Australian Blogging Conference

Brisbane’s NYE06
Originally uploaded by Komshiki

To be held at QUT in Brisbane on Friday, 28 September 2007, the Australian Blogging Conference looks like it is aiming to stimulate some debate (legal and creative) around the concept of blogging in Australia.

There seems to be a particular focus on the legal issues according to the schedule, but the breakout sessions in the afternoon look a little more interesting. While claiming to be less "formal" than most conferences, it still appears pretty structured.

Those interested in attending should email Peter Black – p2 [dot] black [at] qut [dot] edu [dot] au

Giving Feedback — If you were not delighted with your experience …

One of the posts that consistently generates traffic to this site is this one. It was written in response to a Seth Godin post on the art of Giving Feedback.

Now whether you are a giver or receiver, criticism can be hard to take. You can feel slighted, victimised, angry or insulted. Sometimes the blood rushes to your face, your hands or to your feet … criticism is one of those things that creates an emotional AND physical response.

BUT … it is not just the receiving of criticism that is difficult. Giving it can be challenging too. Even those in positions of power can be clumsy in delivering feedback … So, if you DO have to provide feedback, here are some tips:
1) Be honest but not brutal
2) Don’t embellish or change the message part way through
3) Do it earlier rather than later (don’t wait until things are very bad)

Oh, and on both sides … be gracious under pressure.

Put on Your Strategy Face

Despite my flurry of posts on Facebook over the last week, I still spend very little time there. I really am just a newbie, but can already see the potential. There are plenty of ways of self-selecting, self-categorising and activating your own persona. There are plenty of ways to interact with or avoid others … and there are some nice, fun widgets to play with. Even better, you can more actively “follow” a friend in their movements, tastes and interests than is possible via Twitter … which means that you can choose to play in the same spaces as your friends without intruding on them.

The approaches and behaviours of people who use these social networking sites is fascinating. I have been surprised even by my own interests and curiosities. For the digital strategist, Facebook can be a veritable gold mine or a massive jungle trap. One false move and you can be booted out.

If you are like me and struggling to find your way around Facebook, take a look at Jeremiah Owyang’s post on Facebook terminology. It is a crash course in understanding the ins and outs from a strategic point of view.

Now, all I need is a pipe.

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What I Learned From … My Chaotic Life

Readers of this blog will know that I see chaos as a fertile source of creativity — this blog is not called Servant of Chaos for nothing. But chaos also engenders something else — change — for without change there can be no chaos.  Most recently I have been caught in multiple waves of change and chaos. The first was predicted and planned — The Age of Conversation was a project that I willingly and knowingly activated. Neither Drew nor I knew where it would take us (and we still don’t) — and if you have not purchased a copy, please do so here.
The second wave occurred when I sold my house and had to find a new place to live. There were a few dramas (as there were bound to be) — they say that moving house is one of the most stressful things that you can do. The other most stressful thing you can do is to change jobs.
As the Age of Conversation was starting to gain momentum and as I was in the middle of buying/selling and moving homes, I also began considering a change in career.
It was far from an easy decision for me to make. Working in an agency means that you develop very close ties with your colleagues, a passion and interest in the projects that you work on, and more often than not, a sometimes obsessive connection to the style and manner of working that has proven professionally successful. I was provided significant challenges and responsibilities, travelled the world, and built a team that were truly innovative, driven and creative … changing jobs meant leaving all this behind.
Two weeks ago I started a new journey — on the client side. I am working with the market and technology leader, SAP, in the Education Division for the Americas. I have joined the company at an exciting time and have been pleasantly surprised to see a robust interest and engagement with social media across the company. One of the interesting things that is running at present is a global survey on social media trends, hosted by Shel Israel. There are some very interesting responses including Kris Hoet, BL Ochman, Brian Reich, Karl Long, Douglas Karr .. and you can even “roll your own”.
The thing that I learned, or in fact, re-learned in all this, is that you cannot control chaos … you can only ride it. You may be able to start it, but you won’t know where it will lead you. With thanks to Robert Hruzek for starting the “what I learned from …” topic.

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Reimagining the CMO

For the last couple of days I have been having an interesting time digging around in the corporate marketing sphere … and one of the things that has surprised me is the lack of cross-over between the client and agency sides — especially considering how closely the two must work to build and grow brands. It strikes me that there are plenty of things that the client and agency sides can learn from each other … and then I found an article over at Strategy + Business that put a smile on my face.
This article by Gregor Harter, Edward Landry, and Andrew Tipping on the “Complete Marketer” talk about the six emerging themes that are occupying the top CMOs. These are:

  • Putting the consumer at the heart of marketing
  • Making marketing accountable
  • Embracing the challenges of new media
  • Recognising the new organizational imperative
  • Living a new agency paradigm
  • Remaining adaptable

From a social media perspective, some of this feels old hat … but to those client-side folks who do the hard yards everyday trying to keep marketing at the top of the corporate agenda, just picking one or two could represent an entire year’s work. Of course, rapid change is easy in an organisation of one, but transforming a business, the employees, shareholders and partner networks can require a significant investment. It is not JUST about reimagining the CMO, it is about changing the way that business does business.

