Keep It Simple – Coke’s New Social Media Principles


Andy Serovitz posted a very interesting blog post on how Coca Cola have devised a new set of social media principles. Coke have developed 10 “Principles for Online Spokespeople” which make good sense for other brands to follow.  You can read the main set below.

  1. Be Certified in the [Coca Cola] Social Media Certification Program.
  2. Follow our Code of Business Conduct and all other Company policies.
  3. Be mindful that you are representing the Company.
  4. Fully disclose your affiliation with the Company.
  5. Keep records.
  6. When in doubt, do not post.
  7. Give credit where credit is due and don’t violate others’ rights.
  8. Be responsible to your work.
  9. Remember that your local posts can have global significance.
  10. Know that the Internet is permanent.

Watch Andy’s interview with Coca Cola’s Adam Brown, on how they developed the social media principles.

    Coke’s complete policy document can be found below. At three pages, I like this a lot!

Coca Cola’s Online Social Media Principles

Biz Stone Interviewed!


As Steve mentions on his blog, Microsoft’s Mel Carson was lucky enough to interview Twitter co-founder Biz Stone in Cannes last week.  Mel does a great job on the interview. Watch the video above to learn:

  • What is Biz’s favourite Twitter app?
  • How many registered apps use the Twitter API?
  • Why is Biz Stone in Cannes with lots of advertising people?

Milk, Bread, Cheese and a Netbook please?

2008 will be remembered for many things. Obama, the credit crunch, the rise of cloud computing. However, looking at 2008 through a technology lens. One trend stands out more than anything else – The rise of the netbook.

Ever since the buzz that surrounded Asus Eee PC, earlier this year, computer manufacturers have flooded the market with netbooks based around the Intel Atom processor. Demand for these little machines has been phenomenal. So much so, it is remarkable to see the major supermarkets now selling netbooks on their shelves. Also, industry insiders such as Steve, predict that this Christmas the most wanted gadget may very well be the humble netbook.

But why?

Most people today already own a desktop, a laptop computer or both. So, why the need/demand for a very small computer with conservative hardware requirements Netbooks, have created a niche market to themselves for a number of key reasons which include:

  • They are cheap. Ranging from £170 – £300. Netbooks bring the cost of computing down to affordable levels for all
  • They are extremely portable.  Netbooks can almost be taken anywhere. With Solid State Disks (SSD Flash memory), battery consumption can reach between 4-6 hours.
  • 90% of average computer usage is within the browser.  The vast majority of people use their computers mostly for web based email, casual web surfing, online shopping or producing the odd document. Essentially, you do not need a computer with a big performance to carry out routine daily tasks

Netbooks make near perfect machines for “gifted amateurs”. Great for bloggers, podcasters and with many models featuring built in webcams, you can make Skype video calls too.

Netbooks, in my opinion have brought about a small revolution in computing trends in recent times. If you are in the market to buy another computer. I would highly recommend in looking at purchasing a netbook for you, or for your business.

Cloud Computing – Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts…

When you combine the ever-growing power of devices and the increasing ubiquity of the Web, you come up with a sum that is greater than its parts. Software + Services is that greater sum. It all adds up to a commitment from Microsoft to deliver ever more compelling opportunities and solutions to consumer and business costumers—and to our partners.”

Yesterday, Microsoft announced its “Cloud Computing” offering – Windows Azure.  Azure is essentially a framework, which will allow developers to build a variety of applications which will be hosted live on the Internet. This brings a fundamental shift in today’s computing. Traditionally, software applications were stored on private ‘local’ servers. However, managing servers is a costly business. Even though hardware costs may have come down in recent years. Physical space, storage, licensing, administration and backup costs take up the lion’s share of supporting a modern day computing environment.

Microsoft and other vendors, such as Amazon, Google and believe consumers and businesses will want to store far more of their data on the servers in its “cloud” of giant data centres around the world, so that it can be accessed anytime, any place and from any device.

Microsoft’s offerings are somewhat different to its competitors, in that Microsoft believes that accessing your data in the cloud requires more than just using a web browser. A hybrid model of using “Software + Services”.  Essentially, this means that you still use some kind of desktop client to manipulate the data stored up in the cloud.

