Archive for September, 2012

Wiki Wiki whaat?

If you haven’t heard of Wikipedia by now then crawl out from under your Web 1.0 rock and turn your intertubes to www.wikipedia.org. This is the most successful implementation of
what is known as a ‘Wiki’, which is effectively a resource that is built on collaboration and contribution from a large, or small, group of people. The concept is similar to a brainstorming session based on facts, everyone contributes their expertise on a single topic, the submissions are either posted straight away or moderated for quality, and the knowledge is saved into the Wiki for later.

In Wikipedia’s case it has moderators to ensure quality over quantity, and also accuracy of the data within the Wiki. If you’re a regular user of Wikipedia you will be familiar with the concept of ‘getting distracted’ while researching things due to the sheer volume of information on there.

The great thing about Wiki’s in a business scenario is their ability to be used for sharing operational information. The Wiki can be turned into a living, breathing knowledge base of both present issues and past fixes, common issues that present themselves, what to watch out for, projects that people are working on and the progress / hickups / needs they currently have. Needs, advice or other content can then be contributed by either people internal to the organisation (internal wiki) or externally if it is published to the internet.

The downside to a Wiki is that if content isn’t moderated or backed up there is always the possibility of incorrect, incomplete or down right wrong information. This is either done accidently, with the best intent or simply people trolling. For an obvious example of Wikipedia Trolling click here, or for the uninitiated, here and here.

Who Wiki’s?

So what about people who don’t use it to make money? Wikipedia is a commercial turned non-profit organisation and has proved the platform can be successful, so to demonstrate they didn’t just ‘get   lucky’, I present Rt. 1 Day Centre in Columba, Maryland who actively use a Wiki to enhance the productivity of their non-profit organisation that helps the homeless.

The centre uses an external wiki that is accessible once you have created a free account on their website, and uses it to coordinate food deliveries, stocks and needed supplies, as well as when showers are available, laundries for people to clean the clothes, social services and many other facilities. They are partnered with over 40 churches in the area which ensures a good volunteer base of willing participants.

Volunteers simply logon / register, then can look at or contribute to the wiki instantly which info such as donations they are going to make, services they can provide or even contribute strategies such as the way the centre can engage the community or more effectivly deliver services.

This collaboration ensures a community, not just a group of volunteers is brought together, all sharing a common goal by collaborating with each other on common ground. This equal contribution that Wiki’s enable ensures people get an opportunity to provide their input on situations or topics, thus making them feel validated and a valued part of the community they are helping to contribute to.

How to Wiki with Enterprise 2.0

 

In order to successfully implement a Wiki in your Enterprise, there are a number of things to consider such as what your target audience is, how will people access your Wiki, is it only for internal staff or also external members, who can edit or contribute, what content will be on there, how easy will it be to edit? There are just some of the many questions that need answering before you delve into creating a Wiki.

The strategy I would take first is to consult with key staff and areas of the business to find their business needs, and translate those into deliverables that they Wiki would satisfy. This would culminate in form of an internal Wiki for staff and have basic content developed and published to ensure when people started using it there was a base to build on.

Stakeholder support is very important in any new venture so ensuring they key stakeholders and managers actively participated in editing, publishing and engaging the community would be a key driver to the Wiki’s success. Different sections would be created inside the Wiki such as a section for news and current affairs, a knowledge base section such as an FAQ or Technical Support etc to ensure information was organised and categorised for ease of use.

The final step would be to assign permission levels to each section, which could include having moderators review the content before publishing it to the page. This is especially valuable for things such as the FAQ sections, which are accessed often and correct information is paramount to ensuring the usefulness of the resource.

If everything goes well from here there could also be opportunity to open up an extranet wiki which could leverage off the information already inside the internal wiki pages.

Wikileaks

No wiki story is complete without mentioning the most notoriuos of Wiki’ers, Julian Assange, so if you’ve got an hour to spare this is well worth a look, if you don’t however then the summary is a group of activists use a Wiki platform to leak highly confidential documents submitted to them from anonymous sources.

