Making Knowledge Work

September 29, 2016

Serene Serendipity

Filed under: Serendipity — virginiahenry @ 1:54 pm

As luck would have it, I’ve been celebrating serendipity

At New Scientist Live at the weekend, there was so much to see and hear – it was impossible to experience everything in a couple of days.
Fortunately, it was difficult to miss Ray Lee’s  ethereal sound installation.

ray-lee-tripods

It was an unexpected sonic oasis amid the chaotic crush of the science crowds.

On Saturday evening at the Barbican, the theme of mesmerising minimalism continued with a Terry Riley concert. A different line-up and arrangement of In C to this one: https://youtu.be/lJPJywWfyGo  – but equally engaging.

Then, later in the week, I happened to hear an interview with Steve Reich on Radio 4.

 

A round of applause for serendipity!

September 9, 2016

LIKE and the value of knowledge

Filed under: Knowledge Networking, LIKE — virginiahenry @ 12:10 pm

When I worked in broadcasting I’d often find myself surprised by colleagues that had a high regard for opinion.  Even the most hard-nosed Harrys would look grave, nod sagely and start “it’s a fact that……” then go on to state an opinion: either theirs or some borrowed wisdom.

Running training courses, I was constantly asking hapless journalists or producers to “tell me what you know, not what you think”.  And sometimes they didn’t seem to realise there was a difference.

As we moved into a new century, I moved into the online world.  I found that people who spent their days in the orderly universe of the algorithm could be equally entranced by opinion.  Sometimes, familiarity with an inadequate software product would influence opinion, and make someone argue in its favour despite its evident shortcomings.

A few months ago, at LIKE 65, Stephen Dale guided us through workshop sessions on evidence-based decision making.  Steve put us into groups of four or five and set scenarios for us to work through.
The room was full of analytical brains – knowledge professionals, information scientists, business researchers, education specialists, even an ombudsman. Yet each group jumped to conclusions, misread details, surrendered to cognitive biases.  As we retraced our steps through the maze of our misconceptions we were feeling pretty sheepish.  But, and this is what I love about LIKE, instead of arguing the toss or trying to justify our conclusions we got engrossed in a fascinating discussion about cognitive bias and the weighting of evidence.

A knowledge network LIKE no other

A small group of us started LIKE (the London Information and Knowledge Exchange) in 2009.  We wanted regular, informal, get-togethers for knowledge professionals.  Seven years and nearly seventy events on, we’ve covered an astonishing range of topics including:

Storytelling and knowledge sharing, the ROI of KM, Information behaviour and cultural change,Taxonomies and Folksonomies, Reimagining records, Transliteracy, Civil rights in the digital world,  Making the leap to open source, Organising terrabytes of information, The evolution of mobile information access, Information literacy, Future of history: digital preservation, Copyright, Hargreaves and the Digital Economy Act, The business of social media, The UK web archive, Coaching, Open data and Open economics,  Big data and little apps, Gamification, Data Protection in Europe and The business case for collaboration.

To lead most of the events we’ve been able to draw on the knowledge of our members because many are experts in their fields.  Who needs opinion when you can access real experience and first-hand knowledge?

I was discussing the role and value of LIKE recently with members of the Association for Project Managers Knowledge group.  To prepare for the discussion I reviewed the professions and roles of more than 1,350 LIKE members.  The top ten (i.e. job titles held by the largest number of members) are:

  1. Knowledge Manager
  2. Consultant
  3. Researcher
  4. Learning Resources Manager
  5. Digital Manager
  6. Business/Research/Insight Analyst
  7. Data Analyst
  8. Sales Director
  9. Project Manager
  10. Marketing Manager

That’s just the top ten.  There are so many more.  I’m not certain that some of the job titles existed when we started the network (and I’m still not sure what a Creativitor does!)  It was fascinating to visualise the brilliant range of brains that make the LIKE network:

like-members

In my opinion it’s a privilege to be part of LIKE.

