Archive for July, 2011
July 30th, 2011
I do like the idea behind Scoop.it a multimedia content curation publication platform currently in beta. Its introductory video also shows once again the power of the medium to explain concepts and market new companies.
Scoop.it turns everyone into editors/curators, slashing the time needed to create a useful, relevant web page resource. You donâ€™t even need to tear your hair out writing blog texts about your favourite ideas and things or area of expertise, just choose, edit if needed and publish.
Here’s the intro video:
The publication platform then allows users to this content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as blogs like WordPress and Tumblr.
Scoop.it has just launched a Developer Challenge for software developers to create iPhone, Android, and iPad applications. Thereâ€™s a $1,000 waiting for the winner or an HTC Desire S phone for the runner-up.
Developers need to submit their app before Thursday September 15th and Scoop.it has released its API. Applications will be judged upon stability, originality, quality and effectiveness.
The applications must be equally useful for the curation of as well as the exploration of topics.
The winners will be announced on Wednesday September 28th. For record, neither Liberate Media nor me are commercially involved with Scoop.it. Best of luck!
July 29th, 2011
As we move towards virtualisation and the Cloud, security issues continue to challenge IT teams across the globe. As an adjunct, the topic of search engine hacking is once again front of mind.
Iâ€™m indebted to Michael S. Mimoso, Editorial Director of the Security Media Group at TechTarget, including Information Security magazine, who has published a comprehensive post on the threat, which is known more generally as Google hacking.
Michael says: â€œThe ease with which a well-constructed search query can dredge up troves of passwords, corporate documents or gigabytes of MP3s isnâ€™t likely to surprise a security manager. Yet, there are very few enterprise security organisations that dedicate resources to as itâ€™s more commonly known.â€
In response, Fran Brown and Rob Ragan, researchers with security consulting and services firm Stach and Liu will release more than 20 new Google hacking tools next week at the 2011 Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas from Sunday to Tuesday (30 July â€“ 2 August).
These tools include customized alerts that security teams can turn on their specific domains and perform real-time queries against sites as soon as Google and other search engines index them.
The researchersâ€™s extension of these defensive tools helps security organisations determine whether sites are leaking corporate or customer data or if there are other critical vulnerabilities.
I tip my black hat to them.
July 29th, 2011
Earlier this week Charlotte McEleny wrote a piece for NMA titled: Social CRM needs to be defined.
Charlotte opened her piece by saying: “Social CRM is an exciting phenomenon for brands, but with a lack of definition, it is becoming a meaningless social media buzz phrase.” This sums up the issue well. Many people are now talking about Social CRM, but the reality is they are probably only offering one element within Social CRM’s remit, or beginning to appreciate the range of elements that must come together, and as a result, it is becoming a bit of a buzz phrase.
The issue of a lack of available case studies that Charlotte mentions is also possibly linked to this problem, as I doubt many of what we would now call Social CRM campaigns started out with that title. Instead, it’s likely that there were separate functions of monitoring, engagement and data management. Although we are now seeing these functions pulled together under the Social CRM umbrella, planned and purpose-built Social CRM campaigns are still few and far between and have little in the way of a track record to report back on.
So, I thought I would have a go at defining Social CRM, and also pull in definitions from other more recognized individuals in the sector.
Put simply, we believe Social CRM is about delivering improved customer service by managing customer relationships and data, and its main focus should be fully on â€˜Humanising the conversation’.
Wikipedia defines Social CRM as follows (quoting Paul Greenberg):“A philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”
One of the hottest discussion points at the event was that ‘Social CRM must go beyond Social Media Monitoring‘, although this is an important piece of the puzzle. The key is to understand this â€˜social data’ and exploit it fully, both internally and externally. Having social profiles and listening is not enough; you must be able to react, engage and offer useful insights that your community can benefit from. This, in turn, builds trust and helps customers focus on what is important to them. Therefore, considering this range of variables, Social CRM cannot be automated.
By investing in a Social CRM strategy, brands can expect to improve customer service, consolidate customer-related information and processes, evolve service offerings and open up invaluable conversations with customers.
We must approach Social CRM by offering a combination of social media monitoring, community management and engagement with a learning element that allows the brand to refine its customer services offering as a result of relevant feedback.
However, the truth is that there is no single correct approach to Social CRM, as each organisation has different focuses, challenges and customers. This is why we believe the Social CRM process must be developed as a strategy in partnership with the brand.
For further information, Mitch Lieberman, who also spoke at Social CRM 2011, has written an analysis on IBM’s Institute for Business Value “From social media to Social CRM” paper, which is an excellent guide.
July 28th, 2011
Great article by BBC journalist Alex Hudson on why Google + insists on users giving their real names when they set up their account. The beta service has been hit hard this week because it suspended accounts that did not reveal usersâ€™ real names with many people questioning the â€œdo no evilâ€ companyâ€™s action.
As Alex says, Google+ took only 24 days to reach 20 million users but their decision to delete accounts without real names attached has caused anger and he asks a relevant question â€“ â€œSo why do social networks insist on your real name?â€
Google has been upfront and says that for Google + to work effectively people should be able to search for friends and family quickly, easily, which demands that account holders use their real names. It also points out that its guidelines mirror those of other social networks.
