Join us at the Art of Hosting

August 25th, 2009

n118283674723_8572This Thursday till Sunday Marie and I are at the Art of Hosting Workshop in Wellington, titled “Innovation from Within”. We’d love you to join us, even if you can’t be there in person.

The Art of Hosting is about having more effective interactions, a very similar concept to what iJump is all about. So we’re excited to be adding a social media spin to things, capturing (or “harvesting”) some of the most crucial material and enabling it to be shared with others around the world.

We also share what we’ve discovered – that you learn a lot in preparing material to share with others. Through Twitter, Facebook and online video we’ll be exploring how to take conversations further, and create more value from them.

It’s wonderfully experimental, and we’d like you to be part of it. Here’s how:

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After Twitter

August 25th, 2009

Does Twitter=old

Last week we asked on Twitter, “what should we blog about next?”

Nathaniel answered: “What comes after Twitter?”

Good question! And one that’s puzzling quite a few people.

We have two answers:

1. The Direct Answer

Two years ago, when iJump started, Twitter was a sideline curiosity, but one that we could clearly see was going to be big.

Now, Twitter is big – it’s huge, if you go by the amount of public awareness and media coverage. So what’s next?

There are no obvious contenders, although FriendFeed was vaguely interesting until its recent purchase by Facebook.

Why Friendfeed? Because it offered two very important things:

  • the ability to filter the “noise” of everyone you know and group conversations
  • the ability to follow conversations more easily than on Twitter

With FriendFeed now becoming part of Facebook, it’s possible Facebook will continue to evolve and be the platform it can be. It’s already way bigger than Twitter, with around 250 million users compared with Twitter’s 6 million .

There are plenty of other Twitter-like candidates out there (like Plurk, and Jaiku), most of which had their moment in the sun last year, and yet couldn’t shake the seemingly irrational loyalty Twitter garnered by being first.

The issue? People want to be on a social media platform with other people they already know, even if there’s a better alternative.

Remember Virb? A few people wanted me to join them on Virb because it was much, much better designed than MySpace (this is going back a while for MySpace to even be part of the conversation). But nice as it was, not enough other people I knew used it.

Which brings us back to what’s next after Twitter?

There’s no longer room for a new single platform. Whatever is next will need to combine the information from multiple places, putting the user back in control of their own life.

Wherever we go, whether we’re talking to 19-year-olds or 48-year-olds, the need is the same – to make meaning out of the chaos.

On a big picture basis, this ties into the trends of Generation C and Service-Dominant Logic mentioned in my Otago Lecture earlier this year.

2. The real answer

The most important answer is … it doesn’t matter that much for most people.

Investment in social technology is not like investing in developing a website. It’s not a lot of money and infrastructure, it is a lot of time and relationship-building.

Emphasis on the relationships. There’s a clue here.

As a Twitter user, I have relationships ranging from very close¬† to “I barely know you” with about 5000 people. If Twitter falls down tomorrow, I know that the people I need to be connected with most are also connected with me, through Facebook, Friendfeed, LinkedIn … or through my email address book.

It’s about the people, not the technology. Build long-lasting, meaningful relationships with people across different platforms. Reduce your dependence on a single platform and get to know your community better.

How about you? What’s on your “after Twitter” list?

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Is Social Media like alcohol? iJumpTV 65

August 23rd, 2009
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Almost exactly a year ago we met Alex and John from Spin Advertising and Design in Christchurch. They talk about how social media has helped build their sales and extended their networks. A year on, it’s amazing how little has really changed – pick up some best practices in this interview.

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Earth Hour’s social media success – JJProjects – iJumpTV 64

August 16th, 2009
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John Johnston (JJProjects) led the social media campaign for the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour earlier this year. Find out the connection between success and letting go of your message!

