Interaction Space [en]

[fr] Ce qui compte, c'est qui est dans notre "espace d'interaction", autrefois délimité par l'espace physique autour de nous. Il n'y a rien de mal à attendre le bus au téléphone avec un ami plutôt qu'en échangeant des mondanités pataudes avec les inconnus qui se trouvent à l'arrêt.

At the bus stop, I’m listening to music on my iPhone and the two other women waiting are talking on the phone, smiling, but not to each other. That’s when I understand: what’s important is who is in your “can interact” space, not who is in your physical space.

Physical co-presence used to be important because it defined who you could interact with. That is not true anymore: your interaction space is not limited to your physical space.

There’s nothing bad about being on the phone with a friend rather than exchanging awkward mundanities with strangers at the bus stop.

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A Quick Thought on Being Public [en]

[fr] Dans un monde où l'on est des personnages de plus en plus publics, s'adressant simultanément à des publics jadis séparés, on peut pour moi soit se réfugier dans la langue de bois pour ne heurter personne, soit se mettre les gens à dos en leur disant en face des choses qu'on aurait auparavant évité qu'ils entendent, soir jouer de l'équilibrisme en privilégiant l'honnêté exprimée d'une manière qui prend soin des sentiments des autres.

In these days of increasingly overlapping publics, I see three ways in which to deal with the fact that we are all becoming — to some extent — public figures, our multiple faces forced to come together as the publics they’re meant for also do:

  • go all tongue-tied and diplomatic, and dumb down your discourse so nobody can take offence or hear something they shouldn’t;
  • be an asshole, by saying things to people’s faces that one normally would keep for behind their backs;
  • walk the fine line of honesty and respect whilst expressing things in a way that cares for others’ feelings.

The third way, clearly, is the most challenging, but probably also the most rewarding from the point of view of personal growth.

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A Few Words About Google Wave [en]

I wanted to write this post yesterday, to keep up with my good resolutions, but time caught up with me and I had to leave my computer to go and enjoy some time on the lake (we finished 13th, and I had a good windy sailing lesson before that — thanks Dad).

So, as for most of you I guess, Google Wave came up on my Twitter radar these last days. I thought I’d take a quick peek, without spending the whole day on it, so I looked at part of the demo video (the first part, where the actual demo is), and read a few articles (CNET, Mashable and ReadWriteWeb — there are tons of others, but I’m on purpose trying not to be exhaustive in my research… fight that perfectionism!)

In one word? Cool.

I remember many years ago, how taking collaborative notes in SubEthaEdit during the BlogTalk conference in Vienna would every now and then drift into us chatting in the document. (By the way: I’m on the Programme Committee for BlogTalk 2009 which will take place in Jeju, South Korea, on September 1-2. Send in your proposals now!)

I also remember, how many years before that, ICQ introduced “real-time chat” (or whatever they called it), where you could actually see people type when you chatted with them.

And I remember the many many days I’ve spent in endless wiki conversations — I think one of the best ways I can describe Google Wave is to say it’s a very accelerated wiki page with bells and a touch of Facebook.

Google Wave is marrying e-mail and IM, and it’s a good thing. It’s recording the process of the conversation, which makes it easier for outsiders to jump in. It has private, it has public, it has text, it has rich media, it has profiles.

People say it’s a bit hard to get at first, and that, in my opinion, is another indication that it is something really new.

I can’t wait to try it. I get all excited when I think of it. These are my totally uninformed first impressions. Over the years, I’ve come to trust those — Google Wave is going to change things.

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Stephanie Has a Newsletter [en]

[fr] Voilà, j'ai une newsletter. Je la rédigerai en anglais et en français, et y parlerai principalement de mes activités professionnelles. Je vais certainement radoter, il faut vous y attendre -- mais seulement une à deux fois par mois. Je parlerai aussi des choses que je n'aborde pas dans ce blog. Pourquoi une newsletter? J'y ai longuement réfléchi et écrirai sans doute bien plus à ce sujet dans les semaines à venir.

Je suis curieuse. Quelle est votre réaction? Est-ce que vous vous inscririez à une telle newsletter? Je me réjouis de voir ce que va donner cette expérience.

Taking example on my friend Martin, I decided it was time I had my own newsletter. There’s a lot of thinking behind it which I’ll share here at some point (when I’m less in a hurry).

To answer a few questions:

  • I’ll publish a couple of newsletters per month
  • I’ll talk mainly about my professional life
  • Yes, I might ramble
  • I’ll talk about stuff you won’t find on the blog
  • Not everybody reads blogs, no
  • Yes, you can unsubscribe (it’s managed by Google Groups)
  • Nope, I won’t spam you or give out your e-mail address

If you want to subscribe you can do so using the box below.

Google Groups
Subscribe to Stephanie Booth's Newsletter

Visit this group

What’s your reaction to this? Would you sign up for such a newsletter, or not — and why?

I’m looking forward to seeing how this experiment goes.

