Tuttle101 and Tipple101 (PicNibble) in September

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September Community 101 Update

How to Use Social Media: the Elementals

The newly revised version of this post is available here:

Written for the NACUE Learning Programme. The following text was originally drafted and posted on 12/08/10.

In March 2010, as part of the National Student Enterprise Conference, NACUE invited Carl Jeffrey of FellowCreative.com to share his experiences, insights and beliefs surrounding Social Media and the ever-changing digital-landscape. Although Carl insists he’s neither a Social Media Consultant nor an academically qualified Marketer, in recent years his reputation as a design innovator, educator, trend spotter, commentator and facilitator has grown rapidly through involvement in social media communications and the wider social-web – his clients include UK Universities, the Worlds #1 Sustainable Technology Company and the UK’s #1 Specialist Social Media Agency – his bio reads ‘Creative Midwife™ & Joiner-of-Dots. Brand-Communication, Digital-Ideation, Sustainable-Creativity, Social-Enterprise… attracted to inspiration & shiny things…’

The Introduction

Hello. I’m Carl *~) Accepting NACUE’s invitation to support, inspire, connect, and become an advocate for over 65 university enterprise societies across the UK, representing in excess of 35,000 entrepreneurial students is both a great honour and a great responsibility.

As I sit down to write this I’m acutely aware the NACUE Learning Programme provides a critical knowledge base for ever-changing Student and Academic Society Presidents and Committee Members; it aims to deliver you a thorough collection of guidance documents to cover all aspects of establishing, running and developing a successful University Enterprise Society. However, in some specialist and complex areas, delivering such complete, comprehensive, failsafe documentation can prove challenging and sometimes impossible – ‘Social Media’ is one such topic.

Searching Google.com for the term ‘Social Media’ puts ‘About 276,000,000 Results’ at your instant disposal – some results are very worthy of investigation, others are not. A growing abundance of information, video tutorials, case studies, search-engine-optimisation (SEO) strategies, and marketing techniques to ‘build a brand on Facebook.com’ and ‘increase your number of Twitter.com followers’, etc. – for this very reason I’m not intent on re-inventing the generic wheel – at the end of this document you will find a short list of my recommended reading and resources, but first I intend to cover what I believe to be the important stuff.

This ‘How To Use Social Media’ guide can’t promise you a one-size-fits-all step-by-step manual of Social Media techniques and strategies. Instead, I’ve prepared this document for those whom don’t speak in Technobabble (mostly), to explore the values inherent in NACUE and the words: University, Enterprise and Society. I write from the heart of my intuition and experiences, from between the lines of all I’ve read, done and think I’ve learned from. I underline one fact: ‘communication channels, technologies, social-norms and the digital-landscape evolve globally, by the second – this means what exists today, may change tomorrow’. I really hope to inspire you to question your perception of Social Media and its potential value to you and others, thus empowering you to ‘work beyond What Is to deliver What Can Be™’. As the quote reads: “we can identify trends for the future but accurate predictions are impossible”.

In the realms of the World Wide Web (commonly called the Internet) and its related technologies, my most important advice is to: place strategic bets but always retain your ability to pivot – prepare to fail forward!

What is the Social-Web?

The Internet now provides an increasingly diverse and innovative set of tools that allow people to connect with others, share information, socialise and collaborate together. The term ‘Web 2.0’ is commonly used to reference the specific websites and applications (Apps) that help facilitate such interactive information sharing, interoperability and collaborations across the Internet as a whole (and I mean across multiple platforms and online spaces, not just within ‘so-called’ social-networks like Facebook.com that are in fact silo’s of information where lots goes in but very little can be shared with people on the outside of its walls).

New websites, platforms, applications and features launch daily if not hourly. Information Architects Inc. created the diagram ‘Web Trend Map 3’ (http://informationarchitects.jp/trendmap3-countdown-sneak-peak). It is a brilliant example of information design and it does an extremely good job of visualising the connected and distributed ecosystems of Web 2.0. The diagram conveys a complex and interrelated version of an Underground Tube Map, with different zones and layers, each tube-line represents a different Web Trend (E.g. Gaming, Technology, Photos, News, Video, Social Network, Politics, Innovation, Music, File Storage, Blogging, etc), and travelling along each tube-line you find community stations at every stop (E.g. Google.com, Facebook.com, YouTube.com, Flickr.com, Twitter.com, BBC.co.uk, Guardian.co.uk, MySpace.com, Amazon.com, WordPress.com, etc).

The term ‘Social Web’ loosely describes how people socialize or interact with each other throughout and across this interconnected map and World Wide Web. It is also important to note that these connections and interactions aren’t now limited to computer screens, many of the latest devices, phone-handsets, iPads and games-consoles now provide both Internet and App integration and connectivity – and remember, this connectivity isn’t just stationary, its now ‘mobile’ and on the move.

