iTiaJones

Collaboration Software: Social Technology for Social Good

Social technology for social good

Social technology for social good


Central Desktop wants to help you win! With today’s tough economic times, collaboration software Central Desktop, is ready to support organizations social good work by granting a one-year subscriptions to their web-based social technology platform to the top three (3) organizations who submit stories at http://www.centraldesktop.com/socialgood. Central Desktop is a pure web-based social technology platform for next-generation teams to interact, share and manage their daily work activities from anywhere at anytime.

To be considered for Central Desktop’s technology grant, (valued at up to $2,988), describe how your team or organization would benefit from leveraging Central Desktop’s social technology to forward it’s social good objectives via Central Desktop’s Social Good portal @ http://www.centraldesktop.com/social.

Whether your organization connects donors to needy families, supports sustainable technology, eco-friendly living, alternative energy, organizes community outreach events or raises funds for your child’s school — Central Desktop wants to help. All grant submissions must be received no later than 12:00 pm, November 10th, 2008.

On November 18th, 2008, three grants of one-year company plan subscriptions for Central Desktop will be awarded to the top three teams among all eligible entries. Winners will be contacted via email and announced on November 18th, 2008. Entrants are also encouraged to submit a 30-second YouTube video in addition to a written entry.

See How Barack Obama is Using Web and Enterprise 2.0 in the US Primary Campaign Through Central Desktop

7 MUST HAVE TOOLS AND SERVICES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Must Have Business Tools

Must Have Business Tools

When it comes down to big business versus small business, it is not so much the classic case of ‘David vs. Goliath’ where the underdog fells his opponent with one lucky shot from his sling. No, in the business world, big business and small business have more of a big brother, little brother relationship where the big brother sets the standard for all the smaller siblings to emulate and learn from.

Small business owners take note. Here is a list of seven must have tools and services that will solidify your foothold in the industry.

1. ADP. With an automatic deposit payroll system in tact, you eliminate the expenditure and waste of paper resources as well as the delay in payment resultant of utilizing the snail mail parcel system. Instant gratis – a happy employee is a paid one.

2. VERTICAL RESPONSE. The time tested adage of ‘supply and demand’ is easier said than done. How will you know what your customer base wants or no longer wants? By sending out surveys and advertorials via email, you are able to collect information from your web site visitors, customers or prospects. This form of vertical response makes it possible to market intelligently and measure your results quickly.

3. SKYPE + SPEAKEASY. Voice over IP (internet protocol) is essentially the transmission of your voice through the internet rather than the customary phone line. Services like Skype and Speakeasy offer an exponentially cheaper means to keep your company connected, regardless of magnitude.

4. FRESHBOOKS. Tracking man hours and overall productivity as well as invoices has never been more efficient thanks to the SaaS (software as a service), Freshbooks. You no longer have to waste paid labor rummaging through file cabinets for a time sheet that dates back to Reaganomics. Searching through backlogs has been reduced to a quick query in a search engine – something any business will appreciate come tax season.

5. WORDPRESS. Blogging has quickly become a vital facet of online marketing. To keep your business name in the mix, you constantly have to keep pumping out material for the masses to consume. Aside from giving your blog an aesthetical facelift, blogging software generates a stronger web presence through tags and key phrases thereby eliminating the dependence on marketing managers and saving your company money in the long run.

6. FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE. With over a hundred million active users worldwide, Facebook is a melting pot of potential customers and even prospective investors. Because it is also a free service, not having a company presence on Facebook or any other social networking site would be downright ignorant. Social networking is free advertising, which further spreads brand awareness without any overhead.

7. CENTRAL DESKTOP. Collaboration software such as Central Desktop has taken task management to new heights while maintaining a simple yet comprehensive interface. Within minutes of acquiring and setting up your workspace, your small business will have the infrastructure necessary to get your team up and running at full stride.