Key learnings:

  • 21st century marketing – whether it’s for a non-profit cause or for a business – is about you being of service to your audience. In the case of Earth Hour, JJ’s team were of service to people around the world who cared about the environment, and gave them resources to rally others to the cause.
  • The way to scale your social media project is to share control with your audience. Try to control everything, and you’ll never be able to scale.
  • There may be malicious or negative people who will try to sabotage, but this is largely self-correcting as your community stands up for you.

There’s a theme here of cooperating with your audience. It’s emerging in all sorts of aspects of business, as I discovered at the Auckland Tweetup on Friday night. Justin Flitter told me that Zendesk finds its staff among its greatest fans on the community forums. Our intern Courtney, who’s also a big fan of Giapo Icecream, found herself behind the counter serving a customer. An apt analogy for what’s happening now.

Will you let your customers behind the counter? When does this not work? Love to hear your thoughts, as always.

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Fear of death and social media

August 12th, 2009

A few weeks ago I had my first near-death experience (well, in a long time, anyway). I plunged 80 metres into a canyon, swung perilously close (it felt) to a cliff edge, and nearly froze. (The freezing part wasn’t part of Mokai Gravity Canyon’s offering, it was just the weather in Taihape!

Here’s my terror for you to enjoy:

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Why is it scary to fall 80 metres for some (like me), and not for others (like Marie, who swung and then bungy jumped twice in two days!)?

And why is experimenting with social media terrifying for some executives?

I thought about this a lot after my experience. There is a correlation – fear of death, or a fear of the loss of normal.

As I fell, I was outside my comfort zone (to put it mildly!). Free falling was exhilarating, but I don’t want to make it a way of life.

The same is true of executives today – experimentation on a personal level can be fun, rewarding and interesting, but the uncertainty and lack of “proven models” takes away the illusion of security that traditional marketing and management methods give us.

Yet maybe the most important 21st century management discipline is becoming comfortable with that level of uncertainty, that “free fall”. This is true of all kinds of innovation, not just social media.

But just as I wouldn’t dare dropping even 10 feet without professional help, it’s a really good idea to seek out professional help as you venture into social media – both for their expertise, and their ability to go through the journey with you.

Sometimes people come to us – and to other social media practitioners – expecting a foolproof formula, a standardised system that gets results every time. While that’s a great sales pitch, it doesn’t reflect reality.

Social media is about relationships, and anyone wanting relationships that “get results every time”, isn’t living in the real world.

Better to have a trusted guide than a foolproof system any day.

What’s holding you back? And how could a trusted partner help you get to the next step?

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Social Media and Live Theatre – The EDGE – iJumpTV 63

August 9th, 2009
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Josie Campbell, Communications Manager at The EDGE Performing Arts Venue, tells us how she uses social media to build buzz and hold conversations with her customers.

Follow Josie on Twitter. And let us know what you think? How do you use social media for more than just one-way announcements?

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Pocketsmith’s social media advice for startups – iJumpTV 62

August 7th, 2009
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Pocketsmith is a bootstrapped software startup from Dunedin. How did they reach a global audience and sign big overseas deals? The founders offer their secrets for building online community, what to blog about, and how they use Twitter.

We spoke to them in May; NBR spoke with them earlier this week!

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Behind the scenes of – iJumpTV 61

August 6th, 2009
YouTube Preview Image is a “social reconnection service” launched in New Zealand and featured recently on ReadWriteWeb. We interviewed CEO Duncan Shand about what is, and how it came into being. Inspiration for all new startups!

In a nutshell: social media is essential to launch a new startup cost-effectively, but don’t forget a great, simple concept, good design and offline activity.

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Social Media in India with Parmesh Shahani – iJumpTV 60

August 4th, 2009
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What’s the hottest social network site in India? Are businesses in one of the fastest growing economies embracing social media? And while newspapers and magazines struggle in the West, are emerging economies different?

I met author, editor and venture capitalist Parmesh Shahani at the recent XMedia labs event in Auckland (where I also blogged and vlogged for Idealog magazine), and got his thoughts on social media in his home country.

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