Are you ready to take the plunge into Twitter ?

Posted on : 07-05-2011 | By : jo.rose | In : General News

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For those of you lucky enough to have fought your way to the British coastline over the blistering Easter weekend, you may well have taken your first glorious dip of the year (unless you are blessed with the insanity gene that persuades you to jump in the sea on New Years Day). So how far did you get? Paddle to the ankles? Wade in to the hem of your shorts or dive right in forgetting to take off your sunglasses first?

Chances are that you at least dipped a toe, curious to know what it was like but still too cautious to commit to the unknown so publicly. And so it is with Twitter, a great big sea of information, entertainment, opinions and potential that everyone else seems so comfortable with but that you are steering well clear of until you know exactly what you are in for, and what is in it for you.

I would wager that if we could all guarantee to emerge from the sea with the elegance of a Bond star, dignity intact, then many more of us would have taken the plunge, but the risk of scrambling from the water wobbling, wheezing and freezing in front of such a big audience was enough to keep us on dry land. It is the openness and accessibility of Twitter that makes it so magnificent and so terrifying at the same time. It feels like there is no-where to practice, no-where to paddle, and unless you are bold enough to really join in you can be left literally floating in the Twitterverse, unsure of how you got there and why no-one is listening to you.

So allow me, if you will to be your Twitter water wings. The benefits both personally and for your business are well worth investing a little time before you start and the best way to recognise how Twitter can benefit you professionally is to begin to use it personally.

Paddle:
Set up an account using your own name if possible or a username that is short and easy to remember. It is important to upload a photo and complete your bio to say something interesting about yourself. Bios are searchable and are the first thing anyone looks at so remember to include your website, blog or LinkedIn profile.

Don’t lock your profile as social networks only work if you are, well, social. Your Twitter experience will be extremely limited if only a selected few can find you.

Find and follow interesting people and your timeline will be full of interesting content. Watch how people use Twitter to see what works and what doesn’t.

Follow at least 100 people to guarantee interesting and regular material in your timeline. Follow only celebrities and you’ll have PR puff, but combining a little showbiz gossip with headline news, thought leaders, business columnists, friends and people who inspire you will create your own personal daily newspaper for which you are the editor.

Don’t feel as though you have to follow everyone who follows you unless you feel they are going to enrich your timeline. Many people are simply trying to raise their own ‘follower’ numbers. It is a cliché but think quality, not quantity.

Float:
Hang around for a while before starting to tweet. You can benefit greatly from Twitter as a ‘lurker’ without posting a single tweet or having a single follower.

It helps to listen first and then join the conversation. Put in selected search terms so you can listen to what people are saying about topics you are interested in.

Edit who you are following according to who you are enjoying and who you find irritating or irrelevant. You are perfectly entitled to ‘unfollow’ someone just as are they entitled to ‘unfollow’ you.

Dive in:
Think before you tweet. Assume everything is public and permanent so always be polite, friendly and professional. Don’t say anything on Twitter that you wouldn’t say in public or wouldn’t want quoted by the press.

Be open, honest and authentic by sharing interesting content and tweeting regularly. Be yourself and remember, don’t just brag or broadcast, it is a conversation.

Keep your tweets short so that others can retweet them and add their own comment. Be careful not to use too many abbreviations however as you don’t want to sound like an illiterate teenager.

When retweeting always give credit where credit is due and acknowledge the original creator or the source it came from.

Stay within the buoys:
Familiarise yourself with your company’s social media guidelines so that you know your limits. Don’t bring your business into disrepute nor give away confidential information and criticise your boss or colleagues.

Inevitably, such a public forum can inspire debate and occasional disagreements. Stay respectful, maintain a dignified dialogue and take any disagreements offline

Don’t tweet too much and never tweet when angry or drunk.

Enjoy yourself:
Share the fun stuff and reply to people you find amusing or interesting.