The ‘Web Trend Map 3’ mentioned above, was in fact released in January 2008; much has evolved since. The Web Trend Map 4 (’09) and Web Trend Map 5 published in 2010 demonstrate just how quickly the Internet evolves; and how the ecosystems and connecting structures of today will undoubtedly adapt and develop to suit the trends and technologies of tomorrow.

Until recently most people formed their online-connections and social-networks through friends, contacts or shared interests. However, today a growing number of connections are being made through a geographic location, a point of interest (POI), or another form of locational (GPS) data – the fields of Augmented Reality and Social Gaming are growing, and applications like Gowalla.com are gaining traction and investment.

Increasingly, our Social Media activities and assets can be searched and identified not just by the Username(s), Publisher(s), Title(s) or Tag(s) but also by their context in time and space – E.g. a Digital Photograph taken on an iPhone or Nokia device already equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) receiver, will now likely contain (encoded into the digital file meta-data) the actual map-able location (latitude, longitude, and altitude; plus the time) the photo was taken.

The term ‘Semantic Web’ describes the methods and technologies that allow machines and devices to understand the meaning (and meta-data) – or “semantics” – of information on the World Wide Web.

Only a few years ago online communication and audience engagement would have focused on a single location, your website, and broadcast monologues and advertising would have been used solely to drive customers to it. Today, we recognise that people increasingly hangout and socialise across multiple locations, different online-spaces and social-networks, they frequent multiple groups and tribes, and what’s more they’re now used to home-delivery and on-demand – if you wish to engage them it must be within their territories, where they choose to hangout, on their terms not yours, and you must respect and value them as an individual, not as a number or mass-market. Respect has to be earned, and value(s) must be shared beyond price-point.

What is Social Media?

It is safe to suggest that you, fellow academics, students, entrepreneurs, business-leaders, marketers and technologists perceive, describe and wish to use Social Media in different ways; most focus on ‘Social Media for PR’ or ‘Social Media for Marketing’ – hence the now somewhat throw-away terms ‘Social Media Marketing’ and ‘Social Media Consultancy’.

It seems that attitudes to the term ‘Social Media’ differ greatly and its definition seems increasingly meaningless – perhaps the inevitable result and downside of any buzz-terminology.

However, I presume: A) your University Society’s primary aim is to communicate your people-focused benefits and value(s), and B) you actually wish to engage and inspire conversations, and connect too and share in activities with fellow academics, students and members. This document should help you focus on the inherent value(s) of using ‘Social Media for Audience Engagement’ – and not the questionable hijacking of Social Media channels and platforms for one-directional broadcasting of monologues or self-interested-selling as is so often the case with monetised-minds and quick-win-business-ventures, sadly.

Quoting his article ‘Social Media for Audience Development & Building’, Christian Payne @documentally (the man I personally recognise as the UK’s #1 Social Media Journalist) says:
“If you’re using social media properly your audience is your community, social media is about communication, and community building. Community Building is developing your audience. The moment you have a community, you have participants, not observers. People. Not Bums on Seats.
In the modern world of millions of people vying for your attention, it’s not your presentation; it’s your connection to your community that’s important. This is where social media comes in. Social media offers invaluable tools in accessing the hearts as well as the minds of your participants. To people bombarded every day with ‘brand’, it’s the human touch of organisations that gets your interest and loyalty. Put more simply, social media tools aren’t about you; they’re about the people you want to speak with.”

Wikipedia.org (the worlds largest encyclopaedia, which is both freely available and user generated) defines Social Media as “media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques”. It goes on to say: “Social Media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues”. Now, assuming you’ve already heard some webby-speak banded about by your University ICT Department, and without wanting to get you technically lost or turn all geeky, Professor’s Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein’s definition serves as a good introduction to some of the tech-terminology often associated with the realms of Social Media: “a group of Internet-based applications built on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”

Parking the reference to ‘ideological foundations’ aside for later discussion I will attempt to demystify the different types of media and user-generated content that might be created or exchanged through Social Media. The acronym used by the threaded-conversation platform Phreadz.com serves to suggest most people converse, connect and share through V.I.T.A.L: Video, Images, Text, Audio and Links (such Links may be to an online news article or website, a particular map location or point of interest (POI), a digital artefact of sorts; the possibilities grow daily…).

Thinking about Social Media in terms of socially VITAL exchanges and interactions makes it perhaps a little easier to understand the difference between Broadcast Media and Social Media. I use the acronym V.I.T.A.L with great emphasis on the essential definition of the word ‘vital’. Social Media is not about tools, technologies, websites or even the medium. It is about understanding the accepted social norms and enablers of human behaviour; it’s about retaining the core values of society, social engagement, inspirational conversation and participation, not eroding such norms or values with self-interested monologues or promotion – being social is VITAL to inspiring, connecting, and engaging advocates, likeminds and people; truly supporting the development of an audience, tribe, society and community of inspirational friends and connectors.

