Etikettarkiv: Facebook

Google’s Tribulations – Déjà-vu all over again…

By now it hasn’t escaped many that Google’s UK boss Matt Brittin didn’t know his own pay when asked in the cross party hearing about Google’s UK tax polices. While it must be a nice problem to have, that’s not my gripe. Nor am I discussing the tax deal whether it was fair or not. But I wonder about why Google seemingly doesn’t seem to see the PR snafu in this story. If I headed up a company and a senior company representative floundered like this at a question and was called “evil” on camera I’d definitely consider that as something of a [minor] PR disaster.

The whole thing reminds me painfully about the SOPA hearings, the same thing there – the IT industry at large sent one lawyer that like the Lone Rider faced a committee of hostile Senators and even more hostile pro-SOPA representatives. And if companies like Google hadn’t shut the Internet down for a day, SOPA would have been introduced there and then.

I so surprised every time I see this happening. One of the biggest companies in the world and they behave worse than a start-up managed by a 20-year old from Mother’s walk-in closet. It’s like Google don’t care about their reputation. Or does Google think that their reputation is so good that they are impossible to harm? Or that because they of their size and market position have nothing to worry about? I find their arrogance amazing. And what more I find their attitude to me as a customer demeaning. Look at the situation – Prime time TV and one of the main star actors doesn’t know his lines. One can argue that Mr Brittins salary wasn’t the subject of the hearing, but he should have been prepared. I feel a little bit insulted on behalf of my métier, weren’t we (and I speak about PR and Communications practitioners) involved in the preparations? Or did Google didn’t feel it was necessary?Where we involved, but not listened to? Did Goole think that this was purely a fiscal question? And that once the deal with the UK government was closed, that was it? No repercussions? No questions asked? And what more, why seemingly no preparations, foresight or strategy from Google’s side?

As said, Google’s tribulations and floundering – déjà-vu all over again…

Networking yourself [to a new job]

I’m following this Coursera MOOC on “International Leadership and Organizational Behaviour”, #ILOB and I quite enjoy it. Although I don’t really know about the academic endeavour and value with these classes new learning is always positive.

Today’s lecture is about the Impact of Social Networks on Organizations and Groups, it speaks about different types of networks – strong vs. weak, closed vs. open etc. But I wonder, does it (= networking) work? And if you find yourself in a surrounding aka network and you’re the odd man out what good will a network be to you? In my own situation e.g. it is no secret that I’m looking for a new job and that I come with a good experience and competencies to execute in the jobs I apply for. Only I seem to exist in some Boy zone, that is Brussels public affairs in IT, and even if I turn over backwards I will never be male so I literally don’t fit in. This is not a criticism, it is stating facts of human nature, I believe that the correct academic term is Homophily, i.e. we bond easier with people whom are similar to ourselves. But with result is that unless we dare to go outside the famous box our network will look as ourselves. From a sheer business point of view that while a closed network like this will offer good ways to collaborate, higher trust etc., closed networks like these will also see lack of innovation, high redundancy in competencies and so on. Of course, I understand that there are two in any connection and I am entirely open to the fact that I’m the weak spot in any [future] relationship. Then the question is – what does that say about me? Maybe I haven’t invested enough in my network? Possibly. Like so much in our lives networks are earned, it could be that I haven’t earned my network. On the other hand none of “my” contacts have just landed in my lap.

I’ve always been a firm believer in “keeping shut and getting the work done” and that this will eventually pay off in more interesting jobs, tasks and better remuneration. Yes, I admit there are limits to my altruism and both the landlord and myself like the concept of paying the monthly bills in full, every month. An old-fashion concept I know, but one that I like because well, it works. But no, not so. Apparently I have to look at my wide network as a strategic asset. Dear me, these a people I’ve passed a good time with having coffee or so, but now they are suddenly an asset. I find it all a bit disconcerting, because while I don’t mind helping out as much as I can myself when someone asks for help I dislike the notion of being an asset. And if I dislike this it is easy to assume that so does my counterparts.

So while I understand that No Man is an Island I’m remain a bit uneasy of the concept of regarding my fellow human beings as assets. And to balance the giving and taking. Or am I maybe over thinking the art of networking?

“The wrong people shared it” a tale of a Social Media campaign gone awry

One of the downsides with having a mother tongue spoken by 10 million people is exactly that. But I wanted to give this a try anyway because it is such a good example of Social Media and an organisation that maybe has a wee bit left to go…

It started on November 11 with a letter from the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, it’s the largest Swedish Union and very powerful Union at that and solidly leftist. No surprises there. And let it be know that I have no problems with Unions, on the contrary I have almost always been a card-carrying member. Not so much maybe in a left-wing Union, but in a Union representing me. I feel that as an employee we sometimes are the underdogs and we may need support. It’s akin to having a home insurance, you don’t need it on a daily basis but once something happens its good to have.

