Paris fears Facebook Party

The police in Paris warns for the biggest French cocktail party ever. On May 23 people want to organize a huge drinking party just below the Eiffel Tower. However, the police strongly disagrees with this party. It would be too difficult to maintain the public order in a crowd of ten thousands of people.

The ‘Plus grand apéro de France’ is an initiative that has started on Facebook. Earlier French Internet users organized similar events in other cities, though less populated. The organizers now want a national Facebook party. They aim for some 50,000 participants. At this moment about 13,000 people have signed in.

Source: Spits, May 7, 2010

My interview with Yubby on the Next Web

I run into these guys on many conferences so it was no surprise to meet Remco and Vincent from Yubby on the Next Web as well. This time, they found a new victim to interview:

Twitter for change

More often social media are being used in the battle for human rights. Not so long ago CNN found a video on YouTube about an 8 year old bride. The story got worldwide exposure which eventually lead to the discontinuation of the marriage. The video was placed by Saudi activist Wajeha al-Huwaider.

With these kind of success stories in mind the in Beirut-based organization Social Media Exchange (SMEX) tries to impose social change and sustainability. That, in a way, basically means: courses in Twitter, Facebook workshops and blog-lessons. For everybody, but especially for people who want to be heard, like Wajeha.

SMEX is founded by Jessica Dheere and Mohamad Najem. “It is important that people themselves can make journalistic reports for society-focused organizations and international websites. That’s how they can raise their voice”, says Dheere. “By sharing knowledge and experiences these women teach each other to use ICT in a smart way.” Next to providing workshops and training SMEX also translates tutorials for Twitter and Facebook in Arabic.

Source: Metro

Powerpoint makes us stupid

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” General James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. General Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti”, according to an article in the New York Times.

The slide in case was indeed a colorful resemblance of a highway in Rome during rush hour.

“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter”, the article continues.

“Despite such tales, “death by PowerPoint,” the phrase used to described the numbing sensation that accompanies a 30-slide briefing, seems here to stay. The program, which first went on sale in 1987 and was acquired by Microsoft soon afterward, is deeply embedded in a military culture that has come to rely on PowerPoint’s hierarchical ordering of a confused world.”

And let’s not forget the closing paragraph: “The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.”

Are you hypnotizing chickens, or are you inspiring?

Full article here.

Innovative ways to deliver your message..eehh…massage

You All know Paulo, our friend from Microsoft who introduced internal podcasting at Microsoft which was a great inspiration to us. He just tweeted a video about how the made people listening to a 5 minute podcast.

Well done Paulo. Could that fly in pharma companies too?

SXSW 2010: Nina Hartley – Porn Star, Sex Educator, Social Networker

Yes, we also talked about sex at SXSW. Nina Hartley, porn star, sex educator and social networker lead a panel session on the impact of the internet and social media on the porno industry. Nina uses her knowledge and experience, both as an actrice and a nurse, for sexual education.

“In the US there is no sex education in schools, so when young poeople get out of school they are very ignorant  about their body, about relationships and about contraception.” Watching porno is for them a way to educate themselves. But that is a bad idea, accoridng to Nina, because porno is entertainment and doesn’t have much to do with reality. This situation inspired Nina to the ‘Nina Hartley Guides’, a series of educational videos about sex. Not without success, because the series gave her a lot of fans and admirers (of both sexes). Until recently, she could only get in contact with her fans through conventions and other meetings, but today social media gives her the opportunity to get in contact with them more frequently and more personal. Nina initiated the online community ‘‘ and the online TV show ‘‘ which will have their official launch on March 29, 2010.

Fiercesome location war at SXSW

We couldn’t help joining it as well. With so many devices, people connected and location based services it’s hard not to do so. What am I talking about? Location based services. I’m talking Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Flickr geotagging, geotagged tweets from Twitter, etc. It certainly was a ‘look-who’s-here-fest in Austin.

The people from SimpleGeo made an awesome video about the process, using their innovative data visualization tool. Clearly visible is the location war between Foursquare and Gowalla:

SXSW 2010: Brian Solis – Organizations need to socialize

Social Media has changed the communication landscape and also the world of business has noticed that. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to engage”, according to Brian Solis, Prinicpal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.

