Tag: blogging

Le déclin de l’empire de social media

If you’ve never seen this exquisite film (directed by the inimitable Denys Arcand) then you must.

Title of this post was partially inspired by the title of that film, Le déclin de l’empire américain, and the overriding dark comedy flavour I personally see in some (okay, many) of today’s blog posts.

Just yesterday, a Forrester study notes that social networking users are creating less content. Now if you look past the stats and imagine that among these key “creators” are bloggers (like  me) think of it this way: none of us are actually creating new content. End of story. Right?

Why do I think this?

To illustrate—and I mean to purely illustrate through combined semantic and literary analyis of a  given post which struck me (I mean, literally hit me over the head)—why I think the above may be the case, I will extract certain phrases from this blogger’s post and provide my own take on the excerpts.

My interpretations are and always have been purely visceral. They are in no way meant to offend, mud-sling or willfully antagonize any blogger or the one whose content I’ve chosen to use as an example.

The quality of diction is..well, should not, be strained

Some of the more impressionable statements that gave me pause for thought and concern are noted below. I am concerned that the overall tone of these statements tend to border on generalization.

That in an attempt to generate some line of argument, certain states and conditions, which have long pre-existed prior to blogging and social media, are being “exposed” as detrimental to the intricate characteristics of social behaviours the majority of us actually find commonplace and expected.

Again, my own musings. Not directed at any one in particular.

“The world of social media still has a credibility problem in business.”

Hmm..so all those folks I’ve been talking to online and offline about their orgs wanting to be part of social media—whether diving head on or gingerly dipping their toes in—must either be brainwashed into having this inexplicable need OR they actually see the potential for the medium to be credible..and valuable.

“We talk too much about the value of our time rather than putting it to good use.”

For this one, I’ll refer to a comment to bring light to my reaction. I do agree with Angelique btw. Need I elaborate?

“We cannibalize our own.”

Is that phrase meant to say “We are mean to each other?” ‘Cannibalizing one’s own’ is actually redundant. See point #3 of “Influence, Idolization and Idiots“. But seriously, is this really that outrageously unacceptable a phenomenon that it begs further examination and insight?

“We talk about conversation, but we focus a great deal on the tools. And, on ourselves.”

I hesitate to say how overwhelming ironic that statement is, but I suppose by virtue of me stating my reticence, actually makes it pretty self-evident.

The long and short of this post is this: bloggers should be mindful to stick to data and interpreting such data, and to leave the in-depth social analysis to sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, researchers and the like.

Over-analyzing social behaviour for the  sake of crafting something to make it appear as if it’s a whole new thing or ball game is a sure step to demise..of all things borne of educated observation, supported by empirical analysis and expressed with literary clout.

image sourced from ozap.com

Starting the Conversation

The social web is gaining ground and your organization is scrambling. If that sounds familiar, don’t worry. You’re probably not alone.

Now more than ever, organizations must be knowledgeable and agile at identifying pieces of the social media puzzle that would be of value and make good business sense to them.

And there are ways to layer Web 2.0 onto an organization’s existing communications and marketing efforts, including using wikis and corporate blogs.

The Conversation

photo entitled ‘The Conversation’ sourced from Flickr via catcetera

Is a blog for you?
Before deciding to start an external blog consider the following:

  • who is it for (target audience)
  • what do you want to share that will be compelling (content)
  • will there be enough valuable content to keep it fresh
  • are you prepared to have a dialogue with your audience
  • who will be the resource(s) to manage
  • how will this presence enhance an existing business development initiative (or create new ones)
  • will you have a social media policy ready

Also, if you’re still leery of taking the blogging plunge, you may consider starting off on a smaller scale: micro-blog on Twitter.

I’ve seen a couple of effective corporate Twitter accounts used by large organizations: @TELUS (community/CSR), @RogersHelps (customer feedback/support).

Conversation
As you research, filter through the hype and determine how / whether or not to embed a social media strategy into the mix, you will be compelled to look at how well you engage your audience. Be prepared to listen a lot and to be responsive.

What has your tribe/organization done to start the conversation?

Wikis for Enterprise

New entrants to the social media sphere are getting their feet wet, googly-eyed while sorting through the hype and determining what to leverage and how.

autom8 iconFor business communicators keen on emerging web-based technologies and their various applications to existing processes within the enterprise, a good starting point would be to look at how wikis (not blogs) are being leveraged for internal collaboration, particularly when managing projects involving several players in a team.

This post is geared to help familiarize communicators with the potential of using wikis as a collaborative tool within their organization.

Blogs vs. Wikis 
Blogs are great vehicles for enhancing external marketing and communications efforts, managing brand awareness/reputation, improving lead generation, etc.

Wikis, on the other hand, can be an efficient platform for streamlining processes within the enterprise, either for a given operational unit (e.g., marketing or corporate communications) or for cross-functional collaboration (e.g., between marketing and IT).

Advantages

  • Streamlined communication. Imagine eliminating more than half of your day-to-day project-related email communiqués that tend to clog your inbox.
  • Virtual access. Users can easily access a wiki online through secure login, view/modify content on the fly and track what others are doing with the content.
  • Archiving ease. Each page revision is kept as a version. Hence, a previous instance of a given page is archived automatically and can be easily accessed.
  • Collaborative input and validation. Wikis are an open content management system since every user has a say and is able to input, modify and vet content accordingly.

autom8 iconBest Practices
A recent wiki-related project has prompted me to jot down some key notes to keep in mind. The same best practices are observed in project management.

