The|Intangibles » Social Media http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/boydneil Selected posts from Boyd Neil's blog at http://www.boydneil.com Tue, 23 Nov 2010 20:22:30 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Canadians Like Their Social Networks http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/11/19/canadians-like-their-social-networks.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/11/19/canadians-like-their-social-networks.html#comments Fri, 19 Nov 2010 22:03:05 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:9521357

I’ve just been looking at research firm Ipsos Reid’s 2010 Canadian Internet Fact Guide, which I think was released this summer but is based on 2009 data.

It’s a useful snapshot of Canadians’ internet behaviours, but a couple of facts jumped out at me (besides the fact that 84% of Canadians aged 18 to 34 have an online social network profile).

    • 86% of Canadians with online social networking profiles are aware of Twitter, although only 10% have a Twitter profile and 5% actively use it.” Of those, 90% have their profile on Facebook.

    Frankly, I don’t believe this. While I accept Twitter tends to be used by an older demographic with younger people favouring BBM and texting in general, I wonder whether this has changed over the past year. Maybe its purely anecdotal, but I think business usage of Twitter has increased significantly over the past year, which should influence this number.

        • “56% of Canadians with online social networking profiles visit social networking sites at least weekly; 31% visit daily.”

        This I think is true . . . In a presentation at Meshmarketing in Toronto, Janice Diner of Horizon Studios says there are 16 million Canadians on Facebook who spend an average of 411 minutes per month on it (noting as well that about 38% are more than 35 years old).

          • 17% of  smartphone owners who also have an online social networking profile have downloaded a Facebook application to their phone; 4% have downloaded a Twitter application.”

          I would have thought this would be a lot higher, although again it may be that a year makes a huge difference in people’s usage of social technologies. Diner’s presentation, for example, says that 200 million globally engage with Facebook on their mobile devices and they are twice as active users as others.

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            Another Study on Social Media Usage by Business http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/11/8/another-study-on-social-media-usage-by-business.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/11/8/another-study-on-social-media-usage-by-business.html#comments Mon, 08 Nov 2010 19:17:45 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:9410873

            Valeria Maltoni at Conversation Agent reports on another study from SmartBrief on the use being made by business of social media. I haven’t had a chance to look at the study itself, but Ms Maltoni does a quick-and-dirty summary of the study’s eight key themes.

            One of her conclusions surprises me:

            Despite their early presence in social media, communications and PR firms are not the chosen source of advice or consultation on social media for companies. Instead, the majority of companies are using internal resources for developing and implementing their social-media strategies.

            It may explain, though, why according to Ms Maltoni’s review of the the study most companies are focusing on what she labels “generic topics and mainstream tools” specifically Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and blogs.

            Which in turn raises the question whether the topics and tools are being chosen by internal teams as the outcome of a strategic assessment of the social web in the context of business objectives, or random experimentation driven by an executive itch for results that needs scratching.

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            Forget Foursquare? Not yet. http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/6/24/forget-foursquare-not-yet.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/6/24/forget-foursquare-not-yet.html#comments Mon, 05 Jul 2010 17:53:51 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:7300792

            Time magazine not too long ago rated Foursquare as among The 50 Worst Inventions (along with Crocs, DDT and subprime mortgages). When I talk to friends about the social web tools I use regularly, Foursquare is the one that comes in for the most derision (although the same happened two years ago when I started to use Twitter).

            I’ve given it a few months. I have a variety of badges and am now mayor of the Starbucks in the Longo’s Food Market, of my favorite Toronto restaurant Pangaea, a Chapters bookstore,  my whole office building in Toronto, and my home office. I just started following Mashable on foursquare. And it is fun knowing what connections or business associates are up to you.

            But so far the “rewards” have been non-existent, although according to Mashable we will be able to start wearing Foursquare gear and apparently Foursquare will be coming out with badge rewards. There is the guilty and somewhat narcissistic pleasure of being ‘mayor’ of somewhere. But no specials have been offered. No frequent-visitor “miles” from Starbucks. Only two friends have used the tips feature (thanks Ed Lee and Collin Douma). And I have annoyed many with frequent updates of my location by connecting Foursquare to Twitter and Facebook, a function I’ve now disabled.

            Still, being a contrarian I think I’ll mount a defence, although I’m sure these ideas have been mentioned by others.

            There are obvious reasons for retailers and tourism groups and associations to take a close look at geo-tagging services like Foursquare. Site-specific communications for cities and historic/art sites are also a possibility. I think I read somewhere that the Philadelphia tourism bureau has made an arrangement with Foursquare to ‘tag’ historic sites with background  information. When you check-in at a historic monument or attraction, the ‘tip’ accompanying the tag a short burst of background or a recommendation for another site close by.

            Foursquare is also uniquely suited to small, local businesses who serve a broad but regular clientele. Knowing that specific and identifiable customers frequent your restaurant, coffee shop, or clothing store means you can potentially reward their loyalty or recommend other products or services. I could see how companies with large sales staff could use Foursquare as a means of staff checking in.

