Social media news: Marie jumps, LinkedIn Grows, are blogs old hat?

October 28th, 2008

Here’s the latest on social media from New Zealand and around the world.

  1. Blogs are past it – or are they?
  2. Influencers alive and well on social media sites, says study
  3. Aussie Twitterers protest ‘net censorship
  4. LinkedIn grows – new funding bodes well for LinkedIn’s long-term future
  5. NZ charities Go Mad with new social network
  6. Marie jumps – see why on our latest episode of iJumpTV

1. Blogs are past it – or are they?

A recent article in Wired says blogs are a thing of the past, surpassed by the exciting new social media tools around.

The article makes a good point – that crafting a blog post takes time that is best spent on other services.

But at a recent conference, 1938media’s Loren Feldman argues the exact opposite , saying that your blog is where you’re in control.

And research from BuzzLogic shows that blogs are more, not less, influential when it comes to people’s buying decisions.

My take: there are so many different ways to express your ideas online, that it’s an exercise in pointlessness to say this is the one method you should be using.

Instead, it’s better to find your strengths – whether you’re a talker or a writer, for instance – and choose the tools that work to that strength!

2. Influencers are alive and well on social networks

If you’ve read Citizen Marketers you’ll know the stats: in any community, 1% create content, 9% actively interact with that content (eg leave comments), and 90% passively consume.

These stats have scared off a few businesses, who would prefer to reach the 90% than focus on 10%. But a study by Rubicon Consulting shows the 10% wield large influence over the silent masses. Worth reading. Originally spotted on ReadWriteWeb .

3. Aussie Twitterers protest ‘net censorship

The Australian government is pioneering a plan to censor internet access, and people are not happy at all. A website’ s been setup, and Twitterers have started to use the hash tag #nocleanfeed in messages about it.

Twitter gets messages across fast, not just through words, but also through the avatars (pictures) that people use  as their identity. Check them out – you’ll see a lot of people have added tape across their mouth, or a "censored" sign. Like a badge in the physical world, social network avatars can be a subtle but effective way of raising awareness of an issue.

4. LinkedIn receives new funding

In a down economy, not many Silicon Valley firms are receiving new funding – but business networking site LinkedIn is . On the back of that, they’re introducing more revenue streams .

What does this mean? LinkedIn plans to stay around. Of course, all social networking sites plan to stay around, but inevitably some will die in this current recession.

Why does this matter to you? It means you should invest in your LinkedIn profile. It can be a big part of your online identity, and another way for you to be in control of what people find out about you online.

People often join LinkedIn and then don’t know what to do. First step is to find people you already know, who work on LinkedIn. Search for your current company, or other companies you’ve worked for. From there, you can connect to people you meet at events, or get introduced to people through your connections.

We’re going to add a page on LinkedIn (and other social networks) to our social media learning centre soon, but in the meantime, we’d love to hear your ideas. Please flick us an email (simon @ ijump.co.nz) or comment below.

5. NZ charities Go Mad with new social network

From our neighbours HB Media, publishers of Good Magazine, comes Go Mad , a social network to connect charities with volunteers.

It’s just another example of social media doing what it does best – creating efficient connections, harnessing otherwise wasted resources.

Good’s publisher Vincent Heeringa says the site is getting good traction on the volunteer side, but only 11 organisations have signed up. So if you work for a charity, or know someone who does, this is a source of volunteer man- and woman-power!

6. Marie Jumps!

In our latest episode of iJumpTV , Marie eats an icecream in freefall at 12,000 feet. Why? You’ll have to watch.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1952939160021462455

Thanks to Blue Skies Skydiving for providing a great experience, and Wapid for making it all happen in the first place!

The jump celebrated two things – Marie’s birthday and iJump’s first anniversary (both of which were actually in September). It was also an entry into the Big Hokey competition, which you can find out more about at Wapid .

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Social media news roundup, 20 Oct 08

October 20th, 2008

What’s new in social media, in New Zealand and overseas? Here’s what:

Watch videos about online video

After a few weeks break, iJumpTV is back in action. We finish our interview with Regan Cunliffe from Throng , and our most recent episode is a conversation with Dave and Toby from Tandem Voice Booth , who talk about online video, podcasting and blogging. We also recorded a Watercooler Podcast (play the episode ) while we were with Dave and Toby.

There’s also our just-published online video page in our social media learning centre . We’d love your feedback. How could we make it better? We have some ideas, but we’d like to hear yours.

Twitter goes mainstream: OMG it’s Britney!

While Twitter continues to bemuse or repel those who don’t understand it (see my post Why Twitter is like God ), it’s edging its way towards being a mainstream medium. Britney Spears is now using the tool to communicate with her fans around the world.

Some coverage and analysis from UK communicator Neville Hobson and The Future of Music author Gerd Leonhard .

The Warehouse relaunches ecommerce site

It’s great news that one of New Zealand’s best-known retailers is getting into ecommerce, but it’s a sign of just how behind the times we are.