With these tools in tow, your small business’s productivity is magnified to its fullest extent. By maintaining a streamlined work force and operating under a simple yet systematic methodology, the odds of rising to the top amongst the bog of other lesser prepared companies is increased. Small businesses take note. That was just a list of seven must have tools and services for your small business.

Connect with Central Desktop in Social Media

Posted in Collaboration Tools, Social Media, Social Network by tiajones on October 8, 2008

Central Desktop Social Media

Central Desktop Social Media


They’re everywhere! Amongst the hundred million plus consumers of social media, Central Desktop has set up shop across the spectrum of social networks from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn and Delicious. Their presence can be felt. Central Desktop is there providing answers to any and every question a prospective user may have. Central Desktop is not only interactive but also proactive in its implementation of social bookmarking sites the likes of Delicious and microblogging site Twitter.

Aside from providing the best in collaboration software, Central Desktop also practices what it preaches in terms of business savvy. Venture over to their MySpace page and treat yourself to the bevy of information provided in their blog. They discuss everything from the latest in features added to the Central Desktop software to pertinent web news.

Since its launch back in February of 2004, Facebook has surged to the forefront as the industry leader in social networking, drawing an astonishing 132.1 million unique visitors in the month of June 2008 alone. Look Central Desktop up and add them as your friend so you can receive all the updates because there are plenty. Their Facebook page reads like a brag sheet detailing their buzz on USA Today, CNNMoney.com and PC World to name a few. Central Desktop’s Facebook page is fully interactive and user friendly as well, allowing users to contribute feedback, add notes and even view instructional videos.

To further spread the word across the expanses of the World Wide Web, Central Desktop also employs social bookmarking sites Delicious and Twitter. These sites utilize a non-hierarchical keyword categorization system in which users can tag each of their bookmarks with a number of freely chosen keywords thereby increasing search engine visibility.

Lastly, all of Central Desktop’s associated web sites and exploits are collected and posted on their blog where they invite their readers to participate. Readers can leave comments regarding some of our helpful “how to’s” or even ask questions in response to some of latest features added to the Central Desktop repertoire. Central Desktop invites all inquiries and or suggestions, which is why Central Desktop can be found in all of the major fronts of social media.

Read more on Central Desktop Collaboration Software

8 Reasons Why You Need to Blog for Business

Posted in Blogger Relations, Social Media by tiajones on October 2, 2008
Blogging for Business

Blogging for Business

1. Blogging is a great way to engage with your target audience. A blog can provide those who are interested in your company or product with current information. If you are launching a new product line, want to get feedback on a particular issue, or want to share information directly with customers and other stakeholders, a blog is a great platform for those messages. It also presents the opportunity to open up a dialogue with your customers and prospective customers.

2. Blogs offer fresh content that your target audience is looking for. Providing fresh relevant content fulfils the needs of your audience. It also helps to boost the site’s search engine rankings.

3. Blogs create links to other online resources. Blogs attract links from other blogs on related topics.

4. Having a blog allows you to provide thought leadership in your industry. It builds the company’s brand in a powerful way. E.g. Fiskateers, are five brand ambassadors for Fiskars, a manufacturer of crafting tools and supplies. The statement on their blog reads:

“Why do we need brand ambassadors? Because we want to open the lines of communication- to know the people who use our products. You are the ones who keep us in business. And we want to hear what you have to say about current and new products…”

5. Providing a blog that customers can easily access helps to put a human face on your company. E.g. Bob Lutz, the V.C. at General Motors is at the wheel of GM Fastlane blog.

7. Blogs can create a sense of community because they’re so interactive. Blogs and other forms of social media can also connect customers to one another allowing them to form communities based on shared interests. When a customer has a question or concern about a product or a service, they can easily go to the company’s blog and post a comment. It helps to draw the customer back to your site. Customers are more likely to remain a loyal and mention you to their friends.

8. Setting up a blog is free! This is a huge deal for small companies that have limited budgets. For nothing more than the cost of the time it takes to write daily or weekly posts and respond to comments. Small businesses can enjoy the many benefits that a blog can provide for their business.

