Category Archives: social media

It’s Not About the Tools, It’s About the People

We are all on Google+ now. It’s great because of who is here.

We were all on Quora at Christmas, because of who was there.

We continue to stay engaged on Twitter because of who is there.

We are bored with FaceBook because of who is there.

We use LinkedIn because of who we can find.

We use SocialCast in the Social Business Council because of who is there.

We use Jive with the Community Backchannel because of who is there.

We use Yammer in our jobs because of who is there.

It’s not about the tools, it’s about the relationship. The great thing about any social network is the socializing that takes place there. Yes, the tools are nice and a bad tool set can certainly squelch the conversation. But it’s not about the tools it’s about the relationships.

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many people over the past few months who are not at all engaged in the social web. The line goes something like this….”I don’t have time for all that social media.” What they are really saying is “I don’t value those relationships and what I learn there. I get all I need from other sources.”

That’s fine. When people start to understand what they can get, the relationships they can build, and what an amazingly large diversity of ideas is out there, they decided to connect.

Many stick with email and cocktail hour networking. That’s fine, I do that sometime too, but I find it is not at all efficient as a stand alone activity. It’s good when I want to go deep with someone, but at a typical event, I can only do that with 1 or 2 people. At best, I’ll touch base with 5 or 10. During that same evening, I can touch hundreds or even thousands through online tools.

Through my BlogTwitterGoogle+ and various private communities, I can keep a conversation going with hundreds and my network can jump into overdrive when needed.

If you don’t want to use the social media tools now and think it’s too geeky, that’s fine. We used to say that about CompuServe and then AOL came along to break the ice among the masses. Then came FaceBook and everybody went online.

It is indeed gone widespread. Google+ may not replace FaceBook. Everyone may not get on Twitter, but in the long run, the mega trend is that, more and more, our lives are moving online. What was once called a “virtual” meeting is just a meeting.

Do any of you call your FaceBook friends “virtual” friends? Do you call these virtual conversations? No, it’s a wall post, it’s a message, it’s real interaction.

Social is happening, it is happening in different rates for different people, but there is no going back. As my friend Chris Rollyson says, It’s an “and” world, not an “or” world. We keep getting more ways to connect, as a result we are more connected, and finally we can innovate and move faster.

That is just what’s happening. Don’t deny it.

So go ahead, get social. You can start by connecting with me on TwitterLinkedIn, or Google+ and while you are at it, subscribe to my blog.

See you online!

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Filed under collaboration, community, conversations, Early Adopter, GooglePlus, microblogging, productivity, social, social media, tools, trends, twitter, web2.0

Seven Days with Google+

The Google+ introduction is a major tectonic shift in the social software landscape. It’s aftershocks will be felt for some time to come

I received my invitation to join Google + last Wednesday evening from @ITSinsider.  It was a bit of a surprise.  I had just heard of the launch a day or two earlier.

Since then, it’s been a daily party like I have not seen with any other SNS (social networking system) launch.  We had heard something about Google’s Social Circles back during SXSWi, but the launch turned out to be just a rumor of what was to come just four months later.

iPhone in browser mode

My first take will be a little different from most because my time with G+ has been almost exclusively on an iPhone 4 or iPad 2.  Of the 15 or so hours I’ve been on G+, only about 15 minutes or so have been on a PC.  Even though the product is optimized for the full PC / Mac OS or Android mobile OS.  I must admit, even with its many flaws, the iOS experience is good enough to keep me coming back.

Here are my first impressions.

Central to the User Experience is the circle concept.  We all socialize in various circles. Google+ has made that literally the metaphor.  G+ daily offers me up to 500 invitations to add to my circles.  If the person is not yet in G+, they will get an invitation.  If they are already in, they join into my circles and I begin following and sharing with them.  (Be patient, G+ is still throttling invitations.)

Since I have not use the PC version with a webcam, I’m missing out on Hangouts – multipoint video chats.  That will come in time. I expect very good value for work groups and enterprise applications of this feature.  I also expect integration with Aple products with the forward facing camera (lal multi user FaceTime). With the recent introduction of Apple’s FaceTime and now Google’s new Hangout feature, perhaps personal video conferencing will finally reach the tipping point to general adoption.

