Posts Tagged ‘marketing over coffee’

Are You Collaborating Enough?

May 8, 2008

Listening to Marketing Over Coffee on the way home, there was a very small section talking about GoogleDocs and how you can activate a form to collect data for you. It also made me think further on the question about how much we’re collaborating (or not collaborating) online.

We had to create a wiki for our social media class, and of course, wikis tell you how much (or little) someone edited the final output. It was noted that a handful of people contributed the majority of the content, which made our Professor, Michael Netzley, less than thrilled. I brought up the point that though a few people may have been the actual ones to enter the text, doesn’t mean the whole team did not collaborate together. Both sides are debatable, but that’s not the point.

I’m an assistant scout leader for my alma mater’s scout troop and every year around this time we have a camp. As with previous years, the emails pile up, meeting minutes get distributed, camp schedules get sent and changed and re-sent and re-changed until eventually, no one knows what in the world is going on anymore.

To solve this, I set up a wiki for the leaders. It’s a private wiki so I’m sorry I can’t share the link. I will however say that we’re using PBwiki, which I find to be superior to Wetpaint in terms of editing as well as help. But that aside, so far it’s been helping us keep track of personnel and manpower, topics of discussion, a couple of things to be noted, schedules, equipment lists and so on.

No more losing of minutes on paper, no more “can you send me the latest schedule? I can’t find it”. Everything is up there and updated. To the minute.

So why aren’t more of us doing this? Is it the challenge of working alone as Michael brings up? Or an unwillingness to change our styles of working?

Does it make sense for us to share our items on Google Reader (my shared items are here)? Or on del.icio.us? How about collaborating on Google Docs in the classroom? In the office?

To me the biggest problem is convincing the people you’re working with that it’s worth their while. In my scout case study, I knew the people who were primarily going to enter the data would be the younger adult leaders, while the older leaders would keep and eye on it from time to time. To both of these groups, you gotta speak their language.

To my peers, it was the idea of collaboration. To see everything in one place, to have links and for easy reading. To the senior leaders, it was the idea of streamlining information. Not losing paper, not having to distinguish whether schedule(final).doc is the true schedule or schedule(final)THISISTHEREALFINAL.doc is the true schedule.

So how’s collaboration working (or not working) for you? Are you using wikis regularly? Online document processors or software based? Is it a challenge convincing your classmates/colleagues to use it as well?

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Podcast Of The Month: April

May 7, 2008

Without doubt the podcast of the month for April goes to For Immediate Release which I usually have problems keeping up with (it’s released twice a week, one hour each), but the content for April was excellent and I found myself listening to it first among my podcasts.

  • #336 highlights: Using Twitter/Friendfeed differently for business, conducting proper blogger outreach
  • #337 highlights: Facebook tools that can really help you
  • Live call in show #5 highlights: How should companies reach out in social media without offending the people in it? Great analogy of standing at a party table and interjecting about insurance while they’re talking about something else.
  • #338 highlights: Kami Hyuse Seaworld case study and talk of the virtual internet
  • #339 highlights: Dan York & Sallie Goetsch take over. Lots of Twitter news and I have a comment left via Twitter!

I have to say, hands down, if you’re doing anything in the digital/social media space, you need to be listening to this podcast.

Other notable listens this month:

  • Inside PR #106 – Live episode with a great question “Who owns the social media space?”
  • Managing the Gray – Manic Mummies episode, great case study on GM and how to do sponsorship in social media.
  • Marketing Over Coffee – “Captcha and Turk“, lots of stuff on startups as well as a whole slew of WordPress plugins I never knew about.
  • Shill #6 meandered a little this month, but still a worthwhile discussion about whether there’s any value in re-posting news.
  • Six Pixels Of Separation #98 (interview with Collin Douma), #99 (very interesting, almost counter-intuitive information regarding online reviews) and #100 (long conversation between Mitch, Brian Eisenberg and Avinash Kaushik).

Did you listen to any of these podcasts? Are you listening to different podcasts? I’m always on the lookout for great social media related podcasts, recommendations always welcome.

Why Students Should Blog – A Few Pointers

May 2, 2008

Hack College posted an article on the Case for Student Blogging and @KellySutton posted the same question on Twitter as part as a competition to win a Hack College t-shirt. I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time, so it seems like a good time as any.

I’m going to write a few segments:

  • Whether you already have a blog
  • How it can get you an internship/job
  • My personal experience
  • Other intangible benefits
  • Whether blogging restricted just to people like me, ie those interested in social meda.

But I Already Have A Blog!
Actually, no, you probably don’t. Having a Meepok Blog (ie one where you talk about the meepok you had over lunch) is not a blog. It is a blog in that you’re capturing down your thoughts, but it’s not a blog where you’re adding value. And that’s the kind of blog you need to have if you’re in school, especially a university looking for an internship and/or employment.

Seriously? A Blog Helping Me Find A Job?
Yes. An article got featured in the New York Times about Christopher Penn’s (from Marketing Over Coffee) social media resume about the same time that Seth Godin questioned the need for a resume at all. ie: Your blog should speak for itself. Granted, we’re early days into this line of thinking, but if you’re just entering university now, a lot can change in the four years till you graduate and join the workforce. In fact, I just saw a social media internship today saying that including a blog and/or Twitter stream would be helpful.

My Personal Experience
I started this blog with no expectations except to contribute to the community. However through it I’ve gotten an invitation to advise a company on internal/external blogging, to be a panelist at a conference that costs $680 to attend and three internships. (Full disclosure: I couldn’t take up two of them, the third has yet to be confirmed). Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether or not it works out. The point here is: When was the last time you heard of offers coming your way just via a blog? No formal submission of resume, no cover letter? It’s a whole new world that frankly, surprised me as well.This can happen to you. But you have to start right now.

