Creating a sustainable food culture with @OzHarvest for #ThinkEatSave

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In 2013, OzHarvest set themselves the goal to “feed the 5000” using rescued food. And after that first successful initiative, in 2014, the aim was to grow the one-day event significantly. For ThinkEatSave, OzHarvest partnered with with the United Nations to tackle the issues of food and nutrition security and sustainable food systems.

Some of the nation’s top chefs, politicians and celebrities united at events held across Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Newcastle to take a stance against food waste, and serve thousands of members of the public a free, delicious and hearty hot meal made from surplus produce that would have otherwise ended up as landfill.

Amazingly, food waste is currently costing Australians up to $10 billion each year, while two million people still rely on food relief – with global food loss + waste reaches 1.3 billion tonnes (yes, billion).

Here are some of the social media highlights from an amazing day

Challenges Facing the Digital Economy #SMWsyd

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As part of the planning and advisory work that I am doing with Social Media Week, Sydney, we took a few moments out recently to share our thinking on the challenges that are facing Australia’s digital economy. This video captures the hot topics according to Tiphereth Gloria, Joanne Jacobs, Katie Chatfield, Ross Dawson, Jeff Bullas and myself.

It’s shaping up to be an excellent conference. Hope you can make it.

Speak Up About Mental Health

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Thorpe-and-ParkinsonYears ago when Mark Pollard and I were working on The Perfect Gift for a Man, we felt like we were doing something important – encouraging people, men in particular – to speak up, write and share their stories. And it wasn’t just the fact that young men commit suicide at more than three times the rate of women of the same age – nor even the severe impact that depression is having on young people – that was staggering. It was the way that people and stories came out of the woodwork once we asked.

Stories are a powerful way of connecting – but they do need to find a space in which to be told. Vibewire’s recent “Serial Issue” on Mental Wellbeing unearthed some great stories, showcased some new technologies and revealed surprising statistics about mental health in Australia.

And Ian Thorpe’s interview with Michael Parkinson last night was a great step forward in the conversation about mental health. As Jonathan Nicholas, CEO of ReachOut.com says, “The positive impact that will result from Ian’s eloquent discussion of his struggles will be felt by young people right around the country today.”

But making sure this impact continues to build momentum, there are some things that you can do:

  1. Share this ReachOut.com fact sheet on coming out
  2. Post this information about self-help for Depression
  3. Email these stress strategies to young people you know
  4. Talk about bullying with your family tonight
  5. Call at least 1 young person you know today and remind them that they’re loved

In addition, if there are young people you know going through tough times, please let them know that help exists:

  1. For a safe and anonymous online service there’s ReachOut.com
  2. For face to face counselling there’s headspace
  3. For telephone support there’s Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 & Lifeline 13 11 14

And remember, speak up about mental health. It’s hard for it to stay hidden when it’s discussed in the light of day.

Going Viral for all the Wrong Reasons

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Every time someone reads, clicks or shares a link or piece of content that we have created, it sends a small dose of dopamine into our brain. This release provides us with a sense or reward, pleasure – and encouragement. It’s why (for the marketer) digital marketing or social media can be addictive. It is also why those who don’t use social media fail to understand the way that participation can become contagious – or how content can go “viral”.

Unfortunately, the concept of “virality” has positive and negative connotations. And while the highs that come with a viral “hit” can be dwarfed by the lows that come with a viral “miss”. Where once we held that there was no such thing as bad PR, we now know that there IS such a thing as bad social media – and there are very real impacts on our reputation (personal and corporate) and even downsides for our corporation’s share price.

For those who have one eye on the audience and another on your corporate reputation, Sprinklr’s recent whitepaper on crisis management will be a must-read. Covering the five essentials for crisis preparation, it includes a handy score card to help you assess when a crisis is likely to move from medium to critical, and even includes a sample flowchart which you can adapt to your own organisation.

The whitepaper by Rick Reed (Intel), Melissa Agnes (Agnes + Day) and Sprinklr’s Ali Ardalan and Uyen Nguyen is a handy document to model your own crisis plan on. And it might just be your saviour should you find yourself “going viral” for all the wrong reasons. Download your copy here (registration required).

Tales of the One in Ten

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Disadvantage can shape an entire life. This short, animated film by The Smith Family called, David & the Big Heavy, follows the true story of a young boy struggling to cope with issues at home and school as his family adjusts to life in a new country.

But then something happens that he could never have imagined.

Watch and share and help change someone else’s story.

Three Whats and a Why – Mary Meeker Meltdown

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It’s that time of year when Mary Meeker releases her internet trends report. It’s the one that melts the internet.