May 25, 2014

Ingredients for success – or at least the avoidance of disaster…..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — virginiahenry @ 3:45 pm

You’re cooking a meal you’ve never made before. What do you do?

  • Read carefully through the recipe?
  • Think about similar culinary techniques you’ve used in the past?
  • Get some advice from an old hand in the kitchen?
  • Plan extra time in the preparation and cooking, just in case it’s more difficult than it looks?
  • Have a standby set of ingredients that you know you can turn into a meal if everything goes awry?

Or do you just throw yourself into the process, reading the recipe one line at a time, and ad-libbing when you hit snags? Confident that your determination will “make it happen”.

You might get lucky, and rescue something edible out of the chaos you’ve created, but it’s unlikely to be what you set out to make. Or you may find yourself transforming the best of ingredients into the worst kind of mess.

I’ve seen this approach applied in the organisational “kitchen”.   With projects and teams suffering because the person in charge believes they alone must make the decisions. Listening, and taking notice of advice, would be a sign of weakness. Consulting with colleagues might appear indecisive. Leaders don’t do that kind of thing. They lead.

To these individuals leadership is synonymous with being in control, brooking no argument…… even micro-managing. Just to be sure their imperfect interpretation of the recipe for success is carried out to the last inadequate letter.

And I’ve seen, when the half-baked results fail to please, the same misguided confidence applied to the cause of disaster – the team were at fault or inadequate, the ingredients (software, tools or processes) were wrong. When faced with the shame of failure, we’re all inclined to take refuge in blame. But if we allow ourselves to believe that leadership equates to infallibility, we’re bound not to reflect on the consequences of our decisions or learn from things that go wrong.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with some excellent leaders too. So good that the team didn’t notice it was being led – each felt they were achieving success together. When things went right (which was more often than not) the leader made sure the team members were the focus of praise and appreciation. But when things went wrong the leader took for themselves all the blame and criticism.

Attempting a new recipe, learning new techniques, seeking advice – none of these things are particularly easy. But they can be really enjoyable, and a lot less nerve-wracking than cooking up disaster out of what could have been success🙂

March 7, 2014

The Culture of Knowledge

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — virginiahenry @ 6:33 pm

My job seems to have been keeping me away from lots of things, such as my blog and the wonderful LIKE programme of events (although I’m not going to miss the evening of crossword compilation on Wednesday 26 March)…….  So Adapta’s invitation to a workshop on “Knowledge mobilisation, collaboration tools and cake” gave me the chance to set work aside for an afternoon and learn something about how people in other organisations are working.

The most engaging presentation was Adam Pope’s.  He’s Senior Digital Librarian at Arup.  He’s lucky – it’s an impressive organisation, and its founder Ove Arup  was deeply committed to collaboration and team-working.  So committed that he used to sit in on interviews with all new candidates in the early days of Arup Group to make sure prospective Arup team members were the “right” kind of people.  He knew what he was looking for – not just proven talent and flair but an eagerness to collaborate, share knowledge and learn from others.

Such a leader has a profound impact on the culture of an organisation.  Arup, like the rest of us, need to use incentives and rewards to make sure knowledge is consistently shared and teams support, rather than compete, with one another.  But Adam and his colleagues have strong foundations to build on, thanks to Ove Arup.

It was interesting to hear, in the brief discussion period, some of the knowledge management (or ‘knowledge mobilisation’, as an Adapta Consultant called it) challenges people had:  from trying to find the best and most cost-effective IT solutions to support collaboration, to trying to persuade colleagues that consultation didn’t mean everyone should have direct influence over every organisational decision.  And from the difficulty of convincing front-line staff to engage with shared processes, to the challenge of asking people to discuss their failures as well as their successes.  None of them are new issues and, in my experience, none can be resolved without a culture of knowledge pervading the entire organisation.  Without the explicit requirement for everyone – from the CEO to the newest recruit – to see collaboration and knowledge-sharing as important elements of their role, effective KM can be subverted.

