Half marathon completed – tick! Now time to end with DESSERT, yum!

Word of the week: Tweetnami, noun, a large wave or influx of tweets and pics on one hashtagged subject .  Similar to Trending.

Personal Insight: This could be my last blog post, and I’m a bit sad about that…  I don’t know if I’m ready to step back into the passive observer role!

So I started off the day a bundle of nerves and excited, ready to run 21 kilometres in the Trentham United Harriers Half Marathon! I am pleased to report, mission accomplished, though feeling rather worse for wear now!!

But I’m still pretty keen to publish the final post for this blog (for now), with my University assignment due at midnight, worth 20% of my final grade, gulp!

So without further ado, a final few observations, insights and ramblings 🙂

On writing a social media blog Social media is massive! There really is so much to write about, it is very interlinked, and easy to go off in tangents.

On using social media while training for a half marathon:  Mapmyrun.com – this phone application is awesome. Not only does it log your course, split the kilometre times, how many metres climbed, but it can post the info to your Facebook or Twitter profile, should you wish.  Ok, ok, so that’s pretty standard these days.

The really cool thing is  anyone can map a ‘running course’ and if out on a run your journey takes you through one of the pre-mapped courses, it ranks you firstly against yourself, and then against other runners out doing the same course.  Two-fold benefits, 1) gives me my own personal bests and incentive to beat these 2) it opens up a whole new community of people that I am indirectly interacting with by competing against them.


On social media for your career:  Haven’t specifically blogged on this, but LinkedIn – great for networking with business contacts. I know in the States LinkedIn is big for filling vacant positions, I wonder if this will evolve similarly in NZ. We already have 2x excellent job websites in Seek.co.nz and Trade.co.nz/jobs.

^^Also, my blog is in the public sphere, and come July when I’ll be entering the job market again I may well be judged on this blog! Positively I hope!!

On getting ‘Likes’ in different social media platforms: Only crucial if winning a competition means getting the most ‘Likes’. I don’t reckon Likes are enough to build relationships and engagement.  They’re non-committal, so easy to Like a page or post, and then promptly forget about it.  The key I think is interactivity, actual relationships.  That builds loyalty, commitment, familiarity and connection.


Like (Photo credit: afagen)

Some final words:  The experience of writing a blog overall has been a fun, new challenge – I like writing, and am a bit of a perfectionist, so there has been much time tinkering with posts, yet sacrificing perfection because of time pressure to get lastest posts up and keep up with the rest of my Uni work.

I love social media! It has an important part in my life and I’ve enjoyed trying out some new media platforms while going through this blog journey.  I’m keen in my next role of employment to have a hand in creating and implementing a social media strategy, putting all this good stuff I’m learning to use.  (Wellington employers get in touch ;))

As much as I love the engagement and interactivity of social media, nothing beats a good old face-to-face conversation.  Good friendships and relationships kick ass, don’t neglect them for the digital world too much  🙂

– Claire



Get out there and ROCK IT!

Quote of the week:  “If you really want to rock social media, you’ve got to be fearless and build your relationships” – Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media

Not being a business owner, I’m curious if all this social media stuff I’m reading and writing  about is actually ‘the business’.  I got the low down from Indigo, one seriously cool and very creative lady in charge of The Paper Rain Project.


Check out this gorgeous design!!  The Paper Rain Project is a custom creative which specializes in graphic design, photography, custom skate/longboard decks & street wear.  Their goal is to combine skate/street culture with art & graphics with a local, environmentally friendly ethos that’d make NZ proud.  Check out their website, thepaperrainproject.co.nz.

I asked Indigo a few questions about social media in her business.

C: What different social media platforms do you use and how effective have you found them? Are some better than others?

Facebook, Tumblr & Pinterest. Pinterest is a good inspirational source & maintains your ownership of work but Facebook has been essential in reaching my target audience.

C: Were you in business pre-social media? If so, what noticeable advantages/ disadvantages of social media can you see?