CNN has ten different blogs on varying topics like politics, business, health, international issues, science and technology and more. They invite users to, “Join the conversation with CNN anchors, correspondents and producers all over the globe.”

Dell is using blogs and other social media sites such as Facebook to reach out to their customers and build their brand.

Kodak has three different blogs: A Thousand Words blog where users can post photos, the Plugged In blog that talks about Kodak products and services, and the Grow Your Biz Blog, which is focused on print communications for businesses.

I went ahead and listed a few more popular corporate blogs for you to check out.

Delta
South West
Monster

COLLABORATION SOFTWARE: Get Your Team on Board

Posted in Collaboration Tools, Project/Task Management by tiajones on September 29, 2008

Sure, collaboration software makes life so much easier for the task manager, but what does the worker bee stand to benefit from adopting new methods of conjointly accomplishing goals. Here are some high beaming features that are sure to win over even the most skeptical of teammates.

Collaboration software is not a hard sell provided your team is fully geared towards optimization. That is to say, collaboration software is an absolute no-brainer provided your team wishes to improve in every aspect possible from efficiently delegating tasks to sharing information to communicating ideas in real time. The concept of a shared online workspace renders file sharing centralized in a forum easily navigated and accessed by your teammates.

Because of recent innovations in collaboration software, project management is a breeze; however, what is beneficial to the group leader is also beneficial to the group itself. Here are some selling points your team should consider when making the jump from the old school methodology to the new school technology:

• Collaboration software is template driven and thereby eliminates the need for special certifications and extensive IT knowledge. Collaboration software is more attuned towards the business minded and not so much the tech heads.

• Workspaces are set up within minutes rather than months of implementing strict policies, which serve only as a way of gradually conditioning certain desired behaviors from your team members. With collaboration software, you can quickly establish that precious infrastructure necessary to spur your team into full stride towards that goal mark without the grueling grace period and learning curve.

• The shared online workspace also encourages the entire team to contribute, because each task and communicated idea is represented visually with a file icon and author information, a tally of one’s productivity is easily kept therefore stimulating some healthy competition amongst your team members. Who can be the most productive?

• Information is easily accessible by all including any and all conversations communicated through the collaboration software. The pressures of faulty human memory are relieved.

Collaboration software also allows mobile access from web enabled phones for on-the-go productivity and interaction.

These reasons alone should convince even the most stubborn of ‘Doubting Thomas’s’ to make that jump into the 21st century and utilize the advancements in information technology to boost their work efficiency.

Collaboration Software Bridges the Gap

Posted in Collaboration Tools, Project/Task Management by tiajones on September 23, 2008

Collaboration Software

Collaboration Software


Innovations in collaboration software have eased the process of project management thereby leveling the playing field that much further. What once required costly micromanagement execs can now be delegated to collaboration software.

Collaboration software does not reinvent the wheel. No, collaboration software merely streamlines the grooves and lightens the material. In the advent of the World Wide Web, files were stored as hard copies in cabinets and shared using copy machines and courier services. This, in turn, meant communication came with a delay… comparable to a bad satellite feed from some remote locale not yet touched by modern technology. Project management was, at least by today’s standards, a joke.

Projects get tackled tactically. Each member of the team is responsible for a fraction of the whole project. Everyone is given the same time frame in which to complete their respective task. Ideally, when the deadline comes and goes, the pieces are assembled to form a completed product. Whether the goal was reached satisfactorily is another ordeal unto itself. Although the aforementioned was worded to make the process of task management to appear as easy as following a few steps, the reality is far from picking up a ‘Project Management For Dummies’ book.

Humans are not perfect so why should anyone expect the task master to be also. Collaboration software has been developed to boost certain weaknesses and oversights in organization. Because of these innovations introduced over the past two years, the efficiency of project management has reached new heights.

MOBILE ACCESS. Blackberry’s, Treo’s and iPhone’s …the introduction of internet accessible mobile devices has wedged a need for collaboration software to allow its users to access its intranet network and the information stored on it from anywhere. No more being anchored to a hard line connection.

