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Sovereignty and the Internet

Add this to your list of parties spoilt by the Internet revolution: national sovereignty.

We all know that the borderless nature of the Internet is stretching longstanding technical and legal definitions. But recently, my colleague Richard Aceves and I got to talking about the mish-mash that social media is making of culture, language, and national identity. It should come as no surprise that cultures and languages are being diluted by the global online discussion, in the same way that the advent of television and radio had a dampening effect on certain regional spoken colloquialisms and accents. Richard will examine some cultural questions in a forthcoming blog post, while I’ll be discussing the psychological impact on national sovereignty.

Judging by the proliferation of Internet policies and legislation, it is pretty clear that bureaucrats and politicians in capital cities around the world are worried that the Internet (with special thanks to social media) is simultaneously eroding both their authority and their national identity. Read More »

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Hurricane Sandy: A Lesson in Social Collaboration

February 12, 2013 at 6:00 am PST

Like many others in the Northeast US, I was personally affected by the impact of Hurricane Sandy this past November.  Aside from the lessons it taught me about disaster preparedness, it also highlighted some very salient ways that social collaboration can be used and why social is truly becoming the next wave of collaboration.  And while my story is one of a personal nature, these principles apply to the enterprise.  They re-inforce the ideas that social collaboration has real benefits.

Let me start with the numbers to paint the picture:

  • Days without cell phone coverage: 4
  • Days without electricity:  14
  • Days without cable / internet:  17

For those 2+ weeks in November, I was operating in survival mode and my greatest source of interaction and information was through social collaboration tools -- primarily Facebook and Twitter -- when I was able to find a location with Internet access.  With my examples below, I hope to show how social collaboration was used to help in a number of ways during that difficult time and also attempt to draw the parallels to an enterprise setting.

Read More »

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Better Customer Service through Collaboration

February 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm PST

Good news: Customers are becoming people in 2013. It’s prediction season. The blog world is ripe with posts of premonitions and predictions for every horizontal, vertical, and diagonal cross-section of business, science, and life in general.

The year’s predictions for customer service have a strong focus on people and experience. Look back just two years and you’ll see a greater emphasis on the process and operational pieces of the puzzle. Then, customers were essentially the sum of their activities and accounts. Today, they’re people and need to be treated as such, especially with the power that social media affords them to share opinions, feedback, and feelings about their interactions as your customer. (Feelings? Not those! Can I even mention those in a corporate post?!)

Some common phrases pop up in this year’s predictions: experience, multichannel, social media, differentiation, personalization, collaboration.

Contact centers are moving beyond transactions to relationships. Service is becoming a competitive differentiator. Creating more interactive and collaborative customer relationships is making a difference. Customer satisfaction is about more than making sure the customer gets the product and that the product works. It’s about creating loyalty so that customer comes back and becomes your advocate.

How can collaboration technology help along the way? The following use cases provide several options and benefits: Read More »

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Pinning Down Pinterest Best Practices

Oh the joys of pinning new ideas, trends, videos, and so much more on Pinterest! I’ll admit it…I have a little obsession, racking up thousands of pins between professional and personal Pinterest accounts.

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Use Pinterest best practices to create more meaningful conversations and increase followers.

Just like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media channels, Pinterest has its own culture and communication style. After countless hours of reading, pinning, and repinning throughout the past year, I’ve recorded some Pinterest best practices and etiquette tips to share with you.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Streamline content (Some Pinterest accounts have a board for every topic, but only have a few pins. Make it interesting for followers by providing broader range board topics that they can follow rather than segmenting topics too specifically. And try not to create empty boards until you have items to post to them.)
  • Leverage social channels (When appropriate, share your pins with Twitter and/or Facebook communities as well. It’s a great way to expand your reach and the conversation.)
  • Use keywords (One of the main features of Pinterest is the ability to search keywords by pins, pinners, or boards. Make sure to take advantage of this feature by using keywords in the descriptions as we do for other social media channels.)
  • Understand policies (Pinterest stirred up quite a bit of controversy regarding siting sources, etc. Take the time to understand Pinterest’s policies as well as your company’s guidelines (if using it on behalf of the brand) to protect yourself.)
  • Joining group boards (It’s flattering to receive invitations to join group boards. However, before clicking the tempting “accept” button, evaluate how many pins you would like to receive from those boards. Getting inundated with pins, from a certain topic each day, may have an adverse effect on your participation!)
  • Share information (Vary the type and format of content you pin to boards. While we all like infographics, they can get a little old on Pinterest if that’s the only thing that’s pinned. Mix it up with videos, case studies, reports, SlideShare presentations (if for business), articles, blog posts, and other types of content. I like to use the 70% new content/30% repins rule of thumb.)