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5 Lessons in Promoting Events Using Social Media (Back to Basics) [en]

[fr] Leçons apprises lors de la promotion de Going Solo:

  • communiquer directement avec les gens (messagerie instantanée, conversation offline, téléphone) est le mode de communication le plus efficace
  • ne pas négliger l'e-mail, les dossiers de presse, le matériel imprimable: tout le monde ne lira pas le blog ou Twiter
  • rien ne devient automatiquement "viral" parce que c'est sur internet: aider les gens à vous aider à passer l'info, par exemple avec un e-mail "forwardable"
  • aller où sont les gens, les retrouver dans leur communauté (Facebook, MySpace, Rezonance, LinkedIn... partout)
  • ça prend du temps... beaucoup de temps

J'ai été surprise à quel point tout ceci a été difficile pour moi, alors qu'une partie de mon métier consiste à expliquer aux gens comment utiliser les nouveaux médias pour communiquer plus efficacement. Une leçon d'humilité, et aussi un retour à certaines choses basiques mais qui fonctionnent, comme l'e-mail ou le chat. En récompense, par contre, un événement qui a été un succès incontesté, et tout cela sans le soutien des médias traditionnels (pour cause de communiqué de presse un poil tardif) -- mis à part nouvo, qui a répercuté l'annonce, mais qui trouvait que c'était cher!

One of the big lessons I learnt while organising [Going Solo]( is that [promoting and communicating about an event through social media]( requires a huge amount of time and energy. In this post, I’d like to share a few of the very practical things I (re-)discovered.

Even though part of what I do for a living is explain social media and its uses in marketing to my clients, I found it quite a challenge when I actually had to jump in and do it. (Yes, I’m aware this may sound pretty lame. By concentrating on the big picture and the inspiring success stories, one tends to forget some very basic things. Sending managers back to the floor every now and then is a good thing.)

The **main lesson I learnt** is the following:

– **1. The absolute best channel to promote anything is one-on-one personal conversation** with somebody you already have some sort of relationship with.

Any other solution is a shortcut. And [all shortcuts have prices](

This means I ended up spending a lot of time:

– talking to people on IM, IRC, and offline at conferences
– sending out personal messages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Anytime you do something to spare you this time (like sending out a collective e-mail, writing a blog post, or even tweeting — situations where you’re not adressing one specific individual directly) you dilute what you’re communicating. You open the door to:

– imperfect understanding of what you’re trying to say
– people not feeling like it’s really addressed to them (lack of interest, or lack of awareness that their actions are important to you)
– people simply not seeing it.

I have many examples of this. I created a [page with material people could use to promote Going Solo](, in particular, [blog sidebar badges]( But not many people put them up spontanously, even amongst my friends. But when I started pinging people on IM and asking them if they would please put up a badge to support my event, they did it. They just hadn’t got around to doing it, hadn’t realised that them doing it was important for me, or it had simply slipped their mind. It’s perfectly understandable: it’s “my” event, not theirs.

Another example is when I started sending out my “forwardable e-mails” (lesson #3 is about them), most people stopped at “well, I’m not a freelancer” or “I can’t come”. It took some explaining to make sure they understood that the **main** reason I was sending them the e-mail was that they *might know somebody* who would like to come to the event, or who could blog about it, or help with promoting it. If I spared myself the personal conversation and just sent the e-mail, people were much less likely to really understand what I expected from them, even through it was spelled out in the e-mail itself.

And that was a big secondary lesson I learnt while preparing Going Solo: it’s not because people don’t get back to you, or don’t act, that they aren’t interested or don’t want to. The burden is on you to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.

Let’s continue on to the next lessons.

– **2. Blogs and Twitter are essential, but don’t neglect less sexy forms of communication: newsletter, press release, printable material.**

The first thing I did for Going Solo was to create [a blog]( and a [Twitter account]( Getting a blog and Twitter account off the ground isn’t easy, and it took quite a lot of one-on-one communication (see lesson #1) (and [blogging here on CTTS]( to get enough people to link to them so that they started taking off.

But the lesson here is that **not everybody is on Twitter, and not everbody reads blogs**. We highly-connected types tend to forget that. It didn’t take me that long to get the feeling that I had “exhausted” my immediate, social-media-enabled network — meaning that all the people who knew me directly had heard what I was talking about, linked to stuff if they were going to, or registered for the event if they were interested.

So, here are some less “social media cutting-edge” forms of communication I used, most of them very late in the process (earlier next time):

– [an e-mail newsletter](
– [printable (and printed) posters](
– a [press release]( and other “old media focused” material

Some comments.

Our press release came out so late that we got no coverage at all from traditional media, bar [one exception](, which focused on how expensive the event was. This means Going Solo Lausanne is a great case study of successful event promotion entirely through social media.

When I [created the newsletter](, I spent a lot of time following lesson #1 and inviting people personally to sign up, through IM most of the time. I sent out invitations through the Google Groups interface, of course (to the extent that I got [flagged as a potential spammer]( But I also went through the process of inviting people directly through IM.

A word of warning about newsletters: don’t *add* people to your newsletter unless you’ve checked beforehand that they were OK with it, or if you have a *very* good reason to do so (they are the speakers/attendees for your event) — but even then, it can be risky. I was recently added to a bunch of mailing-lists without having asked for it, rather than invited, and I find it really annoying. It’s way more impolite to unsubscribe from a newsletter than refuse an invitation to subscribe, so adding people can put them in an embarrassing situation (be impolite vs. be annoyed at getting newsletters one doesn’t want).

