07
Jan
12

Ramble, ramble, ramble, ramble, ramble yeah! (Part 1)

Dear Readers,

OK, so who of you picked the reference to a recent song by LMFAO?

This is one of those occasions where I’m not so sure what to write about but I knew I just had to, well, write and see what came out.

I have been sick over the last few days which I feel has severely affected my judgement (“What! More so than usual? I hear my well wishers shout in unison) I am also a wheelchair basketball player and have a tournament to prepare for in the next few days. These two facts are important in the situation I found myself in today.

Rewind to yesterday. I had arranged to go out with a very dear friend of mine and felt that, due to tournament preparation, this would end up not being possible. I reluctantly texted said friend to deliver the bad news. Overnight, I had an epiphany and realised my preparation today would not be so crucial that I had to miss going out with the friend. In a panic I quickly texted and then called my friend (I thought I was nagging) and while I did not receive a response straight away, it turned out that the opportunity I had so mindlessly thrown away because of my on worries and trying to think and plan ahead, was not in fact gone. I had a wonderful afternoon chilling out.

Why am I so afraid to take chances and why do I spend either too long or not long enough thinking and over thinking on these opportunities? Why does my lack of thought or over thought allow me to either push the opportunity away or spend so long on it that it goes away? Why do I stress so much over what others think to the point that I think I have to deny myself what will make me happy?

Back to this afternoon….A wonderful time was had with a deep, honest, intelligent and wonderful friend. Someone I am so, so lucky to have in my life and though I met this person in a different setting and quickly convinced myself it would never work, it turns out (2+ years after meeting them) this is someone whose influnce I am a better person for having had in my life.

This was an opportunity I was presented with and though I dropped it quickly, I was able to pick it back up and see it through. All my life I have been facing those questions and missing opportunities. All my life I have been trying to plan ahead and not face what is and can happen RIGHT NOW.

I have 2 sisters. One is a young adult and one is a teenager. I love them both to bits and dont know what my life would be like without them. I am constantly amazed and astounded by my teen sisters maturity and wisdom. Recently I had a deep and meaningful  with her and she left me with one phrase that impacted and challenged me: “Live in the moment”……..WOW! I cannot begin to tell you what a moving experience it was for me to be taking such powerful, useful advice from someone who should more obsessed with boys and school work rather than humility and living in the moment (For the record, the conversation started regarding the concept of humility. I’m still astounded that someone so young would even know what humility is let alone have a grasp of the concept that people 3 times her age do not have).

OK dear sister, I accept your challenge. I want 2012 to be the year where I dont give the opportunities I get so little thought that I miss an obvious flaw but so much thought that by the time I get around to doing something about it, the opportunity is gone. I want 2012 to be the year where I start to think about myself and not give up an opportunity just because I dont want to upset soeone, nag them or worry about what they think. Of course their happiness and what they want and think is so important but I want 2012 to be the year where other peoples thoughts and feelings and worrying about what they might think, doesnt come at the expense of my happiness too.

My companion this afternoon put it beautifully (again) when they said one phrase “Joe-you’re too nice”.

2012 is the year when I remember something I’ve been taught all my life: “Love others as you love yourself”. 2012 is the year where I dont just buy everyone else dinner when we go out. I’ll be treating myself too.

Well this post is long enough. I do hope it makes some sense and isnt too much of a ramble…..oops, there I go again……

Thats a wrap!

🙂

31
Dec
11

This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius……

Dear Readers,

Hello! Miss me?

