Last year I gave a workshop about my blog as part of our Web in Feb month of activities.
07 May 2013
Last year I gave a workshop about my blog as part of our Web in Feb month of activities.
23 January 2013
WebinFeb logoOur annual Web in Feb will be here very soon so have a look at what we have on offer and start booking up before they sell out.
22 August 2012
Back in October 2011 I wrote Our YouTube channel gets 250 thousand hits.
This has proved to be a very popular topic on my blog recently, so I feel obliged to point out that the number is increasing rapidly, and today stands at 341,492.
Our BIPCTV channel has been going since the Centre opened in 2006, when we began posting recordings of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs events, and our success stories.
The most recent upload was From Battlefield to Business, and run in partnership with Heropreneurs, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, British Legion, Franchising Works and Help for Heroes.
The wonderful Levi Roots and his Reggae Reggae Sauce still tops the charts with 25,541 views, but he has stiff competition from Success Stories Guy Jeremiah of Aquatina Ltd, and William de Lucy from Amplify Trading.
However my favourite remains Sam Roddick, founder of the ‘erotic emporium’ Coco De Mer, and daughter of Body Shop legend Dame Anita Roddick. She describes herself as an activist first and accidental entrepreneur second.
16 May 2012
Yesterday evening the British Library hosted a book launch for Organizations Don’t Tweet, People Do: A Manager’s Guide to the Social Web by Euan Semple.
Instead of a speech, Euan was interviewed by Richard Sambrook a friend and college from their days together at the BBC.
Here are my notes from the evening followed by my selections from Euan’s book:
The tweets from the event have been Storified here.
A more detailed summary from the Strange Attractor blog by Suw Charman-Anderson.
The book comes in 45 Bite sized chapters, each with introductions and summaries. And in fact each chapter can be purchased individually in electronic format. Euan’s idea is to make it as easy as possible to spread the message to those who remain unconvinced by the benefits of social media.
An essential read for anyone with a connection to social media in the workplace (which means everyone), it is very wide ranging, quite philosophical at times, and always passionately personal.
Euan makes a strong case for the democratising benefits of adopting social media and collaborative tools.
However, my experience of both successes and failures to introduce these technologies in various workplaces, makes me think that Euan is somewhat naïvely optimistic (an accusation he is aware of, and attempts to address several times in the book).
He ended the engaging question and answer session by saying he thinks it will take up to fifty years for the change to fully occur, and this strikes me as more realistic.
Here are my highlights from reading the book:
What is the book for? – It is not a “how to” book nor, I hope, is it cyber-utopian vision of the future….I prefer to think of it as a collection of ideas that… can make the web more understandable and useful in the world of work.
Growing up online – We will only be able to take full advantage of the networked world if we grow up, think for ourselves, and take responsibility for our lives and our actions. I am not naïve. I know that, at least to begin with, truly thinking for yourself and saying what you think with any degree of authenticity is a big ask. It may never happen for many people. There may just be too much at stake and too much to take into account for a politician or someone in a corporate setting to really be authentic.
Don’t let the techies ruin the party – …keep things out of the hands of technologists as much as possible. Some of them aren’t so bad, and some of them are re-inventing themselves…if there is a single biggest block to making social media happen encountered by my clients in large organizations it is with their IT department.
Ten steps to success with technology:
Anarchy versus control – Someone once called me “an organizational anarchist” and I have to admit I was quite chuffed at the description and took it as a compliment…. What I am talking about here is not complete free reign for individuals … I am more interested in the possibility of all of us taking full responsibility for ourselves and those around us – the ultimate in democracy.
How about moving democracy inside the firewall instead of outside it?
Bosses who don’t get it – If you can’t get support from your boss, see if you can get support from their peers. Find senior people who get what you are trying to do and enlist their support … Keep talking to them in their language about what you are doing and why – even if they occasionally glaze over!
Collaboration and trust – There is a lot of “collaboration software” out there that is really just the same stuff that failed to deliver data management, information management, knowledge management and is now failing to deliver collaboration. In fact a lot of the tools labelled as collaboration tools actually work against effective collaboration.
Blurring work boundaries – The blurring of the inside and outside raises issues both for us as individuals and organizations we work for. For us it means that we have to take more responsibility for whatever lines we draw between work and non-work.