            People give a lot individual reasons for using Fousquare . . . arranging meetups at conferences, picking out local pubs, gathering nearby ‘friends’ for an impromptu party. Rae Hoffman at Outspoken Media used Foursquare ‘tips’ to avoid long line-ups at the airport in Orland Florida.

            But what about for managing a company or organization’s reputation or dealing with an issue? I’m hard-pressed to think of anything more applicable than these two ideas:

            1. Build some identity capital simply by ensuring your company name appears in the list of ‘places’ when someone checks in in your vicinity, and add a tip the points out your vision and values.
            2. Provide contact information for a community manager in your company so that Foursquare users nearby recognize that you value connection

            I dont’ know where Foursquare is at with respect to building out any of these evident strengths. But we Foursquare users are a patient bunch of folks. While standing by for more substantive applications, I am happy just to wait it out and build my geo-power base.

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            ‘Managing’ Negative Perception http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/27/managing-negative-perception.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/27/managing-negative-perception.html#comments Wed, 27 Jan 2010 23:53:03 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:6447675 The slides below are from a presentation I gave today at a conference on renewable energy infrastructure. I am not sure how useful the presentation will be without my narrative, but if you have any questions post a comment and I promise to answer.

            ]]>
            The slides below are from a presentation I gave today at a conference on renewable energy infrastructure. I am not sure how useful the presentation will be without my narrative, but if you have any questions post a comment and I promise to answer.

            ]]>
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            Social Media and Civic Engagement http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/18/social-media-and-civic-engagement.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/18/social-media-and-civic-engagement.html#comments Mon, 18 Jan 2010 13:49:26 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:6328483 The British magazine Prospect featured a debate this month between Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky about the advantage -- or danger -- the Web brings to global politics, civic life and the pursuit of such values as freedom, liberty and democracy.

            These two examples capture the differing points of view of the two debaters:

            First to Clay Shirky:

            Nevertheless, I want to defend the notion—which Morozov goes after in the “man most responsible for intellectual confusion” section of his essay—that social media improves political information cascades, as outlined by the political scientist Susanne Lohmann. It also represents a new dynamic within political protest, which will alter the struggle between insurrectionists and the state, even if the state wins in any given clash. Where this will lead to a net advantage for popular uprisings in authoritarian regimes is an open question—and a point on which Morozov and I still disagree on—but the new circumstances of coordinated public action, I believe, marks an essential change in the civilian part of the “arms race.”

            Now for Mr. Morozov's rebuttal:

            One possible reading of the current situation on the ground in Tehran is that, despite all the political mobilisation facilitated by social media, the Iranian government has not only survived, but has, in fact, become even more authoritarian. The changes currently taking place in Iran are far from positive: a catastrophic brain drain triggered by the recent political repressions, a series of violent crackdowns on politically active university students who have chosen to remain in the country, the persecution of critical bloggers, journalists and editors, the appointment of more conservative ministers to the government, and mounting pressure on dissident politicians. From this perspective, the last six months could be taken to reveal the impotence of decentralised movements in the face of a ruthless authoritarian state—even when those movements are armed with modern protest tools.

            I am on Mr. Shirky's side in this debate; as, I suspect, would be New York Times journalist, and Iranian exile, Nazila Fathi who wrote yesterday that "Protest was not about to die in Iran. Neither was news about it, nor our part in telling the story. Three things have made all the difference: the global reach of the Internet; the networking skills of exiled journalists and our sources; and the resourcefulness of Iran’s dissidents in sending information and images out."

            Shirky's premise is that we are witnessing a fundamental shift in what he calls civic life. The demos is choosing more and more to play out civic life, and to participate in communities and the politics of their nations, through social media -- Twitter, Facebook, blogs, mobile chats and hundreds of social networks. The effectiveness of these social media today in toppling regimes, or the fascist backlash that sometimes result as Morozov points out, from this digital engagement, is not the crux of the matter.

            The question should be: Is the existence of social media changing what we mean by civic life, and how we discuss politics, organize civic action and combat despotic regimes? The answer is yes, and political thugs and petty autocrats should be taking note.

            In Canada where the government prorogued parliament for what some felt were cynical and partisan reasons, civic opposition took the form initially in the creation of an anti-prorogation Facebook group. The group offered no suggestions for effective action, just a way to express outrage at what they apparently felt was a haughty political manoeuvre. 

            But almost 200,000 people have taken the time to identify themselves as opposing what some called a "sad day for Canadian democracy".  'Question authority' as the slogan from the 1960s urged of us, and they are. Is it enough to change the governing party's mind? Not likely given it's reputation, deserved or otherwise, for being opaque and distant and proud of it . 

            However, to continue with the 1960's metaphor, 'somethin's happening here and what it is is EXACTLY clear' (Buffalo Springfield song for those who weren't around). Nearly 200,000 people have taken a step to make their feelings known . . . and in a public way that six or seven years ago would have been impossible.

