Monthly Archives: October 2011

Cambridge: The UK’s geekiest city

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So Cambridge, with a geek score of 24.0 tops the list of the UK’s geekiest cities?  This isn’t too surprising considering the excellent facilities at Cambridge University and research labs for Microsoft, AT&T and Qualcomm.  Gloucester is close to GCHQ to influence numbers and London, with workers commuting from all over the south, should of course be in the top 5.

But what about the bottom towns?  Belfast has a geek score of –8.0 and poor old Bradford comes bottom with a Geek score of –12.1  Is being geeky related to per capita income?  If so, there are other towns in the UK such as Hull and Blackpool that would fare worse than Bradford in the geek stakes.

So why does Cambridge love Tech so much?  If it’s not the University or the research labs in the area, then what is it?  I’d love to know…

Infographic (and extra information about the geekiest cities) from Ebuyer.. 

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

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Google + for Enterprise collaboration?

The other day Google announced that they’ll now be allowing users with Google apps accounts to use Google+ from within their existing Google Apps account.  Previously users who used Google + from within their Google Apps account meaning that they needed to log out and log back in if they wanted to use Google+

For Enterprises this can add another layer of complexity and concern.  Users using Google apps within an organisation can create a Google + account which is then visible to anyone on the web.  Posts can, of course, be sent to private circles or public circles.  Or both. 

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As an organisation, you also need to consider regulations that might apply in your country such as the Children’s internet protection Act or the Childrens Act and look at the other considerations for Google apps administrators.

Hmm.

I’m not sure about maintaining wholly private circles.  I’ve inadvertently posted to my Public circle instead of my friends and acquaintances.  I’ve also forgotten to check the circles I post to on every software update.  But I’m not alone.  It’s easy to do.  Steve Yegge discovered when he complained about how “Google didn’t get platforms” on Google +long memo which was supposed to be internal, was posted onto the wrong circle and reposted. 

How would you feel if your corporate data was reposted by accident?  Enterprise companies need procedures in place to carry out audit trails, secure confidential information and make sure that inappropriate messages aren’t forwarded outside the company.

How secure would you feel about implementing Google + for internal circles and Hangouts?

…and how would the compliance team respond to your plans?

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Facebook Timeline: Sharing more than you thought?

Since Facebook changed its User Interface to compete more effectively with Google+ there has been lots of reports concerning the interface.  86% seem to dislike the new interface according to Sodahead with women and teenagers being especially resistant to the Facebook changes.

The real time Ticker has been introduced onto the right hand side of your activity stream. This means that every post you make on a page will show up on all of your friends real time activity stream. Friends who weren’t aware that you’d liked a page can now see your interactions with the page.

The new timeline has brought significant changes in the way you can see information.  When you apply the Timeline mode, your profile gets a new look.

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In Timeline view, all of your friends can see all of your posts and can move the slider on the right to see what interactions you’ve had right back to the date you joined Facebook.  The timeline also makes it possible to find out the exact time date you became friends with someone on Facebook.  Perhaps this is information you might not want to share. 

Friends can see all of your timeline information – even before you became their Facebook Friend.

Frictionless sharing now means that anything that you read online could potentially be shared with everyone in your time line – whether or not you explicitly share the content.  Imagine everything you read online going onto your Facebook page – and everything that others read online filtering down onto your Facebook page.  How on earth are you going to find what’s relevant amongst all of that noise?  Open Graph applications such as Spotify will automatically share what you’re listening to.  This “Ambient Intimacy” might suit some of us – but it doesn’t sit too well with those of us who feel the need to carefully manage our privacy.  Even Facebook cookies might cause further alarm as they track users’ activities even after they have logged out of Facebook.

But is this type of behaviour pushing the boundaries of online Privacy? Once you’ve authorised that application, the “set it and forget it” way are you going to go back and revisit the settings to check what’s being broadcast on your timeline?  Are you going to delete back posts and remove applications that you no longer use of do you trust that Facebook will do it for you? 

Or do you prefer to keep some things to yourself and your close friends?  If that’s the case, be very careful about what you post or have already posted onto Facebook…

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

 

9 ways to avoid bloggers block

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It’s difficult coming up with good blog entries but if you blog for a company, blogging might be written into your objectives.  If the company is moving forward in its efforts to become more transparent in business and demonstrate its commitment to its customers, its staff or the environment, then it will be looking towards the corporate bloggers inside the company to spread its message to a broader audience.

But what if you’ve hit that wall of bloggers block?

What if even writing 140 characters in Twitter is a bit of a struggle?  How do you get past that wall

Creating good content for your blog is hard – but it’s even harder if you don’t have any inspiration about what to blog about.  Fortunately there are many ways around bloggers block when it hits.

 

Here are ideas that I use from time to time when inspiration deserts me.