Hereâ€™s the thing, though. The culture of the web has always had space and time for anonymity. Iâ€™d argue that the early growth of the web was in some part fuelled by this anonymity, allowing for role play and creation of alternative personas.
Google + is currently moving web culture towards a prosaic, potentially ossifying mode. To me, the suspension actions have a whiff of corporatism and control, not to say the potential for data harvesting that could have unacceptable consequences although Google argues that the â€˜real namesâ€™ imperative will combat spam.
There is no shortage of views on this, as the 200+ comments on Alexâ€™s article demonstrate. Join in!
July 26th, 2011
LinkedIn announced a new function yesterday, the embeddable “Apply with LinkedIn” button/plugin. The idea is that the button can be embedded on the job listings pages of company websites, which easily allows you to submit your LinkedIn CV.
The official blog posts reads “Our goal with Apply with LinkedIn is to help every professional put their best foot forward, anywhere across the web, when they take that leap to apply for a new position, a dream job. We are going to make it easy for you to submit your profile for any job application on the web with one simple click”.
July 22nd, 2011
As the News of the World scandal rolls on leaving egg, or at least shaving foam, in some people’s faces, I wanted to take a moment to see who is benefiting from the demise of the UK’s largest Sunday paper, other than footballers and celebrities of course.
Last Sunday (July 17th) was the first Sunday without the News of the World in over 160 years, and that left 2,667,428 (accordingly to the June ABC figures) looking for a new paper to read.
According to the Guardian, the biggest winners in the NoW reader race were its fellow red tops, mainly The Sunday Mirror and Daily Star Sunday, which launched nationwide TV adverts, along with others such as The People and Mail on Sunday that grabbed as many of those wandering NoW readers as they could.
The Sunday Mirror is thought to have gained almost 730,000 extra sales compared with the previous weekend, increasing sales by 60% to 1.9m copies.
The Daily Star Sunday more than doubled its week-on-week circulation to just over 1m, using the opportunity to launch a new magazine, OK! Extra.
The Sunday Express rose more than 25% to about 700,000, but unsurprisingly, The Sunday broadsheets gained little according to unofficial industry figures, the Sunday Times had a 2.8% sales lift, with the Independent on Sunday up 3%, and the Sunday Telegraph up just more than 3%. The Observer saw a 6% sales rise.
The overall newspaper market was down by about 5% week-on-week on Sunday, showing that the NoW readers are out there looking for an alternative. They haven’t given up just yet. So all in all it was a good week for the Sunday paper sales.
But what of The Mail on Sunday, which many thought would capture the highest percentage of former NoW readers? It jumped about 30% to sales of about 2.6m, however that’s not the end of this tale.
Rumours of new Sunday paper launches have been rife since the end of the News of the World and it appears Associated Newspapers (Publishers of the Daily and Sunday Mail) may be planning a Sunday tabloid of their own in line with NoW readership to capitalise on this wealth of available readers.
Furthermore, probably the worst kept secret in Sunday paper industry is that News International is planning to launch the Sun on Sunday and this is expected to take place in August to coincide with the launch of the new Premier League football season, and therein lies one of the big selling points. Yes the scandal, racy stories and celebrity puff from the NoW was a big part of its success, but its sport coverage, especially in terms of football and the holy grail of red top sport coverage – football gossip – was and remains unrivalled by any of its competitors.
The Sun on Sunday has the opportunity to steam roller back through the market in a matter of weeks and take the NoW readers back in very much the same way unless its soon to be competitors can launch a sustained attack on this important market segment. I agree the lifecycle of celebrity media and red top tattle will come to an end and the signs are there, but not yet. Because like it or not, scandal, celebrity and football sells in the Sunday Red Top market.
I can see the Sun on Sunday picking up where the NoW left off in terms of readers, if not approach,Â within a few months of launch unless the Mirror, Star and People, as well as potentially the Mail on Sunday do something different to bring in these readers.
My hunch is it will be a case of the King is dead, long live the King when August comes and the football season kicks off.
July 21st, 2011
Guest post by Sharon Donovan
From the moment my daughter was born in 2009, I started scanning the App Store for baby apps for my iPhone. To my surprise, the app market for babies and young children was rapidly growing and one to where I would soon be a customer. I started with the most basic of apps with really simple interfaces and have moved onto learning apps and websites. It has been amazing to discover how quickly such a young child (nearly two) learns to interact with an array of apps and websites.
Children see us using computers and mobile devices all the time, as an integral part of our daily routines, so it is completely understandable that they are curious about how it all works and what we are actually using them for, after all they want to play and learn how to do what we do. Having a two year-old who is already so interactive with technology has got me thinking about future stages in her learning, and how behind many schools are in terms of technology and even their own social online presence.
So what age is too young to start social networking? A friend of mine recently raised his dislike ofFacebook and other social networking media, mainly because heâ€™d witnessed how some teenagers he knew were sharing too much information and carrying on arguments on-line. I pointed out the importance for us to learn and keep up with new ways to communicate and socialise. That way we can teach our children how to use the tools effectively and in doing so, minimise the potential impact of having the chaos of school yard squabbles and teen-learning experiences documented on the Web and broadcast to such large audiences.
