Monthly Archives: September 2007

MediaCamp BUCKS 07 – you coming?

I would like to make you aware of event which may be of interest to you.

Media Camp Bucks 07
http://mediacampbucks.com.

This is a new-media event taking place Sat Oct 20, Buckinghamshire UK, hosted by a not-for-profit organisation of which I happen to be the Founder, known as the ACHUB. The organisation has been active in putting on new-media events, concerned with sharing knowledge, practise, resources and social networking tools.

So what is Mediacampbucks07?

It is an “unconference”, a term which loosely implies that the participants themselves, i.e. YOU, run the day, YOU, interact and YOU, embrace the sessions. There is no “expert” talking to you for 40 minutes, the sessions are more like brain-storming sessions where you are encouraged to engage.

Bucks New Uni are kindly sponsoring this event to take place at the Technology Centre on the main High-Wycombe campus, and I cannot thank the University enough for this sponsorship, the facilities are great and it is a progressive move, and already the new-media community are buzzing about it,
people will be walking away back to industry having gained an awful lot.

Already many professionals have registered to attend and take part, including bloggers, web design companies, ad agencies, Internet TV people, SecondLifers, HR people and even Microsoft, and not just
Brits!

The best bit, it is GRATIS, not a penny required, well your lunch and drinks aside!

We have also secured some additional sponsorship including Chinwag (the UK’s leading community media company for the new media industry, which will help pay for some goodness.

To register simply visit the mediacampbucks07 wiki and add your name, and if you fancy running a session add yourself to that too.

If you have any questions please do get in touch with me through email, more than happy to answer, if your business/institution is interested to sponsor do get in touch.

Cheers

Chris Hambly

http://mediacampbucks.com

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What stops you from making a comment on a blog

I must admit today I read a blog post concerning some feedback surrounding a recent advertising campaign taking place here in UK, and I gathered some quick thoughts, added them into the comments box, and then paused…. …. ….

I paused for a time and thought, “hmmm actually I won’t post this comment”, and I still do not know why I stopped.

My comments were around the idea of “yes, that’s a great campaign, I love it, but how about extending the conversation now?” I had tons of ideas for how this campaign could be a massive viral hit, and I mean a lot, but I didn’t post.

I wonder if it was because I am soon to be operating in some of these waters myself and not yet part of that specific community I was reading, I wondered if I should introduce myself in a slightly different way first, albeit virtually, before being the guy with shit-loads of ideas, I’m sensitive to cultures it seems?

Why do you not post comments, are you mean with your link-love, are you mean with your associations, let’s say you are considered an influencer, do you stop and not comment due to not wanting to attract attention?

Are you starting out, do you feel each and every one of your words might be jumped on, pulled apart, or do you feel shy, do you feel not worthy?

What stops you from commenting on a blog post?

Does Social Media Cost Your Company Productivity

Does Social Media Cost Your Company Productivity?

An interesting one this, as I read the latest report concerning social networking sites and a loss in productivity, from Peninsula, a UK employment law firm.

The report mentions that “233 million hours are lost every month as a result of employees “wasting time” on social networking.”.

I’ve not read the full report but apparently 3500 or so companies were included in a survey, which is a fairly sufficient number to extract some meaningful evidence.

I’m presuming that the national average hourly employee rate has been used as a method of arriving at a final figure of £130m (about $260M USD) lost per day, in terms of productivity (not those companies in the survey, that’s the national figure).

Sound like a lot to you? Hmmm, well before we all get scared and start running to the IT department to switch off Facebook access, let’s give this some perspective.

Loss of Productivity

Facebook and various other social media networks are by far “small-fry” when it comes to a loss in productivity, of which in many cases has been in existence since time began. Some of the areas where losses take place might surprise you but include the following list I have cobbled together:

• World Cup cost the British economy almost £4 billion in lost productivity.
• More than one-third of UK executives believe their organisations are being “
paralysed” by ineffective middle management, cutting productivity by at least £220bn every year.
• Bad hiring costs UK businesses billions in lost productivity
Lost productivity, lost millions – New research shows that the UK’s largest organisations are spending a huge amount of time getting to grips with desktop applications.
• Time-wasters cost £88bn a year in lost productivity
• Rugby World Cup to cost firms £461m in lost productivity

You can find out for yourself very easily by doing a google search on something like “productivity loss uk” and find hundreds of examples which are far higher up the leader board than the cheeky ole Facebook example, which include sick days, lateness and various other human conditions.

