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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

    @SouthwestAir responds to questions to La Guardia

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    I’ve posted about corporate use of Twitter before. I like the way it can build a brand’s position and personality.

    I really liked this use of a response to a question from Jaunted by the Twitter face of @SouthwestAir (Christi) – and of course, she tweeted about it. Now, that’s a great way to use your Twitter account. They get it.

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    Written by SteveEllwood

    January 29, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Posted in Social Media, Twitter, Web 2.0

    Tagged with

    Flock O’ Tweets – sorts tweeters into flocks

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    Flock O'Tweets

    Every now and then you find a little mashup that makes you go “Now that’s a good idea!”.

    Flock O’Tweets is one.
    Put a group of those you follow in, separated by commas: out pops a nice little RSS feed for you to consume at your leisure.

    Give it a try.

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    Written by SteveEllwood

    January 28, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Posted in Twitter, Web 2.0

    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

    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?

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    Written by SteveEllwood

    September 16, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Posted in blogging, Twitter

    How personal is your blog?

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    How do you blog?

    In my blogging, I tend to post about things that interest me from a work perspective, or changes in social networking. I tend to mention domestic matters in passing to set context, or to explain what’s stimulated me to write.

    How do you tweet?

    I’m a huge fan of Twitter, the widely used micro-blogging tool. You can usually see my latest posts in the right hand side of my blog. I usually answer the question “What are you doing?”. Sometimes it’s about things at work; quite often what I’m doing at home – maybe a concert I’m going to, or what I’m cooking.

    Why do you blog?

    I blog partly to clarify my understanding of things, partly to record what I’m learning, and partly to learn more – usually from the comments people leave, but also as I am driven to learn more to talk about…

    Why do you tweet?

    This is a little more complicated. I am a homeworker, and my office surroundings are 4 walls and my email/IM/phone clients. So, no “water-cooler” chats. An internal newsgroup can provide company scuttlebutt, though this is often rather parochial. Twitter gives me a window into the lives of others; not just their working life, but often what they choose to share about themselves.

    I feel this gives a more rounded view of them as people, so in the spirit of reciprocity I tweet about my doings.

    I don’t feel this is a case of being good to Momma, but I can’t resist the opportunity to link Queen Latifah…

    So, I tweet for connectedness.

    How does your family feel about this?

    Now we come to the nub of the post. I’m interested in your views about this, following some discussions I’ve had within my own family.

    “It feels like we’re living in a goldfish bowl” said one.

    I’ve said that my twitter feeds are read by probably no more than 150 people maximum, most of whom may share similar types of things; my blogging tends to be non-domestic; and my Facebook is pretty restricted, too.

    My mother has a very closed down Facebook – family only; my wife has no online presence to speak of. Neither of them see why I’d want to share anything publicly; I’ve talked about building trust, developing an authentic voice and so on, but they remain unconvinced.

    Obviously, family comes first, and so I will twitter less about anything domestic, but I’d welcome suggestions as to how I can best portray why “What are you doing?”  might be of interest to others – and harmless to your family.

    Written by SteveEllwood

    July 7, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Posted in blogging, Twitter, Web 2.0

    Managing the stream of data

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    threads on a loom

    How do you read all that stuff?

    I’m often asked by friends, family and colleagues how I keep track of all the different sorts of things I’m interested in online.

    In the past, good bookmarks, aided by social bookmarking like del.icio.us or ma.gnolia were useful to find places… but how to get through all of the content.

    Drinking from the firehose

    There’s so much good content on the internet that trying to consume all of it is impossible. You can take a sip or two as the river passes by, but how do you get the good bits? There are all sorts of ways to identify them – which will be meat for *another* post – but the key issue is how to get them in front of you.

    The best way I have found is using RSS – an initialism which stands for a range of thing – let’s go with Really Simple Syndication.

    At its simplest, it’s a way of a site pushing its latest content out in a format that can be captured by an RSS Reader; there are loads of them about.

    Lee LeFever has a wonderful explanation of RSS shown here…

    What other sort of feeds are there?

    I use RSS to track the results of searches – I use summize.com to search twitter – where I am @steveellwood – and the feed (http://summize.com/search.atom?q=%40steveellwood) will produce any mention of me – so I can see if I’ve missed any replies…

    I use RSS to track news, blogs, and twitter – you can see some of the things that interest me below… in Sharing Your Reading

    RSS Readers

    One client I use at work is FeedReader which lets me pick up information about corporate news and activity within my Professional Community. It’s straightforward to use, and if there are private feeds – that can’t be seen outside your corporate network – it’s ideal.

    Usually though as I move between a variety of PCs – my home desktop, my work laptop, and my lovely eee PC, I prefer an online reader.

    There’s a variety of these, too including NewsGator products, Google Reader and my favourite, NetVibes.

    Sharing your reading…

    These online readers have the additional benefit that you can share what you think other people might be interested in – for example my public NetVibes universe, or my Google Reader shared items.

    Those are my somewhat idiosyncratic choices, but the irrepressible Guy Kawasaki produced the wonderful alltop.com which claims to have “all the top stories covered, all of the time”. You can get updated feeds about just about anything you want there. Sadly, I’m *not* one of the Twitterati – but I do follow some of them!

    There’s even RSSmeme which allows you to search shared RSS feeds…

    Will you sell RSS?

    If you know people that don’t use RSS, do you tell them about it?
    Are you an RSS user – and if you are, what do you read with?

    Picture Credit janettowbin

    Written by SteveEllwood

    May 7, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Posted in blogging, Twitter

    Tagged with

    How to use social media?

    with 3 comments

    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