  • Define scope. If you don’t define this from the get-go, you’ll easily end up moving out of scope and missing your target deliverable.
  • Establish a timeline. Be clear on mapping out a critical path for your wiki-driven project. A drop-dead completion date will serve to align the wiki’s life cycle with the project.
  • Identify content owners. While wikis are indeed an open platform, users’ settings should be configured so that there is at least one overall owner or point of contact assigned for a given wiki page/section. The onus is on this person to oversee the progress of their respective content entity and keep a pulse on all other entities related to their content.
  • Unified moderation policy. This point is subjective and at times almost impossible to map out and implement, since each user has their own style and approach for managing content. However, at best, a set of over-arching rules should be enforced and observed for content modification and internal collaboration among team members. These rules are based largely on common sense (e.g., refraining from using inappropriate language, offensive personal attacks, airing dirty laundry, etc.) Sound familiar?

Is your organization using wikis? What have you observed and found helpful?

Additional Sources on Wikis

Race to the New Economy

Ever since I got hooked on Twitter, my journey has taken me deeper into the vast quadrant of social media space.

The further I dive in, the stronger my urge to take a closer look at the less obvious aspects that make up the overall experience, and I end up asking a lot of questions.

For instance, where is all this frenzy headed? What drives its momentum? Do we risk shooting ourselves on the foot for being bold zealots of a promising, new order?

We are all racing in this journey. We are in a race to create, originate, share, advance, enhance, outsmart, or quite simply talk (blog) about something that we feel has significance against the backdrop of a broader, evolving canvas.

autom8 iconCollaborative mantra
Initially I thought the whole deal with Twitter was to post the latest, greatest and, above all, most original piece of information for people to consume or pass along and promote.

I quickly realized that no matter how original your idea or approach, there will always be a version of it elsewhere. And it doesn’t matter. The point is not to be original; it’s to be able to create something useful, through instantaneous collaboration.

Case in point: my current virtual collaboration with Aaron Friedman (@aaron116), CTO and social media entrepreneur, affords the opportunity to challenge conventional comfort zones by promoting and educating awareness of social media’s immediate and long-term benefits for business.

How did it start? Literally, when I asked him the question “what are you doing?”, which is essentially Twitter’s mantra. The collaborative attitude is not only key to social media’s success, but also to future endeavours that emerge as a result of social media’s development.

autom8 iconGlobal sand box
Without question, the movement of the social media machine is constant, fluid and ubiquitous.

As we pant and heave to get to the finish line, we aren’t always conscious of the seamless interactive energy that fuels social media’s transformation, as we influence and shape it according to our needs.

Plunked within the context of a truly global framework, transcending time zones and geopolitical demarcations, the social media revolution weaves its magic within our unique sand boxes, which in turn are boxes scattered across a larger box of the social media universe.

Fran Melmed (@femelmed), communications consultant, tweets about the sand box as follows:

considering how Twitter fosters collaboration & strips away fiefdoms. is it because it’s virtual and we’re not in one another’s sandbox?

Perhaps it is precisely because of the ubiquitous nature of virtual environments and the connections we make to other sand boxes without disrupting them that we are all able to successfully collaborate and come up with innovative methods to build communities—something that we’ve never been able to do before and on such a large scale.

autom8 iconVirtually there
Technological advancement cycles through a process where new versions are engineered on the backs of prototypes.

Our new virtual soap boxes in the form of Facebook, Twitter and the like are essentially advanced versions of apps born out of the former tech bubble such as online newsgroups and instant message/chat programmes.

Among the hottest, emerging enterprise-geared offerings is Cloud Computing. I draw your attention to this latest trend because its sudden emergence is in parallel with the rise of social media. The virtual nature of both phenomena can’t simply be coincidental.

Today’s innovative, virtual environments will indeed evolve quickly (hiccups et al) and persist to win the confidence that will spark economic recovery. Of course, a revolution is not without those who resist the pull of change.

Damien Stevens (@damienstevens), cloud computing expert and entrepreneur, shares a recent experience:

Yesterday, I met with a seasoned CIO of a multi-billion dollar company who has been in the IT industry for some time.

He said “Virtualization isn’t new. We were doing that on mainframes 30 years ago.”

I disagree 100%. The Virtualization of today runs on commodity hardware and works with the very software and OSes (operating systems) you use at home. This makes this available to the masses, not just those who can afford a mainframe.

Virtualization is the catalyst that drives cloud computing. It builds on virtualization by abstracting infrastructure as a consumable service.

And we’re just talking virtual web services and applications. Imagine what other applications (technical or otherwise) could come about as a result of all the effort we invest in building this new industry.

autom8 iconBeyond the finish line
We stand on the crossroads of a bewildering revolution and are both witness and participant to a promising paradigm shift.

Now, more than ever, we are called to evolve as a global community and contribute to a revolution that jumpstarts a new economy.

The race is on. Let’s finish it and go beyond.