Facebook has won social media and we can all go home now

It’s been a while since I’ve done some social media strategy work on a big, mainstream FMCG grocery brand. 

I had a real Big Daddy to work on last week and, as I sat down to pull together my data for the reverse brief I was hit by just how much Facebook has won. 

Facebook is the social web. 

The target demographic for the product I was working on was families, economical blue collar working types and then older, empty nesters. Mainstream, high volume value brand stuff. 

The supermarket goldmine demographics that every large supplier wants to hit because they do huge revenues. Facebook was an obvious choice because the brand page had around 35 million page likes already but I’ve got so used to doing multichannel plans my instinct was to look around for other ways to reach consumers. 

I tried to liven things up with a bit of Instagram but then I saw this stat “people between 18-34 make up 70% of total users in Australia -females are 60% of users”. This is not my blue collar, mainstream user. 

Twitter only got a brief look in as part of the PR strategy to identify possible influencers. We could have put our video content on YouTube as a secondary channel but again, it skews younger and why would we do that when we have the reach of Facebook video and the ability to target and retarget?

All roads led to Facebook for both organic and paid conversations. As I dug deeper, and thought about Facebook’s unashamed push for, and favouring of video content, I realised this was the strategy for my brand: Facebook video with around 50% organic and 50% paid conversations

Mark Zuckerberg's dog Beast

Social media strategy and platform use can get very subjective but if you stick to the user data and keep your own, and your client’s own preferences to the side, all you can do is Like the photo of Mark Zuckerberg’s dog on your Facebook feed and congratulate them on winning the social web. 

I got hit by a taxi - let's see what they did to me

I’ve got a plastic surgery clinic on Thursday and I’m going to pack a few things because the last time I went in for a clinic I got readmitted to hospital for two weeks.

When they took the plaster off from the first surgery, there was a big hematoma which is a big swollen blood clot that was from the impact of the taxi bonnet, or the brick wall maybe but that was where it took the biggest bash anyway. 

The first four days after the accident were a lifetimes worth of hospital for me so being told I had to go back in for two weeks felt like I was being sucked out to sea.  Then I decided to be like the chill-ass orangutan and surrender to the whole process so Christmas and New Year's in hospital for me it was. There are starving children in Africa and people in the ward with lifetime, genetic muscle-wasting illness and stuff like that who needed four people to move them in bed. My leg seemed very minor and temporary in comparison. I've been pretty healthy for the last three years or so. I stopped drinking booze altogether and got a lot more active and tuned into managing stress and just generally realising that I wasn't bulletproof and had to listen to my body more. It made a big difference to my physical healing and just being able to push your body to relearn things. It also meant that I was thumped by all the medicines being pumped into me so I was pretty quick to start refusing pain meds and wanting all the chemicals to stop. I took my last antibiotic tablet yesterday and I'm not on any medication now- fingers crossed that's the end of it. 

Of course, you can't just sprinkle some Chia seeds over your leg and have some fish oil tablets when you're having open surgery on your leg. They have to knock you out which involves wheeling you into a cupboard and putting a rubber mask on your face and shoving a pipe down your throat which triggered a reptilian 'do not want' response from me apparently- I don't remember any of that but a traumatic frightened cat hit by a car response seemed pretty understandable. Well done me. 

I've finally read the discharge letter and can see what they did now: 

Surgery one

Tibial nail insertion and open reduction internal fixation of left medial malleolus 11/12/2014

Titanium rod thing from knee to ankle, inner ankle screws and something to my knee that isn’t a knee replacement but when people say they are having their knees done that’s what I had. Washout is cleaning up all the mess. 

Surgery two
Washout left leg wound 23/12/14
Then I had to go in for a second surgery which is a Washout to clean up all the hematoma blood clot stuff and get it back to a point where it could be stitched up. 