No, The Paper Rain Project has evolved alongside social media. I have a website too although that is generally the point at which sales are processed or as a way to ‘legitimize’ my Co. in a professional sense. Generally Facebook is my audiences’ first point of web contact & the main channel of interest in my company.

C: COMMENT –  Online business has moved from traditional Web 1.0 (websites, page clicks, published material)  to Web 2.0 (participatory in nature, blogs, wikis, tagging).  Previously it was the race to register your domain name before someone else took it.  Now that race is search engine optimisation, getting your business visible on the giant interweb.  As Indigo mentions, her website is needed as point-of-sale and legitimisation, but the main point of contact for her market now is Facebook.

C: What is your top tip for engaging with your customers?

Allow your customers to engage with you. Show a more personal insight into your work to make it ‘accessible’ & approachable to your audience. Posts can be made when people are more likely to engage, e.g Teens may be online more in the evenings, thus posts made here are more likely to reach a further audience. I suppose it is very important to reach a balance between being informative/changeable/up-to-date and not annoying or too forthcoming in your business presence.

C: What do you reckon is next in social media for organisations?

I would expect that more advertising & financial incentive or fees may occur very soon, particularly in Facebook. This could involve product payments via Facebook with them taking a cut of your turnover. Perhaps company to company relationships may be made more achievable online in order to cross advertise.

Cheers Indigo 🙂


Set an objective as part of your social media strategy to fully acknowledge the feedback gathered from your audience as they interact with the social media tools you’ve implemented.

Think about what your audience wants to hear from you.  Be active, respond to complaints, appreciate the compliments.  Without a complete feedback loop, much of your effort may be wasted.


–  Claire


Relationships and Meaty Issues

Word of the week: Folksonomy, noun, a classification system derived from user-generated electronic tags or keywords that describe online content.  From the word Taxonomy which is the practice and science of classification. Very similar to social tagging. The top of each of my blog posts have tags, which increases ‘findability’ on WordPress.com

Personal Insight: Really meaty stuff here 😉  I’m ‘friends’ with you on Facebook, and the other day we walked past each other yet didn’t acknowledge each other (and I know you recognised me, old college acquaintance) I think that signals it is time to delete that ‘friendship’…. do you agree?  There is no real relationship or use that I can see.


Social media is fundamentally about conversation.  A dialogue between two or more parties, a relationship.

You may have heard of the term porous membrane.  It reminds me of science class at school and practicing osmosis with sultanas, but anyhow, this term, used by Hugh McLeod, cartoonist and blogger, helps explain why social media and corporate blogs work.

A = conversations taking place within an organisation
B= conversations happening out in the organisation’s market
x= the ‘porous membrane’ that separates the two
y= the separation between the market and external to the market

porous membrane

To read more on this theory click here!!

Basically, the more porous or open these ‘membranes’ are, the more easily conversations both inside and outside of the organisation can take place, as well as building relationships.   Ideally, A & B = similar or at least in sync.   So the people inside your business are whistling the same tune as your market place.  My last post talking about Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin company is an example – employees see themselves and their products/services as innovative, and their customers see Virgin as creative and forward-looking = ALIGNMENT

I see alignment as a breaking down of barriers, in the relationship sense.

If you think of a traditional corporate business, up in that secure high rise office, shut off to the outside world.

In comes social media, and BAM! This is something that enables and encourages communication together on a more even playing field.

No longer is there a one-way conversation of the organisation pushing their messages out to the public.



Instead us customers can post questions on a company’s website or Facebook page or Twitter account, and sometimes an almost immediate response can be received.


This paves the way for two-way communication.  Relationships.  Getting to know organisations better and on a more personable level.  And, with this we hope, transparency.

company presence slide-55-728

This statistic was from a Cone Business in Social Media Study, 2008,                      I reckon the percentage might be even higher now!

