And so to the end of Assignment 1 we come …

I have to say that this has been an interesting experience and I wish that I had had more time to devote to this and make my blog something really outstanding.  I have learned things though.

I’ve learned how to make a blog.  I’ve learned how to add things to my blog.  I’ve even learned how to link things to my blog – I hope.

There are some really great blogs out there by some of my fellow students.  Wow – I am green with envy (funny since I have just started watching “The Green Lantern”).

Even if no-one else reads this – I have made progress.  I have much more work to do on social media and its effects on business but I can see benefits of it and I can see that this will be a big thing in the future.

Hope you have all enjoyed making your blogs as well.  I have enjoyed reading many of them.

Good Luck!!!

 

Connection

And so for the last part of the 4 C’s – Connection.

As human beings, we all need some type of connection.  There is nothing worse than feeling alone.  How would we survive if we didn’t have at least one connection of some sort.

It’s the same for businesses – how do you survive if you don’t make connections?

Social media is good at helping us make connections.  However, a connection is usually made with people we know or have had some type of contact with before, or it could be a business we are looking for.

Facebook is great at helping us make connections – whether it’s with old friends or new, or with a business that deals in things we are interested in.  Facebook asks you for your interests and then helps you make connections with businesses or groups that you may be interested in.

Mine was my hobby of beading and also the fact that I like rugby (well I have no choice really when I have 3 boys who play!).  And so up on facebook pops these things that I could be interested in.  Most of the time they are right.

I have to say that I have made re-connections with friends from school who have found me or I have found them through facebook.

It’s almost like you make these special connections that you probably wouldn’t make if you saw the person face to face.  Sometimes it is a good thing – sometimes it is a bad thing.  I almost feel like you can say things to people on facebook that you would never say to the face to face.

And that could be the bad thing.  There is no expression when you make a connection through social media.  You can’t tell whether someone is joking or what tone they are putting on what they are saying.

Having said all that, an increasing number of people are connecting via social media and have ended up finding their future partners.  One statistic is that 1 out of every 50 couples married in the U.S. in 2011 met via social media.  Not sure it would suit me – but for some people it is their only form on connection with others.  It makes them feel like they are not alone.

There are cases all over the world where lives have been saved because a very alone person has posted something on facebook.  Something perhaps that they are going to do to themselves.  Someone else has seen it, got concerned and managed to reached the person in time to help them and save their lives.  All good.  But then there are the horrer stories of people being stalked or bullied via social media.

Making connections with businesses is just as important.  Important for both the customer and the company.  Many organisations are now making connections with their customers via social media.  It is opening up a whole new world.  Customers feel much freer to make comments about a particular business via social media.

The fact is that people like to connect with people and people are a business or organisation.  We must make connections with people to make connections with a business.

string-maze-of-social-media

Its all about connections.

Don’t know if I have it right, but these are my thinkings at this stage of the game.

They will more than likely change significantly in the next little while.

Collaboration

Well I have to start this by saying that I am struggling a little with this “C”.  I think it’s because I think that cooperation and collaboration are kind of the same thing.  And in a way they are.  But there is obviously a difference too.

A dictionary definition said “work jointly” which to me is working together.  Just like in cooperation.  But I suppose what I need to understand and get my head around is that collaboration – in business terms – is about being able to works on a project or documents simultaneously without having all sorts of different drafts floating around the organisation.

I read where the best known of the collaboration software is Wikipedia because it can be updated in real time by anyone.

I found a blog by Jo Stratmann on Fresh Networks which gave a list of 15 wellknown social media collaboration systems.  I realised that I actually knew about and use at work:  Adobe Acrobat, Google Docs and SharePoint.  How dumb am I?  I probably know more about collaboration than I actually realised.

Ok, so how about this:  Steven Johnson says that if “hunches” or ideas, are able to mingle together in open environments, ”When ideas take form,” Johnson says in a widely-viewed YouTube video, “they need to collide with other hunches. Oftentimes the thing that turns a hunch into a real breakthrough is another hunch that’s lurking in somebody else’s mind. And you have to create systems that allow those hunches to come together and turn into something bigger than the sum of their parts.”

