should do, or you could do? Unless you explicitly assert the relationship back, how believable is my claim?

Should a FOAF be CreativeCommons Licenced?

Should I be able to take the ASN data? It depends, is the traditional answer; if they built it, they paid for it, they use it… perhaps I should pay if I want to take it – or maybe I can just point to it, while I reatain a relationship with ASN

Written by SteveEllwood

March 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Ownership of Social Networks? or the data we give them?

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Following a couple of interesting tweets on Twitter, I started following Brian Kelly and, as usual had a look to see if his blog was interesting. It is, and I’ve joined in with his Pownce experimenting – you can find me here.

One of his latest posts touched on ownership of social networks asking:

  • Who should own the social networks?
  • Should ownership of social networks be any different from other software services we use in our institutions (including VLEs such as Blackboard, Web 2.0 services such as Flickr or blogging services such as Edublogs Campus)
  • How should a transition to a change of ownership take place?
  • How realistic is the transition strategy?
  • How do you know what this is what the users actually want?
  • How will social networking services be funded under alternative ownership resources? And if the answer is increased taxes, how will you get that past the Daily Mail readership which seem to be influential in informing policy discussions for both the Labour and Conservative parties?

This followed concerns being raised by Frances Bell and Josie Fraser about the ownership of the social networks – particularly Facebook.

As an employee of a *huge* telecom/ICT firm, the idea of any state ownership of social networks seems faintly odd. If we trust private firms to provide the infrastructure that these social networks run over – because, of course, we can always switch to another supplier – why *wouldn’t* you trust private firms to run the social networks?

The social networks – be they Facebook, Orkut, bebo, MySpace or something from ning – are the pipes that we deploy our social graphs across. Pete Johnson gives a good explanation of graph vs. network.

Now, if I can take my graph off that network… [hey, isn’t that beginnning to look like Data Portability – and aren’t Facebook saying they’lll play?] … can I use it somewhere else? Which bits of the data are mine is a different issue.

Well, not yet. But maybe soon. And when that happens, won’t these concerns about who runs the “pipes” be less significant?
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Written by SteveEllwood

January 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Wikis, social networking and Facebook

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Wikis 
I’ve written before about wikis and the intranet, and how I saw advantages in their use.

My colleague Sandy – who has the patience of a saint – sighs, and explains that scalability and control are a bit more of an issue when you have 100k users rather than 30.

I counter with Knowledge Management working better when you have involved Communities of Practice, pointing out that wikis are ideal for those and we go round again.

I was interested to see Abigail Lewis-Bowen’s view at the Intranet Benchmarking Forum which suggests that

“it’s important to provide Wikis and Blogs only after processes for publishing “formal” information channels to the Intranet are well established.  If the right people are publishing to the right place on the Intranet, and there is good editorial workflow and governance, then the Intranet is sturdy enough to add an open, less-structured layer of content.”

Basically, if your intranet functions OK, go for it; require authenticated log-in, provide good how-tos and link the formal stuff to the “under-Web” [lovely coining by Paul Miller in his Trends for 2008]

Social Networking

Still lots of interest at work in:

  •  what this is (yes, I know you know, dear reader, but I’m still working it out; so have patience).
  • what can we get from this – and an interesting term I hadn’t heard before – Social Capital. I mean, I now know it’s been around for years, with the first cite being around 110 *years* ago.
  • how we can facilitate it – what tools, what processes?

I think it’s partly culture, partly tools,  and partly process.

As part of my Personal Development Plan(PDP), I’d decided this was a key area to understand and try and utilise. My company’s culture encourages us to drive robust PDPs. I’d found a range of tools – each new one pointed to by posting on previous tool, and learned from them. The process is the bit that is currently blocking wider acceptance of this; how do you measure the value. As long as nobody starts talking about a business model  I’ll be happy.

Facebook

I’ve had Facebook for a while, but following the irritation I – and a number of other friends – had been feeling with Vampires, “funny” videos, LOLcatz I removed FunWall and SuperWall. I update my status via Twitter  – and so do many others, and am currently using Twitter more – but I still use Facebook.

It’s still a nice application for seeing what your friends/colleagues are doing and provides a way of managing the various contacts – true, I want to be able to escape from the walled garden – but that looks like it’s coming.

I’ve been able to build

  • online relationships with the people I’ve “friended”
  • knowledge of Web2.0
  • understanding of some of the tools
  • links with people I’d never have heard of…

 JP Rangaswami says

“The information that flows through a social network exists in three dimensions. One dimension is time, past, present and future. A second dimension is number, one to many. A third is movement, static to dynamic. When I share my contact details with another person, I am providing static, present, one-to-one information.  When I share what I am intending to do with a whole community, I am providing dynamic, future, one-to-many information.

The motivation to provide information is, at least in part, driven by an expected value of the information coming out of Facebook. And one other thing: the comfort level of providing, to a community, what is essentially private information.

Generation M and their successors are comfortable with sharing their past actions, current state and their future intentions with the community they belong to; they’re comfortable with sharing changes to states and intentions as well. They do this because they believe new value will emerge from that sharing. Collaborative, communal value, shared value.”

I think that’s fair – and I look forward to how we’re going to use “Facebook for the Enterprise” to leverage the social capital we’re looking for.

Written by SteveEllwood

January 18, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Facebook, JP, Twitter, Web 2.0, wiki