Facebooking for Office: How Social Media Inspires Voters

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey th...

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey that lists Social Media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article (and graphic) is attributed to & re blogged courtesy of onlinecourses.com

Traditionally, student-aged voters (those between the ages of 18 and 24) aren’t always so great at remembering to cast their votes. In fact, in the 2008 presidential election, less than 1 in 2 18-to-24 year olds actually voted. While the percentage of those in the student-aged demographic may not always be astute at remembering to fill out a ballot around election time, most 18-to-24 year olds are good at staying plugged into social media outlets. While less than half of that particular demographic voted in 2008, as of 2012 fully 98% of them have some sort of social media account with which they share content and connect to people. As social media changes and spreads, however, elections are clearly becoming a different game. For one thing, even politicians are making themselves present on the web, from Facebook pages to Twitter accounts and more. And for another thing, recent studies have begun to show that when it comes time to vote, the influence of social media can inspire younger voters (those aged 18 through 24) to get their votes out. Those who see via social media that their peers have voted become more likely to take the next step, and vote themselves. The following infographic takes a look at why social media might have become crucial to mobilizing the youngest generation of voters.

Facebooking for Office - Attibuted to OnlineCollegeCourses.com

Facebooking for Office – Attibuted to OnlineCollegeCourses.com


‘You’ The Brand and ‘Social Media.’

Social Media Iceberg

Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

James D. Miles (1830 – 1914) Steamboat Captain in the Northwest

Some of you may remember, the television shows of the 80’s where TV series/serials, used to start with, ‘Previously on xyx.’I felt a bit nostalgic today, so I will start the same way. Previously on my blog, I have written about Social Media (SM) in various contexts. I wrote about the effect of SM on a friend’s daughter – The ugly side of social media, the conundrum facing CIOs – The Social Networking dilemma and the CIO, a quick primer on SM – Social Media Primer – Succeed by using LinkedIn and blogs, Toyota and its failure to use SM – How Toyota became the werewolf and the three step process to embrace SM: Organisations “Don’t get” social media (UPDATED, RECOMMENDED READING FOR THIS POST, with ALL NEW SM monitoring tools for both personal and business use). It is becoming evident though that some organisations have become adept at SM, as witnessed by Ford’s recent Ford Explorer, campaign. “We couldn’t think of launching a vehicle today without launching it early using social media,”Jim Farley, Ford’s Vice President for Global Marketing – Courtesy of Social Media Explorer.

Senior management need to understand the business and how IT can be utilised to provide competitive advantage – Leveraging IT for Competitive Advantage – Myth or Reality? The problem these days is that many CEOs start working at new employer’s without taking the time and effort to understand and appreciate the business and its culture. Without understanding fully, their business, there is no way for them to realise the potential within their existing or future procured IT systems. In addition, many businesses still have their IT chief’s reporting to CFOs. Without board level representation, IT cannot deliver any benefits to the bottom line. Within that context, Terry Leahy fully understood the impact of IT and allowed his CIO, Philip Clarke to analyse and innovate. In effect, Philip Clarke, successfully created, ‘Philip Clarke, the brand.’ Can anyone create a successful brand, using the Internet and Social Media? The answer has to be a resounding ‘Yes’. I will now outline the steps. The secret to leveraging the success of SM is to integrate, disseminate and monitor SM (automate as much of this as possible, especially if you are building your personal brand – due to time constraints).

Integration: If you are thinking of setting up a new business or personal brand, Google Apps could be the ideal platform for you. I covered this previously, Google Apps – The myth, hype and reality. Google Apps Premiere edition was recently named as  Google Apps for Business and now incorporates all the FREE apps that used to be available to personal Google/GMAIL account holders, such as my favourites, Google URL shortener and Alerts. Regardless, of whether you are a small business or corporate, the website needs to provide analytics to ascertain demographic analysis, page views, referrals (Which sites are referring your site) and statistics and words used for searches conducted, using tools such as Google Analytics. The website also needs a blog feature (Or if you are building your personal brand, enable a personal blog using WordPress/Blogger (Free)). The blog needs to auto connect with SM to deliver posts (Such as, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, MSN and YouTube) automatically.

