Archive for the 'web2.0' Category

Listening to the Crowd

28 August, 2008

Following on from my earlier post about Groundswell. Tracy from Forrester was kind enough to email me and let me know that they will be sending out a copy very soon.

I guess it was a postal issue.

Still thinking about it hypothetically, if a company were to try to manipulate the discussion it could be very risky business indeed.


More on why I like blogging

25 August, 2008

I wrote this post for one of our corporate blogs, and thought it would work well here too. It does not read quite as well as the original as I have removed company names to continue my tradition of keeping this tram brandless. 🙂
You are reading a blog right now, potentially if you read this blog you may read many other blogs, but do you have a blog of your own?  I’d like to talk about a few reasons to consider creating your own blog.

The blog is an incredibly powerful and flexible tool, it can be used in many different ways to achieve many different outcomes, below are a few of my favourites.

News feed / marketing tool

A blog provides you with a simple means of providing news to your clients and colleagues. Many bloggers I read use their blogs as a vehicle to inform current and potential clients of work, projects, successes and challenges. Providing news of your latest accomplishments and projects can also become a valuable marketing tool.

Learning space

There are two main ways a blog can be used as a learning tool, to learn from yourself and to learn from others. I believe the most powerful learning occurs when the two come together. I have a blog which I use to record my thoughts, challenges and things I find interesting about my work. Simply going through the process of thinking through an issue and constructing a post often leads me to inspiration I may not have found. I’m fortunate enough that there are a few very smart people who occasionally read my blog, the insight they provide through their comments and suggestions have provided ideas and resources which regularly help me to be more effective in my work.

Work log

How often have you got to the end of the month and felt like you have been incredibly busy but could not describe what you were actually doing? Taking ten minutes a couple of times a week to jot down what you have been up to can provide you with a couple of benefits. Firstly, you have a record of work that you have been doing that you can refer back to, and secondly you have a record of your work that your colleagues, staff or clients can refer back to. In this post Melbourne KM’er Keith De La Rue talks about the importance of capturing stories. Capturing and publishing stories of work, challenges, problems and solutions may open doors for collaboration that may have otherwise gone unopened.

These are just three reasons to blog, my main advice is give it a try. Start by recording a few thoughts, if you are keen to build a network around your blog comment on blogs about topics similar to yours (Google Blog Search is a good place to start looking for blogs). I started blogging after hearing several people talk about how much they had learned from the discussions they had participated in through their blogs. After blogging for 6 months I couldn’t agree more, the trick is to give it a try, be persistent and experiment. You may not realise the benefit in the first week but after 3 months you may well look at blogging in a completely different light.

Manipulating the Groundswell?

19 August, 2008

I posted a couple of months back that Forrester were going to be kind enough to send me a copy of their latest book Groundswell. Well two months and a follow up email later it has still not arrived.

I don’t want to knock a gift horse in the mouth, but wouldn’t it be an interesting strategy to keep the blogosphere buzzing about your book if:

  • You asked a bunch of bloggers to email you to try and get a copy of the book to review
  • A couple of weeks later you email them back and say ‘you’re getting one’!
  • All of the bloggers post that they are getting a copy
  • But you don’t send the books right away…
  • You hold off sending them until the post launch buzz has died down
  • Then just as the blogosphere is forgetting about your book…
  • You send out the blog review copies and all the little bloggers rejoice and the conversation continues….

…then again it could just be a stock issue…

on Pubcamp and joining the darkside

24 June, 2008

I went down to check out Melbourne Pubcamp 08 yesterday, it proved to be an interesting experience on a couple of fronts.

First I caved and joined Twitter (micktleyden), the appeal of watching and potentially joining the back channel twitterstream was just a bit too tempting. I’m on there now and I must admit I am not sure what to do. I think I’ll play around for a couple of weeks and see what I can come up with .

Second, Pubcamp was really focused on the ‘media’ side of social media. There was a lot of discussion around the role of ‘old’ media in ‘new’ media. Being someone who spends all their time looking at social media from a learning or enterprise collaboration perspective, I found it a little difficult to connect with much of the discussion. It was still interesting to watch and listen.

The formal conference session was broken into several ‘bite sized’ presentations. Before I go on I would like to provide one piece of advice to anyone presenting a 5 – 10 minute session:

Take your 20 – 30 minute session and delete half of it! Do not just try to say it faster!!!

