Monthly Archives: August 2011

Crowdsourcing works: Producing the mobile 3G map of the UK

Rory Cellan Jones at the BBC has done an interesting experiment using crowdsourcing to discover the true coverage of 2G and 3G in the UK.

They produced a mobile app for Android, and asked users to download it to their phones.  They then collected usage data about mobile data coverage.

The results appeared to show differences from published coverage of data.  Here’s the map of the data showing coverage in my area… Unfortunately my coverage veers from 2G to no coverage.  Damn you purple square!


But even so, I’m in a good area compared with the rest of the UK.  What makes this survey interesting is:

Crowdsourcing works even without monetary reward. The community wanted to contribute to the test and 44,600 volunteers downloaded the app and voluntarily used it to collect data to upload the the BBC

Crowdsourcing works if there is media involvement in the campaign.  I heard about this on the radio, the website and the blog.  Announcements across several social channels spread the word

Crowdsourcing works if there is value in the end goal.  The map of 3G coverage in the UK was the result.  You can now say you contributed to the sum of this knowledge (if you downloaded the app)

Other companies use crowdsourcing too – The Geeks are sexy blog has a visual explanation of crowdsourcing showing several other companies that have benefitted from crowdsourcing. 

Perhaps it would work for your business too?

Eileen is a social media consultant 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 friends: Ready to migrate to Google + Yet?

When I started using Google + I was underwhelmed at the interaction I was having – because none of my friends were in there.  All my friends and close colleagues – the people I wanted to interact with were on Facebook.  But I’ve worked out a way to export my friends to Google +

Its a simple but 2 step process.

First, you need to create a Yahoo! email account account.   Log in to Yahoo mail and Click on Contact | Import Contacts


Choose the Facebook icon and move your contents into Yahoo!

Then Switch to Google +

Click on the Circles tab, click Find people and connect your Yahoo! account to Google +  (I needed to minimise the browser window as the authorisation pop up was behind my main screen…)


Your Facebook friends now appear in your list with the Yahoo icon ready to be placed into circles.

now I can start to properly connect over on Google + too..

If you don’t have an invite – get one here


Eileen is a social media consultant 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.


Internet Addictive Disorder: Can you bear to disconnect?

Look around you.  Are you in a public place?  If you’re reading this and there are folks around you, what are they doing?  Are they chatting to their friends, are they reading a book?  or are they hunched over their digital device being ‘productive’ on their way to work?

Chances are, if you’re on a train, bus, or other communal place, able to receive 3G or Wi-Fi, then folks will be connected to their devices like a drowning man hangs on to a lifebelt. We depend on our connectivity, and heck we miss it when it’s not available whenever we want it to be.  Are we all addicted to the Internet, to being connected, to being online?

You might be addicted to the internet, but don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Between 5% and 10% of Web surfers suffer a Web dependency and it can alter the way your brain is wired.  It has been also  theorised that these changes reflect learning-type cognitive optimizations for using computers more efficiently, but also impaired short-term memory and decision-making abilities.  Does all of this IT make you happy?

The Advanced workplace blog speculates we’re addicted to, and in fact enslaved by our mobile devices

But it’s possible to take a break from your PC, a holiday without your phone.  It’s possible to manage without connectivity for a few days.  Try to step away from your computer.  The Internet will still be here when you return Smile



Image credit: Xkcd

Eileen is a social media consultant 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.

Wiffiti: Are you brave enough to screen your brand feed?

There are lots of tools that allow you to capture a Twitter feed, or set of keywords and have them updated in real time but I particularly like this one for its ease of use.  It’s called Wiffiti and it updates your screen in real time. 

You choose which words you’d like it to search for.  This can be names, hashtags, people, whatever.  Then you



Here’s the wiffiti screen  i created above, updating in real time from Twitter

Add up to 5 tags, customise the background with your logo, preview and publish your screen.  Then sit back and watch the screen refresh…

It’s great for conferences when you want to get interaction from the audience, questions and commentary.  Its great for confident brands to display brand sentiment.  You can get interaction via text, or via hash tag.Imagine a screen like this in the reception area of your favourite brand?  Would they dare to do it?…

Are you confident enough about your brand to show it in your office reception??

Eileen is a social media consultant 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: Get more control over your privacy

It’s about time this happened.  Facebook is giving you a lot more control over your privacy settings and who sees what about you.  Here’s a roundup of the upcoming changes which are being rolled out across the Facebook world:


You can pre- approve tagged photos.  If someone has tagged you in a post – you can decide whether you want to have your tag included – before it appears on your profile feed


Change privacy settings even after you have posted – you can change the setting at any time after the post has been sent

You can view your profile as others see it – right from the home page – not deep down in the configuration options

Status updates can be customised per post.  It’s much easier to decide who gets to see the update.  This was always there – but hidden behind a custom view behind the padlock that you see now on your status update


Tag locations whenever you post – not just from a mobile phone



Facebook have made it much easier to customise your privacy settings, and made them much more visible on the main page.  However, remember how slack Facebook’s default privacy settings are..

