Key Advice Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Social Media

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Posted on: 20/02/2012

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ online surveillance Bill C30 has been lifted from parliamentary discussions and shot into the social media sphere with support from Vikileaks, Twitter and blogs. Who’s right or wrong may take some time to answer, but people are wanting answers now about the effects of social media on politics.

Social media research is a relatively new field. Melissa Martin’s column in The Winnipeg Free Press Voting with your tweet? Toews’ Twitter flap may show social media as new grassroots political force highlights some US research into the new media getting up-close-and-personal with politics. Heather LaMarre, a professor at the University of Minnesota, has been researching the ‘off-line’ effects of ‘online’ social media movements. The jury is still out – but research shows they are having an impact.

Martin’s refers to the academic lingo for this movement – ‘intermedia agenda-setting’ – then translates to ‘plain speak’ -meaning politicians listening via traditional media. Going one step farther, in plain language, the voice of the masses on social media are not only being heard, they are being sought out.  The translation, on the surface, is simple and clear. They are sending out strong waves of public sentiment that can not only alter, but bring down, political decisions, officials and parties.

Grassroots movements are growing like weeds on the Web. Attempts to squash them, will be a bit like trying to control dandelions by hand-picking them. For every one eliminated, a new one seems to grow in its place.

CBC’s Community Team discussion ‘Should the controversial surveillance bill be scrapped?‘ is gaining some momentum, driven by the force of public and social media rejection of the bill and concern over its extensive reach into their lives. When the minister supporting a bill that has potential to infringe on its citizens’ privacy, personal communications and online presence isn’t aware of the Bill’s small print, it is time for a stop and think session.

What do you think?

Social media surveillance exposes Bill C30

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As we near the end of the year of revolutions, it is worth noting the quiet one going on in redesigning how we work. Future workplaces look set to model freelancers’ style – using a more open, free-style work practice and environment. It is all about mobility, flexibility and connectivity.

It is well-known amongst freelancers that working from home can be very productive – with the ability to create a personalized workspace, choose the most productive time to work (based on your body clock) and not be caught up in day-to-day office culture that can be time consuming. So what are traditional workplaces borrowing from homeworkers?

Cindy Krischer Goodman’s story for McClatchy Newspapers (MCT), highlights the findings of “Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive in the New World of Work” co-authors Alison Maitland and Peter Thomson. They found companies are looking closely at the workspace and doing away with cubicles, in favour of coffee-shop interior design. They are getting rid of schedules, in favour of a work to the task not the time clock approach. The movement is gathering strength, but not everyone is jumping on board.

 At the Washington Work-Life Focus conference, Goodman reports although there is evidence to support rewarding productivity instead of time, many companies don’t want to move away from traditional practices – yet.

 However, those implementing the changes can look for these new definitions for the old standards:

  1. Time management = choose your own working hours.
  2. The office =  home, coffee shop, anywhere. Telecommuting is in.
  3. Management leadership = move to ‘enabling’ rather than ‘controlling’.
  4. Networking  = meeting will be done virtually and using social media.

New technology – like Skype, videoconferencing, Google chat – is making this easy, efficient and inexpensive to adapt to the new world of work. The change is coming. All organizations have to do is decide whether to lead or follow.

Has your organization tried it? What is it like for you?

Other stories:

The 2020 Workplace

The Workplace of the Future

Kate is now working from a small town in BC with a client in Alberta, visiting the office occasionally. Skype, videoconferencing, intranet sharing are now daily work tools.

 

International Plain Language Day (IPLD) October 13, 2011 is gaining global support from plain language professionals in Sweden, the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, India, and Africa.Events and contests are being planned in various localities.

So far, we know of these plans for IPLD:

In South Africa, a social media meme for the worst example of gobbledygook.

In Calgary Alberta Canada, a petition campaign on City Hall steps to have IPLD declared by the city for 2012.

In Atlanta Georgia, another contest for an example of the worst government writing.

In Ottawa Canada, a celebratory luncheon.

In Washington DC, a workshop for government writers.

“The movement for plain language is really growing. For example, LinkedIn’s Plain Language Advocates Group I host is nearing 800 international members.” said Cheryl Stephens, a leader in the movement and an expert in plain legal language, “From October 13, U.S. government materials written for the public must be in plain language.We’ve chosen this date to celebrate hard-won achievements in many countries who are making materials understandable and usable.”

“Plain Language” is the design of clear information focused on the reader, to fit the reader’s information needs and reading abilities.

“Cheryl Stephens and I started the international plain language network and conferencing in the early 90s using only email and web pages,” said Kate Harrison Whiteside, a social media and plain language consultant. “For IPLD we are using all the social technology available to get world-wide support for this important day.”

The health, legal, government, banking, social, education and business sectors around the world are all making progress in recognizing the need and the demand for plain language, and putting it on their agendas.

“We need to keep raising the demand for plain language from the public,” said Stephens. “Plain language is now recognized world-wide; the next step is to have it integrated into all communication training and delivery. The importance of communicating clearly to our audience is ever greater.”

On October 13, 2011, people and organizations will be hosting events online, in offices, and on the streets to mark their support for putting readers first in communication by using plain language.

Contacts

Cheryl Stephens, plainlanguage.com

email@cherylstephens.com 1-604- 802-9606

Kate Harrison Whiteside, keyadvice.net

kate@keyadvice.net 1-587-896-5377

International Plain Language Day Links 

IPLD Facebook Page

Twitter – #iplday

LinkedIn – Plain Language Advocates – IPLD

 


The latest report on real-time communications tools surpassing e-mail in popularity and practice is not a new finding. But, it is a new warning to Canadian businesses to embrace social and interactive media so they don’t get left behind. And, the sooner the better.