In the introduction to his book ‘Life Inc’, Douglas Rushkoff writes:
“Sometimes it feels as if there’s just not enough air in the room – as if there were a corporate agenda guiding all human activity. At a moment’s notice any dinner party can slide invisibly into a stock promotion, a networking event, or an impromptu consultation – let me pick your brain. Is this why I was invited in the first place? Through sponsored word-of-mouth known as ‘buzz-marketing’, our personal social interactions become the promotional opportunities through which brands strive to be cults and religions strive to be brands”.

I constantly wonder to myself, and now I question you: Does the term ‘Social Media’ deserve a rethink?

Social Media, Social Norms and ‘Elementals’

The theory of ‘Elementals’ is my own, it’s not an industry-recognised term or philosophy. I introduce it here not to confuse you, but to convey my continually developing thinking and ideology. Many of my concepts build upon already recognised principles: ‘Media Richness Theory’, ‘Media Naturalness Theory’ and Brian Solis’ ‘Hybrid Theory Manifesto’; and I remain inspired by the works of Sir Ken Robinson and motivations of Dan Pink.

Written by Sir Ken Robinson ‘The Element. How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything’ is an amazing book which I highly recommend to everyone – it’s certainly a must-read for anyone involved or interested in improving Education, Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Social Enterprise, Community Development or Civics and Society.

The book explores real people, as individuals, from the perspective of empowering passionate creativity, engagement, conversation and sharing, by firing up imaginations and motivations. Robinson suggests that when collections of people engage to create something much greater than any of them could create individually, they become more than the sum of their parts – he defines this as ‘the alchemy of synergy’. ‘The Element’ is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion.

I firmly believe that technology should be used to inspire and empower us to be better people – the Web’s potential to connect natural talents with passion and inspiration, provides you, us, our Universities, Enterprises and Societies, with a true catalyst for brilliance and value creation.

The term ‘Elemental’ is currently referenced by Wikipedia.org as a “Mythological being”, “the ancient idea of elements as fundamental building blocks of nature.”

Through exploring the differences between the ‘so-called’ Social Media and Social Networks of online, in comparison to the very natural ‘Elementals’ of social norms and human behaviour offline, you can begin to understand the valuable building blocks between the social and the media.

I propose these are the ‘Elementals’ of: fun, authenticity, kindness, usefulness, challenge and inspiration – expressed and experienced through art, story-telling, memes and the wider human sense of friendship.

“Great teachers have always understood that their role is not to teach subjects but to teach students. Mentoring and coaching is the vital pulse of the living system…” ~ Sir Ken Robinson.

The Value and ROI of Social Media and its ‘Elementals’

There’s constant discussion and debate about the measurement and return on investment (ROI) of Social Media. Traditional industrialists, broadcasters and marketer minds are analytical, linear and strategic. They define measurement through a set of processes and numbers, numbers of followers, numbers of visitors and viewers, the number of potential customers, the number of sales – these minds simply don’t get the Web’s potential to create value (long-term and beyond profit) and develop long-standing relationships with and respect for people, education, entrepreneurship, society, and dare I say it ‘brand’.

For me, and hopefully you, the Value and ROI of Social Media can be found through focusing on ‘retention’, not recruitment. I suggest it’s not about the great numbers in Facebook groups. I propose it’s in forming true communities of people and participants who engage to become more than the sum of their parts – through contacts, conversations and ideas, VITAL to inspiring, connecting, and engaging advocates – Social Return On Investment (SROI).

Through conversation with and listening to your societies and members as individuals, you can learn to answer all their questions and needs, empowering your forging of long-term relationships and friends – this inevitably leads to improved ‘people-centred’ services and societies, and better understanding of future trends and values, and hopefully resulting in some additionally VITAL and much appreciated word of mouth.

Practical & Actionable Social Media Advice:

In the realms of the World Wide Web (commonly called the Internet) and its related technologies, my most important advice to you is as follows:

What exists today may change tomorrow, so place strategic bets but always retain your ability to pivot – prepare to fail forward! Focus on ‘retention’ not recruitment!

Organizational charts can show your Societies hierarchy and structure; sadly they can’t capture how your organization or Society really works. Social communities are not like mechanisms; they are more like organisms – each is different, each requires a different approach, and all continue to evolve. Logic makes people think, emotions make people act!

Social Media is often viewed as an inexpensive tool for audience engagement, many of the applications and media services are indeed free to use and simple to setup but Social Media is far from inexpensive if your time is valuable – be prepared to dedicate your time and enthusiasm. And be mindful that if something seems to good to be true, it usually is – free tools and services are usually sustained by intrusive third-party advertising, Is this price worth paying or is your audiences full-consideration worth the paid-for version?

Great Products sell companies but Great People sell services and Society’s!

Social Media are enablers for human behavior – It’s about behavior not tools!

People and participants who truly engage can become more than the sum of their parts – Supporting them is VITAL to inspiring, connecting, and engaging advocates!

