Takin' it to the Tweets

Microsoft has upset a certain group of people, and this time it's not Mac
fanboys. The Email Standards Project has integrated Twitter into a campaign, to let the software giant know just how unhappy they are. Their problem is that the Word rendering engine will be used to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010.

"This means for the next 5 years your email designs will need tables for layout, have no support for CSS like float and position, no background images and lots more."

The campaign has been successful in getting a
response from Microsoft, but who knows if they'll get what they're after. Microsoft is pretty good at "not getting it" and assuming they know what's best for everyone.


Social Media = Good News

The very touchy subject that is the latest Iran election and the subsequent protests has become an eye-opener to many about the speed of obtaining news through Social Media.

From the beginning of the election, results were being tracked through Social Media. The controversial Iranian Presidential results spread like wildfire through numerous websites, including
Twitter. Where things got interesting is when Twitter's host NTT America delayed a scheduled maintenance downtime due to the abundance of Twitter activity around the election. It appears Twitter was not keen on blanketing the news flowing from Iran to the rest of the World.

Multiple Social Media outlets have continued to cover the situation since the beginning.
Mashable Blogger Ben Parr has documented how Social Media has covered the chain of events in a timeline seen here.


Personalized Domain Extensions Pose New Opportunity

Early next year, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) who govern over domain names, will begin taking applications for top-level domain names.

For example, if you have '.bsl', you can create websites like 'blog.bsl' , 'casestudies.bsl' or 'portfolio.bsl'.

A personalized domain extension could enhance your location in search engine results, open up branding options, and allow you to organize your own domains specific to marketing.

Another example could be '.adidas' where you can create specific branded websites like 'running.adidas' or 'raceottawa.adidas'.

However, with an initial application cost for a of $185,000, it may limit applications to larger corporations and organizations.



Controversial Topics and Social Media

Often there is reticence to engaging in social media at an organizational level, out of concern for controversy, or losing control of "the message". I came across this site which engages a very controversial topic - the tar sands - using open (but moderated) discussion forums. I got to thinking: if they have found a way to make social media work for them, couldn't almost any organization?

The tar sands are a controversial subject if there was one: some see it as an important source of jobs and economic development, others see it as a key element in North American energy security, while still others see it as a massive environmental problem. Even the name, "tar sands" is up for debate (on the site they are referred to as "oil sands"). (I refer to them as tar sands because it's the more common term, and it's what I grew up with).

And yet ... the discussion forum engages in a wide variety of subjects - from water pollution, to shutting down the tar sands, to housing shortages. The organization learns from these conversations, and benefits from listening to a wide variety of perspectives. They claim to be developing new approaches and policies about environmental stewardship to reflect the insights they receive through audience engagement.

I urge you to have a look - there is something to learn here about listening, open dialogue, and about managing outcomes.

Canada's Oil Sands


Understanding Web Design Terminology: Glossary and Resources

Here is a great resource for understanding web design terminology:

There are specialized terms referring to all sorts of aspects of web design. For someone just getting started in web design, or someone looking to have a site designed, all the technical jargon can be overwhelming. Especially the acronyms.

Below is a guide to industry terms that should get you well on your way to understanding what web designers are talking about. In addition, we’ve provided some resources for each term to give you more in-depth information.



Make Wikis Work for Your Company

Technological advancements in Wiki software are broadening the range of businesses that could benefit from using a Wiki.

I used to think Wikis were only clearly effective if used by large companies or a consortium of businesses that needed a collaborative area to upload, read, and edit documents. After doing a bit more research, it has become obvious to me that almost any business of any size can benefit from using a Wiki.

On a large scale, Wikis can be used by a consortium of businesses that are in geographically distant locations to make changes or edits to the same document residing on their wiki software platform.

On a small scale, a start-up two person partnership venture could use a wiki for financial spreadsheets to reside on, so either partner could keep them up to date.

Recently BSL
was enlisted by The Canadian Cancer Society to develop a presentation on social networking. A wiki was used so we could collaborate on the presentation together and make sure we had their approval every step of the way.

Just as the uses of a wiki change depending on the type of business and its needs, the number of wiki software platforms to accommodate those needs has increased coincidingly.
Mediawiki has a completely free Wiki software package you can download from their site, though the time it might take to familiarize yourself with the syntax and coding might be discouraging. Sites claiming to have a more quick and easy learning curve include PBworks, Wikispaces, and Socialtext.


Meetup.com Proves Social Media Really is Social

While the vast majority of my peers have embraced social networking sites as a way to connect, keep in touch, and communicate with others, there are still a few who argue these online conversations take the human one-on-one aspect out of the picture. I would have a hard time arguing that communicating in an online world has the intimacy of an in-person chat, and that's why meetup.com has put the social back in social networking.

meetup is an events based social networking website that claims to be the World's largest network of local groups. What meetup does is ultimately "make it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face."

You make a personal profile just as you would with any
Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account, and you browse through "meetups" in your local community. I am most interested in attending business networking meet-and-greet groups, but the wide range of possible meetups include groups about parenting, dance, hiking, dating, and many more.

meetup.com takes the online realm to the real world. So, the next time someone tells you that social networking sites are hurting genuine, old-fashioned, in-person chats, tell them about meetup.com.