Q1| What is Social Media?
Social media is a broad term used to describe a shift in traditional communication trends increasingly evident alongside changes in mainstream society. As the general public show greater acceptance + intergration of tools + technology brought to us from the virtual world, our realities + societies are having to change more + more to accommodate them.
In recent years, the enormous popularity of social networking sites (SNS), particularly + more recently the rapid rise of Facebook, have continued to rock the foundations of the traditional media world. While mass medias; such as tv, newspapers + radio, have for years been able to feed society whatever they deem worthy, in today's world, they have no where near the same amount of value.
In the modern world, especially in one where the majority of the population are connected through SNSs (72% of kiwis have a profile on Facebook), we all have a voice.
Q2| Why do businesses need to consider Social Media?
Social Media is now clearly embedded in our daily lives and increasingly this is influencing and impacting businesses in ways that would have never been anticipated. As igovt has been launched (early 2010), it is already a reality that every Kiwi business will be required to at least register one business profile on the government social networking site. Regardless of whether your business is actively involved in social media campaigns, have a facebook business page or even if you have an outright ban on the use of such sites during work hours; the reality is that ignoring such mediums will increasingly be an irresponsible approach for the longevity of smooth business operations.
Q3| What are the three levels of focus you talk about in your workshops?
In terms of Sweet As Social Media use, we think the NZ govts break down of society into 'three levels' is a pretty good one (Digital Strategy 2.0, 2004). It outlines the three levels as Individual, Organisational + Government in terms of the role of transforming our societies to digitally capable ones as we get closer to full implementation on e-govt in 2020. We too adopt these and focus are workshops with explicit focus on one or a number of these different levels as approariate, aiming to at least touch on all three in every workshop.
Q4| Why do you guys think this should be all so serious? Its just a Facebook page and a few 'questionable' emails maybe, but seriously....
In the recently very publicised case of blogger @Whaleoil who was recently charged with breaking name suppression orders, the case set an important legal prescident for all users of social media. Regardless of where you post comments (be it Facebook, a personal blog or some encrypted 'private' forum) the courts have stated that a comment made online is effectively comparative to printing a whole lot of pamphlets and distributing them in the letterboxes of your neighbours.
You can not only be held accountable as a result, but you should expect that you could be. Now before you go deleting everything you have ever posted online, or you Facebook account, be aware that you are not really ever able to technically delete these as a user. Everything you post online is fundamentally both public and permemant. 'Deleting' anything you have posted to Facebook particularly deciving, while the data does not appear in your feed, any simple code run on the cache of the site, including an of those external tracking programs (such as Postlings) see the 'deleted' text appear much like this. Whilst it is not showing it is still very much there and whilst slightly more difficult to access, if there is for any reason the need for someone to investigate your online use for any reason, it would not be beyond thier access (view the recent post on the name suppressed individual from the recent alcohol related school boy death in Auckland of James Webster case).
The problem issue that current users do not to a large extent realise the extent + significance of their social media use, largely till it is much too late. It is a much better idea to not get youself in trouble with such medias in the first place than it is to try and fix the problems incurred after the fact. The publicness and permenance of our ''virtual realities'' force the value of transperancy throughout our societies and the best way to excel in your positive and valuable use of social media is to be honest and true to your word. If everyone gets a voice, misleading or deceptive statements will quickly be made very obvious under investigation.
With the NZ Police Force already signed on to the Governments social network the examples of this real life integration and implications are endless (there is a register of stories, news articles and links which can be found in the think-tank). Considering the move towards e-govt in 2020 we are hoping that more Kiwis can catch on to the importance and significance of this change and reality before it is to late for them to do anything about what they post from this moment forward. Just think, while it can be bad getting caught out saying something in appropriate to that your boss or mum sees on Facebook, the government and policy might not be so forgiving. We are hoping Kiwi users get this potential risk as soon as possible as the evidence of 'stuff-ups' is already a massive pile and at this point we all have the opportunity to do what it is that makes Kiwis so special + unique. That is use our size, location and culture to our advantage and utilise our international place in the world as a representative test market and case study for the western world, showcasing to others the potential value and usefulness of social media when it is excecute in the right circumstances.
Q5| What do your workshops cover? Why would I need to do one when I can, like you say, find out anything I want to online??
While everyone already potentially has access to all the resources they require to achieve pretty much any goal they have set, sometimes it can be difficult identifying the best ones, or working out where to find them or how to go about using them. In consultantions with businesses, we emphasis the individual context and objectives as an important part of the environment which any social media policy or strategy might be excecuted. It is critical to understand the significance of customisation and individualised approaches to any social media use. Unfortunatly, or maybe fortunately, there is no one size fits all solution to the best strategies or approach to your social media use. The solution must be customised depending on the problem it is solving, the context in which it is found and the objective with which it is undertaken. So while we guide, direct and discuss social media use, plans, policy + strategy on a number of our sites, users and viewers must ensure a very personalised approach is adopted wether they focusing on the individual, organisational or governance levels of social media use. For this reason, we provide a number of services aimed at ensure a wide range of accessible solutions for our clients.
We have online discussion forums and blog updates, collaborative community workshops focusing on different levels of focus and also indivudal client consultation services. Specialising in social media planning, policy + protection; our business development and advisory services aim to get clients more comfortable and effectively achieving thier objectives, utilising social media as an effective and cheap tool to do so in large number of cases. While we have provided individual level consultation over and above our workshops + presentations, the majority of this has been focused on providing 'clean up services' in the legal, managerial, brand or individual reputation management type areas after the significance and reach of the potential risks of social media use have actually been realised or experienced by our clients. We are hoping and are gradually experiencing more people and users become aware of this risk and potential for damage beofre it is too late, hence our workshops!