Updates from France

So for the past week I’ve been in France, and wifi hotspots have been few and far between at times. Instead of keeping up on social media-related reading, I’ve mostly been catching up on the insane amount of political news that I’m scared to miss out on. (Also, dear society, what is wrong with you?!)
My only other internet-based activity is that I have been starting to relearn French, a language I have always known a few basic phrases of but haven’t studied properly since I was around fifteen or so. For this I’ve been using Duolingo, which I’m totally here to recommend even though I’ve only been using it for a few days. It relies on simple repetition in different ways, but every day, with little virtual rewards for each day that you reach your target xp (amount of practice). It’s the perfect example of gamification in action, and it definitely works on me. Plus, you get a shiny badge to put on LinkedIn, which can only help me in all sorts of ways. World events have made me want to commit to being a better global citizen (yes, I went there…) and improving my language skills is a good start.

Global Inequality in Tech

After my last blogpost, I started reading up more on technology and global inequality. How much of a divide is there in the world? Is it such a serious social issue?

It turns out that the answers are ‘A very big one’ and ‘yes.’

Many of the issues stem from lack of internet access for a large proportion of the world’s population, which denies them access to education and training needed to socially advance or improve their communities. This is an issue that is being worked on through many angles (including the wifi drones that I wrote about last year) although there are plenty of other problems than just the hardware – including fair access under corrupt administration, and cultural issues or actually using it.

But in high and middle-income countries, lack of access is less of a problem, but technology is actually making equality worse over time. This article from the World Economic Forum explains it best, basically as jobs have become more automated, the world starts to become divided into those who still have marketable skills and those who don’t. Those who do can afford more personal technology, more education to develop those skills (and their children’s skills) and so the divide grows. Even with programmes to bridge that divide and ensure that everyone has access to useful job skills, countries are reaching a point where productivity can be high but there simply aren’t enough jobs for everyone to have one. I remember being amazed at this video of robots moving stock around an Amazon warehouse (exciting futuristic stuff!) and then quickly realising that this is a job that used to be done by people… and it isn’t just factory jobs either. Recently a Japanese Insurance firm began using a computer system that calculates customer payouts for them, making 34 employees redundant.

The scary thing is that the WEF article above (which it should be noted was written a year ago) both calls for a quick response to the issue but is unable to provide clear answers, only ‘innovative thinking’ to solve the problem. Clearly, we didn’t start solving it in 2016, and I have to wonder how many more robots will enter the workforce before we do.

Is tech about to hit a slowdown point?

Is tech about to hit a slowdown point? And possibly the more important question, does technology need to have a slowdown point?

This is something I began thinking about after reading an article from TechCrunch: “Consider ethics when designing new technologies“. This article explained that as technology becomes an integral part of almost every aspect of our lives, ethical issues will result in lack of consumer confidence and therefore a lack of early adopters for new types of tech.

Technology has been progressing at an almost exponential rate in the past few decades. But if it hits a point where not enough people trust the tech to make it worthwhile to produce, will the curve of progress finally start to level off?

If it does, this might be a much needed change of pace for the world as a whole, if not for the tech industry itself. The gap in global equality is already huge, and not only do we have countries unable to compete economically, but there’s a massive social gap too. Technology has brought us together in global communities, but it risks dividing us again with a loss of level communication.

Set Reading for 2017

I started this post with the intention of making a fairly traditional list of resolutions for 2017, but as soon as I started working out what to write I was embarrassed to realise that a lot of them would be the same set of promises that I make myself every year: write more blogs, produce videos again, produce music again, be more creative, more productive etc. etc. While I do usually manage some of this, I also never progress as much in one year as I would like, and I think that might be down to promising myself that I will do these things without actually planning for how it’s going to happen.

I really want to push on with my blog in 2017, to prove my knowledge of digital content and social media and try to advance my career further. Last year I got a lot out of FutureLearn courses, not just from reading the course content but from exploring the content through my blog. So my first goal will be to read more relevant articles around social media, marketing, business etc. and then try to comment on what I’ve read and/or save important quotes to my blog. I’ll be scanning the below sites on a regular basis for interesting articles to read through and write about.