– **3. Don’t expect “viral” or “[organic](” spreading of your promotion to happen, but prepare the field so it can: the forwardable e-mail.**

There is so much talk about the fact that social media allows things to *spread* all by themselves (and indeed, there is an important potential for that, and when it happens, it’s very powerful) — that we tend to expect it to happen and be disappointed when it doesn’t. And let’s face it, it’s not something that we can control (sorry for stating the obvious again, I’m doing that a lot in this post) and it takes quite a bit of skill to create the right conditions so that it *may* happen.

So, now that we’ve set our expectations, what can be done to *help things spread*? I mentioned having exhausted my immediate network higher up, so I needed to come up with a solution which would help me reach beyond it. How could I get my friends to mention Going Solo to *their* friends?

Of course, our use of social media in general allows that. Blogs, Facebook Groups and Events, sidebar badges… all this is material which *can* spread. But again — what about the people who aren’t bathing in social media from morning to evening?

**Back to basics: e-mail.** E-mail, be it under the shape of a newsletter, a discussion list, or simple personal messages, has a huge advantage over other forms of online communication: you’re sure people know how to use it. It’s the basic, level 0 tool that anybody online has and understands.

So, I started sending out e-mail. A little bit of *push* is good, right? I composed a rather neutral e-mail explaining what Going Solo was about, who it was for, giving links to more information, and a call to action or two. I then sent this impersonal text to various people I knew, with a personal introduction asking them to see if they knew anybody who could be interested in information about this event, and inviting them to forward the message to these people. Nothing extraordinary in that, right?

I of course applied lesson #1 (you’re starting to know that one, right?) and tried as much as possible to check on IM, beforehand, if it was OK for me to send the “forwardable e-mail” to each person. So, basically, no mass-mailing, but an e-mail written in such a way that it was “forwardable” in a “here’s what my friend Steph is doing, could interest you” way, which I passed along as a follow-up to a direct chat with each person.

In a more “social media” spirit, of course, make sure that any videos you put online can easily be shared and linked to, etc. etc — but that will be pretty natural for anybody who’s familiar with blogging and “being online”.

– **4. Go where people are. Be everywhere.**

Unless your event is already very well known, you need to go to people, and not just wait for them to come to you. If you’ve set up a blog, Twitter account, newsletter, then you have a place where people can come to you. But that’s not enough. You need to [go where people are](

– Facebook
– Upcoming
– LinkedIn
– Xing
– MySpace
– Pownce
– Seesmic
– Existing communities big and small… (blogs, forums, chatrooms)

Again, this is a very basic principle. But it’s not because it’s basic that it’s invalidated by the magic world of social media. Where you can create an event, create an event (Upcoming, Facebook, Pownce, Rezonance — a local networking thingy); where you can create a group, create a group — I waited a lot before creating a [Facebook group for Going Solo](, because I had a [fan page for it]( already, but as you can see the group worked much better.

– **5. It’s a full-time job.**

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d spend *weeks* doing nothing else but send e-mails, update Facebook pages, blog, send e-mails, talk to people, IM, tweet, e-mail again… to promote Going Solo. It’s a huge amount of work. It’s so much work that one could imagine having somebody full time just to do it. So when you’re (mainly) a one-person shop, it’s important to plan that a significant amount of your time might be spent on promotion. It’s easy to underestimate that (I did, and in a major way).

Working this way doesn’t scale. At some point, one-on-one communication takes up too much time and energy to compensate for the benefits it brings over more impersonal forms of communication. But that only happens once your event is popular enough. Before you’ve held your first event (which was the situation I was in with Going Solo Lausanne), you don’t have a community of advocates for your work, you don’t have fans (you might have personal fans, but not fans of your event) or passionate attendees ;-), you don’t have other people doing your work for you.

At the beginning, every person who hears about your event is the result of sweat and hard work. Hopefully, at some point it’ll take off and you’ll start seeing more and more people [blogging about the event you’re organising]( — but even then, it might take a while before you can just sit back and watch things happen. But in case this moment comes earlier than planned, you’re all set: you have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook group and a newsletter. Until then, though, you’re going to be stuck on IM and sending out e-mails.

**A few last words**

I hope that by sharing these lessons with you, I’ll have contributed to making things a little easier for somebody else in the same situation I was. You’ll have understood that I haven’t tried to be exhaustive about how to use social media for promotion — indeed, I’ve skipped most of the “advanced” stuff that is more often spoken about.

But I think it’s easy to get so taken up with the “latest and greatest” tools out there that we forget some of the basic stuff. I, for one, was guilty of that initially.

Also, one thing I haven’t spoken about is *how* to talk to people. Of course, some of what you’re doing is going to be impersonal. Own up to it, if you’re mass e-mailing. Don’t pretend to be personal when you aren’t — it’s hypocritical, doesn’t come across well, and can be smelled a mile away.

I haven’t quite finished reconciling my practical experience with how I believe things “should” work. I’ve learnt a lot, but I certainly haven’t figured everything out yet. I would have wanted to do a lot more, but time simply wasn’t available, so I tried to prioritize. I made choices, and some of them were maybe mistakes. But overall, I’m happy with how things went and what I learnt.

