Friday, February 29, 2008
So now we have the web widget to compliment our already cluttered impression of the web landscape. Yes, we need to differentiate apparently as some will argue that OS widgets have been around for years (the Mac Dashboard being a prime case in point). No, no... THIS widget is special.
The numeber of English posts that contain Widgets per day for the last 30 days is charted below. If you look at the term web widgets, the number of blog mentions decreases a bit, but there is an undeniable buzz about them. Is this the buzz of an innocuous fly on the window sill or the ominous buzz of a yellow jacket getting ready to sting without provocation?
Over the upcoming week I'll be posting exclusively about widgetizing the web as I'll be giving a Webinar on the topic. Join me for a guided tour of many practical uses for the widget in current technological playgrounds and work environments. From practical examples of widget uses and implementations, to the places you can go to get or put widgets, you will leave this event an enriched and enlightened knowledge worker ready to dazzle any and all with your new widgetry know-how.
If you already know that you want to know more about this topic, register today for the upcoming Dow Jones webinar "Widgets: Internet Sushi for the Web 2.0 Crowd" to be presented by me - Thomas G. Dopko from the Dow Jones Enterprise Media Group.
Find out what makes a widget a widget and how they are being used (and created) for the enterprise and business world. These widgets are nifty little devils, so be sure to jump on board!
Catch you soon!
Friday, February 22, 2008
I don’t know about you but everyday there seems to be a new article in the mainstream press – you know those quaint old fashioned papery things - about all the nastiness that social media sites can do to you personally or to your company. Only last Sunday in the Sunday Times mag, no less, there was a whole page given over to how to commit Facebook suicide – ie how to remove your profile from the site and extricate yourself from all those annoying emails from almost complete strangers wanting to be ‘your friend’.
So not only have networking sites hit the big time, become conventional and middle aged (certainly my 16 year old nephew thinks it’s very uncool to be on Facebook or heaven forbid MySpace) we are now actively looking to remove our profiles and clear our desks with Google-free days. Crumbs – what’s a girl to do? The novelty has worn off – time to look for something new to while away our leisure hours.
But perhaps it’s not so in the business world – a few weeks ago over here in the UK we all heard about a campaign on a parent’s website called raisingkids.com that got up such a head of steam that it managed to get Woolworth stores to withdraw the sale of the ‘Lolita’ bed for young girls, complaining at the name’s link to the famed novel about a paedophile. Then there was the campaign that spiralled through Facebook last August forcing HSBC into a humiliating u-turn over its decision to scrap interest-free overdrafts for university graduates not to mention the collective sigh of relief when Cadbury brought back Wispa bars by popular bloggers’ demand and the getting Sky Sports to change the way it displays the scores on live football matches.
As the Independent asks, is this real social activism or just people in ones and twos trotting out their own hobby horse in the hope that others will leap on the bandwagon?
Which brings me neatly on to the subject of the SLA Europe seminar next week!
OK, so maybe we’ve already got bored with social networking but the business world certainly hasn’t. There are all sorts of challenges for organisations – they need to monitor the impact of all this chatter, make sure their reputations remain intact.
Simon Bradstock, VP Corporate Products at Dow Jones and Andrew Bernstein, President of TNS-MI/Cymfony will presenting a seminar in London next Tuesday 26th February about their products that can help organisation monitor just that.
See you later
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Opposites repel much more often than attract when it comes to social media. People like to be "clustered" with others who share their views, likes, interests and ideas. The devil's advocate seems to have a short shelf life in social media where a group of angry vegan's will pounce on and horsewhip an interloping carnivore with a conviction and savagery the likes of which is seldom linked to the old concept of the tofu and tuber vegetarian crowd of yesteryear.
So how does the social media model break and fail in the enterprise execution? What is the possible cause for the fast disintegration of the clusters that make up the cells of the e-community model? It is my belief that the same elements that make the implementation of social media in non-work environments so successful are responsible for breaking down most attempts to harness social media into the workflow of the enterprise.
For our example, we've got five companies that are interested in integrating social media into their workflow. All of them have small populations of Web 2.0 natives who were early adopters of the latest trends and currents on the Web. Some routinely blog, podcast and use tagging in del.icio.us while others use Facebook and Flickr to interact with others with the same interests. Still others are into creating and maintaining wikis in the hope of eventually them into their company’s' portals. We'll refer to these as the actives.
While the image is a colorful one that shows the links between companies and community clusters, this is where the pretty picture usually stops. If indeed we did look no further into the future of this model, it would probably convince a manager to issue a directive to "Get on board that social media train!" and start breaking new ground in product development, client interaction and company morale building. Actually, according to a Forrester report:
"Fully 89% of the CIOs said they had adopted at least one of six prominent Web 2.0 tools - blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, social networking, and content tagging - and a remarkable 35% said they were already using all six of the tools."
So what makes it near impossible to translate this interest into practical application? Let's continue.
Let's continue on to the next step. "We should make a blog/wiki/podcast, and show that we are keeping up with the Web 2.0 movement" from a supervisor achieves two things. The actives will look at it as a chance to bring their world of digital community interaction into the spotlight. The inactives will collectively groan at yet another deviation from the current norms and acceptable methods. This should be news to no one, but remember that in order for the social media enterprise experiment to work, there must be a sense of sameness that goes beyond sharing a cubicle and a manager. So now we have a few agile users working side by side with one or more individuals who, while not actively obstinate, are closer to being obstacles than potential digital converts simply because they are going to continue to use their own methods rather than take the time to watch a video cast on the topic.
