Wednesday, 28 November 2007

And now for something lighter. An Ode to Facebook.

Things have gone a bit quiet on Engagement 101 recently due a combination of Websense (the company's Internet police) blocking all blogger blogs for a while, vacations and general busyness.

Anyway, here's something light to ease me back in - a YouTube video featuring a song about Facebook.

And very well done too.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Computer Weekly explains relaunch with video has just relaunched and I like their approach to telling their users what's changed.

They've created a video featuring web editor James Garner (A person! Yeah!) talking you through it against a background which illustrates the site itself (with a cursor wandering about to show what he's talking about).

Maybe they could have talked less about "users" and more about "you", but it's a great way to humanise the product.

Here it is. There's more on the new-look site at


Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Google magazines patent

Goodness. Isn't it hard enough coping with print advertising decline without Google muscling in on the action? The Internet is abuzz with news that Google has filed a patent regarding DIY magazine publishing.

There's a good summary over at Techcrunch of what appears to be a system which will allow users to create customised, printed magazines from Internet content (not sure WHAT content. IPR and all that - do publishers of the content get a cut?).

Crucially the magazines would also include print ads customised to suit the interests of the reader.

For more details (and some visuals) see this interesting post at

Friday, 2 November 2007

One user at a time. Or possibly two at a time.

Work here continues apace on rolling out our new community software to various websites. Some of these are replacing old technology and are thus delighting their users with much improved functionality and performance.

But a couple of brave markets are trying to start communities from scratch and of course they are finding it very hard work.

At our weekly Community Editors meeting yesterday, one of them said he was getting in touch with a mate who had offered to participate in the new site and asking his mate to ask his mates to go along too.

It struck a chord with me as I had come across this ad the day before:

The line that hit me was: "Your web site does not attract thousands of visitors - only one at a time. Your web site must cater to individuals".

How true, especially of an online community.

I think that as a business we often lose site of this because we are used to doing things en masse: marketing, publishing magazines, news emails.

Thinking about forums in this mass-media way doesn't work very well with communities: what's required is for ONE person at a time to find it useful. Well - two people as they need someone to communicate with. I suppose what I'm getting at is that we need to be working really hard viewing people as individuals and engaging with them as individuals.

As a though excersie, I thought "If I didn't have the amazing resources of this company available to me and I was starting one of these forums from scratch, how would I go about it?"

Well, I'd get my mates in and get them to get their mates in....

Maybe it's not entirely literal; maybe it's slightly metaphorical.

But that's where I'm heading with it.