But 100 of you are following the IIA. While you might think this can cause problems in cars, lifts, and in other enclosed spaces there is no real need to worry. I am referring to those 100 people who chose to follow the IIA tweets which I hope have been proving useful. I have decided to celebrate this and although it doesn’t compare to Krishna De’s pending 1000 followers I think it’s pretty good going because of my non-intrusive follow policy whereby I will never set the IIA channel to follow a Twitter user unless they choose to follow the IIA on Twitter first. I decided to do this because unlike my personal Twitter channel the IIA channel will be used to offer services and to encourage people to attend events and to get involved: essentially I am using it to market the IIA. It also ensures that anyone who is following the IIA channel has done so without any active prompting from us. I also think that because of the corporate nature of the IIA channel, it is possible that I, Roseanne, might not always be the voice behind the channel and so I didn’t automatically approach all my followers on my personal Twitter.
But back to the celebrations! In order to celebrate this momentous event and also the success of yesterday’s Blogging, Microblogging and Podcasting IIA event in Dublin which I have no doubt had something to do with the final push to 100 I am offering a 50% discount on IIA membership for one week only. To avail of this discount just use the code “twit100” when applying here. Looking forward to welcoming you to the association!
*Having 100 followers makes scenes from the Monty Python file “Life of Brian” flash through my head!
A big welcome to Videoview who just joined the IIA. Videoview create rich video marketing for broadcast online, via DVD and on television. While they still haven’t cracked the old television puts on ten pounds chestnut but they are offering packages to suit all budgets, which allows any size company to avail of their interactive solutions for TV/Broadcast, Web Video, and DVD production.
I have my bed bagsed in my brother’s place in Kilkenny. I look forward to seeing you at PodCamp Ireland if you are going. The excitement is mounting, not least because of the organisers’ use of social media to attract attention. I’ve been listening to their podcasts, for example, and I think that Krishna De’s interview from last week’s podcast with Michele Neylon of Blacknight Solutions has some great pointers for those planning their domain name purchases, especially if you are considering buying a second-hand domain. Also on the show, winner of Best Personal Blogger in last year’s Irish Blog Awards, Grannymar, talks about her experience of starting a blog, giving some very good pointers on the essence of blogs, saying that some days she might only write two lines or post a photo and other days she might do more. As Krishna herself says Grannymar is an inspiration not least because she tells listeners to just go for it and commenters to get involved, “they are the lifeblood of any blog”. Even though hers is a personl blog, much that she has to say holds true for anyone considering starting a business blog. You can listen here at BlogTalkRadio (no fancy players required!). PodCampIreland are making use of all types of new and social media like RSS and blogs and microblogs and of course podcasts to facilitate the varied audience they have. Most of their content is published once but received by many in “the flavour” they like and much of it is done using free or cost-effective online applications.
Speaking of considering starting a business blog, one of our members has recently taken the plunge and considering the summer we have had here in Ireland I am amazed they had the time. Aedan and Suzanne Ryan are the people behind PuddleDucks, a company who sell waterproof clothing for adults and children. Aedan commented that he was much inspired by what he heard at the IIA Congress back in May about how organisations big and small were using Social Media to engage with their customers. I particularly liked their timely post a couple of weeks ago about getting kitted out for Electric Picnic.
Another company who are getting really into social media recently are IIA members, FBD.ie. You may have read on the IIA.ie website that they have just launched their new site. Part of their marketing campaign involved Twitter, including an advance launch of their site to Twitterers. They are also actively seeking comments from bloggers and twitterers and are engaging with them. Other IIA members using Twitter are the aforemnetioned Blacknight Solutions for whom it is, as they, a no-brainer with the profile of their clients. Two other IIA members, The Irish Times and RTÉ are also on Twitter but rather than using Twitter to start a conversation, they are using it to facilitate Twitterers who want regular news updates. RTÉ are feeding each of their news types through different twitter channels using the RSS feeds from their site.