If you have had similar experiences, I’d be really happy to hear from you. Likewise, if you disagree with some of the things I’ve written, or think I’m wrong on certain counts, do use the comments. I’m open to debate, even though I’m a bit hard-headed ;-).

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About Not Reading [en]

[fr] Je me suis rendu compte tout dernièrement à quel point il est facile de répondre à une question sans l'avoir lue en entier, de commenter sur un billet de blog sans avoir cliqué sur le lien. FriendFeed pousse un peu à ça, avec sa manie de lister des titres de billets sur lesquels on peut commenter (je prétends pas avoir une meilleure solution).

Récemment, je demandais à mon entourage leur avis sur une question de workshops avant ou après Going Solo (j'en parlerai ailleurs plus en détail, ce n'est pas le propos de ce billet), et j'ai été étonnée de la quantité de réponses qui semblaient indiquer que mon interlocuteur n'avait en fait pas lu le lien que je lui avais donné.

Je ne vais pas jeter la pierre, je me rends régulièrement coupable du même raccourci (commenter sans avoir lu) même si j'essaie vraiment de me limiter. Ça me rappelle les Mythologiques de Lévi-Strauss, qu'on cite à tout va mais que personne n'a en fait lues en entier...

I’m guilty too. I sometimes read the title of a blog post, or a few sentences of an article, and comment on it.

It struck me recently how common this practice is, and also how it impairs communication. It’s the shortcut, the bet we make that we guessed or assumed correctly, the easy way out. Communication with no parasites requires work, and patience.

These last two days I’ve been trying to make up my mind about whether to place workshops *before* or *after* the main day of conferences for [Going Solo]( It’s a tricky problem which I don’t want to start discussing right now (I’m going to blog about the issues I face more precisely on the Going Solo blog shortly).

So, I chatted with people, Twittered about it, got into e-mail conversations, and decided to sum up some of my thoughts in a [Tumblr entry](, which allowed me to simply point people there and ask them what their thoughts were.

And I was amazed at how many people didn’t actually respond to my point of concern (“are there any economical/sales/marketing reasons for putting a workshop before a conference, if there are other good reasons to place it after”) because the title, visible in the URL, led them to believe it was a simpler question:

Now, I’m guilty as much as they are. I took a shortcut too by blogging my thoughts and giving them a link, rather than engaging with each of them personally from ground zero.

But setting aside the question or workshops (which I’ll expound in another post), it did serve as an enlighting reminder that people (me included) do not always read what they react to.

It reminds me of one of my university teachers who told us the following story. When he was doing his PhD, he started trudging through the four volumes of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Mythologiques. For those who are not familiar with Lévi-Strauss, Mythologiques is his master work and is oft-cited in many disciplines of the academic world. Well, as he was stumbling upon some particularly nasty passages, he started asking collegues and professors what they had thought of them. And to his surprise, he realised that *nobody he could find had actually read through the four volumes*. Everyone was talking about this work, but nobody had actually read it in its entirety.

Isn’t that incredible?

Well, not so incredible if you think of it — at least not in the academic world. And obviously, not in the blog world either.

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Quelques pages en français [fr]

[en] I've added some French content to One page describing my standardized offer for blogging in business (of course, other packs can be negotiated -- this is mainly to help my clients get started). Another detailing private classes I offer individuals (not my main business, but I like doing it and I'm regularly asked to). A description of the "Get Started with Blogging" seminar -- I'm doing it as a workshop at LIFT, but I also plan to organize these regularly here in Lausanne (or elsewhere if there is enough interest).

I'd like to announce a first blogging seminar end of February -- but I'm a bit concerned about how I'll get the word out about it. You see, I'm pretty good at communicating stuff using new media, but I do sometimes feel a bit at loss with more traditional ways of promoting events or business initiatives. Any advice or assistance in that department would be greatly appreciated.

Chers lecteurs francophones (si vous êtes encore par là!), j’aurais besoin de vous. Dans le cadre de l’opération “[mettre vaguement à jour](”, j’ai ajouté un peu de contenu au site francophone. Alors bon, comme d’habitude, c’est un peu brouillon (mais j’ai quand même réfléchi un peu à ce que j’écrivais) et c’est déjà en ligne. Mais votre avis sur ce que j’ai écrit m’intéresse. Bien? Pas bien? Détails à corriger? Problèmes de fond? Mauvaise stratégie? Parfait-y’a-rien-à-retoucher?

Vous voyez l’idée.

Les pages en question sont les suivantes:

– [Blogs et entreprises]( — j’essaie de “standardiser” un peu mon offre pour que les clients puissent s’y retrouver. Il y en a pour tous les budgets, et bien sûr, on peut toujours discuter de formules particulières. Mais il me semble qu’offrir 2-3 “packs” est une bonne chose.
– [Cours pour particuliers]( — ce n’est pas mon business principal, mais il faut bien que je me rende à l’évidence, on me demande pour ça. J’essaie d’expliquer dans quel contexte je fournis ce genre de service.
– [Cours d’initiation aux blogs]( pour particuliers — il s’agit de la fameuse [idée de cours](, que je propose dans deux semaines [sous forme de workshop à LIFT]( (si vous allez à LIFT, profitez-en).