So if you want to nurture a culture of knowledge in your organisation next time you’re writing a job specification, or setting objectives or KPIs, or preparing for a performance review – make sure you include the essential elements: practical demonstrations of collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

March 3, 2013

LIKE 43 – Coaching without the Why

Filed under: Communication, LIKE — virginiahenry @ 3:27 pm

It’s been my experience that only the most expert of practitioners can explain the basics of their discipline in simple terms.
Where those who are less-than-expert blather and quote theory at you, the expert converses with you, sharing their personal knowledge in accessible language.

Karen Drury  is an expert Executive Coach, and at last week’s LIKE she provided us with an impressive and accessible introduction to Coaching.

LISTENING

Karen started by getting us to listen to her explanation of four levels of listening we engage in:

Cosmetic Listening: Familiar territory for nearly all of us!  The kind of listening that engages your face and body (so the speakers feels you might be listening) while leaving the mind free to roam from shopping lists to planning the next hour or the next holiday.
Engaged Listening: During which you actually listen, but with maybe half an ear – whilst preparing what you’re going to say when the speaker draws breath.

Active Listening: These conversations progress quite slowly, because the listener is really listening and, when they speak, asks relevant questions – rather than making statements or offering unsolicited advice.

Deep Listening:  The intense level of focused listening that professional Coaches are capable of.  This deep level of listening entails noticing not just what is said but the way it is expressed, the accompanying non-verbal signals and the thoughts behind the words.
it’s skilled and difficult work, because the Coach is not simply a sounding-board, but a trusted guide – helping the person they’re coaching to investigate issues, examine options, decide on courses of action and find the resolution to act on those decisions.

So the questions asked by a Coach must be carefully chosen and worded.  Karen told us it was important to ask open questions (those which begin, for example, with ‘What’ or ‘How’), and very important to ask only one question at a time .  And, she explained, a Coach should avoid beginning a question with “Why…..?”.  “Why” questions are likely to throw those questioned onto the defensive – implying they should justify a decision or action.

wheel_of_life

 

REFLECTIONS AND INSIGHTS

Karen then got us to examine the balance in our Life Wheels (similar to this one) where the outer rim was 10 out of 10 and the inner scores decreased to zero in the centre.

When we’d all completed our wheels, Karen pointed out that it was as much an exercise in identifying how blessed one was, as it was in noting areas for attention.  And she was right – we all had a number of high-scoring spokes near our wheel rims.  But if we’d taken any of the wheels on the road, they’d have made juddering progress, as specific spokes, such as Self-image and Recreation/Fun, dipped toward the hub.

 

 

So we paired up and, using our new awareness of active/deep listening, discussed with each other what could be done about these neglected areas of our lives.

As Karen had predicted, being listened to in such a focused way was enough for some of us to diagnose the problem, examine optional actions and come to a resolution – while the listener barely uttered a word.

It’s amazing what you can get done in the hour before dinner.  Especially with the help of an empathic ear and an expert guide.

DSCN1461

Before we settled to dinner and further discussion Karen gave us lots of tips on free online resources to follow up on – but those notes are lost………I’m still working on the “organise your note-taking” resolution!  Just don’t ask me “why is it taking you so long?” – you might undermine my resolve🙂

October 28, 2012

LIKE 39 – Archiving the Web

Filed under: Archiving, Information Management, LIKE — virginiahenry @ 3:31 pm

In a professional landscape increasingly populated by vendor cheerleaders, one-trick product ponies and garrulous ‘gurus’, it’s refreshing to spend some time with LIKE professionals.

It was great to gather at our new home for dining and learning, the upstairs room of The Castle (just by Farringdon station), and explore the monumental task of creating a web archive.

The debate was timely – a recent Economist article drew attention to the danger of cultural amnesia as contemporary record, in the form of web content, disappears in cyberspace.

Dr Peter Webster is the British Library’s Engagement and Liaison Officer for the Web Archive.  LIKE’s new dinner venue has the great luxury of a projection screen, so Peter was able to show us slides of some of the sites his team are capturing for posterity.  These included the late Robin Cook’s website, and David Cameron’s 2005 election site.