I’m also excited about the ease of adoption.  Google+ has quickly added most of my social graph to their SNS and the conversations are quickly turning to real substance other than just discussing Google+ itself.
So what are my takeaways so far?

iPad in Desktop Mode

1. This is going to be big.  Google+ has scaled very quickly showing robust, well thought out features. It works easily on many platforms, combines access on any device to central cloud storage, performs well, and has already attracted the necessary early adopters

2. This will evolve quickly.  Google is known for quick iterative innovations and promises constant upgrades and introduction of new features.  They also appear to be leveraging many of their various products without any sign of internal power struggles that will derail progress.

3. Facebook and Twitter have a real competitor now. Most early comments have been that Facebook should be scared, but little has been said about Twitter also being in Google’s sights.  With the recent announcements of tight integration between Twitter and Apple’s iOS, it looks like the Google+/Android camp is stacking up as a good alternative.  It might even be a three way race of the rumored Facebook / Skype entry materializes.  Anyway, like Facebook, Twitter has been acting monopolistically as of late (terms of service, acquisitions, apathy to partners)  It is good to see a
product come along that offers a viable alternative.

iPad in Mobile Mode

4. Enterprise 2.o is in the game plan for Google+.  All the talk about Consumer and Facebook should not hide the fact that Google+ coupled with Google Apps will offer a powerful platform for enterprise collaboration, eating away at the SMB market first and later moving up the food chain to the Fortune 500 market.  E2.0 stalwarts such as Jive Software, Socialcast, Yammer, IBM Connections, and, to a lesser extent, SharePoint will see Google+ providing a new alternative in the young and growing Enterprise 2.0 collaboration market space.

That’s my first look.  So much more can be said, but there will be plenty of time for that in the future.  The Google+ introduction is a major tectonic shift in the social software landscape.  It’s aftershocks will be felt for some time to come.  So find me on Google+ ( http://gplus.to/jimworth ) and let’s continue the conversation.  I look forward to adding you to my new Circle of Friends.

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Filed under Early Adopter, enterprise20, Google, GooglePlus, social business, social media, social web, tools

Facebook Today, Reminds Me of AOL in 1998

I find myself more and more leaving the constraints of Facebook and stepping out into the deep end of the social web.

 
 It was an interesting time, 1998. The early Internet starter kits were beginning to make it out. Netscape had introduced a nice browser. Microsoft was playing catch up with Internet Explorer. Mozilla was still around. The Internet was a wild west.

EBay and Amazon were just starting to get traction. There were a few tools for creating websites, and a few email services, but it was a rough time with people stumbling around in an attempt to reach out and publish information on the web. You needed a webmaster, well versed in HTML page markup or PERL scripts, to do anything worthwhile online.

In the late 1990s, the Internet was not a fun place for the masses. It was difficult to get around, set up an email address, or share files. America Online had just begun carpet bombing the US with millions of free AOL CDROM disks delivered through the US Postal Service in an attempt to snag as many subscriptions as possible.

The appeal was clear. Families in record numbers were buying their first desktop computer, loading up AOL, connecting their modem and beginning to share pictures, email, and news stories with each other. AOL started in the mid 1980s as a private network, but was quickly morphing into a gateway and a guide for the Internet by the mid 1990s. The famous “AOL Keyword” had become a universal locator for web content. Families in the millions jumped onto the internet through the safety of AOL. Soon AOL was flying high, valued large enough to buy the traditional media company, Time Warner. Just about then, the bubble burst and we all came back down to earth, ready for a new wave of innovators on the web.

A few years after the crash, Tim O’Reilly coined the phrase Web 2.0, and a few college students started building The FaceBook to allow students an easier way to connect and share with each other. As AOL was descending and the Time Warner merger began to look like the biggest corporate failure of all time, the social web began to take shape. Twitter, YouTube, Digg, Del.icio.us, Myspace, and Facebook began to gain ground with the early adopters. By 2009, Facebook was starting to gain real traction and in 2010, the new platform had a breakout year with Time Magazine granting “Person of the Year” honors to its founder Mark Zuckenberg.

Facebook is nice. It’s teaching us all a new language of “Likes”, comments, status updates, tagging, and general open sharing of our lives. While allowing us to share among close friends, it is also pushing the limits on privacy, and teaching us all to read the fine print as we all become more and more comfortable with expanding the circle of trusted friends that we share our lives with. Messaging on Facebook is so easy, many have abandoned email all together and just “Facebook” each other (that’s sending a note through Facebook). People often don’t know an email address, but find their friends by name and send them a message. Chatting is all the rage as well. Groups connect, share their lives, and expand their friendships online, blurring the lines between virtual and real.