            People in democracies and those suffering under authoritarian regimes are channeling their impatience, indignation and anger through social networks. They are coalescing their opposition in groups mediated through these networks.

            And both are just a step away from direct civic engagement and action.

            ]]>
            The British magazine Prospect featured a debate this month between Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky about the advantage — or danger — the Web brings to global politics, civic life and the pursuit of such values as freedom, liberty and democracy.

            These two examples capture the differing points of view of the two debaters:

            First to Clay Shirky:

            Nevertheless, I want to defend the notion—which Morozov goes after in the “man most responsible for intellectual confusion” section of his essay—that social media improves political information cascades, as outlined by the political scientist Susanne Lohmann. It also represents a new dynamic within political protest, which will alter the struggle between insurrectionists and the state, even if the state wins in any given clash. Where this will lead to a net advantage for popular uprisings in authoritarian regimes is an open question—and a point on which Morozov and I still disagree on—but the new circumstances of coordinated public action, I believe, marks an essential change in the civilian part of the “arms race.”

            Now for Mr. Morozov’s rebuttal:

            One possible reading of the current situation on the ground in Tehran is that, despite all the political mobilisation facilitated by social media, the Iranian government has not only survived, but has, in fact, become even more authoritarian. The changes currently taking place in Iran are far from positive: a catastrophic brain drain triggered by the recent political repressions, a series of violent crackdowns on politically active university students who have chosen to remain in the country, the persecution of critical bloggers, journalists and editors, the appointment of more conservative ministers to the government, and mounting pressure on dissident politicians. From this perspective, the last six months could be taken to reveal the impotence of decentralised movements in the face of a ruthless authoritarian state—even when those movements are armed with modern protest tools.

            I am on Mr. Shirky’s side in this debate; as, I suspect, would be New York Times journalist, and Iranian exile, Nazila Fathi who wrote yesterday that “Protest was not about to die in Iran. Neither was news about it, nor our part in telling the story. Three things have made all the difference: the global reach of the Internet; the networking skills of exiled journalists and our sources; and the resourcefulness of Iran’s dissidents in sending information and images out.”

            Shirky’s premise is that we are witnessing a fundamental shift in what he calls civic life. The demos is choosing more and more to play out civic life, and to participate in communities and the politics of their nations, through social media — Twitter, Facebook, blogs, mobile chats and hundreds of social networks. The effectiveness of these social media today in toppling regimes, or the fascist backlash that sometimes result as Morozov points out, from this digital engagement, is not the crux of the matter.

            The question should be: Is the existence of social media changing what we mean by civic life, and how we discuss politics, organize civic action and combat despotic regimes? The answer is yes, and political thugs and petty autocrats should be taking note.

            In Canada where the government prorogued parliament for what some felt were cynical and partisan reasons, civic opposition took the form initially in the creation of an anti-prorogation Facebook group. The group offered no suggestions for effective action, just a way to express outrage at what they apparently felt was a haughty political manoeuvre.

            But almost 200,000 people have taken the time to identify themselves as opposing what some called a “sad day for Canadian democracy“.  ‘Question authority’ as the slogan from the 1960s urged of us, and they are. Is it enough to change the governing party’s mind? Not likely given it’s reputation, deserved or otherwise, for being opaque and distant and proud of it .

            However, to continue with the 1960’s metaphor, ’somethin’s happening here and what it is is EXACTLY clear’ (Buffalo Springfield song for those who weren’t around). Nearly 200,000 people have taken a step to make their feelings known . . . and in a public way that six or seven years ago would have been impossible.

            People in democracies and those suffering under authoritarian regimes are channeling their impatience, indignation and anger through social networks. They are coalescing their opposition in groups mediated through these networks.

            And both are just a step away from direct civic engagement and action.

            ]]>
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            A Year in Five Social Media Movements http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/4/a-year-in-five-social-media-movements.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2010/1/4/a-year-in-five-social-media-movements.html#comments Mon, 04 Jan 2010 21:13:31 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:6132697 Reports on social media trends in 2009 are ubiquitous -- here's one of the most useful lists from Adam Vincenzini in The Comms Corner -- as are cogitative posts about what to expect in 2010 like that by David Armano blogging at the Harvard Business Review.