There are more images showing where these Facebook privacy settings are currently displayed on the Business insider blog.  These images are from the Facebook blog and profile controls page  – as the chances haven’t reached my part of the countryside yet Smile 


Eileen is a social media consultant 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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Bullies: ugly on the inside, pretty on the outside

I stumbled upon a great post by a photographer, Jen McKen who lives in Pennsylvania.  She’s taken quite a stand against bullies and is to be applauded for her actions on her Facebook page.  Here’s the screenshot of her post:


She sent out emails to the girls and their parents, and returned their deposits.  As she says If you are ugly on the inside, I’m sorry but I won’t take your photos to make you look pretty on the outside!

It’s a really brave thing for a small business owner to do.  Taking a stand and risking losing revenue is a big risk.  Its also wonderful that Jen runs an ethical business, and stands up for what she believes in. 

May her business reap the rewards for her stand on bullying.  So many children’s lives are ruined by bullies that it’s heartening to find someone who is committed to changing this behaviour in schools. 


Eileen is a social media consultant 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.

150 billion: That’s how much we value the Internet

There’s some interesting data from Mckinsey about the value of the Internet and the activities we use the web for.  Have a look at the graphic below which depicts services that we’d pay for that are currently free to use.

Image source: Ross Dawson

We pay 30 billion for online services and to avoid pop ups and web clutter – McKinsey estimates that we’d pay another 20billion 

So that leaves about 100 billion ‘surplus’ value which is categorised across the different channels.  Many consumers couldn’t live without email – and it’s the lifeblood of some companies that haven’t fully embraced collaborative solutions internally.

We’d be miserable without the internet and spend far too much time on there… but with a mind boggling value of 100billion as a surplus, these channels will be incredibly attractive to advertisers and others who would like a piece of that projected revenue…

Lets see what they come up with… Google + perhaps? Smile

Eileen is a social media consultant 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.


Death and status updates: Your social presence after you’ve died

I remember feeling humbled at the posthumous ‘Last Post’ blog written by the dead journalist Derek K Miller and admiring his courage in writing the post after his death, sort of like a final ‘Status update’.  It seems that I’m not the only one who had been musing about it.  Adam Ostrow spoke at TED in July and mused about the possibilities of your digital updates after your death…

His talk pointed me to a few websites too, such as If I die, which allows you to post a Facebook message to your nearest and dearest – which will be played to your Facebook friends – after you’re gone.  It had an innovative social awareness campaign too, using location based updates and other freely sharable pieces of information to connect with it’s intended audience and encourage them to record messages.  See the video below for how they did it:

I’ve always looked at this from a more technical point of view.  When my friend was in hospital last year with a broken back (she came out of hospital after 6 months) , I focused on passwords and PC related issues.  I didn’t think about what sort of status updates she might have left for the world to reflect on.  Would they be suitable as a memoriam?  I’m sure that at any one time, my last Twitter update might not be the one that I’d want on my status update – forever…

But what sort of app could do that ‘final status update’ for you.  Does it exist yet?

And more importantly, should it…?

Eileen is a social media consultant 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.


The 5 W’s: Writing your social media strategy

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

– Lewis Carroll


Its pointless starting out with your increased use of social media and  communicating like crazy if you don’t have a strategy.  Its pointless measuring your activities if you don’t yet have a baseline to compare against.

If you’ve never thought about documenting your social media goals and activities, you might find it hard to justify the direction you’re going in and succinctly define your all up goals and vision.

You need to have a strategy in place.  You need a goal to aim for.

if you don’t have a strategy, you won’t know if you’ve succeeded.  Without implementing a baseline, you won’t know if you’ve achieved your goals and delivered ROI to the business.  You won’t be able to measure the increase in engagement

So where do you start?

Here are some of my ideas that will help you create an effective and workable plan.  Start with your overall vision statement.   Your vision statement should set out your ultimate goal.  e.g.: “delight our customers with our innovation and customer care programs

Then you need to go through the process of the 5 W’s.

Who, What, How, Where, When

WHO are your customers?  Do you know who they are, where they hang out?  Do you know how to segment them?  Are they fashionistas, journalists, working mothers, technologists, shops, foodies, students, teachers, trendsetters, teenagers, charities, agencies, brands or influencers?  Do you know where they congregate?  Do you know which social platforms they use?