PR and marketing under threat – I believe that marketing and PR are professions at real risk of disintermediation by the web. We will need people to do our marketing for us less and less as we use the tools in everyday work and start to have more effective conversations between ourselves and our customers.
Help your staff to become your best advocates. Give them the tools and the insights to become your ambassadors online.
The Return on Investment of social media – … I am becoming more robust about the ROI question and turning it back on those who ask it. What is the ROI of the way we do things now? … Where is the competitive advantage in preventing staff from using these tools to build and maintain the networks that develop their knowledge and their ability to get things done. Where is the competitive advantage in allowing your competitors to embrace these changes before you do and potentially re-inventing the industry you are so rigidly clinging to?
Online indiscretions – Much has been made about recruitment teams searching Facebook and LinkedIn to find prospective candidates and the damage supposedly done by online indiscretions. In some ways this is an anachronistic attitude coming from people who don’t themselves engage online. People are becoming much more robust and open in their online lives. Besides, what is so awful about these supposed indiscretions? Rather than worrying about photos of potential recruits drunk at parties, I would be more worried about people who appeared to have something to hide. In fact I would be less likely to employ someone who hadn’t been indiscreet as a student!
Deal with management fears – Online …You can’t hide behind your status or your pomposity. In fact being remote and pompous will severely inhibit your attempts at effective communication on the web.
So the answer is to help those who are disapproving or pompous in reaction to what is happening on the web. Don’t dismiss their reactions or sneer at them but make it easier for them to relax and say what they think. Show them the ropes and hold their hands rather than ridicule them as they discover for themselves the fast changing world they have felt excluded from.
Develop guidelines-not rules, collaboratively – Don’t start with rules. Learn to use your tools, and see how people make them work before you cast too much in stone.
Use Trojan mice – Set up small, unobtrusive, inexpensive, and autonomous tools and practices, set them running, and cajole and nudge them until they begin to work out where to go and why.
Don’t feed the Trolls – The best way to deal with trolls is to befriend them. Even the worst of them are human.
If your critics have shown the energy to engage, and can then be turned around to be supportive of you, then this sends a very strong signal to other dissenters.
Radical transparency – In fact online I recommend that people assume that if you have written something on a computer then someone else will at some time be able to see it.
Does this mean you can’t write about anything? No, but it does mean you have to think harder bout what you are writing, where, and why.
Blogging as therapy – By writing about the workplace you become more thoughtful about your place in it and what it does for you.
My favourite quote in the book comes from Vint Cerf, one of the ‘fathers of the internet’. When asked by a journalist if the internet was a good or a bad thing, he replied, “It is just a thing. Whether good or bad depends on what you are doing with it.”
Euan ends the book with his final blog post at BBC after 21, years about the importance of love at work.
19 April 2012
Rather painfully it is called The World According to Lady Aga, I’m guessing Lady Gaga is unlikely to take action, as she has against Moshi Monsters (Lady Gaga wins injunction against Lady Goo Goo) and the Icecreamists (Milking a story for all it’s worth). After all the AGA brand is nearly 60 years older than Lady G.
On the positive side, it does publish some interesting facts about the expensive cookers (AGA inventor was a Nobel Prize winner), as well as some tasty recipes. And, more importantly, it has a sense of humour, with AGA Characters: Retired Rock Chick, and AGA Characters: Yummy Mummy just two examples.
So the occasional post about new product launches or expansion into new territories can be easily forgiven.
03 April 2012
In this day and age, it behooves everyone to use social media to some degree – and it can be a great and fun way to keep track of friends, promote a product, or interact with customers. But with this freedom of idea and information exchange has come a new platform for privacy to be compromised by Internet predators, governments or even potential employers with whom one may be seeking employment.
With these cases of privacy violations on the rise, they have become a key topic of interest to paralegal schools looking to equip their graduates with the correct tools to navigate the murky waters of privacy law. With social media usage sky-rocketing, more accounts of privacy violations will surely arise. In order to protect your privacy, there are certain Dos and Don’ts that need to be kept in mind when using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Foursquare.
1. Follow the sites you are on regularly. If someone posts to your wall or says something unflattering, inappropriate or untrue about you, you want to be able to react within hours, not days or weeks.
2. Know the privacy policies of each site. Reading the fine print can be a drag, but it allows you to understand what information is publicly viewable, what information is shared with other companies and what options you have in protecting yourself.