FILE SHARING. Upload documents and files via email to a shared online workspace easily accessible to fellow members of the team. Comments, questions and prioritizations are amongst the many details you can note on posted documents for the rest of the group to see.

COMMUNICATION. Interacting with co-workers via the World Wide Web not only eradicates the overhead of having to lease office space, but it also leaves you with a virtual paper trail of every communiqué you have within the organization and with clients. Servers back up every email and are accessible from anything connected to the internet. Additionally, you can make an announcement to a group of however many without disturbing their work flow. Simply point and click the box next to the people you wish to notify.

EASY-TO-USE. Collaboration software is template based so computer literacy is not too demanding. Plug and play is the norm.

Because of recent advancements in collaboration software, project management is one less hassle. Companies, corporate or mom & pop status, now have a level playing ground. The infrastructure necessary to keep your team running on all cylinders towards that finish line is available to all.

Social Media: How to Get Your Boss or Colleagues on Board

Posted in Internet Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Social Network by tiajones on September 18, 2008

Getting Your Colleagues on Board

Social Media: Getting Your Colleagues on Board

Social Media, while it’s not really a new idea any more, will still represent a new mindset and a new way of approaching marketing and customer relationship management. You have been using social media tools and you can see the beneficial results firsthand, and now you can see how it has the potential to have a positive impact within your organization, but you need some ideas for getting your boss and colleagues to buy into it and get on board. This article contains a few ideas to help you sell your boss and team members on the rewarding benefits of social media.

Bear in mind that for others to embrace social media it will involve them changing some of the ways in which they currently operate. We all know how challenging it can be for some of us to change. If you look at one of the more basic motivators of human behavior and answer the question that is looming in their minds the moment you bring up the topic and that is, “What’s in it for my company?” Answer that question in a satisfying way and you will have them on board in no time.

You can explain that with a traditional web site, you rely on customers coming to your site. With social media, you bring your marketing message to where the customers already are. You are joining a vibrant, interactive conversation rather than interrupting what they were doing.

Here are some other ideas to share to help bolster your message:

• Your company’s probably already being discussed

• Social media is largely free and easy to get started

• Your competitors are probably using social media

• Having a blog and connecting with customers can:

-Provide useful product/service information

-Reduce customer service calls

-Expand your reach and mindshare in the marketplace

-Boost your company’s profile in the community

-Protect your brand

According to Sally Falkow of “The Proactive Report blog, “Every company needs to be knowledgeable about the shifts in media consumption. How and where people get their information and news has changed. They are online sharing content and social media has become a major part of marketing and PR strategy today.”

It’s clear that social media is here to stay. Your task is to impress upon your boss that social media has already had a huge impact on the business world and factoring it into the organization’s Internet marketing strategy will have many far reaching benefits. The social media train has already left the station. You will be simply persuading your boss and colleagues to get on board or risk being left behind.

Resources:
Here are 50 companies using social media
http://www.socialmediatoday.com/SMC/46700

Social Media: The Top 10 Buzzwords

Posted in Social Media, Social Network by tiajones on September 18, 2008

Top 10 Social Media Buzzwords

Top 10 Social Media Buzzwords


Social Media is a trend that is here to stay!

This article will look at ten of the hottest social media sites and what each one has to offer to marketers. There are links to resources that will help you better explore each site and make the most of them. At this point, there are hundreds of social media/ social bookmarking web sites on the Internet. These are a few of the most talked about sites right now.

To get a basic overview of the concept behind the phenomenon of social media, watch this quick, entertaining video by Common Craft: Social Media in Plain English

1. Facebook:
After having reached the 100 million users mark recently, Facebook is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media sites on the Internet. No longer just a hangout for college students, Facebook’s demographic is rapidly changing and growing more popular with a much wider age range. Businesses are flocking to Facebook because of the ability to place ads targeted to their exact demographic. In today’s economy this is an economic way to get the most mileage out of every advertising dollar.