Students, colleagues and potential advocates weren’t born knowing how to use Web tools and technologies, or how to navigate Legal Requirements, Copyright or Facebook Privacy Settings – explore your organizational policy towards Age Of Majority (legal terms of Understanding and Agreement) regarding student consent (to appear in content, photos or film), and explore Data Protection and Social Media Policy – Lead through example and education!

Investigate your ‘Audience Persona(s)’ (hypothetical architypes) – Understand your people!

Understand your own value(s) and identity – Adopt a relaxed, conversational tone; find your accent!

Listen before you talk – Talk with people, not at them!

Effective conversation and engagement requires different media for, and understandings of, natural human sense(s) and ability (Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic learning and communications) – Make VITAL content for individuals sensibilities!

Good Design, Copy-Writing, and Content Editing matters – Attention to detail delivers 30% more engagement! *

Social interaction encourages dialogue not monologue – engaging conversation and content means ‘compelling, fun, authentic, useful, challenging and inspirational’ – often expressed and experienced through art, story-telling, memes and the wider human sense of friendship. Ask yourself: Is it useful or is it compelling? And is it easily sharable or embeddable elsewhere?

Useful means contextual and relevant – Share other peoples insights and timely goodness! But remember it’s theirs, respect it, and them – always credit the source!

Community Management means participation and facilitation of multiple persona’s, tribes and belief systems across multiple places – Create the Theatre not the Play!

Communicate organizational change, activity and crucial debate – Quickly, simply, as it happens!

Expect and encourage constant dialogue, engagement and comments – The web is a conversation, join in with clear & frequent feedback! And admit your mistakes and lessons learnt!

Test users, tools, features and viewer devices – Accessibility is not an optional extra!

Think long-term flexibility, short-term scalability – Deliver today but plan for tomorrow!

Optimize your content with continuity and useful Account Names, Usernames, Filenames, Permalinks, Categories, Tags, RSS, Trackbacks, Pingbacks and Hashtags (#Tag) – Make sure your content can be searched and linked to, forever!

Monitor value and success every day. Search your visibility metrics with services like ‘HowSociable.com’ and Klout.com, and install ‘Google.com/Analytics’ on website(s) so you can measure progress, success and failure (find out if your existing website already has measurement tools and reporting to help guide your planning) – Google Yourself!

Recommended Tools and Applications:

If your University, Enterprise or Society don’t already have a website (and even if you do), a good starting point is to sit down with 4-6 people (these should be actual students, potential users and members; not people in the organizational chain) and discuss what actually works and what doesn’t – focus on needs, wants and values – focus on retention not recruitment. Research what others are doing successfully and poorly; and explore your pre-existing websites, communication channels and legal-policies – go through the full list of highlighted points in the ‘Practical and Actionable Social Media Advice’ section of this document (above).

Once complete you should have a good understanding of your existing User Personas and your potential ambassadors. You should also understand your values, voice and tone. You should have a basic understanding of your VITAL media requirements and constraints – What media and application features do you need?

The following list outlines a host of my recommended tools and applications; many of the written definitions are derived from WikiMedia.org and WikiPedia.org for description accuracy. Please make sure you examine your own internal policies and data-protection guidelines, and all the applications terms of service and subscription contracts, before you make any decisions – the responsibility to make the right choice for you and your Society is yours alone, not mine. Many of these services are privately owned and free-to-use (funded by advertising, most of which isn’t too intrusive) – but please remember, what exists today may change tomorrow:

WordPress.com – is a free to use, semantic publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. Often used for personal weblogs (blogs), it provides social media support through embeddable media, widgets and content aggregations; along with basic design/theme customization and community features like commenting, search engine optimization (SEO) and content sharing goodness such as RSS and Analytical Stats. The WP platform is also available as a free open-source product via WordPress.org; increasingly used by self-hosted bloggers and organizations (both personal and commercial websites), with a constantly developing array of community features and Plugins. WordPress.org is fully-customizable, reliable and secure (as now used by Number10.gov.uk).

Facebook.com – undoubtedly the UKs biggest social network; a free-to-use social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. Currently home to 500 million active users globally. Developments like Facebook Connect, Facebook Social Plugin, Mobile App, Facebook Questions, Social Gaming Apps and GEO location features (Facebook Places), mean its here to stay and an extremely valuable channel for audience engagement. But remember, Facebook is currently a silo of information – place strategic bets but always retain your ability to pivot!

Twitter.com – a free-to-use micro-blogging platform with a limit of 140 characters per post or update (commonly known as a tweet). Defined as ‘the best way to share and discover what is happening right now’, much of its success has been built upon dedicated mobile apps and third party services. Increasingly being used by Students, Enterprises and Society’s it is likely to prove a valuable part of your conversational and personal connection toolkit. Daily content and conversation can be searched, shared and aggregated across the Web in the form of RSS Feeds, and embedded into websites and blogs (as well as such things as auto-updating your Facebook and LinkedIn status). Hashtags (#Tag) and Twitter Lists are two ways in which you can organize information, people, members and groups.