The Swedish Trade Union Confederation in west Sweden is vying for more members. Nothing strange with that, all organisations wants to grow. They are using their Facebook page, nothing strange there either. It’s more the way they are doing it and how they address their future members. It is an accusing text in the form of a letter saying that “Your back will never hurt. You’ve been riding on others’ all your life” after which it goes on to list the Union successes e.g. 8 hour working day, holiday etc…

However, when the letter took a national viral spin it was taken down from the Facebook page. Admittedly it was shared for the “wrong” reasons, no one agreed with the accusing approach in the text something that seemed to surprise the local Union and it was taken down because “It was shared by the Tory side” i.e. by the wrong people having the wrong political views.

And this is the crux with Social Media, we can’t control the response, what we can do is our best to use the channels we are comfortable with but we don’t know if the “wrong side” will pick it up and share it. What we also can do is to do our homework first and see to that we have all the answers for come what may. It’s called a communication strategy and it’s not sexy but it’s what makes campaigns work.

So the next time before you publish something, ask yourself “What if” your life as [Social Media] communicator will be so much easier.

You’ll find the link to the text here:

Social media – does it really work? And three more questions…

Social media is (was) supposed to be the silver bullet for better and interactive contacts between customers and companies, between citizens and public officials, between activists and stakeholder groups.

But is it? Does it really work? Or do I simply ask for too much, too quick? And why are we as consumers accepting this state of affairs?

I am not speaking about the number of likes on a Facebook page, pins on Pinterest, retweets on Twitter. I’m speaking about real constructive interaction between a customer and a company. Is social media becoming another hype that “has to be embraced” and then turns into yet another failed communications tool? One reads in the papers about how someone tweeted and got a job, someone else got a new ticket, a third won against a company and got a failed product replaced. But is this all? It feels like having 200 TV stations while only watching 2.

In a sense it reminds me about when e-mail and e-commerce came (yes, my dears there was a time before “e” and I remember that time) and how we whom already worked with both advised corporate strategists and communicators “Answer e-mails within 24 hours during the working week and 48 hours in the weekend. And put in place an automatic answer to the sender and say this so the customer knows what to expect.” These advice seems to be gone with the wind. I don’t expect instant contact but I do expect contact within the above given time frames. But after implementing social media (mostly I get the feeling this means a Facebook page and a corporate Twitter account) companies seems to feel that they are relieved from this. Because: “We have social media, so we remain in contact with our customers.” But it is still far too often the same one way communication and no real contact with us as customers. Sometimes I feel that the so often beleaguered public sector actually is better and more responsive than private companies when it comes to customer contacts. Even if customers is not the correct term when it comes to the public sector but I trust you understand what I mean.

And to answer my third question:

No, I don’t think I ask for too much too quick. On the contrary, I feel we as consumers are quite wonderful in our patience.

Even if the “I have always had Internet” generation is just coming of age, PC’s and various forms of digital interconnectivity have been around so long they are an inherent part of our every day lives, professional and private, so having grasped how to work with on-line tools (which after all is what Social media are) should be a normal as pen and paper. As should developing services that actually use the opportunities this brings rather than just automating old badly working paper based processes. But from what I see, it doesn’t seem to happen.

But I have no answer to my fourth question – do you?

And what can we as corporate communicators do to change the situation and to turn our organisations into leaders in the area?


No trust in trust

Past Monday I received flowers from my sister in Sweden. It was a birthday greeting. The flower shop called ahead and fixed a delivery time. 30 minutes early they rang my door bell. Luckily the care taker saw the delivery girl because I wasn’t home. The flowers were old and have already starting to sag and the note was printed on a reused document, with old text on the back. My sister certainly didn’t pay for this.

Today I got an email from Euroflorist asking that I’d rate my customer experience. As you might imagine I had a few heartfelt words to say. I was given a link on my phone, already here the first hurdle, a manageable one but still a hurdle. Turns out Euroflorist takes their customer reviews seriously and that they want to offer their customers a safe environment to either praise or complain. Nothing can be said about that.

BUT, they use a service from the company Trustpilot. And let’s just say that that company doesn’t do either trust nor pilot very well.

Why? Well, for starters they don’t get their basics right… Getting your basics right is an old-fashioned concept, I admit, but one that works. All the time.

Before giving up and writing to Euroflorist directly, I tried FOUR times to give my input on this rather failed delivery.

First of all I get a text message with a link. Has anyone ever tried to type a longer message on a phone???