Concernant cette dernière offre, j’aimerais fixer une date pour un premier cours à Lausanne toute fin février, mais j’avoue que ce qui me fait un peu souci, c’est comment communiquer là autour. Voyez-vous, je suis une spécialiste de la communication *nouveaux médias*, et les personnes à qui s’adresse ce cours ne s’alimentent probablement pas quotidiennement sur les blogs.

Il faudrait recourir à des moyens de promotion plus “traditionnels” que je maîtrise mal: annonces, affichettes, mailing-listes un peu “pushy” (oh horreur!), alerter mes contacts journalistes, mon entourage offline, faire passer des infos dans écoles ou entreprises… Tout conseil ou coup de main dans ce domaine serait bienvenu. Merci d’avance.

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Blogs en entreprise, un peu en vrac [fr]

[en] A brief overview of important points to consider/keep in mind when thinking about blogs in a corporate setting. The two posts with my conference notes, How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications and Blogging in Internal Communications, roughly cover this.

Quel est l’essentiel à savoir lorsque l’on commence à s’intéresser aux blogs?

D’abord, que le blog est trois choses:

– un outil (technologique) permettant de publier très facilement du contenu
– une culture avec des usages, une histoire, une éthique
– une stratégie de communication misant sur le dialogue, l’authenticité et la transparence

L’outil lui-même est *relativement* simple à mettre en place et est gratuit ou presque.

Apprendre à utiliser le blog pour publier des textes est aisé. C’est très similaire (côté processus et interface) à publier un e-mail. C’est entre autres pour cela que le blog est un outil aussi populaire et que “n’importe qui peut en avoir un”.

Pour une entreprise, il vaut la peine d’avoir une personne à l’interne qui soit capable de gérer le blog côté serveur: mises à jour, installation de plugins, adaptation du thème (gabarit) à la ligne graphique désirée, résolution de bugs dus à des changements de version (PHP, base de données) sur le serveur — ça peut arriver.

Maîtriser les fonctions plus complexes de l’outil de blog peut prendre plus de temps: catégories, tags, gestion des commentaires, insertion d’images ou de vidéo, mise en forme, liens, contenu annexe. La plupart des blogueurs devront avoir une partie au moins de ces compétences afin d’être réellement autonomes.

Utiliser un blog comme outil de communication n’est pas une chose naturelle dans le milieu des affaires. Le style d’écriture est différent de ce dont on a l’habitude (assez proche de l’e-mail) et revêt une grande importance. Etre exposé à la critique et aux questions difficiles est quelque chose dont nous protège de façon générale la communication unilatérale. Renoncer à la langue de bois ouvre parfois la porte à des situations difficiles à gérer.

Etre un bon blogueur requiert en fait des compétences relationnelles et humaines assez génériques et qui font souvent partie de la “personnalité” — ou du moins, qui ne sont pas enseignées de façon formelle. Le coaching sur la durée est le meilleur moyen d’apprendre à gérer ces situations dues à la nature conversationnelle du blog.

Installer l’outil et apprendre à l’utiliser, d’un point de vue technique, ce n’est donc que la pointe de l’iceberg. L’investissement financier est minime pour l’outil lui-même, mais il vaut la peine de mettre le paquet pour accompagner le/les blogueurs dans leur apprentissage de la culture propre à ce nouveau média, et de soutenir l’entreprise dans ses difficultés (inévitables) avec une stratégie de communication qui ne correspond probablement pas à ce qu’elle faisait jusque-là.

En cas de réticences budgétaire face au prix d’une accompagnement de qualité sur, disons, une durée de six mois — il est bon de (se) rappeler qu’on investit souvent sans sourciller des dizaines de milliers dans des solutions techniques ou du matériel. Pour un blog, point de cela: l’argent ainsi économisé doit absolument être consacré à la formation et au conseil stratégique par un spécialiste du média.

Le plus possible, on cherchera à faire bloguer des personnes provenant de l’entreprise elle-même. L’efficacité du blog consiste à mettre en relation de vraies personnes: les blogueurs, et les lecteurs, qui peuvent laisser des commentaires, ou vont peut-être publier des réactions sur leur propre blog. Les blogueurs deviennent vite la “vitrine” ou la “face humaine” de l’entreprise. Il est à mon avis très dommage de confier ce rôle à des personnes externes uniquement — il y a là une incompatibilité entre le rôle du blog, qui est de rapprocher, et le fait de confier ce travail à des externes, qui montre qu’on ne veut pas “se mouiller”.

Le blog lui-même, a priori, ne va pas rapporter d’argent. On fait de l’argent “à cause” du blog, non pas “avec”. Le blog apporte visibilité et crédibilité, d’une façon difficile à imiter avec une campagne de publicité ou de marketing “classique”, car elle est basée sur le dialogue et la relation. C’est en discutant avec les gens de notre entourage que nous changeons d’avis, et prenons des décisions. Internet, via les blogs, permet de démultiplier l’effet bouche-à-oreille de la conversation personnelle.