Well, now that my short-lived but not entirely unsuccessful career as a Web 2.0 consultant is at an end (the other posts on this blog so far are the children of this) I can now get back to using this blog as I see fit, serving up a regular dose of the dim-witted, corrupt, sick, warped, twisted and somewhat humourous tom foolery you have come to expect from The Lyons Den. This blog will now be ENTIRELY devoted to my personal and professional pursuits and cover topics from the personal, to the technological and geeky and even the down right disturbing (though I promise to keep these to a minimum). I cant guarantee that everything you read will be as light and fluffy as a good pavlova and would even cautiously use the words “vent” and “outlet” but keep an open mind in your head and a stiff drink by your side and I’m sure we’ll all get through this 🙂

For starters, as its almost the end of 2011 as I write, I would like to talk about my New Years Resolutions. I have been on holidays/vacation for some weeks now and because, just for something different, I was terribly and totally organised for Christmas this year, I’ve had little else to do but think ahead. Of course, the end of one year makes me think about what I want to achieve from the next. So (because I believe in being honest and because I want my friends and family plus any other hangers on to hold me accountable), here goes. My resolutions for 2012:

  • Find a new church……thats it…..for those expecting a silly remark, sorry!
  • I want to reduce by Calorie intake. Those of you who know me and have been unlucky enough to see me in the flesh will know that I am rather partial to my calories but this year I want to turn my salt and vinegar potato chips into a much healthier alternative and I want to replace my soft drinks with tonic water and cordial.
  • I want to not only buy but also actually read every edition of my favourite motoring periodical (only my Australian readers will know which magazine I am referring to).
  • I want to work on ME! I want to go to the gym, get fit and strong and lose a few kilos all while working on my self esteem.

To elaborate: my best friend-a young lady I met at church some years ago and someone who is as gorgeous on the outside as she is on the inside-told me at the beginning of 2011 that she would like to visit one of our local motor shows (or Auto Show for my American readers). As I come from a city with no motor show, I was thrilled to possibly have the opportunity to spend the day in one of my favourite environments with my favourite person (the next one is in 2012). However, my slightly overweight, rather unshaven paraplegic body is not something that should be seen with the naked eye and as such something must be done to correct this imbalance or else many millions of people will be subjected to a scene akin to “Beauty and the Beast”. In short, I want to go from Jabba the Hut to George Clooney and I want to be someone that my beautiful best friend (who I know loves me for who I am inside) would LIKE to be seen with not HAVE to be seen with!

Finally ladies and gentlemen, to show you that I want 2012 to be the best year yet and not one full of doom and gloom. I have decided, ladies and gentlemen that I want my New Years resolution to be 7680×4320…….see what I did there? :-p

All the best for 2012 everyone. Looking forward to being your blogger of choice for this year and many to come. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap 🙂

16
Oct
11

Post 9-Social networking and the IGC

For the second time in the not too distant past, Dear readers,

Well, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and with this post they will (even if it is just temporary…you didnt think you could get rid of me that easily did you?) for today is my last official post as a Web 2.0 consultant.

This is also the final post in a series about the IGC. Over the last few posts, I have talked about Microblogging and the IGC and how the IGC could implement Wikis. Today I would like to wrap things up by discussing how the IGC could best utilise social networks.

A social network is simply a collection of individuals (or businesses) that are connected by means of everything from friendship, kinship and beliefs to common business interests or objectives. Who can guess which Social Network, with a current 800 million active users can be accessed at this link???…..here is another hint……..the fact is that social networks are growing in popularity to the point that even big businesses like Microsoft and Coca Cola Australia have jumped on the “Facey” bandwagon!

So how could the IGC use social networking as a basis for what it does?

  • The IGC needs to create a presence for itself. That means doing everything people will see as well as stuff people wont see. Get a team together whose job it is to update the IGCs social networking spaces. Then promote this newly created space as widely as possible (even on the IGC Website) and make sure its a spac where users can interact, collaborate and share.
  • Once the space has been established. Post as much information as possible as frequently as possible. This shows the IGC is committed to providing its followers with the latest information. Also, if the IGC (and the team that is behind its presence in the social networking spaces) can respond to feedback and questions posted by users, it shows a warm, friendly approach and that the IGC is not just another big business that doesnt care about the little people.

However, posting in the social networking space is not without its limitations and risks. Most of these risks can be addressed using a social media policy I discussed some of the legal risks of being in the social networking space (social media policies for enterprise) in a recent post.