He told us about the “lost web” – sites that become victim of the disorderly disappearance of organisations and campaigns, and the “orphaned web” – sites that have served their purpose, and are abandoned.  There was a nice example of a formerly lovingly-tended site dedicated to Charles Darwin’s house, not updated since 2006 because English Heritage had taken custody of the house and, in turn, its online representation.

Since 2004 the Web Archive team have fulfilled their brief, of archiving websites of cultural and scholarly importance from the UK domain, by capturing 11,000 sites (16 terrabytes worth).  They are collaborating with other libraries, archives and collectors to get the job done, but it’s still a daunting task.  Automated domain harvesting helps, and there are collections we can all agree future historians will be glad to have: the Credit Crunch, the Jubilee, the Olympics……..    However, at this stage, predicting the exponential growth of the archive, and how easy it will be to browse is challenging to say the least.

Some questions are very hard to answer: how do you decide what is published in the UK?  The URL doesn’t necessarily give you a clue.  How do you find the owners of content to verify copyright?   What are the full implications of the non-print Legal Deposit Regulations?

 As the discussion continued, I was very glad not to have Peter Webster’s job!  But I was delighted he’s doing it, and that he and other historians and archivists are on the case.  It would be horrendous if our collective neglect caused late 20th and early 21st Century culture to become a growing black historical hole.

I say collective neglect because Peter made it clear that the content our organisations are generating now will be of importance to historians in the future.  So his message, to all of us, was plan your digital archiving strategy.  And if you want to nominate a website for inclusion in the archive – do it.

August 13, 2012

REVIEW OF LIKE IDEAS 2012 – THE BUSINESS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Filed under: Knowledge and Information Management, Knowledge Networking, LIKE, Social Media — virginiahenry @ 6:13 pm

The Aim

In the weeks running up to LIKE’s first Conference (on 29th June), we asked people we met “how do you judge a successful professional event?”  Of all the answers – from seasoned conference-goers to occasional event attendees – three signs of success featured most prominently:

  • If I’ve learned something worthwhile
  • If I’ve met and talked to interesting people
  • If the presentations have been relevant to my work and interests

Of course there were numerous other responses, including the quality of the freebies, the lavishness of the venue, the quantity and excellence of the food and refreshments….  But most people we spoke to were more interested in the content of the overall programme than the content of their glass or their  goodie bag.

As organisers of LIKE Ideas 2012 we found that reassuring, because our aim was to run a conference that fellow professionals would find both enjoyable and worthwhile.  When you ask people to invest some money and half a day of their time, you don’t want them to feel in any way short-changed.

The Event

We knew the focus of the conference – The Business of Social Media – was relevant and timely:  Increasingly we’re using social media tools and platforms to engage with our colleagues and clients, and we’re eager to learn from others’ experience about innovations and best practice.

And, in LIKE, we’re incredibly fortunate.  Not only do we have talented, imaginative members able to plan the conference programme (and design the logo, write the literature, scout for the venues, co-ordinate the team workload etc…) – we’ve also got an enviable network of knowledge to tap into:  half of the expert practitioners we asked to speak at the conference were already LIKE members (and since the conference, most of the others have joined!).

We were very fortunate, too, in the support we were given by our sponsors.  Many of them are also LIKE members, and they wanted to help us ensure the event was consistent with LIKE’s ethos – affordable, informative, relaxed and enjoyable.

When the day came, we believed we’d fulfilled our aim.  But we knew that confirmation could only come from the people who attended LIKE Ideas 2012.

The Attendees

48 of the 100 attendees completed feedback forms.  And we were delighted to discover that for more than half of them, this was their first LIKE event.

Interestingly, social media played an important role in alerting people to the conference – more than half had learned about it on Linked In or Twitter:

How Did You Hear About LIKE Ideas 2012?

 

And, as we’d hoped, the topic was a big draw:

What Most Attracted You To The Event?