Facebook is a bit of a gated community, where users must sign up and complete a profile and agree to abide by a fairly strict, yet arbitrary set of terms and conditions for what they can and cannot do on Facebook. Here’s a site focused on the use of Facebook for business written by Mari Smith, who has been dubbed “the ‘Pied Piper of Facebook’ by Fast Company Magazine.

2. Twitter:
This wildly popular microblogging platform has become a virtual water cooler on the Internet where users from all over the world gather to share with the world the answer to the question, “What are you doing now?” in 140 characters or less. Users can send messages, or ‘tweets’ from the web site or from their mobile phones.

Businesses and CEO’s are discovering the power of Twitter. Read the Business Week article How Businesses Use Twitter to Bolster Their Brands and the CEO Twitter Report.

A whole bevy of applications have cropped up to support Twitter users, and here is the official Twitter list

3. YouTube:
This video sharing site has become so popular that it’s found its place in American culture. Anyone can shoot and upload a video and share it with the world. Some popular videos garner hundreds of thousands of views as they get shared ‘virally’ from friend to friend around the world. Because of its popularity, YouTube is also a great social media tool for attracting web site traffic by simply placing a web site link in each video posted.

Here’s a link to a free eBook that teaches users how to become ‘YouTube famous

4. Flickr
Flickr is a social media site used to host and share photos online. Users tag each picture with keywords that describe and categorize it, and share their photos with friends and family – or the whole world. Users can publish pictures that they shoot on the road using their mobile phones right to the web. Here’s a useful guide to learning flickr tips

5. Delicious
Delicious is an online social bookmark manager. Users bookmark their favorite web sites on del.icio.us, and share their collection of bookmarks with the public. Each bookmark is tagged so that users can search for specific keywords and find sites that others have visited and recommended.

This YouTube video is an overview of how del.icio.us works and contains a few useful do’s and don’ts for this online community:

6. Digg:
Digg is a news sharing site where users post news stories, articles and videos and then other users vote or ‘Digg’ those items if they like them, or they vote or ‘digg’ to bury items they don’t like.

Digg has a bit of a complicated community structure, and items gain or lose popularity based on the sometimes fickle opinions of the site’s most active users.

This guide contains tips on how to navigate on Digg and avoid the almost inevitable faux pas that newbie’s can easily commit there.

7. FriendFeed
FriendFeed is a social media aggregator, or a lifestreaming app which allows users to collect all of their social media accounts and keep them all in one place at one URL. So, instead of having links on your blog to your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, your Twitter page, etc. They can link to their FriendFeed page, which will display all of their social media activities.

This YouTube video explains how to get started using FriendFeed:

8. LinkedIn:
Linked In is a professional networking social media site. A properly filled-out LinkedIn profile breathes life into your resume and allows prospective employers to look not only at your capabilities and experience, but also at the number and caliber of your connections. Job seekers can also use LinkedIn to check up on companies that they are interviewing with so that they can be prepared with good questions in the interview.

This article by Guy Kawasaki contains useful tips on using LinkedIn

9. BlogTalkRadio:
BlogTalkRadio is a social media site, which provides a platform for bloggers who want to become podcasters. There is no software to download, and they provide the network, storage and feed. All the user has to do is produce content and attract an audience of listeners.

This blog shows how incredibly simple it is to start a free podcast on Blogtalkradio:

10. GoogleGroups:
With GoogleGroups users can start an interest group for free or join an existing group that shares a particular interest. Users can have discussions online or by using email, they can create custom web pages where they can share information about their group’s activities, and groups can be designated as open to the public, or private and by invitation only.

Those searching for a group can find groups by topic, geographic region, by the number of members or the number of messages per month, by language, and by the number of days since the last post to that group. Take a tour of Google Groups

Project Management Solution: How to Choose a Web-Based Solution

Posted in Collaboration Tools by tiajones on September 16, 2008

Project Management is an indispensable tool for busy project managers. Given the ever-escalating prices for purchasing and supporting project management software, web-based collaboration software has become a viable option.

