Category Archives: digital media

Facebook Launches Check In Deals in Australia

In its ever growing hunger for advertising dough, Facebook has finally scored with Australian businesses. KFC, 7-Eleven and the Commonwealth Bank have signed up to give people deals for checking in. Here is some Fb propaganda explaining (promoting) how it works:

And here are some of the businesses doing this in Aus:

Start Up Smart and Sydney Morning Herald covered the story.

Start Up Smart

Content

‘Facebook launches check in deals in Australia’

Start Up Smart caters to small businesses, sole traders and entrepreneurs. That’s important to note because it changes the way the story is reported. Have a look at the people interviewed for the article:

1. Paul Borrud, head of Facebook for Australia and New Zealand,

2. James Griffin, of social media intelligence firm SR7

3. Facebook

Interestingly the last third of the article consists of advice Facebook gives to businesses who use the check in function to promote their services. Since Start Up Smart comes from the business point of view it seems the check in deals as an profit opportunity and does not cover the consumer point of view, making the article highly tailored and slightly biased towards supporting the initiative.

Layout

Start Up Smart is pretty self contained in that it doesn’t hyperlink often and when it does the links tend to lead to websites of start up businesses. This article had a random link to commonwealth bank though, which is ….random.

Sydney Morning Herald

Content

‘Check in before checkout to save’

The audience is broader for SMH so there is a more general all encompassing angle to reporting this story. A range of people was interviewed including a research company that is meant to represent the users. But funnily enough no users (a.k.a. general public) were interviewed. That’s one criticism I have. Vox pops would have been sooo appropriate to include in this story. After all, it is about the user experience.

People interviewed:

1. George Patterson Y&R social media strategist Tiphereth Gloria

2. Westfield’s general manager of marketing, John Batistich,

3. James Griffin, partner with social media intelligence firm SR7

4. user experience firm Stamford Interactive director Lisa Wade

As with many tech stories, the hyperlinks are the funnest thing because they make references to other techie stuff. I got a bit over excited about the hyperlink about virtual dressing rooms. Anyway it was fun because I got to go on a complete tangent and see what this online dressing room concept is all about (I actually tried it out here!).

Important Realisation!: Even news stories are becoming a tool of social media because through hyperlinks they connect us to other people, news, places and stories. And the thing is, the author of the story gets to determine where we end up (if we chose to click on the hyperlink). Hmmm one more way to influence opinion and perspective?

Layout

The comment functionality tells the truth…that is all. As I mentioned, SMH didn’t interview the common person but in the end they didn’t have to. I read the comments on the article and they mostly consisted of irritated and bitter grouchiness. People were very cynical about the deals which they thought pretty much sucked.

 

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How Education, Drive and Digital Technology Create Entrepreneurs

I have recently had to get past my hermit like, anti-social tendencies to do a feature article. And I’m glad I did because I was able to write about something that really interests me (entrepreneurship) and combine it with something I want to do for a living (digital media).

So in the video below you’ll see me raving on about entrepreneurship and the glory of online start ups.

Note: When I rave, my accent tends to become grotesque and at times incomprehensible, so watch at your own peril.

Here are the links to Start Ups I mentioned in the video:

1. TaskRabbit

2.GoCatch

3. Freelancer.com.au

Voila: This is the article I spent days concocting, cutting and pasting bits and pieces, then frantically undoing the cutting and pasting until I stopped giving a shit and just submitted it.

It’s pretty damn long for a post so I encourage you to skim and just click on links.

Entrepreneurship Education Goes from Niche to Mainstream in Universities

                         

Entrepreneurship students at UNSW

“The whole point of teaching entrepreneurship is to help students avoid some of the obvious mistakes, so they don’t have to fail quite as often or quite as fast” says Dr. Martin Bliemel, the director of the UNSW Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It might seem odd to think that creativity and inventive thinking can be taught but entrepreneurship education in Australia is steadily growing.

Dr. Bliemel’s insight into entrepreneurial education is certainly more reliable than most; after all, he has travelled the rocky road of entrepreneurship himself. Before joining UNSW from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Dr. Bliemel completed an MBA with a venture specialisation in 2002.  He reflects that while he was studying he could tell that “some [students] wanted to get into start ups and entrepreneurship but at that time there was only one course in entrepreneurship in that entire MBA program”. Consequently his desire to “help other people commercialize their cool ideas” propelled him to start a business consulting company that assisted entrepreneurs with business plans, raising capital and financial modeling.  According to Dr. Bliemel “Its only recently we’re starting to see education programs specialising in entrepreneurship”.

