Four lessons learned from 12 years of blogging

It is 12 years since I started this Trends in the Living Networks blog to accompany the launch of my book Living Networks. It is interesting to look at my posts from October 2002, in which I reflected on some of the earlier signs of the networks coming to life.

The original blog was on the book website, but a couple of years later I moved it to this domain, rossdawsonblog.com. At the time I put quite a lot of consideration into whether that was a good name, given that ‘blog’ was a neologism that might fade or be replaced.

The concept of a blog is now firmly mainstream, with not just tens of millions of people and many companies blogging, but a significant chunk of mainstream media having shifted to blog-like formats.

I still spot many articles about how to get attention to your new blog, and many people still seem to be setting up blogs (though of course many are also abandoning them after having tried for a while).

So what are some of the things I have learned from 12 years of blogging?
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Launch of Social Media Strategy Framework in Arabic

When we first released our Social Media Strategy Framework, the response was so strong that it ended up being translated into 12 languages.

At the time we did want to translate it into Arabic, however this proved difficult as it requires the Middle East version of Illustrator; most versions of Adobe CS do not support Arabic text. Fortunately we were recently approached with an offer to do a translation into Arabic, supported by the NGO Internews.

When I recently did the keynote at Arab Media World in Dubai on Creating the Future of Arab Media I noted that one of the defining aspects of Arab media is the exceptional uptake of social media in a number of Arab countries, by some measures the highest in the world.

As such the social media familiarity gap between users on the one hand and companies and governments on the other is extremely high. Hopefully this framework will prove useful. As always feel free to pass on the framework to those who might find it useful.

Click on the framework image to see the full pdf.

SocialMediaStrategy_Arabic_510w

The (in)accuracy of long-tail Wikipedia articles – can you help improve mine?

The quality of Wikipedia has been well established. A well-known study was carried out in 2005 by scientific journal Nature showing that the accuracy of Wikipedia articles on science was comparable to that of Encyclopedia Brittanica. A more recent study by Epic and University of Oxford again showed comparable quality of articles across many domains of study and languages.

These well-publicized studies have led people to believe that Wikipedia is always a reliable source of information. However the problem is that both of these studies compared articles of substance on academic topics. There are more than 23 million articles on Wikipedia, and around 130,000 on Encyclopedia Brittanica. There is no way to assess on a comparative basis the accuracy of the close to 23 million Wikipedia articles on topics that aren’t substantively covered elsewhere.
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Crowdsourcing Week in Singapore promises to help catalyze the global potential of crowdsourcing

Epi Nekaj, the founder of crowdsourcing innovator Ludvik + Partners, first got in touch with me in early 2012 to discuss his plan to run a landmark global event focused on crowdsourcing.

On June 3-7 Crowdsourcing Week will be held in Singapore, bringing the Crowdsourcing Week team’s vision to fruition.

Ross Dawson_500
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Launch of Future of the CIO framework

Over the next few weeks I will be giving the keynote at the Tomorrow-Ready CIO Series organized by CIO magazine and sponsored by IBM. The events will be held over breakfast in Canberra, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne, with an audience of CIOs and other senior IT executives. Full details on the events here.

My keynote will be on the Future of the CIO. I have recently pulled together my thinking on the topic, drawing in particular on a series of CIO workshops I ran across Europe last year.

Below is the Future of the CIO Framework that I will be sharing at the events. It is now up on my complete list of visual frameworks on RossDawson.com.

FutureoftheCIO_500w
Click on the image for the full-size pdf
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Analysis: US, Australia social network usage flat, New Zealand now the world’s biggest user of social networks?

On February 13 I will speak at Air New Zealand’s Social Media Breakfast in Auckland, together with Teddy Goff, Obama’s Digital Director, with an expected audience of close to 1,000.

Air New Zealand ran its first Social Media Breakfast in July last year with Randi Zuckerberg as key speaker, with the exceptional success of the event leading the airline to continue the series with the second breakfast next week. While Air New Zealand is the 36th largest airline in the world, it ranks 6th in its social media presence.

In preparing for the event I have been looking at data on New Zealand’s usage of social media. I was surprised to find that there is a fair chance that New Zealand has the highest rate of social network usage in the world.

Globalsocialmedia_Dec12

The chart above shows a summary of data from Nielsen on the time spent per month on social networks in a variety of countries around the world.
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Why microblogging has moved to the heart of enterprise social initiatives

I recently wrote Why conversational skills are needed to create a high-performance, engaged, networked organization, reflecting on an executive roundtable discussion I lead as part of the 21st anniversary celebrations of the Graduate School of Business of the University of New England.

The roundtable was also written up in the Australian Financial Review, which provides a good summary of the discussion in a piece titled Conversation killers: managers who can’t talk the talk.

Interestingly, what the journalist drew out from my contributions was about the rise of microblogging:

Dawson said micro-blogging had soared with employers including Deloitte, the NSW Department of Education and NSW Department of Premier and cabinet using microblogs for internal communication with staff. “Of all the social media platforms microblogging is the most akin to conversation,” he said. “Email is not going to die, but it is reducing,” he said.

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The inside is the outside: The Möbius strip and Klein bottle as metaphors for the future of organizations

In a number of my recent keynotes, including at Connected Enterprise and the CIO Summit, I have discussed the blurring of the inside and outside as a critical facet of the future of organizations.

The Möbius strip is a simple strip of paper folded once and pasted so that it has only one side. A Klein bottle is its (hypothetical) three-dimensional equivalent, where the outside and inside of the bottle are the one and the same.

This is a powerful and highly relevant metaphor for the successful organizations of today and tomorrow.
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Celebrating and reflecting on 10 years of blogging

I just realized I missed my 10th anniversary of blogging. My first post on the Trends in Living Networks blog was on October 5, 2002, beginning:


The emergence of the “living web”: In just the same way as the networks are coming to life, the language that we use to describe this new world is emerging and evolving. In the last few months, the blogging community has started using the term “living web” to describe the flow of information in the networks.


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Creating a Return on Investment (ROI) calculation for Enterprise 2.0 and internal social media

A major challenge for organizations that are considering internal social media initiatives is that a business case including a financial justification is frequently required.

To be frank, I think ROI calculations for social initiatives are in most cases a waste of time, because so many of the benefits and costs are unknowable before the initiative. A leap of faith is required, after which calculations using real data can be done to help refine strategies.

However if the organization requires a financial case, then those seeing the opportunity need to do what they can to create the case.

Chapter 16 of my report Implementing Enterprise 2.0 is on Building a Business Case. One of the resources I provide in the chapter is a table to help make ROI calculations. All that is required is to put numbers against each of the value and cost items in the table below, where appropriate using a back-of-the-envelope calculation to support them. Not all of the items will be relevant, and you may find other items that are applicable, but it provides a good starting point to generating numbers that can be used in an ROI.
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