Next post I will talk to a business owner about her views on social media and customer engagement, stay tuned 🙂


Easter: a time of hope (and acceptability of eating chocolate for breakfast)

Quote of the week: “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Sir Richard Branson

We are on the tail-end of Easter, but I still reckon it is acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast, and to post a picture of some really cute bunnies!


I’m feeling good after a great Easter break, fuelled by chocolate, and also fuelled after reading a bit on the power of social media as a force for good.

Social media is a great tool for us to interact with each other on a personal level, to share snapshots of our lives, achievements, highlights, and of course to commiserate those embarrassing or less than impressive times.

embarrassed cat

On a personal and also a business level, there is a huge amount of potential for positive actions to be harnessed through the power of social media, and Sir Richard Branson and his company, Virgin, have provided some inspiration for this blog post.

In the words of Sir Richard Branson, social media “can unite people behind causes and be a force for good”.   He is an avid user of social media, Tweeting and blogging almost 24 hours a day! This top-down leadership has ensured a social media culture is ingrained in all employees of Virgin.  They use the platform to engage with their customers and the public, listening and finding out people want, from the positive to the negative. Listen to what they have to say about social media in Virgin here.

Sir Richard also uses social media as a way of changing public opinion and raising awareness of causes.  A recent success is a social media campaign which will result in the protection of five species of shark and two species of manta ray when new legislation is passed through CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), an international agreement between global governments.

I would say there are endless examples of success stories globally from people and companies using social media to do good in the community and wider.  Many companies have a dedicated section of their business strategy to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), recognising that those of us who inhabit this world have the power to make positive change, although we also have the power to harm the world around us. And importantly, that the power is much more attainable through the nature of social media, being interactive, viral and global.

I encourage you to consider Sir Richard’s quote, be a force for good whether that  is on a very personal level, or within the community or workforce.  Get out there and take action, the worst that can happen is you fall over, but without this, we don’t learn 🙂

**funny and cute animals failing: YouTube video links follow**

I’m pretty sure all these guys got back up and did it again, or at least learned a lesson! One more for the road…. Ouch, I hope that cat was ok…

Have a great week breaking the rules!!

– Claire


#HappyBirthday to you…. Tweet, tweet

Just last week it was Twitter’s 7th birthday! Twitter has over 200 million active users that send more than 400 million Tweets every day!!  Happy Birthday @Twitter, here is a celebration clip.

Word of the week: Microblogging, noun, short messages posted from a social networking site or a blog, e.g. a Tweet or Facebook status update

Personal InsightI can be producer of news, bringing breaking stories and images to a global online community.  That’s pretty powerful in my eyes

Citizen journalism is now easily accessible due to social media, and it is exciting to think you might be the first one tweeting images of an event to the online world.   Yes it is unpaid, yes it is not authentic journalism, but all of us have the power to do what multi-national media agencies do, and ‘bring the news to the people’.

The digital age has seen the:

  • quickening rate of change in technology
  • explosion of smart phones and other devices enabling media to be viewed quickly and conveniently
  • transformation of traditional news media to online platforms
  • new online outlets where users can provide news updates, images, eye witness accounts

What is interesting is that media agencies can benefit from this user generated content (UGC), the public ultimately is doing some of their work, providing the ‘inside scoop’ often with photographic evidence.  An example is the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami, where info and imagery was posted before the ground had even stopped shaking.  A classmates in a recent blog post talks about a recent shake in Auckland NZ that got the Jafas talking, and the benefit of being able to get immediate updates from Twitter, read Sonny’s blog here.

The recent visit of orca to Wellington Harbour is another example, with the news media agency inserting a line in their story encouraging users to send in their media.  From their website: Did you see the orcas? Email your photos and video to newstips@stuff.co.nz

orca tom mackley

Image: Tom Mackley, member of the public; Source: Stuff.co.nz, you can catch some video action of these awesome creatures here.