Flickr.com – a free-to-use image and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. Free accounts provide some extremely useful but limited features (low quality image hosting and sharing, creative commons licensing, etc.). A subscription fee (approximately £16 per year) provides ad-free browsing and sharing features, archiving and search facilities, high-definition imagery and HD video hosting, accessible viewer counts and statistics and unlimited uploads, storage and bandwidth.

Viddler.com – a free-to-use interactive online video platform for uploading, sharing, enhancing, tagging, commenting on, and forming groups around videos. Competing against the more popular YouTube.com (and services like Vimeo.com and Blip.tv), Viddler provides an ad-free subscription account and some additional business specific services. YouTube.com is likely to remain the Web’s largest community library of searchable video content so I’d certainly recommend Optimising, Tagging and Uploading your content to it but I’d recommend investigating Viddler as your core video sharing service. Equipped with video analytics, HTML5, brand-able and customizable video players and an impressive feature-set of embeddable Viddgets.

Audioboo.fm – because sound is social and real voices are personable. AudioBoo provides a free-to-use mobile & web platform that effortlessly allows you to record and upload audio for your friends, family or the rest of the world to hear. With a diverse community of users, from Journalists to Independent Podcasters, Musicians to people having everyday conversations. It might just spark your imagination for the potential uses of sound and provide you with a simple insight into the more complicated world of Podcasting, iTunes, non-streamed webcasts and digital media syndication (as well as a host of other audio services: Spotify.com, SoundCloud.com, Blip.fm, Last.fm and RootMusic.com, etc.).

LinkedIn.com – is a free-to-use business-oriented social networking site. It is mainly used for professional networking. With 75 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, it provides a continually developing set of features that allow you to share your career development, contacts, life, blog posts, tweets, upcoming events etc. with a growing network of professionals and industry groups.

MailChimp.com – start with a free account, upgrade at anytime. MailChimp provides an email marketing service to design, send, and track HTML email campaigns with a simple set of tools. An ad-supported but fully-functional account provides the capacity to send 3,000 emails per month to up to 500 subscribers. A Pay-As-You-Go account removes any third-party advertising, and a range of monthly subscription packages can cater for an unlimited number of emails (approximately £20 per month if your mailing list is no bigger than 2,500 members).

SurveyMonkey.com – is a free online survey software & questionnaire tool. Create and publish online surveys in minutes, and view results graphically and in real time. A free account allows up to 10 questions per survey and a maximum of 100 responses, whilst a monthly subscription (approximately £20) provides customizable and branded survey tools with unlimited questions and responses, and downloadable results and analytics.

Eventbrite.com – a free-to-setup online event registration tool, everything you need to bring people together for an event and sell tickets. Creating an event page and adding it to your blog or website takes about 5 minutes, define your ticket types and price, track sales and attendees with an event summary – simple. Eventbrite takes a small commission on the tickets you actually sell. Additional features include event/conference Name Badge design, etc.

Bit.ly – allows you to shorten, share, and track links (URLs). Reducing the URL length makes sharing easier, especially if you’re using services like Twitter.com that limit your updates (tweets) to 140 characters in length. Bit.ly also provides management and analytics for your shortened links so you can track popular links and traffic locations. Bit.ly is still a relatively new service, free-to-use and currently free from ads. It is certainly useful and I recommend it, but make sure any links you use ‘within’ your own website content don’t reference bit.ly because if bit.ly doesn’t exist tomorrow neither do all your shortened links.

Bambuser.com – Live video streaming from your mobile phone or webcam (other live-streaming services include Ustream.tv and Qik.com). Bambuser lets you instantly share your experiences with friends, family and followers all over the globe, whilst at the same time interacting with your audience through web-to-mobile chat. Bambuser also integrates with a wide range of global platforms and social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, as well your blog or website – you decide where you want to share your real-time broadcasting experiences. Commercial packages are available; otherwise ad-support is likely.

Mendeley.com – is a desktop and web program for managing and sharing research papers, discovering research data and collaborating online. For a University or student Society, Mendeley’s growing popularity and social sharing features make it a potential gold-mine for inspirational content, connections and advocates – certainly one to look into!

Paper.li – creates an online newspaper built from all the articles, blog posts, videos and photos shared on Twitter – Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or Hashtag (#tag). Paper.li is an interesting example of how content, people and advocates from different places might be brought together (aggregated) to provide something greater than the sum of their parts. Other *filtering by collective trend* services like Flipboard.com help demonstrate what is both technically possible and increasingly popular.

Flattr.com – is a social micropayment platform (somewhat similar to the more widely known Chipin.com). Developed to help support you and the organizations and Societies people like. Adding a Flattr-Button to your website content might well help you fund future activities. Flattr is the newest and least proven service on my recommendations list; but if you’ve got some worthy content and Society activities planned it might be worth further investigation.