Surgery three
Washout and application of vac dressing to left leg wound 25/12/14 <<< Christmas Day

plastic surgeon checking the donor muscle -hole left from the hematoma- yes the white part is bone
Turns out the skin had all died above the hematoma so I had to go for surgery number three to have all the skin cut off. Then you get a left with a big hole in the front of your leg. Having a huge hole is a totally bad idea at the best of times but when you’ve just had a metal rod put in your munted leg it’s an even worse idea because you can get a bone infection and if that gets into the metal work then you can’t get it out so you have to amputate the leg.  Yes amputate. So as much as everyone reassured me that wasn’t going to happen my brief stint in public health was enough to make me know that there are all sort sorts of ebola-cousins lurking in hospitals and the only places more germy than hospitals are those floating petri dishes called Cruise Ships (seriously: Google cruise ships + norovirus, it’s not just an evening show you’re catching on the Emerald Princess). 

vac dressing sucking out all the bad stuff and circulating air and moisture to fast track healing
Then I had a vac dressing put on to prepare for the fourth surgery which means you have a plastic pipe stuck in your leg-hole to suck all the bad stuff out and speed up healing. It also means that you are plumbed to the bed and if you want to go to the toilet, you have to take a big tube and wrap gauze around it with medical tape so you get to do some craft. Then you go to the toilet and hold the pipe that is attached to your leg and are quite convinced that salmonella is setting up shop in your leg and pouring down the pipe like a bacteria hydroslide at Wet n Wild. 

Surgery four
Local flap reconstruction of left lower leg wound + skin graft repair

Covering up the hole required plastic surgery and some skin grafts. It’s called Local Flap so they cut a piece of good skin off the side of your leg where it’s just muscle and tissue, and move it around the front to cover the exposed bone. I also had some skin taken from my upper thigh and used to patch up the parts that weren’t covered by the Local Flap. Skin is the most amazing thing in the universe I think (name a man-made thing that can self-heal? exactly…) so the side of my leg skin has covered up the bone and no more Oscar Pistorious for me. OK, technically there is still a risk because when you get a crushing injury, stuff can get left behind and it could go feral but I got doused with IV antibiotics for a week or so to blast all the Cruise Ship germs. 

Skin grafts have to be untouched for about five days so you have to lie in the bed and do the worst thing in the world —nothing. You would think that lying in bed watching TV all day and being brought food would be like an awesome long-haul flight but it’s actually terrible because you have to pee in a bed pan which is the most revolting thing I have ever experienced because you are horizontal and you marinade your butt in your pee and have to balance until the nurse comes to take it out or it spills everywhere. After two goes I refused any further bedpan action and opted for the high-tech toilet seat chair option although the nurses would get a bit angry with me because it’s more work for them getting you up and down but the bedpan decision was final.

mobile sanitation device connect to your regular toilet and minimises ebola in your leg

One especially tricky nurse tried to convince me that she had to ‘measure my urine volume’ but I was on to her and her tricky schemes and I had to get my terse voice out, and then she threatened to put a catheter into me, nurses really do have a strong escalation game. So I got the doctors to put on my notes that it was infection control issue and i had to be taken to the toilet, i.e. no bedpans. Touche. 

During this time, a lot of attention is paid to your plumbing actually and you soon surrender to the morning ‘have you opened your bowels today’ questioning and it’s all recorded and charted and they give you potions to ensure the question is answered in the affirmative. I was provided with ‘treats for my bowels’ aka Coloxyl and sometimes they just wheel you to the bathroom and leave you there for a while to see if anything happens so you feel like a puppy being left on the lawn to go number twos. When you do go, you get a big pat on the head and tick in your chart so it’s a great shared achievement. The old guy in the room next to me was on Day 15 and refusing treats for his bowels which you’d have to think was a seriously bad life decision. Protip: take the treats. 

Local flap 'dusky' due to blood vessels venous congestion -wiring not all connected up yet
The skin is your skin so that part is happy but all the blood vessels have to reconnect. Blood goes in but doesn't come back out so that's when the leeches were brought in to try and save the bottom part of the Local Flap that was looking a bit -according to the discharge letter- Dusky. 

Harvard Medical School highly trained specialist surgical leech- likes blood and warm places

The leeches are proper medical ones and you prick the skin like a diabetes person does and get it to attach. The leech has natural anti-coagulant in its saliva so a good one can sit there for a couple of hours and hoover away at the wound. The leech created much excitement- it feels like a normal garden worm on your leg and doesn't hurt. 

Leech doing his/her thing on the Local Flap

The only thing is when they bloat up and are full, they wander off really quickly and head for the warm parts of your body so I had one full bloated one travelling at speed up toward my warm parts which was suboptimal so I decided to stop the overnight treatment because nightmares. 

The good news is the fracture is all zipped up now. There is a big wound on the side of my leg where the surgeon took the Local Flap from and it looks bad but people in the know assure me that it's all muscle and tissue so meh.