 

Their Verdict

In spite of some on-the-day disasters, such as the main ladies toilets being out of action, the venue’s WiFi dying and the projector’s cooler fan providing unwelcomed sound effects  – the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

More than half of our respondents thought the venue was, overall, a good choice.  The refreshments were rated as good by most people too.  And, when asked their opinion of the speakers, the verdict was a universal thumbs up:

How Would You Rate The Speakers?

 

Great news for the team, who’d worked hard to select and brief a range of speakers they believed would deliver excellent sessions.  And the responses to the feedback form’s last question were equally heartening:

 How Would You Rate The Conference Overall?

 

We’re grateful to those who took the time to answer our post-conference questions – and come up with so many excellent suggestions for future LIKE events and conferences.

 LIKE is run by its members for its members.  So we will, of course, be following up on those suggestions and using them to inspire our future event and conference programme.

Thank you to everyone who sponsored, supported, presented at and attended our first LIKE Ideas Conference.

An especially BIG  thank you to Emma Steenson, Sarah Wolfenden, Emma Davidson, Nova Dobb, Lena Rowland, Nicola McGinty, Jennifer Smith and Ben Summers – for turning a LIKE Idea into a successful reality.

Oh – and the content of the conference bags and the wine glasses?  We did well with those too: quality quaff and much-coveted goodie bags!

June 5, 2012

LIKE Ideas Conference: The Business of Social Media

Filed under: Knowledge Networking, LIKE, Social Media — virginiahenry @ 2:53 pm

Did you know there’s an Institute for Social Media?  Well, some enterprising Australian Soc Med evangelists have started one.  And they point out  that “Social Media is not about platforms, paradigms, tools, or a contemporary stage of the ongoing development of the Internet. Social Media is a Movement!”

LIKE has been part of the movement for a few years.  Early in 2009 we set up our London Information & Knowledge Exchange group on Linked In and announced our first meet-ups. Thanks to social media – through word-of-web – we’ve run dozens of successful information exchange events, and have grown to a membership of nearly 900.   Each year we use web applications to survey our members, and tailor our events programme to match demand.

So when they asked for a conference, the obvious focus for the event was The Business of Social Media.  On the afternoon of 29th June a hundred or so professionals will gather in Clerkenwell’s Old Sessions House for sessions examining the practical, business-building uses of social media.  We’ll learn about ways to use social media for external engagement and to support research. We’ll hear first-hand experiences of making business social, and get some straight-talking legal advice on safeguarding reputation when using social media.  And we’ll explore the future of social media in business.

In the spirit of LIKE we’ll enjoy each others’ company (and continue to pick one another’s brains) over drinks and dinner after the conference.  Just like social media, LIKE is a movement – and the organisers, the conference speakers and sponsors, and those who’ll be attending are all part of that knowledge-sharing collective.

As are the writers contributing to our pre-conference Blog Carnival.  Follow the links to learn more from them:  Kathy Ennis   Suzanne Wheatley    Sarah Wolfenden  Karen McAuley

March 4, 2012

LIKE 33 Intellectual Property Rights – Fit for the Digital Age?

Filed under: copyright, IP — virginiahenry @ 5:45 pm

LIKE 33 was all about the state of UK Copyright law, the Hargreaves review of IP and the Digital Economy Act.  The purpose was to ask if our current legislation and conventions are fit for the 21st Century.

Professor Charles Oppenheim was our expert guide to the vested interests and challenges to logic that define the debates around the issues.
He started with the problem of orphan works.  They’re not necessarily orphans – sometimes their creators are still around, just untraceable. So permission to digitise can’t be sought of the copyright owner, and because of that digitisation projects of heritage works are in limbo.
There are two ways the problem could be addressed – there’s a European Draft Directive on the treatment of orphan works, and a recommendation by Prof Hargreaves to create an efficient digital copyright licensing system, where nothing is unusable because the rights owner cannot be found.  The European Commission focuses only on literary works, whereas Hargreaves’ interpretation is broader, encompassing other media.

