Thursday, December 31, 2009

The clock is ticking on goal-setting for 2010

There are many reasons why setting goals this time of year is a good idea. Frankly, I cannot think of any that makes it a bad idea - so what the heck! Time to get going before the clock strikes 12... I found this blog post, How to Get Everything You Promised Done that is full of good ideas for doing exactly this so there is no reason for reinventing the mouse. It talks about kick starting your Internet Marketing for 2010 by:
  • Conquering the Initial Fear
  • Creating Bite-Sized Projects
  • Creating Milestones with Dates
  • Telling People Your Plans
  • Cultivating the Habit
  • Starting Today
Day Zero is an online project that encourages setting a list of 101 goals to be achieved in 1001 days and once set and published, steps 1 - 4 above are already done. All that is left, is to get working on those goals. Since making my list this week, I can proudly mark off two goals already because they were truly bite-sized goals. Digital Daisy signs out of 2009 with a final wish to its readers for a goal-driven, focused 2010 filled with success as you defined it.

Thanks TA for lending me your photograph from Mount Elbrus.

Monday, December 21, 2009

7 Digital Trends for 2010

Web based change has accelerated its impact on business as this decade draws to a close and we can expect to see an even bigger impact on the web as a productivity tool in the 2010.

1. Cloud computing will continue to grow. For a long time organizations have been locked into expensive operations software and costly updates. More and more companies are abandoning this in favour of tools like Google Apps to take care of email, file storage and document processing (replacing much of Microsoft Office's market share). Smaller entrepreneurial companies accomplish as much and more through these web-based applications and storage as larger organizations who are using expensive servers, load software on each work station and depend on network support. These practices are fast becoming antiquated and cumbersome and we can expect to see more cloud-based services such as Google Apps.

2. Managing social media overload. Social media has been widely adopted as a low-cost business communications and relationship-building tool. The pace at which new services become available is becoming challenging - keeping up with content generation as well as finding good sources of information. Just keeping up with Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin has become challenging. While businesses are scrambling to figure this out, users are drawn to the best, most reliable sources - especially those that can be filtered fast and effectively.

3. Web development on the fly. During this past decade we have seen a move away from hard coded websites that were under control of web masters and programmers, to sites with content management systems. Blog services such as Wordpress are blurring the lines between websites and blogs, allowing businesses to develop a custom design, hosted site at the push of a few buttons. is only one example of a low cost solution for developing a robust website for member-based organizations - at the push of a few buttons and a low monthly fee an organization will be communicating, doing event registration and have members blog on forums.

4. App marketing. Most proactive businesses have already grabbed the opportunity to develop an app for mobile phones to hook customers into its business through use of a mobile phone. has its app for Amazon Kindle, for example. Download the app to an iPhone for free and purchase and download a book from Amazon's store onto the iPhone all in a matter of seconds. And reading a book on an iPhone screen is not all that hard to do! This is only one example - the world opens up when you browse the Blackberry and Apple iPhone App Stores. Users will continue to use these mobile apps to increase productivity and marketers will use this for product distribution.

5. Green momentum. Environmental consciousness is gaining global momentum and legislation will undoubtedly require smaller carbon footprints - working remotely to cut down on travel, communicating digitally to save in paper and inks, distributing electronically to minimize transport and using alternative sources of electricity - perhaps solar panels on every electronic device and increased use of wireless electricity?

6. Crowdsourcing. An aging population, a new generation that works remotely and the changing work places all lead to a very different way of sourcing talent and labour. Crowdsourcing sites such as and have become market places for finding low cost suppliers for knowledge-based work - writing, design, programming. This trend will continue to grow.

7. Project management as opposed to People management. With the decentralization of the workplace and supply chains, effective project management will be key to getting things done on time, within budget and according to specification. Project managers will have to be more resourceful in contracting the best solutions and project management skills will be in increasing demand.

I have no crystal ball and this is subjective trend spotting. History has shown us though, that the 2001 burst of the dot-com bubble delivered unsurpassed innovation this past decade with Web 2.0 and social media. It takes no crystal ball to predict that the current economic recession will be fertile ground for another round of profound innovation.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Digital Decade in a Nutshell

This year, 2009 and an entire digital decade is drawing to a close. It has been ten years of accelerated digital evolution - let's look back:

The millennium turned with the tremours of the dot-com bubble and a search engine called Google emerging.

Soon thereafter Napster rocked the world with its music sharing and, while it got rapped over the knuckles and shut down, it paved the way for Internet technology that turned the music industry on its head. Enter left stage: iTunes.

The commercialization of the web continued during this decade - who remembers that the culture of the web in the 90s was still collaborative and largely non-commercial? This past decade buying and spending online have made us fearless with booking our travel on the web. Boarding passes are now emailed to smart phones - no more paper.

Wireless Devices
Speaking of which - 2001 introduced the Blackberry, the first really small handheld device that received email. Adding wireless modems to most computing devices meant that desktop computers and laptops largely gave way to netbooks in Starbucks or anywhere a signal can be accessed. Today, the receiving device can be anything from an iPod, a smart phone, a TV game console or an ultra light notebook. I thought I was really futuristic when I predicted that any device that can have a screen, such as a fridge, will ultimately access the Internet - only to be told it already existed.

