There has been much coverage recently of the website petition launched by Cambridge mathematician Timothy Gowers, winner of the Fields medal, to encourage academics to publicly declare that they will not support any Elsevier journal. According to The Cost of Knowledge website, more than 6000 academics have currently signed up. Robin Peek takes an in-depth look at the issues in this ITI Newsbreak.
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When it comes to social media, personal recommendations are a valuable commodity. The power of ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘retweet’ and +one is that these recommendations mean more when they come from others. People outside the organisation can become our most powerful and influential advocates.
The challenge for information professionals is that there are so many social media tools around. Which ones should we focus on? Do we really need a presence on Facebook, in Google+, on Twitter, in the blogosphere, on LinkedIn etc. The answer is that we must be active on any tool where relevant conversations are happening.
Sometimes relevant conversations can happen face to face. Having heard about Pinterest first through a Facebook friend, and second at the recent NetIKX social media event, it was a real world conversation with Phil Bradley that alerted me to the value of this new social tool. Pinterest provides social bookmarking with images. Although still in beta form, information professionals should be alert to its potential – Pinterest is already driving more traffic to retail sites than Google+.
On Pinterest, users create folders for images, describing their contents using freetext tagging. This is something which information professionals are very good at. You can use Pinterest to search images and to find experts and interested people. It is also an excellent marketing tool, and can draw people onto your website. It has enormous potential to market what it is that we do to a wide audience.
So if someone invites you to join Pinterest, you should accept the invitation and explore its potential as a potentially powerful marketing tool for library and information services.
The ‘pop-up’ movement of restaurants, shops, bars, cinemas, galleries and cafes brings together new audiences for temporary events in what are often underutilised spaces.
London department store Selfridges has opened a pop-up library in a basement space. The library is one element of the store’s Words Words Words festival.
Meanwhile, Surrey County Council is preparing for an increase of visitors to the county who will be attending Olympic Games events in 2012. The Council is planning to open ‘pop up’ information points for visitors, staffed by library and museum staff. Other initiatives planned ahead of the Olympics include free wi-fi being rolled out in all Surrey’s public libraries.
The pop-up movement shows how you can match innovative ideas and projects for your customers with larger scale events and initiatives.
For the last five years the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research has been conducting a study about the use of social media in the 500 fastest growing organisations in the US (The Inc. 500.) The first study, conducted in 2007, found that these companies were much more likely to have adopted blogs than those in the ‘traditional’ Fortune 500.
The latest findings show that the use of blogging in the Inc. 500 companies is declining for the first time. Blogging had declined to 37% from 50% in 2010. Advertising, Marketing and Media companies were the most likely to maintain blogs (72%) and Government Services companies the least likely.
However, as blogging reaches maturity in these organisations, the use of other social media, including Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Mobile apps, texting, Twitter and YouTube, is growing. 74% of responding companies were using Facebook, and 73% using LinkedIn.
90% of respondents report that social media tools are important for maintaining company reputation and raising brand awareness. Slightly fewer see the tools as vital for generating web traffic and lead generation. 73% say the tools are important for customer support programmes.
When asked if the use of social media has been successful for their business, the overwhelming response was that it had been. Respondents mentioned raising brand awareness, networking, thought leadership and the tools’ ability to give the company a ‘personality’.
25% of respondents plan to maintain their organisation’s investment in social media, and 71% plan to increase it.
The report is data rich and interesting reading. It shows that the use of social media in organisations is evolving, with some mature tools being dropped in favour of newer ones. A recognition of their value in supporting networking, and new ways of communicating, means that many organisations are planning to increase their investment in social tools.
Just in case you missed them, two great innovative library marketing initiatives have been picked up by the media recently.
First, on a Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog, Grant McCracken (who by the way describes the public library rather wonderfully as ‘a place of possibility’), described the Stuffed Animal Sleepover at his local library.
Children brought in their toys and left them for a ‘sleepover’. The toys were photographed having adventures (being read to, playing on the computers) in the library at night time. The librarians shared the pictures of their adventures with their children the next day. Through this initiative, the children began to see the library as a place of magical happenings and the library was able to do things that digital experiences could not.
Second, a wonderful idea from Slovenia and picked up by springwise.com. Ljubljana City Library ran an initiative offering mystery book packs to customers. The mystery packages simply had a sticker denoting a literary genre and librarians advised them further on their choices. Each parcel provided three books – a contemporary work, a classic and one ‘easy to read’. As Springwise noted, the book packs provided an example of what public libraries do best. They provided an enjoyable, curated and personalised experience to customers.
An exhibition at Somerset House in London explores how journalists reported key news stories of 2011.
Sponsored by Sky News (so therefore focusing on the 24 hour news channel’s broadcasting), the exhibition covers the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the UK riots.
What emerges is the role of mobile technologies in documenting important news stories and the editorial (and personal-safety) decision-making processes that go on behind the scenes. Satellite technologies enabled Sky Reporter Alex Crawford to report directly from scenes of conflict in Libya as well as from the Gaddafi compound as the rebels entered. Months later, mobile phone images of the last moments of Gaddafi were broadcast to the world – albeit with warnings to viewers about the disturbing nature of the footage.
In London, another Sky journalist Mark Stone had been tipped off by Twitter and found his way to rioters in Clapham, London. The footage of rioters and looters he filmed on his mobile phone was broadcast by the news channel.
The exhibition does not focus on the role of social media in raising awareness of or organising protests or on the growth of citizen journalism. Nor does it include commentary or analysis of print or radio broadcasts. Instead it explores the immediacy of 24-hour news broadcasting and the role and responsibilities of broadcasters in a world of rolling news and instant editorial commentary.