Dissemination: A decision has to be made on which SM will be most effective in disseminating information (News/blogposts/articles) to your target audience. For example, with the launch of the Ford Explorer, Ford decided to use Facebook.  Appropriate profiles for various SM (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace etc) need to be created. There is plenty of information available on the Internet, to help in creating these profiles but the rule of thumb is that all of your SM profiles, need to be as similar to each other as possible, across all SM. Again, automate as much of this as possible, (especially if you are building your personal brand – due to time constraints)

Monitor: Once SM has been integrated and dissemination profiles/channels are completed start monitor ing‘key people and blogs and setup appropriate RSS feeds’ for content/people that your business needs ‘to follow’ in order to keep abreast of trends in your field. Monitoring also needs to be setup for adverse comments, as the case with Toyota (See above) highlights. As SmartPhones are prevalent now, appropriate phone apps need to be setup to provide the ability to monitor, regardless of location.

Finally, I wanted to leave you with some Twitter cheat sheets that also include other SM tools etc as well (Courtesy of the following):


@gminks of Adventures in Corporate Education’s Cheat sheet

The Social Media guide.com’s Cheat sheet

The public you.com and Rich Sauser’s Cheat sheet

Organisations “Don’t get” social media

Social Media: Changing Business

Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr


In general most organisations still don’t understand or don’t want to understand the impact, benefits and competitive advantage that social media can, in many cases, still provide. The problem lies in the half hearted way many organisations introduce social media within the organisation. Brian Glick, in his ComputerWeekly column said that (In summary) organisations in general still thought that employees, if given the option, would spend their time on social media sites instead of working are missing the important point. Organisations could reap significant benefits and it was in the interests of organisations to improve collaboration and communication with ‘customers, suppliers and partners.’ One of the reasons for not adopting social media is that social media is at the stage where email and the Internet were 15-20 years ago. I remember that at the time many organisations used to view email/Internet access in the same way. Now, email and Internet access forms the fabric of most organisations. For those organisations that just ‘don’t get’ social media, I will provide a simple three step process to ‘get you there.’

Step One – The social media policy

This does not have to be a completely new policy; this can be an addendum to the existing computer usage or Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) of an organisation. This should include acceptable/unacceptable behaviour for employees on social media such as blogging, social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter etc. The secret is to embrace social media, get your employees involved and make them your ambassadors in the new world of social media. Tony Redshaw, Aviva CIO captures the essence well, “If you want people to use it, you have to tolerate them using it and not always in the way you expect.” To get you started, here are a few links:

Step two – Internal and external Social Media adoption

Harnessing the power of social media will provide you with two key benefits:

  1. Collaboration and knowledge sharing becomes easier. Organisations of all sizes have struggled for years to capture the expertise of their knowledge experts without much success. Internal Social media platforms make that process simple and employees are encouraged to create ‘expert’ content. Expertise becomes easier to access, as Aviva’s example (QUICK STATS – £350 Billion assets, £50 billion sales, 54000 staff, and currently 120 wikis with potential for 600 more) demonstrates. For example, in Aviva’s case, Tony Redshaw, Aviva CIO said, “One of our people in the Melbourne office was having a complex issue. Someone in our York (England) office saw their online post. Within 24 hours they had related their experience and suggested a way of fixing it, and…problem solved. There was no way before for the two to hook up and for that information exchange to happen.”
  2. The younger generation leaving schools and universities is social media literate. They already have social media profiles on Facebook, MySpace and Bebo etc. Organisations are finding it hard to recruit and retain youngsters where social media equivalents are not available internally and where social media access generally is restrained. The primary reason is that these younger people utilise these technologies to communicate and interact with the world at large. Embracing the younger generation through social media adoption can bring benefits that may not have been anticipated. They will utilise these platforms in innovative ways, providing competitive advantage and adding to the bottom line.