Gowalla.com – is a location-based social networking service that gives people around the world a new way to communicate and express. Users ‘check-in’ at Spots in their local vicinity, either through a dedicated mobile application or through the mobile website. As a reward users will sometimes receive virtual items from check-ins. With 150,000 active users in April 2010, this is certain to increase into 2011. As crazy as the concept may sound, if you want to explore the potential of social gaming and GEO location for community building and Society engagement this is my recommended place to start.

Google.com/Analytics – is a free web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features let you see and analyze your traffic data – enabling you to write better-targeted content and strengthen your marketing initiatives. Google also provide Email services and a suite of Google Apps (document, presentation, spreadsheet and collaboration tools).

SocialMedia.PolicyTool.net – is far from perfect, but does provide you the ideal introduction to an important topic – Social Media Policy. PolicyTool helps streamline the process of policy development. Answering a brief questionnaire provides you with a customized document upon which to build. Social Media Policy is not yet a legal requirement but there are certain aspects of it that you really should be aware of. Please make sure you examine your own internal policies and data-protection guidelines, and all the applications terms of service and subscription contracts, before you make any decisions – the responsibility to make the right choice for you and your Society is yours alone, not mine.

CreativeCommons.org – is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Free licenses and other legal tools mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof. Providing a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators.

Dropbox.com – is a digital storage service that syncs your files online for backup and sharing. Put your files into your Dropbox on one computer, and they’ll be instantly but securely available to you (and those you choose/invite) via any other computers (or mobile devices) with Dropbox installed (its even cross-compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux). A basic 2GB Dropbox account is free, with additional Pro storage available from £6.50 per 50GB (approximately).

I really do hope that my insights inspire you to question your perception of Social Media and its potential value to you and others, thus empowering you to ‘work beyond What Is to deliver What Can Be™’. As the quote reads: “we can identify trends for the future but accurate predictions are impossible”. Good luck and positive thoughts, Carl. *~)

Recommended Reading and Resources:

(This document URL: http://fellow.ventures/2010/08/how-to-use-social-media-the-elementals)
Social Media for Audience Development and Community Building:
Engaging Through Social Media (a PDF Guide aimed at Civil Servants):
Brain Solis: Hybrid Theory Manifesto (broken into three parts):
Information Architects Inc. created the diagram ‘Web Trend Map 3’:
13 Qualities of a good Social Media Voice:
The Impact of a good Editor on Content: *
Helen Keegan: Social Media, Education, Industry – and motivation
RSA Video – Daniel Pink on intrinsic motivation:
The 15 Web Principles as published by the BBC:
Sound-bites about social-media usage and strategy – some are worth your attention, others are not:
Habbo Hotel (habbo.co.uk) – understanding and developing your user Personas:
How to manage a Sustainable Online Community:
Seth Godin: Tribe Management
Where does responsibility for digital communications sit within a large organisation?
A Guide to Facebook Social Plugins:
A Collection of Social Networking Statistics for 2010
Information Age vs Attention Age:
Please be very mindful of Information Gluttony
Ken Robinson: the moving case for creating an education system that nurtures
Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex
Seven Lessons from games for transforming engagement
57 Social Media Policy Examples and Resources:
Douglas Rushkoff – Life Inc.
(ISBN 978-0-141-04525-2. Book available at http://rushkoff.com)
Ken Robinson – The Element, how finding your passion changes everything
(ISBN 978-0-224-08203-7. Book available at http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/the-element)

Tuttle101 & Tipple101 in August 2010

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Tuttle101 & Tipple101 (aka Shipple) @LightVessel21 in August

An Update of Thoughts & Activities

Tuttle Projects, EmptyShops in Medway (Kent),
Sustainable-Creativity, Open-Source & Open-Data,
PodCasts, Social-Media & HyperLocal-Activity-Streams
& Community-Spaces for future-thinking LikeMinds

Yesterday (02/06/10) I re-visited the blog post I published at the beginning of January 2010 entitled ‘A new year of opportunity for a Padawan‘ and I re-read the ‘Hopes for 2010’ bullet-point list that formed it’s sign-off – in doing so I was reminded of all the to-do-lists that I (and others) have since worked through; its been a busy few months, and a busy year thus far!

