Many articles have been written about what in recent times has come to be known as ‘content strategy’ — the reassuring, if not always entirely accurate, notion that we are in control of all the resources available to us, can marshal them with precision, and present them optimally.
Rather less has been said about the manner in which we present these materials, presumably because it is a given that by default we will do so in the most sympathetic and productive manner possible.
However, the critical eye does not have to wander too far across the topographies of social environments to appreciate that this is frequently not the case.
From the passive-aggressive to the overtly pugilistic, tonal dysfunction is everywhere on the social web, with innumerable strident voices that will brook no opposition offering their incontestable truths in clarion tones. I’m sure we all have our favourite examples.
It benefits all of us who participate in the conversation on the social web to regularly assess the tone of voice we adopt and ask whether we are enhancing or degrading our potential trustworthiness.
Some brief contextual notes follow:
Andrew Spong's insight:
Click on the title link above to read the full post on STweM.
Enterprise social networks will become the primary communication channels for noticing, deciding or acting on information relevant to carrying out work. However, Gartner, Inc. estimates that through 2015, 80 percent of social business efforts will not achieve the intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology.
"Businesses need to realize that social initiatives are different from previous technology deployments," said Carol Rozwell, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Traditional technology rollouts, such as ERP or CRM, followed a "push" paradigm. Workers were trained on an app and were then expected to use it. In contrast, social initiatives require a "pull" approach, one that engages workers and offers them a significantly better way to work. In most cases, they can't be forced to use social apps, they must opt-in."
This means that the leaders of social business initiatives need to shift their emphasis away from deciding which technology to implement. Instead they should focus on identifying how social initiatives will improve work practices for both individual contributors and managers. They need a detailed understanding of social networks: how people are currently working, who they work with and what their needs are.
"There is too much focus on content and technology, and not enough focus on leadership and relationships," said Ms. Rozwell. "Leaders need to develop a social business strategy that makes sense for the organization and tackle the tough organizational change work head on and early on. Successful social business initiatives require leadership and behavioral changes. Just sponsoring a social project is not enough — managers need to demonstrate their commitment to a more open, transparent work style by their
Andrew Spong's insight:
Dropping social technologies into a business that has not begun by interrogating what needs to be done in order to drive the precepts of social business across its enterprise is not a strategy. It is a blueprint for failure.
From the opening act of They Might be Giants, to a closing view of IBM Watson's new life in enterprise collaboration, the Opening General Session of IBM Connect 2013 was a play on the theme of “from 'liking' to leading” through the purposeful application of social technologies.
With a 10 percent increase in attendance over last year, and business leader attendance almost doubling, clearly social applications to business are top of mind.
Fifty seven percent of CEOs surveyed in the IBM 2012 CEO study indicated that social will become a primary means of customer interaction. In the same study 70 percent of those CEOs also identified human capital as the number one source of sustained competitive advantage. Combine the two, and purposeful application of social to business is a strategic imperative.
'As social media websites gather ever-growing data stores, they might be better served by finding ways to make profitable use of that data instead serving ads as their chief means of raising revenue. While the data might give them the information they need to serve more targeted ads — although in my experience they still have a ways to go with that — the real value in the site could be the data itself.
Of course, if social sites start selling data to the highest bidder that leaves open questions of data ownership and privacy and finding ways to strip personal identifiers.'
[AS: The collapse of advertising and the collation of data on user preference is only half the story; what about the context within which this data is put to use?
I suspect you only need to refer to your own facebook feed in order to review your friends' vitriolic denouncing of facebook's recent advertising experiments to see that the words 'frying pan' and 'fire' are in conjunction here.
We can move the chairs as much as we want.
It doesn't change the fact that we're working in a post-marketing economy that is increasingly at odds with the promotional concepts that legacy companies are still trying to make sense of in social environments]
Reflecting on a recent #hcsmca chat that she moderated on the subject of the utility of the analysis of healthcare hashtag conversations and contributors in order to aid in patients in disease awareness, Ashley Weinhandl (@ashleyweinhandl) writes:
Utilizing top influencers is definitely a valuable first step for patients looking to gather information and support when feeling alone with their disease or health concern. However, it is not the only resource that should be used. Like any information on the Internet, patients need to be aware of the source and the validity of the information provided.
It was stated that users have the option to make their tweets private, thus many saw no problem with mining their data – it’s already public. Don’t tweet publicly if you want to remain private.
Data collection through tweets should be handled in a way that will not reveal true identities. It was also suggested the line should be drawn to what the Federal Government allows for university research. Ideally, data collected should be transparent and open to the public. The power of the data is in its reliability, validity, generalizability and aggregation. All in all, who is analyzing this data and for what purpose really determines the ethics of the analytics.
Social impact, analytics and ethics made for a lively, informative and dynamic hour with #hcsmca. There were a variety of diverse opinions allowing us to expand our minds and consider ideas we hadn’t thought of before.
Jorge Barba on the potential of social media to curb criticial thinking:
'Critical thinking: the ability to evaluate options, weigh alternatives, and make informed decisions.
How? Here are three tips:
* Question assumptions. * Adopt different perspectives. * See potential.
Don’t follow the same road as everyone else, have a point of view.
[AS: Jorge's 'the hive mind is the death of creativity' gambit is the pessimistic alternative to the 'crowdsourcing is the crucible of creativity' proposition.
Without wishing to be unnecessarily conciliatory (never a default position with me ;)), I think there are elements of truth in both perspectives.
What we get out of the social web is inevitably determined by what we bring to it.
If we are innately creative, critical, and conversational in our disposition offline, this is how we are most likely to conduct ourselves in online environments, too.
If we are predisposed to consume, accept, and keep such opinions as we are in possession of to ourselves, we are most likely to reproduce those behaviours within online environments.
Over time, however, data are suggesting that the former behaviours are encouraged by the plethora of opportunities the social web offers to create and converse, whilst the latter are in decline. That has to be a good thing, right?]
It's time for your CIO to take control of the disparate social initiatives and create a uniformed strategy that lays out the necessary people, process, and technology changes to make a social business work:
* Discover: Understand the need and appetite for social business.
* Plan: Align technology requirements with the business' needs. * Act: Select tools and set policies that fit the business' priorities. * Optimize: Ensure the company's culture and employees accept social business
Consider for a moment how we’re able to work, connect and communicate today.
Widely available mobile technologies like the iPhone and iPad have fundamentally changed the nature of computing, enabling us to complete almost any task from the palm of our hand.
Access to the cloud takes the capability of these devices a step further by providing anywhere connectivity. At the same time, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have amplified our collective reach, making the process of sending a message across the room or across the world instantaneous, allowing us to easily interact with our entire community.
Now consider that less than a decade ago, we were all using PCs, sending emails and still making phone calls, and you can begin to understand the dramatic shift that is already underway.
[AS: As someone who's workplace can just as easily be a seaside caff, or the beach at the end of my road, as it can be the 'official' office in my garden, I'm very interested to see the outcome of this invitation to PSFK to comment on the future of the workplace.
In particular, I am often drawn to wonder how healthcare constituencies, and in particular pharma, will continue to respond to the evolution of the expectations of their customers in terms of their availability geographically, temporally, and contextually.
How physically situated are health brands now?
A series to watch from a great brand that is in tune with the spirit of the age.]
About 20 years ago psychologist Alan Page Fiske and author of Structures of Social Life (Free Press 1993), now Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, wrote about the Four Elementary Forms of Sociality that describe our mental orientation of the form of exchange that we think we should use in each interaction with someone else. Should it be based on our ranks, a set price, maintaining balance, or simply communal sharing?
These four forms, and combinations thereof, help to explain why people understand Social Business very differently, or do not grasp the basis of value of interacting in a social context—I casually refer to this sort of misunderstanding as a Great Disconnect. It affects the fundamentals of trust and relationships, both topics talked about so often among leaders, but very often in different contexts per these four forms. Without understanding the context, we misunderstand what it means to Trust, and how to form that trust.
* Authority Ranking (AR) –relationships are based on asymmetry ordered in some form of hierarchy. The people involved in this context have some rank understand on some level, whether implicit or explicit. Think of hierarchy in any company or in the military.
* Communal Sharing (CS) – relationships are based on a bounded group of people who consider themselves generally undifferentiated from each other. Their focus is common beliefs, and they think it natural to be kind and altruistic to other people of their own group. They do not separate the notion of one person having more than another because in thought everyone shares the same things.