UNSW’s Diploma in Innovation Management is one such program designed to filled this new niche in education. The undergraduate Diploma is offered in conjunction with students’ undergraduate degrees and spans three years. Those willing to tackle extra study for the diploma have their chance to learn the secrets of entrepreneurial trade before graduating. Only the extremely brave, dedicated and ambitious take on the challenge but even before being accepted in the course, they are subjected to CIE’s scrutinising eye and judged on the basis of past leadership and entrepreneurial skills, enthusiasm and academic achievement. The end result: a carefully chosen breed of  motivated entrepreneur hopefuls. “The students are a lot more engaged and they learn a lot from each other. They’re not taking [the course] because they have to, they take it because they want to.” Dr. Bliemel says proudly.

According to CIE’s internal statistics 11% of students come from the College of Fine Arts, 14% are from the Faculty of Science, 24% are from the School of Business, 18% come from the Faculty of Social Science and 17% are from the Engineering Faculty. Dr. Bliemel says that there is also interest in the course from students in other universities. “They see that, ‘Oh my God, I wish we had that at our university’”.

What they might not be aware of is that entrepreneurship in education was being picked up as early as in 2004. According to the Journal of Asia Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, out of 39 Australian universities surveyed in 2004, 13 were offering entrepreneurship units in bachelor and masters programs, 8 offered bachelor programs in entrepreneurship with major or minor in entrepreneurship and 11 offered post graduate programs such as graduate certificate, diplomas or masters in entrepreneurship.

And the trend is gathering momentum. The Murdoch university for example, currently offers a specialization in entrepreneurship as part of its undergraduate commerce degree and is not shy to use lines like ‘Love to be your own boss one day?’ and ‘you could be the world’s next Richard Branson!’ to entice students. The University of Adelaide has created an exclusively entrepreneurial undergraduate degree with the grand title ‘Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship’. Taking a leaf from UNSW’s book, UTS had recently created an Entrepreneurship Centre ‘to build an entrepreneurship ecosystem’ and aims to provide highly specialised courses for entrepreneurs.

Sean Marshall plans to give his own suggestions to the centre. After all he is the president of the Australian Collaborative Entrepreneurial Society (ACES) society at UTS and a fierce advocate for improvements in entrepreneurial education. His response to whether Australia is doing enough to assist young entrepreneurs speaks for itself. “Hell NO” he says with passion, “people need to know that entrepreneurship is a valid career path”. Which is just what he’s working on. A serial networker who goes to about four entrepreneurship networking events each week, he also runs The Vanguard, an organisation that helps encourage entrepreneurial skills in students.  “We build a community of students from high school and university who want to be involved in entrepreneurship and  run training events. For example a day work shop on how to build an e-commerce site” he says, before pausing for a moment to give the taxi driver directions. He is in fact on his way back from the ‘Final Pitches’ event at UNSW where entrepreneurship students showcase their innovative business ideas. “There needs to be a shift away from education focused on theory and to education that involves solving a problem in the real world” he concludes adamantly.

However Both Marshall and Bliemel are likely to be disappointed with Oliver Milman’s cynicism about entrepreneurial courses. The editor of Start Up Smart, an online publication for entrepreneurs, is skeptical about the impact of tertiary education on the entrepreneurship sphere. “There is a big debate about whether entrepreneurship should be taught as a course. Rather, it’s possible that its a state of mind.” he comments pensively. “There is a belief that teaching entrepreneurship itself doesn’t really help you out” he continues, “that you can’t teach people to come up with ideas”.

The experience of Sam Sidney, 24 year old owner of online clothing store Twin Cat Vintage seems to support his ‘mind over matter’ rationale. For Sam, who studied journalism at Melbourne University, lack of entrepreneurship education was simply a challenge to be tackled, not an insurmountable barrier.

“I particularly found the actual ‘business’ side of things tough. Being mathematically illiterate also didn’t help matters!” she admits. But  she is far from being resentful about this difficulty. “I think fear is a fantastic motivator and whilst there were always fears and stresses involved, I never lost the motivation to keep trying”.

She describes her love for vintage clothing and the satisfaction of giving people a “special shopping experience” as the reasons she started the business.

“I had an incredible long white 70’s lace dress once, which a girl bought for her wedding dress – that was an amazing sale!”.