   


I couldn't care less about scars and how it looks as long as my leg works I'll be beyond happy. A quick journey through disability has been a huge eye-opener for me and I'm beyond blessed that my journey has been relatively short and successful -some people have to live everyday with chronic pain, unhappy outcomes and far worse limitations. 

The wound specialist came and visited me yesterday and we put this cool hydrogel stuff on the wound and it soaked up all the bacteria and it's all looking nice and pink and healthy now. 

So yes, Plastics clinic on Thursday so I can remove the big dressing on my upper thigh from the skin graft donor site hopefully, and then the big date is Monday 19 January with an orthopaedic clinic and x-ray to see if my leg can bear weight so I don't have to ski around on crutches. Then I can test-drive my new titanium leg- good times :)


7-10 How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
Breaking the news that all’s well,
    proclaiming good times, announcing salvation

Related: See how the accident happened - I got in the paper and everything



The real reason I love screenshots

alt title: screenshots are amazing and I love them
how to screenshot on a mac
why did they make it so hard to screenshot on a mac?
just get over yourselves and get a print screen button give Bill some credit he’s doing good with AIDS and Ebola

I’m a big screenshotter which is mainly because there are lots of things on the social web that are really hard to explain in words and wouldn’t make sense even if you were super amazing at describing them. It’s like reverse Pictionary or something. 

I know designers HATE screenshots because they are low res and pixelated and then sometimes I run a screenshot through a filter just to to really make them cry but to me, it’s just pointing you to something on the web and if you want to go and see the real one then go online and look at it. What makes social media different is the peer to peer, two way communication thing so you need to show comment reactions and how users are interacting with your content. That's the super important thing that matters. So for your pizza delivery presentation which is the best image? 

A: Pretty Getty images proper image with nice lighting and happy people and high res and big file

I am Dan your fake model pizza guy, here is your fake pizza


knock knock

B: Crappy mobile screenshot run through a filter and mashed together on some collage tool with another mobile photo so it's all blurry

Of course A is the better photo but B actually shows you the customer interacting with the pizza company. Which image gives you more insight? B. B tells you that your delivery person might be a woman and might be going to probably harmless but slightly TMI customers in their undies watching Bond films. B tells you the person ordered on mobile. B is real. 

Screenshots are the best way of showing what's really happening so don’t waste you time (like I used to) trying to recreate pretty graphics and diagrams, for internal documents especially. It’s a massive time soak and today, I am officially done with the anti-screenshot people. 

We are done

No good times for New York Times but some of us are smiling

"The Times will hit another milestone — 900,000 — in paid digital subscribers in the upcoming Q4, up from the 875,000 at which it finished the third quarter. That will represent almost 3 percent of the Times domestic unique visitors of 31 million...
More than half of The New York Times’ traffic is now mobile, up from about 33 percent a year ago”

Those are some numbers from the New York Times Co. Q3 earnings release and there is some hard reading in there and a lot of 'loss' and 'decline' stuff. The Times always gets picked over mainly because it seemed to represent ‘the one that would survive’. 

-It had the brand. We wrote reports about the future of news brands and destination URLs. Trusted brands.

-It had high quality journalists with personal brands that would drive traffic. 

-It had a huge subscriber base that would be converted to digital through magazine style formats on iPad. Readers would pay money for this new digital magazine iPad app thing and everyone could return to their corner office and pick up their dry-cleaning to go to the media awards. It’s at the casino. Can you get my EA to order a taxi please? 

Three percent conversion isn’t much though is it for all that effort to run a news operation? Sounds like an email marketing campaign. And the print subs are really crashing out now. 

So now the reality is hitting and a quick read through the earnings release will show you keywords like “restructuring”, “layoffs” and "losses". Lots written about the loss of this and the loss of that. 
YouTuber Troye Sivan and his parentals

What we didn’t factor in:

-Facebook as the primary driver of news site traffic

-People reading the news on their mobile phone screens and snacking on links their friends curated on social sites

-Buzzfeed running newsrooms with way less cost and way more agility and way more cats

-Teenagers on YouTube running their own media channels from their parent's house

New Zealand fur seal sunbathing on Sydney Opera House VIP entrance steps. Like a VIP.  

The social web. 

