The effectiveness of using social media to promote the Carbon Tax policy


Using publically available tools (Twitalyzer, Klout and Peerindex) so you can investigate the data further for yourselves, here is a simpe metrics-based comparison of the CEF and SYA on Twitter. I used DBCDE as a benchmark.

One of the standout differences are in the:

  • Twitalyzer influence and engagement scores (SYA has the highest influence, at 2.0%, but DBCDE has a much higher engagement score than either).
  • The DBCDE’s benchmark PeerIndex is much higher (and CEF has a line of zero’s).

Influence and engagement are:

  • Engagement provides a measure of the type of interaction the user has in Twitter by examining the ratio of people referenced by the user to the number of people referencing them.
  • Influence is the likelihood that a Twitter user will either A) retweet something the user has written or B) reference the user.

PeerIndex’s score is described as follows:

Your overall PeerIndex score is a relative measure of your online authority. This score reflects the impact of your online activities, and the extent to which you have built up social and reputational capital on the web.

At its heart PeerIndex addresses the fact that merely being popular (or having gamed the system) doesn’t indicate authority. Instead we build up your authority finger print on a category-by-category level using eight benchmark topics.

Someone, however, cannot be authority without a receptive audience. We don’t simply mean a large audience but one that listens and is receptive. To capture this aspect PeerIndex Rank includes the audience score we calculate for each profile.

Finally, we include the activity score so account for someone who is active has a greater share of attention of people interested in the topics they are interested in.

Web Prototyping Government – the experience

So then, how did the experiment go? First, let’s remind ourselves of the prototype’s primary objectives

  1. To test, in public, a prototype of a new, single UK Government website.
  2. To design & build a UK Government website using open, agile, multi-disciplinary product development techniques and technologies, shaped by an obsession with meeting user needs.

The prototype was developed in 12 weeks for £261k. It launched 1 day late, but given the need to recruit and gel a suitably skilled project team from inside and outside government, Objective 2  can reasonably claim to have been delivered. A boundary-pushing experimental prototype (aka a Minimum Viable Product ) was delivered by an in-house team working in an openagile way, placing user needs at the core of design process.

This isn’t a new approach, but it’s one that still all too rare across government…

But what about Objective 1? The reaction to the prototype itself?

…the reaction that really matters came from real users. Actively asking people what they think about a new product is always chastening yet ultimately rewarding, akin to a visit to the stern dentist. And we were thrilled with the volume and quality of user feedback garnered. People are so keen to help Government improve our products. We just have to ask for help, listen and respond.

The prototype was by no means perfect – and the Alpha team recognise that. But it was a prototype and that’s the important difference – a completely different approach to IT in government is on display here.

Carbon Tax on Social Media update

Back on the 19th July I looked at the Facebook “Likes” and Twitter followers of some of the pro- and anti-Carbon Tax sites, here in Australia.

Checking back today and looking at the bigger 2 of the 4 sites I looked at…

The Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future site:

  • Facebook – likes increased from 1,377 to 1,603.
  • Twitter – followers increased from 1,367 to 1,490.

Meanwhile, Say Yes Australia:

  • Facebook – likes increased from 19,380 to 21,644.
  • Twitter – followers increased from 1,185 to 1,247.

Neither site has grown particularly since I last checked, although Clean Energy Future has managed to maintain its lead over Say Yes Australia in terms of Twitter followers, but continues to lag a great deal in terms of Facebook. This is probably significant, because this is where Clean Energy Future is pushing people to debate and discuss.

Just to put these number in perspective, I like to use the Hamish and Andy index – right now:

  • Facebook: 1,412,949 people like them.
  • Twitter: 145,086 followers.

I’m not suggesting that the Carbon Tax sites should expect the same levels of followers as this popular Australian comedy duo, its just that I’ve often used their social media stats to help set the context for our expectations. That is, it is possible to gain this kind of following online in Australia.

BTW If you are reading this, you might find this post over on the Headshift | Dachis Group blog of interest, Why should I follow or like you?

UPDATE: Also of interest, the Dept. of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency are seeking submissions on the Clean Energy Legislative Package legislation here, completely seperate to the Clean Energy Future site. There are no social media tools on this site (not even simple social sharing buttons) or options for discussion.

The impact of being a good host, on enterprise microblogging networks

if a newbie gets a comment to his / her first post within the first week, he / she is 41% more likely to come back and engage again.

Interesting statistic. Welcoming and responding to new users is a well established technique, so its good to see that many of the old patterns apply today. However, the speed of microblogging stream may add an extra dimension of difficultly to the community management task.

