Google Plus as Google’s glue

Suw and I have been using Google Plus for the last day. The company’s latest effort to try to get social definitely learns a lot from it’s previous failed attempts to inject some social into its ever growing collection of services. More than learning from past failures such as Buzz and Wave, Google does something that it had to do, it started to knit together that sprawling collection.

Google was running the risk of pulling a Yahoo. With the rise of web 2.0, Yahoo not only developed its own services but also went on a shopping spree, buying up Flickr, Delicious and other services. One of Yahoo’s issues is that it has never been able to tie those services, as excellent as they are on their own, into any kind of meaningful coherent network or business plan. On one hand, it’s probably down to leftover 1990s portal thinking for Yahoo, and on the other hand, Yahoo spent a lot of time over the last decade pursuing Terry Semel’s dreams of becoming a major content player. (A strategy that AOL’s Tim Armstrong seems intent on giving another go, possibly with similar results.)

For a while, Google seemed to struggle with its quest for another growth driver apart from search advertising and Android. They seemed to launch and acquire service after service without much overarching strategy. The services seemed isolated and often poorly integrated. That has started to change with some very subtle navigation changes, but Google Plus really starts to knit them all together, including Gmail, GTalk or Picassa. It’s a good start, although I’m a little baffled why Google Reader is not integrated into Plus. I’d guess that is because Google Readers is a minority sport, but it seems like a logical addition, even if they had only added a tool that easily allows you to share from inside of Reader as you can already with Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and a range of other blogging platforms, bookmarking services and social networks.

They also seem to have learned some lessons about privacy from the Buzz debacle and also Facebook’s issues. Privacy controls are woven throughout Google Plus, and I think that’s a welcome addition to social tools. While folks who live in public like Jeff Jarvis believe that “social is for sharing, not hiding“, most people want to be able to exercise some choices with their online privacy.

As a journalist, I’m going to be keeping an eye on Sparks, which is a social content discovery system built into Plus. It’s not quite there, and it feels much more of a search product than the solid type of social recommendation service that I’ve come to love with services and apps such as Zite on the iPad. Sparks are supposed to be driven by Google’s +1 service, and maybe it’s an indication of a lack of uptake on that. At the moment, the recommendation is weak. Jeff Sonderman at Poynter has some excellent suggestions on how Google could improve Sparks. It’s well worth reading.

Google has dealt itself back into social and managed to start to integrate its offerings into a cohesive whole. Even if the social aspects weren’t all that compelling, bringing some order to what had seemed a bit of a haphazard collection of web services is crucial for Google’s ongoing success.

Some services I explore because I feel I have to. Others I start using because they offer me something. Google Plus definitely piqued my interest enough to take a proper tour and explore more in the past day. I like the ability to group people as I see them in my life and share things with the appropriate group.  I’m sure my Mom won’t use Google Plus, but I’m not sure I agree with Scoble that this is early adopter only service. If you’re a Google or Android user, Google Plus makes a lot of sense. I’ve watched a lot of my friends in media and tech flood into Google Plus. It already feels quite a friendly, busy place. For Facebook diehards, those people for which Facebook is the internet, I doubt that Google Plus will have much pull. Google also is facing increasing anti-trust (anti-competition in the EU) scrutiny, and integrating its services will seem to its detractors as another attempt to seize new territory. Despite that, Google has shown that it can learn from its mistakes. It showed that it can do social, including some innovation in what is a very crowded space. It will be interested if the early adopters who flooded into Plus over the last 36 hours will stay around and what happens when the doors are opened to the wider public.

Al Jazeera Unplugged: Twitter and the US State Department

This is a live blog. It may contain grammatical errors, but I tried to be as true to the essence of the comments as possible.

William May, US State Department and the office of innovative engagement, talked about public diplomacy as government to people or people to people diplomacy. The end game of that is mutual understanding. What we have now is very different than what we had 10 years ago. Ten years ago, we had 40,000 people that we moved across borders, and we had broadcasting. We have two bookends, the exchange programmes and on the other end, broadcasting. In the middle, we have all this new stuff like Twitter and QQ. Quoting another person at the State Department (Judy Hale), “The new media will work in certain places, and we’ll use the right media to reach the right people.:

There are segmented audiences (you won’t reach 15 year old via a newspaper), and we are moving form monologue to dialogue to communities. Where are those conversations taking place? Where are those communities? Mobile is a huge game changer for us. They may have never touched a laptop or a computer but they have a mobile phone. Virtual worlds is another opportunity to us. Using the right tool is a huge opportunity for us.

