I caught this advert at the weekend, I thought it was wonderful… although it didn’t make me want to rush out to buy some Cravendale milk! Also worth noting is Cravendale have created an online campaign around this advert, encouraging viewers to follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page, buts what’s telling is that they have 33,ooo Facebook fans but only 3,500 Twitter followers, or another way of saying it, is that 9 out of 10 cats with opposable thumbs prefer Facebook! (maybe I’m getting my advertising messages confused!)

you should follow me on twitter here

Linked In or Locked Out?

December 1, 2010

I’m not a regular user of Linked in, but I decided to update my profile a couple of days ago and use the service to see if I could find some old contacts I’ve not been in touch with for ages by importing my various address books, 5 minutes later I had 300 plus recommendations, but a large chunk of these were people I’m never likely to interactive with again, so I opted to filter out the noise and only chose those I’m likely to contact in the future.

While trawling through the list and clicking on various contacts I was intrigued how some unlikely connections started to appear between friends, work colleagues and business associates that I would have never thought likely, crossing business sectors, industries and even continents. But when I clicked on some contacts I found their contacts were hidden from view… this is something I can’t fathom, why hide your contacts? the name of the service is a bit of a give away, doesn’t it tell you something, it’s all about being “linked in”… is there some sort of competitive advantage to hiding your contacts? unlikely, as personally I think it could work against you, as by not seeing your contacts I’m less likely to build a good picture of who you really are and who your business associates are… as they say, you can a tell a person by the company they keep. Is it a privacy thing? are you trying to stop me getting spam and requests from unwanted contacts? If so, why bother, I’m more than capable of ignoring requests and filtering linked in emails.

Actually I think it’s a more fundamental than that, I don’t wish to offend anyone by saying this, but I believe it’s something to do with age, (I’m no spring chicken myself I should add), let me explain.

First I’ll use Facebook and my own family as an example, choosing 4 of my relatives at random, ranging in age from 13-25, they have friend and tagged photo totals of
13yr 625 friends, 667 photos
22yr 490 friends, 287 photos
23yr  768 friends, 1,052 photos
25yr 825 friends, 3,61 photos

averaging 677 friends and 1,419 photos, but it’s not just the number of ‘friends’ and photos they have, they also display their dates of birth, their email addresses etc

If I take a look family and friends in the age range of 35-50, myself included, I get averages of 190 friends and 163 photos, quite a marked difference. And this isn’t just a Facebook phenomenon, it’s happens across all social networks, is it because the younger generation are more social, or that they’re using and relying on these systems more, partly yes, but it’s also a markedly different take on privacy, they’ve accepted and in some way embraced the fact that privacy isn’t something you have or something they should concern themselves with in this digital age, it’s not their problem. The more places they have their name, email, age, location, likes, dislikes plastered across the digital domain, the easier life become, choices and recommendations are made for them, friends and families have no problem finding them (they never lose touch in the first place), searching and finding things becomes easier, there’s so much on tap that they spend most of their time filtering what’s pushed at them rather than looking for new things, but again that filtering is done for them the more personal information they put out there, the better the filters work. Firefox announced a few days ago how it’s hoping websites will honour it’s users wishes who switch on their new “Don’t track me” feature in their preferences, hoping to avoid advertisers and online retailers from targeting them and building personalised demographics. This is unlikely to work as it requires the retailers to opt in to the users that opt out, most won’t.

To an older demographic this may sound horrific, they’re giving away too much freedom, we have to stop this happening, it’s as if 1984 is coming to fruition! but hang on a minute, these guys weren’t even born in 1984!

I read all the time bloggers bemoaning the loss of privacy, how we have information overload with too many choices, so we graze snippets of information, rather than sit down for a big meal, that transient use of social networks aren’t an adequate replacement for deeper more substantial real world interactions. I’ve been known to say that a measure of a real vs virtual friend is someone you know you can ask for £50 and they have no problem dipping into their pocket to help you out, try doing that with a 1,000 Facebook friends or Twitter followers, although not impossible.

