Enterprise 2.0 – Safely sheathing the double edged sword

Last week I wrote about the double edged sword that is enterprise 2.0. This week I will look at how our major telecommunications provider manages to safely sheath this sword and harness its power.

Telstra is the largest telecommunications provider in Australia with more than 13.8 million mobile subscribers and 2.6 million fixed broadband subscriptions.  Telstra offers a range of services from the aforementioned to being among the first to offer 4G internet, home media solutions such as the T-box, website creation to just about every other conceivable internet / telecommunications service available.

Telstra has a large twitter presence as well as about 150,000 likes on Facebook through which they actually respond to customer questions, complaints and enquiries.  A live chat service was recently launched through a partnership with Facebook  where support is available 24/7 for “customers querying billing or looking to setup new accounts” clearly recognizing that customers often need questions answered outside of business hours.

By utilising a proprietary social networking tool in house Telstra are able to gather mass knowledge and provide employees with an opportunity to communicate in a less formal manner wherever they are in the country.

With great power comes great responsibility… 

Ok so in summary, Telstra is huge. They are switched on about social networking and actively utilse it both internally and externally. They have a responsibility to themselves, their customers, and their investors to utilise social media carefully.

So what legal risks could they face?  For Starters:

Loss and Disclosure of Confidential Information

The sheer number of Telstra customers means that a whole lot of people have displayed licenses for identification, banks statements for proof of residency and an array of medicare cards and other official documentation to make up the points required to prove identification. This information is stored internally on a Telstra database.

Clearly none of this information should ever be disclosed on any social media platform for any reason. It is better to outlaw it all together than to be selective and make a mistake that could be extremely costly.

Organisation’s liability for employee acts of defamation

Telstra actually assigns people to utilize social media tools as part of their jobs and because of this may be held liable for the behavior of those employees on said platforms. This is an area that Telstra takes extremely seriously basing much of its social media usage policy around the three R’s – Representing, Responsibility and Respect.

Telstra should leave absolutely no room for any employees to be anything bar professional, friendly and courteous in their demeanour. Information provided to the public must be accurate and current.

Repuatation Risk

Telstra is one of the most recognisable brands in Australia with one of the highest numbers of customers. It is therefore subject to much public scrutiny because lets face it, when you have 11,000,000 unique customers chances of one of them experiencing poor service at some stage is quite high, people are human and people make mistakes. Web 2.0 means that negativity spreads as fast, if not faster than positivity (people may not necessarily post about a positive experience…). Telstra need to have extremely strict guidelines for what can be done on social media platforms, how it is to be done, when it is to be done, and most importantly, what employees absolutely must not do. Only when employees are operating within pre-defined boundaries is Telstra able to have, and maintain confidence that their reputation will not be damaged.


I am pleased to report that Telstras Social Media Usage Policy actually does approach the above situations in much the same way as I have recommended throughout this blog and has been subject to very good reviews.  By following the guidelines outlined in the policy employees are able to minimise other risks such as wrongful dismissal, discrimination, misleading and deceptive conduct, and infringing upon continuous disclosure agreements. This is truly a case where what is good for the company is also good for the employee.
Telstra take pride in their policy and were among the first Australian companies to make it publicly available.


Do you agree with the 3R’s Social Media Usage Policy implimented by Telstra? Watch these videos here to find out.

Enterprise 2.0 – A double edged sword

There is no doubt that taking the plunge and incorporating web 2.0 tools and applications throughout your organization can be an extremely rewarding exercise.  But… is this always the case? What happens when things go wrong? What happens when the outcome isn’t quite what you expected? What happens when the public turns on you? In this blog I will be looking at both sides of the enterprise 2.0 coin with specific focus on the benefits and risks to organizational reputation.

Firstly, outright success with BlendTec

Who would have thought anyone could make a blender cool, no matter how outside the square you were prepared to think? Well… “Bledtec” manufacturer of blenders / mixers have a cult following on the internet due to a marketing campaign that is outside of the square, a little crazy, and highly effective. They have developed a game show type scenario called “Will it blend?” in which everything from iPhones to Old Spice bottles are thrown into various blenders and reduced to smithereens. Click here  to watch an iPhone get reduced to tiny little pieces. According to chaosmap sales of the Blendtec brand  increased by more than 700% and the demand for blenders has not gone up! With almost 11,000,000 views on youtube and 100,000 likes on facebook blendtec has become the trendy brand to own.

