Tag Archives: Facebook

Social media and loneliness

Does Facebook / social media help us relate or just connect? Are we less lonely having the new tools?

If you have such questions, I would recommend the video below. It quotes the thoughts of Sherry Turkle from her TED talk – Connected, But Alone and it’s also based on Dr. Yair Amichai’s article -The Invention of Loneliness.

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Will social media soon become an indispensable retail channel?

Social Media Outposts
Social Media (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

The use of social media sites like Facebook has exploded in recent years – the site recently hit one billion users. But while people are checking out social media sites daily, how many of them actually shop?

A recent study showed that seven out of ten online shoppers who took the survey say they never shop this way. That should also remain the status quo for the immediate future, as only about 5% say they’ll shop more via social media in the next 12 months.

But still, what are online shoppers doing on social media? Essentially they’re commenting on companies and products they know and discovering new ones. However, there are differences in motivation among these social media users, divided into three groups based on their behavior: “brand lovers,” “deal hunters” and “social addicts”.

Out of those brand lovers who say they interact with brands via social media, 53% go shopping in a physical store daily or weekly, compared to 45% of the overall sample, and 58% buy something in a physical store at least once a week. The deal hunters say they’ll click through to a specific online store if offered a good sale or an attractive special offer. Appealing to deal hunters looking for good offers and contests can be a great way to drive traffic to the provider’s website. Noone can afford to ignore the social addicts – they use social media to talk about their  experiences with brands, learn what their friends like and recommend, find customer service answers, and submit ideas and product feedback to companies. Getting the message out to social addicts can support the brand, while ignoring them carries significant reputational risk, as these very active online users tend to have huge social media networks and wield an outsized influence among them.

So, will social media be an indispensable sales channel? Not likely but there’s good reason for retailers to continue focusing on social media investment.  Campalyst analysed the world’s 250 biggest internet retailers and found that 97% of them are already on Facebook, 96% have a presence on Twitter, and 90% use YouTube. The social media traffic generated in many cases is impressive; 43 of the 250 can claim more than one million followers on Facebook.

More details here: http://pwc.to/Xfl6r0

Will social technologies improve performance?

English: A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenom...
Image via Wikipedia

One of the most challenging questions… Will enterprises benefit of Web 2.0 deployments and will such technology improve performance?

On the one hand you see by far too much time spent on Facebook these days and statements like “my whole life is there” are not such unussual amongst the young generation. Therefore, the question is not how you make them use it (they already do) but what benefit you have as a company from using such technologies?

McKinsey’s conclusion is that companies are improving their mastery of social technologies, using them to enhance operations and exploit new market opportunities (“How social technologies are extending the organization,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2011). They asked 4,261 global executives how their organizations deploy social technologies, including social networking, blogs, video sharing and microblogging, and the benefits gained. The 2011 survey reports that when adopted at scale across an emerging type of networked enterprise and integrated into the work processes of employees, social technologies can boost a company’s financial performance and market share, also confirming last year’s survey results.

I find not quite spectacular the four clusters that emerge from McKinsey’s analysis:
1. Executives at internally networked organizations note the highest improvement in benefits from interactions with employees;
2. Executives at externally networked organizations note the highest improvement in interactions with customers, partners, and suppliers;
3. Executives at fully networked organizations report greater benefits from both internal and external interactions (this result is easy to be assumed out of the first two);
4. In the fourth and by far the largest group, developing organizations, respondents report lower-than-average improvements across all interactions at their organizations.

It’s clear that there is an improvement in communication, especially for large inter-regional organisations but you don’t need a study to know that. What I would be interested in is how this is linked to performance on the job also this would be more difficult to find out once it becomes a way of life and business. Looking ahead three to five years, many respondents expect still more profound organizational changes. They say that with fewer constraints on social technologies at their companies:

  • Boundaries among employees, vendors and customers will blur.

I would raise a red flag here as this might be a signifficant risk management issue.

  • More employee teams will be able to organize themselves.

I would consider it one of the most relevant benefits.

  • Data-driven decision-making will rise in importance.

I’d also add a red flag here considering that Web 2.0 gathers unstructured data and the real challenge will be how to manage such information in a structured way.

The 160 characters speech. How to get the attention of Generation Y.

