iJumpTV 69: Tweet-sized books

January 18th, 2010

Can you fit weighty thoughts into just 140 characters? Find out:

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I reviewed:

Twitterature

Think Tweet

Leadership Tweet

Quality Tweet

Also mentioned, The Best Ideas are Free, and ChangeThis, a source of much inspiration and cogitation!

Happy reading!

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Twitter and LinkedIn finally introduce lists – a step towards social CRM

October 11th, 2009

listsWhat social media has been missing for a while is the ability to easily segment your network. Facebook allows you to create lists, but Twitter and LinkedIn have dragged the chain … until now.

Twitter is slowly rolling out a lists feature, that lets you put your contacts in specific lists. You’ve been able to do this already using desktop apps like Seesmic Desktop or Tweetdeck, but it’s great to have this built-in to the service itself.

What would be even better – particularly for larger networks – is intelligent segmenting. For instance, sometimes I’d just like to see my contacts who are in New Zealand, but at the moment I have to manually create a list. Still, it’s a good start.

LinkedIn has also introduced lists as part of its paid service, one of the first features I’ve seen that makes me seriously consider upgrading my account.

The way they’ve rolled it out is clever, too. Underneath all the usual options (Add this person to your network, Forward this profile, etc) there’s “Save [Name]’s profile”. You get the opportunity to sign up for a 30-day trial, after which I don’t think many people will turn back.

Nice one, LinkedIn!

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My Twitter fail (and Marie’s win!)

October 8th, 2009

Experimented upon!

Yesterday we were part of an experiment in collaboration, along with a group of senior executives and business owners as part of On-BRAND Partners‘ Executive Stretch er, thingy (programme? session? it was good, anyway!)

The exercise: brainstorm the bank of the future, in three separate groups, in three separate locations. We had On-BRAND’s internal forum to use for collaboration, as well as whatever else we could use.

“Whatever else we could use” for Marie and I meant Twitter. And yet we got very different results.

My results first, because they were appalling.

I tweeted the question: “In a collaboration exercise. Our question: if you run a small organisation, what do you need from a bank?”

I got three responses. And two of them were jokes!

Why?

Maybe Marie’s approach will give us a clue. She began by tweeting:


Hi Tweeps, I’m with a group of Executives, they’d like to ask you what would you like to see change in our banks?


She got around 30 replies! And to her credit, she kept both conversations going, online and off. How do you do that? Here’s what she did:

  • Summarised replies coming in (eg: @Twonetweet Banks making less profit and really care for customers is another hot topic being discussed now)
  • Asked clarifying questions
  • Gave context. At the beginning, she said she was with a group of executives. At the end, she said “Thanks everyone for your feedback. These guys are staggered by your real time responses :)
  • She also didn’t mention that it was an experiment. The way you say something is often as important than what you say.

And they were. Marie’s demonstration of the power of collaboration over a distance was better than any two hour presentation. And my poor showing was proof that it’s not about the technology, it’s about who’s using it.

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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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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, Identi.ca 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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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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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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The HTC Magic – NZ’s first Google Phone

June 25th, 2009

Vodafone loaned us the brand new HTC Magic for a couple of weeks. It’s the first handset in NZ to feature Google’s Android operating system. What does this mean? Find out.

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For a more in-depth (ie: techie) review: see NZBen’s review.

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Vodafone and Twitter – what went wrong, what went right?

June 2nd, 2009

Vodafone 3G guy Vodafone discovered the wrath of the Twittersphere last week, and to their credit, they listened.

Lance Wiggs has a fantastic blog post explaining the background, and the comments are well worth reading too.

It made waves, even worthy of a mention on Radio NZ’s This Way Up programme . (MP3 recording here )

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(Side note: the fact that Radio NZ interviewed a tech correspondent from the UK about a marketing/comms issue in NZ just shows how converged the world is becoming!)

Some observations:

  • Transparency is no longer optional. Issues of corporate strategy are going to be discussed, whether you plan for it or not. Full credit to Paul Brislen from Vodafone for actively participating in the comment thread on Lance’s blog.
  • Beware of the expectations you set. Paul set very high standards by being a genuine participant in social media. While his temporary replacement 3Gguy did interact with people, it was a radical departure from what people had become used to. While 3Gguy may have been a fantastic tactical campaign if it started from scratch, the distance the audience had to travel was too far.
  • Having a strategy helps. Vodafone’s Twitter involvement began as an under-the-radar experiment by Paul, and whatever strategy has been developed has been in retrospect. To be sure, a lot of innovation happens that way (penicillin, anyone?) but when more than one person is involved, it’s good to set some guidelines. (And maybe, ahem, get some help from, say a social media consultancy .)
  • You can’t please all the people, all the time. Some people were quite happy with 3Gguy. After all, he was giving away free stuff! What’s interesting is that, in general, those who didn’t mind 3Gguy are relatively recent to Twitter, while those who resented his presence have been on Twitter for a long time . Within every tribe there will be sub-tribes, and while you can’t please everyone, it’s good to have an idea of who you do want to please.

Last word: It’s easy to throw stones, and have 20/20 hindsight. Vodafone made an unwise decision, but has been excellent in listening and responding to the community.

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Is Twitter co-creating itself with its consumers?

May 13th, 2009

Last week Twitter upgraded the way it told people someone new was following them. Previously all you got was a name; now you get more details so you can decide whether to follow back, without having to click through.

Interestingly, two other services, Twimailer and Topify , already offered these features (plus a few more).

Here’s Twitter’s new notification style:

Twitter's new email notifications

And here’s a notification from Topify:

Email notification from Topify
I’ve often wondered how Twitter is going to successfully add features, because they’ve made it so easy for others to build infrastructure on top of their own.

As a public good, this is a great idea, because we consumers get a huge range of services we can use with Twitter, and it also helps us realise the value of Twitter, therefore increasing our loyalty.

But I didn’t realise until now what Twitter’s other motive might have been … to provide an open infrastructure so others can innovate, and to then take the best ideas and make them their own.

Is this co-creation in action? Or is it a bit predatory? What do you think?

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