So blendtec achieved:

Improved company reputation – from a little known blender manufacturer to an internet sensation with a cult following on you tube because they decided to dice up iPhones and tennis shoes. Blendtec is now synonymous with quality, innovation and thinking outside the square.

Increased visibility in the market place – I had actually heard of Blentec before INB346, hence this feature. They are a  blender manufacturer on the other side of the world – check out their headquarters in UTAH, USA here. I am not a cook nor do I have any real conceivable need for a blender, I just liked watching a tennis shoe get diced up when I stumbled upon their youtube video. If I, like 11,000,000 other people, decided to buy a blender I would definitely at least price a blendtec model. Blendtec have successfully increased their visibility and appeal to people who have no active interest in their products – Amazing!

Southwest Airlines

Southwest airlines have a policy that states if you do not comfortably fit between the arm rests of the seats in their passenger jets you are asked to purchase two seats, ok fair enough. Southwest airlines also have a strong online presence with over 3 million likes on Face book and advertise many of their sales & promotions through twitter with a very active presence, ok, again, fair enough. But… what happens if a seemingly random fat man is asked to leave the plane at the last second, then later you find out that fat man is Kevin Smith who has over 1,600,000 twitter followers? This happens.

To the credit of Southwest airlines they were on the pulse and responded to the Kevin’s tweet almost immediately (16 minutes) with an apology and indicated that they would like to make things right. However this could not stop the social media catastrophe that would ensue. Kevin fired back without about 6 tweets to every one supplied by Southwest and the end result? Well, “according to Position, a search and social media marketing firm, in a span of six days, the incident generated 3,043 blog mentions, 5,133 forum posts and 15,528 tweets.”

How did this affect Southwest’s reputation? Like this: 

Increased Negative Visibility in the Market place – People who otherwise would not have thought twice about booking with southwest as long as the price was competitive have a lingering image of Kevin Smith being ejected off a flight and being very unhappy about it. Unfortunately there is not a whole lot that south west can do about this, and the figures speak for themselves. Based on this incident alone 38% of respondents indicated that they would no longer fly Southwest, while 26% believed it was poor customer service. This is terrible exposure, not to mention the fact that this took place in the world’s most notoriously obese country!

Decreased company reputation In one foul swoop Kevin Smith harnessed the power of web 2.0 and made SouthWest Airlines famous for targeting and picking on fat people.

What do you think? Would you still fly with south west?

Would you buy a blendtec blender after seeing the iPhone get destroyed?

I look forward to your comments below, and until next week – harness enterprise 2.0 carefully as it is a double edged sword.

So, are you ‘lync’ed up at your work place?

So today at work my systems administrator comes over and taps me on the shoulder and lets me know he is going to be installing an MSN style client on all the PC’s in the work place so that everyone can communicate with each other in a less structured, less formal way. Naturally thiking about this subject I say “that’s excellent” this is enterprise 2.0, you are bringing web 2.0 tools into the business. We actually started chatting about the way different businesses utilise web 2.0 and decided that it would be an excellent experiment to see if it changed the dynamic amongst people at work.

The main difference between the lync software and substitutes like MSN and facebook is that the bosses / managers actually encourage us to use it. So, he installed in – in our department first, and instantly everyone jumps on.

As soon as it was up and running  the atmosphere at work changed. Everyone is talking garbage to each other and just enjoying unmonitored freedom and letting off steam. I have to say that it instantly felt less like work and more like a social atmosphere.

I would walk next door and talk to guys that I had just been ‘lync’ing  with for the last hour about something actually work related and it would make the communication so much more relaxed AND productive!

It was really nice to be able to communicate with co-workers without having to send emails, the response time is much faster, and because it is unmonitored technology people felt more liberated regarding what they could actually write and were themselves. I think that is the best aspect of lyncs introduction at our workplace – it was made very clear to us that the communication would not be monitored. You could speak freely, and directly to colleagues without leaving your seat.

Lets talk a bit about what it actually enabled us to accomplish at work and how it felt.