Ces thèses sont développées de façon plus générique dans l’ouvrage The Cluetrain Manifesto (à lire absolument): nos décisions d’achat sont basées sur les expériences de nos amis; personne n’aime qu’on lui “parle contre”, ce que fait habituellement la publicité; nous ne sommes plus dupes, nous savons que la publicité est mensongère. Sur internet, avec les blogs, les forums, les wikis, les réseaux sociaux, ces conversations qui existaient déjà bien avant l’ère d’internet acquièrent un pouvoir supplémentaire en étant sur la place publique numérique.

La communication ne peut pas être contrôlée. Les blogs permettent aujourd’hui à n’importe qui de se faire entendre, si ce qu’il raconte est jugé assez important par ses pairs. On ne peut pas “taire” les gens à coups de communication bien léchée. La langue de bois est montrée du doigt dans les commentaires et les forums de discussion. Internet nous force à renoncer au contrôle absolu de son image et à se jeter à l’eau, à participer aux conversations qui ont déjà lieu à notre sujet, ou à les encourager à venir se passer chez nous.

Pour bloguer il faut être passionné, et c’est quelque chose qu’on ne peut pas “truquer”. Si le coeur n’y est pas, les centaines de personnes du public vont finir par le sentir, un jour ou l’autre — et les gens n’aiment pas la facticité. Le choix des bonnes personnes pour bloguer est donc crucial. Ce n’est pas un travail pour n’importe qui.

Ecrire dans le blog, ce n’est que la moitié du travail. Il faut garder un oeil sur les commentaires, y répondre, modérer parfois. Il faut surtout lire — d’autres blogs sur des sujets apparentés, ce que le public dit au sujet de son entreprise, de ses produits, ou du contenu du blog. Tout cela prend du temps. Cela ne se fait pas en 3 minutes entre deux meetings. Aimer ce dont on parle et être passionné, ça aide.

Idéalement, je l’ai dit, on choisira ses blogueurs parmi ses employés. Il faut tenir compte dans leur emploi du temps qu’il vont passer un certain nombre d’heures par semaine à bloguer, lire des blogs, échanger e-mails et commentaires là autour. S’ils n’arrivent pas à faire leur travail, éviter la solution facile de mettre la faute sur le blog. Chercher la vraie cause, et y remédier.

Voilà… voyez, c’est un sujet sur lequel on peut vite s’étendre. J’en resterai là pour aujourd’hui, non sans vous donner quelques pistes pour explorer plus loin (pas impossible que j’en rajoute après la publication de cet article).

Livres à lire, en anglais:

– [The Cluetrain Manifesto](, incontournable et en plus, disponible gratuitement en ligne
– [Naked Conversations](, panorama de plus d’une centaines d’utilisations des blogs dans le monde des affaires, de la politique, ou des médias

Livres en français:

– [Blog Story](, pour une introduction générale au phénomène et à son histoire
– [Blogueur d’entreprise](, que j’ai reçu mais pas encore lu (pour cause de pile de livres) mais qui est tout à fait recommandable, j’en suis certaine

En anglais:

– deux conférences que j’ai données: [How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications]( et [Blogging in Internal Communications]( sur la façon dont les blogs bouleversent la communication d’entreprise
– [Multilingual](, si vous avez un projet en plus d’une langue

En français:

– [Nécessité d’une formation blogs (en vidéo)](
– [Ouvrir ou non les commentaires?](
– [Articles de la catégorie “comment bloguer?”](

N’hésitez pas à laisser un commentaire si vous avez quelque chose à ajouter, ou une remarque, ou même une question.

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FOWA: We've Got This Community: Now What? (Heather Champ & Derek Powazek) [en]

[fr] Notes prises à l'occasion de la conférence Future of Web Apps (FOWA) à Londres.

*Here are my live notes of this [Future of Web Apps (FOWA)]( session with [Heather Champ]( and [Derek Powazek]( They are probably incomplete and may contain mistakes, though I do my best to be accurate. Chances are I’ll be adding links to extra material later on, so don’t hesitate to come back and check. See [Derek’s post about this](, and [Suw’s notes of this session](*

FOWA 2007 7

Telling stories.

**Chelm Sweet Chelm**

Angels, trying to distribute something (?), and one of the sacks ripped and the contents spread out in the valley, and that valley became the town of Chelm (idiots). *steph-note: sorry, very confused, wasn’t concentrated.*

So, lots of stories around that. When you run a community site, you sometimes feel like you are living in Chelm. How can you make the most of your life in Chelm?

Heather and Derek are going to tell us some Chelm stories.

Derek will tell the first one, because it’s embarrassing to Heather’s employer.

Yahoo including **photos tagged “wii”** in a page. But you don’t really tell anybody about it. Users revolt: start tagging all sorts of things “wii”:

FOWA 2007 15

Heather: being the mothership, you’re always held to **higher standards** by your community. Do the right thing, *beyond* the legal requirements. Yahoo had the right to do this, but that didn’t make it “right”.

Derek: provide copious opt-outs.

FOWA 2007 17

Heather: last year, Flickr realised they were going to have to take the DB down (it was bad). So they decided to [turn it into a contest]( instead of just displaying the “massage” message. Something like 2000 different entries. People responded really well. Gave away something like 16 Pro accounts instead of the 1 they had planned.

Derek: when you fucked up, say you fucked up. Confess. **You can earn a lot of credibility like that.** [When you suck](, own up.

