Viva La Social Media!

Social media is online community where people create personal profiles and share information with their friends and contacts (Extracted from a INN346 QUT lecture).  Popular websites have already been derived from the increase of online social networks. This shows that the future holds a lot of room for more online interaction with social networking playing a significant role. Businesses are slowly starting to know how essential it to add social networking tools with business processes. All topics we as a class have learnt in the past weeks encompass how an organization can utilize social networking to empower their business. Using social networking to engage staff and customers can help strenghten customer relationships and promote a company and/or a brand. Engaging with customers does not only mean engaging with everyday consumers but may also mean engaging with other organizations to sell a product or service. Social media has provided users with a strong sense of community online enabling users to interact amongst one another whether they have the same interests or not.  Many companies have used Facebook to promote their product. Consequently, I model for a company called SHRWLTH Apparel using Facebook to promote its biggest product launch and promote further products through it. SHRWLTH Apparel has utilized their Facebook to attract a customer base and inform customers about their new products on a regular basis. The company was able to attract more than a 1000 customers in a short amount of time due to the fact that they decided to incorporate social media with their business.

After carefully analysing how social networking and social media can be used to enhance business processes I have formulate 5 strategies for organizations to consider if they plan on joining the social media bandwagon.

  1. Awareness:  This is a fairly logical step to undertake due to the fact that companies are trying to build a reputation. Thus, creating awareness is essential and with social networking, there is an array of social media tools that can be used to assist companies with creating awareness. Social media such as Facebook, Youtube, Google, and Twitter are all great examples.
  2. Customer Engagement:  Establishing a target market can aid in engaging certain customers with certain products and/or services and maintain efficiency.
  3. Content: As mentioned in previous blog posts, content within social media sites are significant to establish the direction companies want to head. Having the ability to control the flow of information provided will help keep staff members and customers in the loop and nevertheless, providing accurate information ensures that all stakeholders are up to date with business processes of a company.
  4. Support: Providing ongoing support or maintenance will reduce the necessity for customers or employees to ask for assistance. Keeping an ongoing support system using social media can shorten time and reduce travel costs in order for users to collaborate and share information.
  5. Policies: Policies are a significant for companies to establish with regards to utilizing social media. Making sure there are a set of rules and responsibilities staff members and customers abide by will help develop a safe and effective online environment.

Developing Wiki Strategies

Some wikis are for private use and are simply communication tools between family, friends and co-workers.” (Understanding Wikis). With this said, This week’s topic is based on Wikis and the best strategies for using Wikis in the Enterprise.

Wikis are a highly collaborative web page with content that can be viewed, edited, and updated by all users sharing access to the wiki. Similar to a blog in structure and logic, a wiki allows anyone to edit, delete or modify content that has been placed on the Web site using a browser interface, including the work of previous authors (Webopedia, 2012). Wikis are normally successful when they are utilized as a base of knowledge by companies and organizations to furthermore improve the distribution of information between staff members. Wikis can be developed in alot of ways. Some are public where as some are private. A great method for creating a corporate wiki is to provide a certain amount of staff members within a company to edit and/or update information making the wiki page more controlled. Some wikis may contain false information or irrelevant information. By allowing a respective amount of staff members to edit the wiki, senior staff members can provide and share information and can also instruct the IT staff on what to provide on the Wiki page.  Nevertheless, to ensure a Wiki page is efficient and productive it must :

  1. Be user friendly: Well structured, and easy to use.
  2. Have Rules and Responsibilities: In order to promote the idea of senior staff members controlling the wiki, a set of rules and responsibilities must be laid down to ensure the wiki maintains accurate information.
  3.  Security: Since the Wiki page may be a corporate page with information belonging to the company, there should be certain security protocols put in place to authorise only members allowed to view the wiki.
  4. Meets the needs of the enterprise: The Wiki tool or software used must be suitable for the company using it whether it were to be a large enterprise or a small business.

Links:

Webopedia

Understanding Wikis

Web 2.0 Collaboration in a Microblogging Environment

Microblogging is a unique social method for people to communicate which appeals to our inherently inquistive human nature. According to Educause (2009), microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital content—which could be text, pictures, links, short videos, or other media—on the Internet. With this said, microblogging assists organisations with the general concept of communication and communicational synergy within the workplace. Some examples of microblogging in the workplace consists of:

  • Announcements
  • Notice Boards
  • Agendas
  • Calendars

In order to to create or post a microblog or to gain access to microblogs created by others, accounts must be created by users. These created accounts are usually connected with email accounts, instant messaging social media tools such as windows live messanger, web pages, and mobile phones. Basically, any form of Web 2.0 technology or medium that can be used to update the microblog respectively. Upon observing these updates, users can provide feedbacks, likes or follow the posts of others much like we have seen in social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. The posts that gain correspondence from other users can consist of texts, a photo, video, or audio clip that can be shared privately within a group or publicly for other user to view. These ‘posts’ or ‘tweets’ if using Twitter, can also be about any topic and are available to be read by anyone. Users freely reply to tweets, entering the conversation; responses are made, ideas are swapped and suggestions are offered. 

