MAD Perspectives Blog

Social Media Storytelling 201

Peggy Dau - Thursday, January 05, 2012

Every company has a story to tell.  There is the story about its creation and growth.  There are stories about its products and solutions.  There are insights about its impact on society, markets and individuals.  These stories are told through a wide variety of communication platforms. Social Media 101 would recommend defining a plan aligned with your strategy, then using the most popular social media platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogging) to fulfill that plan. As we enter 2012, lets look at some additional tools that will expand the audience for your business stories!

1. Slideshare - As the name indicates, share your presentations.  Not only can companies post presentations and whitepapers, they can create audio to complement the information in the presentations. Slideshare is great outlet for establishing your position in the market, sharing insights in a visual manner, promoting new products, providing "how to" content, and more.  Tell stories through graphics, pictures and key highlights.

2. LinkedIn Groups - Every LinkedIn pundit promotes the benefits of a good profile, increasing connections and gathering recommendations. They also encourage involvement in groups, yet many of the individuals that I talk to don't realize the value of groups. There is a group for just about any industry, technology, profession or interest.  Your company can create groups specific to product categories or market needs. It provides an alternative channel to promote your company's value. Groups allow members to ask and answer questions between themselves or the group moderator. Stories evolve through these interactions.

3. HootSuite or TweetDeck - Simplify your monitoring and posting of social commentary. Each platform allows users to establish multiple accounts (i.e., on behalf of clients), receive notifications, schedule updates and view multiple columns of content on a single screen. These tools provide a single destination for managing your posts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, Ping and others. They provide you with instant access to content to keep your story relevant.

4.  Apps - 2011 saw the rise of the app as a means of sharing content on mobile devices.  Given the restrictions of these devices, apps streamline user access and interaction. Without apps, smartphones and tablets would not be enjoying such high levels of success. The challenge for B2B companies is identifying and developing apps to address employee and customer needs. Apple launched its B2B App Store in late 2011, acknowledging the unique needs of this market segment.  Apps simplify how employees or customers can engage with your company while on the go.  Some broad ideas for relevant apps could be customer service FAQs, order management, product highlights and demos, need feeds incorporating corporate, industry and social content.  Apps help you interact in a new way and share your targeted elements of your story.

Coordinating cross channel communication efforts will be the 2012 challenge for sales, marketing and customer support. Creating and adapting content for use across multiple platforms takes time and talent. Companies will face resource challenges to manage content development and distribution. In parallel, social platforms continue to emerge and there are several technologies that all marketing strategists should be addressing. They include the use of mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets), adoption of monitoring and analytics platforms and the importance of location based services.  

Be aware of how any platform can benefit your company's goals as well as increasing awareness and interaction. Use the same methodology you've been using to align and integrate your communications strategy. Define your audiences, the content they need and the best communication channels. Take your strategy to the next level -  testing and analyzing platforms relevant for your business and your customers.

What's your perspective?




Corporate Culture & Communication - The Keys to Success

Peggy Dau - Thursday, November 17, 2011

I've been talking with a colleague about companies investigating transformation.  It seems to be present at all types of companies and at all levels within the company, although most companies seem to focus on the technology.  My colleague has led a global consulting practice enabling business transformation for telecommunications operators around the world.  Their focus is business process and organization structure first, before any discussion about technology needs or solutions.  As we've discussed the challenges companies face when they consider transformations to drive new revenue or to reduce operational costs, I've raised the importance of communication during this transformation.

I asked my colleague about her communications as she built her practice.  While she had not thought about a formal communication plan, she did in fact have regularly scheduled discussions with each set of stakeholders. These discussions reinforced goals and progress and provided opportunities for issues to be raised and addressed.  Why were these conversations so important?  Because they gave stakeholders the opportunity to understand the strategy while also giving voice to perceived challenges.  While her desire was to develop a practice focused on systematic change to enable clients to better serve customers, this foundation may not have been sufficient without development of a culture that led to ultimate success.

