Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Google+ Project: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Google+ Project, will it last?Google announced its latest entry into social networking this week with The Google+ Project.  Today I received an invite to join the network and find myself at a difficult decision. Should I create an account, link to friends and create another online presence? Or should I wait and see if this sticks?  Part of me wants to see what it is and how it works.  For work I need to have a basic understanding of how social networks influence digital marketing campaigns.

On the other hand will this network be around in a year? Google’s past social media efforts failed.  Google Buzz was poorly released and automatically pulled all your contacts into it with little warning.  Then if you wanted to kill your account it had reprucussions with other aspects of your Google account so you felt a bit trapped.  Google Wave was release with much anticipation and killed off quickly, even though you can still access the site.  Like a fine wine, it needed some time to breathe and that did not happen.  I know many people will say that it was around a year which in “internet time” is like 10 years but that’s nonsense.  Wave had some great collaboration features and had a confusing launch to say the least.

As a marketing person I have to ask why Google has decided to create a competitor to Facebook.  I know they are battling for website traffic and users.  But part of me wants to say to Google, “stick to what you know and do best!”  Search, analytics and collaboration tools are where Google shines.  Users go to Google to search, use GMail to communicate, store and share documents on Google Docs and research and track site traffic with AdWords and Analytics.  Do people really want to go to Google to share their photos, short messages, what they had for dinner and other minutua we see on Facebook and Twitter all day?

As users do we really want to have another Facebook?  I think one is enough for me to keep track of and update.  LinkedIn is great for business and I use Twitter to keep informed and update to date on specific topics and communities of friends and others.  I’ve enjoyed connecting with people on Facebook.  It’s clean, easy to use interface has made it simple  to connect with friends and family that I don’t get to see in person as often as I would like.  It’s more social than LinkedIn or Twitter.  There is critical mass there that allows us to connect with a large portion of our community.  Heck no system is perfect and I have several friends and family that Facebook is not a great connector as they are not present or active enough to have a relationship on the platform.

My guess, and I hope I’m wrong, is that Google won’t get a gazillion users on it in less than a year.  They will deem it a failure and proably pull the plug.  If so will it affect my Google contacts and other account features like Buzz does?  If that’s the case then I’m less likely to join it.  Do I create a basic presence there just to have an understanding of Google’s social network platform? Will it be worth my time or just another place to update what I’m doing?

So I’m back to my original question: Should I Google+ or Should I Go?

Is Your Share Social Friendly?

I was on a major company site the other day and wanted to share a page link for an event that a friend and former coworker was going to be featured.  I clicked on their share button and selected Twitter as my network.  I was then transferred to Twitter with the following text as my message.

Note that I changed the company name as my purpose is not to embarrass them but instead demonstrate how to do it properly.

Sharing content via email and social networks

This is a major fail for several reasons.  First the link takes up most of the 140 characters, it should be shortened using a link shortener like bit.ly.  Second the title of the event is missing along with the date, company name, speaker, etc.  If I want to share this I have to go and copy and paste the info as well as shorten the link.  Why have the share button if I’m going to share it the old fashioned way like way back in 2008?

We all want our content shared on the social web.  Plugins and tools that allow you to click on an icon and easily share a blog post, video, website link or other content make it easy to do this.  So why have a share tool that does not easily do this?

Many times large organizations IT departments don’t look at what tools will best work in the situation.  They tend to look at the requirement and fill it.  It’s up to the marketing and communication teams to define the requirement in greater detail and provide examples of how share functionality should work as well as how it should look and if tracking is required.

There are several third-party tools that can handle social share including:

  • ShareThis: is a great sharing tool that offers several styles of buttons and analytics on your clicks.  I used ShareThis until it interfered with my WordPress theme that had similar style codes.
  • AddToAny: I use this tool on this blog, you can see their buttons at the end of this post.  The only drawback is lack of analytics.  The styling of the buttons is nice and clean.
  • AddThis: Claims to be the most popular sharing application and offers analytics.  I used this on my first Blogger site and it worked well.

Some other questions you may want to ask when selecting a share tool are:

  • How does it display the link and accompanying information?
  • Do you have the ability to customize the message and link?
  • Is the link being shortened and if so what link shortening tool is being used?
  • Does the tool add text that you don’t want shown like “via @addthis” at the end of the message?
  • Does the tool easily integrate with your website and platform?
  • Does the tool work on mobile devices?

As with any technology you will need to test, test and test again how the tool works with not just social networks but email messages and any communication channel you want to connect to.

Five Tips for Improved Intra-Office Communication

Become more productive with these time-saving productivity tips.A business that improves communication between workers in an office will improve morale and boost productivity. Ultimately, a large office with poor communication will pay the price because miscommunication usually affects the bottom line. Fortunately, however, the digital revolution has resulted in numerous online communication services that can make intra-office communication drop-dead simple.

Here are 5 ways to get started on improving intra-office communication in your office.

1. Allow Workers to Use Instant Messengers

Instant messaging (IM) is used in many offices for employee collaboration. They use it either to replace email or in addition to email. Offices that use both systems use IM for quick messages or conversations and email for messages not requiring immediate attention or for longer FYI messages. Originally a social tool to chat with friends from a home computer, IM has been adopted by office workers as a way to avoid telephone tag or leaving a desk to discuss a project. All IM communication requires is an Internet connection and a small application loaded onto the local computer’s hard-drive.

Within an office setting, IM is much easier and faster to use than email and creates more of an instant conversation rather than a long-drawn out email rally. There are three reasons why IM is more efficient than email:

  1. First, a pop up mechanism displays a message almost as soon as it is sent.
  2. Second, it has a “buddy list” that can be organized efficiently, editing, adding, or deleting contacts.
  3. Third, it signals if a “buddy” is available for conversation or does not want to be disturbed. For example, if a status message indicates that someone is out of the office, then the sender can write an email or leave a voice message.

2. Set up Yammer

Yammer is like Twitter or Facebook, but within a private, secure social network. It’s creating a quiet revolution in office communications. The enterprise level software helps a business achieve rapid communication, complete collaborative tasks, and meet long-term goals. Rather than long-drawn out telephone conversations, endless meetings, and consulting on technical problems, it provides increased communication. It can be used in a large office where workers are scattered over a large area or it can be used in connecting with remote workers. Signing up for this service only takes a minute. A company email address is all that is necessary to get started with Yammer.

3. Create a Private LinkedIn Group

LinkedIn is a professional network service, a social networking website for business relationship building. Apart from allowing users to create a resume-like profile page, it also allows for small, private groups to be created.

A Linkedin group permits users to discover a conversational thread; participating by liking and commenting on the thread; learning more about the top influencers in a thread by clicking a link that takes you to their profile; distinguishing between old discussions and fresh, new ones; reviewing the popularity of a discussion by seeing how many people signaled that they liked the thread and how many commented on it.

The major benefit of this tool is to stimulate brainstorming and pooling of information and ideas. This is a perfect tool for a technical company where people with different levels of knowledge and skills can collaborate, share ideas, offer feedback and come up with new ideas.

4. Keep Employees Informed With a CRM Tool

Use an online customer relationship management tool to allow staff workers to see what other workers have said to a client. Highrise is an example of an excellent relationship management application. Their catchy theme slogan is that the software remembers so that you don’t forget. Highrise provides the following 6 staff-client recording services:

  1. It stores every oral or written conversation.
  2. It stores every email contact.
  3. It stores every telephone call.
  4. It stores every meeting.
  5. It stores every document.
  6. It stores every deal made.

These services provide the following 3 benefits:

  1. You’ll know which staff members have talked to the client.
  2. You’ll know what was said.
  3. You’ll know when to follow-up.

5. Use a Dedicated Project Management Tool

An application like Basecamp makes projects simple and clear. What makes Basecamp different from most project management software is that it takes a completely different approach to managing a project. By focusing on collaboration and communication rather than stats, graphs, and charts, the tool brings people together, empowering them to harmoniously work with each other. During a recent survey, approval rating was an astonishing 98%. Customers said that they would gladly recommend the software to anyone involved in a collaborative project.

John is a writer for Office Kitten, a specialist supplier of stationery online in the UK.

Movember: Changing The Face of Online Philanthropy

Help me change the face of men's health, give to MovemberSome of you may have noticed that my avatar recently changed and that I have a nice fake moustache on my photo.  This is because I’m participating in Movember.  Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

Now my reason for joining Team RDU is two-fold.  First I want to do my part to help with the fund raising efforts.  Second, my father passed away nine years ago to prostate cancer and I really have missed him since.  I know that my participation cannot bring him back but it can help others facing prostate cancer.  Losing a loved one sucks.  And I know there are many men out there much younger than my father was that are facing this terrible disease.

Watch Movember-thon on November 5 and give!In creating awareness for the campaign our team captain, Greg Ng (@gregoryng) has done something creative and fun, Movember-thon.  Some of you know Greg from his web TV show, Freezerburns (@freezerburns) where he reviews frozen food items.  Last week Greg announced that he would do a 24-hour live show and sold off time slots for co-hosts to raise money for Movember.  I jumped at the chance to participate and help raise awareness for the cause.  You can see me tomorrow, November 5 at http://live.freezerburns.com/ at 10 am to see me review a frozen food item with Greg and raise some additional funds for the cause.  The event starts at midnight tonight if you want to catch all 24-hours!

Another tactic team members are doing to create awareness and raise funds is to take photos of themselves each day to show the growth of their mustaches.  I’m using Daily Mugshot to track my growth.  Also each day myself and others are posting photos to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks to spread the word.  Movember is not just limited to male participants.  Women can join the cause as Mo Sistas and can raise funds.

You can also donate during the entire month of November at .  No amount is too small and I thank you for any contribution you can make, including sharing this post with your friends.  At the end of Movember, TeamRDU will be hosting a gala to thank our friends and sponsors.  Find out more at http://rdu-movember.eventbrite.com/.