Your friends (IRL and URL) as your editors of choice. A distributed information network run by people with little computers in their pocket who lol'd and commented and shared all day long. All bloody day long on the social things. Nobody predicted it would happen this quick and it makes me quite happy. It makes me happy because I was seeing things that I couldn't really explain in a report in any commercial way but I knew they were happening. I knew I got my news from Twitter and my info was running about a day ahead of mainstream media. I knew there were people I followed (and still do) who I have no idea about them or what they do but I just really like their social streams. It's sad panda that people have to lose their jobs and all that but then, I had to walk away from projects too because I could see a wave was building and the teams I was working with weren't in a position to catch it. I wasn't in a position to catch it and I had to paddle out and hope like hell my imaginary wave was there. It is there and it's real and that makes me happy. I'm sorry if you aren't pleased about the changes but for some of us, this is very good news because we made choices (with very real consequences) a few years back and they are now paying off. Reading this release made me realise I'd made the right choices and I really like the new media environment much more anyway. 

Good times. 

The only recipe for content marketing you'll ever need

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just set a recipe for content marketing and people did exactly what you wanted them to do

-Beat humans and egg whites

-Cream sugar and 150 grams of generic event-based email content

-Add 2x 400px Getty images and bake for three and a half minutes on YouTube

-Serve with a side of 100 char tweets and a sprinkling of Pinterest

-Yields ten million dollars. 

People would open emails, click on links, add credit card details and take selfies for Earth Hour. Your social media dashboard would spin up with ACTIVE CONVERSATIONS and you would achieve peak cloudscale double rainbow viral all the way across the sky. What's the ROI? You can't handle the ROI!

“We have a habit of turning to scientists when we want factual answers and artists when we want entertainment, but where are the facts about the nature of the self?

How’s that for a great line. Here’s another one from the same article in the New York Review of Books. I had to look up simulacrum.

“You are so limited! Bill Gates also makes things up. Is he a novelist? Science, it’s a process of creation too. Literature itself is a species of code. You line up symbols and create a simulacrum of life.”

Literature itself is a species of code. Marvellous. And then there's all the selfs and their natures and how they interact with your literary code species.

When you see recipe-style blog posts like this from Buffer The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research giving instructions on paint by numbers tweet lengths and blog post times and things like that, remember to file it into the little ‘that’s interesting’ folder in your brain as a starting point for analysis but remember, this stuff is the cabbage soup diet of the internet and it's not sustainable for real results.

Why? Because your audience isn't a homogenous glob is probably the main one but also because there are lots of contributing attributes or ingredients in the recipe and it's what the people taste and respond to that matters. There is science but there is also the choice of language, the intonation of voice and the colour of Tyler Oakley’s hair. Content type, distribution method, time of day.  Your marketing people know (or should know) this so don't frustrate them by minimising their work down to silly recipes like content length. It's super demotivating for your teams. Give them adequate time to explain their results and why they have done things the way they have. Let them experiment with different approaches and support average videos and blog posts because -I know I keep repeating myself-it's important to develop capability and learn how to make really great cakes not mass produced tasteless ones that your customers don't want to eat. 

So we just ignore all content metrics and let people play art class on company time? No. We develop good processes for testing like simple A/B email subject line experiments. We motivate the team by encouraging them to try posting to the email from mobile, even if the image quality is a bit lower than usual. We encourage people to think and try and contribute. For example:

That’s interesting that the recommended blog post length is 1600 words. I like to read Seth Godin’s blog and his posts are usually around 150 words so what’s with that? Oh, he has developed a voice and a writing style that is unique to him and can communicate complex musings in little daily sound bites. He doesn’t use images. If I asked one of our salespeople to write a 1600 word blog post it would never happen. I don’t think they are strong enough at writing to pull off 150 words of cleverness like Seth can do. Maybe we give them 250- 300 words as an achievable target to get their blogging fitness up? And an image to make the post more newsy and engaging. 

That’s interesting that the target YouTube video length is 3.5 minutes (which I used to stick to religiously) but I like Tyler Oakley’s vlogs and his are usually around 7 minutes. Look at his insane number of views and subscribes. He is very engaging and speaks directly to his audience. What else is different about what he’s doing with production values and content type? He does a weekly vlog and distributes it through other channels like Twitter and Tumblr. He's very engaged with his fans on Tumblr. We don’t have anyone as talented as Tyler Oakley (yet) around here but who else can we use to increase our engagement by using a real person? Peter in accounts is no oil painting but he’s good at explaining things. Our last video was 10 minutes and we can see the views falling off at the end so let’s get back to 3.5 minutes and see if that helps. 

