Social Networks: Good for Business?

July 20, 2008

by Carrie-Ann Skinner, PC Advisor

Businesses are not making the most out of social networking technologies brought into the spotlight by sites such as Facebook and MySpace, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Gartner said the business potential of such sites was “largely untapped”, and the firm expects them to “become increasingly important to the competitiveness of large enterprises in the future”.

“Social networking software holds enormous potential for improving the management of large enterprises,” said Nick Ingelbrecht, research director at Gartner.

“However, work in this area is still immature and in the meantime enterprises should be aware of what is happening in the world of consumer social networking and implement appropriate usage policies for employees’ use of services such as Facebook and MySpace on company time.”

Full article at PC World Business Centre

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Web 2.0 and HR: a discussion paper

July 9, 2008

CIPD’s magazine “People Management” (10 July) has a short article about the above discussion paper (by Graeme Martin, Martin Reddington and Mary Beth Kneafsey) which I think is well worth reading.

www.cipd.co.uk/research/_web20hr.htm

“This discussion paper has been written to encourage personal reflection and debate among the HR community about the way newer web-based technologies are influencing HR and people management. Although at an early stage, a family of powerful web-based technologies are being adopted by organisations to:

  • encourage greater collaboration
  • give customers and employees greater voice
  • help them learn about each other and, in an HR context, potential employees
  • share their knowledge and experiences.

Like every form of technology, however, there are unresolved issues, challenges and degrees of risk associated with each stage of the innovation process, which includes the adoption, diffusion and exploitation of Web 2.0 for both commercial and non-commercial ends. Perhaps more than any other managerial function, HR professionals need to be aware of these opportunities and challenges and be able to contribute effectively as members of a senior management team to policies on Web 2.0.”


The Richmond Group

March 8, 2008

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at the Richmond Group’s meeting at The Cobham Hilton on Saturday 8th March and shared my thoughts and experiences on “Business Benefits of Blogging and Social Networking” …

The Richmond Group is described as “the UK’s leading consortium of independent, certified management consultants whose members cover the full range of consultancy specialisations and work throughout both the public and private sectors.”  Further details available from the Richmond Group’s website.

I was asked to make the talk as “participative” as possible and I was delighted that the members did not hold back either with their questions or with their own valuable thoughts and insights into the topic being discussed. 

Here’s a quick summary of some key points which might be helpful as an aide memoire to those who attended:-

Business Blogging and the Benefits…

How do you start a Blog?

I use (and recommend using) http:/Wordpress.com for a simple yet feature-rich Blog which you can customise using a variety of templates.  Simply sign up and create a Blog and write your first Post.

I used “KayeNightingale” as the blog domain and “Kaye Nightingale” as the Blog Title.  Therefore, the URL for my Blog is https://kayenightingale.wordpress.com

If you don’t like the idea of having .wordpress.com as part of your blog domain then you can, instead, pay for a Blog account via http://Wordpress.org to enable you to have the exact URL you’d like such as “kayenightingale.com”.  I will probably do this for my next Blog but this free account has served me very well thus far.  I would recommend a visit to the http://wordpress.org site for general knowledge prior to creating your first blog as it contains some very useful information.

How do you search for Blogs?

Google has a great feature which allows you to search specifically for Blogs rather than websites.  From www.google.co.uk look for BLOGS … you will probably find it under MORE …

I spent a lot of time researching other Blogs before I felt brave enough to get started and then realised that, actually, I didn’t need to research other people’s blogs before I was ready to get started because the whole point of a Blog is that it is a place where you should use your own voice to write about topics of interest to you (and hopefully your intended audience).  Having said that, I do regularly search Blogs whenever I want to research anything as I find blogs much more useful than searching in traditional websites. 

Should you leave comments?  Yes!

I enjoy the “communication” aspect of blogging and I enjoy reading certain people’s thoughts and opinions.  Naturally you have to be selective but once you have found a Blog that interests you I would suggest that you get involved.  Leave a comment if you found the Post interesting … include a URL in your COMMENT because readers of your comment might well then click to visit your website or blog if they were interested in your comment.  Search Engines love links so always include your own URL in every comment and always comment if you found the Post interesting … this way you will be raising your own profile.  One of the key differences between websites and blogs is that blogging is about “communication” and “communities” where active participation is invited.

When setting up your Blog you will be able to control the settings of comments received so that you can check all comments prior to them appearing on your Blog.  I receive an email when someone makes a comment showing me the name / email / URL of the person leaving the comment, with the option of accepting it / deleting it / spamming it, which gives me full control.

What is a Blogroll?

A Blogroll is simply a list (roll) of other Blogs which you are happy to be associated with.  You might include them so that you can easily go to them for your own benefit or you might include them to help your audience or you might include them to help drive traffic to an associate’s Blog.  Whatever the main reason, it is in your own interest to have a Blogroll because all LINKS are beneficial and aid your rankings with search engines.

