Monthly Archives: September 2010

Privacy…what does it mean?

An out take from JiveWorld10, was a key note from the founder of cellular telephony – Martin Cooper – who started off his presentation with the statement: “Privacy is dead.” A bold statement but one that has been expressed by many others, including the king of social media Mark Zuckerberg who stated that how we view privacy has changed. See his comments from his TechCrunch interview:

So does this mean our world is turn on its head and our private lives will be splashed all over Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, YouTube …. at some level yes.  However a couple of caveats.

First, the power of social media is user created content. Therefore if you do not want to have something out in cyberspace…do not put it there. When someone complains that their privacy has been violated yet they forget that they uploaded drunken pictures from their night out via their iPhone and checked in to every place they went via Gowalla…um just check your own behavior.

Second, with all that is being shared, uploaded, tweeted, blogged, checked-in to name a number of tools we use to participate in social media the volume of noise can protect some of our privacy. Our personal lives on cyberspace can become buried very quickly in the waves of noise that is being produced every second of the day.

By no means do I think we should display our social security numbers, home addresses and credit card numbers on our Linkedin profiles, however I also believe the issue of privacy is not as major a problem as it might be portrayed.

We still control what we share. Worried about Facebook and privacy, don’t post pictures you do not want others to see, watch what you write on your wall…tenants that hold true in the non cyber world!  Too many of use enjoy the power and flexibility of social media sites without thinking of the potential consequences. There is no doubt that as we become more connected there is more information that is accessible, there is no doubt that we must be more cautious with information but much of this comes down to personal responsibility and common sense.

Privacy is dead long live privacy.

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Jive World 2010 – the Social CRM revolution will be tweeted

Last week I was able to go to San Francisco to attend Jive’s annual event – Jive World 2010. For those of you that are not familiar with Jive Software they position themselves as “first in social business.” Basically they provide a platform to allow businesses take the plunge into social media. They allow clients to build collaborative environments for their clients, build blogs, communities and manage collaboration from both an internal and external stand point. Basically they bring together functionality from Facebook, Word Press, Wikipedia and YouTube to name a few onto one platform. Now that is not necessarily a good thing, sometimes when we try to do everything we do nothing well.

The event was very informative, raised some great questions and at times felt like 1999 all over again.

Some thoughts from the event:

  • Lots of discussion about building communities via the Jive platform. Companies from Charles Schwab to RIM talked about how they leveraged the platform to grow their communities. The surprising fact was the large number of firms that were leveraging the platform for internal facing communities. The communities were leveraged for collaboration, idea sharing and simplifying the access to the information captured within a corporation. However this ability to collaborate and share thoughts and ideas seems limited to the safety of a company’s 4 walls. Understandable, I think this reflects companies hesitation to open too much of the proverbial kimono. Clearly there remains great opportunity for companies to start embracing these ideas with external communities.
  • Jive Software is following Picasso’s tenant – “Good artists create, great artists steal.” The UI smells very much like Facebook, the app store…looks like iTunes just to name two examples. Why not! As consumers we have been trained by these consumer applications and why should our behavior change in the work world? Jive is smart enough to not reinvent the wheel. It is interesting to see a continuation of the consumer facing technology leading the way when it comes to delivery method, UI and overall advancement of technology.
  • The exuberance from main stage and the conference was strong. It almost felt like 1999 all over again. Buyer beware. Ok I will admit that I lived through the heady days of the internet revolution and saw the incredible highs – remember NASDAQ 10,000 being a possibility?? I do get a little skeptical when I hear the similar spin…reading about “social media revolution” about to take off …is something that makes me chuckle. Jive is onto something, but at some level it is a continuation of what started with the advent of Netscape. The ability to lower the barriers to communicate, collaborate and interact because of apps, high speed access, mobile and all the other electronic tools that have become a part of our every day lives.

Jive is an interesting play in the market, they deserve a look from anyone that sees collaboration and communities as important to their business…and that is most businesses! Are they the clear cut leader, according to Gartner and Forrester they are a leader but there remains other players to keep an eye on.

I will dive in deeper on some topics that came from the conference:

  • Is privacy dead?
  • How to best measure community success?
  • What does the mobile side of social media mean?

Just some themes that I heard during my time in San Francisco.

If you attended feel free to send me some of your thoughts and ideas!

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Filed under Marketing, Online Community, Social media

Ghost writing for a blog – important for content creation or a vile assault on essence of blogging?