  • 2007 they began using Second Life. They used chat and IRC for training.
  • 2008 ECA Social Network on Ning to engage not just people in exchange programmes but engaging the whole world. Their own video contest. Went from zero to 20,000 users in months. They created a mobile game called X-Life for English language learning. They created a digital outreach team. (6 writers in Arabic, 2 in person. They are transparent that they work for the State Department. They attempt to counter misinformation.)
  • 2009 They created the Office of Innovative Engagement. They created 23 Things and the FSI training (institutional things he said)
  • 2010 They created the American Center in Jakarta and implemented a metrics programme (using something called Crimson Hexagon a metrics and opinion analysis tool )

He provided some examples such as President Obama’s speech in Ghana. They wanted to increase the engagement. The embassies in Africa created hard copy press releases to traditional media asking for text message questions. They got 17,00 SMS messages from 85 countries. They filter the questions into five categories and created a podcast that they sent out to traditional media in Africa. (FM radio is to Africa what Satellite TV is to the Middle East, a transformative shift in media.)

Global versus local. Everything is local again. He gave the example of climate change. Do people want the global picture or how sea level will change where they live?

The Department of State has 180 Facebook pages, 50 Twitter accounts and also YouTube accounts.

They are bringing contacts they made in virtual worlds in Egypt to the US, bridging the virtual and real worlds.

 

Google Buzz: Not fit for purpose

Please see update at bottom of post!

There has been, ahem, quite a bit of buzz about Google Buzz since they started rolling it out across the Gmail network a few days ago. I first saw an invitation to it when I logged into my inbox yesterday evening. Being curious, I accepted Google’s invitation to try it out, but fairly rapidly started to think that perhaps it was a bad idea.

My problems with Buzz are twofold: Firstly, it sits in Gmail, both as a menu item under my inbox and as live messages in my inbox. Secondly, there are some serious privacy implications that Google appear to either have ignored or not thought about. Either explanation is a poor show, frankly.

Buzz off out of my inbox!
I have written and spoken before about the problem with email, but for those of you unfamiliar with my views I shall summarise: Email is causing significant problems for people, not just because of the volume of email we get these days but because dopamine circuits in our brain encourage us to seek new information and cause us to check our email more often than we realise. Every time we check email, we waste about 64 seconds getting back into doing what we were doing before. Some people check email every 5 minutes. That’s an 8-hour day each week that we waste in mental limbo. Email is a significantly counter-productive tool yet it’s our default for almost all communications.

By adding in a new source of random reward – Buzz – Google have made their inbox even more addictive and unproductive. Not only do you have a new unread Buzz messages count to lure you into checking and rechecking, Buzz also tangles up Buzz replies with your email in your email inbox. Whilst that may seem sensible from an engineering point of view, or for someone whose inbox is quiet or beautifully organised, for me and the many people like me for whom inbox is a daily struggle, this is a disaster. I just do not need extra fluff filling up my inbox.

Privacy issues
For me, this mess of an inbox would be enough to put me off Buzz, but it gets worse. Google have historically not been great at doing social stuff. They are really great at their core business, which is search and serving ads against those search results. They also excel in some other areas, such as document sharing. And yes, I even appreciate the use of labels instead of folders in Gmail. But social stuff seems to be a bit beyond them.

Google Buzz lays bare Googles social weaknesses, illustrating the lack of thought given to potential social problems caused by their design and engineering decisions.

Privacy problem 1: Google Buzz exposes your most emailed contacts
Nicholas Carlson pointed this out in his Silicon Valley Insider piece, WARNING: Google Buzz Has A Huge Privacy Flaw:

When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow.

A Google spokesperson tells us these people are chosen based on whom the users emails and chats with most using Gmail.

That’s fine.

The problem is that — by default — the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile.

In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see the people you email and chat with most.

This is a significant problem. I use my Gmail account for business and personal email, so many of my most-emailed people are not my friends but my clients. It’s not appropriate for Google to expose my clients like that. I maintain a client list on my site, but that’s at my discretion and doesn’t give away individual names and email addresses. Google Buzz could.

My email contacts list is not a social graph. It is not a group of people I have chosen to follow, but is instead full of people with whom I have a (sometimes very tenuous)professional relationship, as well as my family and some of my friends. Interestingly, my best friends don’t email me very often, so they do not show up as a part of my Buzz following list.

This answer to this is to go to your Google Profile and uncheck the tickbox next to “Display the list of people I’m following and people following me”.