Why should you use Categories?

When writing a Post always include at least one category. 

Categories will help your audience to easily search your entire Blog for topics belonging to a certain category of interest PLUS it will aid your rankings with search engines because it will help in the matching process (between the keywords typed in and the keywords / tags / categories used in your Blog).

Is there a good book about Blogging?

I thoroughly recommend “Clear Blogging” by Bob Walsh ….  See further details on my Website Reading List

Which Blogs (about Blogging) do I recommend?

I thoroughly recommend Better Business Blogging which contains lots of useful information.  www.betterbusinessblogging.com

Where can you get further advice and guidance?

It would be a pleasure to hear from anyone who attended the Richmond Group’s meeting if they need any further support, advice or guidance with regards blogging.  Feel free to either leave a comment here OR use the contact form on my website www.kayenightingale.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.


Facebook and MySpace hit by Zero-Day Flaw

February 2, 2008

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Exploit code affecting an unpatched flaw in an image uploader used by both Facebook and MySpace is circulating publicly, putting users of the social networking sites at risk, according to security researchers.

Social networking sites have exploded in popularity in recent months and have become accepted as business tools in some quarters, leading to security concerns.

In December, WorkLight released a tool designed to allow companies to provide employees with access to Facebook while ensuring the social network is run from behind secure corporate firewalls.

Earlier in 2007 Sophos found that Facebook users are too gullible in giving up personal information, making them targets for identity theft.

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Full article available from PC World online: – http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,142109-pg,1/article.html


Technology for Marketing & Advertising Show

January 29, 2008

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 The Technology for Marketing & Advertising Show is almost upon us.  See you there? 

 Full details from the following link: 

http://www.t-f-m.co.uk/page.cfm/Link=1/t=m/goSection=1


Microsoft to pay $240 million for a stake in FaceBook

October 26, 2007

Facebook and Microsoft Expand Strategic Alliance

Anyone who likes to keep an eye on the major players in the software world will be interested to learn that Microsoft is to pay $240 million for a 1.6 percent stage for Facebook, which would value this fledgling company at $15 billion.

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See full press release

The New York Times (Saul Hansell) [ 24 October ]:

“He’s saying that the money will let Facebook hire hundreds of engineers and buy thousands of servers. And he defines the company’s business as “social computing.” That means Facebook wants to build a serious technology company using its close relationship with users, which challenges Google. “

See full article 

The New York Times (Brad Stone) [ 25 October ]

“The Microsoft investment throws the value of the holdings of Facebook investors into the stratosphere. Mark Zuckerberg, the 23-year-old Facebook founder who dropped out of Harvard to build the company, owns a 20 percent share which is now valued at $3 billion. Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that invested $12.7 million in May 2005 and owns 11 percent of Facebook, now holds stock worth $1.65 billion. “

See full article

What will Google make of this investment?

 


Brilliant Business Connections

October 9, 2007

How powerful networking can transform you and your company’s performance … It’s who you know that really matters

It was pouring with rain today and I had half an hour to kill whilst waiting to be collected from the train station so decided to visit our local library (partly to get out of the rain and partly to see what it was like) as I hadn’t visited it for a few years.  The selection of business books is small but surprisingly up to date.  One book which caught my eye was “Brilliant Business Connections” by Frances Kay …

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 Here are a few quotes which stood out:-

“Building relationships requires time, commitment and effort.”

“… developing brilliant business connections … is rather like a treasure hunt.  You never know who you will meet or what you may find out.”

“Networks work best with ‘give and take’.  You only get out what you are prepared to put in.”

“The best networks are information-rich, collaborative, high-trust environments.”

“Enthusiasm is catching.  Being positive is attractive.”

“Networking and selling, however, are like chalk and cheese.  Networking events should be used as a platform to make positive business connections.  You may sell yourself but not your products or services.”

“One of the reasons why networking gets a bad name is because people who do not understand the process abuse it by trying to sell services or products.”

“Set up a monthly reminder note to contact anyone you haven’t seen or spoken to in the last six to eight weeks.  They will appreciate you keeping in touch…. Many people will be amazed that you’ve rung them without any particular reason or ulterior motive attached.”

The above quotes were contained within the first 40 pages – I look forward to reading the remainder of the book as it seems to fit perfectly with my philosophy of getting to know people and doing business with people I like (and who like me).

For anyone who attended the Herts CIPD CASE BBQ in September, the above comments will be largely familiar, from the discussion we shared as part of my brief talk on “What to do with all those Business Cards”.    I personally believe that you have to show GENUINE interest in people; nurture those fledgling relationships, hoping that something good might come of it but not expecting anything; stay in touch and DON’T phone only when you want to sell something; and then just sit back and see what develops …

I read somewhere (can’t recall where just now) that, in business, we should “cultivate and not chase”.   Afterall, if you chase anything, it will run further away …