Tag : social media

Pakistan. We hear about in the news. Do they harbor terrorists? Are they our enemies? Perhaps.

But one thing I know is that in any country, there are people, just like you and me who only want to work so they can feed their families. We have way more in common than we might imagine.

Look at these kids. They are dressed differently but they just want to play.

When I read that twitter had been rolled out  in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu for the first time, I was ecstatic. (Languages that read right-to -left presented special programming challenges.)

They did this with the help of:

            13,000 volunteers!

… including some who live where Twitter is officially blocked. The reason? ” to help more “ordinary people” make use of the service;  both to hold politicians to account and to tweet about their everyday life.”

Understanding each other, communication and learning are key ingredients to preventing war. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Photo credit: Glacier  Kids (Boston.com)

I really enjoy teaching grad students in both the classroom and online.

In person, we interact, smile at each other, laugh and even share an occasional pizza. Online we interact, smile at each other :), laugh (lol) but, so far, we haven’t shared pizza.

6 million students — a third of total enrollment @ post-secondary institutions –were taking at least one online course (2010). One third of high school students study part time online.

Students want and will get… un-tethered, digitally rich, social-based learning. Since teens, especially minorities, use their mobile devices as their primary computers… opportunities to solve educational problems abound. Teachers, schools districts and parents will all need to adapt.

But online learning is only part of the story.

“90,000 students enrolled in a building a search-engine online course ” taught by Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford University research professor and Google fellow who led the development of Google’s self-driving car. Yes, you read that right 90,000 students enrolled in the 7 week online course.

Welcome to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)– a tool for democratizing higher education. Last semester, Stanford University offered these MOOCs  — Machine Learning (104,000 registered, and 13,000 completed the course), and Introduction to Databases (92,000 registered, 7,000 completed).

Higher education is getting ready for a disruption of Amazon.com proportions. (Hmmm, I wonder if Jeff Bezos will be taking Amazon into online  education.) Educators, start your engines… you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Photo credit: Slodive.com

Executive Wanted to Watch My Toys

Every parent of a two year old has heard the cries of, “mine.”

Every person who has worked at a large (or perhaps small) company has heard the same thing. None of us want to think of ourselves as uncooperative… but many of us have attitudes about our work, our reputation and our ‘stuff’ that prevent us and our organizations from progressing.

The article, “Do Organizations Need a Chief Collaboration Officer,” struck me as both ridiculous (really another executive position?) and telling. A significant enough topic to be written about in the revered (by some) Harvard Business Review in 2010, the notion that collaboration is so important to business today that we need to give someone the authority to override silos, fiefdoms and ‘it’sallaboutmes’.

The idea here is to have someone at the executive level assuring that technology, people and culture are focused on how the new tools (web 2.0) and attitude (social) are moving the company towards increased sales and improved customer and employee relations.The holistic view of the way the company adopts and adapts to creating community for employees and customers is best seen from 30,000 feet.

Large organizations have had some advantages in technology (Lotus Notes was a revolution in communication in its day.) But now, they are at a real disadvantage as they try to control 1,000’s of employees. Real-time collaboration tools like yammer and dropbox are making it fast and inexpensive (or free!) for small companies to outpace their larger brethren.

Bottom line: the executive best suited for the new responsibility is not selected by title but by who collaborates the best.

If you believe that Web 2.0 and social networking are revolutionizing business from top to bottom, then you get this. If you think that social is for marketing and maybe human resources… then this all seems likes child’s play.

 

Photo credit: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

BYOD Bring Your Own Device (to work!)

You may remember the good old days, when your company issued you a cell phone or a blackberry. The IT department helped you learn to use it and provided support when something went wrong. IT did this because they thought it was the way to insure security.

Today, the rapidly growing number of  digital devices is a nightmare for IT departments and a collaboration playground.

Digital natives (and those of us who are adapting) don’t think twice about using technology to share information. Working together in real time (Google Docs, Yammer ) is commonplace. Tools like wikis and social bookmarking make the job of co-working and co-creating easier than ever.

For those of us who think that “working harder” is the answer… that we “don’t have time” to learn all about these new gadgets and websites… we need to stop, look and listen.

Sticking our head in the sand will not help us, our city, our region or our country thrive. So the next time you see an iPad or someone mentions Google +, instead of declaring your ignorance, why not ask a question or two? Ask for some help in learning. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo credit: ZDnet.com

You've Got Email... Not!

I’m old enough to remember the world before the Internet. We didn’t use email because only the Internet removed the need for matching hardware and software –  so prior to the big “I” — electronic communication was largely an internal communication tool for large corporations.

I like to ask people if they find direct mail or email more intrusive and the answer is a resounding, “Email!” So in a couple of decades we went from no email to too much email and now we’re heading… according to some… back to less email.

Check out this article titled, “Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy, ” from ABC news. It describes how a European tech company is working to ban internal email and replace it with real time collaboration tools like … a “Wiki, which allows all employees to communicate by contributing or modifying online content, the company’s online chat system which allows video conferencing, and file and application sharing.”  They are not banning external email with customers just internal spam and nonsense.

Are you ready to collaborate in whole new ways? If you had to start work at a new company and they asked you to share your thoughts on a wiki, would you say, “Sure, no problem,” or would you stare blankly at your hiring manager.

What are some of the new collaboration tools? Check out Yammer. It is a free private social network (like twitter) that is used by over 100,000 companies worldwide. Little companies like Ford and LG.  And what about those wikis? Go into Google and search for almost anything and add wiki to the search. You may be surprised to see how companies are using this handy technology to develop everything from policies to tech road maps to employee on-boarding processes.

Whether or not email goes away entirely or not isn’t really the issue. How we adapt to new ways of communicating and collaborating is. The rules, tools and expected results are all changing folks. Get ready!

Ok, so you’re thinking — I like my customers well enough but really, do I have to ask them what they think? What if they tell me?

Social media makes our interactions more transparent. So hearing their feedback directly can be good and bad.

What we know is that traditional market research (while it used to be better than nothing) has big flaws. Check out this research from Forrester, “Making Better Use of Customer Data.

Words like interactive,  adaptive and real-time are hardly ever used in conjunction with traditional market research. We’ll talk more about how customer feedback is being gathered in real time. In the meantime, check out Zappos realtime service on twitter.

Have fun talking to customers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: thinkhappynow. com