Maybe I am starting to understand things a little better.   McKinsey Global Institute believes that if you can get the right corporate culture going then employee interaction could improve by up to 25%.  And wow, they go on to estimate that the benefits of getting it right and using social technologies in business could account for 2/3rds of the $900 billion – 1.3 trillion annual value in four business sectors.

Anyway, I’m still not confident on the collaboration thing and would really love some pointers in the right direction.

Any help would be gratefully accepted.

Cooperation

Moving onto the second of the 4 C’s – Cooperation.

Cooperation is about working together to achieve an end.  As an example I was reading an article by Shivarn Stewart just publish recently and it talked about the power of cooperation through the use of social media.  Fans of the show Veronica Mars have worked together through social media site “Kickstarter” and have raised $2million to fund a Veronica Mars film.  The power of social media meant that amount was raised in just 11 hours.

And what about New Zealand’s own Amber Johnson started a facebook page to get Griffiths to start making Choco-ade biscuits again.  With over 14,500 likes on the facebook page, Griffiths caved and brought back choco-ade.  The power of social media!

As I said though, its about working together to achieve and end.  Using social media for this type of is really quite genenous.  think about it.  In the “old days” you would have had to start a paper petition and you would have to go out on the streets and get people to sign.  Doing a petition that way, is an awful lot of work.  Now setting up a facebook page and doing it on a “virtual street” is a much better idea and people don’t feel pressured to sign anything.  With a social media type petition, people have a choice and the people that really feel passionate about it will be able to “like” (basically virtually sign) a petition.

I have to confess that I have done it that way now more times than I ever would have if someone had approached me on the street!

Ahhhhhhh, social media and cooperation – pretty damn awesome.

Have you “liked” something that was really a petition or have you thought about trying to being back something?  What was that something?

Tell us about it!

Communication

Duing this paper we concentrate on the whats termed the 4 C’s:

  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Collaboration
  • Connection

I want to start with ‘commnication’.

I looked in the dictionary for a definition of ‘communication’.  It tell me that communicaton is:  “the science and practice of transmitting information especially  electonic or mechanical means” and “the act of imparting, especially news”.

So I’m kind of thinking, and our readings tell us, that communication, and in particular, blogs, should be newsy.  You know, that informal chatty type of communication where we understand and relate to what the blogger is saying.  Well, I find it worked that way for me.

There are al sorts of way to communicate via social media – one of them is video.  As I’ve already told you, one of my share time activities is beading.  All of my favourite websites and blogs communicate and teach us much of the time via video.  It’s great for people who learn by doing.  I always find it much easier to be able to watch somethng being done and then do it myself.  Here is an example of what I mean.

Beading Info

Sorry, I wanted to embed it in my blog, but apparently I have to pay for an upgrade to do that!!  Never mind, I’m sure you get the idea.  This is a great way for businesses to communicate with their customers.  Internally and externally, I reckon it orks just as well with both.  I know where I work, the Chief Executive has started making video’s of things he wants to talk to the staff about and posting them on the interanet.  Because the company is so big, he can’t get round and see everyone, so this is a good way of having some kind of interactive communication.  It also means that the staff can choose when they want to watch it.  It’s actually been received really well.

A couple of my favourite beading sites also have an instant messaging service going at certan hours of the day.  You can send you question through and immediately strike up a conversation with the person monitoring the site.  It’s quite handy if you have a burning question to something.  You may be in the middle of a project and get stuck.  Often you will be able to get a solution to your problem really quickly.  It’s just like magic!

I read an article by Rich Maggiani (http://www.solari.net/documents/position-papers/Solari-Social-Media-and-Communication.pdf) about social media and its effect on communication.  It’s interesting to readh about how the effect of social media has changed the dynamics of the workplace and even the family dynamic.  Older people struggle with social media, where younger people have known no difference.  I think perhaps the biggest thing for me to illustrate this is the telephone.  When I was growing up, we only had a telephone to communicate with our friends – or anyone else for that matter.  Now, like I said in my first blog post, my kids never use the telephone to have conversations with their friends.  It’s facebook and texting.  Here is the art of communication to the younger generation:

Modern Communication  What more can I say???