Web 2.0

I presented a KM tool this year twice for two different groups in the same company. Once in January and once in June. In January the audience was aged around 30 and over with at least some years of work experience. In June I had people around 20 or slightly over, I assume most of them new joiners.

The presentation was highly interactive, practice-based, with no PowerPoint but… what a difference between the two groups! The first one showed an interest in all aspects of the tool, asked relevant questions to clarify how they can use it best for their own projects and you could see the thrill when they found something new. The second group did not ask many questions and when they did there was more a superficial clarification of functionalities. Moreover, even if it was a new tool for them and highly applicable for their daily job, the thrill of discovery was just not there…

This made me thinking about the new generation. How do you get their attention and what would be a better way to train these people?

Working environment

Raised in an educational culture of working in teams and being highly socially connected through computers, cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, social networking, blogs, multi-player gaming, etc., the new generation is extremely social-centric. They are building relationships virtually and they are bringing a culture of constantly working together into the workplace – wherever that is. They make sure their friends remain “in the know” by sharing information such as articles, job opportunities or YouTube videos. It is a continual habit – not daily, but hourly.

Education

Statistically, generation Y (and Z) will be the most educated generation ever. According to the “UNESCO Global Education Digest 2010” the number of secondary education students rose from 195 million in 1970 to 526 million in 2008, meanwhile, the number of tertiary students increased by six times over the same period, from 32 million to 159 million students in 2008.

Is this relevant? How much do this change the interest they will show in doing their job at the highest standards? Does this mean they will be ready for a life-long learning environment? In some cases it may be so but I’m not convinced about the majority. Education nowadays is a “must have” because you cannot find a proper job otherwise but I see way too much superficial behaviour here. You can do a paper work a lot faster by web searching today than you could have done it 5 or 6 years ago (needless to say 15 years ago) but you don’t pay much time analysing the information and its sources. Issues such as credibility of sources have melt down into wiki and blog posts. In this way you may have time to chat or post a joke on Facebook but this will not make you a better performer at your work place.

Training

When it comes to learning IBM has found different age groups respond best to different methods of training and professional development. Baby Boomers prefer the traditional structure of a classroom and teacher. Generation X typically opts for online courses that are self-paced, while Generation Y benefits more from social-based learning approaches.

I do agree with IBM’s results. The new generation needs an informal learning environment and messages have to be short and action based. It’s the culture. You need to communicate to them with some of the techniques used in advertising. You have to advertise your new tool the same way you would do with a new tooth paste. Otherwise, they will not be interested in using it. It just won’t create the buzz!

Thinking about all these I reached the conclusion that the best presentation for the new generation is a 160 characters speech. Maybe, just maybe, this “twitter-like” message would have a chance.

And just wait for Generation Z…

CSR survey: only 27% of the CSR reports explicitly quantified objectives

budget cuts - the axeman cometh
Image by byronv2 via Flickr

A recent study – “CSR Trends” reviewed 602 companies listed in five Standard & Poor’s indices, as well as private companies and crown corporations. The survey does not evaluate the accuracy of the information being reported in the documents or a company’s compliance with any regulation but rather how effective companies have been in communicating their CSR strategies and performance.

The results show that CSR has changed from a nice activity to a core business value that defines the most significant businesses in the world. There are, however, differences in the way CSR results are communicated and here are some key findings:

–    81% of companies have CSR information on their websites but only 50% consider this information sufficiently important to deserve a link on the corporate home page;

–    80% of the companies, many of them worldwide brands such as Coca Cola, Nike, IBM, provide comprehensive explanations of their business activities. Surprisingly, 20% of the companies, many of them smaller and less well known than the multinationals mentioned above, did not provide a profile, essentially eliminating the context of their CSR strategies and achievements;

–    Targets that are specific, measurable and have a deadline are significantly more meaningful than a general statement of good intend. Nevertheless, only 65% of companies seamed to realise that and include a summary of objectives on a dedicated space inside the report and only 27% of those objectives have been quantified.

–    CSR is an interactive endeavour that requires constant communication with stakeholders. However, only 24% of companies use social media such as Twitter or Facebook to communicate their CSR activities.

This survey’s research was conducted jointly by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Sustainable Business Solutions practice and Craib Design & Communications. The entire report can be downloaded here.