Tag Archives: social media week

Using mobile phones in Haiti after the earthquake

10 must-see events at Social Media Week

I’m reporting live from Social Media Week London again this year – covering the official event stream from the conference HQ in Holborn. So don’t worry if you don’t have a conference pass, just follow the #SMWLDN hashtag (or @JemimaG) on Twitter. There are also loads of unofficial (and free) events happening round town.

This year’s theme is Upwardly Mobile: The Rise of The Connected Class. The key question is how can all humans achieve more in a connected world? Fabulous question, but you might be disappointed looking down the schedule trying to find sessions that attempt to answer it. These ten get my vote:

1. Definitely Not Content Tues 15 Sept, 9am: Will Hayward spoke last year. He’s really good. This time he’s talking about the cultural significance of the social web and why why we should all aim higher than “content” marketing.
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My top 10 events for London Social Media Week 2014 #SMWLDN

Next week is London Social Media Week. The fifth sixth time the event has taken place in London, and the first time founder Toby Daniels’ company, Crowdcentric, has been running the show directly. For previous events, Sam Michel’s Chinwag was in charge. I’ve live-blogged pretty much every time, and it’s been interesting to see the event grow in size and stature year on year.

Inevitably, the event has become more focused and commercial over the years. Like social media itself, it’s growing up. There are good and bad sides to that. People may gripe about inflated ticket prices and a monochrome agenda – but it’s more just the sheer size of the event that’s off-putting. If you look through this year’s agenda, there are plenty of gems to be found.

Here’s my top ten:

1. The Psychology of Persuasive Marketing Videos And How To Get People To Watch Them, 23 September, 10.30am: the fabulous Nathalie Nahai (The Web Psychologist) is always informative and entertaining.

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Freedom and passion are driving the future of video, says YouTube’s Kevin Mathers #SMWLDN

“Video is how everyone sees the world’, says YouTube UK MD, Kevin Mathers, speaking at London Social Media Week.

It’s our natural affinity with the medium – ease of use and comprehension – combined with rapidly improving download speeds, that has been behind the phenomenal growth of online video platforms, such as YouTube, in the past few years.

UK online video consumption now exceeds one billion visits a month and accounts for at least five per cent of all UK internet usage.

Kevin sees two trends driving video growth in the immediate future:

1. Freedom – the freedom to consume, and the freedom to produce.
2. Passion – we are seeing an abundance in video production: the more there is, the more we have to decide what we want to watch. For this reason, we only consume the things we’re really passionate about.

“4G is going to change the way we view video”, says Kevin. “3G is a bit like dial-up used to be. Commuters in Seoul today don’t wonder if they’re going to be able to watch a video on their way to work – they know they can. Soon, we [the UK] will be in that space too.

“We can all upload video today. That lowers the bar to entry – creativity can explode – there is complete freedom, and huge amounts of video online. YouTube is growing by 100% yearly in terms of minutes watched. There’s just too much out there.

“YouTube’s a big city like London: tens of small villages grouped round different interests. People are much more engaged with the video they’re watching. They’re in an alpha state not beta state: the fact that you’re choosing to watch [a video], means the power is with you. And also with the producers – it’s all encased in an all-consuming passion, driven by real fans. That’s different from the way video has been consumed in the past.”

YouTube rolled out its first original content channels in the UK last year – Fashtag (pictured above) is one of my favourites. Slickly produced, highly targeted and relevant, it represents the shape of things to come.

For Kevin’s full talk, watch The Future of Video livestream, produced by The Social Partners for London Social Media Week. (He’s the fourth speaker in).

Social media is changing behaviour in the food industry, says top chef, Tom Aikens #SMWLDN


There have been quite a few mentions of #foodporn during London Social Media Week – and the prize for getting in there first goes to LikeMinds for their 8.30am Monday morning session: Is Social Media Making or Breaking the Food Industry?

But beyond the usual conversations around whether or not you think food is sexy, if tweeting about your breakfast is boring, or if it’s socially acceptable to take photos of food while dining out, the stand-out point for me came from Michelin starred celebrity chef Tom Aikens:

“As a chef, you’ll rarely pick up the phone to ask other chefs ‘what are you cooking now?”, but with social media things have changed. Every day chefs are swapping stories, ides and photos. The new generation of chefs is sharing more. I’m really excited about the changes that will bring to the industry.”