I have to say that I am coming around to using social media for communication.  I am a facebook user.  I don’t have a lot of friends on facebook.  The ones I do have, although I may not communicate with them all the time, I can keep up with whats going on in their lives.  And even if I just post a “Hi, hey ya going?” message, I still find it better than not communicating with them at all.

So, that’s me on communication and social media.  How’s everyone else out there feel about it?

So Far …

Part of this assignment is to tell you how I found things making this blog so far.  I can’t say I have found it as easy as I thought it would be.  Nevertheless, it has been an interesting experience.

Clearly since you are reading this, I have managed to sort out posting simple text online.  It’s the other bits that I have been doing a little struggle with.  Getting my head around the terminology and exactly what things do.

Creating this blog though, has meant that I have been looking at blogs that businesses use and how they use them.  I have mainly been concentrating on blogs by companies that support my spare time habit of beading.

All of my favourite places to buy things and find inspiration have blogs.  They are great places for new ideas to be posted.  They also post new products and even video lessons on how to make a certain piece of jewellery.  Video lessons are such a great idea – especially if the company is in the US and I am here in NZ.

Its also a great way for other beaders to converse with each other or with the company itself. This is one of my favourite blogs. It’s chatty, it’s informative, it’s just plain good to read.

http://www.beadersblog.com/

And look – I’ve even managed to add a link!!  Now that’s progress.

Susan M Heathfield from About.com says A business blog is an informal, easily maintained method for regularly communicating with your customers.” It’s what makes blogs so easy to read and write – it’s just like you’re talking to the person. It gives you a human face. Actually in 2004, Loren Baker wrote exactly that – you need to present more that observations and comments. You need to present you. You and your thoughts and the best information you can give them.
That’s what I’m trying to do – present me! Making this a kind of chatty fun way to learn about social media. Hope I’m helping in some small way. I think I’m helping myself too!

So … Moving Along

As I have been going along with this paper and using my facebook page, it dawned on me how much businesses depend on social media these days. It means that they are engaging with their customers and are able to have conversations with them – albeit not face to face. I suppose you could say it is almost face to face.

By doing business in this way, you are making your customers feeling special. My hobby is beading and through facebook I have now been able to connect with three of my beading stores. They are all on facebook and they all have blogs. Their beading communities are interacting with them on a daily basis. Its also much easier for me to be able to keep a handle on what all of them are doing.

So I look forward to doing some more research on this topic.

Aside

So … what about this social media then?

My new uni paper is about social media and in particular how social media is being used in a business sense. But first I must get my head around what social media is.

Actually I’m not that bad because I do use Facebook. A step in the right direction bringing me into the world of the 21st century. Funny thing is, I’m not one of the last of the people I know to start using social media, or should I say, in this case, social networking. I know several people who don’t own computers, let alone know about social media.

Kids these days don’t do anything else other than use social media to communicate. They use social media pages for everything. The other night we told our 17 year old to ring someone – “na, we have a facebook page to talk about that type of thing”. Our 18 year old son has just started uni and he and him friends have set up a facebook page with all their timetables on it so they know when they all have breaks and can meet for catchups during the day. They absolutely use it in terms of the 4 C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Cooperation, Connection.

I suppose the question for me is “how much of a part of our lives is social media and are we being left behind if we don’t use it?” I suspect the answers will be – a big part of our lives and yes we will be left behind.

Since I’ve started using Facebook, I have found it a really convenient way of keeping in touch with friends. But I also find it a great way to keep a track of things that I am interested in. Websites that are of interest to me pop up on my profile and I can click and have a look.

And this brings us to how much businesses today rely on social media to maintain a competitive edge. Over the coming weeks this is what we will explore.

Right now what I want to know is, how much is social media a part of your life and do you believe we are missing out if we don’t use it?

Let me know your views – I’m really interested.