Second, I am asked for the delivery number, which is a good idea seeing that it helps with identification, but tell me where do I find that number? It’s not like it is written on the flowers. There is a number in the initial text message but that isn’t automatically reused in the message header.

Third, I have to create a profile with Trustpilot to send my message. Why? My profile is verified via my email address. AND THEN I HAVE TO RETYPE THE MESSAGE ON MY PHONE. Whom dreamt up that? Not someone having usability as a core concept and quality, that’s for certain.

Four, I am doing this on the Swedish home page. Let me just say, if you don’t have the resources to get a Swedish mother tongue writer in, don’t localize. That simple. The verification email is misspelt and the website a joke. This for a company that promotes trust.

Five, I am offered the possibility to log-on via Facebook. Facebook? Facebook is possible the most criticised company when it comes to privacy and Trustpilot think that is a good way to log on to a site touting security, privacy and trust?

Am I the only one seeing the irony?


LinkedIn – can it go back to basics?

My latest post Does LinkedIn actually work? has sparked quite an interest and a wee debate both on my blog site and in various groups. Interesting enough, representatives from LinkedIn itself has not deigned itself to get involved, a rather alarming argument that my suspicions that the barge is navigating without direction holds some truth.

The more I see the more I think that the basis of all the discomfort so many LI members currently experience with LinkedIn is that it has spread itself too thin. You can simply not be a mädchen für alles, you just end up being nothing for all. It is really very boring, but concentrate and stick to core business is really what makes a success of everything in the long end. Trying to snatch just gets you into trouble. There is success to be had in patience, persistence and keeping your eyes to the ball – much as I hate to admit it being of somewhat impatient nature myself.

LinkedIn started out to be a professional, dedicated, source for business contacts and on-line networking. End of story. It was quite good as that. Then I can only assume that someone at LI benchmarked Facebook and its incessant chatter and thought “We should to that too!” Bad mistake. Their latest infatuation with Twitter just add further injury to the already bleeding victim. I suppose it all really started with LinkedIn went public. Members, members and more members at any cost is their mantra. There is ad revenues to be had with us as a base. Fair enough. But if I had been an investor I would have been more careful with my money (which is why I am not an investor) not wanting my investments to be scattered to the winds. I would have expected some long-term return on investment, preferably not killing the investment on the way. Which is what LI and its investors are doing right now.

But can LinkedIn clean up the more Facebook like traits it has gained lately? Should it? Can it go back to basics? It will risk members leaving, which I suppose will not sit very well with a faceless investor or two.

Still that a few members leave, isn’t that better than LinkedIn disappears all together?

Campaigns – is ”waving” one way to keep them alive?

I have just read the “Responsible business case studies” from Ethical Corporation and one of the case studies they discuss is the “Social media and environmental campaigning: Brand lessons from Barbie” on Barbie and rainforest deforestation. The article describes how Greenpeace International targets Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and APP’s actions in the rainforest. If you can get your hand on this study (it’s free) I recommend you reading it as it brings interesting insights to how to use Social Media and campaigning. But I ask myself, how do you keep up the good work? As they say in the study – it is so easy to have a blitz of activities but once the initial flurry of actions have died out there is little to be seen.

In fact it is it so easy for a campaign to die out that a company engaging in dubious activities, this case rainforest de-forestation, just can sit back and wait and see. Will the people living in tents in Haiti ever get out of them? When did you last hear or see something from Port-au-Prince or the Haitian country side? It’s human nature to get engaged and to keep momentum for a short period of time. But then it is just as easy to just go back to life as it was ”before” or to see your actions being taken over by someone else. Just look at the Occupy Wall Street movement that at least for now looks like a swallow that flew one short summer. The movement hailed as the “Facebook-revolution” the Arab spring, seems more and more to be to be taken over by religious permafrost. It’s at least how it looks from my womanly westernized point of view.

Campaigning via Social Media is a relatively new but mature phenomena, but I wonder if the campaigns should be organised differently? Instead of all activists acting all at once, should they be organised in “waves” thus ensuring a constant stream of messages and pressure on the company whose practises the activists are trying to change? Say if Greenpeace organise its activists in groups, it could relay the work, thus keep pressuring the corporate in question while not exhausting their activists and their will to work. Once group A have stopped their work, group B takes over etc. Nothing stops other group members to get active but the core activity for that period is carried out by the group members in question. This of course goes against our idea of a campaign that is by nature “short, strong and sassy” but is it the way forward in particular now when more and more campaigns are using Social Media? It would take some different organisation from e.g. Greenpeace, but who knows, it just might work?

I only ask because the campaign mentioned above seems to have gone into hibernation while there appear to be few signs of changing practises by APP. And it looks as if like “keep up the job” is something that tends to be too short-lived to achieve a real change…