According the Calgary Herald story, nearly half of chief information officers surveyed said instant, interactive and intuitive platforms  – like SharePoint, Google Docs and Skype – will replace e-mail in five years. Shocking? No. Social Media Today reported this in 2008. Transform Magazine, in 2002, reviewed three  business case studies about collaborative technology in an article ‘Collaboration: Beyond E-mail’. In reality, it is already happening.

In a recent blog post – Social Media as a professional tool – I reported that although 77% of Canadians have a social media presence, less than 30% used them for professional reasons. Personal use will increase confidence. Professional use will increase connectivity. All of this can lead to an increase in benefits to your organization.

Like newspapers, email will probably not disappear. But, the speed, social interaction and resource saving aspects of the new communications sharing technology cannot be ignored. Plug-in now and join the conversation – before you are left behind.

Plain language and social media may appear to have a lot in common. They promote conciseness, usability and targeting messages to your audiences. But is there more than just a communications bond between them?

Plain Language spent the early part of this century doing what it did best – print content. But, the movement is gaining momentum when it comes to content we put on websites, in blogs, and on social media platforms. CommonCraft’s Social Media in Plain Language videos have shown great SEO and popularity – although they could benefit from an updated sequel version. However, while many of us continue to use print to get our plain language message across – the power of video (done well) and other social media platforms can’t be ignored.

Emerging Technologies Librarian is just one site blogging about the new Plain Language Medical iPhone App. It takes medical terms and translates them into plain language at the click of a button. This demonstrates how the power of plain language and social media can really have a cultural impact on critical communications. How long before other sectors follow?

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block for achieving a stronger connection is the bad publicity plain language government plans get – promising plain language, but not delivering. Social Media Strategery blogger Steve Raddick, gives a history of US government attempts to get beyond stage one. City of Calgary Alderwoman Druh Farrell has council support for reviving their earlier plain language commitment, which Literacy Alberta executive director Janet Lane whole-heartedly supported via their Facebook Page.  The movement may seem slow, but once it gets to the next stage, it will be brilliant.

The power is in the synergy of the two: using plain language on social media platforms and social media platforms to promote plain language. Both will help us move both to ‘higher ground’.

Check Out: International Plain Language Day plans on Facebook.

After joining Iris Meck Communications Inc providing event media support and follow-up – print, video, podcast, web, e-news – and having organized a few events myself – there are some behind the scenes tips that can help you achieve success and have people talking positively about the service you provided.

1. Treat every attendee as a valued customer

The registration area is your front door. Welcome people in personally. Help them feel comfortable – find their name tag, the event room, the facilities. Make the registration area streamlined, facilitating flow through to the event itself. Direct people to any support or promotional tools you are handing out. The best way to achieve all this is to be organized: arrive well ahead of the opening time, have the area clean and staffed and have your own name tag on so people know who you are. Be at the registration area as the event ends. You can gain valuable event feedback directly and indirectly.

2. Speakers and hosts are your VIPs

VIPs should have one person assigned to them. Know their travel, meal and presentation technical needs. Ensure they receive information before the event, have all needs assessed well before their presentation and have post-event travel arrangements in place – like a ride or a taxi to the airport. Escort them to their presentation room, ensure they have the tech support they need and introduce them to key hosts and guests at the event. Always get their permission for quoting, filming or posting their information online. Ask if a copy of their presentation is available for the media. Follow up with a personal gift and thank-you after the event.

3.  Making the most of the media opportunities

Today’s media are busy, inundated with emails and have to feed info into a variety of platforms. Invite the media well ahead of time so they can put your event in their diary. Send them a newsworthy release ahead of the event – include links to social media sites, websites, videos and podcasts, and photos. In the pre-event reminder email provide the schedule of the whole event, and indicate clearly who they can contact to set up interviews and get at-event assistance. Have media-specific folders with key information at the registration desk. Provide all media with your prompt post event news release – and include or provide links to video, podcast and photographic resources. Follow up on the media coverage after the event to track for yourself and your client – in print, on websites, search Twitter and Facebook for mentions, set up a Google alert.

4. Expect the unexpected

No matter how many boxes you ticked, how many meetings you’ve had, something will always go wrong. Brainstorm with your team before the event things that might happen and how you will deal with them. Know your facility coordinator on a first name basis – and find out who’s supporting you each day of the event. Have key phone numbers in your cell phone. Check the tech support – are they on duty, accessible all day. Be prepared for delays in arrivals, last-minute schedule changes for key guests, food and drink issues, special needs. Have a trouble-shooter on the team who can track, deal with and make post event recommendations on all the challenges you faced.

5. Post Event Brainstorm

Within two days of the event, pull the whole team together – a representative of the client, your team, an attendee – and give the event organization a thorough evaluation. Don’t hang on to what went wrong – rather – brainstorm ideas on how to make the next one event even better. Document and implement.

A successful event is a feather in your hat. Wear it proudly. But remember, each event is unique and requires your full attention from start to finish.

Event Education.com

Having relocated from the UK to Canada I find I am using Skype and FaceTime about 3 times as much as my landline for personal calls. But, what are businesses using? And, why aren’t they using visual conference calling more? This branch of the social media tree is powerful, persuasive and cost saving – with many of the options free.

Mashable profiles all four, recognizing freeconferencecalling.com as a starting point.

Then they analyze Rondee, Wiggio, GroupMe and Google Voice. They all have outstanding characteristics: Rondee, easy meeting coordination; Wiggio, other group management services; GroupMe; the quintessential mobile group meeting App; and Google Vocie, people simply call your contact number at the same time and you approve.

This technology has come a long way, and it is quite surprising that many people – who also complain about the travel time and expense – are still driving, flying, riding to meetings that could be just as effective in a virtual environment. And, reduce the carbon footprint and costs substantially.


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