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Archive for February 2009

Update your knowledge in real time

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The landscape for communicators is changing radically.

And for many of us in the industry, it could be time to update some of our basic understanding of the digital medium.

The use of real time micro blogging in recent big international events, including the Mumbai bombings, the plane in the Hudson River and the fatal bushfires in Australia, has spurred debate about the role of the Internet.

Discussion has centred on the public demand for on line information as events actually happen, as opposed to web searches after the event.  Micro blogging from the scene  – whether by citizens or media professionals – increasingly, is being demanded as the norm.

And that is a vastly different creature to the traditional Google search that has long been seen as the core of digital communication.

Now, the race is on to meet this changing demand by providing real time information. Some journalists who covered  the recent Australian bushfires did so 140 characters at a time using micro-blogger, Twitter.  

The Twitter people  may have stolen a march on rivals with their real time search engine.  Simply type a subject into the search box and you will find any current Twitters on that matter.  Google News is another alternative; perhaps slower but considered by some to be more authorative.

As I discussed in an earlier post, another answer may be Peoplebrowsr, which has an intriging potential to integrate current news from traditional sources with current social media comment.

However, while developments like this are watched with interest, I suggest that all communicators worth their salt get up to speed on real time searching — and do it now. The times are certainly achanging …. and not only in the stock markets.

Ian

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Written by ianandsue

February 18, 2009 at 10:46 am

Facebook a chick thing

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Figures released by online researcher, Hitwise, state that almost 70 percent of Australia’s Facebook users are women.

The statistics are in line with other recent surveying showing that women make up almost two-thirds of social network users worldwide.

Notable exception globally was the business-oriented network, LinkedIn, which had a majority of male users.

The Facebook statistics show the network is most popular in Australia among those aged between 18 and 24,  followed by users aged between 14 and 17 and those 25 to 34. 

According to the figures, micro blogging service Twitter is also growing fast in Australia. Twitter traffic rose by more than 500 percent between August 2007 and January 2009.

 

Ian

Written by ianandsue

February 17, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Playing catch-up with Obama

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After being hammered by a social media savvy Obama, America’s Republican Party has finally figured out that this Twitter thing is pretty good after all. 

Check this out

Ian

Written by ianandsue

February 8, 2009 at 10:57 am

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Councils use Twitter for extreme weather advice

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It’s good to see that local councils, increasingly, are using social media to keep in contact with residents.

And the trend is quickly proving its value.  In the UK, for example, authorities including the Lichfield and Babeth district councils used popular micro-blogging site, Twitter, to pass on information and liaise with residents during the recent severe snow storms.

At the same time, Newcastle City Council (UK) used Twitter to keep parents informed of school closures.

Latest figures from the United Kingdom showed that more than 20 councils have switched much of their communications activity to Twitter, while 40 individual councillors are also using the micro-blogger.

It’s activity like this that led to a 1,000% increase in the use of Twitter in the UK alone in the past year.

In Australia’s recent heat wave conditions, Wyong Shire Council in New South Wales used Twitter to keep residents updated on weather forecasts; fire locations and daily UV levels, as well as passing on advice on health problems that can be caused by hot weather; ways of avoiding bushfire smoke inhalation; pet comfort and garden survival.

As smoke swept across much of the Wyong area, the council helped dampen public unease by keeping its Twitter followers advised of the location of serious fires.

When terrible bushfires wiped out entire towns in the Australian State of Victoria, the Premier, John Brumby, used Twitter to call for donations and other assistance. Twitter users put out details of emergency centres; passed on fire service information; and mobilised to help galvanise community assistance. They were joined by people on Facebook, who formed groups to attract donations for fire victims.

Ian

Written by ianandsue

February 7, 2009 at 6:05 am

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Traditional and social media integrate

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At last: traditional and social media are now being brought together in a single application called Peoplebrowsr.

Although it is still being tested, Peoplebrowsr look to have enormous potential for communicators.

Among other things, it allows you to browse an online news bulletin like CNN and, by clicking on key words in the news, find out what people are saying about that subject on Twitter.

Not only can you move from traditional news coverage to informal community discussion at a single click, but you can then join the informal Twitter talk as you wish — and all in the one program on the one screen.  There is no longer any need to open, read and close a formal news report before opening Twitter to see what the community is saying or doing about that issue.

Peoplebrowsr has heaps of other features and pulls together other social media and networking programs such as Flickr, Digg, Friendfeed and Facebook.  

If there was ever a ‘killer’ application, this may well prove to be the real deal.

Ian

Written by ianandsue

February 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm

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Why try to hold back the tide?

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From time to time, I shake my head in dismay at aspects of the communication industry.

 Three key lessons that I see from the rise of social media are the decline of rigidly controlled communication; the importance of transparency; and the folly of ignoring traditional media. Yet, our industry has more than its share of Luddites and the bleeding obvious  isn’t  obvious to all.

Long held management beliefs about the value of strongly controlled information are not only outdated, but are now counter productive.  Telling your story only within the confines of advertising, or similar controlled medium, simply leads to one-sided information.  And, more than ever, people are seeing through this type of communication – and looking for genuine engagement.

 The days when communicators were able to make flower arrangements of the facts, placing them so the wilted, less attractive petals were hidden by the sturdy blooms, are over. It’s now pointless to play with the truth, a fact which is a key foundation of social media.

At the same time, many traditional media outlets have put the communications industry to shame by rapidly embracing the central planks of social media – and incorporating blogs, forums, social bookmarking etc into mainstream media activity.

 The majority still gets its news and information from traditional sources and communicators who do not integrate mainstream and social media at the centre of their activities, will pay a price. Controlled media,  while still having a role to play, increasingly has less and less credibility.

 Change your way of thinking by adopting the conversational style of social media – e.g. adopt the social media style of information distribution. And, in doing so, reach a rapidly growing audience.  But, integrate this with traditional media, rather than abandoning media-centred communication plans. The alternative, my friends, is to keep banging your head against the wall, because  this tide will not be held back.

Ian

Written by ianandsue

February 1, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized