For source – click here


In the final section of this blog for 157.240 we discuss the topic of crowdsourcing – a portmanteau of crowd & sourcing. It’s a highly relevant topic because it combines a number of key aspects of social media covered in earlier blogs. At the heart of crowdsourcing is the construction of a community bound together by a passion for innovation and developing new ideas. It relies heavily on trust and cuts across many traditional business hierarchical structures combining both a bottom up and top down approach.  An important early distinction to be made is that crowdsourcing is NOT crowdfunding, although they share similar characteristics they are different concepts. For those with a passion for the outdoors the recent acquisition of a beach in Awaroa inlet (part of the Abel Tasman National Park) is an example of crowdfunding


6 easy steps


Let’s start with a brief description – crowdsourcing involves engaging communities either directly or indirectly (through brokers) where, in a commercial sense, a business seeks a solution from a community in return for a reward. The community bears some risk in trying to solve the business problem (the idea/concept may not work or be selected) and the business (the seeker) defines the problem, reward and many of the conditions and most importantly ownership of the product (Marjanovic, et al., 2012, p. 320). An example of use can be found in my earlier blog on Communities of Practices – refer to the Schneider Electric case study.

The Impact of Social Media on Global Economies

Social technologies have been adopted in record speed – it took radio 38 years to break through 50 million user. Through the advent of the Internet Facebook, on the other hand has passed this milestone in just 1 year, and Twitter within 9 months. A report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) noted that 72% of companies use social technologies but very few use it to its full potential noting that in some sectors of the economy productivity of knowledge workers could be raised by as much as 25% through better utilisation with much of the value lying in enhanced communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing through top down and bottom up enterprise adoption. Embracing these values is fundamental to a modern business approach to value creation and enterprise management.

value circle


The Role of Social Technologies in Enabling Value Creation

It’s generally good form to include a quote from Gartner – here’s what Anthony Bradley (Group Vice President) had to say – “social media technologies are tools and, like any technology, it’s how people use those tools that delivers enterprise results

The Gartner report recommended using the collective behaviours (listed below) as a link between social media technologies and enterprise value

  1. Enable collective intelligence for operational effectiveness – such as wiki’s, blogs, YouTube clips etc. is one of the most successful social media adoption trends
  2. Employ enterprise location for sales effectiveness – defining and developing for example customer focus groups linked through social media applications will improve sales effectiveness
  3. Unearth emergent structures for operational effectiveness – using social media as a tool to assist organisation, management and communicate across a community to help understand “the nature of things” will help attribute business success
  4. Increase sales through interest cultivation – a good example of this can be found in one of my recent blogs – a case study on Coca Cola’s social media strategy – Expedition 206
  5. Engage in mass co-ordination for rapid response – also in my recent Coca Cola blog I outlined the advantages of using competitions, games, and friend get friend viral marketing concept that engage mass co-ordination and response
  6. Build relationship leverage for brand awareness – a cost effective and low risk approach of using social media

A final poignant quote from Anthony Bradley – “enterprises that understand the importance of harnessing the power of collective behaviour to drive positive business change will be the ultimate winners with social media

Social Media for Business – Benefits & Drawbacks

Key business benefits through (Cook’s 4 C’s)

  • Connection – essential in network building and constructing a base of followers – examples, politicians (not a good one!), Coca Cola,
  • Collaboration – harnessing the power of the network, such as communities of practice
  • Communication – informal and engaging
  • Co-operation – using social media as a means of reach out across the enterprise to breakdown hierarchical barriers and share knowledge for the common goal

The drawbacks

  • Change – one of the biggest challenges to an enterprise is moving from a current state to a future state and requires all the elements of Cook’s 4 C’s to drive change
  • Culture – best articulated by Cisco with their S.O.C.I.A.L that embeds social media with its culture
  • Knowledge – an essential ingredient to success – Scientia potential est! (Francis Bacon)
francis bacon
Francis Bacon



Marjanovic, S., Fry, C. & Chataway, J. (2012). Crowdsourcing based business models: In search of evidence for innovation 2.0.Science and Public Policy 39, 318-332.



Coca Cola’s – World Domination & A Social Media Journey

Coke Bottle

Image source

Intro – “The Gods Must Be Crazy

Who would have thought that a Coca Cola bottle tossed out of an aeroplane window would be a life changing event seen, literally, as a gift from the gods? Perhaps John Pemberton had that in mind when he invented Coca Cola – initially as a patent medicine believed to enhance brain power. Over the next 130 years Coca Cola has gone onto world domination as a soft drink brand and leading light in the world of social media. So…. What’s so special about this brand and its use of social media? Although this is a global brand first, we’ll take a view a little closer to home by looking at the NZ market.

Coca Cola & New Zealand

Let’s start with a few facts about  Coca Cola, also known colloquially as Coke. Here’s some statistics about their use of social media channels as at the beginning of May 2016 as published on its local website.

Kiwi Stats

Coke’s invested heavily in social media and its clearly well aligned to its business strategy and target audience –their advertising theme’s & settings (such as young people having fun at the beach), demographic audience, and programmes (such as competitions) are clearly aimed at young people – high users of technology and social media illustrating clearly the concepts articulated by Li and Solis (Altimeter Group) concerning alignment between business goals and social media strategy. At Coke they’re strongly connected and aligned to their universal mantra of “taste the feeling”.

Coca Cola publishes useful material on its website regarding its views on social media principles and publishes its global social media metrics (published below).

Global Stats for Coke

Source for global metrics

There’s clear evidence in this document that Coca Cola has applied principles from the Li and Solis report, for example:

  1. Planning – statements made in its social media principles attempt to counter negative health comments demonstrating that it uses social media channels to check the pulse of consumers – look, listen, and consider – before action
  2. Presence – uses a wide range of social media channels and clearly measures the traffic generated (see Statistics above) to provide wide market coverage
  3. Engagement – I created an account to gauge how Coke engages with consumers – the image below shows how they engage and enhance relationships to build that “feel good” factor through competitions and prizes linked to consumption and networking through that friend get friend viral marketing concept

Coke comps


  1. FormalisedCoca Cola is certainly organised for scale with growth predictions of doubling its business. In an interview with Harvard Business Review its CEO (Muhtar Kent) – has charted a course to double revenue by 2020. Social media has a key role to play noting that… “Five years ago social media was 3% of our total media spend. Today it’s more than 20% and growing fast”.
  2. Strategicsocial media is strategic and part of its plans for world domination with a Facebook page of more than 33 million fans (HBR) – the largest Facebook page of any single brand, over 86 million followers & fans ( calculated by Simply Measured) and strategically aligned to its market domination stance.
  3. Converged – has Coke become a fully social business? It would appear to be so… and that leads onto how it’s using social media to conquer the world.


Taking On The World

Back to my intro to this blog (life changing events)…. On New Years Day 2010 Coca Cola launched its biggest ever (at that time) social media experiment – a yearlong programme that sent 3 young tech savvy individuals to kick off Expedition 206 a worldwide quest to visit the 206 countries where Coca Cola is either made or sold (the number has since increased). Their aim was to record “what makes people happy” in each region through blogs, Twitter and Facebook updates, photos on Flickr and videos on YouTube. The collation of their content racked up more than 650 million impressions across the globe throughout the year rounding in on Coke’s universal theme of “happiness” linking perfectly with all other aspects of their marketing strategy and tag line of “Open Happiness” – and I’m sure was partly responsible for inspiring the Pharrell Williams massive hit – Happy….

For Country X Country video reports

206 Map

Source located here

This also reflects Coke’s use of Niall Cook’s 4C’s (“How Social Software Will Change the World” -Cook, N. 2008). Cook’s 4 pillars (i) communication, (ii) co-operation. (iii) Collaboration, and (iv) connection – appear to be reflected in Coke’s approach. For example through using social media Coke has effectively involved multiple stakeholders from different geographic locations, languages, and cultures to secure its enterprise and global campaign success.

S.O.C.I.A.L Summary

In this final section we’ll look at how Coke has also used social media ideas developed by Cisco with their S.O.C.I.A.L approach. Referring back to the HBR interview with Coke’s CEO he particularly mentioned the growth in social media such as Expedition 206 – this is an example of how Coke has adopted the 6 key measurements articulated by Cisco

  1. Volume – conversation volume offers an indicator of interest – 650 million media impressions
  2. Reach – the breadth, depth, and impressions of various social media channels – multi-language & cultural approach adopted by Coke
  3. Engagement – it determines participation levels & what actions are required to help spread the message –Coke targeted 206 countries!!!!
  4. Influence – measures both quality & quantity of posts – Coke’s massive following on Expedition 206
  5. Share of Voice – the share of conversations about Coke & their products
  6. Sentiment –such as the surfer met in Barbados who advised them to “follow their passion and live their dreams,” learned to “smile away the stress” from a local artisan in Guyana, and heard why a Saint Lucia native “loves life, not things – quotes from Expedition 206

This is how Coca Cola is achieving world domination in brand & social media

Blog event

Source located here


Web address for coke

Li, C. & Solis, B. (2013). The evolution of social business: Six stages of social business transformation. Altimeter Group.



Return on Investment (ROI): Analytics and Measurement


the power of social media

Here’s a link to the source

It was some years ago (longer than I care to remember) in one of my earlier marketing papers that the concept of measuring the effectiveness of marketing became a hotly debated topic. How does one, in an earlier marketing paradigm, measure the direct benefit of advertising to sales? What level of sales, if any, can be attributed to a particular campaign? There are all manner of systems for measuring marketing return on investment (ROI) such as TARPs and REACH that provide measurements but an implied rather than direct correlation. In the years that followed working with my colleagues over many campaigns designed to grow sales we would apply the litmus test of “WILL IT SELL MORE BEANS?”(metaphorically speaking) before launching. This rather implies a leap of faith rather than a rock solid empirically based mathematical or scientific algorithm for correlating activity to sales. The world and technology have progressed (thankfully)….so, in today’s world how does this apply to social media & have we cracked the code for linking activity to results, or a defined ROI?

show me the money

Here’s a link to the source

Social Media ROI – Can It Be Measured?

To answer this perplexing question researchers Hoffman and Fodor (2010) concluded that that the answer is YES! They authors claim that in addition to the traditional approach to calculating ROI organisations should include the social media investment consumers make engaging with the brand  – such as the number of hits, tweets, blog comments, Facebook comments and shares to achieve a more balanced view and this approach has implications for both short term sales growth and long term returns by harvesting the social media investment as part of an overall digital marketing strategy.

Hoffman and Fodor recommended starting with the 4C’s of consumer motivations identifying these principles as:

  1. Connect– consumers use social media to build connections with friends & other consumers
  2. Create – user created content through blog comments, Facebook posts, tweets etc.
  3. Consume – engage with on-line content such as YouTube clips, video and articles
  4. Control – consumers taking control by choosing how, when and where they engage – consider this point when contemplating the effects of advertising during movies and sports events

Linking engagement to activity, building loyalty and putting customers in the control seat. To measure ROI organisations can use this approach by linking the probability of future sales activity to specific social media channels.

Analytics & Measurement

Let’s start with a quote – try this for size:

“It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognise out of a number of facts which are incidental and which are vital. Otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated” – Sherlock Holmes, “The Reigate Puzzle,” 1893.

sherlock holmes

Source available here

There’s a lot written about the best approach for collecting useful analytic s and like a good Sherlock Holmes mystery there’s plenty of twists in the plot however with careful deduction and using the right tools and approach mysteries can be solved. A report by Tia Fisher (2009) presents an overview of the ROI debate and presented some useful (if not dated) facts from DEI Worldwide:

  • 70% of consumers have visited social media sites to get information;
  • 49% of these consumers made a purchase decision based on the information they found through social media sites;
  • 60% of people in the study said they are likely to use social media sites to pass along information to other online;
  • 45% of people who searched for information via social media sites engaged in word of mouth compared to 36 per cent who found information on a company or news site.

Jason Falls makes a good observation noting that successful social media programmes are more about people than money therefore the traditional ROI doesn’t apply. This may be true however in my view social media contribution to building relationships and trust are indirect contributors to the traditional ROI measure. The strength lies in their ability to create a customer-centric business through generating customer motivations to engage.


Drive will continue to find the Holy Grail for social media ROI if, like the legend of Arthur, one exists! The answer may already lie through the use of social media with a shift to more customer centric operations that put the customer in control of how, when, and where they choose to engage.




Social Media Strategy, Policies and Guidelines for Engagement


In this week’s blog there’s an interesting mix of topics dealing with social media business, strategy, and policy – the latter being a bit of a dry topic! There’s plenty of material to deal with but what is quite amazing is the maturity of the topic, social media in business, with many enterprises still trying to either develop a presence or build a meaningful strategy. What is abundantly clear is that social media is here to stay and like all forms of technology its shape and form are constantly evolving – it’s a dynamic & exciting enterprise that poses many challenges and opportunities to business large and small. Something to consider….. Larry Weber notes (in his book Everywhere) that the “largest impediment to becoming a social enterprise is usually culture” (p. 24). The term “culture” is often over-hyped term but as Weber has noted without complete acceptance and adoption of a social business approach, successful transition to a social business will be difficult to achieve

SM Business strategy

Click here for source

What are the elements of a social business strategy?

In the2013 Altimeter report by Li and Solis the authors make two very important distinctions concerning the success of a social business strategy – that is alignment with the business goals and organisational alignment to deliver to those goals.

The Altimeter report also identified six distinct phases of development, in essence a cycle, leading to a successful social business– they are:

  1. Planning – listening to learn – this involves finding out about their customers social behaviour
  2. Presence – staking a claim – using mature channels such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube to cultivate a following with simple measures such as the number of likes, hits, re-tweets, traffic counts etc. that provide a gauge on interest and potential engagement
  3. Engagement – deepening relationships though dialogue – connecting a deepening customer care relationship through listening, consulting and advising. For example, an energy company providing simple ideas on power saving methods, or advise on power efficient appliances
  4. Formalised – organising for scale – establishing organisation wide governance. Engagement across the business especially at executive level
  5. Strategic – becoming a social business – integrating into all areas of the business – best practice developing metrics framework, such as including within a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure engagement, activity, loyalty, referral levels & outcomes
  6. Converged – social becomes fully integrated within the business strategy – the business is social

Organisations grow through these stages and become transformed to social businesses

How can you assess the maturity of a social business strategy?

Altimeter conducted research into social media strategy across a number of American businesses to assess their maturity– their conclusions (published here) defined social business strategy as “The set of visions, goals, plans, and resources that align social media initiatives with business objectives”. They also noted

What are the success factors of a social business strategy?

The Altimeter report defined a number of success factors. They include:

  1. Business goal definition – alignment to business goals, critical to the success of a social business strategy – and an essential element with any business strategy
  2. Long term vision for becoming a social business – communicating the long term vision to stakeholders and initiating organisational change aligned to delivering the strategy
  3. Key executive support – developing the social business culture using a top down approach
  4. Initiative roadmap – prioritising activities – linking to business value, planning for the future, iterative processes to re-evaluate, assess and monitor performance against objectives
  5. Process discipline and ongoing education – the continual and relentless drive excellence
  6. Staffing – utilise outsourced specialist capability to develop standards whilst building internal capability
  7. Technology selection, but only after strategy is set. It’s more about the people and culture than the technology

success factors

Source – click here

Social Media Policy

Forming policy around a subject that blurs the lines between public and private present’s challenges and opportunities to create a collaborative framework. Both IBM & Coca Cola offer useful guidelines that are based primarily on practical common sense, openness, trust, honesty and raising the awareness that once something is published in the public domain it generally can’t be retracted and has the potential to go viral & global – in essence BE CAREFUL, think before you act, and be considerate with your views and opinions.


Click here for source

Li, C. & Solis, B. (2013). The evolution of social business: Six stages of social business transformation. Altimeter Group.

The Coca Cola Company (2012). Online social media principles.

  1. IBM social computing guidelines: blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds and social media. After reading the guidelines watch the video from this site

KPMG (2011). Social media: The voyage of discovery for business. KPMG Research Report, July, Sydney



Online Communities, Communities of Practice


Click here for source

We’ll start this week with an introduction to this topic by describing the key elements of a Community of Practice, or COP, referenced in an article of this topic (Wenger-Trayner) as a useful approach to knowledge and training. The author noted 3 important elements:

  1. Domain – an identity formed through a domain of shared interest. Being a part of the domain implies commitment & therefore a shared competence distinguishing members from non-members.
  2. The Community – has shared interest in its domain and engage in building relationships that enable them to learn from one another. Commitment to the community can run deeply within its members.
  3. The practice – members of a community of practice are practitioners. Over time they develop tools and a practice that is enduring an beneficial to its members

Practice, is the operative word – it’s through shared actions such as a passion for a topic or subject that binds the community. In a social media sense there are really good examples of this action, such as Flickr – personally I have a passion for the outdoors and for photography and I unite these passions through associations with groups with the Flickr community – we share photographs, experiences, and interests even though we may be separated by multiple dimensions – distance, culture, demographics – to name a few.

Comparing CoP’s to Teams

There are some differences between communities and CoP’s but they’re not as much as first thought (McDermott, R. & Archibald, D. Mar 2010) – just like successful teams communities have goals, deliverables, structured leadership, KPI’s and, results, and accountabilities etc. They differ in 4 ways

  1. Long View – communities focus on long term development of a body of knowledge whereas teams focus on short term deliverables
  2. Peer collaboration and collective responsibility – community leaders establish direction, drive membership and inspire discussion, but don’t have direct authority of members
  3. Intentional network expansion – communities work to expand their networks (internally & externally), resources, and experts to make available to members. This contrasts with professionals who tend to consult with peers to resolve problems
  4. Knowledge Management (KM) – communities harbour knowledge with a view to dealing with tomorrow’s problems. Teams on the other hand focus on a given problem and try to solve it.

In a recently published article “The Secrets of Successful Community of Practice” (Gelin, P. & Milusheva, M. 2011) that showcase CoP’s being used by Schneider Electrical they also note that an essential difference between teams (in this case project teams) and CoP’s rests on short term versus long term goals stating “long term optimisation of inter-Community and inter-company collaboration across an international business, a virtual COP that is integrated within a social enterprise network is the relevant option.” The authors also summarise the secrets of CoP’s success can be attributed to a range of conditions including:

  • Building trust (a key part of Cook’s 4C’s) across its global participants
  • Recognition on a wide scale by peers and experts across multiple disciplines
  • Cross functional activity that circumvents hierarchical organisational structures


Click here for source

CoP’s and Business Strategy

As a business strategy a Community of Practice has a lot to offer. The informality and passion that drive CoP’s when harnessed effectively can be a very effective business tool. At Fluor the organisation has replaced its functional structure with CoP’s – in their journey the organisation has noted 4 key factors:

  1. Focus on the organisations important issues – for example Health & Safety development
  2. Establishing goals and deliverables – useful to have a rallying call to provide focus
  3. Provide real governance – success is built on trust and the strong links forged with the organisations top leadership
  4. Setting high expectations – noting that success is dependent on having management buy-in and connection with the community

The infrastructure to support CoP’s doesn’t need to be complex – better to use simple social media tools such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, on-demand video/teleconferences etc. are highly effective. CoP’s may have their limitations and as noted in the Fluor case study they may be cyclic in that once the initial COP energy & purpose has been met some give way to more formal structures.


Gelin, P. & Milusheva, M. (2011). The secrets of successful communities of practice: Real benefits from collaboration within social networks at Schneider Electric, Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 30(5), 6-18.

McDermott, R. & Archibald, D. (Mar 2010). Harnessing your staff’s informal networks. Harvard Business Review, 88(3), 82-89.

Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice: A brief introduction.





The 4 C’s of Social Media

Niall Cook

In a social media article “How Social Software Will Change the World” (Cook, N. 2008) the author introduced the concept of the 4C’s in social media and defined them as:

  1. Connection
  2. Collaboration
  3. Communication and;
  4. Co-operation

Cook went on to note that the 4C’s helped to construct a workplace social software ecosystem – a practical framework to evaluate and determine the ideal solutions for a business’s organisational culture.The framework is presented as follows:

4Cs Quadrant

One of the key messages in Cook’s article is that an informal style is most relevant to social software and often provides an important “cut through” within large organisations that traditionally rely on a formal hierarchal approaches to communication that has certain limitations such as message filtering and styling as communication flows from the top through the middle ranks to the workers. Social media, on the other hand provides a valuable medium that allows senior managers to communicate effectively across the entire business using channels such as blogs and bulletin boards. Top executives use these channels to both engage and listen to sub-ordinates to judge the mood across the organisation and in particular – blogs form an important part of this strategy

So, why are Cook’s 4 C’s important? He identified 3 core reasons for their importance

  1. Knowledge Management – an excellent tool for managing personal information, such as a diary & a highly effective tool for sharing information in a consistent fashion. For example, managing call centre scripts so that key information can be retrieved and presented quickly to deal with customer inquiries. Social software provides an excellent platform for managing these types of business functions
  2. Business Intelligence – a process for collating critical business information, such as business trends and activity by competitors.
  3. Project Management – an excellent process for providing cross functional communication across organisations involving multiple stakeholders often in different geographic locations

Cisco’s S.O.C.I.A.L approach

Cisco Systems is considered globally to be the biggest supplier of network infrastructure and is by no accident one of the leading proponents of integrating social media into their business ethos. Their catch cry is S.O.C.I.A.L







Cisco enable & encourage employees to participate in social media, its embedded in their culture through training and mentoring – from the bottom up with socially savvy employees providing coaching sessions to senior executives. Cisco provide clear social media measurements summarised as 6 key points:

  1. Volume – conversation volume offers an indicator of interest
  2. Reach – the breadth, depth, and impressions of various social media channels
  3. Engagement – determines participation levels & what actions are required to help spread the message
  4. Influence – measures both quality & quantity of posts
  5. Share of Voice – the share of conversations about Cisco & their products
  6. Sentiment – considers how customers are expressing their views on a topic & Cisco’s brand

cisco's social

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) Networks

This is a big topic & one that’s become more en vogue over the past 2 decades. Let’s start with knowledge management (KM) – its competencies include people/culture, process/structures & technology and takes a top-down approach. Personal knowledge management (PKM), on the other hand, takes a bottom up approach and is concerned with how individuals collate, store and retrieve information and use these tools to support work activities(in a business context) and for personal organisation & development.

So how are these developed and applied? There are a range of processes and uses & in summary here are a few:

  • Continuous improvement (Kaizen) (used often in a business setting) – is about reflection, desire to do better, and a process to evolve the current state into something better in the future
  • Networking – building connections with others that enrich our lives and experiences. We do this informally through many social media channels such as Facebook (for friends & family) and LinkedIn for structured and formal business relationships
  • Information literacy – today, that’s about well-honed skills on how to harness the power of the Internet and use logic/organisational skills to source, store and retrieve information

There’s a collections of tools that help to manage PKM – for example mind mapping tools – great for exploring ideas/concepts in a structured & organised fashion that’s easy to share & collaborate with others.

For those interested I use            SimpleMind        (this is a reference, not a recommendation).

Issues and Challenges of Social Media

social capital
Enter a caption

Why is social capital and trust important in social media use within organisations?

The concepts of social capital and trust are central to the ideals of social media… but first let’s look at what is social capital, well at least a snapshot of how the concepts applied & what are some of the key attributes include – they are: (1) information, (2) influence, (3) social credentials, & (4) reinforcement…. particularly as they relate to personal relations with family and community. Furthermore these can be shared through bonding and bridging social capital (S. Panth 2010) – put succinctly “bonding” refers to networks between homogenous groups, such as family members and close friends whereas “bridging” refers to networks between socially heterogeneous groups – these are associated with larger groups , or loose networks (LinkedIn is a classic example) across diverse groups for generally economic purpose.

Trust, on the other hand, is a socially constructed phenomena but critical to the ties between groups. For example bonding social capital is tightly bound around that close friends/family connection where the ties and trust are strong.

So why are these important for social media? Perhaps, part of the answer lies within Cooks 4CS (Cook N. 2008) that is Cook’s 4 pillars (i) communication, (ii) co-operation. (iii) Collaboration, and (iv) connection – in order to establish these principles and develop strong ties one must first obtain trust. An excellent working example of how trust is built across and network reflecting social and cultural dynamics is the Japanese Mixi social networking service – in their paper ”Trust in Social Networking: Definitions from a Global, Cultural Viewpoint “ (Kennedy, M. & Sakaguchi, T. 2009) the authors contrast the application of social media within the Japanese culture with its strong bonding ties built on known and trusted connections to those of other western cultures with their more dominant bridging social capital is built across networks more loosely connected by association.

