Posts Tagged ‘wiki’

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Self-Organized Swarms: The Power of User-Generated Content (part II)

Thank you to everyone who attended the August 5 “The Power of User-Generated Content” event we held in Indianapolis.   We had over 90 people come together to learn about and experience how social media is changing the landscape for all types of businesses and organizations.  

Do you want to experience the event for yourself, even if you didn’t attend?  Great, you’re in luck.  

We encouraged everyone who attended to use social media to help us create a digital mosaic of the morning.  By using cameras, cell phones, and laptops with wifi, anyone could upload photos, blog, Twitter (microblog), and add their thoughts directly to the event’s Google site.  See it for yourself:

  • Flickr Stream - photos taken and uploaded by various people who attended the event.  To get photos to flow thru the stream, everyone tagged their photos with “sauceugc”.  
  • Twitter Stream - I enjoyed watching the various comments being made about the event.  It started with those of us attending, but then it quickly attracted people outside of the event.  If you start here, you can work your way in time order to see how the “back channel” conversations transpired.  It’s almost like getting a play-by-play and color commentary at the same time.
  • Presentation Slides - you can view and print off the slides we used via this Google document.  
  • Our Google Site - To bring all of these strands together, we created a very basic Google site.  While it’s not the most appealing design, you can see how simple tools can make a big impact.  
  • External Blogs - Anyone who is passionate about a topic or wants to share their perspective can do so with the world.  We were glad to have Ryan Crozier join us and even more pleased to know he had a good experience.  Check out his blog and see how we made sure to say thanks.  If we had someone blog negatively about us, we would have made sure to reply and share our perspective – whether that was to acknowledge a shortcoming or explain more clearly the point we were trying to make.  

The best thing about all these tools is that they’re easy-to-use and available to anyone.  Just what every revolutionary and evangelist loves to know.  

So how do you make sure these powers are used for good, not evil?  The key is having a solid strategy for how your organization is empowering your customers, clients, employees, friends, allies, etc. to use them to help share your story.  Without a strategy, you’ll be at the mercy of more organized, more passionate, and more driven people.

What advice and experiences do you have to share on how UGC can be harnessed to grow your organizations?

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Work Smarter, Not Harder: Benefits of a Digital Strategy

With the proliferation of so many shiny digital tools over the past few years, who hasn’t been quick to add the latest and greatest tool only to find out that it hasn’t solved the problem it was intended to eliminate?  Instead, we’re left with another partial solution and different kinds of problems. 

Over time, these tools have accumulated and become an administrative burden that stretches the team too thin and created less-than-desired results.  Instead of leveraging the powerful collaboration tools of today’s internet (blogs, social networks, wikis, etc.), most organizations are working with static websites, mass email marketing blasts, and other one-way communication vehicles.  [I've seen a few organizations who're working with upwards of 8-10 different email newsletters to the same audience!] 

Unfortunately, a good portion of these organizations have been lulled into thinking their menagerie of digital tools is on the leading edge, instead of the patchwork solutions they really are.  

To borrow a metaphor from a client from my days of fundraising, these organizations are like the person who builds a house and then later decides to put an addition onto it.  Then adds another one later on.  And another.  And another.  Until this person is left with a monstrosity of house that has plenty of bells and whistles, but has been put together in an ad hoc way that creates more inefficiencies than it does benefits.    

Let’s admit it.  It’s time to step back to consider what you can do to transform your digital presence so that you’re staying ahead of the curve, not trying to catch up.  It’s time for a digital strategy. 

Other related posts:

Above the Canopy: The Value of a Strategic Viewpoint

Strategy First, Tools Second 

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Inc. Mag, Social Communities, and Google

Here’s my two cents about Inc. Mag. And don’t get me wrong – I love the mag – but they are always a bit behind the times when it comes to new media and technology. I really miss Business 2.0 – I can’t believe they shut it down and replaced my 2.0 with Fortune – what a waste.

So with the article, “Tapping The Community Pool” in the latest issue, they basically talk about how Social Communities via forums or wikis or blogs are allowing customers to help answer each other questions about products. Wow, that’s so 2003.

The example they give is a pool company (www.poolcenter.com) that has a large forum with 5000 registered users. They have their techs online to answer any questions about their products but a lot of times other customers answer the question before an online tech can get to it.

