Image Courtesy of Yale Daily NewsThe issue of whether to allow employees access to social-media apps, Facebook in particular, is a growing concern in many companies. Bandwidth costs are soaring, and some people think it's affecting productivity. As someone quipped on the Nomadic Marketing course "Is it Social-Networking, or Social-NOTworking"!?

Of course, the people inside these companies probably don't appreciate their access to these sites being curtailed. I, for one, think these things enhance my productivity. But I'm obviously a bit strange.

Of course, someone has created a support group for these people, on Facebook, ironically.

The group, called "I hate IT departments who block MSN, MySpace & Facebook" could be big, but only if it's target membership can actually access it!

Anyway, some interesting commentary is coming from the group:
We have found a way to access the book at work - hee hee ..... basically download the free software to your pc at home - leave it running while at work - and you can access your pc from work and facebook ALL DAY .... WICKED!!!

An IT guy had this to say:
We (The IT Guy) is not the enemy we do as we are told and what security procedures we have to follow... But what the boss doesn't know wont hurt him!

Make friends with the IT guys they have basically your office world at their finger tips...

Where there's a need, there's a Facebook group. What are your thoughts on this?
AuthorDave Duarte
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I often drop the following two quotes into talks, to emphasise the fact that what I speak on is borrowed and built from the work of others:
Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal - Picasso

Interesting, considering the source of that one. And:
A dwarf on a giant's shoulders sees farther of the two. If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. - Isaac Newton

I mention them to emphasise the importance in business of sharing and collaboration in order to increase speed, productivity, and (ironically) creativity. This is a big reason why we should support Creative Commons.

Check out this vid of the recent iCommons Salon (entitled "Bring and Braai") held in Cape Town, where Lawrence Lessig (CEO of Creative Commons) emphasises the point that digital borrowing and remixing is being criminalized... and what we need to do to make sure that we have the digital freedom to create freely. Jimmy Wales also appears with a call for more African Language contributors on Wikipedia. Heather Ford and I had fun MCing the event :-) :

By the way, Missing Link sponsored and produced this video... They rock!

p.s. 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 :-p
AuthorDave Duarte
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Buzzword of the day: Prosumer. It's been around since the 70's when Alvin Toffler proposed that consumers are becoming producers - in other words that they're getting involved in customizing their experiences of products and services to their tastes in ways that large companies couldn't.

Of course, this idea of "Prosumerism" is gaining serious ground thanks to the internet where even our love songs can be customized to suit our tastes, and where customers are even producing adverts on behalf of the brands they love (or hate).

AdicolourAdidas recently did a campaign where they put up blank white billboards with a small logo, inviting graphiti artists to come and spray and write on them. Then after a while they placed another poster with a hole in the shape of a shoe on top of the graphiti - hence showing a one-of-a-kind shoe ad co-created with Adidas and their target market.

Awesome. Consider next time you're doing an ad how you could get people to interact with it and customize it to their taste.

AuthorDave Duarte
In the Weekend Argus this Saturday, Reg Lascaris (who's become a new-media evangelist) was talking about how digital media and personal, two-way dialogue with the customer is replacing the megaphone tactics of traditional (print and broadcast) media marketing.

One quote from the article that I really enjoyed:
"Digital will be brought to the heart of the agency in 2007. To scale new creative peaks you'll harness the online geeks"

Here are the three main points that are made in the article:
1. Dialogue over Monologue

We've been saying this over and over again, and it seems that the mainstream may be catching the ClueTrain, at last: Telling aint selling! Listening and responding according to what your customer tells you is the way forward.

2. There is no alternative

Digital media is no-longer on the fringe - and advertising budgets must start to reflect this. More than 50% of media spend should be allocated to digital (cellular and online).

3. Media in the Middle

Because media is becoming increasingly fragmented, agencies need to provide an integration and connection service between client and the server (of media). Thus agencies will help clients make sense of the micro-media fragments that are populating our universe.

OK... this might not be anything new for long-time readers of this blog, but I get a warm cushy feeling to have these ideas affirmed by someone like Reg, who is widely known and respected throughout the SA marketing industry. We're at that nexus point, and things are about to tip onto the geekier side of marketing;)
AuthorDave Duarte
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Are you ready to share ownership of your brand?

Customer-driven communication tools like blogs, cellphones and email are making Word of Mouth (WOM) the most significant channel in marketing and branding today.

Brands are now subject to public customer feedback that's far more influential than any big-budget ad campaign. So, pushy messages are generally shot down, whereas authentic communication is rewarded.

Ads that extol your product's virtues will fall on deaf ears - and in-fact, may alienate your market. Rather, be a brand socialist and share the credit for a great brand or product with your customers.The key here is collaboration, humility and involvement.

We need to move towards more involvement and less obscure ideas cooked up without broad-based customer involvement.
Brand socialism is about making the most of many minds.

Reg Lascaris has more...
AuthorDave Duarte
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It's interesting to see how influential bloggers are becoming, even in South Africa... and rightly so!

I arrived early for a meeting with the owners of Mercury Live night-club today, and walked in on an intense debate they were all having about a post on a local music blog...

I was SO impressed with Mercury for paying attention to this blogger. They realise how valuable the candid feedback that comes through maven bloggers is. I'll be even more impressed when they join the conversation online.

Fellow bloggers: let's expect and demand better products and services. Companies: Pay attention!
AuthorDave Duarte