There are other sensible proposals in Hargreaves’ “Digital Opportunity” including:

  • A central Digital Copyright Exchange so people who’re willing to licence can be put in touch with those who need licences.
  • The lifetime of unpublished works should be reduced to 70 years from their estimated date of creation.  (At present all kinds of interesting works and ancient manuscripts can’t be copied until after 2039)
  • Copying for private use should be allowed (it’s currently illegal to copy a CD you’ve bought to listen to in another format)
  • Non-commercial research should be exempted from copyright restraints – as should parody and text and data mining
  • There should be codes of conduct for collecting societies such as the PRS, Newspaper Licencing Agency, Copyright Licencing Agency (as Charles told us about this a small cheer went up from those who have to deal with the charmless representatives of these bodies!)

Loads of sensible proposals.  But the review was published about a year ago, and since then those with money or influence to lose, and their lobbyists, have been busy explaining to Government why the proposals aren’t so sensible.  Charles hoped that some of the proposed modernisation of our copyright law would get through.  But, even delayed and weakened by lobbying, it would be a difficult and controversial change to the law.

Charles described the Digital Economy Act as “that awful piece of legislation passed in dying days of the Labour government“. He’d watched a parliamentary debate on the issues and been appalled by the “staggering ignorance” on display.  Apparently one MP made a speech demonstrating his belief that ISP (Internet Service Provider) and IP (Internet Protocol) were the same thing.

Lots of well-informed and learned individuals and organisations have pointed out the flaws in the act.  Its draconian “3 strikes and your out” principle requires invasion of privacy, providers to become police (sending the 3 strikes written warnings) and withdrawal of service to “offenders” by the likes of BT and TalkTalk (who are so troubled they’ve gone to the High Court).  Ofcom are pretty lukewarm about the thing too.
Anywhere with WiFi – libraries, hospitals, schools, cafes, you name it – could inadvertently become “offenders” because of the inadequate wording of a stupid law.   Yet it may soon become an active law.

Our discussion inevitably moved on to encompass SOPA and ACTA but we’d already answered the question of whether our current legislation and conventions are fit for the 21st Century. Wish it could’ve been “yes”.  But unfortunately it looks like the latest Digital Opportunity to drag ourselves into this century will be missed.

February 18, 2012

How Socially Mature Are You?

Filed under: Social Media, Strategy — virginiahenry @ 1:34 pm

The only Social Media Week event I managed to get to last week was Making Social Part of Your DNA, and this question – about Social Media maturity – was the theme.  The recurring exhortations were “listen and engage”.

The keynote speaker,  J.P. Rangaswami,  (Chief Scientist of Salesforce) spared us the PowerPoint slides, favouring anecdotes and examples instead.  Quoting Alan Kay – “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – went down well, as did his belief that enterprise software should, and will, consist of 4 applications: publishing, search, fulfilment and conversation.   He reminded us that The Cluetrain Manifesto was first published at the turn of the century (and that he’s contributed a chapter to the 10th anniversary edition).  And for the rest of the day we examined, and took part in, the global conversation.

Emma Roffey from Cisco opted for a lot of slides, and a fair number of numbers:

  • By 2015 we’ll have an average of 3 connected devices each
  • 200 apps are downloaded per minute
  • 70% of all information has been created since the internet began
  • By 2013 90% of internet traffic will be video

OK, I’ll stop (but if you’ve an appetite for lists, here’s a link to more “Facts You Should Know”)
CISCO have made sure their 65 thousand employees enjoy an “Integrated Workforce Experience”. Their shared platform has personalised dashboards, rich profiles, workspaces and messaging to help worldwide teams collaborate (music to knowledge management ears!).  And they make extensive use of video-conferencing and video blogs.  When she was asked “what about the power of beer?”, Emma explained that CISCO did value face-to-face and informal meetings too.

Fergus Boyd from Virgin Atlantic talked about how their strategy, Sell – Serve – Socialise, means going to places people are talking about you and interacting.  It also means providing apps and information to serve customers’ needs.
He talked about the usefulness of Altimeter’s social maturity assessment, and of Forrester’s research.  As effective social media businesses value staff as brand representatives, Virgin Atlantic are training their staff – “looking inside as well as outside”.