3. Think before you post. You may write things or provide information that you later regret. If you’re angry or upset, wait a few hours before posting.
4. Make sure that you have the latest security updates installed in your computer. This is just generally good advice. Also, consider downloading Facebook’s security software to further protect yourself.
5. Keep your credit card and bank information to yourself. With the ubiquity of online purchasing, there’s a tendency to get a little too free with one’s financial information. If you’re not on a secure site with the intent to purchase, there’s no reason to provide this information.
1. Don’t accept requests from strangers, particularly if something seems fishy. They may be after your password, or attempting to pass you a virus. Check out who they are before clicking on any links they provide.
2. If you’re an individual, don’t provide your exact address, particularly on Foursquare. People can tell when you’re on vacation – publicly letting them know that you’re out of town, while also showing them a map to your door is a bad idea.
3. Don’t let unflattering photographs be tagged. Facebook will allow you to un-tag any photos taken of you. Make sure you’re in control of your own images.
4. Don’t post without proofreading. Spelling errors, clumsy grammar and typos all serve to make you look bad – and it gives view to a private thought process that you may want to keep to yourself. In other words, no reason to show others your first drafts. An extra minute and you can look much better.
5. Don’t keep an account if you’re not going to use it. Especially if you’re running a business, having a Twitter account (or other account) that is only used once every five months is worse than having no account at all. Plus, because it appears that you’re inattentive, it’s ripe for poachers, who may start using your account to spam others connected to you.
21 February 2012
Companies put a great deal of useful information online, but rarely have a strategy for maintaining or persevering it. This is where the British Library comes in. Preserving the UK web is a natural extension of our traditional role of preserving UK printed material.
So if you are researching business that no longer exist, or blogs which have ceased to be updated, have a look at the UK Web Archive
Collecting since 2004, the UK Web Archive contains websites of cultural and research relevance relating to the UK. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and give permanent access to key UK websites for future generations. It is a selective and unique archive, built on nominations from subject specialists in and outside of the Library, alongside public nominations. With over 10,000 different websites, the archive is one of the library’s largest ‘born-digital’ collections.
The archive team have made searching easier by adding indexing terms (meta-tags) and added research tools such as Ngram visualisations.
You can read more about developments in the archive on their blog
27 January 2012
I couldn’t see how my colleagues could top the speakers at our first Digital Library Conversations @British Library. Internet pioneers Vint Cerf (known as one of the fathers of the internet) and Ted Nelson who founded Project Xanadu, the first hypertext project in 1960. There is a video of the meeting if you are interested.
However, I was wrong. As a result of Stella Wisdom (one of our Digital Curators) reading an article in the Metro newspaper, we were privileged to hear from 16-year-old ‘internet genius’ Nick D’Aloisio, the founder of Summly.
This iPhone app has made international headlines and attracted backing of an investment company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing..
Summly is an iPhone app which summarises and simplifies the content of web pages and search results. Currently it can condense reference pages, news articles and reviews but according to Nick, has the potential to go a lot further.
Nick has been profiled in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Wired and FastCompany for his entrepreneurial success and interest in Artificial Intelligence. Before founding Summly, Nick created Facemood, a service which used sentiment analysis to determine the mood of Facebook users, and SongStumblr, a geosocial music discovery service.
Did I mention he was 16 years old?
According to an interview with the BBC, Summly came from his frustration in researching for his exams.
“I was revising for a history exam and using Google, clicking in and out of search results, and it seemed quite inefficient. If I found myself on a site that was interesting I was reading it and that was wasting time,” he said.
“I thought that what I needed was a way of simplifying and summarising these web searches. Google has Instant Preview but that is just an image of the page. What I wanted was a content preview,” he says.
What impressed me most from our meeting with Nick at the British Library (which you can get a glimpse of here thanks to Reuters), was his intelligence and modesty.
I’m sure he has had plenty of practice, but his ‘elevator pitch’ (which is something of an obsession with me), was superb.
And when I asked him if he was planning to pursue an entrepreneurial path or go on to university, he talked enthusiastically about studying philosophy after his A levels. This is from someone just back from a series of meetings with high powered investors and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.
I came away with the impression that he was quite possibly the most confident and mature person in the meeting.
Addition 28 March 2012:
The video of this event has now been posted onto YouTube, and the interview with Nick starts 34 minutes in.