Step three – Setup and monitoring Social Media

Organisations’ spend tremendous amounts of their finances on marketing and advertising but tend to spend no money on correct setup, creating the correct social media culture and actually monitoring social media. For the past month, I have been researching an organisation that thinks that it ‘gets’ social media. The way they have decided to setup their social media, I am sure, in their opinion is correct. Let me just explain how they have setup their social media. They have a blog but only their wholesalers can access it and oh, by the way, they would have to register to read the blog articles. They have setup a social media account with one of the main social media platforms. End customers are not allowed to become members of that group, as it is aimed at the wholesalers only. Customers have been wandering the web looking for information about their products but cannot easily access information about their products or have anywhere or anyone to go to for further information; even product enhancements have been discussed by customers. An independent site talks about the chemical products in their products as naturally occurring and their website fails to display that information. Ok, so why am I telling you all this and why is it important?

Let me explain. Social media is not a tool where the success can be measured in a given time frame/short term. Relationships are developed and nurtured utilising various social media platforms over both short/long term. It is a tool that allows us to interact with each other and our customers. The need is to, ‘engage and interact.’ This particular organisation has not done that. In actual fact, it has unconsciously created all sorts of barriers stopping its very customers reaching and interacting with it. I couldn’t find any evidence of anyone utilising social media to have any conversations anywhere with its customers. Social media is not being monitored and so this organisation has no way of knowing if anyone is posting any comments (positive or negative) anywhere on social media.

For example, I did come across some negative comments that could have been countered by simply informing the customer on where to find the information. Another example covered in my blog post a few weeks ago showed that if , Toyota had monitored social media, it would have become aware much earlier that its customers were unhappy and that it could impact Toyota’s reputation. Here are a few links to get you started:

More SM Tools:

Hootsuite , Tweetdeck , Yoono , Wefollow , Listorious , Twellow , Twellowhood , Klout , Visibli , Quora, Instagr.am , Pitchengine , Addictomatic , Tubemogul , Untweeps, Twitalyzer , Topsy , Ping.fm , Friendfeed , Google Alerts , Postrank , Storify , Backtype , Big-boards/ , Getclicky , Twitterfeed , Twitter Search , Onlywire , Hashtracking , Socialmention , Seesmic.com/ , Flock , Pingdom.com/ , Hubspot , Diaspora , Monitter.com/

Top Commercial Tools for large organisations (Cost more, probably not affordable by small business or for personal use):

Top 20 Social Media monitoring vendors for business

Radian 6 , Lithium , Attensity 360 , Alterian , Spiral 16 , Buzz Logic, Cymfony , Cision , Trackur

In summary:

  • Ensure that you have appropriate policies/guidelines to help employees navigate social media.
  • Adopt social media in a way that benefits your organisation and interact with a wide audience.
  • Monitor social media and use it to interact with your customers, suppliers and partners.
  • The objective internally is to create an environment of collaboration that allows the open exchange of ideas.
  • The objective externally is to create a ‘buzz’ and awareness about your product and organisation, in addition to PR.

How Toyota became the Werewolf

Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corpora...

Image via Wikipedia

Akio Toyoda to testify in Washington: maybe he’s finally waking up to the fact that he runs a global company and has to behave that way. – Tweet by Michael Schuman, Correspondent Time magazine – 18/2/10

As most of us know (If you follow movies), there is some lead time involved before ‘The man’, turns into a Werewolf (only when there is a full moon). Well, Toyota (the werewolf) had known about the complaints ranging from unintended acceleration to brake failure in 2002 (US regulators informed 2004). Even Steve Wozniak, mentioned his Prius problems and indicated that the problem was software based in an interview in early February. The transitional phase had started for Toyota to become a werewolf. All Toyota had to wait for was nightfall. The dreaded night for the werewolf came in January and by the end of that night, the werewolf had killed an estimated 19 people in the US alone, recalled 8.5 million cars, sales had fallen by 16% in January alone and an inquiry launched into Toyota Corolla’s power steering problems. The Toyota that had won the Japanese quality award for 1980 had been consumed by the powerful werewolf that was now the largest car maker in the world since 2008.

