Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Virtual Worlds – a playful history part 1

In the Disney movie "Tron" – the first movie to use computer generated imagery (CGI) extensively back in 1982, the hero (a computer games developer) gets sucked into the virtual reality world of a huge computer matrix. Most of the action takes place as he struggles to win against the evil central controller and get back to normal reality. Throughout this encounter he remains aware that he is real (and even some of the virtual characters get to know this) but at the same time he is totally immersed within the virtual world. Fast-forward seventeen years to 1999 and the first of the "Matrix" trilogy is released. Here human beings – in a distant future – live out their entire conscious lives within a virtual reality generated for them by a massive world-wide computer matrix. Only a few humans have escaped from this to find out that the real world is in fact very different – a dark and menacing reality where human beings are essentially "farmed" to provide the energy needed to sustain the matrix.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Social Media roundup

In my series of posts on using social media I've mentioned a number of sites. There are so many now that it's almost impossible to track them all, but one social media expert, Brian Solis, has created a useful visualisation tool which he calls the Conversation Prism.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Social Media part 13

In this last post on the current series, I'll give some examples of "Embracing" the customer using Social Media. In fact some of the examples I've already given in previous posts relating to supporting, etc. overlap into the embracing arena. This is because Social Media tools are just that - tools - and the use you put them to can vary.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Social Media part 12

In this penultimate part of the current series on Social Media, I'm going to cover the subject of "Embracing", starting with some groundwork on what we mean by this.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Social Media part 11

From my last post (14th November) I set out the aim of providing support for communities that use Social Media tools in such a way as to relieve us of some of the effort of providing support by other means and/or generating higher levels of positive energy within our target groups.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Social Media part 10

I'm sure those of you who have been following these postings will have noticed the high degree of overlap between the stages of "Listening" and "Talking", and to a lesser extent, the following stage of "Energising". As we move on to "Supporting" you'll see that this trend continues and that just as the first two are a highly related pair, so too are Energising and Supporting.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Social Media part 9

Energising through Social Media: some tools

Two key components for energising one's customers are to provide them with a means of developing their interest in what you do and giving them a feeling that they are valuable and special - and this must be genuine. There is some cross over between these in terms of what the tools can offer, so rather than list the tools under these two categories, I have just listed the tools and tried to show how they can help. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Social Media part 8

Energising the customer

Using Social Media, according to Groundswell, we move on from listening and talking to energising. Here are some definitions of energising:
  1. The activity of causing to have energy and be active
  2. Supplying motive force
  3. Charging of the body and soul with energy.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Social Media part 7

In part 4 of the above blog series I listed the factors identified by the authors of Groundswell:

  • Listening - to better understand your communities;
  • Talking - to spread messages;
  • Energising - to engage your most enthusiastic people and allow them to spread the message even more;
  • Supporting - providing tools for people to support each other: self-help;
  • Embracing - integrating people into the way you work, e.g. getting them to help design and change your services.
In my last post I wrote about listening. Today we move on to talking.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Social Media part 6

I hope that, if you have read my blog posts so far, you are convinced that Social media is important. So how could we use it in our organisations? The ideas below (and in forthcoming posts) are not an exhaustive list, but hopefully they'll provide fuel for thought, give you an idea of the range of tools available, and show some practical things that we could do.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Social Media part 5

So far I've described some of the ways in which Social Media can and have been used to change the way in which people operate in relation to organisations, and how organisations themselves can embrace the possibilities.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Social Media part 4

Up until now I've tried to present a case for the need for organisations to seriously think about social media, and hopefully you find this compelling.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Social Media part 3

We've seen that social networking has a global reach, and that because it's in the hands of ordinary people, it can be impossible to control. This can lead to personal bias being widely broadcast very quickly. And because the medium is popular, the results can be seen and read by millions of people. In my last blog I mentioned Wikipedia. Another popular social media site is FaceBook. Here you can create a profile of yourself (or your organisation) and invite people to become "friends". The more friends, the higher up the popularity table you rise and the more chance there is of people viewing your FaceBook site.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Social Media part 2

Why is Social Networking so important?

New ways of working. What does this mean to you? What images does it conjure up? Possibly something about more people working from home and "hot desks", open plan offices? Possibly something about operations staff who need to be out and about being supported by computers such that they can record all they need to in the field. Possibly something about flexible working (much in the UK news right now Oct, 2008), reduced office accommodation and better work-life balance. And I'd agree that new ways of working is all of these things.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Social Media part 1

What is "Social Media"?

Put very simply, social media are a set of Internet-based technologies that allow people to connect without being under the control of some overall authority. For example, web "blogs" (online diaries) allow people to publish articles about anything they want using a medium (the web) that is accessible to anyone, anywhere, any time (so long as they have Internet access). Blogs can allow people to post comments to the articles the owner has put there. Another example is YouTube, where people can post videos they've made and other people can comment and vote on them. A third example is Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, where anyone can add and edit the entries.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Is this progress?

This article is inspired by the book A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright (2004). Basically this is about the meaning of progress and its implications for civilizations both past and present.