That’s interesting that the recommended tweet length and Facebook update lengths are 100 characters and less than 40 characters (the Facebook one is shorter than the Twitter one?). I read some other research that promotions and photos are the most important variables so how does that work? Maybe our hashtags are too long. We just need to make sure the quality stays up and we don’t start using text language because that is the worst thing in the entire world and would cause great shame to us and our families. 

That’s interesting that the best performing email subject line length is 28-39 characters. The offer and the content type would have to matter too wouldn’t they? Plus time of day, I wonder if the research controlled for that? When I do the 9am send tomorrow I'll cut the list in half and do a short headline and a longer one to see if it makes a difference. 

Many, many recipes flying around in the test kitchen to come up with results that will keep your customers coming back for more and asking you for the recipe. Empowered, happy, creative chefs who burn a few things here and there but can also turn out banquets for your customers, given the right conditions. 

Spoon the content over the humans. Serves 6. 

My top 5 blogging things list to be cool like Darren

I just read Darren Rowse at Problogger's 5 tips blog and he challenged us to write a '5 things' blog so here goes.
What can I do a five things on? um um um….well, Darren did Top 5 mistakes he made but I’m not feeling very fail today so I’ll go with a general five things I’ve learned about blogging but not ‘learnings’ because- it hurts us. 

T Rex trying is a cool blog

1. Blog for yourself
I know that’s not very community and audience and all that but I think it’s really important. I started blogging on Typepad around 1999, then I started writing about marketing again on Blogger around (checks old account) 2009. The reason I started blogging again was because I found myself venting at articles about marketing and thinking ‘what a douchebag, why are we listening to that person’ and I realised that I was a Hater. Haters are bad. So in order to not be a hater, and to contribute constructively, I became a blogger. Blog for yourself and use your powers for good not evil. If other people want to read it then bonus points for you.  

2. There’s no ‘I’ in team but there is a ‘me’
Don’t be afraid to use ‘I’. I’m not a journalist and I don’t report on things. My ‘I’ stories and feelpinions are completely my own and I’m quite happy to be accountable and say what I think. If first-person style writing is not your thing then that’s up to you but don’t think you have to write formal articles and essays about everything. Your stories and your voice are very important things and don’t let anyone tell you your “I went to work and we talked about cats and we had a sandwich and then my car broke down and the mechanic was called Steve’ stories are not great because I love those kind of stories the most. I find that I'm a lot more positive and open to appreciate other people's cool stuff when I'm contributing too and have a place to put my ideas.

3. Embrace your clangers
I have a few real clanger blog posts floating around and I used to be really cringed out by them and think what the hell was I on about and why does the internet not have a delete button yet arghhhh but now I’m OK with them. It comes under the ‘blog for yourself’ thing and the startling realisation I came to recently that based on all evidence presented, I am human. So all the trying too hard and being stabby at things and over-sharing are part of the journey and when I’m old (I plan to live to 120 at this point-I’ll keep you updated) I think I will probably like those weird emo posts the best because they were real man. No I'm not linking to them. 

4. Get a blogging environment you like and write write write write write
It’s the oldest writing advice in the world but it’s true. If you want to get better at writing, write. Read more, write more. Read really good stuff until you cry and feel completely inadequate and can’t even start a sentence (CS Lewis I’m looking at you). I write in TextEdit (offline autosave baby) and have that saving to a Google Drive folder and then paste it up into Posthaven or wherever I’m publishing to. WriteRoom and OmmWriter are nice things too. I do quick image edits in PicMonkey, bigger ones in Adobe PhotoShop. Focus on the writing part and not the colouring in stuff too much because you can fluff around with that too much and never really get to the write write write write part.

I would also add Charlie Brooker’s genius advice, get a deadline. Set them for yourself or commit to writing for something. I do an early week and a late week blog as a personal deadline and that’s why I’m writing this now. Don’t worry about creating masterpieces just keep serving stuff up and you’ll find a flow that works for you over time and that you can maintain. In recent times, I'm writing a lot more nerdy management theory things I don't publish just because I know it may come in useful later, in a different stage of work or whatever so you can do that too. Brainpickings is a fantastic blog for inspiration and sends out a weekly 'interestingness digest' that is very interesting and digestible. 