Other Intangible Benefits
As the world progresses, more and more of our lives are going to be lived online. Blogging/Tweeting/Podcasting etc creates and online presence and reputation for you. When your prospective employer Googles your name (and believe me, they will), you don’t want the first thing they see to be a story of you drunk at a club via your friend’s blog. You want them to see a thoughtful article you’ve written. Online reputation for your personal brand is priceless, and the difference between a good or bad one is how much effort you put in to develop it.

Another intangible that I’ve found particularly for me, is that it helps me write better and faster. I take an average of 20-30 mins to punch out a blog post. That translates to my school work where I’m writing papers and it takes me 45 minutes to get two pages out and send it for editing. Lightning fast.

Final point on intangibles, the great thing about everything being online is relationships. Whatever you blog about, the chances that someone will pick it up is always there, someone may be scanning Twitter for keywords that you mention in your blog, or simply Googling randomly or using StumbleUpon. Why not provide them an opportunity to connect to you?

But I Don’t Blog About Social Media!
It doesn’t matter. Your blog can be on anything. Drawings/sketches if you’re looking to be a creative in advertising. Commentary on the sub-prime crisis if you’re in finance. What changes in interest rates mean if you’re studying economics. Anything that you can point your future employer to and say “Look, I’ve been on top of this stuff for awhile now, and that makes me more valuable to hire than the other person who just submitted a resume with his grades.”

So what do you think? Are you reading this right now and thinking “Bullshit”, or are you thinking of what to name your blog? Let me know. If you’re thinking of starting a blog but you’re unsure of what to do/how to get about doing it, feel free to drop me a comment as well. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’d like to help if I can.

Podcast Of The Month: March

April 11, 2008

This is late so I’m going to jump straight into it. My choice for the March podcast of the month goes to Six Pixels of Separation for the interview with Seth Godin in #93. I also listened to #94 – #97, and #97 is the episode where Mitch talks about Social Media Breakfast: Singapore, so you might want to check that out as well.

Other podcasts that I really think you should check out:

I really enjoyed listening to CC Chapman on Managing The Gray where he responded to Intellagirl’s challenge on how to get non-social media people into social media, as well as his coverage of SXSW.

With that said I also enjoyed Shill’s thoughts on SXSW coverage happening literally everywhere else, and how that feels from people not at the event. I really felt their point of view because I was one of those people getting bombarded non-stop on Twitter about SXSW. Probably something everyone will have to figure out for the next event.

Joseph Jaffe also weighed in on the SXSW coverage and Intellagirl’s challenge in Jaffe Juice #107 as well as facing outward from the fishbowl. An observation which I think is spot on.

Marketing Over Coffee was also good this month with an episode on what to do with your house list, two parts on the state of search and talking about the power of free.

Two new podcasts I picked up are For Immediate Release which comes out so frequently I can barely keep up but some good, thought provoking content in there, as well as Inside PR, whose discussion on ethics in PR to be very enlightening in #103 and #104

As always I am open to any and all suggestions for new podcasts to listen do. Just drop me a comment! While you’re at it, why not check out the podcast of the month for February and January as well?

Facebook App: Connection Cloud

March 4, 2008

In yesterday’s Podcast of the month post, I mentioned that Marketing Over Coffee was picked because of the Facebook application introduced during the show.

The application in question (if you haven’t already guessed) is Connection Cloud, and what it does is show you a cloud network of your friends and who’s linked to who. Here’s mine (click for larger image):

Facebook Connection Cloud

What’s amazing is that you actually can see little groups of people formed in here. If you click to see a bigger image, you can see 5 distinct groups of people:

  1. The SJI group in the bottom left
  2. My TA group somewhere in the centre (ie people who I have TA-ed for in the last few years)
  3. The MTV group to the right
  4. Family on the top right
  5. The mass of SMU and SMU Broadcast & Entertainment people are right smack in the middle

How does this help?

If you listened to Marketing Over Coffee, this really helps identify who the connectors are in various circles of people you know. And this can be really useful in getting your message, question, brand out to whoever is is you want. Given that I don’t own a business right now, I don’t have business uses for this application, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it can be an extremely powerful tool if used correctly.

The only thing I don’t like is the mass in the centre. I think there should be some way to decipher the huge scribbly-ball there instead of just leaving it as a cloud. Perhaps in future versions?

Have you seen your cloud? How does it look? Can you identify important sub-groups within your network? Let me know.

Podcast Of The Month: February

March 3, 2008

February was when I really expanded my podcast horizons and picked up stuff other than Six Pixels Of Separation and Jaffe Juice and my winner for this month goes to:

Marketing Over Coffee: Picking On Grandma, for three reasons:

  1. Great discussion on connectors and networks.
  2. Picking on grandma isn’t as negative as it sounds, but rather serves as a reminder that companies need to develop user-friendly products. (Grandma can use an ipod much easier than some other MP3 player because itunes syncs everything)
  3. Introduction of two useful Facebook apps (I’ll be showing one tomorrow).

My other nominees:

The Lost Initiative – I almost picked this as the winner because the discussion is so quick flowing. I think the British might just be less rambly. Ultimately, I decided the winner should be social media centric, so it’s a very close #2.

Six Pixels Of Separation #91 – for the 12 minute audio interview with Rick Murray. So good.

Jaffe Juice #104 – for the weigh-ins on 10 relationships vs 5 million impressions and also for mentioning that advertising is actually anti-cyclical to economic conditions, something that I don’t think companies grasp very well.

Special mention goes to the Hack College videocast #16, where they actually explored the idea of Twitter being used as a warning system in a school shooting. I draw parallel to wondering what would have happened if Twitter was used during 9/11.