The culture as embodied by every practice member reflects confident leadership, an empowered team and consistent communication.  The result is trusted client relationships, a team dedicated to facilitating client transitions to build and offer new services, camaraderie enabling rapid solution definition, and commitment to mutual success.  The team shares challenges and success in equal parts, understanding that communication opens the door for insight, acknowledgement and and problem resolutions (if needed). The team uses existing corporate communication tools such as conference calls, email and Sharepoint.

However, successful communication is not about the tool itself, it's about defining what needs to be communicated, understanding the concerns of all stakeholders and addressing those concerns.  As I've spoken to various members of this practice, I've recognized a common thread.  Each consultant is uniquely focused on understanding how the defined transformation will impact each business group involved.  While they may not acknowledge it themselves, their open communication as they work with clients is a key factor in their success.  Each of them develop strategies and goals with senior management, yet they work across all levels of individuals to understand impact, identify existing and perceived challenges and reinforce business benefit.  

It is through a culture of inclusiveness, awareness, innovation and empowerment that organizations can transform for greater business success.  Transformation is not possible without persistent, consistent, two-way communication.   Does your culture empower individuals to communicate openly?  Do your employees really understand the reasons behind organizational change?  Have you shared the business benefits of new initiatives at a micro level, rather than at a corporate level?  Even if your current culture doesn't seem to support open communication, it is possible to change.  

Think about the companies you most admire.  It is likely that they clearly communicate goals and impact to all levels.  It is likely that they empower individuals to make decisions AND make mistakes.  It is likely that they enable employees to easily communicate with each other AND with senior management.  Corporate culture and effective communication go hand in hand. Is it ready to enjoy the positive, productivity inducing energy that effective, interactive communication can provide?

What's your perspective?




Communication Requires Consistency

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, November 02, 2011


When it comes to making a good roux (pronounced "roo"), it is all about consistency.  it is about combining the right proportions of flour and oil (you pick the oil needed) to create a thickening agent, used in sauces and soups.  A good roux has a silky smooth body, but this is only achieved through patient attention to the process.  That said, each chef may use the ingredients of his choice to create the roux.  Consistency in communication requires the same focus to ingredients, proportion and patience.

In these days of instant and broad communication, using social networks, the internet and email, a focus on consistency is often overlooked.  In fact, it seems that the information shared in the daily news cycle shifts from moment to moment as incremental data is collected and analyzed.  This begs the question as to how any business can create a meaningful communication strategy, that still fulfills the need for authenticity and transparency.

It's all about integration.  Each communication outlet (e.g., website, collateral, events, online, email, social network) serves a different purpose.  Some audiences are unique and many overlap.  However, the representation of your brand and what it stands for must be consistent across each of these outlets.  This means your logo, your voice and your culture must look, sound and feel the same.  It does not mean that the words used to communicate are identical.  It is possible to maintain a consistent voice while communicating in the direct, un-scripted manner expected in social communities.

For example, HP (my favorite target since I worked for them for 24 years) is lacking consistency at the moment.  Their roux is a mess.  There external communications as it relates to corporate strategy has confused shareholders and employees.  Competitors love it when a vendor loses its way, it's an opportunity for them to capitalize on the confused messaging.  Each of HP's CEOs of the last 10 years, has tried to put their personal stamp on the HP logo, strategy and culture.  As a result, the culture, that was bred by its founders, fostered by employees dedicated to innovation and customer satisfaction, and appreciated by the industry, has been lost.

In addition, HP's identity (see our guest blog on Corporate Identity) is unclear.  Are they an enterprise company or a consumer company.  While I understand, and even agree with, the announcements to retain the PSG business (which is where PCs and WebOS reside), this extends the identity crisis.  HP needs to clearly communicate who they are to each of their constituencies and clarify the benefits of providing value to both enterprise and consumer customers.