Both organisations and several universities are have instutional Twitter accounts. A clear example is the Enterprise 2.0 Unit class that utilizies the unit subject in its  hashtag (#346Class12). The concept exhibits simplicity, openness and flexibility and is used by for different purposes by different users for this very reason. Below are three examples of different groups of individuals that use microblogging tools as a consumable form of communication:

  • Tutors/Professors – are utilizing microblogging tools such as Twitter virtually for many purposes. Twitter has demonstrated its ability as a leading microblogging tool to enhance its position in being an ideal platform for innovative, yet rapid communication. Tutors have taken this into account and are using it by facilitating collaborative group work and asking questions during lectures.Nevertheless, Twitter has also proved to aid in creating a collaborative community where students share ideas and share perspectives beyond physically being with each other.

 

  • Researchers- are using Twitter to increase their spectrum of research networks using it to engage in debates amongs one another and moreover, creating blogs and posts on other journal articles and users’ blogs. Online networks are assisting researchers with studying and learning the social interactions taking place online and these  microblogging tools are also aiding in enhancing the experience of othe audience in conferences and events.

 

  • Administrators- are using microblogging tools such as Twitter again, to engage with their network of colleagues and also updating stakeholders in educational institutions with current information and issues.

The picture below is a highly detailed depiction and example of  adding enterprise context to microblogging.

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 Links:

Educause

Increasing ROI with Enterprise 2.0

Every single organization wants to generate high revenue and increase their profits repectively in the long term. If a company is running its business from spending money on goods so they can produce other goods to tailor fit their needs, they would want to know what they are gaining from producing these goods and services. Thus, they are making an investment to produce these goods in order to receive a greater return from what they invested. This is how the term “Return on Investment” was coined. According to Entrepreneur (2012), ROI deals with the money you invest in the company and the return you realize on that money based on the net profit of the business.

Today’s topic will discuss concepts introduced on the importance of ROI in regards to companies within the Computer Science field and the new methods of calculating it. To calculate ROI, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage (Investopedia, 2012).

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Organisations in our time, have learnt that imlementing an Enterprise 2.0 strategy comes with benefits and risks. Additionally, these organisations also know that using the strategies to benefit their firms and avoiding risks can assist greatly in yielding higher revenues. For example, implementing new IT infrastructure within a workplace can cut the necessity of an employee or many employees while increasing productivity and efficiency in the workplace simultaneously. Some new methods to increase ROI in business will be listed below. Organizations can create new methods to engage employees, and provide accurate feedback to employees and reducing the rate in which employees leave or join the workforces. Moreover, organizations will aid in the reduction of search time or use of search strategies by utilizing social media tools as a competitive advantage.

  • Employee turnover is the ratio of employees a company loses to the average number of total employees (Wisegeek, 2012).High employee turnovers can cost organizations twice the price of finding and training replacements. Therefore, creating a subsidiary or a different network to attract new employees is essential in case there was an increase in employee turnover. Utilizing social media for these networks will help speed up the process in general. Nevertheless, reducing employee turnover is another method of generating a higher ROI.   
  • Employee engagement can greatly beneift and improve organisations’ methods of collaborating.   Employees utilizing social media tools to collaborate are more engaged they are moving towards the future of Web 2.0 in which collaboration is enhanced through social media tools. The lack of collaboration between employees is a challenge faced by many organizations. Nevertheless, Implementing, training and guiding employees on how to use social media tools to simplify collaboration methods is a great step for companies. If organizations can familarize themselves with such factors, these same factors wont be a hinderance on their ROIs.
  • Decreasing Searching Time can be achieved through the use of blogs, wikis and other social media tools such as Twitter. Although Twitter may not seem like a professional tool for collaborating and rather more social, companies can encourage their employees to use a hashtag function which will focus their updates towards other members of the company. Rather than dealing with asking other employees for certain documents or going across departments to retrieve certain files, information can reduce such time-consuming tasks and information can be updated continiously online.