When speaking about motivation, Fiona Anson, a serial entrepreneur who’s owned a total of six businesses, has her own philosophy. “Entrepreneurs have an internal drive. They are motivated by doing things better.” she says with conviction.

Her newest venture HireMeUp, which she started with business partner Allison Baker, is a job search site for finding flexible work and attracts 10000 visitors per month. Like Sam, Fiona is optimistic about business challenges. “You might get a bit disappointed, but you pick yourself up and dust yourself off ” she laughs, “it’s all trial and error at the end of the day.”

Regardless of the role education plays in creating entrepreneurs, there is most certainly a growing demand for entrepreneurial courses in Australian universities. Yet the experiences and mentality of entrepreneurs like Fiona and Sam indicate that the desire to create something is what underpins the success of educational incentives.

“Somebody who’s an entrepreneur gets the thrill out of finding something new to do all the time”, Fiona declares, before adding with a smile “and I love it.”

Fiona (on the right) and her business partner Allison

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Two Ways Twitter has Changed the Way We Consume Information

The way Osama Bin Laden’s Death broke on Twitter gave rise to new questions about its role  as an informational hub and the role of the audience in generating news. In my opinion,

  1. Twitter has changed the way in which people search for information
  2. It has also provided certain individuals with the power to influence and generate news

The truly innovative aspect of Twitter is that people are able to search for and find news that have not yet been broadcast, written about or published.This was the case with the news about Osama Bin Laden’s death.

According to Fast Company the interest of the public was sparked when the White House announced an urgent presidential address. Amongst this demand for information  Keith Urbahn’s news breaking tweet about Osama Bin Laden’s death was spread freakishly quickly.

Urbahn’s power to create  news came because his information responded to the public demand.

It was only because his tweet coincided with the most talked about topic and the time at which it was delivered that it had such prevalence. This demonstrates is that unlike traditional media that used to ‘push’ news towards the consumer, Twitter provides a place where people can ‘pull’ the right information from their network.

Just want to show you a Twitter visualisation that demonstrates how information networks are created on Twitter. I know the topic has nothing to do with what I’m talking about but I thought it was a good visual example!

It seems that information is trusted when it either comes from a variety of unrelated, unbiased sources or if it is provided by influential and credible individuals.

This guy’s quote, published by Arnnet perfectly describes how info trust is built:

“After first seeing one or two tweets on the subject, I quickly did a hashtag search to verify that what I was reading was being referenced by a large number of people and linked to a reputable news source. After that little process, I felt as though I could trust what I was reading and that I had been informed of the news from many different vantage points, each with independent motivations, backgrounds, national histories. I find that process much more trustworthy than listening to a single TV station.”

The way the news broke also makes it possible to suggest a profile of the twitterer who can successfully act as an influential citizen journalist. The key individuals in the OBL case were Keith Urbahn, the former Chief of Staff in Donald Rumsfeld’s office and Brian Stelter, a digital media reporter for the New York Times, who re-tweeted Urbahn’s tweet.

Both were professionals in their respective fields and both were active on Twitter during the crucial time. Although Urbahn had a relatively small following of 1016 people, according to Social Flow he “had the right combination of influential people reading his tweet and confidence in the accuracy of the information.” This of course included Brian Stelter who was not only a reliable source but also had a huge Twitter following of 57 535 people. When he re-tweeted Urbahn’s tweet it was spread by his following, making the news viral.

Based on this information I am suggesting that the successful citizen journalist on Twitter must be credible and reliable, he or she must be timely in providing information and they must have the right twitter following. This can either be a very large following but most importantly it must contain the right people.In other words the twitterer must have influence.

Here is a list of most influential twitter users.

You can use Twitter Grader to find out how influential a particular twitter user is.

I found this tool really cool too. It lets you search for influential people who are interested in the same things you are.

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Filed under citizen journalism, communication, digital media, digital technology, information, journalism, new media, news, Uncategorized

Build a Digital Resume You Can Be Proud Of

I knew it! I knew it all along. Resumes are going digital.

To be more exact I’ll just pretend I knew it all along since I’ve already blogged about digital/interactive internship applications. But that was kinda going on a whim. Making my application interactive was something I did instinctively. Now I’ve actually stumbled across heaps of advice about making social media resumes.

I will thoroughly enjoy writing my own digital resume because resumes are my sore point. I HATE WRITING THEM.

Why? because I’ve had to re-write my resume so so so so many times.

Why? Because I decided I want to head down different career paths so SO So sO soooo many times.

