The top FreshNetworks Blog posts in 2009

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Image by Adam Foster | Codefor via Flickr

Each month we look at the most popular posts on the FreshNetworks blog. We aim to bring you the best posts in social media, online communities and customer engagement online. Here are the most popular posts from 2009.

1. Google Wave vs Twitter at conferences

There has been a lot of talk and discussion of Google Wave throughout the year as it has spread though invites. For many people the immediate response is: “I’m here; what now?”. In our most popular post in 2009, Charlie looked at one example of how Google Wave can be used to add real value: as a conference back-channel. We show how at the Ecomm conference delegates were provided with Google Wave accounts. What resulted was a fantastic showcase of collaboration and crowd-sourcing.

2. Dannii, Danyl and instant X-Factor feedback

Dannii Minogue, a judge on UK reality TV show X-Factor, lost her mind for a minute live on air. She brought up a contestant’s sexuality when she was meant to be commenting on his performance. Twitter and the social web went wild. The speed of discussion and debate on Twitter, in forums and online communities was striking. This can be beneficial for brands when they are dealing with a potential reputation management issue. Good buzz tracking allows them to monitor social media, identify issues when they arise, understand the sentiment and where people are discussing it. Information is power, it helps brands make decisions about what to do and to do it quickly.

3. Gordon Brown’s YouTube trauma

It seems like a long time ago now, but at the end of April Gordon Brown made a major announcement on expenses for MPs in the UK. And he made it on YouTube first. Here Charlie Osmond looks at why this wasn’t the best idea and why social media isn’t always the right medium for your message.

4. Russian social network Vkontakte.ru plans global roll-out

Russian social network VKontakte (В контакте) serves 1.4 billion page views each day to its 42 million users, and attracts 14 million unique visitors each month. In one of the most engaged and fastest-growing social networking markets in the world, it is a force to be reckoned with. At the start of September, Vedomosti (Ведомости), the Russian business newspaper, reported that VKontakte had registered the domain www.vk.com and plans to begin marketing the social network in twelve new markets globally before the end of 2010. One to watch.

5. Examples of online communities in the retail industry

As part of our series of online community examples,  we looked at examples from the retail industry. Case studies from Wal-Mart, Sainsbury’s and Starbucks.

Google Wave vs Twitter at conferences

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Twitter has quickly become the must-have channel for conference back-chat. Reading what other people tweet during a speech provides an extra dimension as you get a sense of what the audience is thinking. And just like passing notes in class, it’s also a lot more fun than simply sitting and listening. (and empowering - remember that Facebook interview from SXSW’08?)

Twitter is also a great way to attend a conference without actually being there - just follow a conference hashtag (e.g. #smib09 or #figarodigital) and find out all the gossip and the key points from the comfort of your desk.

But watch out Twitter. Google Wave is going to take this digitally-enabled conference back-channel a step further.

At the recent Ecomm conference delegates were provided with Google Wave accounts. What resulted was a fantastic showcase of collaboration and crowd-sourcing. Sprinkeled with a good dose of integrated offline and online real-time social media.   <- way too many social media buzzwords.

Here’s what happened: an audience member would create a Google Wave and others in the audience would edit the wave during the presentation. The result would be a crowd-sourced write-up of the presentation: a transcript of key points and a record of audience comments.
Here’s an example:

1. Audience member starts a Wave

google wave edits

2. Others join and edit the wave as the speaker talks

google wave edit1

3. By the end of the talk there are lots of people using the Wave (their photos are along the top) and the Wave became a complete record of the key points plus audience commnets below.

google wave finished
For this conference the organisers created a Wave directory so that you could find what was said in each presentation.

google wave conference schedule

The organisers also added waves so that the audience could give feedabck about the conference in general and ideas for next year.

google wave conference feedback

It’s worth pointing out that Twitter is still an early-adopter phenomenon, and Google Wave even more so. As a result, whilst I am a complete junkie for following conference tweets, I suspect it’s going to take a couple of years before this goes mainstream. But it will. And the impact on conference organisers and speakers is significant.

And just in case you are new to social media, make sure you check out the other excelent social media platform for conference notes: Slideshare. This is always the best place to find presentations from conferences.

Have you tried following conference tweets? Or waves? If so, have you found them useful? and will augmented reality will be the next major influence?