Designing Social Workplaces isn’t Hard, but it is Complex

At last week’s E2.0 conference in Boston, I was surprised and pleased by the way my “in-the-flow” phrase has gained common currency.

I was also surprised, but less pleased, by some of the “best practices” I heard flying around. Whether in keynotes, sessions, or just hallway conversations, I heard a lot of claims of dubious merit, claims like:

  • Start with a small pilot and let it grow virally
  • Invest heavily in community management, because a community is only as successful as its managers
  • Workers won’t use social software without personal incentives
  • Workers who don’t belong to the Facebook Generation don’t “get” social software.
  • Social software adoption requires a culture of collaboration
  • You shouldn’t launch collaborative tools without a collaboration strategy

There’s a common theme behind all this advice: You should be scared of launching enterprise social software, because achieving adoption is really hard, really time-consuming, and really expensive.

Sorry friends, but I’m calling Bullshit.

I had to read Michael Idinopulos’ post a couple of times to make sure I understood it.

Basically – in a round about way – he is describing two things:

  • The complex nature of organisations. 
  • That social business tools work, because they help people get work done ‘in-the-flow’.

I agree entirely – and this makes the AHA case study a great example.

But lets address this issue of organisational complexity.

Sometimes a simple intervention – like introducing a new technology – can make an immediate impact. But we don’t actually know why, although we can observe the benefits when it works. Do the same again in a different situation and you take a gamble on the outcome. For systems of engagement, this is the problem of copying macro level case studies when change actually happens at the micro level of individual groups and individuals. Sometimes it only takes an influential blocker, a critical system that doesn’t integrate well, a policy that can’t be side stepped or a group that has already picked their own solution – suddenly the dynamic changes.

I use those words deliberately, because the character of some organisations is to be conservative, others are prepared to to be more reckless. Smart organisations take a design-led middle ground. They don’t follow knee jerk reactions to new technology, but they don’t fall for shallow thinking either.

To help make that point, here are some different case studies (I’m focusing on enterprise microblogging, as there is a level of commonality between them – but this also follows on from some earlier posts):

Each of these examples had a different journey (Micro), but each had a positive story to tell (Macro).

Incidentally, the CIO behind the case study that Idinopulos described has written a detailed post describing the “15 Key Steps for Successful Implementation“. This isn’t simple, but the steps make it less complex; and its all about finding that fit so that users can get into the flow easily.

The problem with email is everyone else

There is no single cure for email overload and Inbox Zero doesn’t claim to perform miracles. At the end of the day it’s a system, and it’s nothing without your own personal input. It might work for you and it might not. It’s important to remember that productivity systems are subjective beasts and that can be their ultimate downfall or the reason for their success.

What works for you won’t necessarily work for me. And for that reason you can’t say wholeheartedly that Inbox Zero works or it doesn’t. That’s just like saying that having cornflakes for breakfast doesn’t work. It’s simply a matter of personal preference or taste.

I’ve always been critical about email ‘diets’, although I view more contemporary efforts by Luis and Geoff to eliminate email with great interest.

Years ago I recommended the following:

  • Where possible, eliminate the root cause of the problem. 
  • Take control of your own inbox by managing it appropriately. 
  • Lead by example and practice better e-mail etiquette and style.

At the root of this advice is that email is a communication tool that is often misappropriated as a collaboration tool. You can keep trying to fix your own inbox, but the problem is actually with everyone else using email.

The good news is that I hear more and more frequently how social business tools in the workplace do help to reduce email overload. We really have moved beyond marketing rhetoric.

I can even see it in my own work practices too – I use a combination of email (yes, its still there!), wiki, microblogging (enterprise microblogging and Twitter) and instant messaging. Of course, its the wiki and microblogging that make the critical difference, as they create a open plan workspace online where everyone can work out loud.

However, the root causes I identified originally still stand. Working out loud works best when:

  • Everyone is working out loud (or at least ‘in the room’). 
  • People know why and understand how to work out loud. 
  • Users are able to control how they consume the online open plan space.

Part of the reason for this is that its not simply about shifting communication that takes place in email to other channels. That would simply shift the location of the problem. Instead, we use different tools in the flow to deal with transient, situational and ambient communication and collaboration in different situations. See my Architected for Collaboration presentation for more on this.

Overall, this is a very different approach to the problem from the simplistic ‘occupational spam‘ mentality. We eliminate the root cause of email overload, not the individual messages.

On a strictly personal front, I’ve noticed that the vast majority of personal email I receive these days comes in the form of notifications from other public social tools, subscriptions and automatic notifications (like my bank). However, the dynamic of personal use is very different from the workplace. In the workplace, we have the advantage of being able to choose the commons spaces where we will work out loud (assuming you are proactive about it).