Shortly into this "integration" process, we can see how the sameness that drives the social media model now creates a wedge in the workflow. The actives are still engaged in their connections to their peers who incidentally are not the people in their workgroups, departments and teams. The inactives are still providing a collective sense of disinterest in the experiment and are the ones who fail to contribute to the newly created blog, or show no inclination to learn how to link wiki entries or even use something as simple as del.icio.us when researching on the web.
So now we come to the main point of this exercise in probable futility. The digital intelligentsia is showing increasing numbers of Web 2.0 adoption in the enterprise through a variety of collected metrics and reports. All of the signs point to social media becoming the unifying element that will bridge the silos of many of today's enterprises. So why are so many attempts failing at the gate? The clustering of the like minded and the separation of clusters based on active or inactive sameness may be one cause, but there is a way to go about it with the foresight and knowledge essential to increase the odds of adoption.
First and foremost, look for a small foray instead of widespread saturation. Begin by finding out internally exactly who in your company uses what. This will give you a nucleus of willing Web 2.0 natives that can then be further subdivided.
Next on the list of essentials is a clear goal with an established timeline. There should be a measurable element you are going to test this method on and having an achievable objective will make the effort far more focused. For example, a product or service wiki is something that can unite several actives that are from a variety of departments. Let's face it: every company or industry has it's own unique taxonomy of terms that the public (or even internal workers) would benefit from understanding. Attach a script to the page to collect some metrics and you are in business.
Another likely candidate is a blog with a purpose. A blog that poses a question or seeks user/client input will return some good metrics in short order. (One of) The most important aspect of this step is using ONLY actives on the project. The introduction of hurdles and unresponsive team members will automatically create an albatross of monumental proportions. The actives will already have the tools and the interest, so why poison the waters when you know darn well it may just kill any momentum you try to build?
And last on this short list of recommendations is a reportable ROI. Take a dozen employees who are put into a special project group in order to use their Web 2.0 and social networking experience in order to provide clients with a place to respond to potential company directions or ideas on a regular basis and you've created a connection that returns information directly from the previously faceless target audience. If you can't justify the efforts to the powers that be, you might want to rethink the likelihood of wide adoption based on your actions. Plan from the start how you can turn the metrics and the numbers into something your boss will both understand and endorse.
If by some small chance you follow this advice and get the (positive) attention of management, don't forget that success can easily be turned to failure as soon as the directive is given to push the model on the same inactives who would have killed the project had they any major role to play in it's execution. By working consistently with your nucleus of actives, you can be assured that the next phase of adoption will be fueled by people who share a sense of sameness that will drive the initiative onward.
As always, we are looking for your feedback and welcome any questions you might have. See you next time!
* For additional support information, I have provided some useful links below:
the FASTForward Blog
Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang
Friday, February 8, 2008
For instance, the other day I stopped by to see her and to my surprise my niece was there as well. My niece happens to be a digital native and although my mother believes in spending quality time together as a family, my niece would rather "text" her friends with her pink "chocolate" while keeping her ears plugged up with an Ipod Nano. The entire time during my visit, I watched as my mother attempted to engage my niece in conversation with very little success. It was apparent that this young digital native had more interesting tasks to complete which did not include chatting with grandma. During the 30 minutes of my visit, I literally heard my niece speak maybe a total of 6 phrases of dialog to my mother which made me wonder what exactly she stopped by for. Afterall, wasn't this a visit?
So let me ask, technology is a great thing right? For a digital native you get to stay in constant contact with your friends especially if a new Coach bag just became the hot thing. Or you are the first person to learn all the words to that song you just downloaded to your MP3 player. Or perhaps the GPS device in your car will allow you to find all of the Starbucks within a 5 mile radius. Well, my mother would beg to differ. You see, she'd rather discover the Coach bag being on sale herself by driving to the store and being surprised at the huge SALE sign above the rack. She would also rather walk into a store to purchase a cassette tape and look beneath the cover to learn the words to a song she has just heard while driving in her car. And she'd rather pull out her Yellow Pages telephone book to find the local Starbucks.
My mother is a very successful woman who uses the smallest amount of technology when necessary and is quite happy with her life. To her, grasping technology means additional learning to understand why we need it, how it actually works and why can't she continue to do what she does today. My niece on the other hand is a typical broke college student who complains that she hates school and wants a job making tons of money. But of course anytime a new gadget is made available, she has to jump on board because it's NECESSARY.
So I ask, is technology required to aid my niece in becoming a polished and content woman just like her grandmother?
Friday, February 1, 2008
- The US is a first world country with some second world characteristics about what it takes to make us happy. We are still caught up in the belonging and status phase and have not moved on to thinking about self-actualization. Northern Europe is there and the US is not.
- Ethical consumption issues will dominate the next few years. Things like carbon footprints, free trade coffee and going green are now at the forefront of corporate and societal thinking. This will be a messy process for a while.
- We now place a premium on convenience because we are under tremendous time pressure and live over-scheduled lives. Outsourcing of chores is a growing trend and using precious time for family and friends is at the forefront.
- Baby boomers are looking forward to working retirements and a continuation of professional and intellectual growth and work well into the future. We are never going to retire completely.
- Reciprocal or reverse mentoring is a big trend, with the younger workforce showing the older workforce how new technologies can be used and the older workforce sharing life strategies experience with younger workers.
- We live in a time of lifelong learning. Online learning is a booming market for all and the barriers to virtual learning are falling. The University of Phoenix is the largest institution of higher education in the world and is entirely virtual. Many ‘name brand’ universities now have significant distance education programs. My own graduate school at San Jose State University is the largest library and information school in the world.
What does all this mean for us? I look forward to your comments and a continuation of the conversation. Andy offered lots more interesting commentary, which I will also share in future posts.
Note: The posts on this blog are provided 'as is' with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are our own and do not necessarily represent those of our past,future or present employers.