Now, less than six month into 2010, I’m encouraged to report that many of January’s bullet-point ‘hopes and aims’ are well on their way to being realised, some are even complete, and much more has happened to convince me that I’m personally (and professionally) on the right road – all I need to do now is appease my bank manager by building a sustainable business model out of what I know but I’ll still remember Steve Jobs advice: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish! ‘~)

In an attempt to mark some lines in my cognitive sand, I’ve decided to publish this update. What follows is last January’s re-prioritised bullet-point-list, accompanied by some written explanations – and just for the record, each point seems to me, to fit very neatly within the framework of Chris Messina’s latest SlideShare presentation (as embedded below). I hope the following provides some inspirational mind-fodder to you, and hopefully it delivers some mental-release and focus to me – putting such things in writing usually does ‘~)

Aim #1Afford travel & ticket to SXSW® Interactive, March 2010

I commence this update on a slightly ironic footing, my original #1 priority back in January was to “Update FellowCreative.com and define ‘What I Do’ so that I can provide my bank manager with some form of stable cashflow graph”. Today I find myself hesitantly declaring that I’m yet to achieve such stability but I’m very happy to report that I not only earned my way to SXSW Interactive 2010 in Austin Texas but whilst I was there I learned from, and met, many inspiring and forward-thinking people.

I didn’t find the time to specifically blog my SXSW experiences but I can say for certain that I benefited greatly from my trip in terms of knowledge, inspiration and connections – and I trust the content within ‘Social-Web for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups‘ (published in March) has since demonstrated this fact.

My trip state-side provided non-stop activity, when I wasn’t listening to presentations from the likes of Danah Boyd or Clay Shirky, or wrapped up in conversation, I was socialising with friends (some of whom I’d not met in person but had been talking to online for years) – in short, Austin left me speechless (quite literally horse upon my return) and I’d recommend the trip to anyone with an open-mind and a soft-spot for shiny things.

I’m also proud to note that during the SXSW Digital Mission Breakfast I found myself suggesting a bold idea to Intel (the world leader in silicon innovation, processor technologies and supporter of global initiatives to continually advance how people work) – it appears the idea has since been signed-off for implementation by Intel’s HR Vice President *~)

As a closing note on this, I’m also pleased to say that only days ago Nokia got in touch regarding LikeMinds in Helsinki – I will tweet as soon as I know more about the participatory four day trip, so far it sounds extremely interesting! *~)

Aim #2Organise a Tuttle101 Project (or bigger: BarCampKent)

I will assume that you are already familiar with the concept of BarCamp, and thus I’ll move onwards to an explanation of the lesser known Tuttle:

Lloyd Davis, the founder of The Tuttle Club, describes Tuttle as ‘a loose association of people finding a way of working better together both online and off.

As a Tuttle Club regular, I think of Tuttle as ‘a philosophy or approach’ more than a Club or Event; I perceive it less as a Noun or Event Name, and more as a Verb or Action ~ as in: ‘to Tuttle‘. I believe people are participants of Tuttle, not members or attendees. Everyone who experiences Tuttle walks away with their own unique experience and perception of its unframework, open-social-approach and value; but almost all those I’ve met describe it as ‘fun and inspiring’.

If you’re a likely friend of Harry Tuttle, I do hope to meet you soon:
YouTube Preview Image

My personal understanding of Tuttle continues to evolve daily but today I’ll pose the following definition: ‘a participatory action or moment in time, where the spaces between people (as individuals or in groups) provide an open-mind and conversational canvas for transversal lines and alternative angles of exploration, learning, perception, approach, collaboration, ideation and innovation, resulting in positive-participation and social-value‘ – or put simply, to Tuttle, is to have a great excuse for an open-minded conversation over a coffee or beer, plus its free to participate and provides a much better platform for social-interaction, education, inspiration and creative collaboration than any structured conference, speed-networking programme or lead generation event I’ve ever attended.

In September 09 I decided to introduce Tuttle to the community of Medway in Kent (UK) – Tuttle101 was born. Now, only eight months later there’s a ‘casual community’ mailing-list of 78+ and an expanding ‘core community’ of participants who actively propel things forward and encourage evolutions of the concept such as Tipple. Last month (17th May) Tuttle101 welcomed 19+ participants at 9:30am on a Monday, with a further 15+ appearing for Tipple101 on the evening of 25th May.
Click here for the latest info on Tuttle101 and Tipple101.

Such community participation was somewhat unexpected, but its been magically inspiring and welcomed; it has also presented challenges of time, resource and the eternal questions: So what’s Next? Is such a thing Sustainable? How could it be done better? Where’s the Value (social, financial, educational, transversal) ?

As it turned out, Tuttle Club founder Lloyd Davis had been asking the same questions – on 15th May 2010 I spent the day at TuttleCamp discussing such things amongst a small group of nationwide Tuttle participants – the agenda for the day ‘come talk about tuttle, lets see what happens’ – suffice to say it provided interesting and stimulating conversation between people who wouldn’t normally meet.

I left with a few nuggets of inspiration to ponder: 1) Tuttle – its not for everybody but it is for anybody. 2) Tuttle works best in a publicly social space such as a Café or Bar, partly because hosting drinks and washing-up is already catered for, but mostly because it automatically supports social inclusion and openness. 3) At least one person needs to assume the role of saying hello to new participants. 4) Twitter, more often than not, provides the social back-channel to Tuttle, and thus it automatically supports the unwritten rule of no business cards or name badges. 5) As highlighted by the principles of Activity Theory and Open-Source Community Management, Tuttle appears to develop both a ‘casual community’ and a ‘core community’, whilst removing any formal sense of hierarchy.