The great thing about Twitter for a company like FBD, for example, is that they can approach those who twitter and if the Twitterer wants to, they can choose to allow FBD to follow them or not and conversely they can choose to follow FBD or not. It’s all about permission so it suits both parties very well. I have to admit that when setting my own ground rules for the IIA Twitter I decided that I would not follow anyone unless they followed IIA becuase I did not wish to be intrusive. I had, as I have mentioned before, been twittering in a personal capacity for some time and many of those following me were happy to follow the IIA tweets as well. I suppose the single greatest thing about Twitter and other microblogging platforms is that they allow users who aren’t constantly in front of a computer remain connected through their mobile phone by either updating via text, receiving updates by text or if the user has mobile internet capability on their phone a third party application can often be installed to microblog from your phone. I use Twibble on my Nokia E51 and I also have a Twitterfone account (Twitterfone was developed by Irish company Maxroam) which allows me to leave voice messages that are converted into text, ready for Twitter. I also use TwitPic which allows me to send photos from my phone by SMS. So for example I was able to twitter the Liffey Swim last Saturday. Great fun no doubt but imagine you were able to show the world your latest product the minute it arrived? Or twitter pictures of new staff so people would know them? Or a picture of your exhibition stand at a conference so people would know exactly what to look for? (Let’s hear how you are using these applications in your business: leave a comment below.) The name of the game is facilitation and developers are creating all sorts of web and mobile applications for all sorts of platforms to facilitate users and business users can mix and match their social media to create a mix to suit their customer base. While I wonder about the longevity of Twitter’s tenure as a killer app, I find Twitter can be a good source of information, feedback and every now and then, great entertainment and I just hope others feel the same way about our Tweets!
The following post is contributed by Brendan Hughes, Chair of the IIA Social Media Working Group. The IIA facilitate and support a number of working groups – information about all is available on our website. If you have a particular interest in any of them please contact me, Roseanne Smith, Membership, Marketing and Communications Manager at members at iia punc ie.
Last Wednesday night saw the first gathering in the Digital Depot of the IIA’s new Social Media Working Group. When asked by Fergal O’Byrne (CEO of the IIA) to chair the group I was happy to say yes as I see this an important development in the Internet landscape in Ireland. To my knowledge this is the first co-ordinated attempt to gather together social media experts and business people with a view to providing information and best practice advice for businesses. I am certainly not aware of any library or resource that is independent and can freely be tapped into – this is what we hope to deliver.
The meeting was attended by thirteen of the sixteen members of the working group (the other three had solid alibis and are still very much in the group). I’ll ensure that the full list of members is made available on the IIA site, but without mentioning people individually I’m very happy to say that we had a very impressive collection of people round the table. We had luminaries from the blogging community, academia, big business and small business, organisations serving big and small businesses, and people who are starting new businesses. What we had in common was a very clear belief that this “social media thing” is important for organisations, and an enthusiasm to get stuck into the detail.
Our task last night was to get to know each other and to tease out a little of our vision, scope and how we are going to work together. The vision has started out looking something like: “the group’s aim is to be the thought leader – developing and sharing insights – in the appropriate use of social media by businesses in Ireland”. We had lots of discussion, as you can imagine, around some particular words – “thought leader”, “appropriate use”, “social media”. This vision might be a little bold for a voluntary part-time group, but we’re going to stick with it for now.
Much of the discussion centred on how we would tackle our planned outputs. We intend to deliver white-paper documents on some of the key social media that are relevant to both small and large businesses in Ireland. Initially we are going to pick off blogging, social networks/online communities, audio and video podcasting, and RSS. On hold for now are collective intelligences (wikis etc), peer-to-peer networks, mash-ups, web services and instant messaging (and anything else that we haven’t thought of).
A question arose about how deep we should go on each of these and that discussion is still ongoing today. We are all agreed that the first and most obvious need in the market is for the simple guide to each of the social media mentioned. Once businesses understand what they are they will very quickly want to figure out what potential there might be for their business and what the rationale / business-case might be for engaging. We do intend to get stuck into all of this and I think we have the right people on board to make this happen.
In order to keep things manageable, I going to keep the membership of the group limited to the sixteen who are currently on board. We do however intend that the process should be outward looking and we will be inviting contributions from people outside the group. We are setting up a wiki to facilitate this. We’re going to try and use social media as much as possible in the operations of the group – in order to prove to ourselves at least how beneficial it can be. Our next meeting will be via Skype conference and we’ll be posting updates on progress over the coming months here on the IIA blog.
If you are interested in participating in the group please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put your name on the list if some of the existing members leave. And don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for the updates.
Bernie Goldbach of Tipperary Institute of Technology has blogged about the meeting describing us as social media plumbers who “understand the flow of conversations and how surges of information gurgle and sometimes spit in vitriolic ways.” Very nicely put, Bernie – thanks!