The damage had been done! The werewolf awoke the following morning and realised that it had to remedy the situation. As we know, the remedies for werewolves are painful (not mentioning the silver bullet). As Japan sped up its car recall system, the US knew it could not live with a werewolf amongst its midst and congressman Edolphus Towns, told Toyoda in a letter that American drivers were “unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it.” The latest news is that the werewolf’s representative (the boss himself) has agreed to attend the Congress hearing.

The werewolf is trying hard to fix its problems, including the infamous sticky accelerator problem – Click here – (excellent interactive graphical courtesy of the Guardian) with a brake-override system in all future models. The werewolf had hugely underestimated the problem as in the winter of 2008-09 it had reports of “stiff” pedals.

President Akio Toyoda, grandson of Toyota acknowledged on 17/2 for the first time that the firm had expanded too fast in its quest to increase profits and overtake General Motors as the world’s biggest carmaker, a feat it achieved two years ago, according to the Guardian website. He acknowledged in an opinion piece he wrote for The Washington Post recently that the company had “failed to connect the dots” between the sticky pedals in Europe, surfacing as early as December 2008, and those in the U.S. that culminated in the massive recalls. He also said, “The Company needed to improve sharing important quality and safety information across our global operations.” The werewolf believed it to be a “quality” not a “safety” issue. Steven C. McNeely. Manager, SMS , in his article, Lesson Learned from Toyota, argues that, “safety is an unspoken and unwritten quality expectation of our customers, and you cannot separate the two. You can have a quality product or service, as defined by the ISO standards, and still not have a safe product or service. Toyotas’ problem clearly accentuates this point”.

“Toyota managers did not respond to the early signals. That’s when they should have identified the root causes,” said Sharma, who teaches Toyota production methods to businesses. “If the Toyota brand no longer stands for quality, what does it stand for?” – Anand Sharma, chief executive of TBM Consulting Group, based in Durham, North Carolina, told The Associated Press

“Toyota drivers have gone from being customers of the company to being wards of the government,” says Jim Cain, senior vice president of Quell Group, a marketing-communications firm in Detroit, and a former Ford media-relations executive. ” according to Time.

“As far as we know, Toyota is still the best manufacturing company in the world when it comes to production management,” Michael A. Cusumano, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the gas pedal and floor-mat defects were design errors in supplier parts, and the faulty braking in hybrid models was caused by a software glitch. They weren’t manufacturing errors, the kinds of defects workers at plants have been trained to pick out — a piece that doesn’t fit, a crack in a part, something that diverges from the design.

“Toyota has been exemplary at surfacing problems in the factory and stopping production before a crisis was reached,” said Jeffrey Liker, professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan, who has written books on the Toyota Way.

“Failure to follow all the principles of the Toyota Way led to this crisis. Now the Toyota Way is the only way out of it,” said Liker.

CIOs and IT Management can learn from the Toyota debacle. The most important question I had to ask myself when I heard of Toyota’s woes was a simple one. Do I unlearn everything about Just In Time (JIT), lean management, Total Quality Management (TQM) and ‘The Toyota Way’ and start over? I will leave that question open, for now!

The key lessons for CIOs are:

  1. Acknowledge and fix the problem with any process, system or project as soon as it is highlighted by stakeholders. Do not allow it to spiral out of control.
  2. Listen, listen, and listen again.
  3. Isolate the issue(s) and ensure that it is not a part of a much larger problem.
  4. Everybody within the company is an ambassador for the company, including the IT department. If the IT dept spot a non IT issue that affects the company, take 100% responsibility for it and get it addressed.
  5. Use social media (SM) channels such as LinkedIn, facebook and Twitter to monitor your user community by proactively listening, anticipating problems and getting involved with these communities.
  6. Do not hide/shy away from social media (SM) and use it to create competitive advantage.
  7. Brand reputation can be enhanced or irreparably damaged on SM. Be there to get your message across