Now, I will leave you to your own devices to go through the 164 slides in your own time. There is plenty to read, review and digest. But I’d also encourage you to look at a redesigned (and re-imagined) version of Mary Meeker’s slides. After all, in 2012, Mary Meeker encouraged us to think of one of the core trends as “re-imagining everything”.

But before you immerse yourself in “trends” … take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months in your business or organisation:

  • What mattered in mid 2013?
  • What matters now?
  • What are you measuring?
  • Why are these things important?

Understanding your own Three Whats and a Why can help you determine which trends are worth your attention, and which are just noise. Choose your signals wisely.

ReflectionsCreative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

The Twitter Mirror Reveals All at Vibewire fastBREAK

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This Sunday, 25 May, as part of Vivid Sydney, Vibewire and the Powerhouse Museum will be hosting the biggest and boldest fastBREAK event ever. From 10:30am, you will be treated to a barrage of ideas and topics from 10 great speakers. There will be a band as well as breakfast. And for those who are fascinated by technology and social media, there will be an additional special guest – the Twitter Mirror.

Capturing all the behind the scenes action, the official Twitter Mirror allows the fastBREAK speakers to take a quick selfie or short format video Vine before and after taking the stage. These intimate shots will be pumped out through the fastBREAK hashtag and @vibewire Twitter account.

It’s yet another way to bring a different view of innovation – all thanks to the folks at Twitter Australia.

Remember to book your tickets before they are sold out.

Young people put their mark on the future at Vivid Sydney

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On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in conjunction with The Powerhouse Museum, host fastBREAK, a rapid fire event showcasing young innovators. Starting at 8am, five speakers are given five minutes to tell the story of their innovation – and why it chose them (or why they chose it). But this month the format has changed. It’s bigger and bolder. And it’s on this Sunday as part of Vivid Sydney.

With the theme SAVE THE WORLD, this fastBREAK will feature 5-minute talks by:

  • Senator Scott Ludlam, outspoken Greens Senator for WA
  • Tom Tilley, triple j’s Hack’s man about town
  • Jess Scully, the creative powerhouse behind Sydney’s Vivid Ideas festival
  • Urthboy, music innovator, entrepreneur and performer
  • Dan Ilic, comedian and driving force behind A Rational Fear
  • Ella Weisbrot, social justice and climate change campaigner with AYCC
  • Alex Greenwich, the independent Member of Parliament for Sydney

vw-fastbreal Jess Scully, festival director of Vivid Ideas and returning fastBREAK headliner said, “Creative people can – and will – save the world. We’ve got the skills, the passion, the radical point of view. When you empower young, creative people to use those skills they’re pretty much unstoppable – because they bring the vital elements of energy and optimism to the mix.”

Since launching in 2010, fastBREAK’s five minute format has showcased over a hundred creative changemakers and provided the inspiration for many more.

At fastBREAK – Save the World – in addition to the speakers, there are also two workshops and a band. And the world famous (ok, locally famous) breakfast courtesy of Black Star Pastry, and visual installations and storytelling courtesy of Sydney Digital Publishing (SDP).

When: Sunday 25 May, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Where: Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, 2007

Tickets: vibewire.org/events/save-the-world

Earned Audiences–Where Twitter Meets TV

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There was a time when sitting down in front of the TV was a family affair. It was me, Dad, Mum and maybe a dog. The little brother was tucked up in bed and the little sister, well, she was far off into the future. And while there would be the occasional conversation – mostly during the ad breaks between episodes of Prisoner – or when the footy would break at the end of six – watching TV was a shared experience with limited variation.

These days, the tables have turned.

Sure, we still arrange rooms around a large glowing screen. But it’s not just one glowing screen in the room any longer. The big one on the wall fights for attention with the various smaller devices – smartphones, tablets and notebooks that adorn our laps. TV is no longer the centre of authority in our night’s entertainment – it’s just the context for a much broader conversation.

TV shifts from content to context

One of the most interesting transformations that has come about in recent years is the demotion of TV from centre of an experience to the frame for that experience. These days, TV is just the start of a conversational journey that happens within a home. From there, hundreds, thousands, millions of streams of opinion, humour, sarcasm and even spoilers, issue forth from the devices of the people who are consuming shows while simultaneously co-creating as-yet-unwritten meta-narratives via Twitter, Facebook and specialist apps like Beamly or GetGlue. The shows provide the context into which “prosumers” pour their creative energies and content.

What does this look like?

ABC’s Q&A program creating earned audiences

QandAtweetsA great example of social media connecting audiences is Australian Broadcasting Service’s Q&A program. Actively curated for live amplification during broadcasting, the #QandA stream prompts conversations amongst participants, friends and connections along with a generous smattering of online trolling and vitriol.