Hey all,

So by now we’re all familiar with the concept of social media in general such as Facebook, LinkedIn etc, as well as Blogging both internal to the organisation and external, such as this WordPress blog.

Micro blogging takes a different approach to the usual format, restricting posts to a bare minimum of characters per post. Twitter for example limits posts to 160 characters, and these micro blog posts are referred to as “Tweets”.

However much like better cars don’t make better drivers, the micro blogging format doesn’t mean junk will never be posted, or a useless Tweet sent every second, it does however help to ensure the content is short, sharp and to the point. People can also ‘follow’ Twitter accounts to ensure that they receive information instantly. To ensure content is targeted, Twitter uses a system called ‘hash-tagging’ which works by placing a hash symbol (#) in front of a word e.g. #micro-blogging.

In an enterprise context this is very useful as it enables content to not only be targeted through the use of hash tags, but the business can also see what topics are ‘trending’ by looking at what hash tags appear the most. These trending topics can be used to gain a business advantage by utilising trending hash tags that are relevant to their business, thus generating more traffic by association. Trendsmap is a great tool that can be used to sort out what is trending geographically speaking, in order to ensure your tweets are hitting the right areas.

Personally, for any blog post I publish I will also send a Tweet sent out to all my followers, along with accompanying hash tag to ensure anyone else either in my class, or interesting in the content I am posting will be able to find my post. This is very useful in a business situation where you can inform people of specials, promotions, initiatives, latest news and events as well as get to interact with your target market and learn what they like, dislike, follow, use, think and pretty much anything else that they are willing to share via social media.

 

Iran and Social Media

I’ve previously focused on government and social media, so I thought I’d explore how a people as a whole, rather than an organisation, can be used to demonstrate the power of micro blogging.

During the 2011-2012 Iranian protests, the government issued a media blackout to ensure no news of the unrest would be seen, or heard of throughout the country. Enter Twitter, Facebook and other social media applications which suddenly turned groups of both organised and disorganised protestors into a single hive mind that shared information instantly enabling quick decisions on what the best course of action was at that immediate moment.

By sharing what the government forces were doing, where other protestors were, what places to march on, what to expect around the corner etc. they were better prepared and embodied they saying ‘knowledge is power’
Recently there were fresh demonstrations around the Iranian election, and in a move to pre-empt any unrest the government blocked what it considered ‘damaging’ western based websites.
This ensured some 30 million Iranians were unable to access Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and a host of other sites instrumental to a coordinated protest.

 

So what’s it got to do with business?

If a business is able to build an online presence through micro blogging, it will enable them to engage with people on a very personal, very rapid level which will ensure targeted marketing and successful business engagement.

Internally, micro blogging could be used to ensure any issues, ideas, projects or current topics are available to the entire organisation instantly.
I will leave you all with a snippet of Fox11 news about Twitter and Iran:

If you’re a car enthusiast like myself who shoves money hand over fist into old cars because we have fond memories of them when we were younger you might want to adjust your attitude when thinking about ‘Return on Investment‘ in a business context. You could argue nostalgia is the benefit here but it’s a bloody expensive one, with blood, sweat and tears every year without fail.

At the end of the day a business does not run on good vibes and unicorn farts, so you can be damn sure they don’t want to be ploughing money into ventures that don’t provide a tangible benefit.

For scientific purposes, I have included what is widely accepted as the most accurate representation of a unicorn fart.

Metrics to use when calculating ROI

My personal favourite way to calculate how well you’re doing is client feedback. Actively engage your staff through either open door sessions where staff can approach managers to voice their concerns, ideas etc, polls that are available through your chosen enterprise 2.0 platform i.e a poll on your main Wiki page or even just asking around the office.

People can be reluctant to voice their opinions however so you may need to provide a way of anonymously providing feedback to ensure there is no ‘confrontation’ as such.

The other way of doing this is through cold hard statistics, and Harry Gold from ClickZ has put together a list of 14 Social Media ROI Metrics You Use Right Now to measure your organisations Enterprise 2.0 return on investment.

