Category Archives: Social Media

Explosive Growth in Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce Conference

Need evidence that the world of technology is moving to the cloud?  Look no further than the explosive growth that has occurred for Salesforce.com‘s annual conference, called Dreamforce. Salesforce.com is one of the pioneer’s of the cloud computing industry. They have been hosting the Dreamforce conference, which brings together leaders in the industry, since 2003 and it has become the premier cloud computing conference in the world.

The amazing growth of the conference is displayed beautifully in the infographic below developed by the creative companys Jess3 and Eloqua.   I was really surprised to see that in just 9 years the number of attendees has increased nearly 20 fold – from 1,100 in 2003 to over 23,000 in 2010!  I think that the growth of the Dreamforce conference just reinforces how explosive the cloud computing industry is and will continue to be.

Thanks to Jess3 and Eloqua for allowing the great infographic below to be reprinted.

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Tech Primer: Using LinkedIn for Professional Networking

Overview & History:
LinkedIn is a social networking site that is geared towards developing professional relationships.    It is a valuable tool for creating and connecting with a professional network.   LinkedIn is similar to Facebook and MySpace, but offers a more professional feel.    LinkedIn has been around since 2003 and has over 50 million users worldwide.

How it Works:
LinkedIn is similar in nature to other social networking sites.   You first create an account and develop a profile for yourself.  Typically, a LinkedIn profile is more professional in nature and includes information about your current and past employers, duties, volunteer organizations, education, and any other activities or groups that you are involved with.

After you have profile set up, you can then start building your network.  Every time you add a person to your network, you have then created a “connection” to that person.  As you can see from my profile, I have 80 connections.   Once you are connected to a person, you are then able to view all of that person’s connections (as long as they allow you to.)

Other Features:
LinkedIn also includes several other cool features that allow you communicate and connect with others.  The website allows you to integrate information from other social media and blogging sites, such as twitter and wordpress, connect with outside applications, like Box.net, search jobs, and research companies.

Another great feature within LinkedIn are the professional groups.   There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different professional groups that are meant to connect people with a common professional interest.   Anyone has the ability to join or create a professional group.

In Summary:
LinkedIn is a great tool for professional networking and for participating in online professional networks.   I would recommend joining LinkedIn for anyone that is interested in building a network in their industry.

Groundswell Charlene Li Josh Bernoff

Book Brief: Groundswell

Groundswell Charlene Li Josh BernoffThe book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies provides a great overview of how social media is changing the way businesses, large and small, are interacting with their customers and conducting their business.  The book covered the following topics.

An Overview of Social Media:
The first section basically describes how technology has enabled individuals to push for changes in products, ideas, and services that companies offer.   Li and Bernoff provide some real-life examples of how social media has played a role in business decisions and also provide some information on the demographics of social media.  A brief summary of the tools of social media are also outlined in this section (blogs, podcasts, social networks, wikis, open source, forums, and tags).

Using Social Technologies in Business:
The bulk of the book revolves around how businesses can use social media tools to enhance their business and connect with their customers.  The authors advocate what they call a POST method, with POST standing for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology.   The POST approach can be achieved through one or a combination of the following objectives; Listening, Talking, Energizing, Supporting, and Energizing.

The Future of the Groundswell:
The final section of the book provides a discussion on some of the challenges associated with implementing social technologies, how to internally connect companies through social media, and a brief discussion on future trends of social media.

In Summary:
Overall this is a great book if you are looking to learn more about how larger businesses and organizations are using and responding to the use of social technologies.   The book is written to have more of a business and marketing angle than a personal use angle and being written in 2008 is slightly out-of-date already.  Nonetheless, I found the book to have great information for any user of social media technologies.

Some of the best parts of the book revolve around the case studies.   Some very prominent large and medium sized companies are featured in the book including Best Buy, Dell, Salesforce.com, Unilever, Mini, Special K, HP, Comcast, ebags, and Lego (amongst several others).

To learn more, you can visit the Groundswell blog at groundswell.forrester.com.

Social Media Connection

Focus On: Social Media – What’s all This about Twitter, Blogs, and RSS?

Background:
Social Media ConnectionEveryone has probably heard the term Social Media in the news lately.  Social media means different things to different people, but the term is basically used to describe internet-based technology that enables a group of users to communicate and collaborate on ideas.

Popular forms of social media include; blogs, wikis, micro-blogs, and social networking websites.   I’ll give a brief breakdown on each of them.

Types of Social Media:
Blogs:
The term blog is short for weblog. Blogs are basically a collection of diary-type “posts” that cover a particular topic – much like a web-based news article.  After a blogger posts an article, readers have the option to comment on the article and provide input on the topic.  Popular blogs include The Huffington Post, a news media & political blog, and TechCrunch, and tech-based blog.  There are also literally millions of other blogs that cover niche topics like personal finances, sewing, and biking.

Wikis: Wikis are web-based collaboration tools that allow users to create the content.  One of the most popular wikis in the world is Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that is created by users.  Wikis basically work like this: users create pages on a subject and then allow other users to add and moderate the pages and subjects.  It’s a self-policing model that works remarkably well and provides great information.

Micro-Blogs: Micro-blogs are similar to blogs, except that you are limited to a set number of characters (usually about a sentence worth of words) for posts.   Microblogging has become quite popular in the last couple of years due to its ease of use and ability to reach a large audience quickly.  The most popular microblogging site is Twitter.  Other popular microblog web-sites include identi.ca and Tumblr.

Social Networking Sites: Social networking sites integrate several features into one platform that enables users to connect with one another.  Key features typically included in social networking sites include the ability to post photos, instant-message with each other, and provide short posts similar to micro-blog posts.  The giant in this group is FacebookMySpace is also very popular but has been losing market share over the last few years.  LinkedIn is another popular social networking site that is focused on developing professional relationships.  Video sharing web-sites, like YouTube and Vimeo, also share many attributes of social networking sites.

In Summary:
Social Media has become increasingly popular over the last few years.  As online communication and collaboration becomes more popular for business and personal use, expect to see more of social media applications on the market.

[Image Source: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Using YouTube for Training

Since its inception about 5 years ago, YouTube has become one of the more popular sites on the web.    YouTube has gained notoriety for being of the best sites to see old clips of movies or TV shows, clips of your favorite musician on tour, old music videos, general nonsense posted by average users.

One of the great uses of YouTube that I have recently discovered is for learning how to do something.

There are vast amounts of videos that people have posted on how to do common household repairs, how to change a flat tire, how to draw a picture using charcoal, how to play a harmonica, and numerous other ‘how-to’ items.

A great use of YouTube is using it to teach you technical tasks, like how to use spreadsheets.   A good example of this is the video below, which describes how to use Pivot Tables in Excel 2007.

The best way to find what you need is to go to www.youtube.com and just do a simple search.   Have fun playing around with it!

-TW

[Video Source: Missing Manuals YouTube Channel]