What are the issues and challenges of social media? Why is it important to address them?

Social media does present some challenges and these require careful assessment and strategies to protect citizens from exploitation and to manage social media channels for positive purposes. I’ve listed a few examples below:

  • Concerns over what information is being collected and how that information is being used – ever wonder how pop-up ads seem to hone in on your interests? Within the ether chunks of your personality are being carefully collated, your interests, where you’ve been what websites you visited recently are carefully collected dissected and repackaged to build a profile of you – sometimes for commercials purposes and at times for nefarious purposes (read – stalkers!). educating citizens to be “net safe” is an important first step
  • Social media can be highly addictive – craving for the next message alert on Facebook’s a really good example of how some individuals cannot go without checking in and shooting the breeze with friends – real and cyber.
  • The US military intelligence noted how some social media channels such as Twitter are being used by extremist to plan and carryout terrorist activities or to popularise extremist viewsstay safe


What are the negative aspects of social media for business and how can they be mitigated?

In his article “Social Media, Employee Privacy and Concerted Activity: Brave New World Or Big Brother” the author Jeffery Mello gives a good account of some of the challenging aspects of developing policy around the use of social media in the work place and the blurring of the lines between what is deemed or thought of as private details and those that are open or public. In a recent employment case in New Zealand a Hawkes Bay woman made derogatory comments inscribed in cake icing about her employer. A photo ended up in social media in what was thought to be a closed or private group however (as these things do) it was shared with a colleague who passed it on to their employer hence a dispute arose. Likewise employers will often troll through social media to check out prospective employees before hiring them – is this a privacy issue, or are these details deemed to be open once they’re in the public domain?

From an employer’s perspective developing the right protocols, setting out clear policies and being open with employees about what should or shouldn’t be conveyed in social media is again, a good starting point.

social media challenge

What is the role of culture in implementation and adoption of social media in business?

Culture plays an important role with the implementation and adoption of social media within businesses. In this podcast Christine Eberle gives an account of social media and corporate culture and in particular the reason why social media initiatives fail is often due to executive resistance or a lack of collaboration across a multi-generational work place. I don’t fully agree with the claim that it’s simply generational, accepting that some outside the so called Gen Y, or Millennials, sphere are less “connected” (perhaps more by choice and education than ability) but certainly not all – the Internet creator Tim Berners-Lee is clearly not a Millennial. Christine Eberle does go on to state that social media can play a significant role with building a positive organisational culture by facilitating conversations across business silos

thumbs up


Panth S.

Christine Eberle The Social Media Management Handbook

Kennedy, M. & Sakaguchi, T.  (2009).

Kennedy, M. & Sakaguchi, T.  (2009).  Chapter XII Trust in social networking: Definitions from a global, culture viewpoint.  In C. Romm-Livermore & K. Setzekorn.  Social networking communities and e-dating services:  Concepts and implications (pp. 225-238).  Hershey, NY: Information Science Reference

Mello, J. A. (2012). Social media, employee privacy and concerted activity: Brave new world or big brother? Labor Law Journal, 63 (3), 165-173, Retrieved from Business Source Complete Database




The State and Social Media

Traditionally power forces such as “The Official Information Act” and “The Privacy Act” have constrained the public sector from an open and transparent level of public accountability and even across the public sector these so called boundaries have presented hurdles for inter and intra departmental sharing of information. The advent of social media is helping to pave the way to a more collaborative, inclusive, and participative environment. The private sector does have quite the same governance framework however large corporations often face similar issues with knowledge silo’s and implementing tools to overcome these issues.

Implications For The Modern Workplace

Adoption of social media is helping to bridge the knowledge gap across silos in the workplace and provide collaborative tools to deal with the pressures of modern business. Take for example call centres, nearly all medium to large organisations and state agencies will have some form of call centre with varying degrees of complexity. To overcome the knowledge sharing, training, and simply keeping up with business changes organisations are turning to social media tools such as blogs, wikis, YouTube clips, Yammer, and chat lines to improve business performance and customer relations – using social media tools to replace institutional knowledge bound up in folders, notebooks and in the heads of key employees.