This proposition of cloud computing sounds attractive to businesses for a number of a reasons:

  1. The cost of Internet network bandwidth has significantly reduced, whilst at the same time penetration of broadband has significantly increased worldwide. This means you can access the Internet almost anywhere on earth.
  2. Outsourcing your hardware infrastructure saves businesses serious fixed costs, both in physical space and in hardware. Essentially, you can expense the running costs of your infrastructure. Previously, infrastructure costs were typically attributed to capital expenditure. Cloud Computing will make Finance Directors the world over very happy. Depreciation? What stinking depreciation?

However, there are some big issues to consider too:

  1. Single point of failure. If the cloud hardware goes down, you lose your apps and data.
  2. How secure is the hosting?  Are your apps and data files safe from sabotage and espionage?
  3. Cultural concerns. For some businesses, it is going to be very hard in “letting go”. Businesses have  looked after and managed their data for years. Are CEO’s willing to let  their precious data be managed outside of their own data centres, despite the significant cost savings?

In response to point 3. I think that the concern is easing. Many business already outsource many of their services.  Outsourcing the hardware is a natural progression of that process

But, what about the rest of us? Well, for consumers, there is the prospect of a future where much, if not all of our data and many of our applications could be stored online “in the cloud”. Think about this for a moment. Imagine a world, where our data follows us everywhere. Smaller computer, limited applications, data synced across all of our Internet aware devices?

Over the past decade, the world we live in has been transformed by the Web.  It connects us to nearly everything we do—be it social or economic.  It holds the potential to make the real world smaller, more relevant, more digestible and more personal.  At the same time, the PC has grown phenomenally  in power with rich applications unimaginable just a few years ago.  What were documents and spreadsheets then are now digital photos, videos, music and movies.  And as we edit, organise and store media, the PC has quietly moved from our desks to our laps to our mobile phones and entertainment centres—taking the Web with it each step of the way”.

Microsoft’s Software + Services model is perhaps the logical step in the evolution of computing.  It represents an industry shift toward a design approach that is neither exclusively software-centric nor browser-centric.  By combining the best aspects of software with the best aspects of cloud-based services, Microsoft hope to deliver more compelling solutions for consumers, developers and businesses.  Microsoft envisions a world where rich, highly functional and elegant experiences extend from the PC, to the Web, to the devices we use every day.

“When you combine the ever-growing power of devices and the increasing ubiquity of the Web, you come up with a sum that is greater than its parts.”

Personally, I’m very excited about this computing shift. I’m *almost* ready to put my data in the cloud.

More information can be found at Microsoft’s Azure site and in this technical white paper. Azure’s terms of service can be found here.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin: Better Media Plumbing for the Social Web


Stowe Boyd presented and interesting talk on how the web needs to finds a better model to encapsulate discussion within social media.

Whilst there has been a lot of discussion around Web 2.0 – e.g. the rise of social networks. The foundations of social media seem relatively unchanged. Blogs are still pretty much stuck in a Web 1.0 timeframe. They are limited to a model of chronological posts with embedded comments and a variety of widgets in the margins that engage with other web communities, such as Digg and

Bloggers today ultimately still retain full control over content posted on their blogs. Readers can leave comments, but usually can’t edit them or remove them. More often than not, The “blogger” gains an increased reputation, (within the blogosphere) from comments posted. However, what of the reputation of the person who left the comment in the first place?

Boyd also noted how the rise of RSS and RSS Readers meant that fewer and fewer people actually visited blog sites. This has the side effect of divorcing your readers from the comments. Boyd asked the audience, how many people had their comments accessible within their RSS feeds? The response was minimal from the audience.

Boyd argued that the ability to recommend and share content through RSS, actually created a further community of readers who were even more fragmented from the conversation. In other words, conversations regarding blog posts are occurring more and more in locations far removed from the blog post itself. Though the blogger may start the discussion with a blog post. The ‘social buzz’ of discussion may occur in various other communities , e.g. Digg, Friendfeed, Techmeme etc.

Boyd when onto state that "Flow" applications such as Twitter or the Facebook mini feed offer a possible replacement. He suggested that once you get used to these flow apps, it gets harder and harder to go back to blogs.