Mind’s Digital Officer, Eve Critchley, explained how important social media was to charities and how hers was making use of Twitter and Facebook to reach people inexpensively and effectively.  Eve’s statistics were sobering

Unlike the teams in too many other charities Eve’s works hard to co-ordinate their activities with those of colleagues in fundraising and events.  Their Elephant in the Room on Facebook and their Twitter account help them reach people.  Making the most of scheduled tweets, and the support of their digital champions, helps them cope with the workload.

Clay Shirky  wasn’t in the stygian theatre, but, inevitably, he was quoted:  “It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure”.  It was during Dell’s presentation, and their business is very serious about opening up to, managing and filtering the info-load.  I’m not sure precisely where Dell is on the social maturity scale, but not too many organisations have a ‘Social Media Listening Command Center’ or a social media university for their staff.   Social Media Manager, Kerry Bridge has been working with Neville Hobson to develop a social media toolkit for small businesses, adding to Dell’s impressive contribution to the global conversation.

Flying Binary’s CEO Jacqui Taylor  took us into the territory of Social Measurement Optimisation.  She talked about the importance of blended customer insights, profiled customer lifecycles and crowd-sourced innovation (using influencers to help develop products and services).  And she said the power of delighting people, by listening carefully and responding rapidly to their concerns, shouldn’t be underestimated.

Jacqui encouraged us to present data and stats to decision-makers in interactive, and mobile, form: making their experience immersive – enabling them to filter and view the information in the way they want, using any device they choose.  Inevitably they’ll be looking for ROI, so demonstrating that involving their staff (60-80% of an organisation’s costs) in increasing business impact through social media engagement is pretty important.

The subdued after-lunch mood was enlivened by Andrew Walker, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Tweetminster.  His message was that authenticity is an important influencer and Return on Engagement (yes, there’s a book on it) is the way to go with social media.  The Tweetminster team were quick to recognise that Twitter provides a useful ‘indicator of intent’ and offers, among other things, a continually-updated source of editorial recommendation (“if he/she’s reading or following that, it must be worth looking at”).  The click-through rate – 10% of Twitter links, compared to 2% of banner ads – seems to support that view.

A recommendation from Andrew: check out the IAB Framework for measuring social media effectiveness.

Jake Steadman, Head of Social Media Insight, Business Intelligence at O2 and Francesco D’Orazio,  Research Director and Head of Social Media at Face had the prettiest slides of the day.
                       

Recognising that consumers’ relationships are with other consumers rather than brands, they’ve been busy doing lots of analysis of interactions and interests to inform O2’s social media strategy.  They’ve gleaned insights around what people Tweet about, and how subject and focus change at different times of the day (afternoons are good for competitions apparently), and at different times of life.   You can view the presentation on the Face site.

The last speaker was Robert Wint.  He’s Head of Digital Marketing at Barclays and is justifiably pleased about taking the bank into the Twittersphere (@BarclaysOnline).
There are nearly 800 followers and, so far, the senior suits (whose by-in was, of course, essential) are content.  Regular reviews of their interactions with customers are informing their training and service improvement, and the insights they’re gaining are adding to their knowledge-bank.  What’s been surprising, Robert told us, are the types of dialogue they’ve been engaged in.   Customers have seen their Twitter presence as a new channel for issue resolution – having tried the usual customer service routes, they’re turning to @BarclaysOnline – so the team are finding themselves dealing with quite detailed issues.  Undaunted, they’re planning to scale to a 24/7 Twitter service and looking to Facebook and YouTube to expand their virtual reach.

There was a panel debate to end the day – about whether marketing, PR or advertising departments “owned” social media – but by then I’d reached engagement saturation!  And, in truth, it seemed a somewhat irrelevant discussion, as we’d all been saying all day long that social media should be pervasive – that all employees are ‘brand ambassadors’.  After all it only the insiders who see the silos.

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.