But what about identity theft? The onus is shifting, it’s down to the banks to come up with more secure ways to protect our money and assets, as they’re liable, using a password, my date of birth or my mothers maiden name is no longer an adequate way to identify me, this information can be easily tapped online, often in the one place, take Facebook as a perfect example, your birthday is likely displayed, if not references and pictures of your birthday will be there… mothers maiden name? again you if you’re linked to your mother, she will likely use her married name, but your uncle (her brother) will be linked to her, plus if she divorced or wants old school friends to track her down, she likely has her maiden name displayed on her profile.

As the recent Wikileaks scandal has highlighted, privacy is dead, once you transpose something digitally, no matter how personal, off the record or secret you think it is, it’s public. Upload something to a website or a blog, then have second thoughts and delete it, you need to accept it’s not really gone, it’s still sitting on a server somewhere and Google is likely caching it too (and yes it will still appear in a search).

The next generation isn’t giving up it’s liberty, they’re not ignorant to it’s importance, they accept this flow of personal information isn’t something to worry about, or a hinderance, it’s quite the opposite, it has it’s advantages, being open and transparent works

Practise What You Tweet

October 21, 2010

I read this article yesterday about Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, and how he rarely tweets, sure enough he only has 128 tweets! which was a little surprising, especially as he’s now head of product development… but as he says he uses Twitter for consumption not broadcasting… although he follows just 1,284 users, while he has 1,257,315 followers (that’s almost a 1,000 to 1 ratio).

As the post highlights, a lack of engagement or passion in another of Evan’s earlier startups Odeo, doomed it from day 1, even though he was able to source funding, he just didn’t appear compelled or interested enough in it to keep it going. I have no doubt Twitter will continue to thrive with or without Evan’s tweets, but it is interesting nonetheless.

To build a company you really have to believe in it and use it’s services. The same is true when building your brand, you have to live and breath your ethos. I posted a few days ago, that you have to be authentic, if you’re not, and you can’t convince yourself, how will you ever convince those you connect with or your customers!

I’m in the early stages of building and launching a new company named no paper onto the world, as the name implies, we don’t use paper. I live and breath this ideology, I only purchase eBooks, no paper books, I have Kindles, Sony eReaders, iPads, iPhones, laptops all choc full of eBooks. Our iPads and iPhones are our daily notebooks (FYI there’s a no paper iApp coming soon). We have a no paper office policy, no printer, no fax machines, no paper notepads in meetings or on people’s desks. Paper invoices are ignored and go unpaid until we receive an electronic version, we do not accept cheques only bank transfers for payment, most if not all business is handled electronically. That may sound draconian at first, but when you adhere to the rules not because you have to, but because you want to, you realise they weren’t rules, they were advice. Then a wonderful thing starts to happen, you become emotionally engaged in the ethos, it becomes visceral (more on that by Anne), you start putting forward your own suggestions, it’s no longer just part of your life, you become part of it. This harks back to the definition of leadership

At home I don’t send letters, birthday or xmas cards and my family and friends know not to send them to me either (I’d rather a phone call or text, costs less and I find it’s more engaging and personal), all my utilities, bills and bank statements are electronic or online, I’m converting all my old paper bank statements, utility bills, insurance records etc into electronic versions (and experimenting in the best way to reference and store them, again something we’re working on at no paper), I refuse to have junk mail and freebie newspapers pushed through my letterbox… I could go on, but you get the idea, I live and breath the brand values of my business… as the saying goes, “If you truly want to understand something, try changing it” but that also works in reverse, “If you truly want to change something, try understanding it!” the only way I can truly understand a life with no paper is to live one… if I can do it, then hopefully I can encourage others to do the same, then in turn they will encourage others.

I don’t think the term “Social Media” is applicable anymore, fair enough it evolved from the early online community sites, but the term now encompasses virtually all manner of web 2.0, blogs, data aggregation services etc, most of which have nothing to do with being social, so it’s much more than a way to connect and send messages and hence be social with your friends.

Plus there’s the so called “Social Media Expert”, but ask yourself, how can someone say they’re an expert in something that is so vast and is evolving and changing so rapidly that it’s almost impossible to keep up. To be a SME is a paradox “The more I know, the more I realise I know nothing”

So I prefer to talk around associated media, or associated connections, as I see the real future of the “Social Media Revolution” will be the leveraging of connections, and not merely connecting you to your friends and what they’re saying but to your “combined” wealth of information, utilising smart connections, connections that are associated to you and what you’re looking for… so rather than you looking for information, it finds you, now that’s a revolution worth talking about!

