Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Staff conference

We had a one-day staff conference on 21st October. As many people as possible got together at the Wheatsheaf Library for a programme of workshops, briefing sessions and keynote speeches about developments in the library service and the wider world. In retrospect there was just too much stuff to fit in but we only get to do it once a year and there's a huge pile of stuff to try to catch up with.

Alison and I were asked to do a workshop on Web 2.0. Given that most of our staff didn't know what the buzzword means the workshop was necessarily an introduction. We also needed to address the obvious and legitimate question: "so what?" If, at the end of the day, all you're doing is wasting your time playing with a new toy, you're wasting your time. Luckily we were helped by the fact that a couple of the briefing sessions were about public perceptions of council services and corporate communcations and marketing. A presentation and workshop asking people to think about perception, message and viral marketing fit in quite neatly.

I've uploaded the presentation to Slideshare.

Here are the notes


We didn't want to have you sitting round computers for this workshop as:

  • We don't have the time to "show you how to do" Web 2.0 services
  • We don't want to anyway: we'd be spending most of our time
    • explaining the mechanics of one or two of the hundreds of similar-but-not-quite services that there are out there; and
    • complaining about the council's network connections;
    • (or else complaining that corporate rules block staff access to some key sites).

We wanted to use this as an opportunity to explain to you the underlying principles that makes so-called "Web 2.0" different to "Web 1.0." The most important of which is:

Web 2.0 is about people sharing news with other human beings.

The important word there is SHARING

There are all sorts of services on the Internet that let you share "news," text, links, messages, pictures, music and/or videos.

  • Many of them are free.
  • Most of them can share "news" with other services.
  • You aren't tied into using any particular one of them
    • you can have more than one service on the go;
    • if one service doesn't do the job you want to do you can try something else;
    • the one you're using today won't necessarily be the one you use tomorrow, or next week, or next year.
  • Most of them can "feed" other websites so that information there is automatically updated.
  • Most of them can be "fed" by other websites so that they include automatically-updated information.

Web 2.0 is "The Social Web" - people are sharing stuff with other people.

The Quiz of Quizzes: brand recognition and values

We showed you some pictures and asked you some questions:

  • What is this?
  • What one word do you associate with it?

It was important that we got the first answer that came into your head. We wanted to see whether or not you recognised the brands in question and we wanted your gut feeling of the value or quality of the brand. This last is often the difference between your thinking about buying something or not even looking twice.

What was the brand?What were the key words?

a Rolls Royce

Luxury — Posh — Luxurious — Comfort — Wealth — Big — Money — Affluence — Tasteless — Style — Bourgeois — Weddings — Glamour
Just out of interest: when was the last time you saw an advert. for a Rolls Royce?

a jar of Marmite

Horrible — Yuck — Toast — Hate — Runny — Awful — Distaste — Nasty — Sandwich — Strong — Healthy — Marmite

Marks & Spencer logo

Everything — Quality — Sell — Knickers — Clothes — Respectable — Pricey — Old — Grandma — Mmmm — Happy — Expensive — Underwear

pints of Guinness

Beer — Ireland — Drunk — Ugh! — Food — Creamy — Black — Expensive — Yummy — Drinking — Socialising — Pregnancy — Toilet — Bitter

Google logo

Internet — Search — Web — Ease — Knowledge — Information — Computers — Easy-to-use — Spam — Online — Links — Popular

Companies wanting to sell or promote a product or service put a lot of effort into brand recognition. They want you to know their product and they also want you to automatically think nice things about it.

  • Advertising's a tried and trusted way of bringing the brand into public notice.
  • They'll sponsor "something nice" — an event, a team, whatever — so that the brand gets a bit of reflected glory.
  • Sponsorship is also a way of making people see or hear the brand name or logo.
  • Word of mouth is the best advertising: if you can find some way of getting people to talk about your product or service you can start to reach more people than your adverts can.

If the word of mouth advertising is good enough for long enough you might not even have to bother advertising your brand!

It pays to advertise?

OK, there's a bit of a cheat to this: film studios are very, very, very nervous of putting film clips, or even trailers, onto video-sharing sites and when people upload clips from the film the film companies will contact YouTube to get them removed eventually. So the number of visits for The Pirates of the Caribbean are artificially low. The number of visits to the Derren Brown clip is roughly the industry standard.

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