Didn’t know you had a Google Profile? Nope, me neither! God knows when it was set up, or whether I agreed to it at some point in the past without realising what I was doing, or what. My friend Kevin Marks reminded me that he nagged me into creating a profile when Google first got them, which explains why I forgot all about it! But still, now I know I have a Google Profile I can give it the information I choose to.

Privacy problem 2: Poor default settings and no central control panel
Carlson goes on:

A Google spokesperson asked us to phrase this claim differently. Like this: “In other words, after you create your profile in Buzz, if you don’t edit any of the default settings, someone could visit your profile and see the people you email and chat with most (provided you didn’t edit this list during profile creation).”

This is appalling behaviour by Google. It’s well known that users tend not to edit their default settings. The people currently playing with Buzz may well be early adopters, more experienced in the ways of the web and more curious about settings and defaults. But you can guarantee that most people will accept the default settings as they are, without realising how much information that they are exposing to the world.

When you first join up to Google Buzz, you get a screen that shows you the people you’re automatically following, and who is following you. It doesn’t make clear that this information is visible to others, nor is it clear how to change the settings. If you go to your normal Google settings (at least for me) there is no ‘Buzz’ tab where I can manage all my privacy settings. Instead you have to ferret about in the interface in order to find the different privacy settings.

This is just not good enough. Right now, I can’t even find half the settings that I saw earlier. I found them through clicking on all the links I could see until I got to the page I wanted: This is the sort of usability mistake that Google should not be making.

Privacy problem 3: People can hide themselves from you
One of my followers is anonymous to me.

Google Mail - Buzz - Followers

This is completely appalling. I should be able to see exactly who is following me, and not have them be able to hide themselves from me. The opportunity for abuse here is huge – ex-boyfriends stalking their ex-girlfriends, bosses spying on their employees, random internet trolls watching their victims.

Anyone can get my email address – it’s out there on the web. It has to be, because I’m a freelance consultant and people have to have a way to get hold of me. This means that anyone can hide their profile and I won’t know who they are or why they are following me on Google Buzz. This is creepy in the extreme.

It also means that I can’t block that person. In order to block someone, you need to go to your follower list, click on their name and then click ‘Block’.

Blocking someone on Buzz

If I can’t see a follower’s name, I can’t go to this page and I can’t block them. Huge fail.

Privacy problem 4: Mobile Buzz can publish your precise location, but gives no option to make it fuzzy
If you have a browser on your phone, you may be able to use the mobile version of Buzz. When you open it up, it asks if it can use your location. Say yes to this, and your precise address will be published at the bottom of every Buzz you create. It doesn’t give you a choice in terms of how detailed you want to be, you can’t say ‘London’ or ‘UK’, it just determines your street address to the best of its ability and uses that.

This issue was highlighted by Molly Wood over on Cnet, and is as unhappy about it as I am. Molly has an Android, and her experience was this:

When you first visit the mobile app on your Android phone and attempt to post something, you’ll be asked whether you want to Share Location or Decline. The “Remember this Preference” box is prechecked too, so be sure you’re ready to have everyone know right where you are, whenever you post to Buzz. At minimum, uncheck the Remember button so you can decide whether to reveal your location post by post.

On the iPhone, there’s no “Remember this Preference”, so you are asked every time you open the site. You can turn location on or off on a per-Buzz basis very easily, so it’s not as bad as it sounds like the Android is, but the lack of choice about level of detail is dreadful.

If you do publish your location, you are not just publishing it to those people following you on Buzz, you are also, by default, also publishing it to everyone who is geographically close by. The ‘Nearby’ tab on the mobile Buzz site gives you a list and map view of everyone who has published a location that is within a certain distance. Again, this is fine if that’s what you want, but it shouldn’t be the default. You can, on a per post basis, set your privacy settings to “private”, but you don’t seem able to set that globally via the iPhone.

Once you have published your location you have to delete the Buzz in order to delete your location. You can’t just strip the location off the Buzz.

What’s also annoying is that it asks to use your location every time you open the site up. And every time you open up the Buzz Map. Every time. Lord, that is a real buzz killer.

(Molly flags up some other issues too: The use of photos from her Android that she hadn’t uploaded, and the revelation of her email. Her post is worth reading.)

Privacy problem 5: The opportunities for spammers and PR hacks
Jennifer Leggio has already had PRs spamming her via Buzz (on page 2). Oh dear lord, what a grim thought.