This benefit of using different communication outlets is to reach a broader set of customers who are interested in your company and its products.  Aligning your communication with their needs is critical.  Continuing to use HP as an example, HP needs to communicate with its enterprise customers via face to face, website, industry specific  communities, industry analysts and online influencers/bloggers.  Regardless of the outlet, they need to reflect consistent value and commitment.  HP's consumer customers are leveraging the social networks to understand HP's commitment to various product lines and future direction for this segment of HP's business. 

HP uses social networks broadly and will, I'm sure, leverage them to respond to customer concerns, reinforce strategic goals and augment communications through other channels.  They use different Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels to reflect each business.  Each of the customers for these businesses have different expectations for what content is communicated.  HP successfully provides the most relevant content to each channel, but perhaps misses the mark when representing the holistic company.  As they work through their current strategic challenges, I only hope they exhibit patience is achieving a level of consistent communication about their goals and the overall benefit to each constituency.

Clarity of goals, consistency of communication, relevant use of communication channels - its a recipe for success. Like a good roux, when developed with patience the results are tasty!

What's your perspective?



Walking the Talk

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I was discussing communication strategies with a colleague recently. Her company is initiating a series of executive videos to increase employee understanding of company strategy, key initiatives, customer priorities, etc. My first thought was - that's great. Her response was much less enthusiastic.  As chatted about our divergent responses, we realized that while we reacted differently we did have similar opinions.

My response was driven by a love for open communication. I see the series of executive videos as a way to make management more accessible to employees. While the videos do not allow for live interaction, they are available on-demand for employees to access. I hope there will be a mechanism for employees to comment on the content presented. The company has been going through a series of organization and management changes and I see this video series as a way to reinforce the direction and priorites of the company. I believe that video is more memorable than a stack of powerpoint slides. I feel that this series is a step toward open, internal communication at this company. 

My colleague is more skeptical. She feels this is just more 'blah-blah' from senior executives and that it will have little impact on rank and file employees. This is not an uncommon response from an employee working for a large corporation (I remember feeling the same way when I worked in corporate america!). My optimism and her skepticism raise the question of how to make such a video series meaningful and successful.

The videos, on their own, cannot address cultural challenges that have arisen over time. However, should the company stick to traditional communication methods with hopes that employee morale will improve? Or should the company use video, supported by other communications tools (including social media) to reinforce their committment to the company and its employees.  It really is about walking the talk.

This is what any good communication plan is about. Video solutions and social media are simply a means to reinforce this mantra. When I started working at HP in 1985, the culture of its founders, Bill and Dave, was prevalent in the way that managers, engineers, sales and admin staff worked with each other. We could easily ask questions, get answers and figure out innovative ways to serve our customers. Social media is the online instantiation of 'management by walking around'. We're just walking (and talking) to a much broader audience. Authenticity is a must. Follow through is a requirement.

I hope my friend's company is using video in a positive, meaningful way to reinforce their strategy. I hope they enable and encourage employee comments...and then, I hope they respond to them in an open manner. I hope they understand that the expectations of employees have changed. This is no longer a world of push marketing. Honesty, integrity, committment, follow through, open interaction - they have become core tenants of both external and internal communication. Is your company walking the talk?

What's your perspective?



A Social Media Plan to Ensure Brand Consistency

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, May 04, 2011

This is the fourth blog in our 6 week series, with our colleagues from Taylor O'Brien, on branding and social media. 


Your brand strategy has a unique vision and identity.  You identified this strategy by aligning your brand with your business goals, accounting for both cultural identity and customer knowledge.  As you define a social media plan to support your brand strategy, don’t forget that social media is a means of communication.  It brings with it a high degree of immediacy and interactivity.  It allows you to communicate more directly with your customers.

Social media reinforces a need to be responsible, understandable, reliable and genuine.  This is why a social media plan is so important.  You are serving your customers with the information and content they need.  Here are 6 key components of social media plan that supports your brand.