Here are some bits I found interesting from a few of the presenters:

Jed White kicked off the session, he spoke about the interesting paradox we encounter more and more frequently, we can be physically isolated in a crowd of people yet hyper-connected via a mobile device. He gave the example of sitting on a silent crowded train, tapping away on a laptop or PDA…

Stephen Collins filled the keynote role and spoke very quickly about the value of loose ties in a network. I think main guts of the presentation was that loose ties (defined as ‘loose’ connections with people e.g. those connected to via blogs or twitter) act as a bridge between different closely tied networks. He argues that this can support problem solving as closely tied networks are prone to group think. Bringing a loosly tied contact into a situation can provide a fresh perspective and connect the network with other contacts who may be helpful.

Mark Jones spoke about the value of social media in creating a soft persona for an organisation citing Robert Scoble (MS) and Jonathon Schwartz (Sun) as examples.

Janine Cahill spoke about future directions and talked up virtual worlds. She did point out that they will evolve and become more usable and immersive.

There were a bunch of other presenters mostly talking about journalism and advertising. All in all it was a pretty interesting experience. I didn’t hang around for the unconference segment, so I’ll be keen to hear from other participants.

As for twitter, not sure how it will go for me but it was fun sending messages to the screen behind the discussion panel. A final question to put out there is whether presenters should engage with the twitterstream during their presentations. There are arguments for and against but we will definitely see more presenters attempt to do so.

I’d like an SUV

11 June, 2008

I’ve been loving the blog lately! Well I always love the blog, I guess the difference is I have been thinking about why I am loving the blog. I’m beginning to understand how many different ways a blog can be used. It is such an incredibly flexible application, as such I have decided to call it the SUV of web applications! It can go almost anywhere, it has room for the dog and the snowboards and it doesn’t feel like a truck!

I thought I would jot down a few of the potential ‘uses’ for a blog.

Personal Learning

This is my favourite use, personal learning is what this blog is all about! I’ve really enjoyed being able to sit down on the tram and flesh out an idea I have been struggling with during the day. On many occasions the arguments I have put forward on blog posts have been referenced during the day in a range of different ‘real’ work situations.

Collaborative Learning

A recent post about Second Life really stirred up some discussion. I had a lot of different people providing their two cents, through this I was pointed to some interesting reading and was really challenged to think through my initial argument. As a personal learning tool it is fantastic, but to go a step further and have other people challenge those thoughts was very powerful.


To a certain extent there is a degree of personal branding going on here. I’ve got no plans to seek alternate employment, I really like my job (the bold is for the benefit of my boss :-)). However in the future, a collection of my thoughts such as this my prove to be useful (or otherwise!) when I do decide to find another opportunity. I also see a range of product marketing uses out there, ranging from communicating product examples to discussing challenges and providing updates.

Customer feedback

I believe providing customers with an opportunity to provide open and honest feedback about your products provides you with a wonderful chance to provide outstanding service and demonstrate to a broad audience that you provide outstanding service. Back your business, your product and your ability to respond to problems and invite feedback!

That’s the first four I can come up with, I reckon there are hundreds of other out there. I’d be keen to hear what anyone else can think of!

More Copyright Stuff

2 May, 2008

A quick one before I call it a day on the blog front to do some real work before the weekend starts. I posted a few weeks a back about some copyright issues with wikis I had been thinking about.

I stumbled on this post from Seb Schmoller about an IP toolkit for the web 2.0 world. It’ll be worth a look as these issues are only going to become more and more common.

An ‘ah ha’ moment

2 May, 2008

I’ve discovered something fantastic in the last couple days, this whole Web2.0, collaborative community thing actually works!

Ok now I sure you’re thinking ‘of course it works, you have been blogging about it for months now,’ so let me explain.

During the week I wrote about a few ideas I that had about growing a social network. As I mentioned at the time the idea for that post came from a discussion that had began to develop on Tony Karrer’s blog.

I had added another couple of comments to the discussion in the the day or so after after my post, there had been a few different perspectives on conference social networks and a some do’s and don’ts thrown around, I was really enjoying myself.

My ah ha moment came yesterday morning when i found that overnight (my time) three other people had weighed in on the debate, presenting a different take on the issue again. This has been a fantastic experience for me as it has taken the concepts of online community and collaboration out of the abstract realms of potential and into reality for me.

Typically, I have been a blog lurker. I read lots of people’s blogs but rarely comment. This experience has clearly demonstrated the benefits of jumping on and saying something, it may create opportunities you never knew existed.

I have read other people say things like that but I am only just starting to truly understand what they mean when they say “the best way to understand is to do it”.

I’ve always looked at blogging as a reflective learning experience but it can be much more.

Copyright stuff

1 April, 2008

I had an interesting chat with our legal counsel about copyright issues in a collaborative environment. We typically deal with traditional agreements regarding intellectual property, either we retain copyright or we license the copyright from the provider.