Related Article on Toyota pay the price for not connecting the dots 

Social Media Primer – Succeed by using LinkedIn and blogs


Image by Christopher S. Penn via Flickr

Social Media fascinates me and I am leveraging this medium to succeed in my career while taking this opportunity to share my learning and experience with all my readers. My objective is to start a discussion where my readers can also share their learning and experience with all of us to build our success together. So, without further ado…

Here are a few resources to succeed on LinkedIn:

1. On the menu bar for LinkedIn (LI) at the top, click on MORE and from the drop down, select LEARNING CENTER. Learn and sharpen your skills in areas where you lack understanding.

2. On the menu bar to the right of MORE, click the drop down, and select GROUPS and search for any groups that you are interested in. The secret is to become a member of groups within your professional field that are either building pretty fast or are the largest groups. Become a member of, for example, Executive Suite , Linked:HR (#1 Human Resources Group) , Star:Candidate for Hire , Linked Strategies , Future Social Media , Social Media Today, Twitter Strategies , Top Recommended People and any other groups that benefit you in your professional field.

In the example above, if an executive was looking for a job, these would be good groups to join – Executive Suite, Linked: HR and Star: Candidate for Hire (Two have in excess of 150K members and Star candidate is growing quite fast ). The groups, Linked Strategies, Future Social Media, Social Media Today and Twitter Strategies cover a wide spectrum of social media. I personally found, Top Recommended People one of the best groups for thought provoking and active discussions.

The following post by Sean is a good resource to get started.

(Blog-Off II Entry) Are You a LION, Turtle, HoundDog, or Alley Cat? What’s Your LinkedIn Strategy?

3. Go to Flyn Penoyer’s blog, The Online Business Networker . (This site is a mine of information on LinkedIn).

4. Go to: The Online Business Networker Membership site and download all the FREE resources and videos and study them.

5. Read the Linkedin Starter Guide To Success by Randy Schrum

6. Keep visiting Randy’s new Corporate Media site for the latest in social media.

Building your LI network:

For LI to work effectively, build your network to a min of 250 people. Participate in Group activity, Q&A sessions, become actively involved in the social media groups and that will not only build your expertise within that area but will also build your network. Once you participate in discussions and get to know people, send a personal message rather than the default LI one of:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

– Mubbisher Ahmed

With, for example:

Hi xyz,

We worked together on the xyz project together at xyz and I would like to invite you to join my network.

PS: if not interested I would be grateful if you would click “archive” and not “I don’t know this person”.

Mubbisher Ahmed

The text in BOLD is very important, as if you get 5 IDK’s (I don’t knows), you can’t send invites out at random and have to know the recipient’s email address!

Blogging and becoming a thought leader:

Start a blog and publicise your blog articles using LinkedIn. The best way is to become a member of relevant groups to you. Each group has a NEWS section. This is where you can share new blogs with LinkedIn users and is an acceptable way to promote your blog by both LI and its users.

You should be able to spot many new blog postings there. Once you have done that, try and come up with a question that you want answered based around your blog and post it in DISCUSSIONS with a link to your blog. You can also use the DISCUSSIONS section to get feedback on areas that you need assistance with etc. The NEWS and DISCUSSIONS section is a great way to generate interest and traffic to your blog.

The idea is for you to be recognised as a thought leader within your field and then build your network.

Use this quick introduction/primer and it will help you succeed in the world of social media.

Please share with me your successes, failures and top tips on using social media effectively. I welcome all comments and once moderated, comments will be available on the blog for the benefit of everyone.

The ugly side of social media

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

Image via Wikipedia

Something happened last week that just soaked up all my energy and to be honest, I had expected something similar to this to happen within the UK for a while now. The ugly scenario I found myself in was that a friend’s adult daughter had been subjected to a vicious and malicious social abuse attack of the worst sort. Now, while you are holding that thought, there are quite a few reasons, I was expecting this to happen.