WHAT are you going to do?  You need to create workable engagement frameworks and plans for several areas and these are the areas that you could consider in your all up strategy

For the first bullet point our WHAT might be: improve the customer and partner experience through regular interaction, updates and connection both online and at offline events”.  You need to do this for all of your own bullet points

HOW are you going to do it? This is your plan which needs to be created for each of the bullet points above “by creating a workable engagement framework and implementing it across the company

WHERE are you going to do it? Well for the first bullet point this is easy.  “Store the completed framework on the social media marketing tactics shared area / portal / SharePoint site” Other sections, like crisis management will involve cross team work across legal, PR, IT and management and will be much more detailed

WHEN will this be completed? For your baseline and ROI measurements you need to set a timescale.  You need to decide how long it will take you to implement and execute your plan “all activities to be completed by December 2011”.

You’ll then need to drill down further with targets and plans for engagement and implementation by the team. Perhaps something like this:

Time (minutes) Activity
30 Respond to Facebook comments and issues. Reply to blog comments on the blog, Retweet and reply on Twitter account and reply and retweet useful tweets from the users that we follow
30 Comment on websites according to upcoming event (e.g. F1 Grand Prix) build engagement with daily interaction
15 Research new Twitter /Facebook followers to add to influencer lists
15 Repurpose blog content across Facebook / Twitter, refer to blog post from both Twitter and Facebook updates

You might also  consider a matrix of activities and metrics that  ties in with the table above, to be included in goal setting objectives for each member of the team. e.g.

Channel Monitoring level Suggested engagement level
Blogs High Minimum 1 post per week
Microblogs High 3 posts daily and respond to all @ replies.
Online forums and comments High Determined by the level of engagement on the site
Social networking sites High Post new information twice per day, reply to audience comments 5 times per day.
Media sharing Med Post 3 pieces of new media per quarter.

You’ll be well on the way to having a great workable strategy, tactical plan and implementation plan.  All of your team will know their roles and responsibilities, and you’ll be able to measure the impact that the social media activities of your team has on your business – and the returns that it generates…

By the way – for the detail oriented people reading this (@pjbryant) , if you noticed earlier on in the post that I only included 4 W’s in the process (and an H)…

The 5th W is WOW.  Which is the effect that you’ll have on your customers when you’ve got your strategy right Smile

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen is a social media consultant 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.

Encouraging your Employees to Blog

It’s quite sad that about 80% of corporate bloggers stop blogging after about 5 blog posts.  Internal blogs are really useful tools that help employees interact.  Blogs enable sharing of knowledge, and connecting effectively with your audience.

The problem is that often bloggers run out of things to say.  They suffer from bloggers block, which was, incidentally, the topic of my very first blog post way back in 2004!  IBM even researched and developed a tool called blog muse, which suggested topics for bloggers to write about – if you can’t find anything interesting to say.

There are several ways to encourage employees to blog whether on internal or externally facing blogs:

Small incentives could be offered each month to bloggers who are considered to have created and published quality content. These incentives don’t need to be financial. Praise and recognition for their efforts is often sufficient.

Great blog posts could be voted on and the “blog post of the month” could be highlighted in wider corporate email communications. Signup using RSS should be encouraged so that users can subscribe to and receive new posts when they are published to the site.

An auto-signature could be added to your blog which points to other relevant social sites such as Yammer for internal communications so that people who subscribe to the blog can easily be made aware of other social channels.

To avoid low numbers of postings from blogs try getting guests to blog for you. Encourage submission of articles from people in other parts of the business. Guest blogs give people confidence to see their work shown online without the overhead of having a specified blog feed for the individual which might not be regularly updated. Guest blogs from different members of the community help to keep the community active. Additionally, they raise the profile of the blogger and encourage further participation.

If you blog about topics that are interesting to a particular interest group, for example. technology look at the forums.  The forums often have repeating threads of questions that go unanswered.  Some are ranked by popularity.  Write a blog post solving one of the most common thread questions, and post a link to the blog post on the forum

Tip of the day posts are always useful.  From personal development to  simple ‘How to’s’ , tips are devoured by readers who look forward to new productivity enhancements.

imageThe benefits of employee blogging can’t be overstated.   If your blogs are not for public use, blogging can benefit the business.  Your company becomes more transparent in its processes and messaging. 

If your corporate bloggers tend to use their blogs to share information outside the company, then you can be perceived as more social and more caring.

A little encouragement can go a long way. Transparent, candour, honest, empathy, trusted and authoritative.  Words that lots of brands aspire to…

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen is a social media consultant 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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