            My assessment of what mattered last year is shorter and more personal, and I am too deferential to the forecasting abilities of others to speculate on 2010:

            1. Many words, occasional invective and a lot of social media blood were spilled over the demise of newspapers and its effect on journalism and those who practice it within the historical news delivery infrastructure. I weighed in often enough because I believe there is a radical shift in the sources of reporting, the formation of public opinion through communication, and the opportunity for individuals and groups, when motivated, to work around the traditional news infrastructure to exchange information, ideas and opinion for social change and political purposes.  The critical words on this issue in Canada may have been spoken by The Supreme Court of Canada. In late December its ruling on responsible communication made it clear that such communication is not just the province of journalists, but of anyone engaged in public communication including bloggers  As David Eaves so eloquently summed it up in his post "The ruling acknowledges that we are all now journalists and that we need a legal regime that recognizes this reality."
            2. During the Iran elections in June 2009, Twitter became the means for getting images and news out about the repression of democratic protest. Recognizing that Twitter was a tool by which people in Iran were communicating with each other, and the world outside, even the U.S. State Department asked Twitter to delay its scheduled maintenance outage in order not to impede the flow of information. In my view, this was the single event that brought Twitter naysayers to heel, especially cynical journalists. News was being reported by citizens through a social network that some silly luddite columnists (still) see as "little more than the glorification of self indulgent trivia". (Martin Vander Weyer in The Spectator, January 2, 2010). 
            3. Speaking of reality, it is now being augmented in ways that are mind boggling. Augmented reality refers to the overlay of the virtual on the real. As explained by Ben Parr last August "These applications combine virtual data into the physical real world by utilizing the iPhone 3GS or an Android phone’s compass, camera, and GPS system. The result is that you can see things like the location of Twitter users and local restaurants in the physical world, even if they are miles away." While excitement has been focused on fun apps like being able to wave your iPhone or Android in the air and find the nearest pubs, there are obviously hundreds of other uses, especially for product seeding . . . about which I know nothing. As for reputation management, corporate communications or issue identification and control, well, I'm not sure.
            4. I am a little surprised that Google's Sidewiki has become a non-story. At first blush, it seemed to have the potential to be a game shifter in how people interact with web content about which they have strong opinions, pro or con. It may be that social networks are already platforms for interaction about web content and Sidwiki in the context of opinionated and criticism-friendly social networks is simply redundant.
            5. As a consultant over the past couple of years, I have been recommending social media strategies as pivotal in the success of reputation management programs largely because they are community (or affinity) rather than media focused. Clients are buying into it. But the conversations I've been having with companies over the last few months lead me to think we are at a social media tipping point (no, I have not read Mr. Gladwell's epnymous book). According to the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, "Social media is mainstream. Forty-three percent of Inc. 500 companies consider social media important to their business, with 91 percent of Inc. 500 companies employing at least one tool in 2009." Employing one tool, however, is not a strategy and many companies and organizations are recognizing that the one-off Facebook page or Twitter handle isn't giving them traction, nor will it. They'll want -- or should be wanting -- the full game plan.

            So, I lied: Number five is a 2010 forecast.

            ]]>
            Reports on social media trends in 2009 are ubiquitous — here’s one of the most useful lists from Adam Vincenzini in The Comms Corner — as are cogitative posts about what to expect in 2010 like that by David Armano blogging at the Harvard Business Review.

            My assessment of what mattered last year is shorter and more personal, and I am too deferential to the forecasting abilities of others to speculate on 2010:

            1. Many words, occasional invective and a lot of social media blood were spilled over the demise of newspapers and its effect on journalism and those who practice it within the historical news delivery infrastructure. I weighed in often enough because I believe there is a radical shift in the sources of reporting, the formation of public opinion through communication, and the opportunity for individuals and groups, when motivated, to work around the traditional news infrastructure to exchange information, ideas and opinion for social change and political purposes.  The critical words on this issue in Canada may have been spoken by The Supreme Court of Canada. In late December its ruling on responsible communication made it clear that such communication is not just the province of journalists, but of anyone engaged in public communication including bloggers  As David Eaves so eloquently summed it up in his post “The ruling acknowledges that we are all now journalists and that we need a legal regime that recognizes this reality.”
            2. During the Iran elections in June 2009, Twitter became the means for getting images and news out about the repression of democratic protest. Recognizing that Twitter was a tool by which people in Iran were communicating with each other, and the world outside, even the U.S. State Department asked Twitter to delay its scheduled maintenance outage in order not to impede the flow of information. In my view, this was the single event that brought Twitter naysayers to heel, especially cynical journalists. News was being reported by citizens through a social network that some silly luddite columnists (still) see as “little more than the glorification of self indulgent trivia”. (Martin Vander Weyer in The Spectator, January 2, 2010).
            3. Speaking of reality, it is now being augmented in ways that are mind boggling. Augmented reality refers to the overlay of the virtual on the real. As explained by Ben Parr last August “These applications combine virtual data into the physical real world by utilizing the iPhone 3GS or an Android phone’s compass, camera, and GPS system. The result is that you can see things like the location of Twitter users and local restaurants in the physical world, even if they are miles away.” While excitement has been focused on fun apps like being able to wave your iPhone or Android in the air and find the nearest pubs, there are obviously hundreds of other uses, especially for product seeding . . . about which I know nothing. As for reputation management, corporate communications or issue identification and control, well, I’m not sure.
            4. I am a little surprised that Google’s Sidewiki has become a non-story. At first blush, it seemed to have the potential to be a game shifter in how people interact with web content about which they have strong opinions, pro or con. It may be that social networks are already platforms for interaction about web content and Sidwiki in the context of opinionated and criticism-friendly social networks is simply redundant.
            5. As a consultant over the past couple of years, I have been recommending social media strategies as pivotal in the success of reputation management programs largely because they are community (or affinity) rather than media focused. Clients are buying into it. But the conversations I’ve been having with companies over the last few months lead me to think we are at a social media tipping point (no, I have not read Mr. Gladwell’s epnymous book). According to the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, “Social media is mainstream. Forty-three percent of Inc. 500 companies consider social media important to their business, with 91 percent of Inc. 500 companies employing at least one tool in 2009.” Employing one tool, however, is not a strategy and many companies and organizations are recognizing that the one-off Facebook page or Twitter handle isn’t giving them traction, nor will it. They’ll want — or should be wanting — the full game plan.