By establishing a social network presence, the IGC can be seen as a friendly organisation that is genuinely interested in bringing Geology to the masses.

And so concludes my last post for the moment. I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my posts and comment on them. I do hope that they have been as interesting to read as they have been interesting to write.

That, dear readers, is the final siren. That, dear readers, is a wrap! :-)…..

……..almost……..

An example of a social media policy, used by Australian telco Telstra, can be found here.

Here is a guide to using Facebook for business and marketing.

Finally, here is a link to an interesting article by Dundas Lawyers about the legal risks of social networking

16
Oct
11

Post 8-Wikis and the IGC

Dear Readers,

In the last post (no pun or disrespect intended) I talked about how Microblogging could be used by the IGC as part of its conference that is due to be held in Brisbane. However, there are many other Web 2.0 technologies that could be utilised by the IGC to achieve its objectives. One of these is the Wiki, the most famous of which can be found here.

So, what is a wiki? Well, A Wiki is one or more webpages formulated into a website that can be edited by many users and is most effectively used as an online collaboration tool. It can have many purposes; everything from storing knowledge on a particular subject to organising the equipment needed for a camping trip can be done using a wiki.

And why would individuals and organisations want to adopt the wiki (I’m making it sound like a pet arent I?)? Well, since their invention, wikis have been known to reduce the volume of email being sent and received between users, improve communication between individuals and groups, provide a framework, workspace or template for users wishing to undertake group work and reduce the amount of time employees spen looking for relevant information because a database of knowledge is just a few clicks away.

Thats all great but how can wiki’s be utilised by The 34th IGC? Well, as stated before, wikis can be used to organise a trip, or to organise a group of people for a trip. The IGC could create separate wiki spaces for each country that is due to be present at the conference. On this wiki, the delegates from each country could collaboratively work out the arrangements for travel, accommodation and even the sessions that each delegate is going to attend. In addition, this wiki could also be expanded with input from representatives from the IGC with information that the delegates might want or need to know. All of this would ensure an organised, enjoyable and work[thwhile experience for the attendees.

OK. The IGC have these wikis set up but how do we get into using them. Would could the IGC do to ensure their investment was worthwhile?

  • Promote the wiki and get it out there. Point users in the direction of the wiki. Whats the point of a wiki if no one knows it exists or uses it? The IGC could post a link to it on their website or the other social media platforms that are out there.
  • Push information to the wiki. This is where the IGC would come in. A wiki will almost certainly be used for the wrong purpose or not at all if there is not some sort of framework relating to what it should be used for.
  • Make it truly a platform that allows the users to collaborate. Make the space secure but give the users the ability to add whatever they want to the space (provided it is relevant) in order to make the information worthwhile for the present but also the future as well.

By using Wikis, the IGC will be safe, well planned, enjoyable and ultimately worthwhile experience not only for the IGC but also the delegates as well.

Finally, before I go, I thought I’d share some info with you that relates to wikis but is outside the realm of the IGC. If you go here you can read up on wikis that are live NOW and that work (and work well). Additionally, if you go here you can find a very interesting article on how wikis can be used for business projects.

I’m off to collaborate on a trip to the beach. That, dear readers, is a wrap! 🙂

10
Oct
11

Post 7-Microblogging and the IGC

Dear Readers,

The more perceptive of you will have noticed that this is the third or fourth time I have posted on the IGC in the last few weeks….I am a bit of a perfectionist and as the posts of others changed so did mine. Hopefully this will be the last post on Micro blogging that I must subject you to. Isnt there a famous quote that says “times change and we change with the times”?

Anyway, you will recall that I have previously posted on the subject of micro-blogging in general. I highlighted some of the tools that enabled micro blogging and argued the use of micro-blogging to boost productivity and employee output. This week I want to focus on how micro blogging could be used to solve some of the issues of the IGC and those issues that they face at their conference.