The cold hard truth

If only it were as easy as looking at statistics all day, as there are so many different ways to measure your ROI. You need to find the right tool for the right job, not all ROI metrics will map well to your organisation so try and few and see what you can find out!

Most of the time when I mention Enterprise 2.0 people seem to go all Jerry Maugie, I mean come on, how many of you have had that ‘friend on facebook’ ask you to ‘Like’ their ‘SUPERNEW AWESOME BUSINESS THAT WILL MAKE MILLIONS”?

What it takes is time, persistence and an understanding of your target audience, only then will you start to see a realised return on investment.

Found this very interesting, apparently open WiFi networks are designed to be ‘public’ in nature.

I’m not sure I’d be giving away my personal banking details over a public WiFi network anytime soon, however for those who don’t know better this could be a goldmine for information harvesting.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/09/sniffing-open-wifi-networks-is-not-wiretapping-judge-says/

A rather hectic week has been and gone so I can finally post the final instalment of ‘Navigating the Social Media legal Minefield’.

In this final chapter we shall cover two topics that are close to my heart, being the legal issues around Information, as well as Statutory risks of engaging in social media. These two go hand in hand as the information that is distributed via social media takes on a life of its own, leading to situations that could be potential dangerous or even downright humiliating for either the poster or the person(s) involved both directly and indirectly.
Sounds like a mouthful yes? I use the term ‘legal minefield’ when describing social media for a reason! While some may delight in have a mental image of a suited up lawyer tiptoeing through an actual minefield, it’s about the most accurate description you could give for posting into the Enterprise 2.0 sphere.

Information

For a start, who owns what you post into the ether? You would think that because you typed the words posted onto your chosen platform that you and only you are accountable, and any actions taken would only be against the poster… right?

Well for the most part you would be correct, and as Social Rabbit points out there are a few things you should know when putting information onto FaceBook. Companies who have a social media vessel that allows users to submit comments, feedback, post images, thoughts, ideas etc are actually allowing this to be submitted to their companies public face, thus the information on their page is in fact representing them to the general public.

An example of brands that embarrassed themselves on social media is McDonalds, who ran a campaign designed to generate positive memories of the beloved golden arches. This was the (disastrous) result:


This goes to show that not everyone is your friend when it comes to social media. It also raises issues around what information is shared.

Take for example a new employee on the current American campaign trail who is given Facebook access for their party. They are given full access and can post on behalf of the entire campaign as it will appear to come from the page that is owned by the campaign.

Imagine the field day that would result if something unmoderated was
posted such as this?

For a start, someone would be getting fired! But it would also damage the campaign’s credibility due to the fact it was posted by their official social media mouthpiece. This has far reaching repercussions which need to be carefully assessed before releasing ANY form of information via social media.
Legal Issues

As we’ve explored above, what you post is yours, you own it, and that means if you said it online it’s the same as saying it to someone on the street. In Liam Stacey’s case, that meant taking to twitter and with the glorious mouthpiece that is social media, managed to enrage an entire nation. His trolling efforts on Twitter, where he drunkenly tweeted racists comments when Fabrice Muamba collapsed during an international soccer match, were so profoundly successful that a District Judge decided to throw him a 56 day private party… where he could celebrate by himself, in a jail cell.
This is only one example of many, however I feel I should cut to the chase and point out a few key points to ensure your companies venture into Enterprise 2.0 is regarded as a success by all.

– Only post information on behalf of the company if you are authorised to

– Information published should be considered ‘Public’ in nature, as such, NEVER release private or sensitive company information.

– Maintain a professional attitude and profile, no lolcats.

– Always respond promptly to customer feedback, ALL feedback, this included negative comments.

– Finally, READ THE FACEBOOK RULES OR LOOSE EVERYTHING!

On a final note, monitor you page 24/7, know your memes, know what’s hip and what’s not, find someone to vet images on your page as well as posts or you might end up making a gaff like Nestle did... is this the Kit Kat bear or something more sinister?