Tom Aikens is clearly an early adopter and he’s pretty unusual. For example, he uses Tweetdeck while in the kitchen to identify “foodie people, bloggers, and industry people” coming into his restaurant. That way he knows who to look out for, and whether or not it might be worth popping over a complimentary glass of champagne. Tom’s got nearly 35 thousand followers on Twitter – a great role model for other chefs to follow.

Thanks Annie Mole for the very seductive photo.

Live blog of sold-out event “Fashion and Pinterest”

10:12 We are at the very cool Beyond Retro café in Dalston (top pic of Karinna Nobbs from London College of Fashion and team chatting before the event). Karinna is just introducing the panel now (bottom pic of panel left to right: Karinna, Jonathan, Sophia, Hanna, Kat and Charlotte). This is a live blog so please keep refreshing the page for updates.

Karinna: Pinterest is dominated by women, has been very much in the press since around February. Pinterest great because you can really micro-segment your audience (into style tribes for example) and really engage with niche customers.

You can look at who’s pinning you and what they’re pinning for trend prediections – is everyone pinning a colour you don’t have in your collection? Pinterest has a much higher referral rate than Facebook, Twitter etc. The average time people spend on Pinterest has been quoted as 45 – 90mins – far more than other networks. 

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Live blog of “The Elephant In The Room: Social Media in the Enterprise”

11:10am It’s a great panel line-up here at Hub Westminster with Will McInnes (Nixon McInnes), JP Rangaswami (Salesforce), Barney O Kelly (Fresh Networks) and Tejal Patel. Chair: Michael Chiu (McKinsey). This is a live blog so please keep refreshing the page for updates.

JP: Social media is intrinsically human – satisfies a human need.

Will: We need to think more about how we can pipe social tech and more about what business will become. When I wrote my book last year a big theme is change velocity: when you look at how Netflix destroyed Blockbuster and how Amazon destroyed Waterstones and Barnes & Nobel. The faster you can orient yourself, the faster you can observe what’s going on, decide what to do, and then act – the better: an approach taken from fighter pilots. We talk about social technologies but it’s like looking at communication purely through words when 90% of communication is through body language.

Barney: The sooner businesses start thinking about the next level of social, where social can take them in terms of recruitment etc, the better.

Tejal: At Nokia, we’re thinking a lot about e-commerce, such as how do we start converting fans into sales. There’s also a big focus on ROI. We have an internal tool called socializer, developed with Dachis, which

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Abi Signorelli on creating a social culture


I’m live blogging Abi Signorelli’s talk from London Social Media Week. Abi used to work for Virgin Media (head of internal comms). For last two years has been a freelance consultant.

16.45: Abi starts with a litmus test: how many people in the room know me (stand up!), now keep standing if you met me online, now keep standing if you ended up collaborating with me in any way (a handful of people).

Communities are not just about work: it’s a lot of other things: I’m part of a Man Utd community, a cooking community, gardening…

So, what are the tools, or rather the methods? I don’t like the term social media, it’s not about tools, it’s about being social, a social culture. 

First up, I’d like to talk about audio. Often a very forgotten medium. If you’re in a very large corporate, a large chunk of employees will never have met the CEO: audio is a great way to bring the CEO to those employees: eg: audioboo: for example, get the CEO to comment on a new product that’s just been released, record it on your phone and tweet it: great way to communicate internally and externally at same time.

Another example, ipadio: I did a load of interviews with participants in an event and then broadcast them using ipadio; great way to amplify your events.

Video is an absolute no-brainer. You just need a flipcam or iphone. Also these days the Blair Witch type effect is more acceptable: it’s almost a little bit more engaging: more real, more intimate. I’m a big fan of video and do lots of food videos with my brother. At Virgin I did lots of interviewing from the frontline on a flipcam: eg with one of our call centre agents. Good platforms include YouTube, Vimeo, Qik.

A few years ago Virgin launched a campaign called Powerful Stuff: people were uploading the old Duracell Bunny advert, etc. A great way to get people engaged.

