Brands in Public and Google Sidewiki – Transparency coming to get you!

September 30th, 2009

We are being watched! By us!!

Since we started giving presentations on social media in 2007, we’ve been saying get transparent, or transparency will come to get you.

Brands in Public and Google Sidewiki are two ways that this transparency is actively coming to get brands.

Brands in Public brings together everything people are saying about a brand across the social web. Similar to Twitter search, but across other social networks as well. Similar to an internal monitoring solution like Dialogix or Radian6, but public.

Google Sidewiki, meanwhile, lets people comment on your website (or any website), whether you have commenting facility or not.

Brands in Public has already been criticised as potential blackmail, while Google Sidewiki has been called game-changing.

I think Sidewiki will be game-changing in the long term. But it’s not a new idea. Feedly and Friendfeed have allowed people to see what others have said about a site for over a year now (at least it feels like that long). But both of those products are fairly niche, and even though Sidewiki is from Google, it will probably be niche to start off with as well.

That’s great news! It means you – and I – have time to prepare for a genuinely transparent web, where the conversation about our brand is everywhere.

It’s no longer about achieving total control. Instead, it’s how to embrace the risk, and let go sensibly.

What are you struggling with in the area of transparency? Are you in a large organisation where it’s a major cultural hurdle, or are you a one-person business engaging in social networking, and not sure where the line is on personal vs. business voice?

Love to hear your experience.

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Will I see you at Search & Social Media Boot Camp?

September 29th, 2009

How do you launch a social media campaign?

You’ll know my easy answer if you saw my Marketing Now presentation – that social media is a commitment, not a campaign. But how do you make the first step in that commitment?

That’s the topic I’m tackling this Friday at Search Engine Boot Camp. I’ll be joined by some great speakers covering other aspects of search and social media. Hope to see you there! Register here.

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Do you agree with Patrick Kershaw?

September 28th, 2009

Twitter = more than just what’s for breakfast

Perhaps predictably (as a social media consultant), I disagree with Patrick Kershaw’s verdict on Twitter in the NZ Herald this morning.

Twitter’s a fad, he says, and reaches so few relevant people as to be a big money-losing time suck.

Not sure where you’re getting your numbers (perhaps less than 250,000 users worldwide?) from, Patrick, but I read in Emarketer that Twitter predicts 18 million Twitter users in 2010.

Patrick also emphasises the importance of controlling others’ perception of you:

I believe it will become a science to manage your online presence, so that what people can find online is exactly what you want them to see. This goes for businesses as much as it does for individuals. And as Twitter is a very public forum, it goes directly against the rules I have for controlling my online presence.

He’s right that it’s a science (not just will be, online reputation management is already quite a science), he’s wrong that it’s possible – or even useful – to completely control it.

That’s because the revolution that we’re in the midst of thrives on transparency. The technology that’s being developed, and the culture that we’re forming, highly values authenticity and transparency.

Of course, that’s easy to say and hard to define. Everyone needs to reach their own comfort level with privacy, so they’re running the technology, not the other way around. It is possible to use Twitter in a small, private group, by protecting your updates. Not recommended, but absolutely possible.

That’s my two cents. NZBen has written a very gracious reply to Patrick on his blog, and it packs a punch, especially considering Ben was a Twitter sceptic once.

Also, some practical advice from Claire and GetFrank, two small NZ businesses using – and benefiting from – Twitter.

Ok, that’s my social media consultant, predictable-as-rain-in-Auckland answer. What’s yours? What did Patrick get right?

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Marketing Now Roundup

September 27th, 2009

Laurel Papworth, iJump’s Simon Young, Stephen Johnson, David Armano, Jim Stewart, Gavin Heaton and Siobhan Bulfin at Marketing Now, 23 Sept 2009

Marketing Now was mind-blowing. I’ve been to plenty of conferences where we’ve discussed social media, this time we used it.

There was a level of audience participation I’ve only seen in the geekiest of conferences before, but most of this audience were marketers. I guess Aussie marketers are fairly advanced!

I had the privilege of kicking off the proceedings on Tuesday morning. Here are my slides:

And thanks so much to Luke Grange of Knowledge Solutions, who uploaded this video of my closing. I appreciate the video and your kind comments, Luke!

The Marketing Now conversation continues – including the question, what should this movement be called (it’s obviously not just about Marketing) – at the Marketing Now Posterous page.