            So, I lied: Number five is a 2010 forecast.

            ]]>
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            Why Sidewiki May be Okay http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/11/13/why-sidewiki-may-be-okay.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/11/13/why-sidewiki-may-be-okay.html#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2009 22:00:00 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:5780816

            I am a bit late to the game with comments on Sidewiki. (It launched more than a month ago.) A student in my Ryerson University reputation management class gave a presentation on it the other night which got me thinking that the debate about its influence on public relations has been thin. Surprising really given that some, like Mark Rose, believe Sidewiki "is a PR game changer".

            Here's what Sidewiki allows you to do once you have installed the application: As Google describes it "Google Sidewiki is a browser sidebar that lets you contribute and read information alongside any web page."

            In other words, you can write an un-moderated comment beside any web page you want. You can add anything you like (with the usual caveats about libel, perversion, vulgarity, etc.), provide your perspective on the page, add new information, share an anecdote, or add a link that sends readers somewhere else.

            I believe Google uses an algorithm to rank Sidekwiki posts by relevance and credibility rather than chronology. Through its webmaster tools it will also allow the website owner always to have the first note in the sidebar.

            Of course, the dangers are self-evident. My first Sidewiki contribution to the front page of the Globe and Mail was a complaint about the panic-inducing headlines and coverage of H1N1 in Canada's national newspaper. As much as I like to be helpful, I am just as likely to get frustrated by the content on organizations' web pages. Now I can have that frustration, even anger or disgust  made evident to every other reader of the page with the Sidwiki app.

            The debate about the ethics of being able to tread on the last piece of web ground that an organization could "own" should go on for a long time yet once people take the full measure of this new social combat tool. At least I hope it does. (If you want to see some pretty harsh and cogent criticisms take a look at the website called Sidewiki Sux.)

            But Sidewiki may have one benefit. For those of us who get stonewalled whenever we suggest that organizations should pay more attention to their websites, make them more peppy and responsive, treat them less like a print annual report or marketing brochure and more like, say, a collaboration platform, this may be a turning point.

            Could Sidewiki actually encourage (force) website owners to breathe life back into moribund web anatomies because people may actually be stopping by and, excuse the vulgarity, taking a piss on them?

            ]]>

            I am a bit late to the game with comments on Sidewiki. (It launched more than a month ago.) A student in my Ryerson University reputation management class gave a presentation on it the other night which got me thinking that the debate about its influence on public relations has been thin. Surprising really given that some, like Mark Rose, believe Sidewiki “is a PR game changer”.

            Here’s what Sidewiki allows you to do once you have installed the application: As Google describes it “Google Sidewiki is a browser sidebar that lets you contribute and read information alongside any web page.”

            In other words, you can write an un-moderated comment beside any web page you want. You can add anything you like (with the usual caveats about libel, perversion, vulgarity, etc.), provide your perspective on the page, add new information, share an anecdote, or add a link that sends readers somewhere else.

            I believe Google uses an algorithm to rank Sidekwiki posts by relevance and credibility rather than chronology. Through its webmaster tools it will also allow the website owner always to have the first note in the sidebar.

            Of course, the dangers are self-evident. My first Sidewiki contribution to the front page of the Globe and Mail was a complaint about the panic-inducing headlines and coverage of H1N1 in Canada’s national newspaper. As much as I like to be helpful, I am just as likely to get frustrated by the content on organizations’ web pages. Now I can have that frustration, even anger or disgust  made evident to every other reader of the page with the Sidwiki app.

            The debate about the ethics of being able to tread on the last piece of web ground that an organization could “own” should go on for a long time yet once people take the full measure of this new social combat tool. At least I hope it does. (If you want to see some pretty harsh and cogent criticisms take a look at the website called Sidewiki Sux.)

            But Sidewiki may have one benefit. For those of us who get stonewalled whenever we suggest that organizations should pay more attention to their websites, make them more peppy and responsive, treat them less like a print annual report or marketing brochure and more like, say, a collaboration platform, this may be a turning point.

            Could Sidewiki actually encourage (force) website owners to breathe life back into moribund web anatomies because people may actually be stopping by and, excuse the vulgarity, taking a piss on them?