Microblogging: Twitter is the obvious one to mention here. I love Twitter. Twitter’s beautiful in lots of ways. When we opened up Twitter at VirginMedia we were previously connecting the unconnectable. We had someone working down in Chichester who started collaborating with someone up in Newcastle. It led to customer service opportunities, collaborating with business leaders on lots of projects, breaking news. It’s a great way for your people to be staying in touch.

People are nervous about ‘letting employees loose’ but if you don’t trust your employees, why do you employ them. There is always Yammer if you prefer to keep stuff behind the firewall.

Social networks: I’ll just look at Facebook and LinkedIn. Brilliant for community building. Great way to generate engagement. Your employees are your biggest advocates. Even Quora is becoming a useful platform – there’s a great internal comms discussion going on there right now.

Andy: is it important to channel people to one or more place?

Abi: my view is that we’re all about coaching, enabling and empowering people to do it themselves. We’re not about directing or telling. Internal comms almost doesn’t need to exist any more because employees do it by themselves. 

17.08: Abi: There’s absolutely loads of other tools out there: delicious for example: you might have someone in the company who does a lot of reseearch, reads a lot of articles, you can all go to that guy’s bookmarks and read it though. If you want to look at my bookmarks on social media and internal comms, please do!

Flickr is great for photos; WordPress for blogs. There are all sort of tools that can be used. It’s much more about the principle of your employees going beyond the firewall than the actual tools themselves.

Launching a competition to find bloggers for a specific event (eg: olympics) is a great way of getting employees to start blogging. And bear in mind that your detractors can often become your biggest fans. 

Comment: a lot of the time senior management block this stuff because they’re scared of it or they simply don’t understand it – it might be worth taking time just to give them a bit of training.

Abi: yes, I really think IBM are rock stars in terms of this. They are still a trailblazer in using SM internally. Look for John Iwata (IBM exec) video on YouTube: it’s great – covers everything that might bother newbies. Everything, libel, privacy etc will be covered by existing corporate policy.

Something for the future? Gowalla, Facebook places, Foursquare and a load of others. I think location-based stuff is the next massive opportunity: a huge opp to use this internally with your employees.

Re policies and guidelines, I always steal from IBM. Don’t like calling it a policy, much rather guidelines. In my slides I’ve put five key areas.

Asda are also rockstars in this space: look at The Green Room – a great example of transparency.



How British American Tobacco use social tools for employee engagement

Next up at Social Media Week London, David Richard Hare from British American Tobacco (BAT). This is a live blog so keep refreshing the page for updates.


15.54: BAT had ‘ten years of failure’ with online communities. It was difficult to get people to engage with the tools. 


We tried five platforms over ten years. There were too many barriers to communication: people forgot their passwords, changed jobs etc.


In 2005 we tried a workshop called ChangeNet. We realised our approach was wrong again: we were concentrating on the technology too much. At the workshop, people began to build relationships, they are now able to interact virtually as friends. Adding this human direction was a big step for us. It was partly because we (the online engagement team) moved from IT to HR.


CommunityBuilder was a tool that showed employees how to get people engaged with their projects. 


In 2006, we put a World Cup Forum up. Immediately became the most visited place on our intranet. It didn’t take up too much of people’s time but helped break down barriers within the organisation. There was a big spike in activity during the world cup.


In 2007, we set up a Management Trainee Community. Now one of the most active communities: people set up weekend social activities together etc.


Tom, our Change and Communications Manager (Global Operations and IT), came to us in 2004 and said he wanted to try blogging. It took about 3 attempts but in the end we developed something ourselves in Lotus Notes – gave him an area within his site where he could blog. He linked his everyday blog very well to the business world and business strategy, and others followed.


One new blogger was particularly suspicious of social media, but she’s a marketer and she realised that when you get your stories in front of people, that’s what engages them. She’s now one of our most prominent bloggers.


One colleague started blogging about how the organisation needed to open up, eg use Facebook and YouTube and had around 8,000 page views per blog post. Now BAT is considering his proposals.


BlogCentral (BAT’s internal blog network – given same name as IBM’s) monthly users started out at around 400, grew to around 2,500 by April 2010. 