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/

http://www.marketingtechnews.net/

http://www.forbes.com/social-media/

I’ll also look around for other places to read up, and possibly do an update post to this with good sites that I’m using.

FutureLearn: Digital Transformation of Businesses – Notes Part Three

This post is a continuation of my previous one covering my Digital Transformation of Business. Again rather than a post on a single topic of this FutureLearn course, it is a collection of important points from the course notes and some of my thoughts on them.

Sensorial marketing
– this is about marketing stimulus. When you see, watch or hear an advert, it has an effect on you. It might call upon certain emotions or memories. 

Personal note: this is why multi-channel marketing works!

In digital marketing, people make purchase decisions much more quickly, so that stimulus is important. People using social media etc. are getting a huge amount of stimulus, so yours has to ‘create a rich experience’ to stand out. Also communication via mobile platforms should be a priority esp if marketing to the under 35s.
Also note the sheer level of competition against you, and that in social media all brands have a level platform to advertise from. So something about your brand needs to be able to stand out both to draw in clients and to keep them.

 (note from previous post – it’s also easier to keep current customers than to create new ones so it’s good to keep an eye on the competition. You will need to know what they are doing and whether they might have something that could entice people away from you.) User testing your digital customer experience is also important- checking that you’re creating a good purchase experience. The steps within the customer experience are called ‘Service components’.

A Useful Links Round-up for Social Media

Recently I’ve started to try and follow more social media expert accounts and blogs, so I’m making a short list on here of good articles that I’ve found in the past few days. 

There might be a couple on here from Hootsuite, because unsurprisingly their blog is pretty good. This one is kind of lengthy, but it’s a comprehensive glossary of social media jargon. Also, did you know that the correct term for a hashtag is an Octothorpe? I can’t imagine busting that out during the Monday morning marketing team meeting…

This post from Socialquant covered some stuff that I’ve talked about before, like choosing social media platforms carefully etc., but I like that it makes one point very clear – people go online to be entertained, so make your content at least interesting, and if possible funny.

This post about content re-using was interesting to me as it’s something that I do a lot at work, and do try to plan for. I work in live music, so bringing back concert footage as a #tbt or #otd tweet years later, or when an artist that we’ve worked with previously returns is useful and engaging content filler for us.

Another Hootsuite post – on the best times to post, is one that I’m going to be returning to quite a few times, as that is something that I’ve often felt has been a bit of a stab in the dark for me sonetimes, and while through experience I suspect I get it right most of the time, it’s helpful to have access to statistics that can help you plan. Also, slightly depressing fact:

Despite Twitter’s move to a quasi-chronological timeline, the average half-life of a Tweet isn’t long. According to an analysis by Wiselytics, it’s only 24 minutes.

Time is fleeting on Twitter, so don’t spend too long worrying about the tweet content – it’ll be gone soon.*

*unless you made a typo. People love to point out typos from a professional account. So, try not to do that…

FutureLearn: Digital Transformation of Businesses – Notes Part Two

This is a continuation of sorts from this post – I’m continuing to make notes from my latest  FutureLearn course. Some of these aren’t entirely connected- instead I’m making comments on what I think are the most relevant points of the course material so far. I’m planning to get a few more posts out of this, but I’ll likely be alternating them with other content.

The Importance of producing content (e.g. Blogposts, video etc)

Producing great content leads to inbound marketing. This is the opposite of the standard advertising model, where you are reaching out to the customer. You should be doing both, along with earned media, which is recommendations, and data collection/analysis.
The difference between product marketing and service marketing: 
The primary factor that distinguishes a service from a product is the fact a service is intangible. However, both products and services are built around the idea of use.

Service marketing is therefore the combination of all processes related to client and partner relationships, often referred to as CRM and PRM, as well as social networks.

Client relationships, social network and data analysis all have to work to together to create a seamless customer experience – so that every digital action that the customer has is easy, quick and a positive experience. 

A service position is what will come to define the company’s style and public persona, so it’s important that the entire company, especially those in sales and customer facing positions (but not just those people) understand it. 

(Personal note: this is where a company/organisation) could benefit from a style guide laid out in inductions and regularly updated, much like a branding guide. Does and don’ts when communicating online etc.)