            ]]>
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            IPRA Summit ‘09 – PR 2.0 http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/11/5/ipra-summit-09-pr-20.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/11/5/ipra-summit-09-pr-20.html#comments Thu, 05 Nov 2009 22:21:52 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:5654564 The International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Summit 2009 last week in London England was more interesting than I had expected. Past conferences have been generally okay, and not just because I was speaking.  This one, though, was focused on PR 2.0 and my fear was yet another conference in which self-styled experts told us we have to take the measure of social media in communications strategies (Duh!) without adding much to the arsenal of ideas.

            Rather than write about my viewpoint on what I heard, I'll let some of the social media and public relations apostles speak for themselves:

            Christophe Ginisty, president, Rumeur Publique  (Note . . . I have shared a platform with Christophe before and he is always the most invigorating and creative presenter:

            "We live in world in which nothing is virtual. I hate using the word virtual to describe online communities."

            "The two words that best capture an effective online community are a mirror and a nest. Before talking about the platform, you have to discover the what brings people to a community, what motivates their belonging; mirror it; build the nest; make it safe; feed the birds; then let them live their lives."

            "You know why teenagers like social networks. Because the social network community members understand them while adults don't. In other words, they want the mirror. The web is the easiest and most comfortable nest when they move away from home."

            "Online communities have to be specific, the more specific they are the more successful."

            "Communities can be activated anytime: you need to push the right button. We do not create communities. We move them and activate them (by chance or talent)."

            Paul Holmes, the inimitable editor of The Holmes Report:

            "HBR did a whole issue on trust and didn't think to speak to a public relations professional, which says something about how public relations is misunderstood."

            "Public relations should always have been about dialogue and conversations only the processes have changed. We used to ask journalists do our communicating. Now we can do it ourselves."

            "The cost of being a lousy PR person is going to go through the roof as a result of social media.We are going to need courage to fight off lawyers and those who won't listen to our recommendations about social media. If PR people don't take this on, management consultants will.

            Bill Mew, global communications leader for the financial services sector group at IBM:

            "The biggest step IBM took was to empower all employees to tweet and blog and also to create early on community-developed social computing guidelines.

            "If current culture doesn't align, start to create it."

            "Stream computing will allow real time analysis of what people are saying about your brand everywhere in the world."

            Cathy Wallace, editor of PR week:

            "Separate digital/social media departments in PR firms should disappear as everyone in agencies has to become able to deliver social media strategies . . . and as a result, the power of public relations will increase."

            Robyn O'Kelly, head of corporate affairs, T-mobile:

            "Social media confuses communicators because they aren't sure where it sits. Is it marketing, advertising or public relations?"

            "We still need the media to drive people to our YouTube channel."

            Fernando Rizo, head of digital, Ketchum Pleon (London):

            "Proving the value of what you are doing and managing client expectations are the central questions facing social media strategists."

            "Good digital PR means becoming a publisher."

            "We have to get rid of the 'digital engagement is free" mentality.

            "The concept of 'impressions' has to be taken out of measurement of social media."

            "I won't let anyone talk about making viral videos. Videos become viral; we don't make viral"

            Olle Ahnve, digital planner, Jung Relations, Sweden:

            "You can fake transparency and dialogue in social media: You can't fake personality."

            Gareth Davies, head of digital, MS&L (UK):

            "Social media is about trust and credibility."

            "There are five things you have to do to build a credible community online 1. Spend time listening to your audience. 2. Lever the power of your network. 3. Don't be afraid to give customers control. 4. Crowdsource content. 5.Create and embed brand ambassadors."

            Stuart Wilson, CEO MS&L (UK):

            "Social media is not about cannibalisation: It's about investing for the future."

            Anne Walker, associate director, digital practice, Fleishman Hillard:

            "Focus on interests, not borders when building a community."

            ]]>
            The International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Summit 2009 last week in London England was more interesting than I had expected. Past conferences have been generally okay, and not just because I was speaking.  This one, though, was focused on PR 2.0 and my fear was yet another conference in which self-styled experts told us we have to take the measure of social media in communications strategies (Duh!) without adding much to the arsenal of ideas.

            Rather than write about my viewpoint on what I heard, I’ll let some of the social media and public relations apostles speak for themselves:

            Christophe Ginisty, president, Rumeur Publique  (Note . . . I have shared a platform with Christophe before and he is always the most invigorating and creative presenter:

            “We live in world in which nothing is virtual. I hate using the word virtual to describe online communities.”

            “The two words that best capture an effective online community are a mirror and a nest. Before talking about the platform, you have to discover the what brings people to a community, what motivates their belonging; mirror it; build the nest; make it safe; feed the birds; then let them live their lives.”

            “You know why teenagers like social networks. Because the social network community members understand them while adults don’t. In other words, they want the mirror. The web is the easiest and most comfortable nest when they move away from home.”

