Posts Tagged ‘digital native’

Is the non-digital native generation missing the real value of Generation C’s user generated content?

Posted on: September 20th, 2011 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

Often when I go to digital events and conferences I can help but wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time and scream “I TOLD YOU SO!” in the faces of those who were adamant that the Internet was a toy and a fad.

Alas, I don’t have a time machine. But some times events happens that makes me think that I am doing the same mistake now as these non-believers did back then.


Such an event happened at SalesForce‘s recent CloudForce conference here in London where I joined a break-out session by the social sentiment company Radian6.  The presenter wanted to show how the Radian6 product helps companies filter social comments and identify the ones with the “loudest megaphone”. He proceeded to show a YouTube entry made by a beautiful young woman going by the screen name “JuicyStar07”.


When the presenter said the words “JuicyStar07” there were several semi-naughty grins from the audience who assigned some sexually charged undercurrents to her screen name and the presenter was quick to state that the video was PG.

The presenter continued to play the video in which JuicyStar07 was talking about her Louis Vuitton Speedy 35 bag and he brought to our attention that the video had received a stunning 2,000,000 views significantly more than the audience of most printed publications. Think about that for a second: More views than most newspapers have readers! How’s that for reach and influence?

Everybody instantly sobered up. No more naughty winks from the audience and we all realised the sheer scale of the reach this single video have. The presenter then posed the question: Shouldn’t Luis Vuitton reach out to JuicyStar07?

It highlights how easy it is to miss the real value of content produced by digital natives simply because of the presumptions we project on to what we see. We saw a young person seemingly rambling on about fashion nonsense. But the truth is not only does she know what she’s talking about, she also has a large crowd of loyal followers who are naturally suspicious and  largely immune to traditional advertising. She is the future of product promotion.

Is the Google+ common name policy missing the value as well?

Is the name “JuicyStar07” intended to be sexually charged? I don’t know. Maybe it was when she came up with the screen name, who knows?. Fact is: It does not matter. 

What matters is that changing her screen name would be PR suicide and I am convinced she is aware of this. Some of her fans may not recognise her as Blair Fowler but they all know and want JuicyStar07.

These were my thoughts at the time. I’ve since learned she is blogging under her real name as well but it still raises yet another issue with the whole utopian Google+ real name policy which my colleague Rick Mans has covered in another blog post. Sufficient here is to ask: Do Google really want to risk losing somebody like JuicyStar07 and her 2,000,000 views in a crusade to force them to use their real name?

Social Glue – Making social initiatives work together

Posted on: September 5th, 2011 by Fransgaard No Comments

The original version of this article can be seen at the Capgemini – Capping IT Off blog.

There is no doubt: Your company has gone social. Your CEO may not understand it and the board may not approve of it, but they are slowly being swayed by the results.

They see how Yammer has helped that department work faster in a more collaborative manner producing better results (eventhough they were told not to install it). They understand the value in the Wiki that captured all the good thoughts and knowledge of that bright young employee who unfortunately have now left for a job at the competitor.

And the people on the ground loves it. Instant messaging, micro blogging, wikis, forums, email lists they have all not only helped construct a faster work environment delivering better results, they have also created a much more engaging, stimulating and fun way of working.

…but some times you wish it wouldn’t take so much time! For the older employees it starts to feel like the email flood all over again. Yes, it’s great… but it takes so much time. We’ve finally (barely) gotten used managing emails do we need to do it all over again?

The problem

Not really. The problem is not the user’s netiquette; it is task repetition. Let’s say you write a great entry in the company-approved wiki. Who will read it? Probably nobody as they don’t know it exists. So you post it on Yammer. But as Yammer was installed bottom up, maybe even against the will of the management, so not everybody is using it.

So you email it to the established corporate emailing lists, but at the back of your mind you know your colleagues may not read those as they are often filled with irrelevant entries so finally you send your wiki page via Skype to the people you know who should have access to it praying they will forward it to the right people they know.

Hard work… What is missing? Social glue is missing!

What is Social Glue?

I define Social Glue as the ability to take all the individual parts and stick them together as one single vehicle taking the whole company forward at the same speed.

Practically social glue is two things;

  • It is the strategy of how to use what for what and why.
  • It is also the practical mechanism that determines how the content is delivered to the correct users.

The Answer

Let’s take the example above again. Prior to you write your article the company has gone through an audit of existing social endeavours within the company.

The audit reveals the benefits the wiki in capturing content but highlights the problem with distribution. Everybody within the company was given access to the wiki when it was launched and for most people it has become the default look-up of information. But how to promote new content that users may not know they need?

