Archive for March 2009
Talked through this concepts with some of my colleagues today. It goes like this:
In today’s economy, folks are looking for ways to save money in business. More and more, social media emerges as a solution. Take, for example, the corporate conference. On average, it costs about $1,000 per head to fly attendees in and put them up for a 2 day conference. Businesses are now uncomfortable with the $250,000 spend and are looking for alternatives. Social media fills the void. Why not host a virtual conference at more modest cost, say $5,000?
This business activity defines the race to the bottom.
Similarly, businesses and its employees are looking for an “edge” in the workplace. Historically valuable conversations like “what is our market share?” are being replaced by a thirst for information. More importantly, to be the first to find hot information and report it throughout the organization. To the prospector come the riches. Today, value comes from the following statements:
- “Did you see?”
- “I found…”
- “Check this out…”
Information is driving a “race to the top” in terms of value. Each newly discovered tweet, story, or theory could be the nugget that wins recognition, fame, or accomplishment. So we mine Twitter and read RSS dumps trying to identify the tidbit that will be most valued by the organization. Through information control, the boss used to be the best informed person in the group. Now, the employees have equal access to information via the web. The equation shifts and the organization flattens.
This activity defines the race to the top.
The spread between top and bottom is information arbitrage. No longer do I need to spend hundreds of dollars on professional groups to network in my industry or thousands of dollars to bring in consultants. The web makes this information more accessible and in most cases free. The challenge for employees is to make the information palatable for the organization to devour.
The role of corporate web editor is born. Take in tons of web based information, edit, re-package, and route within the organization.
I need to think this through a bit more but wanted to get initial thoughts out there. I also realize I’m not the first to think of “Information Arbitrage” as a concept but I like the handle. What do you think?
OptumHealth, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, provides personalized health management solutions and makes health care more accessible for its consumers. One of Optum’s main communication channels with consumers is via its core websites, like MyCancerHub.com. OptumHealth actively engages users in conversations and provides digital spaces that help them connect with other users, experts, and professionals.
OptumHealth’s interactive team, builds collaborative websites that are flexible, scalable, and versatile. It’s important for consumers to not only have a rich experience on sites like MyCancerHub, but an easy to use community that facilitates connection during challenging times. Similar to Caring Bridge, MyCancerHub provides multiple resources for those individuals just diagnosed with cancer, living with cancer, and caregivers. The site also provides an “Ask a Nurse” feature which connects users with health professionals. MyCancerHub encourages patients and caregivers to share stories, learn more about their condition, and exchange emotional support with each other.
Optum also provides digital services for professional communities. In one example. a 6,000 member nursing community had a business objective to build a culture of retention. By building a on-line nursing community, Optum was able to improve retention for this nursing community by allowing nurses to make valuable connections with each other, thereby upping sentiment and retention.
OptumHealth’s successes and best practices are now being considered by its parent company for use in other areas of United Health, including possible internal applications behind the firewall.
I’ve had a few colleagues and friends start or try to start using Twitter in the last few months. Since the first few weeks can be tough for Twitter newcomers, they asked me for tips on how I started using Twitter. So here’s my approach:
1. Twitter is not easy at first
a. It takes time, patience, and routine to integrate the news flow into your personal flow
b. Start by using Twitter as a daily read. Don’t worry about posting until you have a habit of returning to Twitter
c. You have to post a picture or avatar. Otherwise Tweeters won’t take you seriously.
2. Find a hook outside of work
a. For me, it was the stock market. I found people I knew from old blogs and communities and followed them. Then I followed who they followed. The nature of the market kept me coming back daily, if not hourly. The discussion during the crash last fall was epic.
b. What are your hobbies? Cooking? Wine? Running? Chances are, you can find a like-minded person or brand on twitter.
3. Use search.twitter.com
a. Going to a conference? Search it to find attendees.
b. Search brand names, places. Twitter only allows 140 characters, so nouns dominate.
4. Probably most important to early adoption – Follow lots of people right away
a. You need 50 at least to keep you coming back
b. At 100 you’ll start to see your follower bucket grow
c. Make sure you follow people who post often. Otherwise you won’t get a good news flow
5. Use power users as editors of Twitter traffic
a. Not sure who to follow? Find someone you like/trust and cherry pick who they follow
b. Rinse and repeat
6. Finally, don’t worry about “missing a day’s worth of news”
a. I pick up the stream whenever I can
b. If I miss something, that’s ok. It sometimes gets recycled and kicked back via ReTweet by someone else
c. Search fills the holes.
At the end of the day, Twitter is a news stream. Read Twitter just like you would read a newspaper. The twist is that you can eventually publish yourself. I’ll save publishing for Twitter 201.
The following Fast Foward Blog post has the most in depth review of Twitter that I have come across. It’s extremely helpful, especially when getting off the ground. FF Blog Twitter Basics