The interface was a lot like MSN (obviously) it has the same creater, Microsoft. Basically as soon as the application was loaded to our PC’s (a completely effortless exersize) our outlook mailing lists instantly synced with the program and all of our colleages work emails became contacts if we so wished. All of our customers / clients could also be contacts if they are running the same program.

The MSN look, MSN feel, and MSN response time makes it excellent to take the edge off a hard day.  I found that being productive became  fun because I could vent any frustration to my mates all over the company and know that they felt the same! All day you would hear random laughter from other employees and it just made for a much brighter atmosphere.

You can even video link through this software as well as use mics. It’s integration with office and windows is amazing and it’s just an extremely robust app that I think every work place should have. I know that in the coming weeks I will just keep learning more about it and master it like I did with MSN. I thought the introduction of this software at work at this particular time, while I am doing this subject warranted a post of it’s own. More informal web 2.0 communication in the work place I say! Human beings should be happy, not stressed!!

I’m not just surfing the net…I am legitmately being productive… with web 2.0!

Web 2.0 = Greater productivity

This week I will be discussing how I have harnessed web 2.0 in my every day life to make me a more productive human being!

Let’s take for example that horrid, horrid combination of words “Group” & “meetings” *shudder* Yes, they are painful, but also unfortunately a necessary evil at universities around the world.  What if we didn’t have to meet up every week though? What if it was possible for all group members to work on the same document, at the same time, in the same place, without leaving their bedrooms (or family rooms, or cars, or boats). It isn’t that long ago that this would have been merely fanciful daydreaming but, through the utilisation of web 2.0 applications like dropbox  and Skype, we are able to do just that!

Drop box is far more than just an application that allows you to share documents. It is cloud hosted space that is yours, for free. I have downloaded the optional application that runs in windows (with a windows explorer feel) but you can use it via any web browser, or even download the app for android or iOS. When you sign up you are allocated 2GB but you can earn more space by simply spreading the word and referring your friends.  Drop box allows me to invite friends to share folders and all associated content (music, videos, pics, games, any data) and notifies me when an item is added or altered in one of my shared folders. I have used dropbox for every group assignment I have ever submitted and saved myself countless unnecessary trips to university and houses of other group members. I cannot rate this application highly enough!

Ok, so you have the document thing sorted but there are still issues you’d prefer to sort out face to face. Not a problem, use Skype. With a $20 dollar webcam and any microphone and speakers your computer is transformed into a fully fledged video conferencing suite. Through skype you can see one, or multiple contacts and communicate in  a way that resembles actually being in the same room. I relied very heavily on skype for preparation for a consulting competition I entered last semester, and won. I  know that without it we would not have had the chance to practice as a team nearly as often.

As I inserted this picture I thought to myself “really?, do I really need to tell people about this?” I think that in itself is true testament to face book’s place at the top of the social networking tree for most users. Officially it is rated as the number one site by nearly everyone you can think of including the washington post. But why? I have to admit I was among the slow adopters, I have never really been the type of person to do something just because everyone else was doing it. I eventually got a Facebook account in mid 2010 and wondered what had taken me so long. I now have a large network that I communicate with regularly. I keep track of University group assignments through the groups feature, I keep in contact with many old friends that otherwise would not be part of my life, and have actually gained employment through a friend of a friend that I met for the first time through face book. I am able to establish what people are up to in their lives by scanning the facebook feed and if I want to announce something I have an instant audience. It is basically every friend you have ever had at a glance, and that is why I love it.

RSS Readers


Web 2.0 tools and applications provide a plethora of information, sometimes too much to get through in the time I have to scan the different networks I am connected to. To solve this problem I use an RSS reader and you can read about those here. The way I look at my RSS feed is like a filter, I am able to tag what I am interested in and get that information only. I might be interested to know if a work colleague has joined another network via linkedin but care little about Kate baking a cake on the weekend. It really is that simple and saves me a lot of time.