Apple iPod
Today, with the iPhone an almost indispensable item, it is hard to imagine that the device that would revolutionize our digital consumption, the iPod digital music player, entered our worlds only in 2001. The introduction of multi-touch screen browsing perfected the experience to the all encompassing digital partner that the iPhone would become.

Netbooks and Cloud Computing
2005 started a new mission: One Child One Laptop. This initiative launched research into affordable technologies that in 2008 manifested it in smaller and smaller portable computers - netbooks. Of course offering less storage space, these netbooks encourage an increased movement to storing information "in the clouds" - a term used for remote storage of files that is who-knows-or-cares-where. What to do with my floppy disks and zip disks, when I can no longer find a disk drive to access them?

Search and Wikis
Search Engine algorithms changed the consumption of information - writing became all about keywords and phrases. The vast impact of search on our society is a topic for a blog post all on its own but let's suffice to say it introduced a whole new economic model - freeconomy. Online services became free to the consumer because search engine advertisers picked up the tab.

Microsoft recently announced the termination of its encyclopedia software, Encarta. This is just one more sign of change - wikis and search engines provide the information we look for, resulting in the death of the encyclopedia.

In 2007 Google officially took over from Microsoft as the world's most powerful brand. It continues its quest to deliver amazing tools online for free in exchange for advertiser dollars. Google's Adsense led the way with paid online search advertising, followed by competitors Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing.

Voice over the Internet - VOIP
VOIP or Voice-Over-IP was made available to the masses with the launch of Skype in 2003, changing how we use the telephone. People now had access to a free way of making online phone calls - via the Internet.

Social Media and Web 2.0: From Consumer to Co-Creator
When the decade reached its halfway mark, things started speeding up with a wave of innovation, broadly referred to as web 2.0.

The latter part of the 2000s accelerated a movement of sharing and exposing our lives online. Facebook and MySpace became the poster kids for social media and networking online. 2006 brought another milestone with the launch of YouTube, making online video accessible to the masses.

In 2000 web content was at the mercy of the webmaster. From 2007 onwards the user-experience increasingly became an experience of co-creating rather than merely consuming - starting with blogs, online photo albums, interactive maps, content management systems and social network sites. The new abbreviation was UGC - user-generated content.

The News
This decade in review would not be complete without a look at how the delivery of news has been impacted. The unexpected unsuccessful 2001 marriage of AOL and Time Warner hinted at what was to come... Radio and TV moving online and traditional news producers such as BBC and CNN integrating the web in their news delivery. The jury is still out on how to make this pay. The demise of the printed news made space for media rich interactive online conversation.

The first generation born with a computer in their homes, starts entering the work force. Social media has become a lifestyle: creating content, sharing and creating mashups from content published by others and having online conversations.

Our vocabulary has been enriched with verbs such as googling, friending, tagging, trending, tweeting, flirtexting and facebooking.

Mobile marketing is becoming main stream through the use of "apps" - little miniature programs loaded onto smart phones that can do stuff for us - from recommending wine with our meal to playing games on our phones to shopping online.

This is the tip of the 2000 - 2009 digital iceberg - there is so much more. "What is coming for the next decade?" you may ask. Any answer would merely be a guess but, judging by trends these past years, the Internet would likely continue to become more accessible, smaller, faster, more innovative and participative.

So before we hit 1 January 2010 I am off to plan my digital party - hitting the surf on Google Wave and breaking new ground. That is just after posting this blog, checking my web stats, doing my daily tweet, checking for innovative new talks on and seeing who is on Facebook this morning. What a decade!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

5 Things to Know About Social Media

The November edition of Profit Magazine has a wealth of tips and information for the small business owner. One article in particular, fits right within Digital Daisy's domain: 5 things to know about social media. Here is an extract from the article that contains perspectives from Jess Sloss, a Vancouver social media strategist:

1. You're probably doing it already - off line
The small businesses that really get social media are the ones who are already doing it (off line). These are the people who are already active in their communities and active in their networking efforts - it's just an online extension of this, and another way of connecting to people.

2. You don't personally have to be "on" 24/7
If you can't maintain your social networking messages on a daily basis, use the tools available that let you be more effective, such as batch processing, which allows you to schedule events ahead of time.

3. It's just another element of marketing
You still need all the basic tenets of marketing: knowing who your potential customers are, the position you have in the market - nothing changes. This can help focus your efforts on the networks your customers are most likely to be on, whether that's Facebook, Twitter or popular youth sites like myYearbook.

4. Don't blow your budget
You can get into social media marketing on a shoestring - most of the tools and sites are free, which is a boon for micro-businesses and sole-proprietors. The trade-off of course, is your time. For companies that can't dedicate marketing staff to manage blog messages or reply to social media site feedback, take a lesson from busy celebrities and outsource or assemble a social networking team. Many of those high-profile tweets and blogs - fro Britney to Obama - are written by trusted staff.

5. It works if you can be yourself
The two things that can make you fail are fear and not being yourself.
Fewer than 3 in 10 small businesses (28%) are using social networking to promote their business, according to a 2009 Harris/Decima survey for BMO. Only 18% use these sites to sell their products, and 14% are using them to test new ideas.