UXD Research Reading

7 Great books to improve your social media impact

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1. David Meerman Scott 4th Edition, 2013

This has become a bit of a classic, and has gone through multiple editions. However it is still written in a very readable and accessible way. He blogs as well, and this actually helps the make the style of the book very readable. You can tell he has put his opinions out there, and received feedback and discussion and them. Consequently the book reads better for it. It has also evolved over time, particularly because in the 3rd edition he speaks about not using LinkedIn. However if you look him up now on LinkedIn it’s clear he has embraced the network with over 500 LinkedIn connections. Recognising the value of promoting your brand across a number of key social media channels.

Twitter handle : @dmscott

Website http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/

You can also sign up for an email newsletter, which has had some good links to interesting items.

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2. Going Social, Jeremy Goldman, 2012

The case studies start to become familiar after a few of these books, but this is a good read, well written. Making the case well for why it’s strategic for companies to engage with social media outlets, rather than attempt to silence or hush up negative news. This does require more work for companies, but it does offer the opportunity for those with the best customer engagement to do better than those that do not.

@jeremarketer  [tough on the eye home page ]

jeremygoldman.com

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3. Socialnomics, Erik Qualman, 2nd edition, 2013

This is great, and also more relevant because it has been updated too. Social media strategies is a rapidly evolving area, so a second edition helps to keep the book more relevant. He has tried to slightly future proof the content, by focusing on strategies, and then ensuring that the case studies are not too dated. It is well written, and a good read, though perhaps the content relating to Obama’s 2008 election campaign has now become a little passe. Sure it worked to beat McCain, but 6 years on, the same strategies might not be so effective, and the impact of the topic is weakened by Obama’s subsequent mixed record while in office.

@equalman

http://www.socialnomics.net/ 

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4. Velocity, The seven new laws for a world gone digital, Ajaz Ahmed & Stephen Olander, 2012

A book as a conversation between two ‘dudes’. It’s a quick read, nominally 250 pages, several of the pages, are single line requotes of lines from the text that you have already read, or are just about to read. Sure we all like turning the pages a little quicker. Maybe they ran out of things to say, and maybe it should have just been a shorter book. That said, they both know there stuff, and it still had interesting ideas. Nike aims to not just keep up with it’s competitors, but to push the boat out, and aim to be different, and ‘go long’ and go hard. Better to over reach, and recover if needed, rather than be too conservative and make little to no impression. This makes sense when you have to compete with Red Bull and other products and brands, where, if your content isn’t interesting, it won’t be passed around social network channels. I found it useful, and hey, as I said, it will do you for a short break flight!

It’s  a little hard to find a twitter or website reference for either the authors or the book, which does support the feeling of it being a little tossed off by two friends shooting the breeze a little bit, though after a bit of digging I did find them.

@Ajaz  Ajaz Ahmed

@soland  Stefan Oland

http://velocitylaws.com/ – this section on the books they read is useful http://velocitylaws.com/inspiration/

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5. Understanding Digital Marketing, Second edition,Damian Ryan, Calvin Jones, 2012

Also an updated version, and similarly it makes sense, as so much has changed so quickly. This makes a good contrast to the David Meerman Scott and similar books, in that while they are very good, the US market is never exactly the same as the European one, particularly the UK and Ireland. Whereas this book is written by some one based in Chiswick, London (! nice place, just shame it’s so expensive to still live there) and West Cork (beautiful, but remote). This helps to make the examples and analysis much more relevant to our Dublin-centric view of things. It’s also written well, and as with the other books too, it helps that the ideas were honed over a series of evolving articles, helping them to view and reconsider what they had written.

@WriterCJ

Calvin Jones’s blog http://blog.cjwriting.com/contact-me/

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6. SEO made easy, Evan Bailyn, 2014

Does what it says on the tin. It’s well written, about treading that line between not using black hat SEO tactics, which will get you down rated by the google search algorithms, and yet still gaming the system within the boundaries given. Overall, the aim of the ever evolving google algorithms is to move towards reward those sites with the best, most relevant, most recent content, and the best links to the most reputable other sites. However, as every one is, or should, be trying to do this, this book does help to try and enable readers to optimise their own performance within this battle field. Good read, and not too long to get through either.

@ineffable111

http://www.evanbailyn.com/

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 7. Purple Cow, Free prize inside, All Marketers Are Liars, all Seth Godin, 2003, 2004, 2005

This is just a selection of Seth Godin books you could be reading. He is pretty prolific, most of them are pretty good, they are all pretty quick reads, and make for some light reading after some of the previous, great, but slightly denser books, These 3 are some of his better ones, they have a clear idea to get across, and do it well and entertainingly.

@ThisIsSethsBlog

http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/

He also posts almost daily from his blog website too.

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I don’t want to seem strange, but I still want to try them. 8 Reasons to try Google Glasses

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We’ve followed the blogs of ambivalent users.

https://plus.google.com/+Scobleizer/posts/1UfNLdZAN4h

We know that you can be pretty creepy in them.

http://mashable.com/2014/04/01/google-glass-public-image/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link

 

But ……….

much like fish may not need bicycles, they may still be getting them anyway, and so, here goes

8 Reasons it might be useful to try them out

1. Gotta nasty feeling it’s coming either way.

All this critics out there, with their daily smart phone use, are basically already using less than optimal wearable computing already.

2. Get in there, get informed, say how it could be done better.

We all know examples of poor design that we have had to live with for decades, because no one pointed out to the designer at the time how they could have made it better first time around.

3. If you can see how it can be done better, maybe you will make something better

We are continually standing on the shoulders …, it’s very hard now to make something completely new, but it’s very easy to improve on what’s come before. Take it, break it, make it (better).