[T]he brand spamming and public relations pitching has already started. It’s bad enough that a lot of these people have my email address, but now they can buzz me just by adding me. (Whether I add them back or not, I found. Was this a glitch?)

The idea that Buzz is going to make me more available to PR people and to spammers, against my will, is not one that fills me with joy. I already get heaps of crap press releases in my inbox, I do not need more of this stuff cluttering things up. The true spammers aren’t there yet, but they will so find a way to abuse Buzz and make the whole thing a horrible experience. And right now, Google seem to be making it easy for them.

Privacy problem 6: Buzz automatically links you to other Google properties like Picasa and Google Reader
Jennifer says:

If you are using Google Picasa and Google Reader yet are not wholly aware of Buzz, you may not realize what you are publishing and promoting to your Buzz stream because you may not know it exists.

Again, would it be so hard to hold off automatically publishing stuff to people’s Buzz streams and make them go through a configuration process before they start publishing anything? Of course, that wouldn’t suit Google, who want as many people to be using Buzz as soon as possible. They don’t have a new tool here, they are just integrating Jaiku, whom they bought in Oct 2007, into Gmail. (Wait! What? It took them over two years to think of this?) So they don’t have a really compelling reason for people to change from Twitter or Facebook or FriendFeed. Buzz is not a killer app, it’s a mess. A TGF.

In conclusion
I haven’t even begun with the usability problems Buzz has. How poorly considered the interface is. How annoying it is when your Buzz stream is flooded with someone’s Google Reader output. But I do have a cure:

Go to the bottom of your screen and click “Turn off Buzz”.

turn buzz off

That should pretty much solve the problem. Google can get back to me when they’ve hired someone who actually understands social functionality and, y’know, people, and has fixed the awful usability and privacy problems. As Steve Lawson said:

There’s a reason why I don’t keep a ‘who I’ve emailed this week’ page going on my blog, and it’s not just cos it would be dull as shit.

UPDATE: 12 Feb 2010, 10am
Google have responded very rapidly to users concerns regarding Buzz. In a blog post on the Gmail Blog comes the news that they are making changes to the way that Buzz works and will be rolling those changes out soon.

The changes they are making are:

1. More visible option to not show followers/people you follow on your public profile
2. Ability to block anyone who starts following you
3. More clarity on which of your followers/people you follow can appear on your public profile

My advice to all new Buzz users would be:

  1. Edit the default list of followers that Buzz suggests when you first join the service. Make sure that you are only following people you want to follow.
  2. Decide if you want that list to be public. If you are in any way unsure, make it private.
  3. Keep an eye on who is following you, and use the block functionality if you find someone following you who makes you uncomfortable in any way
  4. Edit your public profile page and make sure you are happy with the information it displays. The minimum Google will accept is a name.

Having used Buzz already, I can’t check what the defaults are on initial sign-up now, but I’m hoping that Google has made some better choices about default levels of privacy. It would be better if Google doesn’t automatically tie Buzz into its other properties, but asks people to choose that up front. It will certainly be good to be able to see (and block, if I choose) everyone who is following me, not just those with public profiles.

There’s still no word on fuzzy location on the mobile app. My personal preference is not to use geolocation apps, but that’s just my own squickiness. I might use it more if I could set the level of detail in my location, e.g. “London” as opposed to a street address.

Now, if Google gives us the option to spin Buzz off out of our inbox and into a separate app, I might be more inclined to give it another go. But keeping it in the inbox is still a dealbreaker for me. I have enough problems managing my email already, I don’t need Buzz to add to the cognitive load.

I doubt that Google will separate them, though. Just read their opening paragraph where they coo over how many users they have. That’s why they did it like this: It gave them an immediate user base that they probably would not have got if they had launched it as a stand-alone service. My friend Max said to me on Twitter yesterday:

Wave is a separate app that should have been part of GMail, Buzz is part of GMail and should have been a separate app…

And I think he pretty much nailed it there. Buzz still feels uncomfortable in my inbox, but at least Google are making some progress towards clarity and better privacy controls for users. Here’s hoping the solve the other problems soon.

UPDATE: 12 Feb 2010, 1pm
Jessica Dolcourt of Cnet has put together a very clear guide on how to opt-out of Buzz. Turning it off doesn’t purge your profile or stop people following you, so a few more steps are needed.

CIO Magazine: Social networking stands to benefit businesses

I got back from holiday to discover that my article for CIO Magazine, Social networking stands to benefit businesses, is now up online. Here’s the opener from it:

Mention social networking and most people immediately think of sites like Facebook, MySpace or Bebo which let people create lists of friends, send messages to each other, share photos or music, join groups with like-minded-individuals and just generally keep in touch.