Balance is needed

Companies should question their own structural losses far sooner than jumping on the band wagon of social media bashing, and blaming their employees.

In addition, companies might also consider investing in some quality research to assess the extent at which social networking actually makes for a happier working environment, with satisfied employees, the argument of course is can more work per hour be achieved?

And you?

Are you in a position where social networks are frowned upon in your environment, does your very inefficient manager (costing the company thousands per year) question your usage?
Have you embraced social media as a manager, why, or why not?

Charity Begins at Home

Is it just me or do I have thoughts that YOU may have regarding charities?

OK, so let me set the context here and state that if I walk down any high street in the UK, any day of the week, it is very likely some guy in dreadlocks will be aggressively marketing some form of charity, as a means of getting another signature for a monthly direct debit from the victims bank account.

The dreadlocked bozo will be equipped with a clipboard, a fluorescent apron, and much more than an over zealous delivery line. In fact deadlocked bozo will completely ignore peoples’ body language and invade body space quicker than Robin realises the drinks are on Batman!

If you are in UK I know YOU experience this, “Sir, can I tell you about”, “Madam, would you be interested in”, “hi mate did you know we are”.. get lost you snotty creep!

It’s not once or twice I have been vocally dismissive to such activity, it has become a mini-hobby and my radar can now detect these “pushers” a mile off, and I’ll stare them out in the entrance path to the engagement zone!

“Pushers” is exactly what these people are, typically students picking up some extra commission per direct debit hook, or other do-gooders who have not really thought about the fact that this really pisses people off.

Ok, rant over and now let’s ask the question about how charities should be marketed.

I am certainly not anti-charity, in fact I think that a collective of people can achieve great things for the benefit of others, and those of us who are more fortunate can, perhaps should(?), help out those of us who are less fortunate. Charity can have its place, but what I dislike most is the way a good many people feel “guilty” if they do not give to Mr Dreadlock’s oh so wonderful pitch, they feel bad, they feel to be somehow mean, or nasty, even though many of these people probably need their hard earned bucks themselves for a new pair of shoes for their own children. It is the pressure sale in the high-street I dislike and a LOT, it’s become and occupation and a career.

I sponsored a charity conference a few months ago in the 3D world of SecondLife by donating space and enabling an event to take place with my friend Pauline. The idea for the conference was to raise the awareness of differing methods of marketing charity and how to use a community to collectively support a cause (which I do support).

A friend of mine Mike sent me an invite to a Ghana Aid which is a good example of how to raise awareness and funds for a charity/cause. This is how these things should work, where a mass of people engage in something together and share. This is the exact opposite of Mr Dreadlock Pusher, (full disclosure I have no issue with dreadlocks).

Is this just me, what do you think? Is this just the UK? Is it just me?

What is a Community Developer

What is the key approach to effectively market our products in Web2.0?

As I was sitting passively in a company meeting today, (yes not often), I was very impressed to hear various company staff voices bubbling with enthusiasm and knowledge for change. I was very impressed that these voices had an outlet, and a channel for open dialogue, and the approach needs commending for allowing this to take place, in an environment where this type of dialogue had not been common place.

Large corporations the world over are struggling with traditional forms of advertising, it is no surprise to find the branding and marketing conversation rampant in the online world, where large organisations are having to employ, consult, embrace, the currency of trust, which is of course transparency and Mr Penn stated some time ago.

Marketing is now a dialogue, a conversation, the product has to be engaged with from the point of view of the prospect, and there is now a NEED, an absolute requirement to have interaction with the prospects.

Web 2.0 is here to stay, and those who embrace it will win, those who ignore it will fall, without a shadow of doubt.

So what’s needed?

A few things…

1. SELL TO YOUR STAFF – senior management need to engage with their staff transparently, and lead the transparent and open dialogue, effectively leading by example and encouraging participation, (fuelling the conversation). Old school management cascades are typically one way, very old school, the conversation stops, immediately!

2. ENCOURAGE STAFF TO SELL FOR YOU– here this is where you actively support and promote the soldiers to champion and engage in representing the company in the online space, they sell for you, and you need to provide them with full authorisation to publish their views about the company, to open conversation in THEIR channels.

