You may or may not have heard of Google Wave. You may or may not think it’s the next big thing. One thing is for sure – it’s no use if you have no-one to communicate with on your wave! So I have a limited number of invitations to Google Wave and would like you to have one! I have set up a Google Wave for IIA Members and would love to add you in there too if you are a member.
If you would like an invitation email me at email@example.com or email me your Wave address and I will add you to the IIA Wave.
Neville Hobson originally gave me an invite so props to him. He also recommended this great guide which I have been dipping into now and then. Brian Greene also recommended this guide and his company (IIA Member Company Doop Design) have also created a repository of Wave and other cloud resources over at Wavelinks.ie. Add it to your RSS reader and never miss a trick!
If you have seen an innovative use of Wave please share in the comments below. I wrote an article about Google Wave for my monthly column in Beo! where I wondered how this proposed email killer was going to kill the technology that is the first port of call for most. I keep forgetting about Wave because unlike all the other social media I use there is no pull via email. I would also love a way of using it on my iPhone which is another way in which I get sucked into using new apps.
Similarly the fact that there is no easy way to currently share Waves (I know, I know it’s beta!) makes it difficult to draw others’ attention to their use. See above the convuluted (and email based!) manner in which I had to ask you to join me on the IIA Wave. A link would be so much more graceful.
Personally I really liked this example (see vid below) of how to use Wave. Very pertinent to many of us working on our online offerings!
As Brendan Hughes mentioned in the previous post, the IIA Social Media Working Group welcomed input from Neville Hobson this week at an open meeting. I live tweeted some of the meeting but unfortunately the free wifi in the Digital Depot where we held the meeting broke down – bad timing or what! One of the things I love about live tweeting on a purely selfish level is that it gives me a chronological re-cap of the event that I am attending so excuse me if the following bounces about a bit.
We had asked Neville to join us to talk to us about his experience of the business case for Social Media. Neville provided some insight into how some of the larger corporations that he is working with are embracing customer engagement by using social media and discussed that what they might lose in control they gain in new and more engaged stakeholders and customers. Neville said that it’s a given that social media is going to disrupt and businesses will have to change the way they work but that understanding this change relates more to understanding societal behavioural change in general. This point is echoed in a book I recently finished that was lent to me by John Beck, the director of one of our member companies, PillarProjects. The book was called Good to Great by Jim Collins and examined how a number of companies achieved sustained greatness. It included the concept which Collins called the Hedgehog Concept which suggested (put extremely simply!) that the great companies that his team examined had a core concept for the companies from which they did not stray. If one agrees with this one might ask why would one change one’s approach to communications and customer relations? However, I believe that a company with a strong Hedgehog Concept will easily take on the added challenges and benefit from the opportunites that social media offers because of the very strength of their core concept. A great company which is made up of great people will easily be able to engage and involve all their customers in their work.
Another great practical aspect of the afternoon that we hope to use for future open meetings of the Social Media Working Group was the addition of OnlineMeetingRooms.com. This doubled the attendees at the event and we had seven from Clonmel, two from Kildare, and one each from Dublin Southside, South Tipperary County Council, Limerick, Greystones and Munich!
I posed a question which many of the people I meet and talk to on the phone ask me: how to make time to use social media, how to know what is a good use of that resource in relation to it. And here I am breaking my own rule writing this post at 7.44pm on a Friday evening. Sad or what!? Like many who make a living out of their knowledge of social media and have the time to blog every day, Neville didn’t really have a straight up and down answer for this except that the whole discussion answered that question. He talked about CEOs who blog in their own voices and the value they place on that and indeed the value which is placed on it. He talked about social media tools allow him to use his time more effectively and (gratifyingly for me as I am writing the chapter on RSS for the SMWG’s guide to Social Media) he said, “RSS is the best thing ever invented!”
To finish he was asked what kind of goals could be set in relation to social media for a business to which he replied that businesses shouldn’t get hung up on return on investment (ROI), the goals are softer than that but you could look at things like Technorati authority which is based on linking, set realistic comparisons with the ROI on other marketing, subscriptions to RSS feed, citations or links, tools like StatCounter or Google Analytics could be used, your own comments and comments on your blog etc. could be evaluated.
