From May 2012

Banners that rock: Longest click ever!

Another good example of good banners with game dynamics. This banner for a long lasting gum challenges you to hold the mouse click for as long as possible to brake the record. The current record is 46 minutes and 27 seconds! Brake that if you can! While trying to hold your mouse the banner will try to distract you to increase the challenge. A bit boring after a while maybe but it’s fun enough to get your attention and demonstrate the product features. Find more banners that rock —> here!

When is it ok to spam twitter?

The only time it is totally legitimate to tweet more than once a day. Great use of twitter by @killthenoise. This is a great example of how the positive effects of timing and real time in social media becomes visible on twitter. @charliesheen is another good example of this.

What else is great about this tweet is how he uses the success of instagram to tap into the conversation. Everyone are over fed with instagram by now, and by playing with peoples emotions on the subject he manages to surprise and gain credibility.

Think about that. You don’t have to tweet everyday to be successful and a bit of spamming once in a while is ok if you choose when. Spend a little bit more time planning what to tweet before you start stressing out about having to tweet every day and maybe you will find a break through on twitter!

How do you prefer to do a brainstorm?

A while ago my Hyper Island friend Ola released his new project Project Of How. It is a platform where you can search methods for coming up with creative ideas. The site contains descriptions of different methods and how to do them as well as creatives talking about their creative process. Today my first contribution was released on the site, Switch it brainstorm. This is the model I myself prefer to use instead of a regular brainstorm. I wrote about it a while ago here on the blog, Does more brains mean better ideas? My interpretation of this method is a mix of things we did at Hyper Island, things I learned during Project Fly while using methods for being more creative and articles I read about it afterwards.

I hope you will find this and the other methods on the site useful!

How to survive evolution?

Very interesting video below about what the natural selection is based on – collaboration! The species that can collaborate the best will be most successful. This theory is also interesting in relation to the hacking culture and development of open source software. By collaborating on developing new things we will reach further.

In the end he also makes a really interesting point about what happens in Greece and the arabic world right now.

If the one thing that makes us survive the selection is to cooperate, why do we keep fighting?

Watch!

An app that proves that everyone can dance!

This is exactly the type of application I wish I would have been working on!

To market Just dance 3, a game for Wii, CP+B created an iphone app that makes everyone a great dancer! Just record a video of your friend, baby or animal dancing. They don’t even have to dance great. The app will synch their movement to the music and in a minute you have your own perfectly synched dance video with music to share with your friends online!

The reason why this is so great is because the users happily create and share content online highly relevant to the product and target group! An app that makes everyone a good dancer should encourage even the worst dancer to buy a dance game!

Thanks to @Gotsche

What is the next big thing in music?

The most discussed topic in music during the last couple of years have been what their income source will be in the future. The digitalization of music has taken away the musicians regular revenue streams. I think we can find their solutions within the same force that took their income.

I think a new major income stream for artists will be sponsoring. To finance the production of a track and video a company will go in and pay the production cost in exchange of being co-producer. Brands and artists will look for a partner with similar values. The artist will release the album with the brand who pays for it. The artist gets to produce their music and get it out there and the brand gets good content to share online. Video get a lot of attention when shared online.

Why I see the opportunity in the combo music and video is because I see how the use of YouTube is maturing. I more often find the music I like on YouTube than on Spotify, I have seen street restaurants play music from YouTube playlists and the social functions of YouTube are just getting better, keeping people on the platform by helping them talk to each other on YouTube. Yes this is happening since a long time but I feel that we are more ready now to see it really kick off! How people are now sharing their experiences and answering others shows that we are now more used to this way of communicating.

A great opportunity I see in commercials on YouTube is to create content that manage to catch the attention of the user during the first 20 seconds the commercial is showing before your video clip starts and make them watch the whole video. I think teaming up with artists here as well is a great way for brands to manage to connect with their audience. If you instead of a commercial get to see a really great video with an artist you really like, why would you then skip to see your video? If YouTube can track what videos we want to watch we can show people the advertising they want to watch as well.

An example of a music production that works this way is the group Hifana from Japan. They are released on the ad agency Wieden+Kennedy. A cool group records a real great song with awesome production. They get a real huge budget to make an awesome video. In the end you get to see that the video was sponsored by a brand. The viewer has to wait the whole video to see the sponsor! If they are prepared to watch that long they will most likely watch the brand because the brand is not forced on them. Most people would never watch a whole commercial of 10 seconds. A music video is at least 3 minutes.

This raises questions about brands gaining more control over our minds. If we like these videos so much so that we are prepared to watch a companies message for three whole minutes, how will they be able to manipulate us? This sounds like the type of objections that arose when advertising was new. And we are still fighting the same problems. Read an interesting article on advertising ethics here! —> http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=5374

Another objection to this business model might be that musicians would have to sell their souls to present something that they don’t stand for or start working for evil multinational companies. But with the pressure on companies to be more transparent that we have seen thanks to social media in the last couple of years I don’t think we have to worry about that. It is still quite far in the future but it will be harder and harder for companies to keep doing bad things in the shades. This is also why it will be harder for companies and politicians to get away with cheap propaganda.