The company decides to deploy an environment of user groups attached to the wiki. The groups are carefully defined by several parameters that represents the company infra structure. They could be role, department, seniority, project specific, location-specific etc These groups are in turn attached to the HR system so the members within each groups are largely maintained automatically.

Additional functionality are then added to the wiki to allow new articles to be posted to relevant groups from the wiki itself. This could be done with an organic tagging structure or more rigid process where authors are required to define which groups they want to broadcast articles to.

The wiki also allows consumers of content to personalise how they want to receive alerts. Does it go on my intranet homepage; Do I receive an email alert? Does it show in my Yammer? Or do I download the custom desktop widget that triggers desktop alerts?

So now you as the author only has to publish the article once and can even do it within the same environment you wrote it in; the wiki. Your readers then receive the alert through what channel is most relevant to them.

The system also brings benefits to you as the author. Whenever you update the article the system can trigger a repeat alert to the same groups of colleagues.

And it doesn’t end here. A commenting function is built in to the Wiki allowing all users to converse directly next to the article capturing comments from people who may not know each other but all have valid contributions. And again everybody, including yourself, can be notified when somebody comments, modifies or interacts with your article.

If you can’t beat them, tweet them

I have previously written about How to support your self-appointed social media evangelists. It seems to me most social media initiates within companies are created by rouge, often digital native, forces at the bottom of the company. This is great as it bypasses the more slow top-down process and proves the value of social media to the more senior, but non-digital native managers and directors.

But to make a true next-generation work environment that fits the growing workforce made of the Net Generation the next step is to take these grass root initiatives forward lead from the top of the company so every employee and every data object is working together as a single professional community adding true speed and collaboration at a company-wide level.

The future of social work interfaces: Embedding personal networks

Posted on: July 10th, 2011 by Fransgaard No Comments

The original version of this article can be seen at the Capgemini – Capping IT Off blog.

19th Century: “Work” and “Private” become two separate time zones defined by when people clock into the mass production conveyor belts and when they clock out again to go home to some highly needed and well deserved sleep.

21st Century: Mobile and nomadic work patterns are spreading like wild fire. We get access to our digital work spaces in the cloud. We are expected to be connected to our professional lives 24/7 through mobile phones, emails and other channels.

We all know when we are at work, but we are starting to ask: When are we not at work?

…but is that actually the right question? Or is it a redundant echo from a time when we clocked in and out of factories?

Perhaps the terms “Work hours” and “Spare time” should be replaced with the word “Life” like it used to be before the industrialisation, but to reach this forgotten harmony we need to start embedding our private lives into our work spheres as much as we have already done the other way around.

A next generation digital life space

From a digital user experience point of view it means giving the users a digital interface that covers both work and personal content. Imagine an intranet that embeds your social profiles as well. A mixture of work tasks and friend alerts. A melting pot of information and communication.

Does it sound like a potentially confusing environment? It is! At least to those of us who did not grow up with computer screens and mobile phones next to our teddy bears.

But for the digital native generation, Generation C (as in connected, communicating, content-centric, computerized, community-oriented and always clicking) this is just ordinary life. They can digest information from several channels. As they watch a movie on the TV they chat away with friends on their laptops and fire of TXTs left and right from their mobile phones… and making sense of these bursts of information as individual conversations streams comes natural to them.

They will expect a work environment enabling them to consume personal content while engaging with work content without boundaries. A traditional environment with more linear and segmented communication will feel old-fashioned and will in reality actually slow them down and be counter-productive.

As digital designers we need to start thinking about work environments that takes into account the next generation work force’s ability to digest multiple streams of communication no matter what content. If we don’t, the interfaces will become increasingly irrelevant and we will lose Generation C to their smart phones.

The question then becomes: What’s in it for the business? It could be building on the private relationships and turn them into private customer relationships. It could also enable much quicker trouble shooting; quick, informal target group reviews and a real collaborative environment of friends and colleagues driving and crowd-sourcing innovation. But there may be many unforeseen benefits we simply cannot see at this point in time.

While the traditional digital dangers such as posting classified content to the wrong channels remains, I believe the digital natives are better equipped to handle this in a responsible way as they are more aware of the impact both to their professional career as well as their social status amongst their friends. And they understand the etiquette (and benefits) of online communication much better than the majority of the current work force.

We need to plan for future adults who will find it amusing how we differentiate between online and offline communication as much as they will struggle to understand the distinction between work and private life.