Regular readers of this blog might be thinking “Good Lord, Roseanne, please get off your Social Media Hobby Horse!” and obviously I have a certain bias as I’ve been blogging since 2003. But one point that Neville made, with which I agree heartily and I noticed there was a lot of head nodding in the room, was that currently we make a distinction between the web and social media; soon we will not make that distinction. All media, even traditional media, will be social, in the new sense, in the not too distant future. Anyone who thinks it is not social already doesn’t understand how people interact with information. Your business is being discussed online AND offline, make sure you are part of the conversation.
Thanks to all in the SMWG who came along and also to Campbell Scott, IGoPeople.com, Damien Mulley, Emily Tully, Eoin Kennedy, Slattery Communications, Eoin from Bord Gáis, and the students from Tipperary Institute, our online attendees and anyone who I’ve left out!
To finish off I’ll share this slideshow I found today with you. It gives the lowdown on social media in a no nonsense way. Please excuse the title: relax it’s Friday and apart from the expletives this is very well put!
(Found on MediaThink)
Edit: Brendan Hughes, chair of the Social Media Working Group, has written a series of blog posts encapsulating his thoughts that arose from the Open Meeting. You can start with Part 1: Context.
Also Eoin Kennedy has since written a post on his thoughts on the above open meeting. As he works in Slattery Communications Eoin focusses on the public relations and communications opportunities that exist in social media. He obliquely makes a good point that PR company are content generators.
A while ago now I had the great fortune to be invited by Keith Brock in Fingal County Enterprise Board to make a presentation at the Fingal Day of Enterprise. My presentation focussed on Social Media and Business. (The presentation is available to download as a PDF from the IIA website and you can hear a report about the day from RTÉ Radio 1′s The Business broadcast on October 12th (MP3 file; Report on Fingal Day of Enterprise is at about 18mins 40 seconds) which includes a few words of advice from yours truly.)
My experience at the Fingal Day of Enterprise was revelatory for me in my role with the IIA as Membership manager. My presentation was the first of the day: the room was packed out and people were turned away. Needless to say it wasn’t my reknown as a public speaker that was drawing the crowds especially as this was the first time I delivered a presentation on behalf of the IIA so I was a wee bit nervous. Of course there are aspects of my talk that I would now change especially based on the questions asked during the Q&A and subsequent conversations that day and my own social media experiences since then more of which later all going to plan with my blogging today! I was speaking about how to integrate Social Media into your marketing plan and it’s obviously a subject in which many people have an interest.
The reason the day was revelatory was because it made me more aware than ever before of how much help people who are starting businesses need when creating their online presence. I was standing at our stand from 1pm until 8.15pm with a constant stream of new business owners and entrepreneurs asking me various questions not just about the IIA but about how to get the best return on their investment of time and money in their internet marketing, sales and communications activities. A number of delegates who approached me had web design/ development consultancies and in a way I was sorry I didn’t have a two way queuing system so I could introduce the delegates looking for developers/ designers to the delegates offering developement/ design services!
Krishna De was also there that day as a business mentor and she popped over once or twice to say hello (and take photos see above) and even offered to mind the stand while I grabbed a cuppa which, although I declined, I really appreciated. But her offer and the queue at the stand got me thinking. If I were to be doing outreach work like this in a location close to you would you, as an IIA member, be interested in helping at the stand for 30 minutes to an hour? It was a great way to meet people who were actively seeking advice and information about bringing their business online and I think it would be a great opportunity for IIA members offering those kind of services to meet them. It’s just an idea so let me know what you think of it.
