Phil Simon’s ‘The Next Wave of Technologies’ –Review

Check-out our Podcast Interview with Author, Phil Simon

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Not a day goes by when I don’t hear someone talk about the challenge of keeping up with technology. Most of the time it’s an individual talking about things like new mobile phones, iphone apps, google docs, search engines–you get the picture. But think about how difficult it must be for CIO’s and people working in corporate Information Technology departments; people who are responsible for choosing systems and applications and having to make decisions on where and how to spend their IT dollars.

This is why people like Phil Simon are so important. Simon is the author of a new book, The Next Wave of Technologies: Opportunities in Chaos, who collaborated with a network of experts to write about a wide spectrum of Enterprise 2.0 technologies.The book demystifies topics you may have thought were hands-off to you: SaaS (software as a service), enterprise search and retrieval (ESR), service-oriented architecture (SOA). The book also covers topics which may feel more mainstream at this point such as cloud computing, mobile technologies, and social networking.

The Next Wave of Technologies is a must-read for IT professionals who are scrambling to keep up with the implications of new technologies and a book for their colleagues who need to interface with them. Students and consulting firms will also benefit from reading the book. Simon writes, “…it does not provide all of the answers to any one technology, but summarizes the questions that readers should be asking themselves.”

Simon concludes, “In the end, no one has a crystal ball predicting how any technology will ultimately be used and by whom. Even the experts in this very book cannot foresee with any degree of certainty where we are going, much less how we are going to get there. In five years, any one of the Enterprise 2.0 technologies in this book may have already fizzled. We may look back at any one of them and say, “What were we thinking?…It will be a bumpy but exciting ride with magnificent rewards at the end for those able to find opportunity in chaos.”

One thing is clear, we can’t bury our head in the sand until the next wave of technologies settle. All of us who want to stay current and competitive need to have a good picture of the choices out there today and the effects they will have on the ways we communicate professionally and personally.

* DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION Special thanks to John Wiley & Sons for providing a review copy of The Next Wave of  Technologies for this blog post. Wiley books are available at your local bookstore or by calling 1-800-225-5945.

From Fan to Like: Facebook’s Linguistical Challenge

On top of everything else, Facebook thinks about the linguistical ramifications of the words it chooses. Yesterday you may have been a “fan” of a page, but today you “like” it. According to Facebook, to like something is lightweight in comparison to coming right out and saying you’re a fan.

I can’t say that I took particular issue with fanning a company, product or brand. To me it’s more about winning me over, doing something which stands out—deserves recognition and acknowledgement.

We have lots of choices today about where we can take our business: fly a particular airline, shop at which local supermarket, buy a certain brand automobile. The list goes on and on. Everyday we’re faced with choices. This brand over that brand. That company over this company. Bottom-line, the companies who win our business need to do something to earn it and keep it.

Will you think differently about which Facebook pages you like?

All Blog Content Isn’t Created Equal

Here’s the dilemma: all blog content isn’t created equal. On the one hand we’re told people should write in a casual manner, be transparent, say what’s on their mind. But when does sharing become oversharing?  Take the case of conductor Leonard Slatkin who was “pelted by brutal reviews” and bowed out of the production in humiliation after he blogged that not only was he new to “La Traviata,” but that he was”somewhat naïve in this repertoire.”

A few years back, Curt Schilling started blogging on 38Pitches.com about every pitch and what was going through his mind.  Managers told him point-blank—stop.  Give away the mechanics and you risk losing the awe of your fans.

In business, it’s not a company’s mission to tell customers the most inner workings of their organization; product development secrets, what regions they’re thinking about expanding into. Companies keep those cards close to their chest and divulge the information when and if it’s time.

If the conductor or the baseball player’s blog had been treated like any other media outlet, the organization could have nipped those blog posts in the bud. Ideally they would have had a content strategy and coached the writer on what’s acceptable and appropriate to write about. And more importantly, what’s not. They wouldn’t have been forced to censor.

Transparent, authentic voices—yes. But within guidelines.

Jim Sterne’s ‘Social Media Metrics’—Review

Jim Sterne does an excellent job of laying out the current social media playing field in his book, Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment. He provides numerous examples and resources to further our understanding of metrics.

Sterne begins the book by suggesting the three business goals we should be most focused on: raising revenue, lowering costs, and increasing customer satisfaction. He says desired business outcomes are measurable and include things like: awareness, survey completions, subscriptions, registrations, blog comments, blog posts, leads, and purchases.

Sterne cautions us that social media results can take time. He cites Marshall Sponder who surveyed social marketing experts and practitioners, and recommends that you plan on spending six to twelve months of effort and data collection before you can tell whether “you have hit a jackpot by fluke or have actually built a long-term, brand building program.”

While web sites can be measured by key performance indicators (KPI), Sterne suggests we take a look at Chris Lakes’s list of social interaction metrics/KPIs which includes 35 metrics to help measure engagement–everything from alerts to wishlists. See the full list.

The social media reader coming to Sterne’s book may be looking for the answer to the question–are we improving our brands standing by using social media?

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An Interview with Author, Chris Brogan, Social Media 101

A couple of months ago we reviewed Chris Brogan’s new book, Social Media 101.  Since reading the book we’ve thought about what we would ask Chris if we could. We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to discuss the book with Chris in this Impressions through Media exclusive interview. Welcome, Chris!

DH: You wrote in Social Media 101 that some people advise organizations to go for a blog as a first option in their starter moves for introducing social media, and that you think blogs are possibly not a good first choice. Universally are there any good first choices for organizations? Or do you think it’s more a case-by-case situation? Are there any identifying factors to help organizations decide e.g. by type of business, size of organization?

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Blogging Your Way to Happiness

There’s been a lot of interest in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project which was published in late 2009 and became a #1 New York Times Bestseller. The book is a memoir of the year Gretchen spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from the popular culture about how to be happy–from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah.”

As a blogger, and someone who derives a great deal of pleasure and happiness from blogging, I loved the part of the book where Gretchen describes launching her blog.

While my blog posts usually have more of a business focus on topics such as social media marketing, I wanted to take this opportunity to share Gretchen’s perspectives on blogging—mostly because I identify. And, because I often talk with people who are contemplating starting a blog and wondering how it will be for them. These passages describe my experiences so perfectly. I believe that if you want to blog, once you get through the initial steps,  you too will reap the benefits which come from blogging.

In Gretchen Rubin’s words from The Happiness Project:

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