Search for hashtags (eg. #royalwedding) to find witty commentary and opinion. It is always good to start the day with a giggle on your commute.

Applaud and recognise achievement in others. Everyone likes to be retweeted and feel that their content or comment is valuable.

Employ common sense and only a pinch of healthy cynicism and Twitter will quickly become as natural to you as checking emails. So what is stopping you? Come on in, the waters lovely!

Contributer: Jenni Wardle – Jenni@ultrasocial.co.uk

Clouds, Grids & Meters – The commoditisation of computing. Are there blue skies ahead?

Posted on : 07-05-2011 | By : richard.gale | In : Cloud, Data, Innovation

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In the last year or so Cloud technologies seem to be everywhere, every bank’s technology department is desperately building private clouds, and most vendors are re-badging  their services as Cloud products.

Cloud computing is advertised on television &  the Underground in London – even my mum knows about the Cloud.

Gartner’s Hype Cycle shows Cloud technologies are currently near the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and are ready to fall into the ‘Trough of disillusionment’.

Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2010 (c) Gartner Inc

Cloud computing is and will be a significant part of the future of computing technology – basically because it makes sense to utilise only what you need when you need it – as you do with electricity, water and gas.

Without the hype Cloud will become a utility.  Why would anyone want to spend money on hardware, infrastructure, real-estate, support, licences and resources when there are computing utility companies out there ready to supply you with reliable, secure computing power on demand from their extensive, global grid.

We think a couple other references from the supply of utilities and the market place are crossing over to the computing world:

Metering

 

The location of a electricity meter within your home is a given. It provides both you and the supply company with common reference point the amount of power consumed.

In most IT organisations the usage processing power is more granular, it is generally bought by the server, the processor or maybe a proportion of the machine and charged whether the power is utilised or not. This is changing with the provision of first virtualised and now cloud based services but does metering make sense in this context?

A number of challenges need to be addressed in order for this to work. Your household supply is generally from one provider supplying all the power. The electricity company itself will purchase power from multiple suppliers and sources but you have one retailer.

With Cloud there are multiple vendors potentially both internal and external to your organisation that want to supply you directly with computing resources. It is likely the larger organisations would have more than one supplier for different purposes, pricing or risk mitigation purposes – the hybrid cloud.

There are opportunities here for service companies to provide the metering capability whilst managing the wholesale suppliers of computing – this model could result in better prices for clients as the metering company’s bulk purchasing power should drive the ‘cost per CPU tick’ down.

Smart metering is currently a hot topic in the utilities world and a convergence of computing, electricity & other utilities is likely in the near future.

­­­Virtual Marketplace and Exchanges

 

Amazon constantly innovates to provide new services and products which has kept it the number one online retailer for years. The success of the ideas varies but the introduction of a virtual marketplace where other vendors can sell using the Amazon site now provides a significant slice of revenue for the company.

Could this be applied to computing power & resources? There is no reason why not – sellers of product could advertise their products and organisations could ‘click and buy’.

As these products are commoditised then the next logical step is the construction of a Cloud Exchange with many buyers and sellers in the market with a constantly changing price depending on demand and supply. A futures market of computing power with derivatives trading on trends and market intelligence would surely follow.

Cloud computing is growing significantly and Forrester expect it to expand from $40B today to $240B by 2020 (differing slightly from the Gartner view) with the significant part of that Software as a Service. We think that Business processes as a Service are the area where a significant advantage can be created from the Cloud and are currently working with our partners to build a strategy to progress this.

It will be interesting to see if and how far organisations will use the cloud for their core revenue generating applications – currently the appetite is very limited due to concerns over security, control & reliability as highlighted in Amazon’s cloud recent outage.

Concerns over hidden costs (such as transition/migration costs, architectural changes & integration aspects) are starting to rise as maturity of the model progresses.

The book is open on how long it is before Cloud becomes so part of the normal world that it ceases to be mentioned – on the ‘Plateau of Productivity’ in Gartner’s words.