Two days later I packed myself off to Kilkenny for PodCampIreland, and while I was there in a more personal capacity, I didn’t hide the fact that I work for the IIA but most people know that anyway. I was facilitating a conversation about Twitter which I found very interesting and I hope those whose conversation I was facilitating found interesting too. When I asked those attending my presentation in Fingal about their experience of social media, I got one hand up for blogging (who left before I finished eek!), a couple of hands for Facebook and three hands up from the boys in school uniforms when I asked about Bebo and MySpace.* I got a big blank “ye wha’?!” when I asked about use of Twitter in Fingal which contrasted wildly with those at PodCamp – I think only two out of the 20 or so present didn’t use Twitter. While I was mainly asking the PodCampers about what they use Twitter for, how it helps them, why does it appeal to them, what future they see for it, I also asked them how they felt about businesses getting into Twitter, whether they felt it was intrusive or fair enough. As Twitter is all based on permission, I argued, a business joining in a conversation on Twitter is not the same as a representative from a business landing in on top of your cosy chat in the pub which was the common metaphor that day for online conversations. In most social media you have to accept an invitation, befriend someone, follow someone etc. before they can approach you with their ideas or requests. In this spirit, I’ve said it before but no harm re-iterating, you will never be followed by the IIA on Twitter unless you follow the IIA first and I would recommend other businesses to consider a similar approach. If you are thinking about how to get started and you would like to use this approach, make sure you follow the IIA and I will let my followers know you are online and it will help you start to build your presence. And get chatty. It’s all about engaging in conversation! If somebody says they don’t like your product or service ask them how you can help them to have a better experience of it.
But I digress, PodCampIreland had a lot more to offer apart from me I attended a really interesting session by Dean Whitbread about Seesmic which was really interactive and involved us waving at a camera. Seesmic is a social network that allows people to converse using asynchronous videos, either recorded quick and dirty before uploading or prepared carefully and lovingly and uploaded. The great thing is that anyone can watch your video and respond. The other very nice thing about Seesmic is that you can set what sort of copyright you want applied to the video so that it can’t be just reproduced willy-nilly wherever the viewers wish unless you also wish it. It’s a great place to experiment with digital video and get feedback on your experiments so give it a go. I might see you there one of these days
I also attended a session by Mike Buckley about babyboomers online which turned into a very interesting conversation about who owns virtual space: young people or their parents; and about how technology can help preserve stories and pass them from generation to generation. I was reminded of this conversation on Tuesday when I attended the IIA/Limerick County Enterprise Board/ Marketing Institute of Ireland event on Tuesday. In her presentation Krishna De (who I think I have seen more of recently than my family ) suggested that those of us disinclined to write much should consider making their content available as audio or video - it might suit your style a lot more than the writtern word. She drew our attention to Bill Marriott’s Blog which he records and which is then transcribed. Now obviously if you are the owner of the Marriott hotel chain you can afford to pay someone to transcribe your tuppeny worth but for us mere mortals making the audio or video available (and you could use Seesmic or YouTube to make video available) is a snap and is either free or costs very little.
I really hoped to blog about a lot more today. Contrary to my advice at the Fingal Day of Enterprise where I encouraged people to blog on a Friday afternoon because they are more likely to get up and leave and go home/ to the pub rather than allow it to seep into their evening it is after five and I am still here. So I will wish you all a great weekend (I’ll see some of you at the inaugural Irish Web Awards), remind you to vote in the Net Visionary Awards and promised lots more very soon!
*Oh yes I was interested by the three uniformed lads putting their hands up to say they were using Bebo and MySpace and I kicked myself for not pointing out to the audience that if they hope to communicate with those who have disposable incomes in ten years time they better start using social media and their online presence more proactively because this is where the mid-teens of today are learning how to use the web.
A big welcome to Videoview who just joined the IIA. Videoview create rich video marketing for broadcast online, via DVD and on television. While they still haven’t cracked the old television puts on ten pounds chestnut but they are offering packages to suit all budgets, which allows any size company to avail of their interactive solutions for TV/Broadcast, Web Video, and DVD production.
I have my bed bagsed in my brother’s place in Kilkenny. I look forward to seeing you at PodCamp Ireland if you are going. The excitement is mounting, not least because of the organisers’ use of social media to attract attention. I’ve been listening to their podcasts, for example, and I think that Krishna De’s interview from last week’s podcast with Michele Neylon of Blacknight Solutions has some great pointers for those planning their domain name purchases, especially if you are considering buying a second-hand domain. Also on the show, winner of Best Personal Blogger in last year’s Irish Blog Awards, Grannymar, talks about her experience of starting a blog, giving some very good pointers on the essence of blogs, saying that some days she might only write two lines or post a photo and other days she might do more. As Krishna herself says Grannymar is an inspiration not least because she tells listeners to just go for it and commenters to get involved, “they are the lifeblood of any blog”. Even though hers is a personl blog, much that she has to say holds true for anyone considering starting a business blog. You can listen here at BlogTalkRadio (no fancy players required!). PodCampIreland are making use of all types of new and social media like RSS and blogs and microblogs and of course podcasts to facilitate the varied audience they have. Most of their content is published once but received by many in “the flavour” they like and much of it is done using free or cost-effective online applications.