The public sector too is using social media tools to connect more broadly with the public at large. For example the Tax Department (IRD) use YouTube to explain how to complete a tax return. In America, the intelligence agencies have collaborated to create Intellipedia as a means of sharing information (Mergel I.2010)

Politicians at both local and national level are embracing social media as a means of remaining connected with their constituents. Our local Mayor, Ray Wallace uses Facebook and Twitter to supplement his more formal mayoral clinics


Drivers & Inhibiters for the State

There are a number of drivers and inhibiters to the government’s use of social media (Bertot et al 2010) – some of the key features are summarised as:


  • Provide critical information on citizens’ rights & government rules
  • Informing the public about government decisions
  • Disseminating information about the governments performance
  • On-line surveys and actively engaging citizens with the process of government
  • Accessing key documents
  • Identifying elected officials, civil servants under investigation for corrupt practises
  • Disclosing assets and investments of elected officials & civil servants

Inhibiters include

  • Technology literacy – the ability to understand and use technology
  • Usability –technology design & how intuitive to use
  • Access to the Internet & accessibility for people with disabilities
  • Functionality – the design features, such as searching, the end users require

State V Private Sector – Social Media Implementation & Adoption

According to Hansard Society research “citizens do not want the passive, broadcast only relationship with their MP’s, they wish to communicate, engage, to track, and contribute to democratic debate”

This contrasts with the private sector where social media is being used to build communities of interest, loyalty, and impartial advice as a means of enhancing their image. It’s part of an overall strategy to develop positive brand attributes that they expect to convert into a positive commercial outcome.

Collectively both the private and public sector use many of the same channels – such as LinkedIn both for developing networks – business, professional, & social – for similar purposes. What is clear is that social media is rapidly becoming an essential service for both public and private concerns.

Govt ICT


Bertot, J. C., Jaeger, P. T. & Grimes, J. M. (2010). Using ICTs to create a culture of transparency: E-government and social media as openness and anti-corruption tools for societies, Government Information Quarterly, 27, 264-271. Retrieved from ScienceDirect Journals database

Mergel, I. (2010). The use of social media to dissolve knowledge silos in government. Accepted for publication in Public Administration Review

A February 2011 New Zealand Parliamentary Library Research Paper, New Zealand Parliamentarians and Online Social Media 


Social Media, NPO’s, & SME’s


Life in the 21st century is just little bit more complicated for many organisations, business owners, and managers. Traditional media – TV, Radio, and print previously dominated how most organisations built brands and communication processes linking them to their respective audiences. So what’s changed…? It’s a small matter of technology and the Internet that’s lavished the market with a plethora of options for either replacing or supplementing those traditional methods… with it has come social media, like a tiger economy, that offers, on face value a simple low cost approach to the traditional marketing paradigm. And for small business & Not-For-Profits (NPO) one of the biggest opportunities to effectively reach more customers than ever imagined.

Harnessing The Tiger


A recent study by MYOB (That’s Mind Your Own Business) in October 2012 on the state of New Zealand’s digital economy revealed some interesting facts. In summary

  • NZ SME’s slow to take advantage of social media
  • 14% of businesses used cloud solutions
  • 35% of businesses have their own dedicated website


With this seemingly great opportunity for growth and prosperity what’s holding small businesses (generally referred to as SME’s) back? Levels of social media use vary by age group – as expected Gen Y’s feature more prominently than Gen X & Baby Boomers and the reasons for slow adoption can be summarised as follows:

  • Getting tech savvy – standing up a website can be outsourced at a reasonably low cost but having the smarts to develop a social media strategy and then to maintain the strategy and content is perceived to a be a more complex process
  • Requires a bigger investment in time – challenging for time poor owners & managers
  • Fears concerning ownership, data security & data sovereignty
  • Lacking the resources of larger companies & unsure of how to participate in 2 way communication
  • Expectations of instant success in $$$ are not being realised

So what are the ways these obstacles can be side-stepped? In her article Why Small Businesses Are Losing On Social Media the author Meghan Casserly makes some interesting observations:

  • Spending time on-line listening to customer complaints as a way of generating business leads is a good starting place to start
  • Cultivate loyalty and build a community through service and giving assistance as a trusted adviser
  • Developing trust

It’s a patience game that requires building a social presence & personality in conjunction with other activity that will ultimately enhance and grow a business.

In their paper Bringing Social Media to Small Business (Bakeman M. M., Hanson L. 2012) noted the importance of getting tech-savvy graduates to help small businesses with their social media strategy is also a good starting point. They also served a warning to many SME’s that deferring the need to invest in this area that they could risk “talent starvation” in the future and earn the tag luddite .

The Approach – B2B & B2C

The approach used will vary between large and small businesses. Larger companies will have more resources available for driving a social media strategy and they’re likely to use a much wider range of channels to support their strategy. This compares with smaller companies that are more focussed on leveraging a smaller, more manageable with low costs channels. All businesses will look at using Facebook as a common medium and this will serve across both B2C & B2B along with Blogs, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Larger companies may take a broader and more integrated approach that may include webinars, YouTube, GoToMeetings, chat lines with B2B . This contrasts with smaller companies (SME’s) with a more simplistic approach using channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter to build loyalty and trust with their communities.

Mobile Social Media

In his article If You love Something Let It Go – Andreas Kaplan defines Mobile Marketing as “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device” and defined 3 conditions required:

  1. The presence of a ubiquitous network – a combination of different networks (Spark, Vodafone etc.)
  2. Constant access to the network
  3. Mobile devices such as IPads, Tablets, Smartphones etc. with Internet connections

Mobile social media offers 2 valuable insights into consumer habits, that is Time & Place – these provide businesses with data that is difficult to collect from more traditional social media. Kaplan developed the model below for businesses to provide the 4 I’s of social media advice


Some apps such as Foursquare considered one of the market leaders provides users to collect consumer preferences so that when they check in it can provide relevant information relative to their location.