But then we come down to an even deeper problem. Every message we hear could be propaganda. And everyone has different perception on what’s right and wrong. And who decides what side is right?

The fact that artists are opening up for new revenue streams by letting brands sponsor their music and videos still raises the same types of questions that advertising did in it’s beginning, and I still believe that the development is nothing we can stop. We can only try to adapt to it.

How are Swedish intranets doing?

While watching videos on intranets (read the last post on intranets here) I also came across this video. It is a presentation of the current state of Swedish intranets made at Stockholm Social Media club by Pierre du Rietz. He mentioned many good points and I will give you the most interesting ones in english.

Current intranet trends:
– More content does not make the intranet better.
– Mostly bigger companies has intranets.
– When an intranet works poorly the employees tend to start up new intranets for their own workgroup. A company with a dysfunctional intranet can this way end up with several intranets that exists parallel but without being connected.
– Not many intranets are available on mobiles at the moment, but it is one of the most requested functions.
– The majority of the intranets used by companies today are old.
– Companies with new intranets tend to be more satisfied with their intranet.
– The person responsible for the intranet normally works part time with this beside other tasks.
– The task of running the intranet is usually given to the younger people at the office because they are expected to have more knowledge of computers and not necessarily to a person with relevant experience.
– Most new intranets can be updated by many different persons, the older ones only by the person in charge of the intranet.
– When a new function is implemented on an intranet it is important to educate the users of how this function works. For example, if a function that worked poorly before has been improved, you need to tell the users that it has been updated. If not it is very unlikely that they will start using it again if they have bad previous experiences.

Suggestions on how to get the most out of your intranet:
– Should the company save all information on their intranet or continuously clean? By whom? Can the users help out with this process? I really like Stack overflows and Quoras system of voting up the most relevant posts. I think this is a good way to let the users keep the information fresh. The person in charge of the intranet can then delete posts that received very few votes or haven’t been viewed in a long time.
– Make sure to check your analytic stats of your intranet. Put the most used functions on the first page to make the experience smoother for the users.
– The search and contact book functions are usually the most used functions in an intranet. These are also two of the functions that the users are least satisfied with. Make sure that the search function knows all keywords they users will type in when they search the intranet, even include misspellings and old titles for information and persons if they have been changed, so that they always can see what they are looking for in the suggested result.
– Create an FAQ with the most regular questions asked by users about the intranet.

How to determine if your intranet is helping your users or wasting their time?
By turning time into money!

time it takes to find information * average salary of company = how much the intranet costs the company

Common problems and solutions:
– The users are afraid to leave comments on the intranet. To start a discussion you need people assigned with this role who will be active on the intranet initiating and participating in discussions to encourage them. Often it is enough to see that there is someone else out there who is using the intranet to make the others dare taking the first step.
– If the users leave comments someone have to be there to answer them, they will stop if they feel like no one cares about their posts. If possible the person who knows most about the subject should answer, and it is also very appreciated to see directors engage in the discussion.
– To make it possible for employees to talk directly to higher managers through the intranet without letting it take up too much of the managers time you can organize live-chat sessions where the manager answers all the employers questions live once a week or month.
– One reason why the users might not give a lot of feedback through the intranet is because the questions posted are too big and takes too long time to answer. A way to increase the activity and lower the barrier to participate in discussions is to break down the questions in smaller parts. A question that only covers a small area is easier to answer directly without having to do to much research first.
– For a big intranet it is better to have one person in charge of each function to make sure that they work properly instead of one person in charge of all the functions. Examples of how to break down the functions could be search, contact book and live chat.
– The intranet can be a good place to discuss and come up with ideas for business development. Different departments can share what works for them, problems they are facing and solutions. Use the intranet to start discussions on how you can change the company, invite everybody to come up with ideas.
– Save the more interesting subjects (like business development) for fridays and share the everyday information in the beginning of the week (like where to pick up your paycheck). Think about the newspapers weekend editions.

In the next post about intranets I will take a look at some of the new intranets available out there! Can’t wait, it will be really interesting. Next I just need a big company to try this out on 🙂

How do get work done at work and save your company money!

I have always found it very hard producing work at work and preferred to do it at home. To come up with creative ideas I need time and space to think undisturbed. At work you are constantly being interrupted by colleagues, meetings and busy environment. I don’t think I’m not the only one experiencing these problems at work. A very simple solution is to set aside time, at leas once a week, when no one can talk to each other or book meetings so that the employees get time to get stuff done. Next time I’m going to work in an office I will definitely purpose this solution.

Another thing that a company could benefit from setting aside time for is for the employees to develop ideas and learn new things. Combine the two and you have a winning combo!

Facebook as company intranet?