FOWA 2007 18

Other example: FOWA sending out marketing e-mail to the “wrong list”, the ones who had opted out. “We screwed up!”

**Don’t keep score.** Here are the top… can be a really excellent way to motivate people when you’re playing a game. But with most web apps, it’s not about playing a game, it’s about sharing your photographs, telling stories… Use these scoreboards *when* you want to play a game. Otherwise it can actually work *against* your community.

Heather: Flickr interestingness. This is the only place in the Flickrverse where people are ranked. It was pretty bad when they launched (500 most…). It created aggravation and angst. Now it’s a randomly loaded page.

Derek: the goal of interestingness is to see some interesting photos. The error was showing them in a ranked order. “Hey, look how many photos are more interesting than mine!” Gaming behaviour can lead to a negative experience. (e.g. people trying to get to the front page of digg.)

Use scores where they make sense.

Heather: important to put an **editorial layer** on the “stuff”. “Contribute a photo of your day”: 20’000 people in the group, 7000 contributed photos, and 122 selected to be in the book. One way of bringing people to the forefront and rewarding them in a more collaborative way than just ranking.

Derek: producing print stuff is often seen as a money-maker. But actually, **providing physical real-life things is actually a great motivator to encourage people to participate in your online community**. JPEG Mag. Great photographers online, but never seeing anything in print. Getting published in the book was enough to get people motivated to participate in the virtual community.

Rip that band-aid (Heather): the [old skool merge]( thing. Flickr knew at some point they would have to migrate everyone to Yahoo IDs. Waited 18 months, and at some point… it’ll be in 6 weeks. Significant change that’s difficult for the community: don’t wait 18 months. 6 weeks is a good time. Discuss about it, answer people, but then do it, hold firm. **Sometimes you have to do things that are unpopular.** If Flickr hadn’t waited 18 months… would probably not have been that painful.

Derek: **community, manage thyself**. Give people the tools they need so that they can be the community manager for you. Build tools to support that. In Flickr: I manage comments for my own photos. It’s my spot, so I’m my own community manager. Heather: it allows people to establish the guidelines for themselves.

**Community expectations:** Heather loves lawyers. Pages and pages of terms of service. Expectations of what your role is to be in that community. Flickr didn’t have community guidelines when it began. At some point, they understood they needed a way to put those expectations in human-readable format. “Don’t be creepy. You know the guy. Don’t be that guy.” 4-5 bullet points. Doesn’t supercede the TOS, but helps make expectations understood. Understand that nobody reads those legalese TOS.

Derek: **don’t create supervillains**. We usually have sites with free membership. Anybody can create an account. First community moderation tool: “boot member”. But the booted member can come back, create another free account, but this time he’s pissed. Booting people creates supervillains. Come up with clever ways to minimize their damage, contact them directly, person-to-person. Design community so one person can’t make too much damage. E.g. one site, if you get on their “bad list”, the site just gets slower and slower for you. That’s clever!

Heather: members of your community are passionate. Passionately good, and passionately… passionate.

Derek: **know your audience**. Eg. Tahoe thing: create your own ad. But actually, all you could do was actually add some text. So they went wild, of course. Be careful how tiny the box is you put people in. Here it was tiny, people rebelled. You couldn’t do much. Constraints are good, but if there are too many, people rebel. Also, their site was available to everybody on the internet, not just Tahoe owners.

Last and most important lesson: **embrace the chaos**. When you create something where people have a voice, they’ll do something you don’t expect.

Heather: small company which had 4 computers stolen, one of the laptops had PhotoBooth set up to upload automatically to Flickr. Some dude with astounding tattoos unwittingly uploaded PhotoBooth photos to the company’s Flickr stream. “OMG, this could be the guy who got our computer!” To cut a long story short, this guy was “known to the police”, and his lawyer saw a piece about this in the local paper, and told him to turn himself in… which he did.

Ex: person who used geolocating photos to spell “fuck” over Greenland. Lots of hard work there!

Incorporate these things as you go forward.

Derek: pet profiles on Friendster, which they wiped out in a week-end! Created a business opening for Dogster/Catster. When people misuse your site, they’re telling you there’s something to do there. **Sometimes the misuse is the most valuable input you can get**.

Q: how do you deal with requirements from the mother company regarding the way you manage your community?

A (Heather): not much has “come down”. Often, the answer is education. Talk to people — lots of misguided “requirements” come from the fact they don’t really understand your community.

Derek: **design for selfishness**.

Q: How do you balance community with commerce?

A (Derek): fable that community and commerce have to be separate, but that’s wrong. We talk about “commerce” a lot with our friends (products, etc). JPEG: been very upfront about “what we’re doing with your work”, “what you get out of it”. Set expectations well in the beginning.

Heather: two kinds of Flickr accounts. Pro, you don’t see ads. Is it worth the money for user X? Running a community costs money. Somebody has to pay for it. “The web is free”: to a certain extent, but when it involves huge amounts of hardware, somebody has to pay for it.

Q: (?)

A (Heather): if you have a global community, you want to ensure that people can express themselves — but when it gets member-on-member, that makes her uncomfortable (abuse). “What’s acceptable in the community?” Have a “report abuse” link in the footer of every page of the site. If you come down too hard saying “you can’t say that”… Trout-slapping. Huge question. Some people join communities just to be trolls.