Can we get over the fear of ecommerce cannibalising real-world retail, and start thinking about what’s best for the customer? That’s the source of any truly winning solutions.

Darryn Melrose says the new site has video, but I can’t find it. However, Darryn’s other comments are well worth a read.

Social Media Fails Sometimes

The State Services Commission’s Jason Ryan writes a courageous blog post addressing the inevitable failures that happen with social media . Inevitable not because social media is flawed, but because it’s new, and implemented by failure-prone human beings.

Blog Action Day Highlights Poverty

Blog Action Day is a social movement that aims to highlight a particular issue by getting many individual bloggers to write a post on that issue on a single day. In 2007 it was the environment, in 2008 it was poverty.

My post brought together several other posts around the blogosphere. Poverty is a big problem, but the collaboration and cooperation shown on Blog Action Day shows just a bit of the potential we all have to be part of the answer.

Hot topic: social media measurement

As companies hit hard times, measurement and return on investment become very important. But is social media ready for the scrutiny marketers want to give it? Do we know the right things to measure?

Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang chaired a panel discussing this topic, saying what’s needed is not so much a dashboard (telling you what the stats are) but a GPS (telling you where you’re going) .

Here in New Zealand, IBM’s Chris Sparshott gives his thoughts on measuring the success of social software in the enterprise . I had the pleasure of presenting alongside Chris at last week’s NZ Software Association dinner.

Speaking of social media within the enterprise, ReadWriteWeb links to a study showing user adoption is the most important success factor for a new piece of software.

It kind of makes sense, and again points to the need for departments in organisations to come together and talk each other’s language. It’s a strong theme in the book I’m reading, The Game-Changer , which shows how innovation drove profitability for companies like P&G, Nokia and hp. The book’s not about social media, but it does point out that innovation is a social process , and I’m seeing lots of opportunities where social media tools can fast-forward the innovation process.

On the same subject of bringing teams together, here’s a fantastic PDF article by Tom Peters on 50 ways to Cross-Functional Excellence .

Britney Spears image via Wikipedia
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Rob Kozinets on the origin of online communities

October 14th, 2008

people are just building stuff - by themselves!

When it comes to online communities, the "community" side came first. That was my key takeaway from a presentation by Professor Robert Kozinets last night at the University of Auckland .

Online communities are part of a larger trend, one that Kozinets calls the "tribal movement" that started several decades ago. On a graph, he showed us societal trends from the 1940s until now.

The importance of education: up.
Media & consumer culture: up.
Traditional community: down.

The upshot? We seek community in media and consumer environments. We also, because of our greater levels of education, want to know more about the things we consume.

This combination has led to what the professor calls the "geekification" of culture. Our knowledge and search for meaning combine to lead to movements or tribes like:

  • Harley-Davidson owners
  • Coffee snobs
  • Trekkies (Kozinets did his thesis on Trekkies!)
  • Grateful Dead fans

When the internet came along, it simply allowed these tribes to find each other. Which, interestingly, is what I’ve been saying all along. It’s not about technology, it’s about people. It just means the end of the mainstream.

Kozinets identified eight key points about what he calls "Etribes". In fact, these eight points all start with E! (As Andrew Long tweeted to me, Kozinets is a pure marketer!) Here they are:

  • electronic (duh!)
  • entangled – the old boundaries between, say, people I know at work and people in my family, are starting to overlap, as anyone who’s on Facebook can attest
  • enculturating – these communities quickly create cultures that educate/socialise certain behaviours
  • emotive – from coffee to Star Trek, these communities elicit a high emotional connection.
  • experiential – there’s a lot of creativity going on in these communities.
  • empowered – for example, the hummer-humping community . There is power in numbers, and some people really know it!
  • evangelical – "people want to get other people into stuff" … it’s "kinda spiritual". Even coffee!
  • emergent – these communities tend to emerge on their own, and don’t do well when tightly controlled by a company (even if the company started the community!)

Kozinets then took us through some action steps, which involved marketers harnessing online communities for:

  • insight – mining the wealth of unsolicited opinion and information on your brand, your category, your world
  • innovation – new product development, for example Dell’s Ideastorm site.
  • intensification – in other words, spreading of ideas. One warning: the ideas will change as they spread. Can your brand handle that?

Prof. Kozinets had some excellent turns of phrase throughout the evening, but I believe his best one was:

"We are just beginning to understand how marketing must change."

Amen.
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The many facets of blogging

October 10th, 2008

Blogging Blogging may appear simple from afar, or from within, but it can be pretty complicated when you’re just about to start.

This week we’ve been having several conversations with people who are dealing with blogs and blogging.

The team at A Bigger Voice (in which I’ve played a small role) are about to turn the ABV blog into a team effort (including posts from yours truly), and we’ve been working under the radar for a month to get into the practice of blogging (which I recommend for those of a nervous disposition).

Our conversation about blogging was fascinating, because it showed the sheer diversity in a team of only five people. We have two experienced bloggers, an experienced writer-editor, and two fabulous communicators who write well, yet wouldn’t identify themselves as writers, let alone bloggers.