And here are some etiquette tips to keep followers interested and to attract new ones:

  • Site sources (Always include the source, especially for items that have copyrights, etc. If the source is on Pinterest, use the @ format to link to the person/organization.)
  • Include a description (Insert a description, with keywords, to help followers understand the item more clearly, leading to more repins.)
  • Acknowledge comments (I find that 2-way exchanges are still a newer trend on Pinterest versus other social media channels. Since participants are still getting into this feature, it’s important to respond to posted comments. It will go a long way with followers and we can learn from each other!)
  • Pace pins (Space out the number and frequency of pins so that followers do not feel bombarded all at one time. By pacing the pin posts over time, it will also give you the opportunity to share new content without having to do a lot of research work ahead of time. And lastly, try not to duplicate pins. It gets confusing for followers.)
  • Maximize boards (Pinterest is dynamic and social. Leverage it for sharing a variety of information and use Instagram or Flickr for photo postings instead.)
  • Reciprocate information-sharing (Monitor followers and how the content you share is repinned. If you find there are certain followers that consistently repin your content, try repinning their content in reciprocation.)
  • Follow others (The same principles from other social media channels apply to Pinterest. We do not need to follow everyone that follows us. Check on the type of content the new follower pins and evaluate if the content matches your needs and what your other followers are interested in too.)

Lastly, if you are prepping items for Pinterest, here are a few details to consider:

  • Images: Use images in blog posts or other communications to make it easier on Pinterest users to post.
  • Pin Features: Include pinning capabilities as part of your “share” social media icons on websites, emails, and more.
  • Captions: Incorporate a short, but descriptive caption for each photo used to brand information more clearly.

Did the details above “pinpoint” the best practices you were thinking of as well? (Sorry, just had to play on that word!) Do you have other tips you are using as well? I’m interested in reading your insights and learning about the different ways you are using Pinterest too!

And in the meantime, if you are interested in other types of social media training, check out our new complimentary Cisco Social Media Training Program.  Take short on-demand courses or sign up for customized one-on-one team training sessions by emailing ciscosmtraining@external.cisco.com.

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Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day: Recognizing the Dedication of Our Community Managers

It’s that time of year again when we recognize and celebrate the work of so many unsung heroes, the Community Managers. Community Manager Appreciation Day is celebrated globally on the 4th Monday of January and was started back in 2010 by Jeremiah Owyang.

I joined the Cisco Global Social Media team in March of last year and have had the pleasure to work with many of our community managers. A common strength that shines through with all our community managers without a doubt is their dedication.

It’s dedication from Anna Sui, Partner Community Manager that allows 81,000 partners to tap into the Partner Community every month. Anna manages over 100 thriving topic areas and has built an extensive community and subject matter expert network where partners can receive and share latest news, product and program updates.

The Cisco Collaboration Community team, made up of Laura Douglas, Denise Brittin, Lisa Marcyes and Kelli Glass, empowers technical IT audiences in the Collaboration Community to learn about collaboration technologies for businesses through peer and Cisco interactions. Direct daily contact with Cisco Collaboration leaders, product managers, services consultants, technical marketing and Cisco engineers through the forums provides visitors with expert information and trusted relationships. The community also offers Cisco customers the opportunity to become more hands-on in shaping the direction of Cisco Collaboration solutions by joining the Cisco Collaboration User Group (CUG). Over 8000 (and growing) CUG members participate in betas, 1-on-1 feedback sessions with product managers, and “sneak peak” pre-announce product briefings.

The Collaboration and Partner communities above are just two examples, yet I know there are many more fantastic examples at Cisco. I’d like to ask all our community managers to take a couple of moments on Monday and reflect back on the dedication they have shown during the previous year and for them to recognize the amazing job they have done. And feel free to share successes by commenting on this blog post.

For our newer community managers and community managers to-be, I’d like to highlight our recently published Cisco Communities Playbook. Although the process of building an online community can be daunting, the Playbook provides guidance around defining, developing and driving engagement within communities. The Playbook still makes a great read for our veteran Community Managers providing ideas that may not have been considered previously.

As I wrap up, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank ALL of our Community Managers for the amazing dedication they have shown and wish them every success as they continue to drive their communities forward. Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day and please do share how you’ll be celebrating.

#CMAD

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