Many people and businesses are using Facebook now as their primary branding website, drawing on the large population online. But at the same time, early adopters and web savvy professionals continue to push the envelope using twitter, flickr, youtube, twitpic, tweetchat, about.me, instagr.am, foursquare and a host of other “wild west” style social media tools. The social web is fully functional and all functions that are now done in the safety of Facebook are also done in the openness of the social web without the restriction of a closed circle of “friends.”

AOL put fences around the Internet in the late 1990s and allowed families and newbies a safe way to navigate, read news, follow “New Kids on the Block.” The public could share with each other online and join along out loud whenever a new message was delivered: “You’ve got mail!”

Just like AOL back then, Facebook today puts fences around the social web allowing an easy way for families and newbies to share photos, status updates, “likes”, and news of Justin Bieber in the safety and security of a protected social web environment. The real social web continues to thrive and innovate. I find myself more and more leaving the constraints of Facebook and stepping out into the deep end of the social web.

I wonder if, in a few years, Facebook will grow to enormous market value, purchase one of the Web 1.0 or traditional media companies and then go through a similar self-destruction as the openness of the full social web takes over. History does have a way of repeating itself. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or online (on Twitter).

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Filed under collaboration, community, conversations, Early Adopter, microblogging, productivity, social, social media, social web, tools, trends, web2.0

Is it Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business?


During the Holiday break, I jumped into Quora, the growing crowdsourced Q&A site. If you have not given it a try yet, you should check if out. There are some sharp people there.

I could not resist when the question came up: What are the distinctions between Social Business & Enterprise 2.0?

My answer is posted here. but I figured, hey, this is worthy of a blog post. I hope you agree (about the blog post part.). This is my view as a practitioner / player in this space. There is no right or wrong answer since this field is quickly evolving, just lots of opinions. (you can read other answers here.) Therefore I respectfully submit mine.

Q. What are the distinctions between Social Business & Enterprise 2.o?

A. In my view Enterprise 2.0 involves social networking within a large enterprise. This includes a single profile of each employee, communties made up of those employees, and an activity stream tying it together (alerting colleagues to activities and events with those profiles and communities). Microblogging is another aspect of E2.0. #E20 is the twitter hashtag for Enterprise 2.0

In parallel, we are seeing other aspects of social media make it’s mark (reputation monitoring and marketing through consumer channels such as Facebook, YouTube, flickr, twitter). #socialmedia is the common hashtag.

CRM systems are starting to expand to enable engaging with customers and partners in a meaningful dialog. This is commonly called Social CRM. #SocialCRM or #SCRM are common hashtags.

E2.0 activities evolve to include mixed communities made up of employees and external business partners. There are some camps that continue to call this Enterprise 2.0 and others that want to call it something else (external Collaboration for example).

Social Business pulls it all together to convey any business use of social media or web 2.0 activities and practices. Just like E-Business pulled it all together in the early e-commerce days, I believe Social Business pulls it all together for corporate web 2.0 applications today. #SocBiz is the hashtag.

These terms are used mostly by vendors and practitioners. Most corporate leaders prefer to speak in business terms referring to professional networking, collaboration, or online communities, among other generic terms. I seldom hear the terms Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business among business executives.

Do you have another view? Please tweet it or post below in the comments. Or just let me know what you think on twitter at @jimworth .

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Filed under enterprise20, social business, social CRM, social media, social web

Your eNewsletter is Old School


I still get many e-newsletters in my inbox. Many of them have very good content, but I am finding that I get more and more frustrated with the lack of social integration. I receive something interesting, I want share it with my network. If I were “old school”, I would just forward that email to all my friends…yuck.

So I look for the share features that are starting to emerge. I received one recently that had a link to share it on twitter. I clicked it and got a twitter window with a very cryptic preformatted tweet (ugly headline, shortened URL, and a hashtag ad for the newsletter platform)…double yuck.

It got me thinking…as I look at these e-newsletters that were all the rage just 5 years ago, it is painfully obvious to me that it is time for these companies to “get social”. I’d like to share some strategy and tactics just in case you find your e-marketing method “old school” and are longing for a way to break out and get social in 2011.

Here is my short list of recommendations. These were created with an event management company in mind, but probably translate well to anyone using e-mail marketing to promote their organization.

  1. Leverage your e-newsletter into a ongoing twitter campaign
  2. Build a community with your audience using a microblogging tool (maybe from Socialcast) and a community platform (maybe from Jive)
  3. Update your website and communications with various “share” features (see this example blog)
  4. Utilize YouTube and Flickr to share the excitement of your events with your audience
  5. Encourage blogging from and about your events
  6. Add a twitter hashtag to every event and promote it in all literature and communications. Register it on what the hashtag
  7. Utilize a wiki to crowd source and then archive tweets, blogposts, and user generated content about your events

If you would like to expand on these recommendations, share example best practices, or just add you 2 cents, please tweet it or comment below.