Firstly, parents tend to turn a blind eye to kids safety and either allow them to create social media accounts or just do not have any kind of web/content filtering at home and as a result their kids roam the Internet freely and blatantly disregard the minimum age limit impositions. I use MS Windows and MS have a free package called family safety that allows my kids to experience the Internet but blocks or allows websites, and decides who my kids can communicate with in Windows Live Spaces, Messenger, or Hotmail.

Secondly, as social media’s popularity went from 0-60 in approx 5 seconds (equivalent of), most governments got caught off guard. That means that most of today’s young adults found themselves in a situation where their parents and schools had not taught them how to defend against social media attacks and the information that they needed to protect against, for example, ID theft. Social media training is only just trickling through within the UK for students in the 11-13 year grouping.

Thirdly, Social Media abuse is a relatively new area for most global police forces and as proved by my friend’s case, can easily transgress borders. So, while it may be relatively easy to prosecute someone within the UK for social media abuse, it becomes a nightmare scenario for anyone who wants any justice or apprehension on foreign soil.

We found it quite alarming that inspite of facing a constant tirade of harassment, blackmail, bullying and ID theft across the Internet by this individual, the UK police force was reluctant to engage the foreign country’s police to request assistance from them. While I acknowledge that the police cannot do anything about this type of crime overseas, surely it should be easy to send a message akin to email requesting assistance to locate and arrest this individual under the relevant local laws of that country. The irony was that the country in question’s authorities took this very seriously but we could not go directly to them as we had no idea of who and how to engage, whereas if the request was made by the UK authorities, i.e. the UK Police force, the perpetrator could have been arrested (letters have been written to the original investigating officer, police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson and the home secretary, Alan Johnson requesting support to arrest this individual).

The sequence of events that have unfolded since had a profound and devastating effect on my friend’s kid and even though an exceptionally talented student, the stressful experience, resulted in failed exams as a result of these malicious activities. The family were very concerned regarding her mental state of mind as these social media attacks via Facebook and other methods had now progressed to digitally creating lewd and obscene material on the wider Internet itself.

This type of social media abuse will not go away and will continue to repeat itself, as currently, there is no legislative or global agreement, such as the Virtual Global Taskforce – Fighting global online child abuse, to tackle social media abuse and the only global policing agreement is Interpol. This will become a global problem and needs to be addressed globally by creating a global agreement to tackle cross border cases of social media abuse, before someone dies.

We have already had high profile cases, such as the woman who killed her daughter, before the police force realised the seriousness of the case – and the recent case of the teen victim who faced abuse across Facebook for four years –

A fellow group member on another social media site, Janet, posted a comment (See full comment, dated 8.10.09) that I wanted to share with everyone. In Australia they have an organisation called beyondblue (similar to the UK’s Samaritans), who have a very useful checklist to see if someone is suffering from depression, reproduced here to assess anyone who may need urgent help and assistance (Listed below courtesy of Janet).

For more than 2 weeks have you ……

1/ Felt sad, down or miserable most of the time
2/ Lost interest or pleasure in most of your usual activities

If you answered Yes to either of these questions continue with the checklist.

3/ Lost or gained a lot of weight OR had a decrease or increase in appetite?
4/ Sleep disturbance
5/ Felt slowed down, restless or excessively busy
6/ Felt tired or had no energy
7/ Felt worthless OR
Felt excessively guilty OR
Felt guilt about things you should not have been feeling guilty about
8/ Had poor concentration OR
Had difficulties thinking OR
Were very indecisive
9/ Had recurrent thoughts of death.

Add up the number of YES responses 1 – 9.

A total of 4 or less Unlikely to have depression illness
A total of 5 or less Likely to have a depressive illness

If anybody can advise me on how to stop this individual further damaging the reputation of this future aspiring professional, please drop me a direct email at: ahmed@itfindit.com

Useful Links:

Facebook safety

Cyber Bullying on Facebook

Child exploitation and online protection centre – (CEOP) Report Abuse