Katie's digital engagement tips: make it simple, fun and really useful

The other day I was doing some social reporting at the World Entrepreneur Society Summit with Paul Henderson – as you can see here – and met up with Katie Ledger, communications coach and TV reporter for BBC Click.

Bearing in mind the work I’m doing on digital engagement I asked Katie what she thought it took to get people interested in technology. She was admirable succinct: keep it simple, make it fun … and focus on the benefits the technology offers.

Katie, like me, is a big fan of the small Flip video camera that I was using. You can hand it over to anyone and in a minute they’ve got it. It just works, as I found with Silver Surfers.
We also touched on how far matters are different for the individual, nonprofit or coporate user – because Katie consults for large organisations, and interviews people like Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, and Michael Birch, founder of Bebeo. (The Steve Ballmer interview is worth it alone for Katie incredulity about his statement that he only get 75 emails a day).

While corporates use some different technologies, Katie said that social networking systems like Facebook are entering the workplace, and organisations have to decide how they should handle this: whether they would try and stop people engaging online in the workplace. Her advice: treat employees like adults, not children.
I also asked Katie about her workshop at WESS. This time I used another really simple device, the iPhone application Audioboo, as you can hear here.
We talked about the value and practice of networking. While social media tools help enormously, it is attitude that’s really important. You need both give and take. Katie offered a nice analology on learning to ride a horse, where her riding teacher says that to get a horse into the right shape you must first give the reins, then take back. Give first in networking … don’t expect to get back … but you may well.
Katie is writing on a book – and blog –  about new types of career, and under the scrutiny of her Flip I rehearsed the various projects and jobs I’m engaged in. I’m now glad to learn that I’m not a freelance, I’m a portfolio worker.

That’s another thing about simple tech tools, particularly audio and video. They offer a nice way to get to meet interesting people, even at face-to-face events.
Previously: World entrepreneur summit update

One comment

  • April 13, 2009 - 2:07 pm | Permalink

    This is essentially message as the Cluetrain Manifesto all those years ago. Markets are conversations, so let your people engage in them in their natural, human voice.

    I think we need to rethink the whole notion of “professionalism” if it means acting and speaking in a contrived, impersonal way rather than having authentic, honest conversations with people.

    One of the big mistakes I’m seeing at the moment on Twitter is that organisations are using it without making it clear who the real people behind those conversations are. Twitter doesn’t allow a group of people to post collectively under a single organisational banner, but doing this well might mean nothing more complex than a personal @name appended to the end of every tweet.

    As for simplicity, great idea, obviously the way to go for users/customers/citizens, but so very, very hard to do! That’s why products like the Flip really stand out. Good enough to be useful, simple enough to be usable.

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