5. Don’t take blogging advice from non-bloggers
There is a weird code of respect that bloggers have for each other’s work. It’s one thing that has really surprised me and made me such a stickler for what has now become one of my life pillars (is that a thing? it is now)  ‘contribute or go away’. I’ve had people come up to me at conferences and offer me all sorts of weird advice on my blog, or ‘feedback’. I think the best was 'I went to go to your website and it was just some postplace thing with some words and pictures. Why is it all words? When are you going to get a website? I then have to stand there and do this face:

Guaranteed non-blogger. I have never had a blogger do that. I have had a blogger suggest I not use sweary words because my blog got blocked on her company firewall. See, that’s good advice and I don’t do it now. If you worry too much about what other people think, you’ll never hit the Publish button so write your silly stories and enjoy them. See Point 1. 

6. Figure out how to end your blog posts. Still haven’t figured that out yet. 

Why you should always share good news from customers straight away

I got some really great in-person feedback from a customer this morning. One of those things that you work on for a long time and are pretty sure that nobody is going to notice but this woman did and yay for her- we like those people. She noticed little details that we debated the importance of and noticed that we had gone for a more expensive, quality option. 

So I thought I would email everyone else on the team and tell them the good news. 

Then I thought ‘well, I was the one pushing for the more expensive option and I don’t want people to think I’m being all ‘I told you so’ about the whole thing’ so maybe I’ll leave out that detail.
Then I thought ‘maybe I shouldn’t put she was a long-time customer because it makes it sound like a criticism of why it wasn’t upgraded before’.
Then I thought ‘maybe I should just take the positive feedback myself and not share it because I don’t want it to be taken the wrong way. Nobody likes to high five a cactus’ 

In the time that I was thinking all these things, an email came through with bad news from a different customer. Real bad news you can feel drop through your ankles and bounce back into your chest.  That one reverberated through the company email system and now everyone is feeling a bit 'meh'.

I should have sent my good news email. I shouldn’t have worried about the one or two cynical voices. We don’t hesitate to spread around bad feedback but it’s weird that we hold back the good stuff. I should have pointed people to a happy customer who enjoyed the outcome of a task that we worked hard on because that’s the voice that matters the most. Now the unhappy customer voice is going to drown out the progress we made and demotivate everyone. Ugh. 

Always share good news because there are plenty of clangers around the corner and we all need the encouragement that our work matters and succeeds-I know I do.  I’m going to send my good news email now and correct the 'meh'. 

How to get the best people on your social media teams

Burma and Kashin

Sometimes when people ask me why another company’s social media channels have better engagement than theirs all other things being sort of equal I want to say: ‘they have an elephant, you have a horse’. 

It comes from a true story I was following a while ago about Kashin the elephant

Once upon a time there was an elephant called Kashin. She was born in Bangkok and arrived at Auckland Zoo in New Zealand at age four. Kashin had everything going for her. She had a lucrative bank endorsement with her own range of corporate swag, adoring fans and keepers who took great care of her. But Kashin was lonely. Back in Bangkok, Kashin was part of a herd and had other elephants to keep her company.  At the zoo she was the only elephant.  Then one morning in 1990 a wonderful thing happened. Burma the elephant arrived from, you guessed it, Burma and the two elephants became the best of friends. Kashin wasn’t  lonely anymore and she could chat and eat and hang out with her pal Burma. Kashin started to get older and finally, she went to elephant heaven. Burma was sad and the keepers at zoo couldn’t find anyway to cheer her up.  They tried all sorts of things to keep her happy until a new elephant friend could be found. 

In March 2011, the Auckland Zoo people were worried about Burma's loneliness. So they bought in Cherry the horse to be Burma’s new friend. Two months later the zoo people discovered that: "The bond and the relationship that was hoped for didn't really progress between Burma and Cherry". 

"Burma is continuing to cope extremely well, but elephants are highly social and intelligent animals"

Burma and her friends at the zoo

Animal behaviourist Mark Vette (also very famous for looking after movie star animals and teaching dogs how to drive) summed up the situation by suggesting they may have been better off with a dog than a horse because "dogs are social animals and are good at making friends whereas horses are solitary and can be quite happy on their own."

Mark Vette was focused on the social behaviour and not the outward appearance of things. Sure an elephant and a horse may both have four legs and be able to share the same space, but Cherry wasn’t naturally a social creature and didn’t have the desire or the skills to make friends with Burma.  Cherry was placid and took instructions well and did what she was told, but she didn’t have the high social drive of Burma to interact in a herd or in a pack like a dog would. That’s the behaviour you are looking for in your social media teams. You want elephants and dogs, not horses. 