* Equality Matching (EM) – relationships are based on maintaining balance between members of the group. The direction and magnitude of any imbalance is meaningful and noticed by others. People can keep track on some level of how far out of balance the relationship may be, although they may not do so based simply on altruistic bases. Think of the balance of and exchange of favors, or even unformed relationships—notice how upset people get when a single person car improperly uses the car pool lane.
* Market Pricing (MP) – relationships are based on setting an explicit basis of value in ratios or rates on the interaction (e.g., just about every retail sales transaction is set on a common basis of currency value). The explicit exchange rate is rational –even if it seems outrageous at times – based on some balance of supply and demand. These four forms are the basic ‘grammar’ of the context for social interactions. They can occur in combinations or nest within each other and change with the situation.
When Google announced Wednesday night that it was shutting down its Reader product, it was met with a reaction that wasn’t just furious, but personal. Many angered Reader-ites took to Twitter, looking for some outlet to express their anger, with some shouting “Save Our Reader!” in the hopes Google would hear their cries and keep their product alive.
Within the root of that protest, however, lies the very problem. Google Reader was never anyone’s Reader but Google’s and, by virtue of ownership, Google was always free to do with it what it wanted. On Wednesday night, the company announced plans that made that fact painfully clear and, being that Google evidently weighed the decision beforehand, it is unlikely that any protest, no matter how long it trends on Twitter, will get Google to change its mind. Google Reader, for all intents and purposes, is dead.
Reebok has ditched celebrity ambassadors to focus on how it can truly market its products to consumers,Marketing Week reports, which will see the sports brand promote all types of fitness across different channels as part of the new 'Live With Fire' project.
Mobile is one such channel, and the company is producing a fitness app as part of the campaign. It will allow users to design workouts around walking, running, dance, yoga, and training, thus reaching customers with different interests to inject 'passion' into their exercise.
Mobile health and fitness is a lucrative space as demonstrated by Noom, which secured $2.6m in December, while the cost of the apps spike 25 per cent around New Year. Other campaign initiatives will include TV ads, real-world outdoor activities, and other digital elements.
Yan Martin, VP of brand marketing, said: "We’re celebrating individuals who find purpose by pursing their passions. We believe that everyone has the potential to transform their lives through fitness and creativity, and want to encourage this discovery, whether its through CrossFit or group training workouts, running clubs or another active pursuit."
A job ad posted by Apple for a UI engineer to work on Siri nicely summarizes the potential of its virtual assistant, and Google’s closest equivalent, Google Now, to redefine how we use mobile devices:
“Consider it an entire miniature OS [operating system] within the OS.”
The implication is that rather than being an app used in certain circumstances, Siri should be thought of a general purpose tool to achieve just about anything. I suspect the people in charge of Google Now’s development have similar ideas. Virtual helpers conceived along those lines could transform how people get stuff done with a smartphone, and remove the need for them to interact with the apps and websites they must turn to today.
Seventy-five percent of those surveyed by YouGov in a recent poll said they would resent a brand after being bombarded by emails. In most cases (71 per cent) it was the arrival of unsolicited messages that was the primary reason to become resentful.
Getting your name wrong (50 per cent) and your gender wrong (40 per cent) are also key causes of resentment. As a result, 40 per cent of us have learned never to share personal details with a company, even when they dangle an incentive, like an offer.
I started to think more and more about the amount of junk we have to sift through in our daily lives and how distracting they can be from those activities that are important. Throughout the day, I started documenting the things that I felt distracted me and here’s the running list:
1) Send me junk mail
2) Solicit me on my doorstep [AS: virtual or otherwise!]
3) Tweet me your spam on Twitter
4) Leave spam comments on my blog
5) Autodial my mobile or text-spam me
6) Stop me in the street and ask me to take a survey
7) Late night infomercials
8) Banner ads
9) Spam my email inbox
10) Spam friends me
[AS: I share Sean's pain, as do we all. Which pointless spam techniques press your buttons the most?]
“CEOs are embracing new models of working that tap into the collective intelligence of an organization and its networks to devise new ideas and solutions for increased profitability and growth,” said the statement released on Tuesday to the press.
This shift is seen in the CEOs’ preference to using social networks more than electronic mail or telephones as “primary communication vehicles.”