            “Online communities have to be specific, the more specific they are the more successful.”

            “Communities can be activated anytime: you need to push the right button. We do not create communities. We move them and activate them (by chance or talent).”

            Paul Holmes, the inimitable editor of The Holmes Report:

            “HBR did a whole issue on trust and didn’t think to speak to a public relations professional, which says something about how public relations is misunderstood.”

            “Public relations should always have been about dialogue and conversations only the processes have changed. We used to ask journalists do our communicating. Now we can do it ourselves.”

            “The cost of being a lousy PR person is going to go through the roof as a result of social media.We are going to need courage to fight off lawyers and those who won’t listen to our recommendations about social media. If PR people don’t take this on, management consultants will.

            Bill Mew, global communications leader for the financial services sector group at IBM:

            “The biggest step IBM took was to empower all employees to tweet and blog and also to create early on community-developed social computing guidelines.

            “If current culture doesn’t align, start to create it.”

            “Stream computing will allow real time analysis of what people are saying about your brand everywhere in the world.”

            Cathy Wallace, editor of PR week:

            “Separate digital/social media departments in PR firms should disappear as everyone in agencies has to become able to deliver social media strategies . . . and as a result, the power of public relations will increase.”

            Robyn O’Kelly, head of corporate affairs, T-mobile:

            “Social media confuses communicators because they aren’t sure where it sits. Is it marketing, advertising or public relations?”

            “We still need the media to drive people to our YouTube channel.”

            Fernando Rizo, head of digital, Ketchum Pleon (London):

            “Proving the value of what you are doing and managing client expectations are the central questions facing social media strategists.”

            “Good digital PR means becoming a publisher.”

            “We have to get rid of the ‘digital engagement is free” mentality.

            “The concept of ‘impressions’ has to be taken out of measurement of social media.”

            “I won’t let anyone talk about making viral videos. Videos become viral; we don’t make viral”

            Olle Ahnve, digital planner, Jung Relations, Sweden:

            “You can fake transparency and dialogue in social media: You can’t fake personality.”

            Gareth Davies, head of digital, MS&L (UK):

            “Social media is about trust and credibility.”

            “There are five things you have to do to build a credible community online 1. Spend time listening to your audience. 2. Lever the power of your network. 3. Don’t be afraid to give customers control. 4. Crowdsource content. 5.Create and embed brand ambassadors.”

            Stuart Wilson, CEO MS&L (UK):

            “Social media is not about cannibalisation: It’s about investing for the future.”

            Anne Walker, associate director, digital practice, Fleishman Hillard:

            “Focus on interests, not borders when building a community.”

            ]]>
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            Why ‘Media’ with ‘Social’ http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/10/19/why-media-with-social.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/10/19/why-media-with-social.html#comments Mon, 19 Oct 2009 12:00:00 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:5501477 A post by a colleague got me thinking about the phrase 'social media' as the lexeme to describe the technologies of web-based self-publishing that have led to unprecedented connection, conversation, engagement and community.

            The provenance of the phrase is evidently to contrast user-generated news and comment with mainstream or industrial media in which the 'means of production' to use the Marxist description (also favoured by cultural commentator Andrew Keen) are owned by corporations not the individuals who create the content. The debate about whether 'social media' is the right term has been going on for at least two years.

            The problem I have is less with the 'social' element of the lexeme than with 'media' to describe the interface, although a colleague did comment the other day that it would make it easier to sell social media as a communications strategy to companies if it didn't contain the word 'social' which smacks of people-driven rather than business-driven decision making . . . which is the point of course.

            Let's do a little academic geekery here. Dictionary.com defines media as "the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely." (The 'reach' is becoming questionable and the 'influence' declining. But that's the subject of a future post.) The Online Etymology Dictionary suggest a derivation from the "notion of 'intermediate agency,' a sense first found around 1605." According to Spiritus Temporis, media refers to "those organized means of dissemination of fact, opinion, entertainment, and other information."

            You see the trend: The word 'media' has about it the notion of a channel by which you deliver something to people, not interconnect with them. Some, well many, communications and marketing people have a hard time switching mental models when it comes to assessing social tools for online interaction. They fixate on the term 'media' and apply old public relations patterns and benchmarks to social media strategies.

            Doc Searls (co-author of the groundbreaking book The Cluetrain Manifesto), for one, objects strenuously to the limitations and misdirection prompted by the 'media' terminology. I do to . . . but the battle for a new conceptual model may already be lost as usage soon drives definition. Even though the conceits of social computing tools, social interaction software or social engagement strategies seem to collocate better the important elements of the digitally-driven cultural revolution, they still aren't really there yet.

            So, can we revive the two-year-old or longer debate? Or has it been resolved and I am just out of the loop?

            ]]>
            A post by a colleague got me thinking about the phrase ’social media’ as the lexeme to describe the technologies of web-based self-publishing that have led to unprecedented connection, conversation, engagement and community.