  1. Objectives – What do you want to achieve and how will social media help you fulfill those goals?  How are these objectives related to your business strategy? Are they focused on sales, market awareness, customer service or other core business topics? Defining objectives will help you determine what content is needed and which social platforms to use. 
  2. Customers – Who are they?  Where are they?  What content do they need or want?  Depending on your customers role (i.e., buyer, influencer, executive, technologist) they will crave different types of content.  Any plan must consider the customer’s need and supply the content needed to the relevant platform and device. 
  3. Integrate – How will social media support or expand your overall marketing strategy?  Social media is not a stand alone marketing effort.  It must be aligned with other online and offline activities.  An integrated plan will identify resources (people, content and time) needed to achieve your objectives.   Social media can draw attention to events, reinforce messaging, personalize your brand, capture customer insight or input, create stronger customer bonds, manage your reputation and drive sales.  Social media, perhaps more than other forms of marketing, becomes your online voice.  It must reflect your brand and your culture. 
  4. Metrics – How will you measure success of your social media strategy?  All other aspects of your marketing plan have goals and metrics – social media is no different.  Your metrics must support your objectives and can also be tied to your overall marketing plan.  Early stage metrics are usually related to followers and web traffic.  Later stage metrics can include measures of influence, leads, sales, product development or support.
  5. Policy – Who will engage in your brand’s social media efforts?  How will they engage?  A policy can be considered the “rules of engagement”.  It is your opportunity to remind employees on how you want to represent your brand.  It is also the means of communicating your goals for social media.  A critical element of any plan or policy is to determine how your brand will address negative comments.  They are bound to occur and it is important to establish guidelines to help your social media constituents understand how to address them.
  6. Engage! – Most importantly interact, share, communicate and respond!  Social media is a customer engagement medium.  Be informative and be informed!

Social Media has the ability to expand and personalize your brand in ways not previously available.  It is an opportunity for all brands, be they consumer or business centric, to communicate frequently and openly.  It is also an opportunity for customers to express their likes or dislikes.  Be prepared for both the positive and the negative.  Understand your brand voice, align your social media efforts with your brand strategy, educate your employees on your goals and engage with your customers like never before!

What’s your perspective?



Are You Using Online Video?

Peggy Dau - Monday, November 22, 2010

Do you or your company use an Online Video Platform?  Video is a pervasive part of our lives from the content we watch on TV to the content we watch online.  Whether for business or for pleasure we consume a LOT of video content. According to Forrester Research, 71% of today's online audience watches video.  All of the Fortune 500 use video for both internal and external communications.   For business, video provides a forum to:

     - Simplify complex topics with words and actions rather than lengthy whitepapers
     - Demonstrate the use of a product or service
     - Share your company’s personality and culture
     - Increase customer trust

Strategy Analytics estimates that the Online Video Platform industry will be worth more than $1 billion by 2015, up from $200 million in 2010.   An online video platform (OVP) includes the basic components to put video on your website (and elsewhere on the web), in a professional manner.  It includes content hosting, a content management system, delivery to multiple players, customization, management tools to track and analyze consumption and the ability to monetize the content.  OVPs provide small, medium and large businesses with the opportunity to easily integrate video into their communication strategies.


Leading OVP vendor, targeting the enterprise market, include (but are not limited to):

  •  - BrightCove
  •  - DigitalSmiths
  •  - EdgeCast
  •  - Fliqz
  •  - Kaltura
  •  - Kontiki
  • Limelight
  •  - Move Networks
  •  - Oooyala
  •  - Sorensen Media
  •  - thePlatform
  •  - Twistage
  •  - VMix
  • If this is overwhelming, the site Vid Compare, can help you narrow down your options based your functional requirements.  However, it is more important to think about how and why you are going to use video.  Like every other communication strategy, video usage must be thoughtful and requires planning.   What are your tangible goals for using video?  Who is your target audience?  What kind of information are they interested in? Do you have a budget?  Do you have executive support?  These are just of few of the questions that should be driving your overall video strategy. 
  • Assuming your strategy is defined, Mark Brodie, at MIB MediaWorks, suggests the following when considering using online video for your communication efforts:

    Believability --- Make sure what you say is credible and that the visuals support and enhance that message.  Above all, demonstrate that you believe in your product or service.

