Startups using social networking to go giddy up

Social media sites across the Web don’t seem to be scarce, in fact they continue to evolve and increase in number and functionality. The real question is however “What’s their use?” Many have answered the question, “It depends who you are and what you want”. So in this age of time scarcity how can an Startup Entrepreneur best use his/her time to take advantage of social networking for business and promotion? For entrepreneurs who are on-the-fly, I can recommend four “must join” social networking sites/resources:

1. LinkedIn.
This is definitely one of the most valuable professional networking sites around. Their current slogan is “relationship matters”, and this site certainly has what it takes to really last, being one of the original social media enterprises. Whether you’re searching for a new job, trying to stay connected with peers or making an effort to establish your company, there is an array of resources which are readily available. If you’ve got the time, it’s certainly best to interact on a daily basis, and to check out the group feature of LinkedIn as well. You must list your keywords accurately and clearly establish your brand so that you’re exposed to – and aware of, the best match of potential partners, business opportunities and service providers.
If you can invest the time, and you’re able to really interact, you’ll be able to establish yourself as an expert in your field by leveraging the power of LinkedIn Answers. The more you interact with others, the more your marketing message may be perceived as desirable and trusted, in qualitative terms. The controls in place ensure that experts are just that and that show pony’s get thrown out of discussion quick smart.

2. Biznik.
Some entrepreneurs believe that a network that charges for membership will usually be made up of individuals who are quite a bit more serious, and much more likely to be active members too. Biznik is surprisingly serious about its position, and it has gone so far as to brand itself as the network that “actually cares about the entrepreneur.”
There are three levels of membership available here; two of which are paid, up to $24 a month for the “pro” level. Their approach is – go it alone, but as a part of their team, and their rules are that you have to use real data in a system which uses a human review system to continually make sure that everybody is keeping it real. This site can be a shoulder to cry on, or a source of inspiration, but once again its benefits will come from an active involvement on your part.

3. StartupNation.
This option is rather different. It is a site created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, but it is chock full of content and advice. Apart from a great podcast, you’ll find innumerable articles on almost every business idea that you could envisage as well as active forums. In some respects it is also like a giant “super blog” where you can pick up so much information in one place without the feeling that you are being drawn to so many different sites during your research. The instigators of the site, Rich and Jeff Sloan, are nationally acclaimed entrepreneurs, publishers, celebrities and award winners, and the composition of this site reflects this in its details.

4. TWiST – This Week in Startups
Run by Jason Calacanis, this weekly Podcast is full of great tips, reviews, insight and humor. Jason does a great job oh hosting the podcasts and interviewing the entrepreneurs. His following online via the #TWiST tag has grown in popularity and they do a great job of keeping the sessions interactive by fielding questions from Twitter followers and seeking reviews on the show in real time. I love listening to TWiST during a long drive or flight, Jason never ceases to crack me up with his sometimes brutal candor.

So there, any time poor person can reap best value out of intelligent and targeted use of time while embarking on a social networking campaign to build business relationships, brand awareness and credibility in your field. The alternative route for achieving the same result would cost much more time and money, long live social networking for business.

Is the global economic slowdown a perfect storm for new age business and technology?

Businesses large and small are reviewing everything right now, including the effectiveness of traditional marketing, data storage, communications and computing. Business stakeholders and shareholders alike are expecting businesses to adopt smarter ways of doing business, the days of getting away with “That’s just the way we do things around here” are over. Yield optimisation is on everyone’s lips, measurability, efficiency and productivity has now become the drivers behind social marketing, cloud computing and enterprise 2.0 initiatives. Why? Because they are more effective, cheaper and reap better long term results for both the business and its customers.

Social media tools have changed the way customers socialise what they like or dislike, its changed the way I do search for the latest version of a widget I am interested in and how I get endorsement for that widget. Business can do its own research on what the market thinks about its brand or latest product without asking a third party, business can engage with its market without going through traditional middle men, speeding up response times and enabling insight which in turn impacts innovation and relevant product releases. Its safe to say that the Growndswell is here to stay as more and more big brands adopt social marketing into their mix and as many software vendors begin to integrate social media into their products, like Social CRM.

Data centres in their current form may not exist for much longer. Data is moving to the cloud. The kind of computing that the Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others have become synonymous with will come to the common data centre realm soon. Today, IT managers add capacity, fault tolerance, fail over, load balancing, and other data centre features painstakingly much for storage scalability and performance in an incessant manner. Just when they begin to feel that they have enough capacity and performance built in to their systems, that they have made their data centre future proof, there is a new need on the performance or expandability front. Combine this with the Global Financial Crisis and the subsequent global economic downturn and you have a compelling reason to change.

Cloud computing will make it much less painful to manage, scale and develop a reliable, high performance platform without running a single data centre. Cloud computing is often compared to electrical utility where one pays for what he uses and when he uses. Gartner predicts that by “2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will be paying for some cloud computing services, and 30 percent will be paying for cloud computing infrastructure services.”

Amazon.com is a perfect example for the future of cloud computing. They have now come to offer computing power over the web to would be customers. “Since early 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has provided companies of all sizes with an infrastructure web services platform in the cloud. With AWS you can requisition computing power, storage, and other services–gaining access to a suite of elastic IT infrastructure services as your business demands them.” Salesforce.com is also another great example of Cloud Computing success, providing CRM, Customer Service and Marketing automation functionality in the cloud yet still managing to offer customizability to suit all business needs. This segment is so robust that its been managing to buck the current economic downturn, SFDC recently posted a 20% increase in quarterly revenues, not bad considering that its traditional on premise competitors such as Oracle and SAP are reviewing forecasts downwards. Other examples of cloud computing that’s already out there include Google Docs, the MS Office competitor and Slide Rocket (for great online presentations).

Cloud computing offers significant cost savings for IT functions that are large-scale as well as small scale. Other advantages include management and scalability. Contrary to some pundits views, Cloud Computing is more than a buzz word and although much more has to happen for it to get into main stream business, the business merits for it are clear. So, the future where we stop worrying about our server being up, may not be far away. It is already here, we just have to figure out what we are going to do with it.

Enterprise 2.0 is expected to be the next big thing for agile, productive and effective corporations wanting to attract the best of the next generation. To aid product development velocity, customer experience management and IP management something has to give, traditional methods of communication, data and knowledge sharing methods and tools are ineffective now. To get to the next level of competitiveness corporations must change with the times and the tools that now afford them. The use of Corporate Blogs, Wikis, podcasts and microblogging when used with a new age methodology that incorporates transperancy, accountability and responsibility will lead to peak performance across teams and the entire organisation as staff intuitively work together and experience the rewards as well.

So I think the answer is YES! The economic slowdown will force the right decisions to be made, because it makes good business sense and because its too painfull to do nothing anymore.

See how Fender used Social Media to spread the word.

Enterprise 2.0 + Social Marketing = Groundswell! The revolution takes hold

I have noticed more and more lately that Corporates are starting to pay attention to this revolution. Research shows that Enterprise 2.0 practices and Social Marketing initiatives are taking hold, that those organisations who embark on a trial, of what Im calling Corporate Social Networking, early will achieve competitive advantage from both their internal operations but also the way they engage with their market. The internal business-engine benefits include:

  • Increased employee productivity
  • Efficeincies in knowledge management
  • Democratization of Business Intelligence for improved collaboration
  • Meet regulatory requirements in a timely fashion
  • Repurpose content efficiently
  • Connect people with information and expertise
  • Accelerate business processes and reduce complexity
  • Attrach the right skillset and culture

What this means however is that the traditional hierarchical management systems in organisations need to change, there needs to be an acceptance of transperancy and openness in the organisation that the best idea my come from the lowest paid employee. This challenge is a whole other discussion about human behavior however it does highlight that its not technology that is limiting better business but thinking and behaviors.

The external benefits of early adopters of social marketing type practices are already reaping the benefits as this graph illustrates.

Impact of Best in Class Social Media PracticesNo wonder I have been hearing so much lately. I guess the economic slowdown helps too. You see this form of marketing is not only the cheapest, when done well, its also the most effective. Engaging with your customer in a dialogue and listening to their ideas and suggestions has tremendous benefit for your own business and next gen product offerings, dont forget everyone wants to feel loved, especially customers.

So in a slow down like this, corporations will shave uneccessary and under performing expenditures and aim to review their plans for marketing and advertising. A recent survey from MYOB and ABS have indicated that SMB’s are increasing their efforts in marketing, but not the kind of marketing we are used to seeing, marketing that includes more and more social media tools which help impact the sales cycle effectively,as this graph illustrates:

Social Media impact on the Sales Funnel

The Groundswell is here to stay it seems and for those naysayers who thought social networking was not relevant for business or that it was just a flash in the pan, Im sorry but you were wrong. People power is here to stay now that they have a real Digital Voice.

This quick interview also supports my point that Enterprise 2.0 is here to stay:

Time Abusers

They are people who:

1. Do things that other people want them to do and this diminishes their uniqueness. This gets them out of their strength zone and their comfort zone. Karl Sanberg “Time is the most valuable coin in your life, You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent, be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you”. Question “If I get offered this job, what do I have to do, that no one else can do, except me?” So do I have to do it or do I have to make sure that it gets done.

“The people with nothing to do usually want to spend their time with you”

“The question is not is your calendar full, it’s who will fill your calendar” If you do, you can lead, if they do at best you are reactive.

2.  Do things that are not important and this keeps them from being effective. Thorough “It is not enough to be busy, the question is, what are we busy about”. To ensure you are effectively busy do the following: Rate the activity in order of importance and urgency.

3. Do things that can be done better by others, this makes them average. Nothing is changed by mediocre performance. Jack Welsh “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete”. Questions about your competition:

a. Is somebody else doing what I am doing?

b. Are they doing it well?

c. Are they doing it better than me?

d. If I become better or don’t, what is the result?

4. Do things without good coaching or training and this reduces their potential. Zig Ziglar “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them, is not training them and keeping them”.

Studies have shown that a 10% increase in spending on training staff leads to an 8.5% increase in productivity versus a 10% increase in capital expenditure which only leads to an increase in productivity of 3.5%. Jake Conger adds “It’s what the person has to do not what he or she is exposed to that generates crucial learning”

5. Do things without thinking, this causes wasted time and energy. James Allen “You are today where your thoughts have brought you, you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you”. How to think better and more often:

a. Find a place to think your thoughts, a thought chair or room.

b. Find a place to shape your thoughts, a notebook

c. Find a place to stretch your thoughts, think tank

d. Find a place to fly your thoughts, expose them to others. Some thoughts need more time to get up, give them room to take off.

e. Find a place to land your thoughts

6. Do things with the wrong motives and this increases conflict with yourself and others. One of the most time consuming things to have is an enemy.

If you are preparing you are focusing on today, but if you are repairing you have focused on yesterday. If you are preparing it increases efficiency, whereas if you are repairing it consumes time. If you are preparing it increase confidence, whereas if your repairing it creates discouragement. If you are preparing it save money, but if your repairing it increases cost. If you are preparing it pays now for tomorrow, but if you are repairing it pays now for yesterday. If you are preparing it takes you to a higher level but if your repairing its becomes an obstacle for growth.

“People who abuse time will not run out of excuses but they will run out of time”

Basic facts about time management:

1. We all waste time

2. We cannot change time

3. We must accept time as the most important source for mankind

4. We cannot increase the quantity of time

5. We cannot do everything

6. We can only control time

7. Accept the facts that we are all procrastinators

Leonardo Davinci “A day well spent brings happy sleep”

Time Masters

Some insights about good time users:

  • Time is more valuable than money because it is irreplaceable. You can replace money, you can’t replace time.
  • Peter Drukker “Nothing else distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time”
  • You cannot kill time without injuring eternity
  • Time is an equal opportunity employer
  • Lack of time is not the problem it’s the lack of direction.

Good time users:

1. Are People who do things that advance their overall purpose in life and this helps them grow. “One was not born in the world to do everything but to do something”. There are 2 great days in our life, the day you were born and the day you discovered WHY. Finding our purpose is empowering. In finding our purpose, answer the following 2 questions:

1. What have you achieved? Or what are you competent in?

2. What do you care deeply about? That’s your passion.

For example my purpose in life is very simple, it’s to Add Value.

Harold Kushner, a Rabi once said “I believe that it’s not dying that we are afraid of, something else, something more unsettling and tragic unsettles us, we’re afraid of never having lived, of coming to the end of our days with a sense that we were never really alive, that we never figured out what life was for, our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it”.

We cannot have peak performance without a peak purpose. Peak performance and peak purpose go hand in hand, if we are going to be all that we can it has to be because we are doing that which we are passionate about.

2. Do things that underscore their values which brings them fulfillment. Vision is the organisation’s head, mission is the organisations heart, values are the organisations soul. If money has good values attached to it then it is the root of opportunity, not evil.

3. Do things that maximize their strengths this makes them effective. They spend their time in their strength zone. “Almost every man/woman wastes time and attempts to display qualities that he does not possess”. Staying with your strengths makes you productive and effective. Decide to stay in your strength zone and stick with it. I only have 4, mine are leading, creating, communicating, networking and that’s all I do!

“Discover your uniqueness and discipline yourself to develop it” that’s so key to success.

4. Do things that increases their happiness, this gives them health. Happiness is now a hot research topic for many social psychologists today, research shows: health, realistic goals, optimism, strong relationships, faith that results in purpose and hope, fulfilling friendships, high self esteem, outgoing nature, balance between rewarding work and productive leisure all lead to more happiness.

“Success is getting what you want, happiness is liking what you get”

“Happiness is an inside job” Other people can’t make you happy, some people have destination disease, they think if I could just live there, be there or do that, I will be happy.

“The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the best of everything”

“We have no right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it” George Bernard Shaw

5. Do things that equip others in your team, this compounds their productivity. When hiring valuable team members apply the 5 A’s: Assessment, Assets on hand, Ability, Attitude, Accomplishments. The best predictor that someone will do something good tomorrow is that they have done something good yesterday. Qualities of an inner circle member: Influence, character, positive attitude, excellent people skills, proven track record, evident gifts or abilities, team player, loyalty, compliments your gifts. You don’t want team members to compete with, you want members that complete you.

6. Do things that add value to others, this increases their influence. “ A man with time to burn never gave the world any light”. Questions that help assess how you can add value:

1. What do I have?

2. What do people need? Is there a match?

3. Can I give what they need?

4. Will I give them what they need?

5. How often will I give them what they need?

Examples of what I have: Encouragement (the oxygen of the soul), Confidence, Humor, Security, Recognition (say something positive within 30sec of meeting them), Respect (high value of people) I deposit these things daily in people’s lives. Every morning decide “Who am I going to add value to today and how am I going to do it?” At the end of the day ask “Did I add value?”

So decide what to do or what not to do and spend your time there.  Part 2 will cover time abusers.

My first Netiquette lesson

I recently posted an article titled ‘Twitter for ME 2.0′ and in so doing had cut and pasted most of my list from a great site Marketing Professor. My intention was to further augment this list with others but in the end I couldn’t add more than just a few, purely because the list was so good. Even though I acknowledged the source, this was’nt good enough, at this point I should have asked for permission from the source, I guess this is just good netiquette.  So having learnt my lesson and removed the list from here I thought I would repay Marketing Professor by redirected any little traffic my site gets to his original post. Apologies for my overzealous action Marketing Professor, I’m just an eager student willing to spread the word.

Inventing uses for Twitter

ClayShirky_2009S_interview.jpg

Republished from my favorite site TED.com.

NYU professor Clay Shirky gave a fantastic talk on new media during our TED@State event earlier this month. He revealed how cellphones, the web, Facebook and Twitter had changed the rules of the game, allowing ordinary citizens extraordinary new powers to impact real-world events. As protests in Iran exploded over the weekend, we decided to rush out his talk, because it could hardly be more relevant. I caught up with Clay this afternoon to get his take on the significance of what is happening. HIs excitement was palpable.

What do you make of what’s going on in Iran right now.
I’m always a little reticent to draw lessons from things still unfolding, but it seems pretty clear that … this is it. The big one. This is the first revolution that has been catapulted onto a global stage and transformed by social media. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Chicago demonstrations of 1968 where they chanted “the whole world is watching.” Really, that wasn’t true then. But this time it’s true … and people throughout the world are not only listening but responding. They’re engaging with individual participants, they’re passing on their messages to their friends, and they’re even providing detailed instructions to enable web proxies allowing Internet access that the authorities can’t immediately censor. That kind of participation is reallly extraordinary.

Which services have caused the greatest impact? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter?
It’s Twitter. One thing that Evan (Williams) and Biz (Stone) did absolutely right is that they made Twitter so simple and so open that it’s easier to integrate and harder to control than any other tool. At the time, I’m sure it wasn’t conceived as anything other than a smart engineering choice. But it’s had global consequences. Twitter is shareable and open and participatory in a way that Facebook’s model prevents. So far, despite a massive effort, the authorities have found no way to shut it down, and now there are literally thousands of people aorund the world who’ve made it their business to help keep it open.

Do you get a sense that it’s almost as if the world is figuring out live how to use Twitter in these circumstances? Some dissidents were using named accounts for a while, and there’s been a raging debate in the community about how best to help them.
Yes, there’s an enormous reckoning to be had about what works and what doesn’t. There have been disagreements over whether it was dangerous to use hashtags like #Iranelection, and there was a period in which people were openly tweeting the IP addresses of web proxies for people to switch to, not realizing that the authorities would soon shut these down. It’s incredibly messy, and the definitive rules of the game have yet to be written. So yes, we’re seeing the medium invent itself in real time.

Talk some more about the sense of participation on Twitter. It seems to me that that has spurred an entirely deeper level of emotional connection with these events.
Absolutely. I’ve been saying this for a while — as a medium gets faster, it gets more emotional. We feel faster than we think. But Twitter is also just a much more personal medium. Reading personal messages from individuals on the ground prompts a whole other sense of involvement. We’re seeing everyone desperate to do something to show solidarity like wear green — and suddenly the community figures out that it can actually offer secure web proxies, or persuade Twitter to delay an engineering upgrade — we can help keep the medium open.

When I see John Perry Barlow setting himself up as a router, he’s not performing these services as a journalist. He’s engaged. Traditional media operates as source of inofrmation not as a means of coordination. It can’t do more than make us sympathize. Twitter makes us empathize. It makes us part of it. Even if it’s just retweeting, you’re aiding the goal that dissidents have always sought: the awareness that the ouside world is paying attention is really valuable.

Of course the downside of this emotional engagement is that while this is happening, I feel like I can’t in good consicence tweet about anything else!

There was fury on Twitter against CNN for not adequately covering the situation. Was that justified?
In a way it wasn’t. I’m sure that for the majority of the country, events in Iran are not of grave interest, even if those desperate for CNN’s Iran info couldn’t get access to it. That push model of one message for all is an incredibly crappy way of linking supply and demand.

CNN has the same problem this decade that Time magazine had last decade. They simultaneously want to appeal to middle America and leading influencers. Reaching multiple audiences is increasingly difficult. The people who are hungry for info on events of global significance are used to instinctively switching on CNN. But they are realizng that that reflex doesn’t serve them very well anymore, and that can’t be good for CNN.

Do you get the sense that these new media tools are helping build a global community, forged more by technology and a desire for connection, than by traditional political or religious divides?
You can see it clearly in what’s happening right now. And it cuts both ways. The guy we’re rallying around, Mousavi, is no liberal reformer. But the principle of freedom of speech and fair elections and the desire for reform trump that.

So how does this play out?
It’s complex. The Ahmadinejad supporters are going to use the fact of English-speaking and American participation to try to damn the dissidents. But whatever happens from here, the dissidents have seen that large numbers of American people, supposedly part of “the great Satan,” are actually supporters. Someone tweeted from Tehran today that “the American media may not care, but the American people do.” That’s a sea-change.

What are your thoughts, I love how Twitter is continouosly being invented, forever in beta, by the masses?

Crowdsourcing the Velteo logo

Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call.

Being a new age company, driven by new age innovation and technology it was always going to be a challenge designing and deciding on Velteo’s company logo.  What with the experience of Jamie Pride, CEO of one of Australia’s largest online digital media companies, Frank Cuiuli’s taste for fashion and my appetite for ‘edgy yet funky’  we were in for a big battle, a battle of taste.

Luckily after some personal experience on a similar project we decided to throw caution to the wind and Crowdsource our logo on 99designs. After some fine tuning of the creative brief we kicked off the contest on a Saturday morning, the contest runs for 7 days and we expected a decent result as the brief called for creativity and ingenuity.

99designs

After only 3 days we began to receive some great results, we began to engage with healthy feedback and some crowdsourcing of our own, showing our friends and brains trust and seeking their opinions.

By the 4th day we began to reach out to designers of other contests whom we liked and invited them to take part in our contest. Many responded with great ideas one of which was the eventual winner.

So by engaging with the designers and inviting others to join in we increased the likelihood of achieving a desirable outcome. Unlike other contests who provide limited feedback and interaction we received over 150 designs from 83 designers within 7 days.

Fortunately for us one designer stood out from the crowd after day 5 but we wanted to remain open to other potentials. So we continued to seek other designers and extended our own crowdsourcing via Facebook and Twitter to try and get a larger view on people’s favorite but also to validate our shortlist.

In the end, during our board meeting over dinner one Friday evening we decided prior to the contests closing time that the designer RedLogo was deserved of winning the contest, so we awarded the prize by a simple click and requested multiple formats and color schemes of the logo below.

Velteo on White

Velteo on Black

We are certainly all happy with the end result and continue to get great responses from people who see the logo for the first time. So my advice if you want to create or redesign your brand or logo and fear the impending design fight with your partners, let the crowd sort it out for you, you will definitely save money, time and get the right result. If you want Velteo to Crowdsource your next creative project drop me a line here.

A funny spin on crowdsourcing… enjoy

“Groundswell” an influential book on new age marketing

A book I devoured recently that in many ways changed my view of what works in todays world of marketing.If you so much as dip your toe in social media, you’ll hear about the groundswell. Coined by Forrester Researchers Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, groundswell is “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.” In this book, the authors 1) advise companies to adopt groundswell thinking, 2) encourage exploration of social technologies to tap the groundswell., and 3) instruct how to plan and execute groundswell engagement. Ultimately, however, the book is less about what to do and more about how to be. Groundswell is a mindset.

People can get what they need from each other without technologies;barter has been on the rise during the recession. Social technologies allow for those exchanges to increasingly happen among strangers, in larger numbers, and with greater impact. In the process of exchange strangers become less strange, people satisfy their and others’ needs better, and, curiously, something bigger than the sum of groundswell parts arises.

Most, if not all, of the book’s content is online, on the Groundswell blog and scattered around the blogosphere, quoted, rehashed, expanded, built upon… Comprehensive overviews of social technologies, the social technographics ladder, the POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technologies) method framework for groundswell engagement planning, strategies for tapping the groundswell (listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing), are all out there. The source book packages all the information in a single, non-hyperlinked place (which is what makes books great).

The principal takeaway for sustainable companies and their marketers is that groundswell thinking, exploration, and engagement is principally about relationships. People are the first element of POST. More importantly, “concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies” is “the principle for mastering the groundswell”. People and relationships are the core of social sustainability. The authors make no explicit connection between the groundswell and sustainability and no sustainable companies are showcased, but perhaps that’s the part of the book left for future research. Regardless, once you engage with it, the transformative power of the groundswell will turn your company into a more socially sustainable one anyway.

Because groundswell is about people and relationships among them (us?), the list of people’s reasons for groundswell participation stood out for me. It seems success in groundswell engagement depends on satisfying any or combination of these needs:

  • keeping up friendships
  • making new friends
  • peer pressure – to avoid being left out
  • paying it forward – to help others in reward for past or in hope for future help to self
  • helping others (the altruistic impulse)
  • watching others (the prurient or voyeuristic impulse)
  • expressing oneself (the creative impulse)
  • validating own knowledge and expertise (the validation impulse)
  • connecting with people with similar interests or views (the affinity impulse)

This may all sound theoretical but the authors back their talk with many examples. The use of case studies, showcasing how companies have used social media well, is, in fact, the most positive aspect of the book. I get tired opening my Reader every morning to see the stream of brands-don’t-get-it and this-company-screwed-up blog posts. The book shows brands do get it and companies do succeed in the groundswell, with different people, with different objectives, with different strategies and with different technologies. As the authors put it, “there is no ‘right way’ to engage with the groundswell”. Hence, groundswell is nothing to be scared of, just follow these three  steps:

1.    Read the book (you’ll wish you’d read this book before you started)
2.    Start small and build up to scale while measuring impact
3.    Take it step by step (strategy by strategy, technology by technology) and learn and adjust as you go

And, be transformed in the process. Because change for the better is a beautiful thing. Thanks be to Peter at his Sustainable Marketing Blog.

3.0 is here and I’m getting mine.

Apple’s iPhone 3.0 OS, the next generation operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch, and whatever Apple device comes next. New featuresnew apps, here you will find all the information you need, thanks to Gizmodo.

This just in: a hands on tour, impressions and gallery of screenshots of the new OSdonated by our helpful readers.

NEW IPHONE OS 3.0 FEATURES

The new iPhone OS 3.0 adds over 100 new features including—at friggin’ last—cut and paste.

• Copy & Paste text. When you double-tap over text, you will get a “cut, copy, and paste” bubble dialog. Double-tap again and a “paste” bubble will appear if there’s anything stored in your clipboard.


This works across applications. You can expand your selection points using your thumbs and, if you accidentally paste something you didn’t want to paste, just shake your iPhone to undo it.

• Copy & Paste photos. You can also copy and paste photos. Now you will be able to select multiple photos by tapping the action button, copy some of them, and paste them in an email, ready to send.

• New Spotlight. iPhone OS 3.0 will allow you to search across the entire information contained in your device, no matter where, as soon as the information is supported it. If an application is written to support the new Spotlight, its data will also be available in the search.

In this screenshot you can see Spotlight bringing results from your address book, maps, your iPod, and apps in your springboard.

• Search in Mail, Calendar, and iPod. These Apple applications have specific search interfaces. The search in Mail doesn’t support the message content yet, but it supports searching in IMAP servers—that will save a lot of time logging into Gmail.


• 3G Tethering. This feature will allow you to connect your iPhone 3G to a laptop, to use it as a modem to access the internet. Carriers still have to sign-off on it, and probably charge more for it. None have announced it yet.

• Landscape keyboard. Apple has added the landscape keyboard mode to other applications, like Mail, SMS, and Notes.

• Multimedia messaging. A big one to send rich content to people without mail-enabled telephones: The new MMS function will allow you to include everything, from images to sound to vcards (no word on video, however.) Personally, I find these usesless having email, but some people seem to want it.

• Support for new calendar types. In iPhone OS 3.0 you will be able to subscribe to calendars on the web using two protocols: CalDAV—supported by Google and Yahoo—and subscriptions via the .ics format—which is what Apple uses in iCal.

• Improved stocks application. The stocks application now allows you to read related news, so you can enjoy yourself learning about the latest market scandals, stock crashes, and executives getting bonus packages from government aid while their companies sink into hell. Thank you, Apple.

• Stereo Bluetooth A2DP audio. You will be able to pair your iPhone 3.0 with a stereo Bluetooth A2DP device, like headphones or speakers.

• Note syncing with iTunes.

• Automatic login in Safari. The new version of Safari will remember login credentials, so you won’t need to introduce your username and password again while accessing Scoreland your work intranet.

• Shake to shuffle music. If you are in your iPod application, you just need to shake it to start the shuffling mode. Hopefully this will be optional for sports people out there.

• Wi-Fi auto-login. In case you have a subscription to a paid hotspot, your iPhone or iPod touch will autolog into it.

• Anti-phishing. Mobile Safari now can warn you against malicious sites trying to scam you.

• Extended parental controls. Adult content filters can now be applied to movies, TV shows, and applications, in addition to web sites and music (porn apps, here we come).

NEW APPLE APPLICATIONS

Apple will include new widgets in the new version of the iPhone operating system:

• Voice memo application. Obviously, allows you to record voice or any other sound, so you don’t forget any idea or want to play FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.

• Send and receive files. A dedicated application to exchange files between iPhones or iPods touch.

NEW THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS FEATURES IN IPHONE OS 3.0

The new iPhone OS 3.0 adds 1,000 new APIs to extend the capabilities of new applications.

• Peer-to-peer Bluetooth connectivity. A new API will allow for two iPhones to connect directly—peer-to-peer—via Bluetooth

They will be able to discover each other using Bluetooth, and then start a connection transparently.

This opens a lot of possibilities. I doubt they will allow you to pass music, but you would probably be able to pass any other information, as well as directly communicating between applications in the two devices. One example: A pets game that allows two dogs to play with each other.

This feature could be combined with push notification, so your iPhone may receive a note from another iPhone, inviting you to play a game one-on-one.

• Browse remote content. While the built-in iPod application doesn’t allow you to browse songs in other people’s iPhones or iPod touch, third-party applications will allow you to do that, according to Apple’s Forstall.

• Use your iPhone/touch to control peripherals. A new API will let you use your iPhone or iPod touch as a control to your accessories. In this example, the iPhone is being used to equalize the sound in a loudspeaker.


However, the applications are endless. Johnson and Johnson is releasing LifeScan, an app that connects to a glucose monitoring device. The application can even alert other people automatically, in case something is wrong.

There other less serious apps, like creating the most perfect sex device ever (NSFW).

• Maps inside other applications. New applications will be able to use Maps directly, which is now an API.


• Turn-by-turn directions. Developers will also be able to create turn-by-turn applications using the GPS information from the iPhone and combining it with their own maps, without depending on 3G connectivity or Google.


• Push notification finally comingHopefully this time it will be truePush notification means that your iPhone OS 3.0 applications will finally be able to receive messages from the intarwebs automagically, so you can have an Instant Message application and have your iPhone vibrate or make a sound when a new message comes in, even if the application is not running.


• Voice communication in applications. iPhone 3.0 applications will also be able to access a Voice over IP service. This means that you will be able to chat with other users while playing against them in a game, for example. This won’t use the telephone, but the internet over a Wi-Fi connection.

• Rumbling. Games—or any other application—will also be able to rumble, like your console joystick.

• Audio recording. Audio recording will also be possible from third-party applications using a standardized API, instead of custom workarounds.

• Access your music from applications. Future applications will also be able to access the iPhone/iPod music library. This means that applications will be able to play your own music while they run.