Archive for October, 2011

The Social Workplace

I am enthusiastic about my role on the panel of this week’s Social Workplace conference in London.

Success within business is going to come from those companies who have the most ‘compelling architecture of participation’. It will be those companies who design themselves to enable ideas to come from a multiple range of sources who will prosper in the new open networked world.

Those companies who use social networks to make it interesting, easy and rewarding for a wide range of contributors to offer ideas, solve problems and improve products will be the most successful.

Most companies still operate under the assumption that the best and biggest ideas come from a few individuals. But what happens when technologies move so quickly and rivals become so new numerous, no corporate executives can think of everything.

It is now time to use social technolognies within the workplace to invent a less top-down approach to innovation, to make it the responsibility of everyone within the company to come up with great ideas.

The times they are a -changing

Occupy Wall Street and the protest camp outside St Pauls in London are being driven by deep-seated cultural changes on the web and the emergence of social media.

We are living in a more open and networked world which is rendering current models of government as anachronistic. The current model of Government is based on inert citizens. The web is introducing new forms of democracy, driven by the values of social media culture (sharing, collaborating etc), where we will see the emergence of more active citizens.

The challenge for the political class is to design and make accessible new ways/platforms for people to participate, co-produce and share ideas to improve society and the economy. Democratic methods must be aligned with the emerging values of the social web especially as the web becomes more pervasive in our lives.

Remember the tattoo rule

In his new book , Jeff Jarvis shares some wise advice about your online reputation.

‘Anything you put online is a tattoo. It’s permanent. It won’t go away. The web remembers. People may give you slack, but you can’t be assured they will,’ he writes.

It is a great way of thinking about what you decide to publish and share online. It deserves to make its way into some social media company guidelines.

Jeff Jarvis gained this sage advice from Philip Kaplan, co founder of Blippy.

Getting used to sharing

Thinking again about whether or not we can trust Facebook with our data. Having spoken with Jeff Jarvis yesterday, on a call with the Social Media Leadership Forum, he emphasised that Facebook is a sharing platform. Sounds obvious, but it is, and therefore we need to get used to the idea of sharing.

He argues that some of the data capture issues are being ‘demonised’. He said that monitoring of usages of data was a lot more lax when he was working in traditional media, when it ruled the roost, in terms of selling lists of people’s addresses and so on.

I guess to an extent he is right. Facebook is a sharing platform, and therefore – and this goes for the internet as a whole – you need to think carefully about what you are sharing. Especially with gossipy friends!

Facebook Fail – The social network doesn’t always get it right

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

It’s easy to think of Facebook as this powerhouse that churns out update after update to socially addicted users. Sure, people might complain about the latest change, but we tend to get used to it all fairly quickly, right?

Well no, not really. Several of Facebook’s launches have crashed and burned. Remember Facebook Gifts? Facebook Places, their attempt to rival FourSquare? Facebook Lite? These are all ventures Facebook has invested in, and later closed down.

The new iPad app has had a decidedly quiet reception too. Perhaps the company waited too long, with apps like MyPad and Friendly dominating the market for a while. The infographic below suggests that the app’s lack of interesting new features worked against it too.

I’m sure Google is feeling quietly smug about the slow take-up of Facebook Messages, which was touted as the Gmail killer. Although Google’s not really in a position to be complacent really, considering its current problems with a downturn in activity on Google+….

Source: Mashable

My Blackberry isn’t working!

It’s been a bad few weeks for Blackberry. Several days without email or BBM has had Blackberry users up in arms. The company hasn’t really helped matters by making little apparent effort to communicate with customers, leaving many feeling neglected.

Unfortunately, this all happened in the same week the Apple iPhone 4S launched, leading to inevitable articles about whether users should abandon their loyalty to Blackberry for the latest Apple product. And the new iPhone certainly outdid itself: even with update issues on iOS 5, the phone reached a record one million sales in its first 24 hours on sale.

Anyway, for those stuck in a contract with Blackberry for a while longer, this video from Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield may cheer you up.

Empowering staff for social media communications

Just picked up this simple video which clearly explains how social media changes the way businesses have traditionally communicated and the need to empower staff to respond via social media platforms.

Might be worth sharing the link with a senior exec who is a bit of a laggard!!

It’s refreshingly simple…

Are we becoming Facebook sausages?!

I have read a number of pieces lately suggesting that we are not Facebook customers. Instead we are their products for their advertising masters and that they care more about our social graphs than anything else. While they make our data open, they are not open about how they use our data and so on.

Douglas Rushkoff has an interesting piece about the key commercial drivers of the Facebook board.

And The Guardian has highlighted data issues that Facebook is facing including the launch of a European online campaign, calling for Facebook to be more open about the data it is holding on us and what it is doing with it. This was set up by someone from Ireland who discovered that Facebook still had controversial personal data which he had consciously deleted.

The Europe online Facebook campaign site is here.

Facebook is going to be have to be careful on the data issues. Even my teenage daughter (a Facebook diehard) complained the other day that it changes too much. I asked her if she would ever leave Facebook and she said no because everyone is there.

I like Facebook – it is changing the world in so many positive ways – look at some of the events in the Middle East, for example. I enjoy the easy connections with other people. It was great to get birthday greetings recently from old school friends around the world via Facebook.

However the extent to which our data is being used by all these exciting new social technologies needs to be explored and monitored. We are busy using it and there needs to be proper protection in place.

Facebook wants us to be open with our data. Then it should be open too about how it is using our data. Sounds reasonable to me.

Jeff Jarvis is coming!

Leading internet guru Jeff Jarvis is going to be speaking with members of the Social Media Leadership Forum next Monday.

The famous thorn in the side of Michael Dell – the original ‘Dell Hell’ blogger – and author of the best-selling, ‘What Would Google Do?’ will be talking about the ideas in his new book, ‘.

In his new book, Jeff Jarvis talks about the ‘radically public company’ which will encourage all of its employees to use the tools of the public net to have direct and open relationships with customers.

The radically public company would open up as much data as possible about its products and process. It would become collaborative, opening up design, support and marketing even strategy to its public.

Controversially, he suggests that the radically public company might – just might – be able to all but eliminate advertising, relying on customers to sell products for them. ‘Wouldn’t that be nice,’ he says, ‘the company that doesn’t bother us?’

What I really like about Jeff Jarvis is his imagination, his ideas and above all his optimism.

‘As we face epochal change, it is fine and necessary to ask what could go wrong and to guard against our worst-case fears,’ he writes. ‘But it is also vital that we recognize new opportunities, envisioning the sort of society we can build upon an ethic of sharing’.

Jeff Jarvis blogs at This is a great opportunity to hear first hand from one of the finest minds on where the internet is heading.

The Social Media Leadership Forum is a UK initiative and has been going for nearly two years. The idea is to create a community of ideas to help support and inspire companies to change their thinking and re-shape themselves so they can continue to be successful in the future. It is based on the philosophy of ‘collaborative intelligence’. By sharing we all get stronger.

We are thankful for the fantastic support we are receiving from some of the world’s leading companies. And next Monday we think Jeff Jarvis is going to make an important and positive contribution to how leading businesses continue respond to the spread of the internet.

This is your opportunity to be part of history-in-the making.

If you want to join in; if you want to hear one of the world’s leading internet thinkers, please email me at and I will do my best to try to get you involved.

The Social Car Business

Local Motors is co-creating cars in a highly innovative way.

If you have not already heard about their new innovative methods, take a look at this short . It could be the new future of car design.