Speaking of considering starting a business blog, one of our members has recently taken the plunge and considering the summer we have had here in Ireland I am amazed they had the time. Aedan and Suzanne Ryan are the people behind PuddleDucks, a company who sell waterproof clothing for adults and children. Aedan commented that he was much inspired by what he heard at the IIA Congress back in May about how organisations big and small were using Social Media to engage with their customers. I particularly liked their timely post a couple of weeks ago about getting kitted out for Electric Picnic.
Another company who are getting really into social media recently are IIA members, FBD.ie. You may have read on the IIA.ie website that they have just launched their new site. Part of their marketing campaign involved Twitter, including an advance launch of their site to Twitterers. They are also actively seeking comments from bloggers and twitterers and are engaging with them. Other IIA members using Twitter are the aforemnetioned Blacknight Solutions for whom it is, as they, a no-brainer with the profile of their clients. Two other IIA members, The Irish Times and RTÉ are also on Twitter but rather than using Twitter to start a conversation, they are using it to facilitate Twitterers who want regular news updates. RTÉ are feeding each of their news types through different twitter channels using the RSS feeds from their site.
The great thing about Twitter for a company like FBD, for example, is that they can approach those who twitter and if the Twitterer wants to, they can choose to allow FBD to follow them or not and conversely they can choose to follow FBD or not. It’s all about permission so it suits both parties very well. I have to admit that when setting my own ground rules for the IIA Twitter I decided that I would not follow anyone unless they followed IIA becuase I did not wish to be intrusive. I had, as I have mentioned before, been twittering in a personal capacity for some time and many of those following me were happy to follow the IIA tweets as well. I suppose the single greatest thing about Twitter and other microblogging platforms is that they allow users who aren’t constantly in front of a computer remain connected through their mobile phone by either updating via text, receiving updates by text or if the user has mobile internet capability on their phone a third party application can often be installed to microblog from your phone. I use Twibble on my Nokia E51 and I also have a Twitterfone account (Twitterfone was developed by Irish company Maxroam) which allows me to leave voice messages that are converted into text, ready for Twitter. I also use TwitPic which allows me to send photos from my phone by SMS. So for example I was able to twitter the Liffey Swim last Saturday. Great fun no doubt but imagine you were able to show the world your latest product the minute it arrived? Or twitter pictures of new staff so people would know them? Or a picture of your exhibition stand at a conference so people would know exactly what to look for? (Let’s hear how you are using these applications in your business: leave a comment below.) The name of the game is facilitation and developers are creating all sorts of web and mobile applications for all sorts of platforms to facilitate users and business users can mix and match their social media to create a mix to suit their customer base. While I wonder about the longevity of Twitter’s tenure as a killer app, I find Twitter can be a good source of information, feedback and every now and then, great entertainment and I just hope others feel the same way about our Tweets!
A big welcome for CVizz, the IIA’s newest members. CVizz is an on-line VideoCV builder and hosting service that allows Graduates & Post Graduates to create and present a VideoCV profile to numerous employers. As a recent enough jobseeker myself I can really see how being able to point potential employers to a short video about your skills and experience could certainly make you stand out from the crowd. CVizz are already getting some notice from other bloggers most notably Ivan at JobsBlog.ie and the HR and Recruitment blog. Unlike me, these bloggers know what employers and candidates want, so check out what they have to say. Marie Carroll CEO of CVizz tells me that CVizz have great plans that are about to come to fruition so watch this space!
Because our newest member, Micheal Kelly, from MikeKellyTv.com has great plans for online video. He doesn’t mess about either. His business is up and running only a short time and already he has joined the IIA and nominated himself to join our Social Media Working Group. Video is, of course, a huge element in social media so it is great to have him on board.
In today’s Irish Independent’s Digital Ireland supplement Marie Boran and John Kennedy take a different angle on social networking in an article entitled Bubble 2.0. (not yet available online – go on, go mad and spend €1.80 on a copy of the Indo!)