During my internship at Kraft I was introduced to the use of intranets in big companies, what you want to achieve through using one and common problems that companies and their intranets are facing. As I’m spending a lot of time in social media (especially Facebook) intranets feels like a refreshing and maybe more wholesome thing to focus on for a change. An intranet that works well can be like using Facebook when you get the best parts out of it without having to deal with the bad parts – you know what everybody is up to, you know what goals you have in common and you and your friends motivate and inspire each other. A good intranet is also a place where you can find all information you need about the company – to compare it with social media it would be like the perfect way to store your bookmarks. I don’t know if you have the same problem as me but I’m still looking for the perfect way to save links, neither Bookmarks nor Delicious feels like the ultimate solution. It is too hard to find the links later but for now they are the quickest ways to save them while you are browsing other things. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post on how I save my favorite links if you are interested in my solution to this problem. You could almost say that my digital universe (my sites and profiles) is my intranet :p Now back to intranets!

Many intranets today are very old and often create more problems than they solve. Maybe you recognize one or more of these problems: they are confusing to use, there is too much information which makes it impossible to find anything, they are not inspiring, it doesn’t seem like anyone are using them, there is no space for discussion within the intranet or it doesn’t take place in the right space.

There are many good new intranets out there today, but a good product also cost a lot of money. Is it worth the money to try it out or is there another way to see if your company would benefit from having an intranet?

A couple of days ago I watched an interview on YouTube with the market and information director of Helsingborgs Harbour AB, Andreas Eriksson (interview made by Joakim Jardenberg, a swedish social media journalist). When Andrea’s wanted the company to start using an intranet to improve the communication within the company, he choose Facebook as the platform. What do you use an intranet for? Why did they choose Facebook as their intranet? Does it work?

Since the video is in Swedish, but still very interesting, I will share a short summary in English here!

1 What do you use an intranet for?

An intranet is used to spread news to everyone who works in the company. For many people today, Facebook is the place where they first get to know about news. It is very easy to share information through Facebook – just post a link or a short comment – and it is very easy to get an overview on what’s happening. If you compare your life before and after Facebook you would probably agree with me that it through Facebook is easier to keep up with what’s happening in your friends lives. You could see Facebook as an intranet for you and your friends.

2 Why did they choose Facebook as their intranet?

Since the Helsingborg’s Harbour hadn’t used an intranet before the first intranet would be a test to see if their organization would benefit from having one. Since they didn’t want to spend a lot of money on implementing an intranet if it wouldn’t be successful they sat down to think about what minimum of functions they would need and where they could find a platform providing those for an as low cost as possible. This is how they came up with the idea of using Facebook. It is free and met their most important needs such as share and receive information, increase communication and to start discussions.

3 Does it work?

The intranet exists in a closed group on Facebook. Here the employees can share and take part of news, leave comments and bring up things they would like to discuss.

A common problem in forums and comments online is that people tend to post things without thinking because no one knows who they are. Many employees where afraid that this would happen if they started using Facebook as an intranet. One thing that has proven to make people think twice before posting something is if their name and picture will appear next to the post. Facebook already have a built in function for this and therefore the company haven’t experienced many problems like this.

Another common problem with intranets is that the news that are posted are too long so that no one has time to read it. At Facebook you have to communicate your message with one status update or comment. This makes people think about what is the most important point to communicate and only communicate this.

More and more intranets today are implementing better ways to interact and comment within the intranet. At Facebook everybody can interact with each other in a very spontaneous and casual way, even with the boss! This way Facebook can also help flatten hierarchy structures and help bring up topics for discussion that wouldn’t be heard or recognized otherwise.

Another objection that came up for why the company shouldn’t use Facebook as an intranet was that all employers didn’t want to have one or share their profile on Facebook. Many where worried that they would have to give away part of their privacy by doing this. Not even Andreas used Facebook before he implemented it as an intranet, how could he even consider using it for his company? The very least you have to share on Facebook is your name and picture, you choose yourself if you want to share more than this or not. A lot of important news are daily shared through Facebook and the Andreas believe that it is a shame that some people miss this information because they are not on Facebook. Therefore they encouraged people to get accounts, show that they don’t have to give up their privacy and also provide support for those who where new to Facebook to help them set up their accounts.

Other issues that where discussed where the risk of secret information about the company leaking out, since the closed group exists on Facebook it is very easy to copy and paste a link from the group to your own Facebook wall where all your friends can see it. Anders says that they are aware of this risk, but this far it hasn’t been an issue and they are also open to become more transparent – if they are ready to share a piece of information with their employees they should also be able to share it with the public.

What I like about the concept of using Facebook as an intranet is that they are using a platform that provides them with the minimum number of functions they need for free. Instead of investing a lot of time and money implementing a dedicated platform they where able to start experimenting and learn more about how they could use an intranet in best possible way for their company immediately. I like how this do-it-yourself and learn-by-doing way of acting can be used by a corporate company and deliver good results. Andreas is very happy of the way he sees the intranet being used. Facebook as an intranet is successful because the employees are already used to share and find information there, they can easily start discussions and it is easy to stay up to date without being overwhelmed with content.

I have been interested in how social media changes our relationships and how we take part of information for a long time. Intranets have for a long time earned a reputation of being boring and dysfunctional. The last years increased use of social media have showed us what we can achieve if we manage to connect a group of people online and it is interesting to see how this has spilled over on the world of intranets. The following weeks I will take a closer look at how intranets work and hopefully find some interesting new products to share with you. Stay put.