Some participants argue with points raised live on the show, some share links supporting their arguments and others just simply throw their best lines into the void hoping that their 140 characters will somehow be picked up and shared with the TV audience. One of the more prolific protagonists, Wolf Cocklin, has gone so far as to create a line of #QandA related merchandise that he sells via creative community/marketplace, Red Bubble.

Tellingly, this audience sprang up organically, adopting the #QandA hashtag and generating a massive stream of content. At first, the QandA producers appeared unaware or uncertain of how to approach this new community of viewers. After all, they were at times, unruly and prone to swearing. But as an “earned audience”, it was icing on the cake of broadcasting. For while TV runs multiple rounds of surveys to understand (and extrapolate) viewership, people who participate using #QandA:

  • Self identify
  • Reveal a range of interests via their profile and publishing
  • Share networks of others
  • Rally audiences and grow reach

In many ways, this audience is the programmer’s dream. So it makes sense that before too long, tweets began appearing on-screen and spurred on by the promise of 5 seconds of fame, participants responded, growing a massive audience that spans Australia’s three timezones.

The last couple of months has also seen participants publishing their tweets many hours ahead of broadcasting. This strategy seems designed to maximise the possibility of a tweet being broadcast. After all, the views of the show’s panellists are known in advance as are the hot topics of the moment. And if you can give the producers a few easy, early tweets that can be loaded into the system, then everyone wins.

Bridging the brand and consumer gap with earned audiences

While the lessons from #QandA are interesting, it would appear at first glance, that going from “conversation to conversion” is more challenging. For some time, marketers have been keen to identify the connection between social media and sales – with many giving up the ghost. But new research sponsored by Twitter seems to suggest that Twitter-based brand exposure does indeed drive action. This includes:

  • Visiting brand websites
  • Visiting brand Twitter pages
  • Searching for the brand
  • Consider trying the brand
  • Retweeting the brand

As expected, the tweets that originated from the brand were less effective than those that originated organically (or appeared to be organic).

While this is interesting research, it smacks a little of research that shows that “radio ads are more effective”. For no matter how engaged or how “managed” a branded social channel may be, Twitter chats, hashtags and the like remain wild, contested territories for brands. Yes, there can be cut through, but it comes with risks.

And while the stickiness, energy and passion that comes with social media may be the flame to the marketer’s moth, an earned audience is not a PERMISSIVE audience. And just because people are talking about you, doesn’t mean that they want to talk TO you. That requires a whole different level of trust. And it’s a world away from TV.

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Tell the Story of Your #BigData with QuillEngage

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Big data, small data, analytics. Blah blah blah.

It all sounds like a load of waffle, right? At least until we find a thread of narrative running through the information.

For many of us, the closest we are likely to get to a large amount of usable data is on our own websites. And believe it or not, even small amounts of web traffic, visits, comments on a blog etc can generate a substantial amount of information. If you get a chance, log in to your server and download the “log files”. You’ll soon see just how much information is generated by visitors to your website.

The thing is, raw log files are relatively useless. Sure they might help your webmaster pinpoint a problem or recurring error, but thousands of lines of information only make sense in aggregation. Or when they are decoded. Translated.

And that’s where Quill Engage comes in. You simply sign up, provide access to your Google Analytics information and then each week, QuillEngage will email a report explaining what’s going on with your website.

Now, I have been a fan of web analytics before there were web analytics. I have created my own reports, created simple tracking systems to collate conversion data and so on, but in a world where there is ever increasing pressure on our decision making capabilities, handing off the data processing tasks to an artificial intelligence engine may be the smartest thing you can do. Especially when it produces not just a report, but insight.

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My latest report highlighted a few important things to think about:

  • My mobile traffic was up 3% over last month and now accounts for 19% of total traffic
  • The most visits to Servantofchaos.com come from Sydney and NSW (which is big change over previous years)
  • Facebook replaced Twitter as my top social network referrer, up a massive 250% on the previous month

Why is this important?

Well, these days I hardly have time to write let alone check the performance of the site. But if I do check, I am unlikely to connect all the dots in this one email report in under 10 minutes. In fact, the email report from QuillEngage is so quick to read and easy to consume that you’ll be using those 10 minutes to think about what you might do differently next month.

And that’s really the point.

From what I can see, QuillEngage is a no-brainer for any business owner or marketer. Sure, you’re not going to get the detail that comes straight from Google Analytics, but the report should give you some quick thoughts on what to interrogate and act upon. And it’s free, at least for the time being. Get started here.