Laurence Lock Lee asks, is there something missing from the business analysts’ toolkit?

I did walk through our ‘bottom up’ method of stakeholder engagement using value network analysis techniques. My point wasn’t so much that we should abandon ‘Top Down’ analysis, but that we should be open to injecting some ‘bottom up’ analysis to ensure ourselves that we are getting a more holistic picture of the business.

I agree with Laurie – its top down and bottom up. Its also about design thinking and the techniques he talks about can add to building a better understanding of complex social contexts (organisational or otherwise) that we might otherwise over rely on intuition for in the design process.

A Live SNA Experiment on Collaboration at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference

Nice to see Social Network Analysis (SNA) getting airtime at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference this week. The network map above is the result of a live SNA experiment by Lithium Technology scientist, Michael Wu, using NodeXL.

If you are interested in applying network analysis like this I suggest you check my friends at Optimice, who have been working and specialising in this field for many years.

From The Atlantic: Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

the effect of Facebook depends on what you bring to it. Just as your mother said: you get out only what you put in. If you use Facebook to communicate directly with other individuals—by using the “like” button, commenting on friends’ posts, and so on—it can increase your social capital…

On the other hand, non-personalized use of Facebook—scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, or what Burke calls “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness.

Thoughtful but provocative article by author, Stephen Marche. I’m sure the SMEGs and social media marketeers will hate it, because the veneer of engagement online that most of them promote doesn’t do anything to increase social capital.

Also worth reading, for context, this review of, The Disconnect: Why are so many Americans living by themselves?

Hat tip Om Malik and Christoph.

Do we really need another basic guide to social media for government?

‘Social Media in Government: Hands-on Toolbox’ has been written to help practitioners who are setting up social media profiles and using the tools on a daily basis.  It has been written for public servants with limited experience using social media, but also offers tools and tips that will be useful for those practitioners who have been using social media for some time.

Along with a High-level Guidance document, the New Zealand government has released a toolbox guide to help their pubic servants use social media. Apparently they reused content from the UK (although not Australia?) and Gartner analyst, Andrea Di Maio, thinks its a pretty good guide.

Highlights in the toolbox for me are:

  • I like the distinction made between ‘Social networks’ and ‘Media-sharing networks’ (although IMHO, Flickr can be both). 
  • They attempt a balanced look at the Strengths and Weaknesses of the five types of social media addresses in the guide, rather than focusing on risk or over evangelising the benefits. 
  • The methodology of Finding, Assessing, Contributing and Tracking as a way to develop they approach to a particular tool.

Now they are quite upfront that this guide is for people with limited experience and it is impossible to distil knowledge of this medium into a single, static document. I know that, because I co-authored a Toolkit, for the Australia Government Gov 2.0 Taskforce in 2009.

Personally I think this kind of guide remains a double-edged sword. On one hand, we need to encourage people in government to get online. However, I don’t think the patterns of online engagement, tools or methods described in basic guides like this really help to create a deeper and more sustainable engagement with the concepts of open government, Government 2.0 or social media either. To quote Dominic Campbell, who said recently:

There aren’t enough of us working to transform, challenge and change the inside of government. Not enough taking on the really sticky issues beyond relatively quick and easy wins, such as transit data or street-scene related apps. This needs to change before anything can be said to have gone mainstream. Disclaimer: this is exactly what we’re looking to do with apps like PatchWorkHQ and CasseroleHQ, starting to hone in on priority, challenging, socially important and costly areas of government, such as child protection and supporting older people to live better independent lives. The journey is far longer and harder, but (we’re hoping) even more rewarding.

Lets stop focusing on examples of Government using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Instead, lets spread ideas that can really have impact.

This is something Dominic and I discussed at GovCampNSW a few weeks ago. Really, understanding the technology isn’t the barrier and publishing more and more basic guides won’t change that.

What influences job choice? Social media, mobile devices and Web access

The growing use of the Internet and mobile devices in the workplace is creating a significant impact on job decisions, hiring and work-life balance,” the report concluded. “The ability to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence job choice, sometimes more than salary.

This research by Cisco could be a wake up call for many companies involved in the war for talent. However, its interesting to consider the attitude of many companies toward how people actually use social networks like Facebook, which is still quite negative (read the comments). But if Cisco is right, employers may need to think about both access and what their policy is towards what staff do on social media, if they want to create a workplace that is attractive to staff with high job mobility.

Hat tips to Venessa Peach and Peter Black.

Does getting loud with social media work?

the challenge for advertisers and marketers is to stand out above the general internet noise and create what the industry calls a value proposition for their brands. In this, Facebook has emerged as a crucial platform for social interaction with 750 million users worldwide, as has Twitter with 250 million. But simply having a Twitter “hashtag”, which more easily identifies subjects being discussed, or “liking” something on Facebook are no longer enough.

“We are starting to move away from the mad arms race of [increasing] fans on Facebook,”

Timely article from the Guardian. There is a school of thought around social media marketing that basically calls for business and organisations to get online and then follow a strategy of what I call, “getting loud with social media”. Success will follow if you can overcome your fears of the medium – you just need to be on it for this to happen.

Today I’ve been browsing around looking at some major Australian brands and organisations that have an active presence on Facebook. Its pretty a disappointing picture to be honest.

For one well known consumer brand, a recent Facebook post attracted well over a hundred “Likes” and about 50 comments. Sounds like a great reaction? When you look at the actual comments, the largest categories were complaints (6%) and wants (14%). The brand itself was absent in the conversation, but at least some of their fans (3.4%) did at least bother to reply to questions and comments from other people. As a potential customer looking in, there is no evidence that the brand actually cares or is listening to feedback – a missed opportunity.

Another well known and family-friendly brand has a wall full of spam posts and in appropriate comments (e.g. mentioning alcohol) in breach of their own community rules, mixed in with genuine fans/customers. However, there is evidence at least of that brand engaging with people on customer service issues. That good work in customer service and the promotions on their page is being undone by poor community management and moderation.

In another example, a major industry association has attracted about 130 “likes” in about 6 months for their page. Sure, its not harming them but its not adding much value in its current form either.

Personally, in Australia at least, I see smaller consumer-orientated companies doing a much better job of engaging but with a smaller audience. Like Frisk Espresso, who I discovered in Perth recently. They only have about 1,500 fans but the engagement is better at that scale. Its important to recognise that their fan base is probably built on an excellent customer experience in the real world and through promotion at their shop front (that’s how I found them). Rather than faking it and expecting noise on social media to make their online engagement successful, they are working social media more smartly than many large (and well resourced) brands. And I’ll be back at Frisk when I’m next in Perth.

However, I’m prepared to be corrected. Have you got an Australian example where getting loud with social media (i.e. getting lots of followers or likes) has worked? Or maybe you’ve got a horror story of where this strategy has crashed and burned?