In terms of educating our children and learning how to socialise in the online world, there are a growing number of tools out there. Take Channel 5â€™s milkshake desktop application, Magic Milkshake (http://milkshake.channel5.com/pages/magic-desktop). Aimed at children aged between 2 and 5 years, it creates an area where children also have the ability to send emails (with pre-selected family and friends) and prevents them from accessing general functionality on your computer/laptop. Going up the age groups, there are learning tools such as DigitalMEâ€™s Safe (http://www.safesocialnetworking.org/). A classroom led social networking learning experience aimed at primary school children where teachers and pupils can interact and children can learn to how to use social networking safely.
I’m sure there are lots of other useful tools out there, and many more being developed.
But I canâ€™t help but think it is flawed concept to use social media learning platforms where you have to effectively start all over again when the child reaches the age where they can legally join another social networking site such as Facebook, or whatever is popular at the time.
As an aside, there is a new hub for the Facebook Age Debate, which is worth adding your views to either for or against allowing under-13s to join officially.
So what about Google+ in the learning experience, will circles help or hinder?
Google+ promise of circles means that people can manage one social network whilst controlling who sees what. Perfect for teachers who want to be able to get involved with their students to assist in their on-line learning experiences without jeopardising their employment with educational establishments. Especially following several well documented disasters around teachers being friends with their pupils on facebook.
Equally, this is where Google+ may have its downfalls. If some parents follow the same approach as they do with Facebook (providing access before the age restriction), once the child gets to grips with circles, they may well be able to hide activity from their parents or guardians altogether. This is a potential safety risk where children arenâ€™t fully aware of the danger of talking to people that they donâ€™t really know.
Social networking is evolving, can we make it even more flexible to encompass the overall learning experience? For me, the most useful type of social network is one that children can grow with and that grows with them. Social networking sites should be flexible enough to allow parents to officially set up a childâ€™s account with the correct date of birth. Doing so with the proviso that they have an element of control over the account activity until their child reaches set age milestones, with a gradual reduction in parent involvement.
Even more useful is a social network which takes responsibility at each of these milestones to provide learning prompts to the parents or guardians and to the child on best practice, what to look out for and what leaning topics need to be discussed.
I think it is becoming increasingly important that social networking becomes a focus for the basic education of our children, after all, online social networking is becoming as basic a communication skill as talking, reading and writing (although with increased use of technology, I would question my own ability to handwrite anything!)
July 21st, 2011
In just three weeks Google + has exploded onto the scene with an estimated 18 million users according to CNET news.
The statistics were compiled by Ancestry.com co-founder Paul Allen.
According to the same post this could have been a lot more if Google had actively been promoting it via it’s other channels and services, which I assume it will start doing soon. Add this to the reported fact that Google is trying toÂ lure more celebrities to the site in an attempt to generate buzz should undoubtedly help.
Another factor that should help Google + is the iOS app, which launched on Tuesday, it’s already the top free app in the app store, unfortunately it’s only for iPhone and the iPod touch.
July 19th, 2011
As a big Star Wars fan, I was very excited indeed with the news via techradar about the new forthcoming Star Wars saga Blu-ray box-set which is set to have it’s own sneak preview iPhone/iPad app, due out this Wednesday.
According to techrader “The application, which will feature never-before-seen concept art, props and models from the LucasFilm archives as well as new cast and crew interviews will be a free download from iTunes on Wednesday”
“It promises to offer the first glimpse at over 40 hours of features set to be bundled-in with the eagerly-anticipated hi-def release”.
Hopefully there will be some unseen footage from the Lucas Film archives.
Star Wars: The Complete Saga, set for Blu-ray release on September 16th.
The force is strong with this one!
July 15th, 2011
Earlier this week, PR Week released the findings of a research project that it carried out in partnership with the PRCA, and research company Harris Interactive, which showed that the PR industry is worth Â£7.5 Billion to the UK economy.
PR Week confirmed that this research, titled â€˜The PR Census’, was: “the biggest ever research project into the UK PR industry, involved an online survey, which generated more than 1,300 responses, and desk research using Government, ONS, PR Week and PRCA data.”
PR Week also helped to put the figures into perspective by confirming the gambling industry contributes Â£6bn to the economy with over 100,000 employees, (i’ll leave you to make your own jokes about that comparison) where as the PR industry achieves its figure with 61,600. You could argue that in these times of high levels of unemployment, that the more people employed the better, but PR Week see more money from less people as a positive, which it is from a business perspective.
The survey also includes a demographic breakdown on the PR industry, which shows two thirds of PRs are female, 43% are between 25-34, and 84% are from white-British backgrounds.
The salary survey shows in-house PRs are still better paid, although the margins are closing at the senior level. However, apparently an account manager will be paid Â£8,000 more on average in-house.
You can read more about the PR Week article here or download the full research, although it will cost you Â£200 if you’re not a PRCA member or PR Week subscriber, in which case it will be Â£150.
I have also included a few of the graphical representations from the research below: