Socialising your organisation’s information; could this be easier?

A few of the organisations that I work with have raised very similar queries with me recently. In each case, they’re public or voluntary sector bodies who don’t really have issues around proprietary information.

They believe that most of the information that they have should be made as widely available as possible.

Reading this article on enterprise social networks, it occurs to me that there’s a real quick-win to be had by an enterprising developer working with non-commercial organisations (where none of the drawbacks highlighted in that article are an issue).
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Leadership blogging tips 10: Be human

Marshall McLuhan would have been 100 years old today if he’d lived. This makes it a good day to remind ourselves of this insight:

“…an administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him.” 

Or as Euan Semple put it in a tweet so memorable it’s morphed into a soon-to-be-published book “Corporations don’t tweet – people do”

Organisations don't Tweet, people do. I wish this was reflected in Twitter names
@euan
Euan Semple

In many ways, the historic mission of social media is to get disinformation out of the way. Google is getting better and better at analysing what you say online and deciding if you’re a human being or a corporation – content farms are becoming useless. Sentiment analysis is a burgeoning business.
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Politicos meeting gamers

Political InnovationJust a quick pointer to an event I’m helping to organise tomorrow evening in central London:

Politicos meet Gamers – Adam Street Club, 9 Adam Street, London WC2N 6AA. [tickets]

There are still a few tickets left and I’ve outlined some of my own thinking behind why it’s a worthwhile meetup to attend and I’ve posted a few conversation starters here. Aside from the Facebook event page for people attending, I’m giving Lanyard a try as well to see if it generates any noise on Twitter about the event. Let’s see.

See you there?

Update: I’ve just remembered this posting from the CIA website about the use of prediction markets by intelligence agencies. I can confirm that the CIA won’t be there tomorrow night though. Probably not, anyway…

 

Leadership blogging tips 9: Knowing what to write about

So far, the advice here has been….

Short posts are good. It’s good to pick up on bits of evidence that others have posted – you do two things here:

You add value to their observations or data – and you broaden the audience for it.

I’ve already used this quote from Flannery O’Connor in an earlier post, but it deserves a revisit:

‘I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.’

Think about what that means? Thinking in public allows you to show your thought processes and reduce suspicions that you’re being self-serving in your decisions.
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Leadership blogging tips 8: Ask the audience before making your next decision

The Hive Mind of the Internet (click pic for credit)

In a couple of previous postings here, I underlined the importance of targeting, and the need to make sure that your work is being followed by the key people that you need to influence (advocacy targets, colleagues, connectors and mavens, etc).

This post will qualify that slightly. Numbers also matter. While it’s important to have a selected close-group of readers, there are also plenty of techniques that can be used to grow the number of followers you have within defined audience-groups, either using Twitter, LinkedIn or (if you’re OK about doing it) Facebook.

And if you have a well-established and well-marketed blog, lots of Facebook friends or Twitter followers, you are able to do something that most people can’t do: Crowdsource intelligence.

This is where you throw out a question to a large number of people. If even a small fraction of that large number give you quick light answers, it may give you some data or judgements that you wouldn’t have access to normally. You can access the hive mind of the Internet. This is another aspect of my ‘downgrade your inbox‘ advice’.

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Leadership blogging tips 7: Promoting your work

The first tip in this series urged leadership bloggers to decide who they were writing for and to focus on this audience.

LinkedIn: Undervalued as a means of targeting your work

Subsequent tips have looked at how you do this with your writing and how you handle subsequent interaction. But there’s also the mechanics of getting those all-important eyeballs on your work.

Remember, though there’s a fair bit of new stuff in here, the aim is to reduce your overall workload and increase your influence. The pain of the learning curve (and there’s not much rocket-science here) has to be worth it in the end.

Here are a few options – all tips that are ultimately labour-saving ones (even if they don’t feel like it now). In some cases, if you suspect that the idea isn’t a good fit with your personal style, discard it.
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Another reason spam is on the way out

Mashable has a widely re-circulated post saying that spam is on the way out. Apparently there’s 82.22% less than there was a year ago because of various enforcement measure (cops, ISPs etc). There’s also the alarming other side to the story: That malware is a growing menace.

I’d suggest that this landmark provides a useful context for helping to understand social media more widely – after all, understanding what it’s for is the first step in knowing how to use it.

At the start of 2004, Bill Gates said that spam would be trounced within two years. How we laughed (in 2006 anyway).
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What web-developers don’t want you to know

If you’re thinking of developing a website for your business or organisation, you can use Google to find a few articles with standard boilerplate advice about using wireframes, the linear-thinking alternative, the Project Initiation Document (PiD) with a conclusion that you should really be digging the dynamic and hip agile approach to planning your work.

Combine this with the expensive but cost-effective disciplines of usability and user experience (UX) testing, the undoubted boost any online project gets from a dapper innovative design, the need for careful use-cases, the search engine optimisation and general consultant-yield and you have a hefty build and a busily billing development team.

But maybe there’s another way? It may be that the improvisational benefits of having creative staff with some slightly-better-than rudimentary web-skills can save you time and money in the over-planning department. Because here’s the thing many non-tech managers don’t seem to know: Bootstrapping clever web-applications is no longer the exclusive role of the geek. It’s often easier now to write an app for a website than it was to get a PC printer to work ten years ago!

Six things that are often missing from web-tech buying advice

Do fishmongers like that ‘teach a man to fish’ proverb?

I don’t think so. Perhaps these suggestions are missing from the usual advice guides provided by web-consultants for the same reason?

  1. Often, your readers are in lean-forward mode. They want to get at your words/pictures/products/contact details more than you realise. If the classy site design gets in the way of any of this, it’s not always a good thing
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You need to be properly informed before you can be undecided…

I had a very instructive meeting with a senior health professional yesterday (work – not the annual check-up).

We were discussing local leadership on health issues and he mentioned a presentation [pdf] that he’d seen by Prof Keith Grint on three different kinds of leadership – the type needed in a crisis (a ‘commander’), in the case of a ‘tame problem’ (a manager – following standard operating procedures), and then the question of what to do in the case of a wicked problem to which there’s no obvious solution – where leadership really comes into its own.

I mention this for two reasons:

Firstly, because the outline of leadership that is described in this presentation is very close to the kind I’ve been outlining here in the leadership blogging series – one that places a premium on recognising the limits of tame (in-house) experts and expertise in favour of a more uncertain conversational polity in which questions are asked widely and freely.

As I’ve argued here, certainty is, in itself, not conversational – and conversationality (if there is such a word) is something that is a good thing to strive for from a strategic point of view. This is, of course, a real problem for Politicians – saying “I’ve never seen this problem before; I need to get a collective view on what to do about this” – as Grint illustrates with George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina.

Secondly, because it concludes with a fantastic quote that just begged to be thrown out onto Twitter:

"Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them." Laurence J. Peter
@Paul0Evans1
Paul Evans

 

 

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