Links

Entrepreneur

Investopedia

Wisegeek

 

Legal Risks when using Social Media

Social media offers the opportunity for people to gather in online communities of shared interest and create, share or consume content. With the enhanced features provided by Web 2.0 and social media tools in general, breaking laws on the internet has become easier than before. Social Media tools are now essential tools we use to communicate amongst one another every day. Previously in this blog, the benefits and risks of social media were elaborated on. With this said, organizations and businesses must be aware of the benefits and risks that come with utilizing social media tools. Such risks include legal risks that are associated with the incorrect use of the tools by people that are either uneducated about the policies or ignorant. For example, in the workplace, when employees use social media and expose themselves in a bad mannered way, they may give their employers a bad image.  Other ways that legal risks are implicated are through trademark infringement, privacy, copyright, loss of confidential information, defamation, and nevertheless risk of reputation. Therefore it is significant to establish a social media policy in order to educate employees and guide them on how they can use social media tools with proper manner in the workplace.

The example that will be used today is Telstra. Telstra has a policy called Telstra’s 3 Rs of Social Media Engagement which applies to all employees of Telstra and anyone notified of the policy. The policy applies to all Telstra owned Australian subsidiaries. According to Telstra, their  3 Rs Policy of  Social Media Engagement are:

  • Representation
  • Responsibility
  • Respect

These 3 Rs apply when using social media tools such as Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and Friendster. Additionally, they apply to micro-blogging sites, video and photo sharing sites, blogs, forums, and online encyclopaedias. Telstra has made a clear document to reveal its policy to ensure their employees abide by it.

 

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Social Media Policy must provide information that is relevant and can be accepted but also list a clear code of conduct while highlighting penalties or punishment if the policies are not abided. It is essential for organizations to enforce these policies in order to educate their employees and reveal the consequences that may arise if the employees fail to comply. Moreover, organizations and businesses may choose to restrict some social media tools and generally strengthen their security methods to reduce the risks of security breach.

Links

Telstra 3 Rs

 

Benefits of Enterprise 2.0

From what I have learnt about Enterprise Systems I would personally define them as a large-scale system, which stores data using applications and/or software packages. This may not be exact but it is my own definition. Enterprise 2.0 enables these systems to use technology which provides people to collaborate and/or form online communities. In simple terms, Enterprise 2.0 is the application of Web 2.0 to the enterprise. When the term Enterprise 2.0 is heard, most burst in an optimistic manner as a result of our technical advancements. However, although there are benefits, there are also risks. The benefits outweigh the risks as Enterprise 2.0 proves to be the center of success for many businesses. I’m sure by now some of you may be asking, so what are the risks and benefits associated since most only want to hear about the benefits.

Benefits

Most people would agree that knowledge equals power although some would beg to differ. Enterprise 2.0 improves the knowledge of users by simply providing easier access to expertise. It provides enhanced search strategies sing social media tools such as Google and Yahoo. More on how it enhances knowledge, it enables sharing knowledge with blogging and wikis to help users collaborate online. Nevertheless utilizing Enterprise 2.0 connects employees within an organization engaging staff members to communicate about organizational plans.

Risks

However, since Enterprise 2.0 enables all users to access the same information there is risks that come with this. Risks such as security concerns and privacy are always an issue with social media tools such as Facebook and Youtube. Some users one Youtube may breach the copyright laws and steal other users’ productions. Another risk is the reduced productivity of staff members since they are given access to social media sites to collaborate and communicate amongst with each other. Additionally, reliability of information is another risk when using Enterprise 2.0’s search strategies. Not all information may be accurate and some may be rather opinionated.

There are negatives and positives to everything. The benefits assist users a lot more than the risk disadvantage users and if all laws and policies can be followed on the web, the benefits would clearly outweigh the risks considerably.

Below is a video that demonstrates how businesses can achieve success by utilizing Enterprise 2.0.


Links

Youtube

How we have advanced using Web 2.0

In our technically advancing society, Web 2.0 tools are essential many of us don’t even realize we encounter every day. I must admit, I am not a beginner as a Web 2.0 user simply because I have accounts with Google, Hotmail, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and many other social media tools. I mainly use Facebook to socialise with friends, Hotmail for more serious conversations regarding issues like university, and Youtube for entertainment.

Web 1.0 was nothing compared to Web 2.0 because it was slower and did not support all mobile devices. Changing towards Web 2.0 has enabled newer technologies that assist businesses with building and engaging their audiences. With Web 2.0, tabs can be opened in browsers rather than having to open a new window every time one wanted to search something different. Now, with Web 2.0 web components such as wiki’s blogs and other social media provide users with low technical skill the ability to explore and enhance their knowledge within the field of Information Technology. With this said, Web 2.0 adds value to all users by allowing users to create, collect and collaborate amongst one another.