Images of industriousness rarely spring to mind, yet many organisations have realised that it’s not all just super-poking and games of Scrabulous, and want to use their own social networks for the benefit of their businesses.

The potential for social networking tools to connect huge numbers of people has been clearly illustrated. Companies want to harness that power themselves, and not just for marketing or recruitment, but also for internal communications and collaboration.

One HR executive recently, rather mournfully, said to me, “Fifty per cent of our staff are on Facebook. Why can’t we get that kind of buy-in?” Although Facebook is primarily a tool for organising your personal life, people also use it for business and, increasingly, companies realise that they have to provide such tools internally or else employees will communicate over the web, potentially risking sensitive company data.

Another significant driver pushing companies to adopt social networking tools is the need to locate expertise within companies whose employees are dispersed across many locations and time zones, a problem exacerbated by restructured offices that emphasise teleworking and hot-desking. It was this, along with the emergence of Web 2.0, that formed the backdrop to IBM’s exploration of social networking.

Read the rest on the CIO Magazine site.

CIO Magazine: It’s not just Facebook

My article about social networking, It’s not just Facebook, has been published in this month’s CIO Magazine.

In it, I talk to Alastair MacKenzie and Brendan Tutt from IBM about how they transformed their internal phone directory into something much more useful and interesting using tags. John Meakin from Standard Chartered Bank tells me about how his company is using the Facebook app WorkBook to create an internal social network. Kevin Marks from Google discusses how he keeps track of the people he meets and talks to as the Developer Advocate for OpenSocial. I also hear from a woman – who asked to remain anonymous – who had a less than pleasant experience when her colleagues, and her bosses, flocked to Facebook.

All in all, it’s 2000 words of social networky goodness that you should seek out at the earliest possible opportunity! (Before you ask, it’s not available on the CIO Mag site, but I’ll look into putting it up here in due course.)

Why isn’t social software spreading like wildfire through business?

Andrew McAfee asked a deceptively simple question to a panel at Enterprise 2.0 last week, “If Enterprise 2.0 tools and approaches really are so beneficial and powerful, why haven’t they spread like wildfire?” He was surprised that no one fingered management as the culprits.

In their initial responses all of them identified users, not bad managers or inadequate technologies, as the biggest barriers to faster and deeper adoption of Enterprise 2.0. Entrenched practices and mindsets, some degree of technophobia, busyness, and the 9X Problem of email as an incumbent technology combine, they said, to limit the pace of adoption. These factors slow the migration from channels to platforms and necessitate continued patience, evangelism, and training and coaching.

I didn’t expect the panelists to say that the Enterprise 2.0 tooklit is so incomplete as to hinder adoption, but I was a bit surprised that none of them identified management as a real impediment in their first round of comments. So I pressed the point by saying something like “I didn’t hear any of you point the finger at the managers in your organizations. Were you just being polite, or are they really not getting in the way of Enterprise 2.0? The new social software platforms are a bureaucrat’s worst nightmare because they remove his ability to filter information, or control its flow. I’d expect, then, that each of you would have some examples of managers overtly or covertly trying to stop the spread and use of these tools. Are you telling me this hasn’t happened?”

That is in fact what they were telling me, and I didn’t get the impression that they were just being diplomatic. They said that managers were just another category of users that needed to migrate over to new ways of working, and not anything more. In other words, the panelists hadn’t seen managers in their organizations actively trying to impede Enterprise 2.0.

I think the issue is far more complex than a simple “Is it the management?”. The IT department, for example, has become a common source of no, and issues around legal and compliance can scare people off. But management exert a strong and inescapable influence on how well social media is adopted in business.

Firstly, I have indeed come across managers who have refused point blank to use social software, who have actively campaigned against its use and have told their teams that they are not to use it. Whilst managers that vocal are rare, they do exist.

I have also seen managers who have damned the tools with faint praise, ostensibly supporting their use, but undermining them by planting seeds of doubt about things like how safe the data is or how long the tools will be around. These people talk up the tools in meetings, but never actually use them, so they give off mixed messages to their teams who then feel uncertain about what they should and shouldn’t do. If someone feels uncertain about a new tool, the chances are that they will avoid it or will interact with it only half-heartedly. This damages adoption just a surely as open hostility and is much more common.

