Five years ago this month, I published Monkeys with Typewriters – a bit of a hippy treatise on the importance of social media to business. I wanted to look at how social tools could help businesses and all their relevant stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers and the like – be more productive, effective and – yes – even fulfilled and happy, because they would be communicating a whole lot better. Well, that shouldn’t be rocket science, should it?
Half a decade on, the six behavioural changes outlined in the book are still relevant and, if anything, even more mainstream today. And I stand by them. Here’s what they are – and how to incorporate them into your everyday way of doing things in 2015.
1. Go forth and co-create!
The DIY and customisation trend is only getting bigger. Why only the other week The Guardian Guide ran a special on it. Creative Commons licensed photos are increasingly used on websites as an alternative to stock photography and just last July Google added a usage rights function to its image search. The web is overflowing with free, re-usable material – don’t be afraid to experiment. Set up a playlist on Spotify or Soundcloud. Start your own WordPress or Tumblog and share anything that takes your fancy. Find inspiration by curating some Pinterest boards. Join a #tag conversation on Twitter and realise that sharing and responding to other people’s ideas is just as enjoyable as broadcasting your own. Instragram and Vine stuff you see around you. Free your inner creative genius. Continue reading →
Does your boss ban Facebook? Is YouTube access blocked from your office? Do colleagues look nervous when you mention Twitter? If so, chances are your employer is a large corporate or public sector organisation with deeply-ingrained concerns about productivity and time-wasting. Many large companies (and the more traditional smaller enterprises) have a myriad of communications restrictions in place.
IT departments nearly always cite security and legal issues as justification for this draconian behaviour. A few years back I heard a talk by the head of social media at a leading US retail bank. He referred to legal, compliance, fraud and security as the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”. It’s difficult for ordinary employees to argue, he said, when confronted with effective corporate death as an alternative.
So what about startups – are they cool with social and other new technologies? Well, yes, they generally are. They’re digital natives, aren’t they? It’s hardly surprising that a recent survey by online recruitment platform Tyba found 68 per cent of people working in big companies said they’d move to a smaller startup if they had the chance…and bad IT was cited as a key reason by 27 per cent of respondents. Continue reading →
Like all obedient Londoners I watched the Olympics pretty much from my sofa, because that’s what I’d been told to do by the scarey Get Ahead of The Games ads (subtext: stay at home) and This is Your Mayor Speaking announcements at various games-critical tube stations.
When I did venture into central London it was eerily quiet: everyone was in Stratford. Either that or holed up at home, like meerkats who’d spotted a herd of stampeding elephants.
On the middle Sunday we went down to Brixton and gotcarried along in a sea of green and gold for ten minutes but otherwise everything – Olympic sentiment, patriotic fervour and Jess/Mo/Hoy/Wiggo fever – was experienced by osmosis through the wonderful medium of television and, of course, social media…so how did my “Socialympics” go?
Last weekend my friend Jill got married to her lovely fiance Saf. The wedding was at Castlerigg Stone Circle and the bride wore purple, but the real first for me (and to be honest I’ll be surprised to ever see its like again, not in this generation anyway), was that the whole thing was planned entirely on Facebook.
No invitations, no wedding list, no complicated maps or instructions: the bride set up an event page and the guests self-organised. There was a ceremony and a stonking great party, but what people did in and around and between those was up to them.
That’s how a handful of us came to do a three hour hike with three children under six, some of them dressed in fake fur and tiaras (but all of them carrying ice cream).
Big thanks to Jill and Saf – a wonderful day!
(And thanks to Jill’s mum for the fab wedding pic)