 

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As a result of this, businesses have been able to utilise Web 2.0 to benefit their social media. According research by ZDnet there is over 845 million active users on Facebook, spending 10.5 billion minutes on Facebook a day. Just this statement reveals the amount of improvement the web has made in current times. Businesses don’t have to spend as much on advertising and marketing because Web 2.0 tools have completely replaced costly applications in the past that users thought benefitted them greatly. These applications have been replaced with more productive and efficient applications that are free and web-based to reduce costs and simplify socializing methods across the web.

Blogging Strategy

Hello Everyone. My name is Yaw formally but my first name is actually Nana. This is because of my culture as I am from a West African country called Ghana. I am an Information Technology student studying at QUT. Due to the fact that I undertook Web 2.0 last semester, I decided to continue on this path and undertake Enterprise 2.0. With this said, I will be continuing my blog from the previous semester to follow the weekly topics of this semester.

The main reason I am blogging is to collaborate with my other fellow students as an assessment for this subject. Through blogging, I can share my experiences and learning on the weekly tasks given as well as reflecting my thoughts on other students blogs as well. To achieve this, I will research topics found from every weekly lecture and understand them in order to further my knowledge. To capture my other colleague’s attentions towards reading my blog I will provide my own uniqueness in my blog posts and collaborate with others using other social media tools.

Blogging in Web 2.0 was quite an interesting experience. However, I could have been more involved within the process as it was a first time experience for me. To make my blog more successful I will address key factors regarding weekly topics that target my audience. In addition to this I will add pictures, videos and other social currency  to create synergy within my blog.

Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability

The final pattern that will be discussed is Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability. Tim O’ Reilly states that “scalability in web 2.0 applies to business models as well as technology. Changes in cost, re-usability, process, and strategy mean much more can be done for less. Therefore, adopt a scalable, cost-effective strategy encompassing business models, development models, and technology to deliver products to market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth”. People started thinking differently in our era realizing that increasing their organizations quickly was not the answer. They saw that getting big fast didn’t work in the long run, they had to think differently.

To achieve these practices such as these must be undertaken:

- Outsource business and IT process when it is possible

- Assess price models to generate higher revenue

- Demand driven by the network effect must be scaled

- Use open source services where possible

- Release functionality in increments

An example of a web application that utilizes this pattern for its own benefit is Twitter. Twitter is a lightweight model, and the first sign is the simple method Twitter uses registering new users. All you need is a nickname and email-address, no need for private details as for example full name and picture.

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My Twitter Profile

Twitter is used to send messages for users to update their status. They may express their feelings, tell others the scores to a game or generally make a statement about anything. Twitter is also used in our QUT class to communicate with each other, share experiences and have discussions as well. Twitter also does not have large software and it is easy to scale and very user friendly. Twitter only has 175 employees (37signals, 2012) and it is created on open-source software. This means that Twitter can contribute to third party software created by developers due to its open API. This is how Twitter remains cost-effective.

Links

37Signals

Leveraging the “Long Tail”

This week’s blog is based on the seventh pattern in regards to Web 2.0 Application trends. So what can be said by Leveraging the “Long Tail”? Chris Anderson describes the principle as “Collective power of the small sites that make up the bulk of the web’s content”.  Leveraging the long-tail can be defined as individual earning revenue by allowing another company to place contextually targeted ads on their website.  It is a marketing strategy that can be used by technical or other companies to help create value. According to Wikipedia, The Long Tail or long tail refers to the statistical property that a larger share of population rests within the tail of probability distribution than observed under a ‘normal’ or Gaussian distribution. In Web 2.0, this strategy can prove as a major advantage if companies focus on smaller markets to lower costs for the distribution of goods and advertisement. Companies that have utilized this strategy to benefit their marketing methods are eBay, Amazon and PayPal. With using The Long Tail strategy, demand increases due to the fact that a variety of products are distributed to large amounts of customers and additionally, there is low stocking and lower distribution costs.

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PayPal’s business is highly associated with eBay using the long tail. PayPal is not only used in association with popular websites and companies but also to smaller websites. PayPal can be used as an effective form of payment for any business start-up due to the fact that it offers high security measures to ensure safe payment. PayPal’s strict security policies aid in detecting fraud thus providing sellers and buyers with confidence, trust, and a closer relationship with the service. With PayPal’s web service, it is able to attract more customers and therefore capture new members. Secondly, it has clearly shown its ability to engage a wide audience. Lastly, Paypal delivers more options for customers therefore making it a perfect example of a company that has utilized the Long Tail strategy for the greater benefit.

 

Links

Wired: The Long Tail

Long Tail

O’Reilly Web 2.0

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