Comic Strip of a Social Media Expert

As I’ve re-quoted before “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital“ Aaron Levenstein

This video makes compelling reading/watching, but read between the lines, there’s more to this than meets the eye, major changes are unfolding in the social media environment, information/data/ID aggregation is becoming the new hot potato, the shift is about linking you to the stuff you want to know in a transparent & convenient way.

For more info & a list of quotes & stats go to the socialnomics blog

Also check out a brilliant and ballsy presentation by Marta Kagan entitled What the F**K is Social Media: One Year Later

Also note Marta doesn’t use the that annoying Social Media Expert moniker, she calls herself a Bonafide Marketing Genius, now that’s a great job title! (as long as you live up to it of course, although reading her blog, it looks like she does)

Google said they’d have something interesting to demo at the Google IO Dev Conference, oh boy they weren’t kidding… Hello to Google Waves!

The Video below is 1.5hrs long, but it’s worth a look, as this will change everything. I’ve been harping on for ages about data aggregation & building open platforms without walls, with API’s for developers & third parties to leverage & integrate with (just like our plans for no paper & ID Gator), well Google have just stepped up to the plate with all their might and done just that… it all works in standard HTML5 & it’s all Open Source Code!!!!

Email, wiki’s, instant messaging, realtime inline document collaboration & creation, blogs, image & rich media sharing, polling, mobile and other stuff I’ve forgotten to mention can all be handled & integrated by Waves.

The way you use Twitter, Facebook, MSN, Skype, Blogs etc is about to change forever, no more proprietary software, no having to log into a specific system to access & update your data, connect & interact with colleagues etc Waves passes all that and allows you to do it from whatever system you want.

Want to connect with everyone you know on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, AOL, Google, MSN etc without logging into Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, AOL, Google, MSN etc, with Waves you’ll be able to do that.

Why is this so powerful & something that the likes of Facebook should be concerned about? Well you’ll be able to get all the interation of Facebook & connect to all your friends, without ever logging directly into Facebook again! So you never look at their main revenue stream, their adverts! I was writing a blog a few days ago (didn’t get round to fininshing it), where I was saying that Facebook’s biggest threat isn’t from someone like Myspace, Twitter or Google… it will be from the parasites, the small third parties that feed off & leverage it’s systems, these guys can easily create revenue streams that Facebook can’t (or is missing), Google has just made that job easier with Google Waves.

So why would Facebook (or those like Facebook) integrate Waves? Simply put, they will have no choice, the users will want it (see an old post for what I mean)… already Facebook has opened it’s walled garden with Facebook Connect, if Waves could take hold & it’s protocol become the de facto way to collaborate, they’d have no choice but to open up & integrate it… it will be interesting to see if Google actually push this, or like so many of their ideas, invest loads of time in developing the initial idea, then let it stagnate and die… which is a great shame, as it’s only the likes of a giant like Google that could take on the likes of Facebook… which is something they should be bear in mind in reverse, as Facebook continues to amass it’s user base, it will become a force to be reckoned with in Google’s market space, “Search”, for as Amazon has proven, it’s personal recommendations that lead us in purchasing decisions, if Facebook taps into our friends recommendations and “likes”, then we’ll start our searching in Facebook, not Google. A possible future with a Facebook and Bing alliance could cause Google reasons to be concerned.

more info from
wave.google.com
code.google.com/apis/wave (very techie!)
waveprotocol.org

Welcome To The Party

March 28, 2009

We all use social networks in different ways, some for work, some for play, some for play while at work!? No matter how you use them, you’re going to meet someone that uses the same network differently. The two networks getting most press coverage currently are Twitter & Facebook, both of which have very different ways of connecting you to others on their networks, both having advantages & disadvantages, so you need to use them in very different ways.

Facebook’s greatest advantage is only letting those you know hear what you’re saying, while Twitter’s greatest advantage is allowing anyone to eavesdrop your conversation, so Facebook is connecting you with people you already know, Twitter is connecting you with people you want to know.

One way of looking at it is, Twitter is a night club, Facebook is a house party, so be careful who you let in

What if Facebook was real?