Firstly though, a bit of background. The IGC is the International Geological Congress, the world leader in the presentation of results and research from all forms of Geo-science, the end result of which is mainly a networking opportunity for Geo-scientists all around the world. The IGC came to being in 1876 and as of 2004, comprises a body spanning 122 countries. The 34th IGC is to be held in Australia (in Brisbane in fact) in August 2012.

While other like-minded Web 2.o bloggers out there would have focused on the challenges surround the IGC up to the event itself, I choose to focus on a challenge that will hopefully not raise its ugly head during the conference (or at least, I hope it wont): The idea of getting updates to the conference delegates in case of emergency or change of plans.

The IGC could use a service such as twitter (or Yammer which is more an internal platform for micro-blogging) with which someone (or a team of people who are paid to do it) post regular updates on any vital information thy delegates needed to know. They could also then post links to more detailed information for perusal at a latter date.

We have already seen effective use of this by organisations such as the Queensland Police Service who regularly update users of Twitter and Facebook services with the latest vital information they need to know and with a 140 character word limit, the IGC could only post the most vital information in a way that was succinct and easy for delegates to get the full story from, quickly.

The IGC could also post relevant links and information on the subject of, for example, fire safety or traffic accidents.

In the event of an emergency, this information could then be easily passed onto the authorities without the need for unnecessary phone calls and delays.

By having a go at microblogging, the IGC would gain an even stronger reputation for being a world leader in the field and would be able to host an even bigger and better event that ensured the delegates were kept safe, informed and above all, gained the most out of the conference.

Well, that’s a wrap 🙂

Some useful links:

Information on The IGC http://34igc.org/

R Kayne, 2011-What is Microblogging? http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-microblogging.htm

19
Sep
11

Post 6-Return on Investment

Dear Readers,

Well, its time for the latest episode of The Lyons Den and today I want to talk about Return on Investment of Web 2.0 Technologies.

Return on Investment can simply can simply be defined as what a company makes and gets back from the money or resources it spends on a project or idea. In this world that is increasingly integrating web 2.0 into everything it does, more and more companies feel (quite rightly) the need to invest money into social media and Web 2.0 to reach new clients, demographics and markets. In the same token, many companies want to see some tangible results from their efforts and to get something back from all they have invested.

Unfortunately, ROI is an issue that keeps recurring, is difficult to measure over mediums and ultimately difficult to define. Some companies do this less well than others. Below are some examples (not necessarily good but not necessarily bad):

The Cadbury company brought back into production its Wispa and Wispa Gold chocolate bars after a series of online petitions using venerable social media site Facebook. The most recent petition attracted a following of 22,000 people which caused Cadbury to release 40 million units of one bar for a limited period. Prior to this, the Wispa bar was re-released and sold approximately 41 million bars in 18 weeks…..a rate of nearly 4 per second over the period.

This is an example of an excellent return on investment from the company. They used a site that is largely (if not completely) cost free and sold many more units and made much more money than they could ever have hoped to spend on social media (the most widely used tools being used these days are without cost)….and they did it all without spending a cent AND they got to see just how popular their products were.

Another example which has worked really well and shows devotion to the brand is that of world-renowned Motorcycle builder Harley-Davidson.  Its devoted riders created a social networking hub run for riders by riders (and more importantly funded entirely by riders). There is the opportunity for Harley owners to share advice and knowledge as well as the opportunity to mingle and socialise with other riders. In addition, and in a win for Harley-Davidson owners, owners can get in contact with one of 7 professional mechanics who regularly access the sites..

Again, another example of the brand having such a following that they actually haven’t had to lift a finger to generate an excellent return from an investment in social media. This case in particular shows how social media has shrunk the world and enabled companies to gain a presence they would never have achieved using regular methods.