I’m done. I just want a place to rest my resume on and a digital space will do nicely. I want my resume to be my toy not the bane of my existence. I want to make my resume exactly as I want it to be.
So I’ve decided to sign up to Visual CV where you can create your online resume. I’ve chosen this site because
a) I found it through a link on Mashable
b) I was too lazy/busy to look for others
c) It was easy and free to sign up

My point in saying the above is, you have to try it out first. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get the ball rolling and switch to a better/more professional site once you’ve aced the crappy version.

Here are social media resumes of two random people:

Random person #1

Random person #2

Sorry but I actually think they are pretty crap. They might be online but they’re far from being interactive. My advice to anyone planning to make a smooth transition into the 21st century job hunting world is to at least include a Youtube video (a visual cover letter) of yourself.

I love this video cover letter for Google:

I think a Youtube video is a reasonable ask for anyone who is not especially techno minded or in touch with the gazillions of new techy tools popping up on the net.

Attaching links inside the resume makes it heaps more visual too. For example if you’re describing a project you worked on you can insert a hyperlink that leads to the website or a video promo of that project. That way any potential employer can see your work straight away and they won’t die of boredom reading through the Nth bland job application.

You can also share your resume on a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us. or use Share This, Add to Any or Add This to make your resume truly viral.

Here are some other tips (which I stole from here)

– A video or MP3 of you answering basic interview questions.
– Video of a talk or seminar you recently conducted.
– Photos of you meeting industry celebrities or business people.
– Audio testimonials from previous clients and coworkers.
– A podcast you’ve started.

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Filed under career tools, digital media, digital resume, digital technology, resume writing, social media, strategy

Osama Bin Laden and Twitter

At this point we are all familiar with this:

I could rave on about Osama Bin Laden related issues for the next five hours. I could tell you that I want to write a letter to the American government saying something like “shhhhh, please be quiet and stop celebrating the murder of a terrorist master lord! You might hurt Al -Qaeda’s feelings!” I could ponder the pros and cons of releasing the photos of OBL’s dead body or re-watch old September 11 documentaries in morbid fascination.

Instead I’m going to say what Osama Bin Laden’s death has done for Twitter. In the international relations/war on terror scheme of things, the way his death broke on Twitter is a trivial matter BUT it is important for the future of news and information spread. It’s important for us, the people who have never had much control over news, to recognize that we can all create news now, one tweet at a time.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Because if you know how information spreads on Twitter, you can spread information on Twitter. Fast. Like wildfire. Like the ripple effect. Like a Lamborghini on the freeway.

But it ain’t easy.

How did people find out about Osama Bin Laden’s death and when? May 1st around an hour before the official presidential announcement by Barack Osama (oops Obama). Here’s good timeline.

People are naturally inquisitive and people who use social networking are neurotically inquisitive. They are addicted to information and they hunt for it like…hunters…SO speculation about what-the-hell-is-going-on began as soon as the White House announced that there would be a presidential address. It was after a bit of a wild guessing game that people began to mention Bin Laden. But at that stage it was still just the blind leading the blind.

FINALLY Keith Urbahn (sorry people, not the singer/husband of Nicole Kidman) tweeted the tweet that made the difference.

Urbahn was a reliable source because of his position as Chief of Staff in the Office of Donald Rumsfeld. The trustworthiness of his information meant that it was re-tweeted by 80 people in the new minute.

His tweet also got re-tweeted by Brian Stelter, a very influential tweeter (he is a machine. I’ve never seen anyone do that many tweets in one day).

And that’s how it took off. The crazy tweetering, digital river of information. And then Obama gave his speech.

For the twitter universe, he was a bit too slow (and a bit too triumphant for my liking).

But you know what? I’m glad that he was too slow. Down with the controlled media. We don’t need it to tell us everything anymore. We can tell each other whatever the hell we want. As long as we have access to information and the right twitter following, we can break news. Of course a lot of elements come into play, but that’s the essence of it.

Social flow did an awesome analysis of how OBL’s death broke on twitter zoomed through the wired world (I just like the pretty graphs). Actually I gonna insert the pretty graph;

Based on what I’ve read and the Social Flow analysis this is the way to break news on Twitter:

  1. Have the information
  2. The news has to be timely. No one will care if it happened a week ago (unless its something massive) or if no one knows about it or its significance.
  3. Be well connected on Twitter. That doesn’t necessarily means have millions of followers, just have the right ones.
  4. People must trust that you’re not the boy/girl crying wolf. Reliability is the key.

