Groupies

So we’ve launched into Module 4, with a hiss and a roar I have thrown myself at Google Analytics, watched Avinash, dug into the depths of the Squared website and tried to turn the metrics into insights.  There was the hiatus of Christmas which has slowed things up a bit, but tonight, 1 week left of the assignment, I think we may have had everyone from my new group in a hangout. I don’t know, as I don’t know everyone’s name yet.  Bonding this time around has been quite static, I’ve got to know one member as we’ve caught each other online and had a chat. Also we both needed to get our heads back in the game post New Years and rattled some things around last night which was good.

But why has this just got me yearning for my old group? Domus Viridus come back!  There were only 4 of us in the end, but we managed to just crack on and move mountains. I feel if there are too many in the group, it descends into chaos and that is precisely where I feel now with my new group. Too many people, too many opinions, no consistency and no planning. You have to go by consensus in these things, state your point and then what? Back away?

If you have ever been part of a focus group there is always a moderator. They sit slightly to the side, introduce, and then usually just allow the flow of conversation, they keep it on track, throw in questions, and they also stop the dominant loud ones from swaying the conversation/direction/flow of the group. They allow all opinions to be heard. This is even harder when you are working online, via a hangout and a lack of personal interaction.

I know personalities play a huge part, but my desire to hit mute just keeps growing. As it is, I feel there are group members who are drifting and can easily not participate through this entire assignment.

What is frustrating, is that I am loving the analytics side of things. Digging in, focusing on the customer experience, what isn’t working and how we could change it, so I am ensuring I am taking as much knowledge from this assignment as I can. But I am still disappointed with the group dynamics, and it is annoying how this being a group assignment, I feel the final mark for this assignment is a lot further out of my control.

Where to from here? Supposedly we keep the same groups for Module 5, an assignment I know will be a lot more interactive. Guess it’s a watch this space at this rate.

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Another [squared] module down

Whoops, with all the best intentions, these reflections have been left by the wayside.

Module 3 is done and dusted, and my wonderful group Domus Viridis shrunk again to just 4 of us to complete this module. This meant less heads to bounce ideas around with and collaborate for the final assignment, but we did it. No doubt spurred on by our cracking mark from Module 2.

This module was a lot harder than the last, and on something I hadn’t had a lot of experience with… Multi-Channel Marketing.  I think it took a lot longer for everyone to get into this assignment, what with all the changes and craziness going on about the course (but I think that is a whole blog in itself). Also I just struggled to get my head around the assignment, possibly the difficulty of just not being able to talk it out face-to-face probably slowed me down. But I found the little ‘squared bytes’ that they have on the course really really useful, unfortunately the most useful one was placed closer to the end of the assignment rather than at the beginning. Once we had watched that one, things fell into place quite quickly.

So where am I at? For this next module we say goodbye to my old group, and hello to a new group. We have 9 again in this group, which I am part excited about, and part dread. Not the people in it, but the working together via hangout, coordination part of it all. Hopefully it is all smooth sailing, we gel together and pull out some awesome work. This one is all on Google Analytics, I have had a bit of experience with it, and also glad I pushed myself to get the Google Fundamentals Cert a month or so ago as I think that will help immensely.

So the Christmas juggle begins. I know what this month is like, crazy busy and crazy social and group hangouts for the assignment may not be high on the agenda, so here’s hoping it all works out.

G+ Virtual Group Assignments

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It has been a month since I last blogged (doesn’t that sound like a confession) but things are still ticking away with the study.  This module has seen us get into groups for the project of coming up with an awesome innovative and disruptive idea that will make us millions.

It’s been an interesting process, firstly just finding the members of our group.  There were supposed to be 9 people, 1 has dropped out (right at the beginning thankfully), one has popped into the conversation twice (and has been silent now for 2+ weeks), and one is still MIA. Seriously 2 months into a course and you have to start wondering if people want to throw their money away and fail.  At least we have a core of 6, and I’m impressed with our crew.  One of us is based in Tokyo and not only does he get up at 3:50am to join in the course lectures, he then stays awake to join us in our Google Hangouts and chats as we discuss our project. I feel I need to send him some really good coffee because that is dedication. All of us are all juggling jobs, interviews, family and life, but managing to connect online via our private community to get things done.

I am glad that this module is peer reviewed, or else you would wonder how assessments can be made against the MIA crew members.

I’m not going to delve into our project as it’s all due on Friday and it’s a concept that is ‘do-able’, so I’m quite excited by it.  How did we choose? We had a series of good ideas and we voted on a range of factors 1-5 and the top one won.  Quite diplomatic really.

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Anyway I am predicting a late one tonight as the voiceover for the presentation need to be finalised, slides preened and overall presentation looking slick.  Wish me luck.

How long have I been socialising?

I thought it’s timely, and relevant as I am attempting the video part of the assignment to take a look at the pre-Squared me. I have been working in Digital for a while now so I thought I’d check out just how long I have been on some of the main social networks.