If the community all move to a flow service, you don’t lose your friendships”

If the current pace continues, will blogs become reduced to being just a publishing platform? While new commenting systems like Disqus and Intense Debate attempt to bridge this commenting gap, we are also seeing the arrival of video-based systems, such as Seesmic, that seem to offer a higher levels of immediacy and simplicity.


Picture Credit:

Boyd shows us his “extended desktop”. He uses a number of Flow applications to engage in social communities on the web.  He uses, Snackr (RSS feed aggregator), Twhirl, (Twitter desktop tool), FriendFeed and Flickr.  These applications run everyday and automatically update in the background.

Stowe’s “Web of Flow” is a social web where we continuously watch multiple streams of social interaction, live as they happen. Our eyes gaze over communities of conversation. We then exercise our choice to ‘dip in or out’ of the conversation as we see fit. Often, we may never even venture near a blog post.

[Bonus Videos] 


Hat Tip

Boyd, continues his discussion regarding the emergence of Flow apps and their effects on Social Media.

 BerlinBlase interviewed Stowe after his talk and asked him why email was broken?

Email is dead – Stowe Boyd from dotdean on Vimeo.

Rory Cellan-Jones interviews Steve Ballmer

The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones does a through job of interviewing Ballmer in London yesterday. Ballmer is very frank with his answers to the failed Yahoo bid and how the company is still playing catch up in the search and advertising business.  Ballmer, sounds like he enjoys a good challenge and a fight.  Personally, I think it’s a good thing for the borg. Despite, the public perception, the borg does and is capable of innovating. Through tough times of competition, those who innovate succeed, which is great for the industry and ultimately the consumers and businesses. Microsoft have concentrated their efforts in recent years on the Enterprise, somewhat at the expense of the consumer market.

However, having heard Ballmer speak yesterday, my views on his leadership have changed.  He is an amazing, passionate  and a strong leader with a sound business plan for the future. The question is, whether there is a silver lining in the ‘cloud’ for Microsoft, only time will tell.

Steve Ballmer’s Keynote in London

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer delivered the keynote speech at his company’s London conference “Technologies to Change Your Business: How Customers Are Implementing Tomorrow’s Strategies Today”.
CIO editor, Martin Veitch interviewed Ballmer directly after his keynote.

Veitch: Given the massive investment that corporates are considering, what are the key factors you believe are   now going to drive us into Cloud Computing? Why would we entrust Microsoft with its cloud provision, over other competitors such as Google?

Ballmer: Well, let me take it in a variety of ways. First of all, anytime there is a major disruption you want to make sure you take advantage of it. The book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ says “You can’t as a company that’s established miss the next major revolution”.

So we are embracing Software + Services, Cloud Computing as hard as anybody. By the time we finish our Professional Developers Conference this month, I think you’ll have to say that there is nobody out there with as wide a range of Cloud Computing services as Microsoft, including, dare I say it, Google – which has a great search product but, at the end of the day, doesn’t really have much for Enterprise email, productivity, collaboration. They are trying. They are coming to the game. But they are not really there yet.
Even though we are driving disruption, our job has got to be to also give you a clean and straightforward path forward. So you are going to want the PCs that you own, you are going to want to to be able to apply the licences that your already own.

I think we have, and our prices reflect an ability to let you get to the disruptive point easily, from the place you are now financially.

Veitch: Steve, I guess the $64,000 question from a lot of people’s point of view is, is there going to be an Office for the Web, something that really competes head on with Google Docs, Google Apps?
Ballmer: Well, those are not very popular products! I hope that we are not competing head on with those! I hope we actually compete head on with Microsoft Office. If you take a look at it, Google Docs and Spreadsheets have relatively low usage and have not grown over the last six months or so.
There’s a reason. I think what people want is something as rich as Microsoft Office, something that you can ‘click and run’, if you are not at your own desk. Something that is compatible, document-wise with Microsoft Office and something that offers the kind of joint editing capabilities that is nice in Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Will Microsoft Office offer that? Yes! Standby for details in the next month.