The United Nations has named 2012 as The Year of the Co-operative. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the nature of co-operatives as value-based operations in which the bottom line is not the only driver of business decisions.
Co-operation and alternative stakeholder models have featured widely in this week’s media. The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, spoke about the employee engagement model exemplified by John Lewis – a model in which the employees have a stake in the business. There is proof, he told his audience, that engaged employees can help create a more dynamic organisation.
The BBC’s In Business programme has also focused on the co-operative business model. Peter Day reported from the Spanish headquarters of the world’s largest employee owned co-operative business, the Mondragon Group. Mondragon is a highly successful business with a range of enterprises which is owned by 70,000 of its 85,000 employees. Strategic decision making is also done co-operatively. Every member gets one vote in a secret ballot. In order to manage this process Mondragon’s Director of Cooperative Dissemination explains that the business focuses on getting the right information to its members so that people can reach their decision.
Marketing Week has also explored new partnership models this week. Ruth Mortimer summarises why people are exploring the opportunities of alternative business models.
At a time when we all need to pull together and make the best of 2012’s unpredictable economic situation, any model that uses the brainpower, energy and enthusiasm of every stakeholder within a business seems not only like a good strategy, but a highly necessary one.
The Ethics Research Center (ERC) based in Arlington, Virginia, has just published its latest National Business Ethics Survey® (NBES) – the ‘barometer of workplace ethics’. (You can download the full report, free of charge, here).
The current findings have taken the ERC by surprise – all the metrics have diverged from the patterns of previous years and some interesting mixed messages have emerged. In particular, the ERC notes that two key influences stand out in the unusual shift in trends highlighted in the report:
The survey’s findings show that companies behave differently in economic hard times and that these behavioural changes are perceived by employees as ‘a heightened commitment to ethics’. More than four in 10 employees (42 percent) say their company has increased efforts to raise awareness about ethics. Employees respond by adopting a higher standard of personal conduct. While misconduct witnessed by US workers is at an historic low, reporting is at a near high.
Active social networkers in the workplace
Active social networkers are defined by the ERC as those who spend 30%+ of the working day engaged in social networking activity. Key findings suggest members of this group have a distinctly different view of ‘ethics’ to those of ‘non-active’ colleagues. They are more likely to report negative experiences in the workplace, and are more likely to experience pressure to compromise ethical standards. At the same time, they are more tolerant of what others may consider ‘questionable’ activities. For example, 42% of them stated it was acceptable to blog or tweet negatively about their employers, compared to just 6% of non-active social networkers. 46% felt it was acceptable to take company software home to use on a home computer (compared to just 7% of ‘others’).
The report, which is sponsored by large businesses including BP and Walmart, suggests that employers may need to find new ways to work with new types of employees – those who may ignore social media policy but who are equally willing to whistleblow when they are unhappy with the organisation’s own ethical behaviour. As ‘work’ and ‘life’ merge, it seems that some employees at least are setting their own ethical frameworks in the workplace – organisations ignore this group at their peril.
As previously featured on this blog, The Reading Agency is a charity with a mission to inspire more people to read more. Research shows that reading improves mental well-being and it was against this background that, in 2011, The Reading Agency launched a promotion called ‘mind boosting books’. Reading groups around the UK identified a range of books to include on a list of recommended reading aimed at people who may have experienced mental health issues including stress, anxiety or depression.
The 2011 campaign reached 50,000 people in library authorities, colleges, prisons and NHS trusts.
For the 2012 campaign (launching this month) The Reading Agency has partnered with Vintage, the publishers of Stop What You’re Doing and Read This which features essays from leading contemporary writers. An additional 26 titles will be promoted during the campaign including classics such as The Secret Garden and The Pursuit of Love. The full list includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels including titles for less confident readers.
The restorative power of reading (in whatever format) is well known to us all, of course and we all have our favourite mood-boosting books (let me nominate Three Men in a Boat as a book that always makes me laugh out loud although I am not sure that this qualifies it for inclusion on the list). Any thoughts or suggestions for mood-boosting reading gratefully received!
User experience and usability experts the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG) have named their choice of the ’10 Best Intranets of 2012’. Among the winners are UK based companies Everything Everywhere and Logica, MAN Diesel and Turbo SE from Germany, and Sweden’s Skanska. Other winners include Genentech, NCR, LivePerson and Staples.
According to NNG, smaller companies are designing better intranets compared to previous years – of this year’s 10 winning intranets, 6 support fewer than 15,000 employees, with the smallest being LivePerson at 550. The average number of employees in this year’s winning organisations is 19,700, which is the smallest since the contest launched 12 years ago.
The size of the average intranet team size grew to 15 people — slightly less than 1 intranet specialist per thousand employees, with the smallest teams consisting of 6 people at both Everything Everywhere (15,000 employees) and LivePerson Inc. (550 employees). The largest team was 26 people at NCR Corporation (21,000 employees).
Although mobile intranets have looked promising in recent years, this year saw a decline in the number of intranets offering mobile versions – possibly because teams do not have the time or resources to do more than focus on the main intranet. At the same time, social media components seem to have really taken off with a number of organisations such as MAN Diesel and Turbo making the most of the social potential of people search functionality within their intranets.
More information can be found here.
- Is Higher Education value for money? May 16, 2013
- Children and apps May 13, 2013
- Tools for competitive intelligence May 9, 2013
- The future of TV April 30, 2013
- Mobile search: creating moments that matter April 27, 2013
- A blog post about the decline of blogging February 2, 2012
- Is relationship building the key to customer loyalty? October 10, 2011
- Using social media tools to disseminate academic research December 4, 2012
- Research libraries in the 21st century May 22, 2012
- The rise of the ‘digital omnivore’ February 28, 2012
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