Business social networking

Social media accounts for startups

I’ve started to separate personal social media accounts from the blog. Although is named after me I want to depersonalise it so that downstream it wont rely on me. I ultimately envisage a small staff of developers and editorial types running the site whilst I swan off to conferences in exotic places, the golf course etc etc.

So far I have separated the google accounts – [email protected] is now a pure play gmail account (if I can put it like that) and have done some work on Twitter. @trefornet is the “official” business twitter handle though not one of those verified jobs you see with a tick – one can but dream 🙂

There is already a Facebook page (like it if you will) though it will need some work doing to it and regular post upates. That will come more easily when I have a developer on board.

I have also enabled a Google+ profile for [email protected]. This will need some thought as to modus operandi. Google likes to recognise people rather than businesses. I suspect that we will end up with every bit of content frm the blog being linked to on the page but only my own stuff on my personal one. There is already a page on Google+ that hasn’t been updated for years.

LinkedIn will also need some work. I’ve updated my profile but will have to give some thought as how best to use it. LinkedIn, which I used to largely ignore as a vehicle for people to get jobs or sell things, is going to become more useful (now that I’m selling things). Networking is the name of the game really, in more ways than one.

Much of the development of the blog will rely on having a developer on board. So far there hasn’t been a rush of applications so I’m going to have to step up the activity levels there. Working out of a business innovation centre in Lincoln this seems to be a common thread. A business these days needs to work online and needs web development skills.

There is a good Computer Science Dept at the University of Lincoln so it isn’t as if there isn’t a supply of grads out there. Lots of students would like to stay in the town where they went to University if they could. They typically associate the location with having a good time. At least that’s how it was in my day :). Next week I’m going to pop round and have a chat with the prof. He’s just round the corner from the office.

The whole social media thing is important because this site needs to be a living organism, interacting with its readers in many ways. What’s more by “embedding” itself in social networks we will know more about the readers although I’m totally cool with people using anonymised credential when leaving comments. The value of a business lies with its customers and whilst they aren’t paying for anything,the readers are in fact customers.

As Trefor Davies over the years I have built up a reasonable sized network of contacts using social media. the business is tarting from scratch although obviously there is going to be a high degree of cross fertilisation to begin with. It will be interesting to see, for example, how the Twitter follower count for @trefornet, currently  0, grows compared with @tref, currently 2,572. @trefornet will be more informational and a feedback channel as opposed to the drivel that @tref often spouts:)

Anyway that’s enough waxing on. Got social media profiles to write etc and I’m off out to lunch at a posh restaurant in Nottingham today so must go.


Apps End User mobile apps phones

Nokia Lumia 920, Windows 8 compared to the Samsung Galaxy S3 when using social media

 windows phone 8 screenshotsMy next observation on my play with the Lumia 920 relates to the user interface. It’s a very smooth phone for moving around mechanically. A swipe of the finger take you to another relevant screen – more so than the S3 which feels as if you have to return to the main screen more often.

I use Tweetdeck on the GalaxyS3. Since using the Lumia 920 I’ve grown to realise the things that are particularly good about Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck lets me easily move between my stream, mentions and DMs and when I read a tweet it shows the conversation trail.

The Nokia Lumia 920 is organised differently and I’ve not found it easy to remember my way around. The tweet stream is shown in “People” but my own tweets and mentions are shown in “Me” which is a completely different tile. I can’t therefore flick easily between them as I can with Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck doesn’t seem to be supported on Windows 8 yet.

The same me/people split seems to apply for Facebook. The concept is good but the reality is that I personally want to look at all my Twitter stuff in one place and all Facebook in another. Ok so I can just use Twitter directly using the browser. I sometimes have to do this even when I am using Tweetdeck – Tweetdeck doesn’t let me easily see who is following me & who I am following.

Perhaps where I am getting to is that everyone has their own preference for UI and the Lumia 920 / Windows 8 is being constantly relegated to second choice whilst I have the Galaxy S3 as an option.