Let’s make a resolution to drop the “old school” e-marketing tactics of the 2000s and move full speed into the “new school” social media tactics of the 2010s.

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Filed under e-newsletters, how to, social, social media, social web

Twitter, The Activity Stream of the Social Web

I’ve been on Twitter almost 2 years now and have some observations. I love the transparency and the “Work Out Loud” attitude it promotes. It truly is the nervous system of the Social Web.

Let me mention some basics first and then dig into it a little on how I think this simple tool is revolutionizing interactions on the web. First of all the basics:

  • A tweet is a 140 character statement that is sent to followers.
  • A retweet (RT) is when a follower finds that interesting and sends it on to his/her followers
  • A hashtag (#E20 for example) is a user generated tag that helps identify a topic in the tweet.
  • One can search on a hashtag to find all recent tweets on a particular topic.
  • When you first sign up to twitter, you have no followers, and you follow no one…boring
  • In time, a new tweeter begins to follow interesting people and others begin to find the tweeter interesting and follow him/her.
  • Once you get to a critical mass (50 or so followers and following you) it starts to get interesting
  • A direct message (DM) is a private tweet delivered to one person
  • A @message is a semi-private tweet that is delivered to that one person, but visible only to all who follow both of you that are conversing. You compose the message by beginning with @ followed by the recepient’s twitter name.
  • A tweeter’s full tweet stream (except for DMs) is available for public viewing from the tweeter’s profile.
  • Many people use twitter.com for their tweet platform, but most use some other twitter “client” or program on their desktop, laptop, or mobile device. There are dozens of good twitter clients available for free.
  • Tweets can contain a link to interesting content. Most often the URL is shortened by an automated URL shortener (remember, we are working with just 140 characters here)

The beauty of Twitter is the simplicity. When you put this all together, you have a constant ebb and flow of conversation. The conversations create community. Communities create relationships, and Relationships create lasting value. Let me give you some examples.

The transparency of twitter allows one to “overhear” a conversation. When two people you follow are messaging each other, you can monitor the conversation in your main twitter stream. It’s interesting, you learn that a relationship exists just by witnessing the tweets.

Sometimes it’s like “high school”, you can see who is hanging with the “cool people”. For example if there is a “rock star” on a particular subject (call him Jerry) and I see he and a good friend of mine (call him John) are having a back and forth conversation, I can watch and say “Hey, I didn’t know John knew Jerry that well”. John must be a “rock star” too. My opinion of John is elevated and I suddenly see him in a different light.

The openness of the platform makes it easy to join the conversation. Simply enter you thoughts with the twitter IDs of John and Jerry at the beginning and just like that, you are in the conversation as well. I think that is one of the great appeals of twitter, the ability to have meaningful converations and begin meaningful relationships with just a set of short messages.

Another great thing is the ability to join in and stay out at your convenience. Since the tweets are all captured, you can pick up the conversation later and not miss a thing. However, with the steady stream of tweets, many are missed. That’s alright. If someone wants to catch your attention, they just need to enter your twitter name into a point for you and it shows in your @mentions stream.

Finally, there is nothing like the “now” effect of twitter. Again, a “rock star” may be on line tweeting and if you reply immediately, it is likely he or she will see it before it gets lost in the long stream of tweets from other fans. There is nothing else like the accessibility of those tweeting. Generally if you see a new tweet, you can bet they are online right now and reading what comes their way. Yet another way to cultivate the conversation and begin to build a relationship.

I wonder what you have observed in the subtlety of the interactions and relationships you have built in Twitter. Tweet me @jimworth or add your comments below.

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Filed under community, conversations, how to tweet, microblogging, social media, twitter, web2.0

Enterprise 2.0 Conference Recaps

>One thing I learned at the recent E2.0 Conference in Boston was the power of a simple wiki. I started by trying to compile a list of interesting blog posts and tweeters from the conference. I started with a short list and decided to try the pbworks.com wiki engine. I posted a skeleton list and then tweeted it. With in 5 days it had grown to become a very compressive list that still grows. Please visit and contribute more. Thanks to the power of the crowd for creating such a great list!

Link here

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Filed under community, enterprise20, Innovation, social business, social CRM, social media, social web, trends, web2.0