Another quick example of a business getting their market to effectively ‘do the work’ is Michael Hill Jeweller, who I ‘like’ on Facebook.  Their current promotion ‘Show us your Bling’ invites you to take photo of your Michael Hill jewels on Instagram and hashtag #michaelhill to share it with them.  Your photo could then be featured on their Facebook page.  Check this bling out from the page, very nice, my preference is for yellow gold 😉

mhill ring

I think it is clever that Michael Hill are getting the user to do the labour, the user is then advertising by showing the jewellery in a photo.  It seems an easy, low risk, low cost way to promote and get people talking.  And there are no actual prizes offered, just the chance for the photo to display on their Facebook page!!

There are so many opportunities for not just news media agencies, but any business to connect with their public on a local or global stage.  It is becoming a norm to leave an open channel online for audiences to communicate with the organisation, to start a conversation, to share content.  There are of course downsides, for example reputation risk, but I will leave that for another post!

As always, I am keen to hear any feedback, have you contributed to ‘breaking news’ or provided your content to be displayed in a public??

– Claire

Have I bitten off more than I can chew??

Quote of the week: “…social software has covered our personal lives like a digital rash…” – Niall Cook

Has anyone guessed by now I’m a bit of a foodie?
And like food, I get excited by trying out all these different social media applications. But how much is too much? I’ve jumped on a new platform recently, mostly for experimental purposes – Pinterest, a content sharing site (there are links at the bottom of this post to find out more about it)


The other day I randomly received an email from a supermarket – I reckon they must have a new communications strategy as I’m now getting almost daily emails from them (engaging with customers, but a little too often for my liking!) Enclosed was a recipe for delicious looking lamb and mint burgers. Below were the common buttons to print it, email it or ‘Like’ by clicking the Facebook icon. Another icon I’m not so familiar with was there – ‘Pin it’.

Generally I save online recipes in so many different places I never find them again.  But if I could ‘pin’ it to an online pinboard, what a great idea, they will all be in one place!
So with a couple of clicks I’d set up my own Pinterest site via my Facebook account, very easy. And then within half an hour I had received emails to say I had two ‘followers’ on Pinterest!! How did that happen?

A few observations here:

  1. The pinning of the recipe is all great, but this is yet another platform I have jumped on… How much is too much? Do I really have time for this?
  2. It really is clever of these sites to easily link in with social media, it seems there is no escaping it, hence the digital rash quote!
  3. What would be the point of Pinterest for businesses? Is it just for arty crafty people?
  4. Lastly, I got a new understanding of where people who don’t like the public nature of social media are coming from.  I didn’t realise Pinterest was public, I just wanted a private digital noticeboard for sticking things to, but perhaps that’s not the idea of Pinterest. I had better do some more homework!

So what is it?
As the name suggests, it is about pinning digital images into grouped interests and themes.  A cooperative social software website where users can create or browse pinboards. Users describe the site as an ‘inspiration bank’.

Pinterest is about sharing and networking with others. Think YouTube, and any of the photo sharing websites like Snapfish, Flicker, Instagram.

I can see the value for businesses in sharing and engaging with users. A quote from the Pinterest site claims “currently Pinterest is the top traffic driver among social platforms, and generates roughly 4 times the traffic of Facebook.”

I had hoped to link the lamb and mint burger recipe to this blog post, but I can’t even find it on my pinboard!!  Help!!
Instead I saw this tasty looking recipe for a variation on banana bread which I might give this a go this weekend. Click here for the recipe. YUM!

Are you using Pinterest for business or personal use? What is good about it? I’d be keen to hear from you.

Otherwise I fear this tool may be one of those that falls into my ‘I’ll figure it out on a rainy day’ pile, and Wellington is still officially in drought status with no decent rain forecast!!


– Claire

Like hosting a dinner party, what dishes do I choose for success?

