Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Moving to our new home!

After five months on Blogger, the Net-Savvy Executive is moving to a new home at net-savvy.com/executive/. The new domain goes along with some ideas I'm working on, and I hope to do a lot more with it. I expect to have an announcement of the next piece soon.

The archive will remain here at Blogspot, so any links to specific posts will continue to work. If you've subscribed to the feed at Feedburner, or if you receive updates by email, those will continue to work, too.

Please join us at net-savvy.com for the next chapter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How not to succeed online

I was thinking about "how to" articles on the Internet this morning. Writing a "how to" post is a popular tactic for getting attention for a blog, and everyone does it. This morning, I came across a "how not to" post that got me thinking about how they're different. I have a great "how not to" example for business, too.

I wrote how not to handle confidential information last week. This morning I came across Joe Wikert's post on how not to solve the "DVR problem." I haven't seen anything on how not to talk like a pirate, though.

And then there's the case of the Belgian court decision that requires Google to remove Belgian newspaper stories from its services. Is anyone really surprised that Google followed the court order to the letter and removed the newspapers entirely from Google Belgium? How not to succeed in Internet marketing, in one easy lesson. There's a whole industry built on optimizing a site's placement in search engine results, but in this case, some media companies used the court to achieve the opposite.

Who else has a good "how not to" story?

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Company research at LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a new company page feature that promises to grow into a useful feature for profiling companies (via Vincent Wright). Would you like to know where a company's employees went to school or worked before? How about their average length of employment with the company? I assume the data are based on the information LinkedIn members have volunteered, so don't get too literal with the statistics, but still...

LinkedIn's strength is finding personal connections, and the bulk of the company page is a list of employees by function, with some text links to speed the kind of searches that have always been possible.

Only a few companies are listed today—Accenture, AMD, Apple, Cisco, Dell, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Nortel and Pfizer—but this has a lot of potential.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Forrester on Brand Monitoring

Forrester Research has released their "Wave" report on seven brand monitoring services. They rank Nielsen BuzzMetrics and Cymfony as market leaders; MotiveQuest, Biz360, Factiva, and Umbria as strong performers; and Brandimensions as a contender. Only $995 for the complete report.

If your priorities and budget don't add up for a high-end brand monitoring service, you have other options for tracking your company's online reputation.

Update: Here's Peter Kim's summary, which includes a nice graphical summary.

Update2: I've published a broader look at the companies in this space, the Guide to Social Media Analysis, which includes profiles of 31 companies from 9 countries.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How not to handle confidential information

We can talk about protecting yourself on the Internet, but if you say too much in front of your competitors, what's the point? John Andrews relates a little story about the risks of speaking in public (via David Churbuck):
You probably won’t listen to me if I suggest you keep your voice lower, not discuss tactical or strategic issues in a public forum, or speak in secret code, so this is the least I can offer you. If you finish your overly loud public “search marketing” pitch and walk out leaving your dream client behind, I will feel compelled to hand her my business card and offer her a free review of your written proposal. Like I just did.

I worked briefly for a large company that included information security in its new employee training sequence. Among other things, we were warned not to discuss the company or its business in public, and to avoid the accidental sharing of reading materials and computer files on airplanes. Our instructor, of course, had just enjoyed a long discussion of a competitor's business on her flight, courtesy of the competitor's employees sitting right behind her.

We pay a lot of attention to new risks online, but the old ones are still in the game.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Real-time research

Can you type and talk at the same time?

I once had a help desk job that required taking notes on a computer while talking to the people who called us. We used abbreviations for some common phrases (such as whbd for "what has been done"), and we didn't bother with capitalization, but we summarized the conversation and recorded key details during the call. The key piece of equipment that made it work was the telephone headset, which gave us both hands for the computer and better sound quality for the phone call. Today's wireless headsets are even better, allowing movement around the room during a call.

How is that useful away from the help desk? When I have telephone conversations, I usually have a browser open. I can perform a quick search on the people and topics that come up and get more information while still in the conversation. I can look at company web sites when I talk to their people, and I can conduct a quick background check on cold callers. I get the benefit of some of the research I could do after the call without having to wait, which can change how I conduct the call.

Sometimes, it's not what you know, it's what you can look up. Just don't get so distracted by the computer that you fall out of the conversation on the phone. People can't really multitask, so this is only productive if your online activities mesh with your conversation. If the computer distracts you from the call too much, remember which connection includes an actual person and focus on the call.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Social media for marketing, PR, communications

When you think of social media in business, do you focus on opportunities to improve the business, or do you worry about losing control of information and decisionmaking? Jerry Bowles expresses the perceived risks to senior executives in why CEOs are afraid of social media:
Large-scale adoption of the architectures of participation would represent a revolutionary change in organizational dynamics because–by giving lots of individuals a voice and audience through a networked platform–they force decisionmaking to be more transparent, democratic and consensus-based. [...]

In my experience, most leaders do not want to operate their organizations as experiments in democracy or collective intelligence. Not even our Presidents and Congresspeople want to do that. That’s why resistance to Enterprise Web 2.0 technologies is likely to be understated, but fierce, at the upper levels.

To gain a foothold, the new collaboration platform vendors are going to have to initially target already receptive areas like marketing, PR and corporate communications departments or divisions with specific projects which need networking and collaboration.

I like Jerry's conclusion, because my focus is on social media and search for market intelligence, which is geared toward... marketing, PR and corporate communications (and a few others).

It's also interesting to see the focus on social media for collaboration; there are so many ways to look at this stuff. I'm not entirely disagreeing with his concerns, but there are many ways to start using social media in the enterprise. Companies should be able to take advantage of the benefits without undermining management. Just think through the consequences before you use all the new toys.

Another way to avoid triggering CEO anxiety could be to focus on applications that don't threaten existing power structures (and a few features that might even enhance the CEO's influence in the company). Rather than going all-out for the revolutionary applications of electronic collaboration, look for areas where new technologies can help people do their current jobs more effectively and efficiently. It doesn't have to be dangerous.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jargon 2.0

It's becoming popular to complain about Web 2.0 even while using it. David Berkowitz says Web 2.0 "reeks of dot-com geek elitism," but it has the frustrating property of being useful—for framing his article, for example. He's not alone in disliking the term, but I haven't seen a good alternative, and we do need a shorthand to refer to the trends. At this point, Web 2.0 has momentum, and it will take a convincing argument to replace it.

Jargon is specialized language that people use to communicate efficiently within specialties. If I pitched an article on, let's say, HR 2.0, the people who most dislike the whole "Web 2.0" family of terms would have a good idea of what I meant. The alternative is to spend time and effort reciting the philosophy and technologies that make up the universe of Web 2.oh, look, a post on Recruitment 2.0. And here I was, trying to be hypothetical. Here are a few more 2.0 references:

Does this matter to your business? Whether you like the terminology or not, things are changing on the Internet, which is increasingly embedded in people's lives. It's not hard to see how changes in the online environment will affect your business sooner or later (and my money's on sooner).

For those who need an introduction to Web 2.0, here are a few links to get you started:

We seem to have a number of discussions about terminology going on—about Web 2.0, RSS versus feeds, social media versus CGM, Google as a verb—the debates only prove that people are interested in these topics, and that the whole Internet environment isn't mature yet. Vigorous discussion of terminology is just part of the growth process.

I won't try to defend Web 3.0, though.

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