Twitter – after a bit of searching I used TwopCharts.com which announced (drumroll please) I joined on 14 April 2008 and have been tweeting for over 5 and a half years.

twopcharts

Next, what about Facebook. Thanks to Facebook Timeline I was able to narrow this down semi-easily, although I couldn’t find my ‘Haylee joined Facebook’ so I am taking it from the first post on my wall which was 27 June 2007. So I figure sometime before that I joined, as it was a friend who posted a picture of me on my wall (bless him, I was young). According to The History of Facebook on Wikipedia, Facebook was opened to the public on 26th September 2006

LinkedIn, with this I found that LinkedIn easily display your joined date. Go to ‘Privacy & Settings’ (click on your photo on the top far right hand side and scroll down). The information is clearly at the top of the page – October 10, 2007.

linkedin join dat

Foursquare

Hayleeforusquare

I used Stormpixel to make an infographic of my foursquare stats, and it looks like I was within the first 1million people to use foursquare, and it also looks like I drink a lot of coffee, and they would be correct #coffeesnob

foursquarestats

Another website I looked at IDEGO, I wanted to find out if I was in fact an early adopter. It lets you login to certain social websites and gives you your stats. So according to Idego, I am user 912,598 for Foursquare and was in the first 1.99% of users. Instagram, I am user 21,540,823 and was in the first 7.52% of users. Twitter I am user 14,383,490 and am in the first 1.14% of users. Woah!

So how long have you been socialising?

I also have my pre-Squared blog, which I took a hiatus from after having my second munchkin, but you are more than welcome to check my other social-eyes.me blog. I will get back to all of that soon though as things begin to ramp up again.

Engagement

Tonight I am on catch up with my Squared classes as I was again dis-connected last week (if you have read my previous blog post).

So, getting social, thinking social, acting social and of course being social. I am enjoying the live format of the classes, I find the newsfeed interesting and frustrating both at the same time. Frustrating in that I find my eyes scrolling up and down as I try to see what and who people are replying to. It’s a bit like okay, there is the answer, now who asked the question and what was it?

But again, the class raised some great points. I have always enjoyed the stats side of things and analytics, so I really enjoyed the video from Eric Qualman, for the non-Squares reading this, it’s below.

This raises a lot of wow moments, $6 billion in virtual goods will be brought by social gamers vs $2.5 billion in real good by movie goers. It made me think about my trips to the movies vs what I am willing and have already paid for in apps, and app extensions from Apple alone. I would feel ripped to pay £7-8 for a drink and some popcorn, but I have spent £2+ for ‘coins’ or other virtual money on certain games with a little bit of a sway, but I’d do it.

But a big part of the ‘Getting Social’ class for me tonight was confirming what I believe about content, and engaging content. How people react to good content, the voice of that content and the responsiveness and ‘genuine honesty’ of the brand in their response.

Using an automated response, if it works and you can pull it off, well done and the funny ones are well, funny and deserving of a good giggle. But when it goes bad, it can go really really bad, Bank of America had a recent twitter #fail in a big way.Bank of america bot

 

And you can read the full twitter feed here… Bank Of America Bot

But then again, there are some ‘Oldies and goodies’ in the auto-bots too thanks to Mashable for this article.

Anyway, must again play catch up, more to read and watch. Signing off.

 

Am I jinxed with dis-connection?

I had no idea when I signed up for this course that I would be having several weeks of dis-connection. This week I have again been thrust cold turkey into digital nowhere. But I am in fact on holiday at Longleat Centre Parcs, but according to T-Mobile I must be closer to outer space than anywhere that should have a reception.

I am one that can switch off, I have a family and time is precious with them and I don’t require my phone surgically attached to my hand. But, that aside some digital connection in my life is valued. So, with no reception, and no 3G, last nights live class was a major miss. Tonight however in an attempt to catch up I have put the kids to bed and biked (yes biked) to the ‘Jardin des sports’ to get wifi access in the warmth. So in between the sounds of pool, air hockey, a loud bar, kids playing, I am being a right geek and hiding away on the IPad. Yep, not even a laptop as I forgot the charger for that.

As wishful as I am that I will make it back down here tomorrow night to watch the live class, I am very thankful this week they are online to watch at a later date, as I am in catch up mode. In fact the way things are if you don’t reply to an email, G+, LinkedIn or Facebook request in at the most a day, then you’re snubbing someone. So apologies to everyone whom I have offended with my dis-connection round 2.

Hhmmm have just seen that there is a Roller Disco in here tomorrow night, and as I am currently seated gazing at the roller area, I will have to find another hidey-hole for tomorrow.

UPDATE: My dis-connection continues… The classes use flash 😦

#superjinxed

Video

My irrational fear of video

Another [Squared] assignment we have is that we have to do a video of ourselves, who we are, what we do, what we want to get out of the [Squared] course.  This one little blip is actually raising my stress levels.

I have voiced my concerns to my cousin who just happens to be staying with me at the moment, who gave me words of encouragement “Just don’t make a d*&k of yourself”, and then “but if you do make a dick of yourself, make such a dick, that you go viral”. Great, no pressure then.