The Instant Messengers

For me there has really only ever been two, first ICQ and then later, much later MSN (and of course facebook chat). ICQ was popular in the United States and Europe in the early 2000’s but it’s popularity slowly tapered off because it was not packaged with windows. Personally, I think it was a better instant messaging tool than the MSN messenger of it’s day – do any of you remember the ‘oh oh’ ICQ notification sound? I utilise instant messengers because they allow for no fuss, limited contact list communication and I find these work best when I am strapped for time or want to contact someone specific, if and only if they are online at that moment.  You have set people that you have invited to become part of your lists and are notified when they are online and can chat . It’s simple, it’s old school and it’s effective. In my opinion these relatively basic tools paved the way for more complex social networking like Facebook, Skype and dropbox.

I increase my productivity through being aware!

Not everyone likes the same things. I am sure we can agree there, so in your group of friends, your university peers, even your work colleagues you will notice that some people use some web 2.0 tools and applications that others would not even consider downloading. Why? … Why is winter cold? People like different things so I make myself available to everyone. I keep up-to-date with what is out there, I know what people use, and I know what I should have installed to connect with the people and places I want to connect with.

Without out web 2.0 tools like those listed above  there is little doubt in my mind that I would have studied something other than IT. It was that social overlap, that feeling of accomplishment, building something, creating something, sharing something that spawned my love of everything ICT. Without utilising web 2.0 tools throuought my university career I would have had to approach assignments in a very different fashion and have no doubt that my GPA would be far less impressive.

A good blog is like a labelled box of chocolates – you know exactly what you are going to get

A recipe for successful blogging

Welcome to my first blog for INB346 – Enterprise 2.0

Throughout the semester I will be blogging my thoughts on social media in both a business and personal context and plan on providing honest, informed insight and reflection.

Through blogging I would very much like to:

  • Establish relationships with like-minded professionals, specifically those interested in information systems consulting, psychology (my minor) and enterprise 2.0
  • Establish a positive digital reputation
  • Examine the way different people react to different technologies from a psychological view point.

So, how does one create a successful blog?                                                                                                                        

My personal blogging strategy is simple, I sat down and thought about what it was that attracted me to blogs by other authors.  What was it that separated the authors I’d read once from the ones I’d take note of and recommend to others?

I came up with the following:

Keep content honest – Part of identifying with an audience is sharing a bit of yourself with every post. If you write like you love something, but really hate it, your audience is smart enough to realize.

Keep it up-to-date and post regularly – How many times have you looked something up in Google, found that someone had actually posted about the same topic,  been excited for a split second, then realized it was last updated in 2006?

Be Informed – Say for a minute that you happen to own a 1986 Mazda Rx7 in the “GTR” variety and know for a fact that it was a model released in japan only (Yes, I love cars). You know that this model came with a sunroof, was turbocharged, and had climate control air-con with a very retro LCD display. You scour the web and find an rx7 blog post telling you that the only ’86 rx7 was the “Turbo II”. You instantly lose all respect for the author because you know that they are clueless.

Positive energy – Some blog posts are designed to ‘poke fun’ at others and that is well and good but no one likes being depressed. If people read your blog and feel unhappy chances are they will not return

Make yourself accessible – If people comment or contact you about a blog post get back to them. You are expanding your knowledge as well as your network!

All killer, no filler – If you write fluff for the sake of a word count or to try and make yourself appear more intelligent people are going to call you on it and move on. Stay on point, if your blog theme is cats, talk about cats!

Links to cool stuff – How much easier is it with embedded links? If you are talking about something cool, and stick a link right here, people can click mid-sentence instead of having to scan the rest of the document.

You need an audience – Write with a target audience in mind, not everyone is going to like your blog – and that’s ok. Interact with your readers and even guest blog to build your reputation and engage a wider audience. Social networking and keyword / search engine optimisation are further tools that can be utilised to gain a wider audience

There is a stack of information available on how to build great blogs, I liked this post by John Chow. Out of the ten or so sites I visited, his was the most unique and one of the most informative.

Examples of good “blogsmanship”

I like http://www.autoblog.com/ – I did say I loved cars didn’t I? The great thing about this blog is that their reviews are accurate, it’s constantly updated and they have excellent opinions (they nearly always agree with me!)

and http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/london-2012-olympics-blog there are a million Olympic Games blogs at the moment, but this one is to the point, accurate, has minimal advertising, and the authors know what they are talking about.

And lastly, http://mindhacks.com/ the range of content here is just unbelievable, thanks largely to the number of contributors. It is an extremely easy and informative read.

See you next week!