transition

Back in October, I was reminding people to keep up with their social networks as the recession brought challenges.

While it was hardly prescient, it was brought home to me when my role at work changed; my operating division had what’s called a headcount challenge – basically, they needed less people to run the work – and I was placed in what’s called a transition centre.

Now, for years I’ve worked on an assignment basis – work comes up, I say I’m interested, and if suitable, I get to do the job… which might be for a month, a quarter, or even a year or two. You learn a lot of new skills, get to work with really interesting people and technologies and then move on.

This means moving to a new role is not a surprise, and nor is having to change what I do. Currently, I’ve been asked to manage some folk as they move from one role to another.

Nearly everyone realises as the business environment changes, the work we’re carrying out has to change – and we’ll need to be flexible to do this. What I’m looking forward to is using some tools rather more Enterprise 2.0 than spreadsheets to help people on their journey.

Whatever people like me do to help individuals, their new roles and assignments have to be found by them – and one of the best ways? Through their own networks.

So, I repeat my plea.
Keep up with your social networks.

Image Credit: ruSSeLL hiGGs

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I’ve just remotely attended a really interesting presentation in London [OK, I attended remotely], by Media Snackers who talked about engaging with the young, through social media and so on.

Couple of things:

The world’s changed, and it’s not turning back

used to be their strapline – but they’re now emphasising

cheaper, quicker, sexier

as what the social media stuff can do. Look at their site to see what they are about.
A couple of the points they raised struck me – the takeup of social media amongst the young is astonishing; they highlighted a Forrester report which segment the social media area into

  • Creators
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

and this is segmented by age – with the creatives and critics highly represented in 16-24, with spectators and inactives being preponderantly 50+ (like me!)

perhaps nothing too new for some of us – although there are scary figures about the change in media consumption, but something he said struck a chord. More or less:

… a lot of people seem to be getting into the space; I mean, look at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office – they’re a lot of suits, but they’re on Flickr, on YouTube, on Twitter, they blog… where are you? I mean, c’mon guys…

I thought, that can’t be right, can it?
Hmm…
So, I had a brief look, and found a Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and blog platform presence for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. It may not be exciting, but it looks like they do have a coherent social media strategy.

What are you doing?

If someone looks for you on Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter – what will they find? If they search for a blog presence or social media involvement – what will they see?

If you’re not taking part in the conversation… it will go right on. Without you.

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scratching head

Social Media in the Enterprise

I wondered about the impact social media tools were making in knowledge management for the enterprise. We have got some very rapid growth in the takeup of the tools in my company; we have loads of wikis, internal blogs – growing use of Twitter.

I wondered about the difference between *Information* Management & *Knowledge* management.

Thanks to a tweet from @elsua I found my way to an excellent presentation on Knowledge Management given by John Bordeaux (@JBordeaux, since you ask).

As with many of these things, what you can take away from it depends to some extent on your organisational culture. I found it very interesting, particularly the view on

Basic information sharing infrastucture – just do it!

    Enterprise search
    Democratic web publishing
    Social media! Everything 2.0
  • Image Credit: I am K.E.B.

  • I’ve posted about corporate use of Twitter before. I like the way it can build a brand’s position and personality.

    I really liked this use of a response to a question from Jaunted by the Twitter face of @SouthwestAir (Christi) – and of course, she tweeted about it. Now, that’s a great way to use your Twitter account. They get it.

    read more | digg story

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    gig audience

    Do you listen to your customer?

    We do … that’s what we all say. It’s what we all want to do. Sometimes, particularly in a big corporate, it gets to be a bit difficult to hear what they’re all shouting to you.

    Sometimes, it might be “Thanks”; sometimes, “Can you do it tomorrow?”; it might even be “I want to complain”. We want to hear all of those. We want our customers to know we’ve heard them.

    How do they talk to you

    Ideally, how they want to. They can ring you, email you – hey, even write to you.

    What if they use Twitter?