“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such manner that your not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organsational structure of a company. “Any division within an organization that is effected by outside influence is goiung to have to socialize”.  Eventually social media instruments will become aminstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

Brian was at SXSW to promote his latest book ‘Engage’, in his words the book that starts where the current scial media books stop. “There is not a single book that goes into this depth, that tells you how to apply social media to your job, how to get resources, how to measure it and how to get support.” We spoke with Brian about his book, about cultural change and about SXSW 2010.

SXSW 2010: Charlene Li: “Open Leadership and the upside of giving up control”

Meet Charlene Li, co-author of the Groundswell, a ‘must-read’ in Social Media. Li is close to publishing her latest book ‘Open Leadership’. SXSW has given her a stage to explain what it’s all about. The room is packed. With reason, because who didn’t get inspired by Groundswell.

In Open Leadership Li elaborates further on Social Media and how to use this as a professional organization. “The world around us has changed dramatically in only a few years time. Changed in the way we are sharing knowledge, experiences and emotions, online. It has influenced the way we communicate and collaborate with each other, and that is having a major influence in the way we build our relationships.”

However, only a handful of companies and other organizations embrace this change. Because ‘social’ within organizations seems to be hard. Why? Because it implies that you’ll give up control over your message, your product and your brand. And that is difficult. While, if you think about it, sharing and giving up control (which you don’t really have anyway), is the essence when building or maintaining a relationship. Within that relationship, you cannot control all the elements. Differences of opinion, misunderstandings and mistakes are inevitable. But in the end, that’s what makes the realtionship grow!

So, what you need, is sufficient confidence in your own strengths and capabilities and sufficient confidence in your customers (both internally and externally) to give up control. That’s Open Leadership. In her book Charlene demonstrates how you can achieve that as an organization.

In our interview, Charlene explains this further.

SXSW 2010: The future of Corporate culture at Southwest Airlines

‘Our employees are our number 1 customers’. How many CEO’s are saying that about their employees? Many, right? But how many truly live up to those words? In a way that their workers will acknowledge that? “Southwest Airlines”, according to Mallory Messina, Culture Ambassador at Southwest. “In SWA, we do things just a little different. And you’ll notice that in the behavior of all 35,000 employees. Our culture is what distinguishes ourselves from our competitors. SWA trusts us and empowers us.” Openness, transparancy and authenticity are key. Even long before the raise of New Media. The founders of the company have always strived to cherrish and nurture the culture, no matter the number of employees. And most, if not all, says Mallory, feel comfortable in this culture. “We’re happy people, and happy people make happy passengers”. Their out of the ordinary ‘Safety Instructions’ is an example of that.

Mallory brings the story with a lot of passion. For some even a bit over the top (really, is that possible here in the US?), referring to LampaGJ’s tweet: Abandoned Southwest Airlines cheerleadering #beyondbbqs panel for “how not to be a douchebag at sxsw.” But it is effective, cause SWA does have enthusiastic and driven employees, who get rewarded for their efforts and dedication. The core of the culture: ‘A Servant Heart, a Warrior Spirit and a Fun-Luving Attitude’, combined with an Employees Recognition Program. And it seems to work. Not even for the people of SWA, but this dedication seems to also affect their passengers, referring to SWA’a blog, their Facebook page (over 720,000 fans) and their Twitter account (more than 1 million followers). Still, things can go wrong, as it did with Kevin Smith (click here for full story). SWA made an attempt to acknowledge mistakes and be transparent about their policies (here and here), but the event backfired and cost them a number of customers in addition to a lot of negative publicity.

Funny enough, only now SWA is starting to implement Social Media for their internal communications. Very soon they will launch swalife, an internal blog for employees. While many of these employees are already active with the external tools. And surprisingly, without any ‘corporate guidelines’.  “Why hide if people had a bad day at work? Because that still happens at Southwest Airlines”, aldus Mallory.

We had a short interview with Mallory after her talk where she elaborates further on the corporate culture at SWA.

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