All posts in “social networking”

Living Without Email

Cam Finlayson is the Director and Group Head, Client Strategy & Innovation at Social Media Group. 

When it comes to email there are typically two types of people: (i) those who generally embrace it and (ii) those who tolerate but secretly despise it.

I tend to associate myself with the latter. That said, I obviously accept that email is currently the preferred medium for online communication and use it for personal and business correspondence. However I can’t seem to shake the notion that email is antiquated medium that shares more in common with fax machines and telegrams than our modern communication tools. Not to mention that that from a business standpoint, email is cumbersome, an ineffective medium for collaboration and the source of countless hours of lost productivity.

Interestingly, while researching potential business solutions to this pesky email problem, I uncovered a third group users that I neglected to include above: (iii) those who have simply removed email as a form of personal and/or professional communication.

One example is an IBM employee named Luis Suarez based out of the Canary Islands. Luis is one of IBM’s social computing experts, who famously decided to remove email out of his day-to-day back in 2008. He now communicates with colleagues primarily via IBM’s business software platform Connections and various external social networks – including Google+ and Twitter. For Luis email only plays a very minor role, simply notifying him of meetings and the rare confidential email.

To some Luis’ decision is totally crazy, not to mention potentially career limiting. However to others he’s viewed as a genius and trailblazer. Regardless of your view, Luis has developed a solution that enforces work-life balance, while ensuring a productive work environment. And he didn’t get fired in the process.

Another high profile example that’s worth mentioning is the French technology firm Atos. With over 70,000 employees around the world, their firm plans to remove email as a form of internal communication across their company by 2014. Other tech companies including Intel have been reported to be piloting similar modeling for over a decade.

Regardless of the validity of these alternatives, the reality is that there’s a pending influx of future workers who have little use for email. These individuals have been raised with social tools and understand the limitations of legacy methods of communication. To them the solution is a no-brainer, to the old guard it won’t come easy and to the rest of us it’s just a matter of time.

Social Media Round Up for February 10

Leona Hobbs is Vice President and Partner at Social Media Group she tweets @flackadelic.

Economist Debates Social Networking

The debate about social networks is underway over at the Economist. The assertion being debated, “this house believes that society benefits when we share personal information online.” Defending the motion is Jeff Jarvis and against the motion is Andrew Keen.

From Jarvis’s opening statement:

“For individuals, sharing is a choice; that is the essence of privacy. Today, we have the opportunity to create, share and connect, and 845m people choose to do so on Facebook alone.”

And from Keen’s opening statement:

“In today’s Web 3.0 world of real identities generating massive amounts of data, we are all living in the full digital glare of public opinion. In this world of Facebook’s Timeline and Open Graph, of millions and millions of daily tweets, Google+ circles and LinkedIn updates, “publicness” (to borrow a word from my friend Jeff Jarvis) replaces privacy as the core condition of life in our digital age.”

Vote, comment and weigh in through opening, rebuttal and closing as the debate continues over the next week.

Hmm…very Pinteresting

Our very own Kirsten McNeill blogged earlier this week about how Brands can use Pinterest, a social network designed to visually showcase interesting links. Pinterest has captured the attention of millions (over 10 million unique monthly users in the US in eight months according to ComScore, the fastest any social network has researched this milestone). This week, Pinterest was accused of replacing user affiliate links with their own. Pinterest did not disclose this policy to users, which has raised the eyebrows of social media types and made some users feel kind of icky.

Read more:

TechCrunch: Pinterest Hits 10 Million U.S. Monthly Uniques Faster Than Any Standalone Site Ever – comScore

On the SMG blog: How Brands Can Get Involved on Pinterest Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins. And an update: What was learned from the Pinterest link modification story.

New Trends in Global Internet Behaviour

This week, GlobalWebIndex released new data about both new and continuing trends in the way consumers use all Internet platforms. On the benchmarks side, social networking is still the fastest growing social media behavior online, with 59% of global internet users managing their profile on a monthly basis. Turning to e-commerce, “just over 59% of global internet users had purchased a product online in the past month and 53% had reviewed a product.”

New trends identified in the research:

  • The rise of the Social Brand: nearly one-third of global internet consumers are engaging brands through social media
  • Death of digital: “digital can no longer be seen as a separate “media” as consumers globally are transitioning to media consumption across multiple internet platforms in record numbers”
  • Googopoly: “Google has evolved into the gatekeeper of the Internet, Google has massively improved its position as the world’s biggest controller of information and is starting to dominate all access points to the internet”

The report also details changes to existing trends the Localised Web, the Post-PC era comes ever closer and Facebook Fatigue continues.

More on this global trends research:

GlobalWebIndex GWI.6 Trends Report

GlobalWebIndex identifies new trends in global internet behaviour


Building Channel, or Why Microsites are a Bad Idea

I’m starting to repeat myself. We’ve been having very similar conversations about social media with virtually all of our clients over the last eight months or so, the main point being: “You need to start thinking like a media company. Your objective in this fragmented universe should be to build channel.”
That sounds great, but what does it mean?

1. Stop building temporary microsites and spending millions in media dollars to send people there, only to shut it all down (or leave it to wither) when the campaign ends. Attention is an expensive gift – think about how you can recycle it.

2. Who cares if companies like Honda have 2 million app users on Facebook? You should – they can engage with and activate 2 million qualified brand enthusiasts in the future, at virtually no cost.

3. Think like a broadcaster – if someone has spent time and money making channel 14 highly rated, are they going to launch a new channel to air their new show? No – they’re going to piggyback on the money they’ve spent and the eyeballs they’ve attracted. Knowing this, why are you reinventing the wheel every time you have something new to share or talk about?

4. Your plan should be to build permanent real estate (your own and on the social networks of choice for the people you are trying to reach) that can be strategically leveraged to let you connect with the people you want to talk to most and who want to talk to you.

Old habits die hard – we’re all still getting used to the scary fact that social media means millions of consumers are publishers – they no longer require a TV station or newspaper to get their point across to a vast audience. But business needs to take a breath and realize these new rules apply to them as well. This of course requires a re-thinking of where marketing and media dollars go; something that’s a lot more than scary for a whole industry.

“You need to start thinking like a media company. You need to build channel.”