    @SouthwestAir and @ComcastCares are examples where corporates engage with an audience – they look for who’s tweeting at them, and talk back to them or help them.

    @stephenfry is an extreme example of an individual – some 63k people follow him and he follows back about 32k. He can’t hope to see everything that comes through [replies virtually every 5-10 seconds], but he does engage with his audience. [You can find me at @steveellwood, but I only have 203 followers – but I follow 234 people!]

    What if they use Facebook

    What groups are being set up around or about your brand? Are they positive? Are they YourFirmSucks? How are you going to deal with it? If you don’t, what’s the message you’re giving? Not saying anything, is making a statement – whether you mean it or not.

    Should you engage with your customers via social media

    If you start to, and more customers pile in, will it scale?
    Chris Brogan (surprisingly enough @chrisbrogan) says in Are you Important to me?

    No. No, it will not scale. You cannot … maintain a 1:1 relationship with every single person who interacts … I think the same is true of using these tools within an organization. Only, the beauty is this: inside an organization, you can spread the connections out a bit. Not everyone has to talk with Tony Hsieh at Zappos. They might want to, but they will find that there are plenty of other great folks there.

    Ditto Comcast. Ditto Dell. Ditto every brand that’s trying to figure out these tools and this space.

    It will not scale, but if you want the bottom line return on investment value, you’d best remember to remind people that they’re important to you. And that’s what these tools do best.

    What are you doing to engage with your customers in social media? I’d be interested to hear.

    Image Credit:svenwerk

    Cromarty CG

    Please, can we have a website?

    How many of us get questions like that?

    I did, and the Cromarty Coastguard website was the result.

    So, the answer was “Yes”.

    Recently, my local Coastguard Team decided they wanted to get a quick team website off the ground. Most of the team are happy with the internet for searching for technical information, they all use email, but they’re not really content providers of any sort.

    They seemed astonished when I said that they could have a website, with their own domain name within a day or so. They were then a bit surprised by the number of questions

    What’s your website for…

    Usually the first thing you should decide.
    Are you:

    • providing a service
    • sharing information
    • building your brand with it
    • selling something
    • or just learning HTML/CSS

    We wanted an information site, which would highlight the work we do for potential new members, and provide some easy reference material.

    Who’s going to manage this?

    The idea was, “Oh, the team’ll do it”. I’ve heard this before, so wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to provide content. I’ve offered to help admin things, but I expect the Station Officer will take a lead.

    What’s it going to run on?

    It’s a tiny wee website; I’m not expecting huge traffic. I expect regular changes as we respond to incidents and do training exercises. I thought I’d better get a content management system(CMS) . I’d heard about Joomla and Drupal… but I’d also read about using WordPress as a CMS. I blog with it, so am familiar with it. I’d been thinking about moving a couple of other hobby sites onto WordPress, so this was an ideal opportunity.

    So, our website runs on WordPress.com, with its own domain name. I’ll watch the stats with interest, and see how many members author content for it – and look for any links for other coastguard sites.

    From request to up took 2 days; much of which was finding content and getting the domain name up on WordPress.com. I’d certainly use WordPress again for a hobby/small site.

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    or, are we dinosaurs?

    @jobsworth has written another thought provoking post on the customer’s voice and choice, and I commend it to everyone.

    We need to be in the business of providing the customer what she wants when she wants it, where she wants it, how she wants it. We need to focus on making things that the customer wants to buy, rather than trying to get customers to pay for things they neither want nor need.

    There was a time when we could decide for the customer. There was a time when we could constrain the customer’s voice and choice. There was a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

    via Faster horses in the age of co-creation

    I think it’s fair to say that we need to know what business we’re in, and what we can sell to our customers – and in these turbulent financial times – what we can sell that will bring us cash in, and provide us some margin for our business.

    If we can’t bring in cash quickly, and make margin on what we’re selling, then we need to walk away quickly from that opportunity and fix what we do.

    Otherwise, we’ll sell the customer what they want, but what we can’t afford.

    read more | digg story


    Image Credit: whizchickenonabun