Project management software provides collaborative workspaces where team members can communicate their ideas, coordinate all of the disparate tasks for projects, and manage project deliverables in real time regardless of location or time zone.

The following are some ideas to help you choose a project management solution that meets the needs of your team, client and project.

Security
When you are sharing information online, you should always be confident in the security of the web platform. Choose a solution that allows users to have ready access to their projects while being assured that their content is secure and protected.

Easy Set-Up and Administration
The workspace should be intuitive and easy to set-up and administer so that users can get to work without a steep learning curve. All of the resources should be clearly labeled and easy to find in the workspace.

• Ability to Manage Multiple Projects
Does the software allow users to manage more than one project simultaneously? How easy is it to switch back and forth between projects?

Manage Access Control
Look for the flexibility to manage access to your collaborative workspace, and determine the levels of access that each team member should have.

Custom Reporting
You’ll want to choose a web-based collaboration platform that allows you to create custom project reports quickly and easily without having to request IT support.

Manage Project Milestones and Tasks
Project managers should be able to easily assign and track tasks and milestones, set deadlines for deliverables and always be able to quickly see which tasks or milestones have been completed, who owns them and be alerted when there are overdue items.

Project Calendar
Look for project calendars that can be used to track tasks, and milestones across projects and workgroups.

Scalability
It should be easy to add additional members to your team workspace as your team expands.
Choosing the right web-based project management solution can make a big difference in the success of your project. These tips can give you food for thought as you take a look at all of the options available.

Resources:
Web-based software listings: http://www.centraldesktop.com/tour_overview

RSS Feeds Can Boost Your Internet Marketing Strategy

Posted in Internet Marketing Strategy, RSS Feeds by tiajones on September 16, 2008

RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds

RSS, (Real Simple Syndication) has many powerful applications for your Internet Marketing Strategy. RSS has been around for over ten years, but many marketers often fail to make effective use of this versatile technology.

RSS can be used for content delivery to push your fresh content to your web site visitors, subscribers, and prospective customers. This is a simple and reliable way to communicate useful information and sell to your audience. Using RSS in this way greatly expands your reach beyond your web site.

If visitors to your site find your content relevant and useful, they can then opt-in to your RSS Feed in the same way that they would subscribe to an email newsletter. Whenever you add new content to your site, subscribers will be automatically be updated, and your content will appear in their feed reader.

If you are not already familiar with how other web publishers are using RSS, you might want to subscribe to a few feeds yourself. Try one of the free, web based RSS aggregators such as Yahoo.com, Bloglines, Google reader among the many that are available.

Now that you’ve subscribed to a few feeds and gotten some ideas on how you will use RSS to push your content, you need to have a battle plan. What kind of content do you already provide on your site? If you have a blog you probably already have a feed for your blog posts, but you’ll want to set up a feed for your email newsletter, site updates and any news features that you offer. When you are developing the content for your feeds, always keep in mind that readers will be skimming and scanning to find only the most relevant text and glossing over the rest. Keep your text tight, concise, on topic and relevant to your reader’s needs. Create tip sheets with bullet points, and shape the content to suit the reader’s need for quick, actionable information.

Now that you have your content ready to go, you’ll need to publish your feed on the web so that you can start getting subscribers. There are several online tools that will manage and automate your feed for you such as, feedfire.com, myrsscreator.com and feedburner.com to name a few.

Next, you’ll need to promote your new RSS feed both on your site and through other external channels. Design an RSS page where you clearly show your visitors what rss is, how they will benefit from subscribing to your feeds, and where they can find a free reader. Along with the familiar orange RSS button, be sure to include links to the relevant RSS subscription services such as Yahoo, Google, Feedburner, Bloglines, etc. Mention your RSS feeds in your email newsletter and on all of your online and offline marketing materials.

Promote your RSS feeds externally by submitting your feeds to search engines and directories. Be sure to submit them under the appropriate category so that you are reaching your intended audience.

Learn more on RSS Here