Looking at a community driven knowledge base application, if we were to publish our intellectual property under an open licence are we diluting or even destroying the value? If we want to kick off a knowledge base with some material do we need to create new wiki specific open content?

The flipside is if we retain some rights over some content could our contributors do the same? If conent is published in such a situation, could it be reused, in our commercial products?

I thought the conversation was going to be pretty straight forward about a disclaimer to go at the top of the page, but as we are aiming to have both community (our memebers) and commercial (our range of learning products and services) benefits we’re in murky water.

I guess the bottom line as always is, have a clearly defined purpose for your project!

Question 1: Facebook

5 March, 2008

FacebookMelbourne’s GPO

Question 1: What tools are available to facilitate social learning in a professional membership environment, and how can they add value?

I’ve written previously about our team’s Facebook experiments. These have been going on for about 6 weeks now; so far it has not created a storm of interest. I decided to look a little closer to see if we were just missing the mark.

My first step in writing this post was to search for Facebook in my Google reader. I turned up all sorts of articles, mostly news pieces talking about the outrage over privacy issues a few months ago. Although there were a couple that caught my eye, in “Where’s the ‘Working’ in Social Networking?” Tom Davenport said:

“So let’s agree to keep social networking social. No more prattle about business applications or corporate use of these sites. Fun is fun, work is work. “Hooking up” does not have a business meaning.”

To contrast Charlene Li strongly argues that social networks are wildernesses that should be tapped into

“So don’t write off social networking sites as merely social playgrounds for the young. Your customers, prospects, and employees are exploring and extending their relationships there.”

Ross Dawson goes as far to say that closing access to Facebook could actually reduce productivity

“Deloitte Australia, for example, actively uses Facebook inside its organization, encouraging its staff to use the application to connect and keep in touch. It’s likely that Deloitte’s business performance would decrease rather than increase if it suddenly blocked Facebook”

These and many others out there talk about social networking sites and their enterprise applications in glowing terms but I wonder if the ‘free’ sites like Facebook really are effective for enterprise use.

I was chatting with some colleagues in office about how the Facebook group was going and one of them remarked that “it really is a jack of all trades but a master of none.” I think he was on the money, Facebook is very be effective for meeting people and establishing networks. It can also be used for sharing online links and resources and can work well for facilitating discussions. The thing is it does not execute those secondary purposes brilliantly. If you have already got your network established, Facebook is a group of tools that are not quite as good as the individual versions (for example, social bookmaking, discussion forums, blogs etc). What we really need to work out is what do we want to get out of this?

There are two answers to that and it depends on which audience I am thinking about. I’ll start with our internal team, our experiments so far have been great. Facebook has provided a nice central place for our remote team to gather and share ideas and resources. It has not been an instant hit, but with time and more experimenting I believe it can find a niche in our day to day work. It will not revolutionise how we work or communicate but it will provide an extra channel that will allow us to share ideas or challenges with our current practice.

If I look external to our members and customers, Jeremiah Owyang provides some great questions we really should be asking ourselves before jumping into Facebook too deeply. I think there is a place for us in social networking sites but we need to figure out if Facebook is the place and if it is, how we are going to use it to interact with our members.

Blogging 4 Learning attempt 2

28 February, 2008
Eureka Tower - SouthBank - Melbourne VicTis time to kick off again. This time I have decided this time to set myself a series of questions I might need to answer in my new job. I’ll try to answer them using as many of the Blogging4Learning styles as I can.

On to the questions!

1. What tools are available to facilitate social learning in a professional membership environment, and how can they add value?

I imagine I’ll answer this through a series of discussion and review posts. It’ll be good to look at how each of the common Web2.0 tools can be used as learning or knowledge sharing tools and more specifically how they could work in a membership environment.

2. How can social learning change, enhance or even revolutionise professional development?

I have some ideas about this one but I think it will be nice to investigate what everyone else thinks and put together a well thought out argument.

3. What role does instructional design play in social learning?

This one follows on from this month’s Learning Circuits big question. I’m not really sure that I got to the social learning side of the question in my answer, I’d like to look into it a little more.

4. What are the barriers to social learning adoption and implementation and how can they be

This is the sixty four thousand dollar question! Not sure there will be any definitive answers but it’ll be interesting to look in to.

5. What will professional development look like in five years?

I’ll wrap up the month with my thoughts on where all this is going.

Now I’m off to work out which tools to include in Question 1’s response.

BTW – If you’re wondering what’s with the building picture in the middle of the screen. It’s a picture I took while going for a walk at lunch time. I figured while working with the theme of ‘From the tram’ I’d include tom some images of Melbourne for those that don’t know what it looks like. It is a brilliant city!

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