More insidious – and much more common – are the indifferent managers. They are not vocal, and maybe not even all that negative about social media; they just aren’t interested in it. They may show up for coaching sessions, but they won’t bother using the tools, and they won’t encourage any of their team to use them either. They won’t complain, they’ll just ignore what they don’t want to engage with.

Now, in some ways these people are just “users” who need to be persuaded of value of using social tools, but to describe them that simply is to miss the point – managers have a subtle (and sometimes, not so subtle) power to either encourage or discourage their teams to behave in a certain way. They set the culture in their team, and the adoption of social media is about culture and behaviours rather than technology.

Managers who show disinterest are broadcasting a message to their team that new tools are of no value, and so they will dampen interest amongst people who actually are keen to learn and use new software, even to the point of stopping that person going to a training session or using the tool for their own work. This kills off grassroots adoption in a very quiet, subtle, almost unnoticeable way. You won’t here these people complaining. You won’t hear them talk about social software at all, but they can have a powerful effect on the success of a new tool.

But the main way that managers hobble the adoption of social tools is through simply not thinking it through, not considering what they are doing and why. They don’t provide the right sort of coaching or support, and then they wonder why people aren’t using the tools. They chuck up some blogs or wikis and hope that ‘nature will take its course’ and that people will just see the light and start using them. That, of course, doesn’t happen because not everyone has the time or the inclination to investigate new tools.

Once the early adopters – the people who are naturally curious and experimental – have discovered and started using social software, growth slows because just as in tech product marketing, there is a chasm between early adopters and the mainstream user than needs to be deliberately bridged. Businesses who have not thought about how to bridge this gap will find that adoption slows, stops, and then sometimes starts to contract. (Particularly if your key evangelists leave.)

Why doesn’t social media spread like wildfire in business? Because few people provide the tinder for a spark to ignite. Disinterested managers act like firebreaks, hostile managers act like rain, and managers giving off mixed messages act like firefighters pouring water on otherwise susceptible land. If you want a wildfire, the conditions have to be right for it to burn, which means thinking harder about what you’re doing.

Suw is holding a seminar on the adoption of social tools in business on June 27 2008. Deadline to sign up is June 25.

Fruitful Seminars: Making Social Tools Ubiquitous

Lloyd Davis, Leisa Reichelt and I have been spending a lot of time plotting just lately, and the result of our machinations was the creation, at midnight in a semi-derelict Gothic mansion and with the help of a bolt of lightening, of Fruitful Seminars. The three of us will be putting on a number of day-long seminars on various Web 2.0 subjects over the next few months, starting on 27 June with my session, Making Social Tools Ubiquitous:

Many companies have heard that social tools, such as wikis and blogs, can help them improve communications, increase collaboration and nurture innovation. As the best of breed tools are often open source, it is easy and cheap to experiment with pilot projects. But what do you do if you don’t get the level of engagement you’d like? And how do you progress from a small-scale pilot to widespread adoption?

This seminar, run by social media expert Suw Charman-Anderson, will take a practical look at the adoption of social tools within enterprise. During the day you will be lead through each stage of Suw’s renowned social media adoption strategy and will have the opportunity to discuss your own specific issues with the group. You will have access to one of the UK’s best known social media consultants in an intimate setting – with no more than 9 people attending – that will allow you to get the very most out of the day. By the end of the seminar you will have a clear set of next steps to take apply to your own blogs or wikis.

Perfect for CXO executives, managers, and social media practitioners who want to know how to foster widespread adoption of social tools in the enterprise. Perhaps you have already installed some blogs or wikis for internal communications and collaboration, but aren’t getting the take-up you had hoped for; or have successfully completed a pilot and want to roll-out to the rest of the company.

We’re keeping the sessions very small, with a maximum of nine people attending each one, so that everyone has the opportunity to fully take part in discussions. Sessions will be quite practical and participants will be able to really get into the nitty gritty. I think that’s something that’s really missing from conferences and the bigger workshops – you don’t get the chance to really get down and dirty with what’s relevant to you. I want people to come away from my seminar with a really clear idea of what they are going to do next, and how they are going to do it.

Registration is already open – it’s very easy to sign up and payment can be made by PayPal or cheque/bank transfer. The fee includes lunch, tea and coffee.

Any questions? Just ask!

UPDATE: We’ve also now got a Google Group mailing list for news, announcements and discussion of Fruitful Seminars topics and events. The group is open to everyone, so do join up if you’re curious or interested.

Bored of Facebook?

Not a question I can answer, as I’ve managed with no little effort to avoid joining, but I know more than one person who might agree with this (via Reportr):