Update: there’s also a fantastic summary by Trevor Young (no relation)

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Don’t play Mobsterworld

September 16th, 2009

Spam always ruins something good. And right now, Mobsterworld is ruining many people’s Twitter experience – including Marie’s!

It starts with an invitation, apparently from a friend, sent through direct message, that takes you through to this site:

Don't play mobster world

Note the tiny dark writing inviting you to read the terms of service. You’ll find that by scrolling down to the foot of the page:

Slimy terms and conditions made by the morons at

This is utterly slimy behaviour. Written in small print at the bottom of the page in a colour that’s almost the same as the background.

And if you read these terms, you’ll note that this game automatically invites all your contacts, unless you specifically choose otherwise.

That’s not good. And because of the way they’ve set up their site, it’s not easy to spot.

Back to Marie: she got a message apparently from someone she knows and trusts, and clicked play. When the automatic direct messages started, she thought someone had spammed her, and changed her password. Several times.

Eventually Twitter decided in its automated wisdom that Marie had tried signing in too often, and she is now locked out of her account. Meanwhile, the mobster messages keep coming from her account.

(You can follow her in the meantime here)

Twitter needs to put these cretins out of business. Alone, us users can’t. This is where we need Twitter to step in and lead.

Twitter is great when it’s about real, human conversations. It fails when automatic messages take over.

We’d appreciate your feedback and comments about this issue. Thanks!

Update: Marie’s back! And we found out how to stop playing Mobsterworld – go to Settings -> Connections and remove the Mobster World Application. Thanks to this blog where I found those details.

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See you in Melbourne!

September 6th, 2009
Southern Cross Station, Melbourne
Image by sachman75 via Flickr

Simon will be kicking off the Marketing Now Conference in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday, September 22nd. (That’s very soon!)

And even more exciting, the conference is free to attend. It’s going to be exciting to meet and network with some of the world’s leading thinkers on social media, including keynote speaker David Armano, who’s pioneering the idea of social business – what does a business look like when social media is not just a marketing function or a new media channel, but it affects the way everything is done in a company.

If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ll know that’s an area we’re extremely interested in!

It’ll also be very exciting to meet the cream of Australian social media talent, and represent the innovation and confidence that New Zealand brings to the table.

Thanks, Siobhan, for the opportunity, and for your boldness in making this a free event. Businesses need to know this stuff, and they need to be prepared for a radically different future than the one we all grew up in.

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What others are saying about social media

September 4th, 2009

In lieu of iJumpTV this week, we thought we’d highlight some of the great stuff we’ve been hearing and seeing around the world.

First up is Auckland’s own CJ Lambert, talking about the state of social media in New Zealand.

YouTube Preview Image

…and here are some very commonsense words from wine dude (and now author) Gary Vaynerchuck:

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Viddler video.

What do you think? What’s holding us back? Is anything holding you back?

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Are you a consumer or a citizen?

September 3rd, 2009
inside :en:Gare du Nord, Copyright © 2004 Kaih...
Image via Wikipedia

This past weekend we’ve been part of a workshop unlike any other I’ve attended. The Art of Hosting taps into the power of group activities to harvest collective intelligence.

There was some theory involved – how to host a world cafe, or a circle, or an open space. But the best thing about the Art of Hosting Workshop was the opportunity to learn by doing.

This meant that, on day two, inexperienced people (in other words, us, the participants!) were leading the rest of us in activities. Was it perfect? Of course not!

For everything that went well, something went wrong.

And here’s what’s easy to miss- that was the whole point of the exercise. Doing it wrong is learning experience, and providing a safe place to do it wrong is crucial.

But there’s a change in mindset needed for every participant. Normally we’re used to having very high expectations from a conference or workshop. It’s all supposed to deliver a seamless customer experience.

But when we’re all learning by doing, failures happen. And we all share responsibility for making things work. It’s less like consumerism and more like citizenship.

How else might this be applied?

  • Obviously, if we all started to see ourselves as citizens of Earth, that would help … a lot!
  • As marketers, if we started to think less about outsourcing to experts, and instead sought trusted partners who could help us develop our own solutions – we would develop longer-lasting, more effective (and cost-effective) strategies

What else? How would the citizen mindset change the way we do education, technology, shopping, church, public transport?

These are revolutionary times. Can we afford to maintain business as usual?

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