I actually think that by using Twitter as an information hub, we are making a statement about the world we live in and about our own role in it. We are shrinking the world and growing our individual significance. News is no longer decided by journalists and the media, nor should it be.

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Filed under communication, communications, digital media, digital technology, journalism, social media, Uncategorized

Facebook Studio

I remember being amazed and astounded the first time I used a chat room online. It was an almost surreal experience for a 10 year old who had never actually owned a computer and barely understood what the hell the internet was all about. But once I got it, I really got it. For about a month chat rooms were my life, and I obsessively build online friendships with people I just knew were cool and awesome. My longest online buddy went under the name of “bigdong1988”  (back then I didn’t know what ‘dong’ meant).

Now that I think of it, our relationship probably looked something like this:

In any case it was the feeling of connecting with a stranger that I liked, but more than that it was having a link to the rest of the world.

Compare that to now. Compare that to the level of connectivity Facebook provides for its users. And now, taking it up by more than a notch Facebook is pulling in the world of business into the conversation.

Facebook in its infinite wisdom has decided to launch Facebook Studio, a stand alone community site where ad agency creatives can share ideas, comment on campaigns and learn what it takes to create a successful page for a brand.

Why?

Facebook is trying to entice a new generation of advertising executives to tap consumers’ emotions through social advertising.

By strengthening its relationship with ad agencies and teaching them how improve their results, Facebook hopes these agencies will push their brand clients to spend more on Facebook’s own marketing and advertising services. Here’s a little piece of their persuasion.

What Facebook Studio allows

•    Ad agencies can display their work
•    Host live events for advertisers
•    Browse a collection of work that represents some of the best marketing on Facebook.
•    Agencies can create their own campaigns on the site,
•    Sort through a directory of agencies: which will include pictures, videos, summaries of campaigns
•    Enter a contest for the best Facebook campaign.

Why do I care?

It’s just fun to watch. No, seriously. Go on it. Campaigns are presented as short videos and since its an international platform you get to see the weird stuff companies all around the world are doing.

It’s also like a game. You can try out the stuff they’ve created. For example (my favourite) The Altoids Curiously Strong Awards.

Click on ‘visit’ button under the video and it will take you to the facebook app. Try it out for yourself.

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Filed under communication, creative media agency, digital media, digital technology, facebook, social media, strategy

iPods, Youtube and Self Reflection

Digital Media and Self Reflection

After my countless degree changes, I found myself doing a Journalism and communications post grad degree. I am now finding this position slightly problematic as have never done journalism in the past yet assumed I would be good at it.

My delusion was shattered when I was faced with writing a hard news story, which also meant facing grueling research and interviews. I had no f&%$ idea how do interview people, despite reading the theory behind it, because clearly you have to interview people to know how to interview people. So I did. And I sucked. My questions went something like this;

“So would you say that the new mental health care center is inappropriate because it’s not exclusively for mental health, like I mean, because alcohol abuse patients have to share amenities or because …um it’s such a big centre with many floors and …um patients don’t feel comfortable or what would you say is the…. problem with the new center or how is it worse than community centers? …um.”

Epic fail.
I’m probably on the level of this chick:

So how is this connected to digital technology? Well, the main reason I could reflect upon this monstrosity of a question above, was taping the interview and playing it back afterwards with an iPod touch. I do realize that tape recorders were around long before iPods but the difference is the package. The difference is the ease with which I am able to record audio files and mess around with them using iTunes. Three, four years ago I would have had to go out and buy a tape recorder if I wanted to use one for an interview. The odds are I wouldn’t have bothered.

But with an iPod touch I get it all. I get to surf the net and do my journo research online if I want to, I get to listen to calming music while I’m freaking out about the due date, I get to record my hideous retarded interviewing, and acknowledge it via playback in iTunes. Most importantly by listening to myself I get to improve the way I conduct interviews in the future, oh and of course there’s that tiny benefit of having the interviewee’s answers on hand for quotes.

Similarly video blogging is a great way to self reflect (in other words to see how your nose twitches when you want to emphasize a point, or how one of your eyes becomes oddly squinty when you smile, or how you say uuumm, every ummm second ummm word).

I do video blogs for my university and seeing myself from an observer’s point of view has been really interesting.

1. I get to see the way I naturally speak.
2. I get to sort my thoughts out and make my mind clearer by scrutinizing whether what I’m talking about actually makes sense.

I’m going to attach one of my video posts, just for shits and giggles (try not to cringe or die of boredom).

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