Word of the week: Digiphile, noun, a person who loves all things digital

Personal insight of the week: Think about your audience

WordPress gives you some very cool tools to use including a world map with shading in the countries where people have viewed my blog from – I have the UK, USA and Canada on there. Very cool to be able to get these stats at just a couple clicks of a button!  It’s a wee reminder to me though that I am communicating on a global platform here, hence my insight this week.

seth godin media platform slide-33-728

There are so many forms of social media, and much like hosting a dinner party and wanting to choose the best recipes to showcase your abilities, it can be hard to know what applications, or platforms, to choose when you want to engage with your market and employees (if you have them) 🙂

Asia Feast Dinner Buffet (Med)

Niall Cook, in ‘Enterprise 2.0: how social software will change the future of work’, introduces a 4Cs Matrix which is a simple yet handy guide to help work out which social media platforms might be most beneficial to you.

By looking at which ‘C’ or combination of ‘C’s align with (business) goals you can then choose from the many social media applications that are mapped onto the matrix.  This can be useful whether you are wanting to get your own personal online social presence out there, or for established businesses, entrepreneurs,  informal groups etc.  To check out the matrix and heaps more useful info the Cook e-book can be bought pretty cheaply through lulu.com.

A brief summary:

  1. COMMUNICATION – conversing with others by text, image, voice, video e.g. Blogs, Instant Messaging, Facebook
  2. COLLABORATION – working together to solve a problem e.g. Wikis, Human-based Computation (a complex and evolutionary technology that is far beyond my learnings!)
  3. COOPERATION – sharing content in both structured or unstructured forms e.g. YouTube clips, Flickr photo albums
  4. CONNECTION – networking technologies e.g. Social Networking, RSS, Tagging (not the graffiti variety! Tagging makes data easier to search)


Image source: http://www.theworkshop.co.uk

Choosing the right platforms can provide excellent networking tools and initiate a conversations with markets that would not be possible with traditional forms of communication.

All the possibilities are exciting, but what if management only see barriers?

Niall Cook identified research that shows ‘communication and collaboration technologies can make a positive difference to business performance’.

I agree.  Make the company seem more human instead of communicating in corporate-speak to employees and markets.  Think about who you are trying to reach, and who might be reached incidentally through the internet. Instead of traditional top-down intranets and public websites which have their limitations, why not try some of the following:

  • How about exploring wikis, a collaboration tool where users are able to edit and organise information on a website. The most famous is Wikipedia, a Facts and FAQs Wiki might be of use in some businesses
  • Create a social presence with a Facebook page or Twitter account, sharing updates and actively interacting
  • Have senior management write blogs
  • Record useful presentations or product info and upload to YouTube, a media sharing site

It’s low cost!! It’s easy!!

Get on a platform, get on multiple platforms, be active, interact, engage and communicate.

Go on, take the plunge!


Image source: http://www.strata-gee.com/2012/06/01/sometimes-youve-just-got-to-jump/

Have a good week everybody, I never thought I’d say this but I am happy to see some rain out there, let’s hope it is enough to break the drought in NZ 🙂

– Claire

Entering foreign territory

WELCOME to my first ever blog, an appetiser if you will 🙂

This blog forms part of a social media paper I am undertaking this semester.  I hope to explore the use of social media within organisations, within our personal lives, the many challenges and opportunities it presents, and that it seems there really is no escaping it even if we try!!

So far I have discovered that this site you’re sitting on, WordPress, is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (thanks Wikipedia!).   It is relatively straightforward to set up an account and start customising your blog site.  Anyone could do it. And this makes me think that blogging could be a really effective tool for businesses to communicate not only with their employees and those within their markets, but also beyond.

I’ve tried to put some fancy widgets and settings on my blog site (without really know what I am doing, let’s be honest) that should give me an indication of how many ‘hits’ I’m getting on each blog, and also will share my blogs through two other social media tools I use, Facebook and Twitter.

My goal for this first blog post is to get some readership; perhaps a ‘Like’ or two and some ‘Followers’ to my posts.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for a million likes so then I can get a puppy or a kitten or whatever.  This will simply be an interesting experiment over the next few weeks to see if the number of ‘hits’ on my site grows, tapers, or stays rather steady.

On that note, consider my blogging cherry popped!

– Claire



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