16.13: I was pushing for a Facebook like internal network for years. We had an internal directory (called Connect – also ‘stolen’ from IBM). When Twitter arrived it seemed the time was right to something that combined the three (profiles/social networks with updates with real-time connections). In 2008 we built Connect: went live in July 2008. We’ve linked it to Active Directory, we’ve linked it to SAP.


Suddenly we’ve got this global directory, this huge network. You go in and see activity updates first thing in the morning. 25,000 registered users (everyone who uses the intranet has to sign up to it).


16.20: opens up for questions.


Question: the user experience people want is actually very different from what IT departments inevitably provide.


Question: what happens when people leave?


Andy (from IBM): I might retain info from corporate related groups on external networks. For example, people leave company but still show up on its facebook page. IBM has set up an alumni network as a way of engaging with formal employees.


Richard: that’s a problem with Yammer: you can’t throw people off it.


Comment: where next? Are there plans to go down the 2.0 course? 


Richard: when we released Connect, we asked people what they’d like to see. We don’t really have a high level strategy.


Question: it seems a big role for us as internal communicators is focusing on coaching management on how to communicate?


16.36: yes!


16.37 onto next speaker – see new post.


Matt O’Neill on using social tools to organise meetings

This is someone from Media140 introducing Matt (sorry I will get her name).

15.05: Matt is going to talk about using social tools as part of your internal communications – to organise meetings and conferences.

Firstly, engage with participants.

Second, seek out identity influencers.

Third, use a variety of media: people absorb information in different ways.

If you really want to get reach: make it mobile-ready. When senior execs have their dead time, waiting at airport etc, that’s when they’ll interact with this sort of thing.

It becomes a really live environment with people contributing questions via Twitter, IM etc.

Promote event by using existing channels, asking delegates to forward links – helps to build traffic and they like being asked, stroke influencers’ egos, ensure email notification with each major update.

Tell people the conference matters: be adamant about objectives. Tell people about workshop activities, again get influencers on board.

15.15: during event you want to report in real time. Some of the key plenaries can be written up in advance if you know what they’re going to say. As you’re putting up new content, take the comments that are coming in and feed them back into the event: eg: reading out tweets that have been made during lunch break. Try to get different viewpoints on what’s been said: create buzz.

Be visible: use LCD screens in break out areas so people can see live content. Make sure roving video/audio team are clearly identifiable.

You don’t want talking shops, you want action shops. Less powerpoint, more interaction.

10 questions about social media in organisations

1. How relevant is Metcalfe’s Law to social networks?

2. If we apply modern neoevolutionary principles rather than C19th, deterministic ones, accidents and free will have an important part to play in social evolution. Does social media enable these and, if so, does social media therefore enable social evolution?

3. How instrumental is social media in creating less hierarchical organisations?

4. How are social tools changing our behaviour, if at all?

5. What is the long-term impact of the type of self-organisation identified by Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody? (We can blog on WordPress, customize our Myspace page, set up a community on Ning…)

6. Are we seeing a new type of hero emerge and, if so, what does that signify? Craig Newmark, Lauren Luke, Barack Obama and (our local hero in London) Lloyd Davis – all these people built businesses/ careers by building a community first.

7. As various factors (environmental, social, political) push for an end to the consumer age, does social media have a role to play in bringing other values to the fore (or does it simply accentuate consumerist values?!

8. How realistic is Jamais Cascio’s idea of the participatory panopticon – can we attempt to control surveillance through sousveillance? Does the Twitter/ Carter Ruck/ Trafigura episode prove we’ve turned a page, or simply that the censors will pay more attention to Twitter next time round?

9. What do we think of the UK Conservative Party’s attempts to embrace the social web? David Cameron has talked about storing NHS records on Google, his advisor Steve Hilton (partner of Google’s Rachel Whetstone) has coined the phrase post-bureaucratic age, former New Labour new media advisors like MySociety’s Tom Steinberg have swapped sides…?

10. We could argue that the many-to-many structure of social networks enables a ‘long tail’ of human opinion to be heard. But can any diverse, ‘bottom-upness’ be sustained, or will it be back to ‘business as usual’ once the Web 2.0 dust has settled? Can the durable Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) ever truly be inversed?