4. There are moments when it would be easier to just snap that moment as it’s happening

Looking for the camera, taking off the lens cap, even holding out the camera phone, all create barriers to capturing the optimal image you are currently seeing. It’s a challenge to capture spontaneity, this could remove one more barrier.

5. You will think of visual moving moments when it could be fun to try it out – eg extreme sports

You maybe saw the cool footage of the bmx kids cycling down the hill through narrow village streets, well it could be interesting to snag some of your own cycle, ski, roller blade down hill too. Wing suits as well.

6. It could be great for those IKEA flatpack constructions?

Get the instructions, download them onto the glasses, have it there in front of you

7. What’s that plant in the green house, is it a weed?

If you could say, google glass images, take photo, do a google images search, identify leaf …, and make sure you’re weeding the right ones

8. Stream 2014 World Cup matches while in DSA lectures and IP meetings!

Just try not to cheer or groan, as England make their predictable early exit from the World Cup.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Wired Magazine, UK & US rocks : a great resource for uxd research

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Wired Magazine continues to be a great resource in future trend spotting.

I saw my first copy at the Trinity Science Gallery, in Dublin, three years ago.  As I looked at the magazine, a subscription form fell out and I was hooked. I’d like to say I bought a copy there and then, but I wouldn’t want to go to the lie detector on that one. Knowing magazines in Ireland have a massive mark up, I promptly sent the subscription form to a trusted contact in the UK (ok, ok, yes it was my mother!).

Since then I have been inspired, educated and entertained by  Wired. The kids, 11 now, and younger, also take great pleasure at alternating between the Beano and Wired, looking at pictures of robots, spaceships, nano creations and everything else visual in the magazines.

Then, only a few months ago, we went past the pile of free books in Baldoyle library, (they do giveaways). To my double take amazement, someone had donated about 60 Wired’s, running from 2013 back to around 2005. The kids were ecstatic, them honest, not me, about this.

Can we take them, can we take them?

Sure. I thought there might be some overlap with what we already have. I figured bring them home, and then bring back what we already had. They weighed a ton too, and it was pretty tricky to get them and the two year old back out to the car.

Getting home and matching  comparing to what we had, I realised we had the same month, but different covers. Weird? It then, sloooowly, dawned on me,  we had acquired a bunch of the Wired US magazines.

This was a great haul. Occasionally the odd article pops up in both,  mostly the content is unique to each version. Some of the ads for the US version are almost shocking, as you would never see them in the UK version. For example for cigarettes or Viagra!  US articles also go on for longer, but apart from that they are both very readable.

The website

http://www.wired.com/

is also a great resource because new and unique content also pops up there as well. So you can follow it, without it spoiling your read of the magazine when it winds it’s way here on it’s bimonthly appearance. There is also a Wired Video section too, but that’s something I haven’t had time to look at yet.

So I just wanted to give the Wired trinity a big shout, and say thanks because it has really helped in developing the ideas for this site.

Steve Jobs : Negative inspiration for life work balance or celebration of perfectionism?

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Steve Jobs : By Walter Isaacson, 2011

 

Sitting in a crowded room, if the question gets thrown out there, who was a great leader?

Especially in a tech filled room, you will often, sooner or later, inevitably hear the name SJ thrown out there.

Is this almost because people feel they’d be seen as foolish or stunted if they didn’t mention him?

 

There is so much hagiography about Apple, people love it, people hate it,  it has become almost like politics, and religion. Some times best not brought up with close friends, you’d rather not argue with them.

Why bring it up then?

I’d had no interest in reading this book when it came out. Apple did some good stuff, it also did some junky stuff. To me it often seemed, for some, purchasing an Apple was often an aspirational statement, looking to claim the aura of being a creative simply by buying one of their products. Hence the book held less interest to me.

Then I read a few articles about interesting creative people, such as the founder of the stackoverflow websites, who said they had read the book and immediately changed their lives.

In order to not be like Steve Jobs…..

Now I was interested.

SJ’s attention to detail was well known. Also well known was his rudeness, and impatience with those he considered to be fools, and incapable of delivering what he wanted. Though he was also rude and dismissive to those who worked hard and successfully for him as well.

So far, so unlikable.

A question often asked, is whether he might have been able to achieve as much as he did, without the rudeness and vitriol?

This is why I wanted to read it.  To see what horrors were glimpsed by these other interesting people, who were so affected by SJ’s work life balance that they immediately took steps to ensure their own was not so dire.

However the longer I read the book, despite his terrible personal habits, his way of speaking to people, and how he treated his partners and children, despite all of this …. in many ways he did actually have a point.

His attention to detail, for things on the inside of the box, that no customer would ever see, were considered extreme. However the little things do matter, and do make a difference in putting your product away and ahead of the opposition.

He was also intolerant of mediocrity, and lazy people with low standards and expectations. The thing is, it is actually the case we are often held back by other people’s sloth and negativity.

The longer the book went on, and it does, it’s almost 600 pages, the more he grew on me. Yes, a deeply flawed person, being put up for adoption is probably never going to help really. However the best biographies, accurately manage to reflect the complexities of creative, challenging people.

Life is messy. We might not even want to meet these people, but in terms of adding understanding to our lives, then this was another helpful and interesting book to read. You try, sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail.

Sometimes you fail when you succeed, but if you can stay strong minded enough in the belief you are following something you believe in, then you will do great things. Regardless of whether it makes you millions or not.

In this regard too, SJ was utterly uninterested in wealth or riches, which is a healthy antidote to much of the current start up culture which is about have an idea, grow it, and then sell it.

A SJ ethics class would be a step too far, but it is still a book worth reading in 2014.