3. COMMUNITY TOOLS – you need tools in place which promote the above to take place, including, blogs, podcasts, videocasts, wikis, social networks, and not only, and methods for sharing how it works, a person, a motivator, don’t force it, let them want it.

4. COMMUNITY DEVELOPER – you need someone full-time working in and around the community (the staff), who not only brings people together with all of this technology, but more importantly documents, showcases, makes aware of all the wonderful activities going on and spreading that externally within the important spaces where the prospects are. You need this person popping in board meetings, nipping into workshops, R&D, filming activity and pumping it out on a channel to the internal and external community.


It’s no secret I have been community developing with my online businesses for some time and have always relished the environment of connecting people and extending the conversation. The point is as my friend Doug Haslam says, how to move mountains, how to mobilise a community to act and engage with the product.

What do you think, what have I missed, what needs adding to here?

Quechup And Mass Hysteria

Yesterday I had a ton of invites into a new social networking site Quechup. Some of the invites were from a variety of people I know, some were random, and one or two from people I respect to be somewhat of an authority on social media, if that is even possible.

Having so many email invites in my inbox around a similar time-frame of course meant that clearly some kind of email import facility was taking place, and let’s be up front here, pretty much ALL social media sites have this form of functionality these days, I mean hell I’m planning it into the new re-build of The Phone Cam.

Email Importing

If you are not sure what email importing is I’ll explain it. The concept is actually very simple and VERY useful for us to be able to build our network of contacts. Basically what takes place is that a script, upon your command (this is key), will go off and log-in to your email client, which can range from Gmail to Yahoo and then import your address book to the said application’s database. Now this is a very useful feature because now you have all of your contacts in the new application which you can then invite into the network. Of course some contacts you would want to invite and some you wouldn’t.

Where did Quechup go wrong?

Quechup didn’t let YOU choose who to invite, it invited everyone to the party!

So Quechup have seemingly operated in one of three ways:

1. Purposefully designed their system so new users think that address book importing is part of the mandatory sign-up, i.e. something you MUST do (which it isn’t in fact, you can skip it)
2. Unknowingly created the above environment (not likely)
3. Created the situation where they know mass e-mails will be sent and “hey, if it creates a stir we’ll get a ton of in-bound links and raise our google rank”.

However you view this, no matter what your opinion is on this the fact of the matter is that you should READ what the page says as it is very clear. In any case there is a link which says “I don’t have an address book”!

quechup

“Congratulations! Welcome to Quechup. Find out which of your friends are already members. Choose the address book with the most contacts and we’ll search for matches so you can add them to your friends network and invite non Quechup members to join you. By inviting contacts you confirm you have consent from them to send an invitation. We will not spam or sell addresses from your contacts.”

That is pretty clear in intention, and this is where I stopped during my sign-up. Why did I stop, well I didn’t want to invite anyone without knowing what the system was actually about, I never do that.

Now if you are one of the unlucky people who didn’t read that and went ahead and created the account anyway with the address import I can only say you should READ these things clearly in the future, it’s quite simple.

I would say though that Quechup could be seen as “sneaky” on this matter, as the wording could be more explicit of the outcome, it’s not overly obvious I have to say.

So what happened?

Well what happened is some of the early adopters in social media networks created accounts only to find out a ton of email invites on their behalf had been sent out from their imported address books. This ruffled quite a few feathers and what appeared to happen was a slight hyseteria took place, with many of followers of some of the “influencers” (I do not like that title) “brown-nosing” and all joining in on the Quechup “witch-hunt”.

Now right there is what I dislike most about social media, that mass hysteria, and somewhat blind following, like some kind of religious cult. I saw person after person jump on the “band wagon” of Quechup hatred without first finding the facts, and that scares me, a lot!

What should have happened is each individually should access the situation exactly and not jump to conclusions, use their own brain and not just bite the hook every time, you are not a sheep.

As a closing remark, I do not think Quechup would give a crap at all if they ruffled some feathers of some “influencers”, by now they will have more than enough momentum to build a solid network, I could be wrong, but time will tell.

The other thing is it might be worth giving them the benfit of the doubt and ok so they made a mistake, have you never made one? I’m not saying it was a mistake to be unclear, but it may have been, you know?

Now, please do comment, and give it substance and evidence please, not just excited “but they spammed but they spammed”, because they did warn you as far as I can read it.