Veitch: So, in the backend of Microsoft R&D, are there people beavering away at versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc, that are purely web based? Or, is it always going to be this hybrid?
Ballmer: What does it mean to be purely Web based? Do we want them to be as only as powerful as ‘runs in a browser’? No. We want software that is more powerful than runs in a browser. Does that mean we will not have some neat stuff that does run in the browser? No.

We think you’ll actually want the full power of Word, Excel and PowerPoint – and you’ll want to be able to get that simply. But, if you just happen to be in an Internet cafe kiosk and you want to do some light editing, perhaps we need to have a way to support you in that as well, inside the browser. And for today, that’s going to have to be all the detail I share. Otherwise, we have no drum roll announcement coming up here in a month!

Veitch: There’s a lot of different views on what the ‘cloud’ is going to look like? Will it be a data centre that you have and you own it yourself? Will it belong to Amazon or some other organisation? Maybe you could even franchise it and work with rivals or peers and operate a data centre in that way. What do you think it will look like? Which slice of the pie will be the biggest?

Ballmer: I think before we are done, the answer is ‘Yes’. No, all of those models will need to flourish. I think it would be nuts for me to say that we are going to run all of the world’s data centres. I don’t think that’s practical.
But what we need to do is a build a service that we start running and we have a model for how it can also be implemented and hosted by corporations for themselves, or by other partners.
The service must be a service. If it’s not in our data centre, if it’s in somebody’s else’s, you’ll still want it updated in real time, dynamically. You don’t want it to be like today’s outsourced model – where the outsourcer winds up locked in, and has to embrace the past more than the future.

So, we need to design ‘a service for services’, if you will. That’s kind of the way we are attacking the challenge.
Now, Version 1 that we will announce this month, you’ll think about it as running a Microsoft data centre, sort of like the Amazon model. And yet we know and we’ve talked already with corporations and partners about going beyond it.

That’s why the symmetry between the server and the cloud is important. Because if we bring back the cloud features into the server platform, it’s also possible for any corporation then to go into instance of its own similar services.

Veitch: Now, is this going to be the Microsoft data centre that we’ll be talking to?

Ballmer: On V1 that will be the only alternative, that’s right

Veitch: Are you going to build here [UK] as well?

Ballmer: In V1, our data centre will be the only alternative, where we build data centres up in the air. By, V2 or V3 whether its our data centre or somebody else’s we know we have to have data centres in many, many countries around the globe. Certainly, in this big country we know we need a data centre – whether we run it, or a partner runs it.

Veitch: Why has Microsoft developed Zune?

Ballmer: At the end of the day, one of the big trends is that all content is going digital. And if we don’t have the software and services that are useful, helpful and valuable for the consumption of music and video, we are sort of not really a player.

Now, we built the Zune hardware with the Zune software – and what you’ll see more and more over time is that the Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc.

Veitch: It seems to me to be a tricky one because Apple is out there, and they have a pretty good product – but also they have this kind of cult following of people who are just going to buy, because it’s Apple. That must be a frustrating thing to compete against.

Ballmer: They may have a cult following in the music business, and we got about 97 percent of PC users using our stuff. 97 percent may not constitute a cult! But I wouldn’t trade that for a cult!

[Update] This interview has been picked up by CIO Magazine.

Twitter co-founders interviewed by Shel Israel

Shel Israel interviews Twitter’s co-founders and shares some interesting insights into how people are using the service. Twitter can be described as, “a social utility which connects with people who they already know, or are interested in”.

Of all the emerging tools of social media, Twitter is the most conversational. The mobile SMS service allows people to chat in compact bite sized 140-character blocks. Some use it 20-30 times or more per day and some even have thousands of followers. But the average user only posts three times a day and chats only with a few friends.

Some businesses are also using Twitter too. For example, employees are using Twitter to  communicate and share their information. Other businesses, are using the service to keep in touch with their customers, or using it for customer support.

Interestingly, Twitter’s global traffic can be broken down into four segments:

Web, SMS, Instant Messaging (IM) and API usage

Usage of Twitter’s API is 20 times than that of the web service.

The pie chart below, show’s Twitter’s International Web traffic usage.