    Visually Striking --- Images are the key to delivering a positive message.  Your vido must look professional and provide the view with a clear picture and understanding of your product or service.

    Look Professional --- Whoever you choose to produce your video, ensure that they know how to put your message and product or service in the best light.

    Words are Important --- The script needs to attract the ear as well as the eye.

    Personality counts --- Whoever is featured in should be able to project a positive, thoughtful image of your company.

    Where you shoot the video is important --- make sure the location reflects your product or service.

  • Additional thoughts, from Mark, related to planning your video production:

  •    - Video production can be complicated and expensive or simple and straightforward. The only way to keep it the time and money you spend reasonable is to take the time to answer the questions outlined below and give those answers to the professional producer or production company.
  •    - What is the specific purpose of the video?
  •    - Who is the audience?
  •    - What are the objectives of the video?
  •    - Where is the video to be shot?

   - Who is writing the script?

  •    - Who is making the final decision on the video?
  •    - Who is performing on camera, actors or staff?
  •    - What possible titles and graphics will be needed?
  •    - What is the deadline?
  •  
  •    - What type of distribution?
  •  
  •    - How will the video program be used or shown?
  •  
  •    - Are DVD’s or tape duplications required?
Is your company thinking about using video to connect more intimately with your customers or business partners?  These tips from a video production expert should help in the planning process.  My thanks to Mark Brodie for sharing his insights!

 

What’s your perspective?



Keeping Up With the Changing Face of Communication

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Last week, I attended an event hosted by Citrix Online.  We all know Citrix through their variety of collaboration tools such as GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar and GoToMyPC.  The theme of this event was the changing face of communication.  In addition to comments from Citrix CEO, Brett Caine, there were keen insights from Aline Wolff, associate professor of management & communications at NYU; TJ Keitt, analyst at Forrester Research; and, Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post.

Some key takeaways:

 

     - The flexible workplace is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.  However, face-to-face meetings have become a luxury.  Telecommuting has become the norm for many mid-size to large companies.  This is, in part, due to improved networking, security and distribution technologies.  it is also due to the mobile nature of today's business world.  Telecommuting does not necessarily mean working at home.  It also means woking on the go.  This requires devices that allow workers to access private and public networks from home, on the train or at the airport.  Thank goodness that those devices and technologies exist, along all aspects of the communications value chain.  They enable secure, reliable access and delivery of content.

    - Technology is helping us build trust and rapport between colleagues and between businesses. Trust is the number one concern for many individuals when selecting a vendor.  Unfortunately, the financial melt-down, CEO misbehavior, federal government partisan stonewalling and high unemployment help create an atmosphere of skepticism and mistrust.  However, the advent and near dominance of social networks as an avenue to personalize business and government, can also foster rapport between geographically disperse colleagues and influence trust.  Companies are sharing more information in a dynamic, ad hoc way.  They are soliciting input from their customers and responding (most of the time) to their questions and concerns.  These networks, and the ease of accessibility to these networks via many devices, cultivate intimacy, personality and yes, trust.  We feel like we have “insider” knowledge of the company and its products.

     -However, this in turns leads to our addiction to the technology.  We are online 24x7.  We are anxious if we cannot access email.  We purchase the latest devices in the form of smart phones, iPads and tablets so that we can tweet, Facebook, read and consume content.  We are setting expectations that we are available and accessible to our companies and our clients all the time.  With this addiction, how do we focus on the things that are really important?  How do we make smart decisions if we are exhausted from consuming so much content?  We crave the data, but can we actually take in so much data that we aren’t capable of making decisions, simply because we think there is more information that will help us with that decision?  Or, because we are distracted by the device and content it provides?