Then she sent me this…just to rub it in a little. So if my 10 month old can do it, then I should just harden up.

A dis-connected world

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As I sit here tonight going through all the forms of digital that are a part of my daily life, I am actually going to talk about being dis-connected, as my most recent experience was quite an eye-opener.

We recently shifted house (yah), after deciding to go for Virgin because we thought it would be quick and easy with the ‘Virgin’ and broadband phone connections throughout the house, I had it in my head we would be 3-4 days, possibly a week max without wifi. This wouldn’t normally be an issue, I have unlimited data on my phone, can hotspot to use the laptop and iPad, it didn’t even register as a concern.

And then, the unthinkable happened… No 3G, only E, and barely at that. Then came the real kick in the guts – most of the house is NO SERVICE and broadband wouldn’t be connected for another 9 days.  With both of us being on the same network, we were effectively completely disconnected. That meant, no texts, no phone calls (unless it rang and I was able to get reception at the front door), and no internet.  The phone and texts were annoying, the lack of any internet nearly took me to the edge. Shifting a house and not being able to login and sort out electricity and gas, ring Virgin to organise a time, check your bank account, change your address (on everything), just search for anything and everything. Where is the nearest B&Q, Ocado (my long lost friend) I actually walked down the road until I got connectivity to do my shopping. My child needs a bed, couldn’t order, needed curtains – couldn’t research, need to register with a new doctor, and dentist – where? Even the basics like meeting friends became difficult as I had to get them to text me the address so I could put it in the GPS in the car (and that was if I could send the text).

I also had no idea what was happening in the world, no BBC, no Facebook, no Instagram, Whatsapp (my connection to family and friends abroad) wasn’t working, I couldn’t even track my run on RunBSX, find the local buses with BusMate, or checkin on  FourSquare. I couldn’t order takeaway as I hadn’t yet collected the pamphlets through the door, couldn’t find out the rubbish collection rules and I realised I only had one game on my phone that doesn’t require connection, and you all need a mind-numbing app that you can just play, so I am now a whizz at Plants vs Zombies. All the kids apps for my son didn’t work, and if I didn’t have several episodes of Peppa Pig on my ITunes downloaded I may have gone over the brink.

What did I do? Enrolled at the library to do research old style, and use the computers there.  It was just plain funny when she told me I could login and book a computer online if they were all busy or I knew I was going to be at the library at a certain time.  Ohhhhh the irony bahahahaa!

TV is a different story, we haven’t had a TV for the past 8 months and it hasn’t been an issue.  We are so totally connected as a family that we watch things online, movies on the computer, ITunes, music or just browsing and reading the news. My children didn’t miss it, my son knows his way around YouTube, and he had apps he loves to play. TV really is something we don’t and wouldn’t miss.

Our lives are increasingly dominated if not controlled by our connectedness. We only really know when we don’t have it. The Virgin man who installed and turned on my internet probably thought I was a little strange at my constant praise of him for just flicking a switch or whatever he did. But my regular HootSuite, Buffer, LinkedIn, Emails, Pinterest, Facebook, EBay and Amazon browsing and even my bank account among others all missed me as I missed the ease of them.

My first musings

September is upon us, for some that means the end of summer and for me it means the beginning of study.  Eek, it has been a while since I have put on my own ‘sorting hat’, but I did it.

I have joined the online community of [squares]. Not geeks or the old school meaning of squares, but a community of digitally minded individuals all about to embark on the study of the digital landscape. Excited? Yes. Apprehensive? Yes. Itchy to get back into it? Yes.

I’m not new to digital, or new to marketing, for many years it has consumed my working life.  I studied Marketing many moons ago, and have worked in it ever since and jumped into the digital sphere when it started emerging in it’s current social form.

So what do I want to get out of [squared] then?

I have the experience, I have dabbled in one day and week long ‘on the job’ courses, but more recently spent a bit of time researching a course that would give me an edge. I want to take the next step from a Marketing Manager role where I am now, into the next level and lead from the top down.  I looked at Masters courses, and other postgraduate diploma level courses, and had my eye on 2 schools in particular as they are well known in the marketing world.

A few years back I started my CIM and in all honesty felt like I was stepping back in time. I was back in a world of newspapers, and print, and the p’s of marketing, digital was emerging but it was minor and didn’t even fit with my work life which was all online marketing. I got bored, didn’t see the relevance and shut the book.

Google [Squared] attracted me as something a little different. Yes, it’s very new, has no reputation, BUT check out the content and the tutors. Tutors on the 2 courses I was already contemplating, this had to be at the forefront of digital, I had to jump on this roller coaster. I did grill Jeffrey (the admissions guy) with a load of questions and was satisfied with the answers (thanks matey). So here I am, the beginnings of my new digital journey, and if you are reading this, you are coming along for the ride.  I hope I don’t bore you, I hope I stimulate you, even if I have no idea why you’d read this random blog.

So, with that, my digital musings have commenced. And with 3 minutes till midnight, I can say that I am looking forward to the 2nd session tomorrow night. So until then…