I’m not giving up though. The Office suite is more important for work that is all this social media stuff and that may be where the Lumia 920 finds it’s niche. It’s probably not where Microsoft and Nokia want it to be though. More in good time…

End User Regs social networking

We must take care not to destroy the civil liberties we value when considering a response to the riots

We live, always, in interesting times. The global finance system is in crisis, again. There have been riots on the streets, again, with courts working through the night to process the cases of criminals caught breaking, stealing, committing acts of arson, violence, disturbing the peace, assault and grievous bodily harm.

It is natural to react strongly against this and I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone particularly busting a gut to defend the perpetrators. A petition has been started asking that anyone found involved in these illegal activities be deprived of their benefits.

Social media seems to have played a part in the organisation of these riots as does BlackBerry Messenger and the Prime Minister in his speech to the commons today said:

Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.

This is great in principle but of course not as easy to implement. Also how do we know in advance that they are plotting violence? Do we monitor everybody’s social networks one on the off chance that someone is plotting to do wrong?

For what the PM is asking for there is a parallel in the world of mobile communications. During times of emergency the cellular network can be switched off for everyone except the Emergency Services.  This is down to the need to keep the low call carrying capacity network open for priority communications rather than a desire to stop miscreants using the service.

The situation is slightly different as regards social networking and we have to take great care that we don’t overreact. Twitter, for example, was being used to channel help just as much as BBM may have been used to coordinate the riots. Moreover the fact that these people are communicating using social media tools is likely to be a means to actually tracking them down and arresting them. People have already started being reported for telling friends on Facebook what they have been up to.

There are other parallels concerning internet technologies and the desire of government to control them – website blocking and filtering for example. Where do you draw the line and who decides when a website should be blocked? It has to be a judge. The same applies when considering situations of social unrest as we have just been seeing.

On balance I suggest that we must take great care when considering the application of control over social networks that the PM is calling for.

Note that at the time of writing the HM Government e-petition site has crashed and you get the following message:

End User social networking

social media – have you got your uniform yet? #twitter #facebook #linkedin #blog


I’ve been involved at first hand in a couple of revolutions. The first was VoIP which took 10 – 15 years to develop into full scale engagement. The second is social networking which has covered the same ground in about 3 years.

Today I went to a social networking master class conducted by Pirate Glenn @lesanto. People attended because this revolution is happening so quickly. Today felt like a WW1 recruiting session with volunteers standing in line to take up arms. Everyone needs to know where they fit in – it is unpatriotic not to be seen in uniform.

The biggest challenge for businesses is that social networking represents a totally new discipline to embrace. It covers sales, marketing, customer service, tech support, PR and more I’m sure. There may be some overlap in this list but it gives you an idea of the scope.

I’m not about to expound on how each of these disciplines should use social media but one of the problems for a business is deciding exactly how to go about it. This is new territory.

The skills required can be learned and in most cases will have to be because there aren’t many people around that might be called social media experts – witness the fact that Tesco is willing to pay £60k for someone with the right experience.

Most businesses can’t afford to take on more people just to handle social media. They have to reuse existing staff that are already working on something else.

For example a marketing department might have a team of people working on print media production. It takes a serious decision to change the way you work to stop doing one activity in order to concentrate on another but diverting resource from print media to social networking might be one of these.

I picked an easy one there – print media is on the way out but the same issue applies to other areas. Customer service for example. Big businesses are already known for the amount of effort they put in to engaging with customers using twitter. Dell supposedly had 50 people on their virtual social media team.

It’s all very well for a giant multinational but if you are a small business doing this from scratch there has to be an element of faith involved – you will be betting some of your scarce resource on the effort.

I think I’m going to explore this a bit more. If anyone wants to come along to a “workshop” I’ll happily host one and provide refreshments. Drop me a line or leave a comment. I think we can aim for a February get together. Look out a date/announcement next week.

Exit to the sound of “Two Tribes  – Frankie Goes To Hollywood”…

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