Net, net, communication methods and styles are changing.  The days of tops down marketing have already shifted although big brands still push their story across multiple communication channels.  The difference is that they must listen to their customers to validate that their story is relevant.  We all must be aware of and consider adoption of those technologies that simplify our lives, enable real time communication, streamline access to solution and allow collaboration.  We do need to be cautious about becoming addicted to these technologies, but we cannot hide our heads in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich. 

Are you communicating on the go?  Are you using social networks and mobile devices to "keep up"?  How much time do you spend on business vs. personall communication?   Are you able to put your device down and spend quality time with friends and family?  I'm interested in your thoughts!

What’s your perspective?



Does Your Organizational Structure Inhibit Social Networking?

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, August 17, 2010

As marketers plan their social media strategy, they usually focus on content, resources and platforms.  I rarely hear anyone discuss organizational structure.  Yet, a company’s organizational model can reveal a lot about how they will use social networking platforms.  The structure of an organization impacts processes and behaviors that will reflect company and employee comfort with the openness and interactivity of social media. 

The primary organization structures are:

Structure

Characteristics

Adoption of Social Media

Functional

-          Employees perform a specific set of tasks (i.e., marketing, engineering, sales, etc.)

-          Focus on operational efficiency and economies of scale

-          Fosters technical expertise

-          Creates silos

-          Communication across silos is difficult

-          Focus on process, hierarchy and control

-          Pursuit of social media  will require planning of  strategy, policy, clear metrics and employee training

-          Social media most likely to be pursued by marketing department only

-          Employees may not feel empowered to communicate socially  

-          Social media primarily used to reinforce outbound marketing messaging

Divisional

-          Employees organized by product or geography

-          Employees perform specific functions within the divisional structure

-          High accountability for achieving goals

-          Communication encouraged across function to achieve goals

-          Little interaction between divisions

-          Hierarchical within the division

-          Pursuit of social media  will require planning of  strategy, policy, clear metrics and employee training

-          Social media effort led by marketing with intent to include other functions

-          Strong interest in gaining external feedback

Matrix

-          Employees organized by function and product

-          Structure reinforces and broadens employee expertise

-          Reduces organizational silos

-          Requires clear communication of goals, objectives and metrics

-          Poor communication can create confusion and/or stress

-          Focus on communication will foster interest in use of social networks as extension of communication model

-          Multi-tasking employees will easily adapt

-          Requires clarity in how social media will support goals & objectives

-          Collaborative environment will easily adapt to interactive nature of social media

 

The focus here is primarily around structure and does not take into account culture or communication style, which was discussed in a previous posting.  The level of bureaucracy in a company may impact willingness to communicate effectively internally, externally or on social networks. You may want to consider the impact of social media on existing organizational structures, business processes and communication methods.  While full scale reorganization is not the goal, education and training may help management and/or employees understand how the use of social media influences the existing business model.

While organizational theory segments company structures into the simple models referenced above, it is likely that your company reflects some mix of the models noted.  Your company’s approach to social media will reflect a combination of cultural and organizational influences.  It is important to recognize the challenges they may represent when building and implementing a B2B social media strategy.

What’s your perspective?



Is Video Social and do we need to Manage these Digital Assets?

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 11, 2010

In early December, I participated in a webinar hosted by North Plains.  The focus of the webinar was about video, social networking and digital asset management.  I want to thank Joshua, George and Robin at North Plains for inviting me to join a discussion that started with basic question.  Is Video Social?