    1. Search the forums.  If you blog about technology then look at the technical forums for the topics that come up time and time again.  These are usually submitted by people who don’t know how to use the forum search feature.  Create a ‘how to’ blog and link to it from the forum.  My post from 2008 on Importing Outlook to windows Live Calendar still gets several hits each day.
    2. Save interesting Tweets as Favourites.  If you see a Tweet talking about something that might be useful as a blog post, save it as a favourite.  You can always come back to the list of favourites later and use the content as a basis for your blog post.
    3. Use Live Writer or Word to save drafts.  I use Live Writer to save snippets of blog posts that need more research, more information, or more content.  I then add to them and publish them when they’re ready.
    4. Use OneNote to save web snips.  I use OneNote extensively to store information that i haven’t got time to read.  My OneNote notebook holds interesting snippets and I use the right mouse button to “Send to OneNote” when I don’t have time to read the whole pdf online.  The great thing about OneNote is its searchable so I can quickly find what I need
    5. Watch the news feeds.  There’s always something to blog about in the news feeds via Twitter and LinkedIn.  Find an interesting topic and talk about
    6. Span social sites for information.  Browse Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + to see themes that are appearing across the social platforms.  They’ll be sure to give you enough information to start you off with a topic
    7. Write something.  Even if you save it as a draft and don’t go back to it in a while, you’ve started a blog post.  Next time you visit it, you’ll edit it and refine it into something amazing
    8. Don’t focus on Twitter and Google+  They might be the  easy to use, simple, shiny and new, but you can’t demonstrate your professional credibility, ability and knowledge in quite the same way
    9. Don’t give up.  Who knows, one day, blogging could bring your the reach and profile you’ve been searching for.

And tip number 10?  I don’t have ALL the answers Smile What’s your best tip to avoid bloggers block?

 

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: Flickr

The socially optimised business: Embracing change

I get saddened when I hear stories of people who work in fairly large organisations  where the organisation doesn’t understand flexible working or collaboration.  It’s amazing to thing that some teams insist that their staff turn up for work, don’t permit working from home on a Friday or a Monday and are convinced that by allowing use of Facebook during office hours, staff will become less productive somehow.

It’s all about control, and it’s restrictive for businesses who want to be agile, who want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation.  Businesses need to be collaborative.  Businesses need to be social.

This representation of social business from the Dachis group seems to hit the spot rather well.

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It describes the benefits and features of the socially optimised business and the journey to get there.  Collaboration is a key part of the social business, its much more than document management and portals.  it’s about engagement at all levels throughout the organisation.  It’s about flattening the organisation and its about embracing the new way of working.

There are some great callouts there on the slide:

    • Social businesses accept risk and failures more readily than traditional businesses
    • Information is democratized – the consumer not the brand is now in control of the message
    • Organisational hierarchy is also democratised
    • Work is something you do not somewhere you go
    • Shift from ‘Me’ to ‘We

Companies that don’t embrace this new way of working will be unable to progress.  The old way of working is just not sustainable.  You will be left behind and your competitors with social businesses will take your business from you.

So what are the signs that your business needs to change?

  • You’re sending attachments around in email instead of links to portals
  • You have no internal corporate instant messaging system
  • You’re not allowed to use social networking tools inside the firewall
  • You have no communications from your executive team outside of infrequent email updates
  • You are process heavy and inflexible to change to market conditions
  • You don’t have a mobile workforce

Start to harness the talent within your organisation and keep your intellectual capital alive – don’t leave it dying on a server somewhere.  Agility will change the way you work..

 

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

 

Deeper social engagement: Beneful advertising for dogs

In their efforts to reach more and more customers marketers are using new ways to engage us.  Our pets.

Purina has released an advert for Purina Beneful.  Here’s the link to the original advert on YouTube.  This advert is different as it’s embedded with sounds at a frequency only dogs can hear.   Take a look at the reaction from this dog watching the commercial

The theory is that you engage with your dog, and your dog is engaging with the TV, therefore you’re much more likely to become aware of the adverts too.

And it certainly seems to work.  Dogs around the world are responding not only to the original TV advert, but also to the YouTube videos of dogs responding to the advert. Here’s a dog that drops it’s ball when the TV advert starts, Alsatians respond together, and a pug gets really interested in a laptop playing the Beneful video

Nestle explained how they created the Beneful video with sounds that dogs like:

    • The first is a ‘squeak’ which is similar to the sound dogs’ toys make. Both dogs and people can hear this.
    • The next sound is a high frequency tone, similar to a dog whistle, which humans can barely hear.
    • And the third sound is a soft, high-pitched ‘ping’ which can be heard by dogs and people.

…and judging by the reaction of the dogs in the follow up videos – it does seem to get their attention – and the attention of their owners.    From a social media perspective, getting deeper engagement with your audience is something that brands strive to achieve, and by exploiting the bond that we have with our animals you can ensure deeper audience engagement with the brand.  It’s certainly a great way to further deepen the connection to the brand.

I’m not sure that cats could actually be bothered to engage with the TV to the level that dogs do – although they do seem to enjoy the ipad for cats game.

Thanks goodness not so many cats have thumbs… yet…

 

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.