So, what’s next on the agenda for Tuttle101? Well, in many ways that’s up to the community but one core conversation from TuttleCamp continues to surface – the idea of Tuttle Projects. The concept of ‘core community participants’ being able to provide value to a wider community through collaborative projects – this interests me greatly and I hesitantly find myself paraphrasing Erasmus Darwin and Jenny Uglow’s book The Lunar Men: “a group of enlightened improvers abounding in charity’s deeds and everything valuable in human life, principles, ethics and social liberty”. The word ‘charity’ is perhaps a little misleading but ‘social-value’ is more my mindset – and already such projects have begun to present themselves:

A. Medway Council have expressed an interest to engage the Tuttle101 community in the redevelopment of their public service website – more information here. Such engagement is yet to be confirmed but things certainly look hopeful.

B. The result of much co-working and floor101.org related discussion and inspired by the national Empty Shops campaign, the tuttle101 community (@BecomeKnown @DavidBahia @OnMeJack & @FellowCreative – helped by Steve @KentishFella at Royal Tunbridge Wells #Twuttle) collaborated over the course of two days to Geo-Tag and Photograph 136 #EmptyShops across Medway – the result of which can be seen here as the beginnings of an Open-Source Platform ~ more information can be found under ‘Aim #3’ (below).

C. As the community grows and new faces arrive in the mix, opportunities and like-minded projects are beginning to present themselves, only last week I gave up a day of my time to help out Gary Weston @LightVessel21 – LV21 is a 40 metre steel-hulled lightship being transformed into a floating cultural facility, designed to provide a range of services promoting and supporting the creative industries in the Medway area and beyond. And please note, if you’re any good with paint-brushes, hammers or abseiling lights, Gary @LightVessel21 is happy to welcome all hands on deck! please ‘~) http://www.lv21.co.uk

LV21 Light Vessel

D. A PodCast, it seems that Steven @OnMeJack and myself @FellowCreative are in the midst of attempting such a production to help engage others in conversation and spread the word of local like-minds and unsigned musicians; as well as furthering discussion and connections towards HyperLocal-Activity-Streams and Community-Generated-NewspapersTheBridgePodCast is now available here!

E. The final Tuttle Project to mention is that of a KentBarCamp – at this stage there is nothing even planned, let alone confirmed, but I feel it worth mentioning that a collaborative group of like-minds is slowly forming that might just be able to realise such a feat in Kent ‘~)

If you’d like to participate, or have your own idea for a Tuttle Project(s), please do get in touch, and please do SignUp for Updates.
In addition I’d like to note: Tuttle101 is not owned by anyone, it merely exists because of its growing community of people – and this means that the community are free to shape it, use it, or discard it, as they please. With this in mind these assets are now available to help you, but please do let us know what you’re up to beforehand so we can help ‘~)

PS. I will also note that January’s ‘Aim #5 – Plan a 15,000ft LIVE-stream sky-dive for charity’ is now added to my Tuttle101 Project list but due to finance and time constraints, and a few technical checks awaiting completion, it is now at the very bottom of my priority list.

Aim #3Inspire an Open-Source Platform

When I set out this aim in January 2010 I thought it likely to be realised through http://deathbook.info (Facebook Privacy and Digital Legacy Issues) or other matters relating The Digital Economy Bill but today I simply point you in the direction of the #EmptyShops Flickr Gallery, the Public GeoTag data (longitude and latitude data) of 136 Shops across Medway, the National Empty Shops Network – and I suggest there is now a foundation upon which to build such a platform, so please do ‘~)

#EmptyShops locational-data and shop-front photos were collected during the 21st & 22nd of May 2010 between Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham (Medway, Kent). Full details can be found here:

#EmptyShops #Medway – a Tuttle101 Project

Aim #4Update FellowCreative.com and define ‘What I Do’

Suffice to say that this is currently my #1 priority and I will be back with more details very soon! In the meantime I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who replied with an answer to my open question ‘What Do I Do?’ – as promised, below is a collection of your tweets, thank you for providing me such food for thought! ‘~)

What Do I Do?

“Sometimes you need someone else or something else to cultivate the great creative thinking. For a crucial piece of creative thinking we asked Carl to help facilitate us, and use his creative methodologies, his knowledge of our market but crucially his distance from our consultancy to improve our chances of making the mental jumps we needed. It worked! Carl was patient, thoughtful and used fun, theory and careful interventions to help us find ourselves some little gems of thought. A good man and one I’m happy to recommend”
Will McInnes, MD of NixonMcInnes

As I’ve said before, I believe we’re defined by What We Do, not by our Job Title’s. I still love my title ‘Creative Midwife & Joiner-of-Dots’ but ever since Will McInnes gave me his testimonial I’ve been pondering: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.