            The provenance of the phrase is evidently to contrast user-generated news and comment with mainstream or industrial media in which the ‘means of production’ to use the Marxist description (also favoured by cultural commentator Andrew Keen) are owned by corporations not the individuals who create the content. The debate about whether ’social media’ is the right term has been going on for at least two years.

            The problem I have is less with the ’social’ element of the lexeme than with ‘media’ to describe the interface, although a colleague did comment the other day that it would make it easier to sell social media as a communications strategy to companies if it didn’t contain the word ’social’ which smacks of people-driven rather than business-driven decision making . . . which is the point of course.

            Let’s do a little academic geekery here. Dictionary.com defines media as “the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely.” (The ‘reach’ is becoming questionable and the ‘influence’ declining. But that’s the subject of a future post.) The Online Etymology Dictionary suggest a derivation from the “notion of ‘intermediate agency,’ a sense first found around 1605.” According to Spiritus Temporis, media refers to “those organized means of dissemination of fact, opinion, entertainment, and other information.”

            You see the trend: The word ‘media’ has about it the notion of a channel by which you deliver something to people, not interconnect with them. Some, well many, communications and marketing people have a hard time switching mental models when it comes to assessing social tools for online interaction. They fixate on the term ‘media’ and apply old public relations patterns and benchmarks to social media strategies.

            Doc Searls (co-author of the groundbreaking book The Cluetrain Manifesto), for one, objects strenuously to the limitations and misdirection prompted by the ‘media’ terminology. I do to . . . but the battle for a new conceptual model may already be lost as usage soon drives definition. Even though the conceits of social computing tools, social interaction software or social engagement strategies seem to collocate better the important elements of the digitally-driven cultural revolution, they still aren’t really there yet.

            So, can we revive the two-year-old or longer debate? Or has it been resolved and I am just out of the loop?

            ]]>
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            Twitter . . . Why Bother? http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/10/4/twitter-why-bother.html http://www.boydneil.com/blog/2009/10/4/twitter-why-bother.html#comments Sun, 04 Oct 2009 20:18:41 +0000 Boyd Neil 417677:4590288:5368009 Maybe it isn't enough to denounce silly sniping at Twitter - as I did in the previous post - without making a case for why bother exchanging 140 characters with some friends and many more people I've never met.

            How about because:

            1. You can use Twitter to reinforce the legitimate personal need to provide value through your comments, links, humor and polemic . . . I do.
            2. Twitter, as Andrew Keen said last Friday at a panel discussion with Clay Shirky, is pure, by which I think he means it is direct and surprisingly transparent.
            3. Twitter posts expose personality, your own and that of others, better than dinner party conversation. You learn a lot about people by what they contribute and how they participate.
            4. Twitter has some many political and social uses as evidenced by last June's elections in Iran. Jim Gilliam, creator of the Twitter petition tool called act.ly says his 'tweet change' tool makes it possible 'for anyone to pounce on an opportunity, no matter how small, without the run-up and vetting and committee meetings that traditional advocacy groups might have to churn through before they act.'
            5. It can be, says web strategist Jermiah Oywang, a shared feed reader, chat room, listening tool, traffic driving tool, and note space.
            6. People direct me to great stories, edgy ideas and very occasionally products (usually wine) that I would not find otherwise.

            In other words, assuming you choose the right people to follow (and by "right" I mean those who you want as part of a community of interest) Twitter helps build fruitful, lively, and perspicacious reciprocal relationships.

            If you have an extra six minutes, watch this video about why others like Twitter.

             

            ]]>
            Maybe it isn’t enough to denounce silly sniping at Twitter – as I did in the previous post – without making a case for why bother exchanging 140 characters with some friends and many more people I’ve never met.

            How about because:

            1. You can use Twitter to reinforce the legitimate personal need to provide value through your comments, links, humor and polemic . . . I do.
            2. Twitter, as Andrew Keen said last Friday at a panel discussion with Clay Shirky, is pure, by which I think he means it is direct and surprisingly transparent.
            3. Twitter posts expose personality, your own and that of others, better than dinner party conversation. You learn a lot about people by what they contribute and how they participate.
            4. Twitter has some many political and social uses as evidenced by last June’s elections in Iran. Jim Gilliam, creator of the Twitter petition tool called act.ly says his ‘tweet change’ tool makes it possible ‘for anyone to pounce on an opportunity, no matter how small, without the run-up and vetting and committee meetings that traditional advocacy groups might have to churn through before they act.’
            5. It can be, says web strategist Jermiah Oywang, a shared feed reader, chat room, listening tool, traffic driving tool, and note space.
            6. People direct me to great stories, edgy ideas and very occasionally products (usually wine) that I would not find otherwise.

            In other words, assuming you choose the right people to follow (and by “right” I mean those who you want as part of a community of interest) Twitter helps build fruitful, lively, and perspicacious reciprocal relationships.

            If you have an extra six minutes, watch this video about why others like Twitter.

             

            ]]>
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