Okay maybe not a vile assault…but a very interesting topic. There have been some interesting pieces written on the issue of does ghost writing violate the essence of blogging? At their core, blogs are suppose to allow the author a platform to express his or her ideas to an open audience – the world wide web. The early days of blogging that was exactly what the medium was used for – suddenly individuals, like myself, could leverage tools like WordPress, Blogger or Typepad to put together a simple site that would allow us to type or thoughts and ideas to be broadcast and sent throughout cyberspace. However over the past few years, corporations have woken up to the power of blogging – how it allowed companies or organizations another tool to broadcast their positions, thoughts, ideas, allowed them to react more rapidly to events and brought them that much closer to their customers and prospects. Of course anytime a tool like this gets into the corporate world it also become subject to HR departments, legal, PR, marketing and all the other silos that have the potential to sap the power of the blog.

When I get a press release from Company X and their CEO said “blah blah blah” at no point do I really believe those words came out of the CEO’s mouth let alone that they even saw the press release…well I do know of one large firm where the CEO still edits every press release…not sure you pay a CEO to do that, but I digress. However when it comes to blogs, if that company’s CEO has a blog, it must be his or her hand at the keyboard or via Dragon Naturally Speaking that is composing the posts. I also trust that legal and PR, for the most part, are not mandated to give the blog post a “once over” before it goes live. Of course I understand that there could come a time when certain topics need to be discussed with legal and the PR department to ensure it is worth putting out in public. But for the most part, if an executive of a company is blogging I trust it is because they truly want to, they are the ones creating the content, they are speaking in their words and expressing their thoughts. For this reason I think ghost writing for a company blog that is clearly associated to an individual in the firm is a no no. Otherwise I will just read the corporate brochures and web copy. The whole point of having an executive or individual associated with the company blog about the company or relevant business is to provide the audience with a personal link to that entity…not with more marketing spin.

Having said that, if a company has a blog that is under a corporate umbrella – for example Ariba or Kinaxis who have corporate blogs with multiple authors – they could leverage ghost bloggers. Then again with a corporate blog that provides an umbrella with multiple authors it is about the messaging that comes from the company not an individual within the corporation…otherwise they should have their own branded blog.  So for these corporate branded blogs, feel free to leverage ghost bloggers, I still rather have the person that has their name associated with the ghost blogger write themselves, but it is much less egregious than ghost blogging for an individually branded blog.

Some other blog posts on the topic:

http://stevefarnsworth.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/is-ghost-writing-ethical/

http://www.pr-squared.com/index.php/2010/09/is-ghostblogging-ethical

http://paulrobertspr.blogspot.com/2010/09/is-ghost-blogging-ethical.html

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Filed under Blogs, Social media

Twittering for work – how to handle the handles

The usage of Twitter is becoming increasingly important for corporations to push out information, engage with their client base and glean information from the market. I would argue that Twitter might replace the traditional wire services to push out press releases, more on that in a later post. However one dilemma that I have seen increase is how do you handle the Twitter handles?

For example – should you have a generic corporate Twitter handle and then handles for specific employees? What content should be pushed via which handle? A recent interview with George Colony of Forrester, states that most executives are not using the social tools nor are they socially savvy, not a huge surprise. So what does this mean for Twitter?

  • First – assume that most companies’ executives today are not going to leverage Twitter as it should be, so set your expectations at the proper level. Do not expect your CEO to jump on Twitter and have a handle where they are tweeting every hour, RT, doing #FF and understanding what # Tags are.
  • Second – you need to have a corporate Twitter handle that pushes out the corporate message. This can be seen as an extension of your Public Relations department. Just as they would send a press release to PRNewswire for distribution, the corporate Twitter handle needs to be seen in the same light. Of course to take full advantage of the medium, the handle will need to be monitored and leveraged to generate discussion, respond to other tweets and be a two way street in terms of conversations.
  • Third – determine if you business lends itself to having individuals tweet under their own handle company related tweets. For example, your company sells software solutions for the retail space your company twitter handle should be pushing out relevant marketing materials and information, however the head of marketing should be tweeting and gaining insight into industry trends, building relationships with relevant players in the space. Maybe someone in sales wants to tweet about their experience in identifying business problems with clients and how they are assisting.

The more open you are with regards to Twitter -meaning the more voices that speak for the company, the better that is for the overall business. Why? It allows for greater communication, greater insight and greater opportunity to develop trust with that firm. The corporate handle is how the entire entity communicates, the individual tweets allow a communication to be established at a much more specific and targeted manner.

Bottom line, your company should have multiple twitter handles. Allow the likes of the marketing, sales, R&D and executive departments to build their relationship with your audience. Done properly, your Twitter strategy will allow for your brand to be carried by multiple ambassadors.

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