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Why Social Media is Good for Your Brain

Curious George & AOC
Originally uploaded by gregverdino

It makes obvious sense … if you read one book a month, when the average person reads one book a year, this will give you an edge. In five years the average person will have read five books while you would have read 60. Blogs compress this.

Because most marketing blogs focus on actionable strategy, the information that you read can be readily turned into marketing initiatives. And best of all … many of the ideas and concepts can be trialled using social media tools in a low cost manner.

Right now, one of the BEST investments that you could make would be to purchase a copy of The Age of Conversation. It contains insight and ideas from 100 of the world’s leading marketers. No need to be a monkey … just be curious.

MarketingProfs Round-Up

We love a social network … they allow us to be “social”, to decorate them to our heart’s content, to accumulate and keep tabs on our friends and colleagues. Some of us use these networks professionally or personally or in a cross-over form. Sometimes to our surprise these open networks are used in unexpected ways — old friends track us down (whether we like it or not), employers get a glimpse into our “private” lives and bosses get a REAL 360 review.

While these could all be considered “problems”, there is another issue that is not often discussed. What happens when our favourite social network — the one that we have spent hours building and cultivating — closes down unexpectedly? What happens to our personal information, our photos, comments, stories and other information? What safeguards are in place? In short … who owns you? This is a question I asked a while ago over at MarketingProfs … but I forgot to post about it here.

And while I am at it, I should let you know about yet another of my rants on Facebook and its use in the workplace which is published today over at the Daily Fix. Now, if I can only stop myself from being such a chatterbox I could get some more blogging done here 😉

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Building Trust Through Participation


I have been ruminating on the linkage between trust and participation over the last couple of days … particularly in light of Mario’s post on the Fifth P of Marketing — participation … and trying to piece together a sense of where this is all heading. As you have all probably experienced, there is a converging of technologies and processes — the distinctions between work/life, professional/private, author/collaborate are collapsing before our very eyes. Meanwhile, the institutions that we have, in the past, trusted (from banks to governments) are coming under fire and are heaving under the stresses of our cynical consumerist glare. Even the darlings of our new connected universe, Google, are feeling this strain.

Where once we turned to Google to sort through the dross of the ever-expanding Internet, we now turn to our personal networks. The difference now, however, is that our personal networks are dispersed across geographies, timezones and languages. We use tools and sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter to mine specific answers to our global and local needs. Robert Scoble calls this "social graphing" — take a look at the second video here.

One of the ideas that interested me most in this concept was the linkage between how social networking activates and validates inter- and intra-community trust. Basically, this means that I am more likely to make a decision based on feedback or information garnered from my network of trusted advisors. For example, I am more likely to try Facebook if all my friends are using it — even the stalwart David Armano has finally capitulated 😉

From a brand and marketing point of view, these networks are strategically important … but as Robert Scoble points out, they are, thus far, impervious to search engine optimisation. This means that ONLY those brands that are ACTIVE in social media will have any chance of reaching and activating these networks. In short — brands need to participate … for only through participation can they DEMONSTRATE the qualities that will lead to trust. So if you are asked "should my company be blogging"? The answer should be clear.

With thanks to Spell with Flickr.

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Blogger Social

  Blogger Social
Originally uploaded by servantofchaos

Ever wanted to meet the people behind your favourite blogs? I know I have (and in some instances I have been lucky enough to do so). But some of my favourite bloggers live far away … from Europe to India and across the US. It is hard to think of a way of bringing eveyone together … but then, that has never stopped a good marketer!

The charming and super-smart CK teamed up with Mike, Cam, Luc and Drew to form an organising committee to make sure that we will all have a chance to meet face to face. More herculean than the 2008 Olympic Games, this dynamic group have drawn a line in the sand — April 4-6, 2008. The place? NYC.

But to make sure we can secure a place and move ahead with the many arrangements that need to be made, you need to RESERVE a place before November 15.

HOW? Simply go here … find out more … and book online.

And PLEASE … book earlier rather than later. Go on … you know you want to!

Blogging for Business

Mario Sundar has a great post on MarketingProfs where he is talking about the FOUR steps of blogging for business, based on the four Ps of marketing. When it comes to social media, Mario chooses to add a FIFTH P — participation — to the mix.
His four steps are:

  • Listen
  • Awareness
  • Measure
  • Participate

I like the approach, I must say … but Dusan Vrban asks a great question in the comments — "As from my point of view, first P (Product) stands for product in all it’s  forms. And mostly, it means to develop product through different research  method. Involving consumers is one of the strongest … what do you think on that?"

My take is this … the fifth P deserves its own spot and should not be consolidated or merged as part of the product. Why? Partly because participation is and should be chaotic. Participation may or may not lead to a product outcome … it could affect many other aspects of your marketing and brand. In fact, if you are managing participation well, then it should — especially in relation to blogging.

I also think it is important to emphasise the HUMAN and emotional nature of participation. It is this aspect that colours and brings to life a brand experience — and something that is particularly challenging within a corporate blogging environment. Can it be achieved? I am sure it can … take a look at some of Mack Collier’s blog reviews for some examples. The importance of the fifth P to a social brand cannot be underestimated.

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