All sorts of issues come up, such as:

  • does a team blog need a central editor?
  • how often does everyone post?
  • should there be a minimum contribution requirement, in the interests of fairness and equity?
  • should every blog post be "on message", or should individual authors be allowed to wander off on their own paths?

That last question is a fairly interesting one … and if the answer is "yes", then you’ll probably need an editor/conductor/cat-herd to spot the recurring themes of everyone’s posts.

If you think that’s complicated, what about the issues of blogging about work-related matters when you work in, say, data security for a very large corporate? That’s just the
issue that came up in discussion at a Tweetup we attended yesterday.

What issues are they facing in big corporates?

  • More experienced bloggers are mostly okay, but sometimes they’re actively discouraged from blogging about particular subjects. As long as the guidelines are clear, no problem.
  • Others have found cunning ways around the issue, using clever disclaimers. (I was going to link to an example, but found that the site is invitation-only. Another clever way around things!)
  • Bloggers in the marketing function struggle to know what content is relevant, and how often to post.

That last point is just the same issue many individuals have when they start to blog with business in mind. What do I say?

That’s the second question you should be asking. The first is, who am I talking to? Get that answer right and you’ll soon figure out what to say – what they want to know.

In fact, that’s ultimately the guiding principle in all blogging – in fact, all communication.

Let’s look at some of those variables that affect you when you start blogging:

  • the blogging platform you use
  • your own ability with technology – do you pick things up fast? Or do you struggle to learn new things?
  • your communication style – are you a writer? Or a talker? A drawer? Or a dancer?
  • your audience (and your competition). What do they want to know? How can you give them that information in a valuable way? What makes your blog different?
  • your schedule. How often is just right for you, and for your audience. I know every time we post on this blog, our traffic increases. Would we get more visits if we posted every day? And would that necessarily be a good thing for business?

This post has more questions than answers on blogging. I’d like to hear your thoughts on blogging, whether it’s what’s worked for you, or questions you have.

If it’s answers you’re after, you’ll find a few basic ones in the blog page of our social media learning centre . If you’re looking for something more detailed, why not hire us to see how blogging and other forms of social media can help your business.

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Want to share our office?

October 2nd, 2008

Our stairs At iJump’s world headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand, we’re rattling around our 50 square metre office. It’s too big for two people! So we’re looking for some office mates.

Here’s the official pitch:

Wanted: 1-3 creative people to share creative office space in the heart of Auckland’s CBD

Queen St/Mid City location. Help us make the Creative Cube more creative! This 50m2 office in the middle of Queen Street is near the hottest cafes, art galleries and bookshops.

$150/wk including power and wireless internet. BYO furniture. Suitable for designers, writers, developers, programmers – anyone interesting! Available until May Feb 2009.

You’ll be sharing with the cofounders of iJump (http://ijump.co.nz) and SimonYoungWriters (http://www.simonyoungwriters.com)

228 Queen Street, Auckland Contact us on (09) 379 5421.

Marie on 021 100 40 41, email marie@ijump.co.nz
Simon on 021 192 0016, email simon@ijump.co.nz

You can pop in and see us at level 2, 228 Queen Street.

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Meerkats, Ostriches, Bees and you

October 1st, 2008

Bee, photo from kubina on Flickr! It’s been quite a couple of weeks since relaunching this site! I spent a week in Wellington, and just came back from Napier on Monday. There’s a lot of interest in social media!

The Wellington trip saw me making two "official" appearances, one as chair of a roundtable discussion at the 6th Annual Media Relations Conference , and another as the penultimate speaker for ITPNZ’s annual marketing conference .

Besides that, there was a lot of informal meetups, such as the Twitter meetup at the Malthouse. Now there’s social media in action – about 30 people, some good friends, but all good acquaintances thanks to the microblogging service Twitter . All very interesting, diverse people, and some very good conversations were had late into the evening.

The same goes for the conferences, of course, except the evening part. Compared to this time last year, there’s a much stronger interest in – even respect for – social media. But there’s not a lot of experimentation going on, because, as one person on my table said, where do you start?

And further, while it’s easy for a consultant like me to just say "jump in", everyone has heard horror stories of what not to do. In fact, Kiwiblog ’s David Farrar had a couple of cautionary tales of his own at the conference.

(Quick digression: he also had a great definition of the difference between bloggers and journalists: journalists have ADD , bloggers have OCD . Makes me a journalist!)

It’s iJump’s mission to help marketers and communicators get over this initial "meerkat" response – where you’re looking around at everything, but not actually starting anything – and getting you to a "bee" response, where you’re able to participate in building a community, and sharing information as part of a community.

Then of course there are the ostriches, a shrinking minority, who have plenty of "real work" to get on with, and would we just let them know when things are back to normal?

They’ll figure it out eventually. Normal has changed.

Now that I’m back from my travels, we hope to be restarting the blog schedule and iJumpTV . Would love your feedback on what you’d like to see, both on iJumpTV, and on this blog. Let us know in the comments field below of send me an email: simon@ijump.co.nz

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