I don’t know if any of you have a Treo, but Palm’s entire support is based in community forums and a lot of times you can’t even get a tech to answer you. They just redirect you to another customer’s post on how to solve a problem.

I’m a huge fan of Ning and they have two communities for support – both creators and developers. Both of these are filled with workarounds and tips from other customers.

I’ve always pushed for community development around any company’s service or product. Now I almost always get somebody who will tell me they don’t need a full blown social community – that there is too many already. The funny thing is that this is usually from someone that doesn’t use any social communities. There’s a cartoon out there floating around (I should have saved the link) showing a guy signing up for a social community network. Afterwards he says, “That’s it. I officially have more social networks than friends.”

That’s probably the case for me.

I’ve got Facebook, my church, my wellness doctor, my family, my company, my marketing network, linkedin, twitter, and this damn blog.

Maybe you think that is too many…but I don’t think so. I think we go in and out of social communities all day long – the net just made them virtual and gave them names.

A little future gazing here – but I believe that our social identities will become more and more important on the web to the fact that websites will change when we visit them depending on the profile we are using to visit them. I’m also into siteless web presence for companies (you don’t need a website as much as you need a presence on many, many websites) as well but I’ll talk about that in a different blog.

Wow, I’ve really gotten far away from my topic. What I wanted to say about the article is that they don’t mention how much Google loves forums, blogs and wikis. There’s a whole host of reasons that I’ll explain in the future but Google digs the relevant content, the new content, the old content, all the keywords and a whole host of other things associated with these communities and there’s a good chance your community will pop up before your website.

And if Google can see you, then the world can. They don’t even mention that in the article.

To prove my point, search for me on Google. Don Schindler. A while back this guy with my exact same name used to dominate Google because he was a Scientologist and he wrote a few articles. But not anymore.

So this blog is a little longer than I wanted.

Remember this though, maybe you don’t think a community is right for you now. Well, all I have to say is, imagine how hard it will be to start one five years from now. The web is in its infancy and you could build an established base right now.

And if you need help, MediaSauce (who I work for) can help you out. You don’t have to go this alone and you’d be surprised how inexpensive it is to set this stuff up.

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Social Media Mania – Follow Up

Wow!!!!! Thanks to all for making our Social Media Mania event such a huge success. We had a packed house and even had to run out and get some extra chairs.

Mitch and I feel bad that we didn’t get to the end of the presentation but we were so pleased with the amount of questions and the excitement and passion you guys brought to the event.

You guys remember one lucky apple winner gets to spend a couple of hours with me on their problems. Just me and your team in a room figuring out what to do. It’ll be fun – and it’ll be FREE!

But in case you didn’t win, we have another thing that may help you. It’s called an RFP. Nope, it’s not what you think it is. It’s a REQUEST FOR PROBLEM.

We would like to know what is bothering your company. So just send me an email (no cost to you) with all the details of your issue (NDN here – we won’t share your email with anyone). Please include in the subject line – RFP.

As we said during the event, we were going to get you the links and information we presented. Well, here it is on Slideshare.

Social Media Mania – MediaSauce Powerpoint

We didn’t get to these things in the presentation but we built several items (very quickly – I might add because I just wanted you guys to see how easy this stuff is to put together) for our Apple Smushing Company including:

Then there were a ton of links that we talked about during the presentation.For Analytics:

For Blogging and Mircoblogging:

For Photos:

For Videos:

For Social Communities:

For Social Communities you can build:

For Wikis:

There’s a ton more. You saw all the logos…there are so many different technologies that it can be overwhelming to learn which ones are the best for your company. That’s where we come in. We can help you figure out your STORY (most important) and then your STRATEGY (almost but not quite as important). Then present your story in the easiest and most engaging way via 3D, animation, flash, html, print, radio and video. We can do quite a bit of stuff. We can also help with SEO, SEM, media planning, and strategic planning. Wow, even more stuff you could use.

Well, we hope you had fun the other day because we sure did and we look forward to seeing you at our future events. And feel free to pop by MediaSauce any time. It’s a fun place to hang out and share a coffee or some small talk. If you think we were crazy at the event, you should see where we work.

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