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Archive for June 2009

Social media takes aim at traditional power structures

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I’ve usually believed that cynicism to social media is primarily caused by a lack of understanding.   Perhaps I’ve been too kind.

An article by respected research analyst, Caroline Dangson, recently suggested that fear rather than ignorance may often be the key factor behind executive opposition to social media.

Writing for ZD Net, Caroline said the cultural change involved in social media is still seen by some as disruptive, because it challenges traditional power structures – no one person gets credit, no one person has power.

“Corporate culture has everything to do with adoption of social media,” Caroline wrote. 

“I believe the number one factor preventing full adoption of social media is the lack of executive trust in employees.  This culture is about control.”

Caroline went on to predict that organisations and companies that resisted the social media movement would struggle to keep energetic employees, regardless of economic conditions or enticements.  She said the problems that this caused would be exasperated by the fact that “20% of US executives, administrative, and managerial employees would retire in the next five years”.

And, with Australia’s ageing population, don’t expect it to be much different here.

Caroline went on to add that embracing social media would help keep workers interested and invested in an organisation or company.

“Talent attracts more talent and keeping these workers is a key business objective.”

(Caroline Dangson is a research analyst covering social media with IDC’s Digital Marketplace team)


Written by ianandsue

June 30, 2009 at 5:14 am

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Twitter is UK’s quickest growing website

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Social media’s impact on the web has roared past a significant milestone, with news that Twitter is the United Kingdom’s fastest-growing website.

Traffic on the “micro-blogging” website has risen 22-fold in a year, faster than any other site, according to the internet analyst Hitwise.

The soaring interest has propelled Twitter from its position as the UK’s 969th most-visited site last year to 38th today. It was the 84th most popular social network in 2008; now it is ranked fifth.

A report in the Independent on Sunday newspaper, quoted Eden Zoller, an analyst at Ovum, as attributing Twitter’s soaring popularity  to the fact that “it is easy and effective”

The report continued:

“Twitter was founded by Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams in 2006, but 2009 has been its breakthrough year, Hitwise said, with 93 per cent of its growth coming since January.

Robin Goad, director of research at Hitwise, added: “It hasn’t suffered from going up against Facebook like MySpace and Bebo. If it has carved out a big enough niche, Twitter could certainly grow this year and maintain its position after that.”

The problem facing the founders is to change the site from a social networking phenomenon into something that actually generates revenue. It has so far rejected the advertising models used by rivals including Facebook.

Mr Goad said: “Given that Twitter has yet to settle on a business model that will take advantage of its huge, loyal user base, this is an issue that needs to be addressed if they are to make the service a financial as well as a popular success.”

Written by ianandsue

June 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm

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What a story!

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As the move toward greater inclusion of citizens in government and business continues apace, it is worthwhile pausing to marvel at one of the big success stories – Twitter.

In three short years, the micro-blogging sensation has caught the public imagination in ways never considered, while leaving critics floundering. And Twitter’s growth rate means that the story is far from over.

But, for those who still  believe that a picture  tells more than a 140 character tweet, take a look at this from Manolith.


Written by ianandsue

June 23, 2009 at 12:27 am

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A few days we may long remember

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Regardless of the outcome of the protests in Iran, we may look back on this time as a watershed for social media.

During the protests, social media – especially Twitter – has again proved itself to be an important source of real time news and information.  The way in which Twitter has outstripped both traditional media and other social media has been remarkable.

And just as importantly, the US Government has admitted that Twitter’s role in the issue has identified it as an agent for strengthening democracy.  Strong stuff indeed.

I have a feeling that, irrespective of how things pan out in Iran, the past few days have truly been significant for all of us.


Written by ianandsue

June 18, 2009 at 5:57 am

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Restricting the clicks is pointless

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A smattering of knowledge can certainly be a dangerous thing.

Several times in recent weeks, I’ve  listened to someone waffle about the importance of reducing to the bare minimum, the number of mouse clicks needed by a website visitor.

What a load of bollocks!  That type of thinking is hopelessly out of date in our broadband era and reminded me of the ‘three clicks’ rule that web designers obeyed religiously in bygone days.  So, I did a search on the subject and quickly found this excellent article that spells it out nicely.

It’s kinda lucky that I’m well mannered and therefore respect someone’s right to a stupid, ignorant opinion.

Written by ianandsue

June 16, 2009 at 12:43 pm

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Government needs to get real about engagement

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When the Obama administration announced, earlier this year, that “government does not have all the answers and public officials need to draw on what citizens know”, it was one giant step for democracy.

But as US bureaucrats have started appearing on Twitter and other social media outlets to engage directly with the people, it has only highlighted the deficiencies of government here in Australia.

Politicians, some government agencies and even local councils here have followed the move to social media, however in reality it is little more than tinkering around the edges.  When all is said and done, our government at all levels, remains firmly rooted in its tradition of tightly controlling what the masses are told. By their very nature, our bureaucrats are too risk averse to readily relinquish control over a community conversation that inevitably must slip from their grasp in an increasingly connected age.

The declining use of traditional media means that marketing messages via advertising is fast becoming pointless.  A large proportion of people now get their news online yet blogs largely remain a mystery to our bureaucrats. And, an increasingly empowered populace is generally not interested, or even wary, of glossy newsletters, flyers or websites that seem little more than electronic brochures.

As in America and the UK,  the public here wants to engage directly with government in a shared conversation that can only strengthen our democracy. Like those two countries, now is the moment for our government and its bureaucrats to change their corporate culture into a new model  where people, conversation and community are genuinely at the heart of everything they do. 


Written by ianandsue

June 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm

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How Twitter is changing the way we live

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As the use of Twitter continues to grow at astounding speed, the micro blogger is also quickly entwining itself into our very way of life because of its real time operation.

Times journalist, Steven Johnson, recently gave a fascinating example.  

“Earlier this year I attended a daylong conference in Manhattan devoted to education reform.  Twenty years ago, the ideas exchanged in that conversation would have been confined to the minds of the participants. Ten years ago, a transcript might have been published weeks or months later on the Web. Five years ago, a handful of participants might have blogged about their experiences after the fact or added thoughts to their Facebook page.

But this event was happening in 2009, so right alongside behind the real-time, real-world conversation was an equally real-time conversation on Twitter. Our hosts announced that anyone who wanted to post live commentary about the event via Twitter should include the word #hackedu in his 140 characters. In the room, a large display screen showed a running feed of tweets. 

At first, all these tweets came from inside the room and were created exclusively by conference participants tapping away on their laptops, iphones or BlackBerrys. But within half an hour or so, word began to seep out into the Twittersphere that an interesting conversation about the future of schools was happening at #hackedu.

A few tweets appeared on the screen from strangers announcing that they were following the #hackedu thread.  Back in the room, we pulled interesting ideas and questions from the screen and integrated them into our face-to-face conversation.

When the conference wrapped up at the end of the day, there was a public record of hundreds of tweets. And the conversation continued — if you search Twitter for #hackedu, you’ll find dozens of new comments posted over the past few weeks

Injecting Twitter into that conversation fundamentally changed the rules of engagement. It added a second layer of discussion and brought a wider audience into what would have been a private exchange. And it gave the event an afterlife on the Web.

Yes, it was built entirely out of 140-character messages, but the sum total of those tweets added up to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles.”

Written by ianandsue

June 4, 2009 at 11:00 pm

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