There are two ways that we can interpret this question.  The first is that video tells a story.  The story can be a comedy, a drama, a sporting event, a news topic or a personal moment.  Regardless of the medium by which the video is viewed (TV, PC, cell phone), the story incites a response.  This is the social aspect of the video.  Back in the old days, we had informal chats in the coffee room or by the water cooler to laugh about the latest Seinfeld episode or to exault about the Yankees latest win.  Today, these thoughts and comments are posted and shared in online communities.  We share our stream of consciousness with our friends and colleagues, enjoying the socialization that evolves.

The other perspective is that unless the video is interactive (i.e., video conferencing) it is not inherently social.  Social implies a two way conversation with give and take between the parties.  However, this perspective is weak as their is not requirement for social networking to be accomplished in real-time.  Social discussion can take place over a period of minutes, hours and days.  So, we can agree that video is social.

If video is social, do we need to manage it as we manage our other video assets?  Up until now, Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors have provided solutions to manage the process (aka workflow) surrounding the creation, storage, repurposing and distribution of Digital Media.  Digital Media is the assortment of photos, audio files, video clips, animations, computer graphics or banner ads created, owned or licensed by a company.  The uses of these assets may be for internal or external purposes. 

Up until now, most of the video addressed by DAM vendors was created by "professionals", meaning the studio, broadcaster, agency or enterprise itself for their purposes depending on their business model or business goals.  However, as video has become "social" it has become less professional and is created by individuals.  How does these businesses incorporate user generated or employee generated content into their DAM system?  The DAM is supposed to be the key to managing their digital assets.

In the end, it comes down to policy and governance.  As we move forward and the creation and capture of video becomes easier and less expensive, there will be increasing amounts of non-professional content used by businesses.  In fact, many are already inviting it (i.e., Doritos).  As companies move forward in using video to educate, entice, inform and entertain, they will need to consider guidelines about how the content will be used, who will see it, how it will be distributed, how and where it will be stored, how it will be consumed, etc.  These companies will need to establish guidelines and educate their content creators and digital asset managers on how to incorporate social video into their DAM systems.

So, yes video is social.  Video will become more casual just as social networking became a more informal method of communicating.  Check out further perpsectives from this North Plains webinar.

What's your perspective?



2010: Let's get connected

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How did it get to be 2010?  It seems like only yesterday that we were all frantic about Y2K computer issues.  The decade moved so quickly and brought the internet and it's ability to connect people and businesses to new heights.  The challenge of creating new services with viable business models still exists, yet the services continue to be innovative.  One of the interesting shifts was from seeing products and services used in business first being adopted by consumers (i.e., email) to seeing consumer services (i.e., Facebook, Twitter) adopted by businesses.

What's next?  Greater connectivity at ALL levels.  I think the rapid adoption of social networking (however you define it) reflects the desire of individuals to connect in a less formal manner than in the past.  Email allowed us to easily stay in contact with friends, family and colleagues regardless of time and place.  Social networks allow a much more ad hoc method of sharing our thoughts.  We can post a comment, a video, a picture, a presentation, a white paper with a few clicks.

However, for the enterprise to successfully incorporate the key concepts of social networking into their environments these solutions will need to "grow up".  By this, I mean those vendors who offer solutions today, will continue to enhance them address enterprise concerns for security, privacy, integration with existing corporate applications, scalability, and ease of use.  There have been web articles written about the concept of social middleware.  This middleware would enable enterprises to connect to public facing social networks without exposing enterprise applications.  It will be interesting to see how this type of middleware evolves.

Of course, if we talk about connectivity we must consider how and where we access content.  More and more we are utilizing our mobile devices.  Apple and the ubiquitous iPhone have shown how a community of application developers can create an app for just about any kind of perceived need from amusement to productivity to information sharing and more.  There are already indications that location based services (LBS), which have been widely discussed and pursued by major telecom providers and consumer product/service companies.  Facebook is pursuing LBS.  Many iPhone apps already take location into account.  What's next? 

In 2010 we will connect online, via text and video, via fixed line and wireless networks.  Are you connected?  Will you become more connected in 2010? 

What's your perspective?