Derek: if something inappropriate is happening in a global forum, create a place where it’s appropriate, and send people there to discuss it, so the rest can get on with their lives.

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BarCamp Lausanne: Marketing, communication etc. (Sandrine Szabo) [fr]

[en] Live notes of a talk on marketing at BarCamp Lausanne.

*mes notes, avec toutes les imperfections d’usage.*

[Sandrine]( se retrouve souvent à l’interface entre le monde de la technologie et celui du marketing et la communication.

BarCamp Lausanne 17

“Le marketing, c’est comme la soupe: on aime pas forcément toujours, mais faut en manger quand même.”

Le marketing c’est indispensable, et comme la communication, on le fait déjà naturellement, sans s’en rendre compte. Une question de vocabulaire.

Situation type: “j’ai fait un super truc, mais je sais pas pourquoi, ça prend pas” — en général, symptôme d’un manque côté marketing/communication.

Soucis courants quand on lance un projet:

BarCamp Lausanne 18

3 aspects principaux d’un projet:

– savoir-faire (technique, management)
– faire savoir (se mettre en valeur, expliquer, faire qu’on en parle — communication, quoi)
– ressources (finances)

Ce qui fera la différence (pour le deuxième point):

– **branding:** être concis dans l’explication du but du projet. Les gens ont une mémoire de poisson rouge, et pour qu’ils retiennent les choses, il faut les percuter, en s’adressant à leurs émotions. Donc, y accrocher des valeurs. Choisir un nom court, facile, et transportable pour qu’il soit viral. *steph-note: à mon avis, avant de s’intéresser au nom, il faut avoir quelque chose derrière — c’est beaucoup plus important que le nom ou le branding.*
– **l’usage, pas le technique:** c’est pas les fonctionnalités qui importent, c’est ce que les gens vont en faire.
– **mettre en avant ce qui vous rend spécial:** qu’est-ce qui vous différencie des autres? Y rendre les gens attentifs. *steph-note: marketing 101.*
– **créer un comité de soutien:** les outils pour faire ça aujourd’hui sont colossaux. Créer une communauté. Il faut chercher à la créer, l’entretenir, s’assurer qu’elle a son comptant d’informations (?). Tenir les autres au courant de ce qu’on fait. Y’a jamais d’overdose de communication, on ne communique jamais trop. *steph-note: pas d’accord.* Il n’y a que de la mauvaise communication.
– **rendre ce qui est complexe, simple:** ce qu’on fait doit améliorer les choses; rendre la technique élégante. Simplifier au niveau de la communication.
– **parler 1 fois, écouter 2:** dans la communication, l’élément le plus important c’est l’interactivité. Règles en communication: être pertinent, constant, progressif. Les gens se sentent très peu écoutés de nos jours. Etre à l’écoute, nous permet de récolter des argument très utiles pour la suite.
– **impliquer les autres:** à tous les stades du projet, demander toujours l’avis des gens. Plus les gens participent, plus ils seront confortés dans l’idée que ce qu’on fait est une bonne chose.
– **être transparent:** faire ce qu’on dit, dire ce qu’on fait. C’est pas toujours facile. Ex: Sandrine sur son blog, s’est retrouvée parfois à pas savoir comment dire une information.
– **soigner ses supporters:** très important. Il faut les bichonner sans arrêt (pas les soudoyer ou les corrompre, quand même). Si on réussit ce qu’on fait, c’est par eux que va passer la communication virale. Si ce qu’on fait est suffisamment mémorable et réussi, c’est eux qui en parleront aux autres. C’est pour ça que les messages *courts* sont importants. Ça rend plus facile pour les supporters de les transporter.
– **faites ce que vous savez faire de mieux:** ceci est très important, mais c’est un des dix points! Les points d’avant mettent ceci en valeur. En être convaincu soi-même. On sait ce qu’on sait faire, et ce qu’on ne sait pas faire. Faire que les gens soient conscients.

**Discussion:** Sandrine et moi sommes en désaccord avec l’importance du concept de “message”. Pour moi, les stratégies développées plus haut restent dans la même conception fatiguée de “marketing comme message”. Personne n’a envie d’écouter un “message”. Les relations priment sur le message. Oui, bien sûr, par mes actes, je communique des choses (“on ne peut pas ne pas communiquer”). Mais je crois personellement que pour “changer la façon dont nos projets sont perçus”, il faut dépasser cette notion de “message”. Quand je raconte ce que je fais dans mon projet sur mon blog, je ne suis pas en train de fabriquer un “message” (même inconsciemment), je suis en train de raconter une histoire. De parler en tant qu’être humain. Et ça c’est mille fois plus important que tout ce qu’on peut dire autour de “rendre un message viral”. cf. [les notes de ma conférence sur les blogs en entreprise](, où j’explique l’importance des constats du [Cluetrain Manifesto]( **Pour moi, on est resté coincés (dans cette présentation) dans une conception “pré-Cluetrain” du marketing et de la communication.** Il faut abandonner ce concept de “message” plutôt qu’essayer de le sauver à tout prix et de l’intégrer dans quelque chose où il n’a pas de place. On s’en portera bien mieux. *Et en plus j’ai faim.*

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