NB. Remember this is just web traffic. It doesn’t include any of the other popular ways that people use Twitter. For example, this figure does not include:, and API applications such as Twhirl and Twitterrific.

Interestingly, 60% of Twitter users are non US users and of that 39% are Japanese!  Spain and the UK are also strong Twitter users.   Good Stuff!

                       Click on the image to see a larger pie chart

Doodling for Profits – The Blue Monster reaches Business Week!

Hugh and Steve, get a well deserved mention in Business Week!  Excerpt follows the break.  Rock on Guys!

In the fall of 2006, a group of senior European executives at Microsoft (MSFT) entered a meeting expecting to see a PowerPoint presentation. Instead, Steve Clayton—then the chief technology officer for Microsoft’s U.K. Partner Group—showed them a hand-drawn image of an impish blue creature bearing gnarled fangs and sporting the provocative caption “Microsoft: Change the world or go home.” After a few initial gasps, recalls Clayton, the attendees engaged in a lively discussion around the current direction of the company and the brand. “People liked the way it changed the angle of conversation,” Clayton says.

The image was not the product of Microsoft’s marketing department or an ad agency, but of cartoonist, writer, and marketing strategist Hugh MacLeod—a friend of Clayton. Ever since MacLeod sent the cartoon to Clayton and posted it on his blog, gapingvoid ( more than a year ago, the “blue monster” character has become an unofficial corporate mascot among many Microsoft employees, posted in cubicles, printed on business cards and T-shirts, and added to e-mail signatures. “I’m told it always leads to an interesting, atypical Microsoft conversation,” says MacLeod—the result he had hoped for.

Do small firms really need a website?

Thanks to all for sending me a link today’s BBC News article, discussing whether small firms really do need a website?

The evolution of the Web is changing the way consumers are interacting with web sites and businesses. Online tools such as blogs, podcasts and wikis are allowing consumers to ‘actively’ contribute and participate whilst online. In essence, the web today has become more ‘social’.

As the BBC article states, just over half of the UK’s small businesses have a web presence. Indeed, this a very small number the vast majority of those with websites offer nothing more than an ‘online brochure’.
A few pages of business description, a list of goods or services for purchase and some contact details. As a consumer with endless choices to purchase good and services, why should I buy from you?

Unless a small business can offer something ‘different’, there is absolutely no reason for them to spend any time on your site. Businesses such as Wiggly Wigglers and English Cut are great examples of small firms who have used social tools to differentiate their businesses online. Indeed, both businesses have grown virally because of it and have established strong brands in each of their business areas.

The founders of both businesses have capitalised on the ‘social’ aspects of the web, along with an interesting way of revealing the nature of their businesses in a compelling way. Both firms create regular online content in terms of blog posts or podcasts which are read and listened to by their Internet audience. This ever growing audience has access to content which is timely, relevant and interesting. If the audience enjoys what it reads or listens to, it is more likely to make a purchase and five times as likely to tell others about it. Blogs and podcasts allow a small business to start a conversation around their own businesses. More importantly, it also allows them to shape the conversation, which may have not existed before, or was badly delivered in the past.

It is important to note, that creating compelling content requires considerable commitment and time. Wiggly Wigglers and English Cut were not overnight successes. It took a few years, before they were able to reach the hearts and minds of their respective audiences. They succeeded because they had something interesting to say and the social tools allowed them to tell their business stories easily,quickly and allowed their audience to also take part in shaping their business story.

If you already have a very close and tight relationship with your customers, these social tools may not be useful to you. However,  for the vast majority of small firms hoping to grow their businesses and access new markets, such tools are becoming a necessity in order to differentiate and eventually compete in the global market place.  Thus, to conclude I think it is very important for small firms to have a website today if they want to grow their business and reach new markets.  Using social tools can help. However, the small firm will need to think of interesting ways to reveal the nature of the business they are in, offer unique glimpses and insights into their industry. Customers demand some kind of value. Creating good and useful content can help to create that value.

Read excerpts of interview with Heather Gorringe, founder of Wiggly Wigglers below, as well as an excerpt of an interview with Tom Mahon, founder of English Cut.

Interview with Heather Gorringe (Heather Gorringe)

Interview with Tom Mahon (English Cut)