Edited 15:56: “Bubble 2.0: Are we about to witness another technology crash?” now online.
Those interviewed make some really good points. Conor O’Neill of LouderVoice points out that “historically bubbles are when all the great ideas and grand plans are hatched and tried”. I’m always reminded about my art history classes in school when I read comments about that: (early, classical and) high period wouldn’t have the same je ne sais quoi as bubble, would it? However technological innovations in painting, sculpture and architecture are plain to see as they are the cultural artefacts that are preserved in galleries, museums and cityscapes around the world. Which Web 2.0 app will be the Sistine Chapel of the future?
Our own Fergal O’Byrne comments that many Irish businesses that were established before March 2000 are still thriving. It is this very global success that attracts all sorts of visitors to Ireland to learn about how we do this so successfully.
Pat Phelan and Tom Raftery also talk sense. Pat refers to Facebook’s finances and wonders what your local bank manager, looking at a “negative cash flow of US$150m”, would think if you said “I have an estimated value of US$15bn just like Facebook!” Tom (who currently has posted a presentation about Web 2.0 toolset for business for those of you who just can’t get enough – looking forward to video of same) insightfully suggests that Microsoft’s purchase of Facebook was strategic: “The only logic to paying US$240m [for a 1.6% share] was to get Facebook valued beyond anyone else’s reach”. Mmm liking the taste of the wine from that poisoned chalice, Facebook?
Also interviewed in the article are three others who spoke at our recent Congress: Philip Macartney and Mark Charkin from Bebo with the last word going to Barry Meehan from Worldwide Cycles, living proof that blogging can make you money.
One thing that surprised me in all of this talk (and a delegate at the Congress also mentioned this to me) is the focus on advertising and marketing while there is scant talk about the collaborative power of web 2.0. The IIA recently set up a Social Media Working Group who specifically mentioned that, in order to undertake their work as a group they will be using Basecamp from 37Signals.com. I’d love to hear more about how companies are using online collaboration and wikis for their work. I would be particularly interested in hearing the experience of those who aren’t neccessarily tech companies like GPs or retail managers or those in tourism or to paraphrase the young people, “Whoever!”
It was a sad day in the IIA office when I had to tell my colleagues that no, they could not do the survey and be in with a chance to win a 16GB Apple IPod Touch. So come next December if you are scratching your head and wondering what on earth should I get Roseanne, Fergal and Irene in the IIA for Christmas…
We had a great response so thank you very much to everyone who completed the survey. The results are available on our website – currently just available to members so please log in to access them*. We will announce the winner at Congress, on the IIA site and here next Thursday. Oh the suspense – it’s just like Next Top Model!
One statistic that interested me was the 46.9% who indicated that the absence of a business case was the main barrier to deployment of social networking and new media technologies. We hope, with the presentations of case studies at next Thursday’s congress, that those of you who wish to be convinced, will be and those of you seeking to convince, will have ample ammunition when next you are asked, “What’s so brilliant about social networking and new media anyway?”
And now for some Friday fun. For the 7.3% who responded “What are you talking about?!” when asked which social networking and new media technologies they use in their business I will leave it to the good folks in Commoncraft to explain it all. (Buíochas leis an Imeall don nasc!)
Have a great weekend and see you all next Thursday!
*Have you forgotten your username and password? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get one out to you ASAP!
I mentioned that I am in total research mode while finishing up my M.Sc. in Social Research Skills. So here goes my first attempt at picking your brains! Please tell us how does your business use social networking and new media technologies?
In advance of the IIA Congress 2008 “Beyond Websites: Business uses of Social Networking and New Media” (which I may have mentioned here once or twice ) we and our newest member, Ciall.com, would like to get some idea of how you use these technologies in your company or organisation.
We have developed a survey which will take no more than 3 minutes to complete. This survey asks 10 key questions about your experience and use of these technologies.
Take part in the survey and be in with a chance to win a 16GB Apple IPod Touch with thanks to the IIA’s newest member, Ciall.com. Ciall.com provide professional expertise to their clients in information systems, business process and strategic planning.
Take the survey now!
The information gathered in this survey will be anonymised. The resulting anonymised data will be shared with Ciall.com and key findings will be reported on the IIA website and in the press. If you have any queries please contact Roseanne Smith at email@example.com