The point of this post can be summed up in a phrase from a recent promotional campaign for a breakfast cereal that will be more well known to some of my more “local” reader; “You only get out what you put in”.
Til next time,

That’s a wrap! 🙂

More info on this post can be found here

02
Sep
11

Post 5-The Legal Risks

Dear Readers,

Well, I warned you-it’s time for your second dose of The Lyons Den for the week . This weeks post is about the legal risks to organisations and businesses who have an online presence.

Anyhoo, while I try to keep this post shorter than the last enchanting tale I shall outline the risks faced by organisations and businesses who have an online presence and then try to provide an example of these risks (and the strategies in place to try and minimise them) in practice in the real world using an example that is close to my heart…….my employer.

So, some of the risks that face those corporate types who have an online presence include:

  • Reputational risks-a damaged reputation.
  • Loss of confidentiality-ever seen a photo of a car that hasnt been released yet, that has apparently been “leaked”? Well in most cases there is some company employee behind it all who, as a result, gets his or her eyes gauged out, his or her knee caps smashed and his or her head kicked in. In the worst cases, these people have even been known to lose their jobs…….
  • Technological risks. Every time you open the window, the bad smell is going to come in and in this case, those who have an online presence can leave themselves open to increased instances of viruses and malware.
  • Breaches of trademarks, copyrights, privacy and even defamation.
  • There are even instances where some poor sod is wrongfully dismissed.

There are a number of others, and perhaps I could go into greater detail but if this were a novel, the words “thicker than war and peace” come to mind…..

So, where in the real world have I see this in action. Well, rather surprisingly, a number of these risks are applicable to my current employer. I work for an organisation which panders to the educational needs of some 20,000+ students and is diligently serviced by some 2000+ staff (I’m not going to have a go at my fellow colleagues am I?). For those that know me, my use of the phrase “the real world” is a hint to where I work.

The oragnisation has a significant online presence including, for the purposes of this blog, a large corporate website and student/staff “gateway” and even a Twitter account used to broadcast information to the outside world in a short but sweet format (a service that, in my eyes, is currently underused). You can even send emails to the organisation from outside and connect to the local network from the comfort of a recliner rocker. All of these services are in place to facilitate and allow easier communication to and from the university relating to certain areas, provide staff and students with up to the minute information on things that affect them and to allow staff and students to do more stuff more of the time

As a result, the organisation (I’m doing well not to mention a name) faces the a high instance of exposure to viruses and malware with email coming in and out and network connections being made, loss of confidentiality and every time a new tweet is posted, a risk to the reputation of the organisation. The last one is less likely to occur as, luckily, the task is not yet placed in the hands of the “slow not stupid” such as I.

Luckily, all of the above scenarios are mitigated in some way:

  • Login details must be provided to prove the person trying to gain access to contact details that must be kept hidden is in fact someone who is allowed to view the information.
  • Tweeting is very strictly controlled by only being tasked to certain individuals with the expectation that spelling and grammar is absolutely flawless and language is kept relevant.
  • Email is very strictly checked and only certain file types are allowed to be sent/received and even then they must be within certain sizes to allow them to be sent/received. Additionally, only certain files are allowed to be stored on IT infrastructure under certain circumstances.

This post has well and truly gone on log enough so my final thought on this is that while I’m not sure about whether there is strictly a social media and communication policy in operation, all of these issues are well known to staff and students and are documented in some way or form. This in turn is very heavily emphasised to all who interact with it. So while there may not be any defined social media policy, in which all of these mediums and issues should be addressed (particularly relating to tweeting, which is only done to a very low level and even then is the only form of social media used…….for the moment……..watch this space……) my organisation is doing ok……..

Well, for a week or so, thats a wrap 🙂

This weeks notable references:

http://www.digital-media.net.au/article/legal-social-is-there-a-social-media-law/512428.aspx

http://www.dundaslawyers.com.au/index.php/legal-articles/intellectual-property/legal-risks-of-social-networking-for-business/

http://www.dundaslawyers.com.au/index.php/legal-articles/corporate-law/do-organisations-need-social-media-policies/#more-932




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