Update: Good news. Burma has a new ele-pal 

Eight-year old Asian elephant Anjalee has begun her journey to join Burma. Anjalee is the first of two elephants who will be coming to Auckland Zoo from Sri Lanka's Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Further reading:
Latest on Burma the elephant


Australian mobile ad spend quadruples plus big moves in retail display

Mobile advertising quadrupled in 2013, increasing 305 percent year on year to reach $349.2m in the twelve months ending 31st December 2013.  In the December quarter it represented 14.3 percent of total online expenditure, up from 11 percent in the previous quarter.  Video advertising reached 15 percent of display revenues in the December quarter, a 72 percent growth on 2012.  Display advertising also experienced particularly strong growth in the December quarter, reaching 35 percent year on year growth.

Motor Vehicles, Finance, and Retail were the top three dominant General Display industry categories in the December Quarter, representing 41.3 percent of the reported General Display advertising market. This was up from 40.2 percent in the December Quarter 2012.

Retail was a big mover this quarter, increasing its category share from 8.8 percent in the December Quarter 2012 to 10.5 percent  in the December Quarter 2013. This has been the strongest quarter for retail category share since the commencement of industry category data collection in 2008. The strength of the retail industry category for General Display advertising this quarter was also reflected in the greater retail movements in the market. Shoppers spent a record $22.6 billion in December 2013, following strong sales in October and November.[1]

IAB Australia’s Online Advertising Expenditure Report February 2014

How company Intranets actually work and why they all must die

I’ve never seen a company Intranet that wasn’t a confusing wasteland that one person in the organisation knew how to work. Everyone has to go the One Person who knows how the stupid thing works. 

If you want to upload anything to the Intraconfusaweb wasteland, you have to stand through a lecture from One Person about how busy they are and how unreasonable and terrible you are as a human for wanting to give away some free tickets to a food show to your fellow employees. How selfish of you. 

Then, you are told that the images you have are the wrong format and the wrong size. They will need to be in some obscure format like .bmp and 240 x 240 pixels. That’s the only size and format the Intraconfusaweb will take. And you’ll need to email them through because nobody else is allowed a password and One Person needs to see everything before it goes up. So you lose an hour or two of your life resizing the images and emailing them through and now they look really rubbish and a nice fun thing like giving away food show tickets has turned into something joyless as gravel.  Then you must wait until the next day because One Person is super busy saving the free world from misfiled stationery order forms. In the meantime, someone from the events team complains because they need the names of the people with the free tickets to put on the doors so they can get a free T-shirt and a glass of wine when they enter the show and why are they not on the Intraconfusaweb yet you’ve had them for two days?  So you have to go back to One Person and tell them how nice they look today and what a great job they are doing under very high pressure circumstances and would it not be too much of a bother to put up the free tickets so we can get the names of the people to the events team so the people will get a free T-shirt and a glass of wine, wouldn’t that be a lovely thing? Unaccustomed to a fellow human being standing at their desk rather than sending six emails, One Person feels uncomfortable and threatened by such affirmative action and goes into the file, determined to find an error with you request.

One Person then informs you that the tickets are up and are filed under http://Intraconfusaweb/internal/dungeon/bottomdrawer/people/folder/folder4/december201345323/Obscurity.htm and that if you payed more attention to the filing schema listed on the front page of the Intraconfusaweb under “Policies That One Person Wrote Themselves With No Concern For The Detrimental Impacts on Company Productivity and Employee Wellbeing” then you would know that. 

Shamed by your oversight and lack of dedication to the One Person filing schema you must apologise for your impertinence and thank them for the wonderful, user friendly link that they were so kind to make especially for you on their special wizard machinery. Then, you return to your desk and put together a company-all email with full size jpeg images and include the beautiful link to two blurry thumbnail images and some impoverished looking 9-point text that nobody clicks on anyway because they just reply to the email like normals. 

That’s how company Intranets work. 

So, when a person comes along and says ‘hey look there are great new enterprise social networks out there and the Intranet that you put in 10+ years ago is probably ready to be decommissioned” one person is guaranteed to go septic and sabotage the whole thing. And while we must be empathetic and consider One Person’s feelings and mastery of the Intraconfusaweb and value their work, we can’t let the other thousands of employees spend the rest of their lives resizing images and missing out on free T-shirts and glasses of wine for the sake of One Person.

That's why all Intranets must die.