“Today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social-business platforms to connect with customers as individuals, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years.”
The trend of dropping e-mail and the phone as communications tools “is even more significant in Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], where the use of social networks is expected to go up to 68 percent from the current 25 percent, as Asean CEOs plan a step-change from traditional to social media while continuing face-to-face engagement.”
“IBM’s research finds that technology is viewed as a powerful tool to recast organizational structures. More than half of CEOs [global: 53 percent, Asean: 53 percent] are planning to use technology to facilitate greater partnering and collaboration with outside organizations.”
Internally, too, digital communication tools are being eyed by more than half of CEOs (52 percent for global; 47 percent for Asean) to promote “great internal collaboration.”
IBM Philippines Country Manager for Global Business Services Jack Arambulo was quoted in the statement as saying that CEOs have realized “even greater levels of control are not the key to greater innovation and financial performance.”
'Unless you are a detective, a teacher or a literature buff, you probably don’t give critical thinking the time of day. Getting to the core of issues and understanding hidden implications is hard work. Most of us seem never to have the time, or when we do, we lack the energy.
But what’s the long-term effect when we turn away from deep reflection as a way to navigate the world’s challenges? Has reading with a discerning eye become a lost art?
And do our schools still give it the needed focus?
These and other aspects of critical thinking are woven throughout The DNA of Collaboration. It is an essential thread in the process of solving problems, not to mention the important work of framing our ideas in the first place. In the book, I touch on the core elements in Chapters 1 and 2, expand on them as we unpack collaboration, then pull all of the dimensions together in Chapter 20, making the case for why deep discernment skills are so important.
Let’s look at 5 of key aspects of this in today’s Virtual Book Tour conversation, 8/25 11aET:
Q1. Experts approach & define #criticalthinking very differently. In collaboration context, what if we define as: ‘deep & thorough analysis on many dimensions of problem or idea?’ Q2. Key dimensions of process include command of abstraction, context change, and root cause. Where & when in school must these be tackled? Q3. How do we navigate news and other electronic information when what we receive is increasingly a blend of fact and opinion? Q4. Bloom & Anderson lay out learning & knowledge dimensions. Can exposing this model to learners make them more self-aware? Q5. Philosophers like Descartes & Kant had differing approaches for framing knowledge. Can we still learn from them?'
[AS: Presses all my buttons, and TY to Johnathan Reid (@farmerfunster) and Mike Baldwin (@mikey3982) for the steer. Looking forward to following the conversation on #cdna]
'Brands seem quite happy to talk about themselves and be self-seeking in a heavy-handed and awkward kind of manner. This is largely borne out of never having the need or incentive to build relationships with their customers before.
In the past, the world of brands has been one of ‘react and measure’ as new products and services are ‘sold’ at us. Brands are struggling to change this practice of decades to one of ‘listen, learn and then engage’.
In the brave new world of social media people care most about a human connection with a brand, one that is real, not green-washed or good-washed, and certainly not a marketing message.'
[AS: Does this article see the bigger picture?
Whilst 'listening and learning', it is still possible to pretend that the precepts of 'marketing' as they are still generally understood -- selling to archetypes -- which are the cornerstones of most companies product communications have some sort of relevance within social contexts.
However, it's only when attempts to facilitate the sort of 'engagement' that such an attitudinal disposition veers toward that its unsuitability for purpose is disclosed.
On the social web, no-one cares about your sales model, your targets, or your earnest desire to convey a message about your brand. Why should they?
Remember to look for the sign that says 'sales pitches welcome!' on the way out.
'Social business planning is the blueprint for the transformation of an organization—bridging the external with internal, resulting in a more connected way of doing business and shared value for all stakeholders.'
[AS: Useful as far at it goes, but the 'Internal' box presupposes that the organisation is cognisant of, and capable of implementing and developing, the precepts of social business in the first place.
There is something of a presumption in the definition of what the aims and scope of a 'social business' are, and that they align with the expectations and desires of the 'External' stakeholders.]
What if what we are doing is in fact showing people (our colleagues, our friends, our customers, our partners) that there is a better way to work, to build businesses with a purpose & to make a difference through their work?
What if the bigger impact is not so much in the abstract concept of organizations but in the atom unit of each individual?