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March 2010

In Memory of Ada Lovelace - Congrats to Women in Technology & Science!

Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine -Courtesy of http://babbage.bravehost.com  So, I've been hearing about this mystery lady today named Ada Lovelace, and decided that I needed to find out more about her and what she's all about. The cool thing is, I found out some pretty interesting stuff, and it's essentially thanks to her early work and thinking that it was possible for me to do so, all in the comfort of my home on my laptop. 

As it turns out, Ada was an English writer who came to be known for her work on Charles Babbage's early computer, dubbed "the analytical engine." Her notes on the engine, which was not yet even built (can you even imagine reviewing the plans for the machine on the left and making sense of them?!), include what is referred to as the first algorithm to be processed by a machine. Due to this work, she is referred to as the world's first computer programmer. Ada also believed that computers could be used for more than calculations and numbers functions, from scientific research to composing music and producing graphics -- and here we sit today!

Ada Lovelace, courtesy of http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Ada-Lovelace  Interestingly enough, I read in one article that the U.S. Defense Department named their new standardized computer programming language "Ada" on December 10, 1980, Ada's birthday. It is said that her image can be seen on the Microsoft product authenticity hologram stickers on Microsoft products. 

Another fact that is interesting to me, as an English major in undergrad, is that her father is poet Lord Byron and one of her friends was Charles Dickens

March 24th is now the day that many refer to as Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

For a quick overview of Ada Lovelace and her life, take a look at this presentation by Andra Keay, who says:

Start_quote For Ada Lovelace Day, I wanted to share some of the fascinating story of the world's first computer; Charles Babbage, the genius engineer; and Ada Lovelace, the Enchantress of Numbers, mathematician, visionary and world's first coder.

Ada Lovelace (for schools) on Prezi

Thanks, Ada, where ever you are, for paving the way for women like us!

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 Jamie 

 Blog: http://www.jamiepappas.com

 Twitter: http://twitter.com/jamiepappas

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A look back at the Intranet Insider World Tour 2010

Communitelligence I had a great time a few weeks back now at the Intranet Insider World Tour 2010 in NYC presented by Communitelligence and hosted by the folks at Con Edison headquarters, right in the heart of Union Square. A group of hand-selected folks presented on their endeavors to introduce social intranets and social collaboration into their organizations, some farther along in the process, but all of us there to learn and share. It was a fantastic feeling to be among such kindred peers.

There were a lot of case studies, best practices, and general findings presented from the likes of companies such as Intel, Alcatel-Lucent, ESPN (owned by The Walt Disney Company), Intranet Benchmarking Forum, General Electric, Peppercom, Deloitte, and many others. And many, if not all, of the companies present faced the same challenges, successes, and questions as to what to tackle next to continue to meet the needs of their stakeholders who are, in many cases, ready to try out each new kind of tool that comes out before the organization can even get it fully implemented.

One thing is for certain – everyone at this conference was there to share and learn from one another. It was evident from all of the speakers that things in this area move at the speed of lightning in terms of new technology and their employees’ interest in the new tools and technologies. This also presents one of the major challenges that every organization faces is that if they don’t introduce the social collaboration tools as new things come to market – if the organization cannot get these tools deployed quickly to meet the needs of their employees and embrace the use of social collaboration tools, the employees will find ways to get to the tools they need to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

There really are two choices – the organization embraces the tools and incorporates them as a part of their standard toolset, or employees will embrace them outside of the organization. Not a good thing in the eyes of most organizations, which is why every organization at the conference had recognized the need to drive forward the use of social collaboration tools within the organization.

A few themes resonated with me during the conference that I wanted to share with you:

Checklistgr

  • Social collaborative tools are becoming more and more a requirement as a part of the suite of tools available to employees
  • The forward-looking companies that are able to successfully use social collaboration tools do so both behind the firewall as well as outside of the firewall
  • Companies must embrace a model of listening - both internally and externally - in order to have a full picture of the information and feedback about the organization
  • Companies must embrace both the positive and the negative sentiments that are shared, and develop a trusting relationship with their employees and stakeholders by responding to both positive and negative feedback
  • Employees and external stakeholders expect a bi-directional communications model with companies, and companies that do not embrace that (i.e. continue to broadcast, even on social channels) will find themselves at a disadvantage
  • Employees are more insistent than ever that they need to have an opportunity to contribute their own knowledge to the organization, as well as seek knowledge from the larger audience outside of their immediate work group or organization
  • Collaborative intranets do indeed increase employee satisfaction, productivity and the feeling of contributing to the organization, as well as a feeling of knowing more about the organization and the direction it’s headed
  • Listening to employees and identifying tools that meet their needs and use cases is critical to the successful implementation of these tools, as well as continued adoption and use
  • Employees will find a way to use collaborative tools to do their jobs, whether or not you incorporate them as a part of your suite of employee tools and arm them with the knowledge to use them successfully
  • Multimedia such as video, podcasts and photos are becoming increasingly desired types of content in the fast-paced work environments that we are all in
  • Mobility is key – employees are increasingly demanding that the information they used to consume in a static website experience be more mobile and accessible to them in their preferred format, at their preferred location and at a time that is convenient to them

Gone are the days of one-way pushed content where employees are strictly consumers of a corporate message, and here are the days where employees demand the ability to contribute to the organizational “memory” and history of the organization and its successes and failures.

All in all, I had a great time at the conference, and am looking forward to continuing the conversation with all the wonderful new folks I met!

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 Jamie 

 Blog: http://www.jamiepappas.com

 Twitter: http://twitter.com/jamiepappas

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Social Media is key at the 100 largest Fortune 500 Companies - A Burson-Marsteller White Paper Review

Burson-Marsteller White Paper "The Global Social Media Check Up"I read a very interesting white paper this week “The Global Social Media Check Up” by the folks at Burson-Marsteller, a global PR and communications firm, regarding a study they did assessing social media use at the largest 100 companies in the Fortune Global 500 index, and it was very good news indeed, which is why I’m sharing it with you!

 

They start off with a quote that I completely agree with: 

Start_quote It is time for companies to embrace, not fear, emerging media. There is no other way to remain competitive.

Global Companies Using at Least One Social Media Platform - Burson-Marsteller "Global Social Media Check-up" Their study takes a look at these companies use of specific social media tools – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogs – all things that I evangelize for and develop use cases, best practices and guiding principles at EMC, so this study was of keen interest to me.  Amazingly, of the companies included in the study, a whopping 79% of them are engaging in at least one of the social media platforms mentioned previously!  

Percentage of Fortune Global 100 Companies with... - Burson-Marsteller "Global Social Media Check-up"


Corporate Blogs

What did surprise me about the study was that only one-third of the companies were using corporate blogs to reach their audience. This number was much lower than my expectation for blog engagement, although if one takes into account the time and effort commitment to sustain a blog, it’s not such a surprise. Still, I was thinking the number would be at least 50% of companies, if not higher. The other surprising corporate blog statistic for me was that the utilization of corporate blogs is higher in the Asia-Pacific companies at a rate of 50% of the companies having blogs, than the 34% in the U.S.

Corporate Responses and Retweets - Burson-Marsteller "Global Social Media Check-up" Twitter

Twice as many companies overall use Twitter to engage with their audience, which is not all that surprising to me, as Twitter is relatively easy to sustain given character limits – short and sweet is easier than what’s expected (although certainly not required) for lengthier blog posts.

The beautiful revelation about Twitter use is that companies are responding and retweeting others and engaging in genuine dialogue. It’s all too easy for a company to simply use Twitter as nothing more than another broadcast channel without actually retweeting or engaging with their followers, but the study shows that is not the case with these companies! Yay!

What I would like to see across these companies is a more balanced reciprocation of following those that follow them on Twitter. In their summary deck (embedded below) Burson-Marsteller states “[companies] are taking the initiative to follow others, building a more symbiotic relationship with Twitter users” but I do not think that companies are where they need to be with this. Unfortunately, the companies were following less than half of the people that were following them, which still shows a bit of a bias towards a one-way relationship – a huge opportunity for improvement, in my opinion.

The neat thing is that of the companies using Twitter, forty-two percent of them are being tweeted about by others, so there’s clearly an interest in engaging with companies on Twitter.

Start_quote The study demonstrates… that simple, responsible engagement in social media can reap big rewards in building relationships with stakeholders online.

Facebook Fans - Burson-Marsteller "Global Social Media Check-up" Facebook

Over half of the companies surveyed are using Facebook Fan Pages as a way to engage with their audiences. Again, I would have thought this number would be higher, but what it tells me is that Facebook is still facing the challenge of overcoming the perception that it’s not a business tool or is “just for college kids.”

What is neat to see though, is that 43% of the Fan Pages out there had posts from fans – so when the fans are there, nearly half of them are posting, and considering that the fan page average for these companies is 40,884 (wow!) – this is total goodness!

Companies with YouTube Channels - Burson-Marsteller "Global Social Media Check-up" YouTube

YouTube is a popular venue for sharing content and engaging with stakeholders, with 50% of the companies having a YouTube channel and several hundred subscribers. Shockingly, the average number of views per channel is nearly 39,000 and over half of the channels have comments from viewers! That’s much higher than I would have guessed, and tells me that we are not utilizing YouTube as much as should be at EMC.

Renegade Accounts

I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I saw that most companies have multiple accounts on each of the social media tools, but that the averages were so much lower than our totals on each of these platforms – 4.2 Twitter accounts, 2.1 Facebook Fan Pages, 1.6 YouTube Channels, and 4.2 corporate blogs. Oh, how I wish that our numbers were that low!

The study also indicates that it was sometimes hard to determine which accounts were “official” accounts versus which accounts were rogue accounts. As Burson-Marsteller indicates, this is incredibly problematic for someone looking to engage with a company on any social platform and encountering many accounts, some even duplicate – the risk is that the person could get misinformation from a non-official account and/or just get frustrated and not try to engage with the company via social media. This only serves to re-emphasize the importance of the work we’re doing now to step back, inventory, and evaluate all of our existing social media presences and re-engineer where we can.

In conclusion

I found this study to be very interesting and informative, and I’d recommend it for anyone wanting a better view into the social media activities of the largest Fortune Global 500. It was a great way to sanity check my own thinking, as well as reinforce existing areas in need of much attention and improvement.

While only 20% of the companies are using all 4 platforms simultaneously, I still think this number is full of hope. There is opportunity to integrate the platforms with other social media platforms, as well as more traditional forms of media, such as press releases. Our strategy from the beginning has always been that social media activities cannot live in isolation, and this study supports our strategy:

Start_quote No single social media tool can stand on its own. For a company that wants a truly effective communications strategy, leveraging multiple social media tools for their individual strengths is required.

The end of the white paper offers invaluable advice that all companies thinking of engaging in social media must take into account to be successful:

  1. Monitor your own – and competitors – social media presence
  2. Get top management “buy in”
  3. Develop a social media strategy
  4. Define and publish a social media policy
  5. Develop internal structure
  6. Contribute to the community
  7. Participate in the good times and in bad
  8. Be prepared to respond in real time
  9. Beyond monitoring, measure the impact of social media engagement

Check out their summary slide deck (full report linked above):

Global Social Media Checkup

View more presentations from Burson-Marsteller.

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