Social Media Risks

Social media does pose risks for all businesses and piecing this together can be quite perplexing. The ability for an unfavourable customer experience to go viral and global within a nano second is always going to be a concern. Using apps like Foursquare, while helpful has also provided risks by allowing some sections of the community to track the location of users for criminal intent, such as burglary, so that when they’re some distance from their home, or their car a crime can be committed. In response apps such as Fearsquare (in the UK) have been developed to counter this risk.

Strategy (1)

That Internet Thingy!


Baden Powell may have been the real inventor of the Internet…. He taught kids to draw a string line tightly between 2 tin cans to communicate over distance. Replace the tin cans with a device (maybe a smartphone or tablet) and the string with wire, physical or virtual (maybe copper, preferably fibre) … does this sound like that Internet thingy? Hold that thought…..



String Line

Evolution or Revolution

Like the Baden Powell model the Internet, AKA Web, or www has evolved over time, as we all know it’s far more than just a communication medium between 2 individuals….. we’re talking a worldwide community and we’re seeing the genesis of a communication medium develop at a much faster rate than perhaps Baden Powell had in mind when he revolutionised communication over distance at the beginning of the last century. Compressed inside 2 decades we’ve seen the birth of the modern www now into its 3rd iteration and with more innovation on the horizon… come on down Amelia 2.0

Amelia 2.0

What’s Changed?

An Internet frenzy in the late 90’s led businesses, people, organisations to build websites (read = Web 1.0) to present an image hard wired to a www address – the dotcom era, useful but not very interactive. Like a phoenix Web 2.0 emerged from the carnage (ashes) and offered a quantum shift, or as Tim O’Reilly & Dale Dougherty suggested, a new set of principles and practices that collectively relate back to “a gravitational core” (O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 Conference 2004) and demonstrated a new vision through this Meme Map

Web 2.0 Meme map

.. but this is only the beginning….

Evolving → Web 2.0→ Web 3.0→ Web 4.0…….

Web 2.0 began a move from static to interactive technology. Take Britannica Online to Wikipedia – a great example of static content transformed by a highly interactive user community willing to generate content to drive a more dynamic service. Web 2.0 is a socially constructed phenomenon designed to break the shackles of a tightly constructed paradigm into a highly collaborative community driven platform. And I stress – ‘collaborative’ – moving away from the controls of traditional software license models to open community driven systems. Examples of this evolutionary process are contained in the table below:

Chart 2

Moving right along…Web 3.0 – the Sematic Web as described by Tim Berners-Lees, (perhaps the true architect of the world wide web) as the web of data processed & automated by cyborgs and machines using artificial intelligence – that’s the cue for Amelia 2.0– and extending the web via standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – that’s where we are heading. Getting back to Baden Powell he may have unwittingly advanced the Internet thingy even further – the Internet future “The Internet of Things” (Web 4.0 and beyond) will be characterised by connecting all manner of devices such as your fridge, TV, watch, toaster, coffee machine all via the web (oops, some of that’s happening already) just like Baden Powell’s idea of connecting tin cans.

Internet of things 2

Let’s look at design – Information Architecture (IA) – refers to the website construction and deals with how users interact effectively. According to Morville & Rosenfeld a good IA is designed to anticipate how users enter sites & navigate for information, activities, or just generally surfing– is it bottom up, or top down? The approach and design are critical to holding users attention for that nano second they’ll invest in their travels across the worldwide web. In summary IA means:

  1. Structural design of shared information environments
  2. Combination of organisation, labeling, search, and navigation systems
  3. Skills in designing information products and better layouts to support the user experience
  4. Bringing principles of design & architecture to the digital landscape

What does this mean for the modern workplace? Constructing the IA appropriately is critical to building and maintaining traffic and providing the users with a good experience – imagine the impact a poor IA would have on say, traffic to the Amazon site – can’t find (intuitively) what I’m looking for, will move onto another site with a more functional architecture leading to a decline in attendance and revenues & a potential shopper moving to a different site – maybe sharing their frustrations with other potential shoppers via social media. The web’s given us globalised coverage but it’s also given us globalised competition therefore collaborating & interacting with user communities is fundamental to Web 2.0 – apply the KISS philosophy Keep it simple stupid!



Where To Next?

The only constant is change and change is occurring at an exponential rate. In his blog Minding The Planet  Nova Spivack defines Web 3.0 as the 3rd decade of the web and suggests that future versions relate to decades rather than technologies. We’re blurring the lines between human & non-human and opening the nature – culture divide even further. The social construction of technology is equally important as the technological development itself posing a range of issues about how and where the lines are to be drawn. More on  that topic in future blogs…..

Baden Powell – ideas beyond his time?

Baden Powell

Happy Birthday to Baden Powell, Our Founder

Places, faces, and life's experiences through my Canon 7D

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