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Category Archives: Google

What a top tech blogger has to say about journalism

I recently had the pleasure of attending a journalism conference in Cambridge organized by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,  Harvard’s Nieman Fellowship, and the Graduate School of Design.

One of the speakers was Kara Swisher, the founder of, an immensely popular tech, media and Internet news site (4 million readers) which she launched 5 years ago after she personally began to think that printed newspapers were becoming irrelevant.

Swisher doesn’t mince words. You would expect nothing less from a hardened journalist – one who turned down a gig covering the White House when she worked at the Washington Post because she was interested in a new phenomenon: the Internet, and AOL.

At the time, she told a man for whom she has great affection, Don Graham of the Post — now on the board of Facebook, by the way — exactly what she thought of the paper (outmoded), and quit. She decamped for the Wall Street Journal, where she started covering digital issues out of the San Francisco bureau in 1997 and also wrote the BoomTown column about the sector.

In 2000, she pitched a blog to the Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones, whose response was: “What’s a blog?”

“I said, ‘Why don’t we tape a joint between every page [and then people will read the paper],’” Swisher recalled.

Dow Jones also pushed back by saying bloggers regularly got the facts wrong – they didn’t do proper reporting. At which point Swisher presented the list of “43 mistakes” that the paper had made so far that year.

Walt Mossberg, Kara Swisher and Steve Jobs at the website’s spinoff D8 Conference in 2010.


Skip to today. All Things D is staffed with serious journalists. And the staff’s personalized ethics statements are posted prominently, including Swisher’s own fascinating and lengthy one.

The site is unusual in several ways. First, it is wholly owned by Dow Jones and adheres to the journalistic standards of the best of the mainstream media. But, because it is run autonomously as a small online start-up (Swisher and tech columnist Walt Mossberg have skin in the game), they bring “fresh thinking and nimbleness of the best of the new media. We want to be first, and sassy, but also well sourced and accurate. We will offer lots of opinion and analysis, but plenty of fact as well.”

If you are among Swisher’s more than 800,000 Twitter followers, you know what she means. In fact, Twitter is one of their biggest traffic drivers.

With a staff of 7, the site broke seven of the 10 biggest tech stories of the year, Swisher says, and makes money. How many other journalists are providing revenue for the front office?  (The Wall Street Journal has dozens of reporters on the same beats, she notes.)

Swisher also said that she does not reveal web traffic results to her reporters on their stories because then the staff would only write about Apple. If I were Swisher (who has a fondness for LOLcats) I’d insert one here:

While Swisher’s Harvard presentation about tech trends was interesting – SoMoLo, Big Data and LOLcats among them – the point of her talk was to admonish the reporters in the room for “not keeping up with digital information.”

“Journalists need to be more entrepreneurial,” she said.

But then, the same holds true for investors.

The big trend in Silicon Valley these days? According to Swisher, “a lot of big minds are chasing small ideas.”


Read more from Tina Cassidy

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of April 9

Facebook Buys Instagram

This week’s news was dominated by the announcement that Facebook has acquired photo sharing app giant Instagram. And it cost a pretty penny too—roughly $1 billion in a combination of cash and stock. CEO Mark Zuckerberg assures that Facebook plans on allowing photos to be published on other social networks and that Instagram users will not be limited to following only Facebook friends. Many Instagram users, however, admit that they are less than thrilled with the deal and plan on heading for greener, non-Facebook pastures.  Read more about the backlash here.  With only nine people on staff, how did Instagram become so hugely successful? Their co-founder offers a guide for start-ups.


Google + Redesign

This week, Google +1 underwent a face lift. It revamped its navigation system to allow larger photos in the user content stream and all of the application buttons were moved to a gray side bar on the left-hand side, opening up a large white space on the right side of profile pages. Stumped for ideas to fill that new white space?  Pay tribute to the legendary Betty White, or, remove it all together. What do you think of the new look?


Oprah Takes on Social TV

A year ago, I was sad to say goodbye to my daily dose of Oprah. I knew, however, that she would be back and better than ever. Her network OWN’s ratings are off the charts, and how she has chosen to interact with her audiences may be to thank for that. “Oprah’s Lifeclass” encourages interactivity from across various social platforms, asking viewers at home to tweet their thoughts about the show’s topics and then she discusses some of them in real-time with her guests.  The response has been huge and is proof that finding new ways to interact with your audience (whether it be daytime TV viewers, Facebook fans or Twitter followers) is key. Read more here.


Placeme: Assistant of the Future?

Droid and iOS users are buzzing about the new app that automatically records your activities, location and environment with no checking-in needed.  Developed by Alohar Mobile, Placeme tracks and records everything in the background. How does this benefit users? Well, not very much, yet – but it has potential. What if, for example, your phone knows your work hours and can scan your commute route for traffic and sync up to your navigation app to direct you? Seems a little Big Brother to me, but Alohar Mobile CEO Sam Liang insists that Placeme is personal assistant of the future. Translation: watch out, Siri.



Read more from Whitney Clifford

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of April 2

Google Glasses

On Wednesday, Google researchers launched a Google+ page for Project Glass, its augmented reality glasses project. The page shared a YouTube video teaser showing just what these sci-fi glasses are capable of: interacting with what you’re seeing and acting as a smartphone, day planner, navigation system, camera and more. People are excited for the new technology, which Google is hoping to unveil next year—even Google’s Co-founder was caught modeling a pair. Now, I can neither confirm nor deny that I have jumped on the trendy non-prescription glasses bandwagon in years past, but eyewear for the sake of technology? That might just be a little too Jetsons for me. What do you think—will you be a four-eyed innovator?


Facebook Coming to NASDAQ

Although Facebook has not made an official announcement, reports say that the networking giant plans to list its shares on the NASDAQ Stock Market in May. So why NASDAQ and not the New York Stock Exchange? NASDAQ seems to hold the position of the favored venue for the biggest U.S. technology companies, with about twice as many technology corporations trading for more than $1 billion (according to data compiled by Bloomberg). For more info, including a report on other social media IPOs, read on here.


Pinterest: Moving up in the Ranks


For those of you still holding out, dismissing Pinterest as a site reserved for design gurus, art aficionados and wannabe Martha Stewarts, you might want to keep reading. At InkHouse, we quickly noticed what a huge impact Pinterest had on SEO, and now a new report touts Pinterest as the #3 social network in the U.S., coming in behind Facebook and Twitter. So you know you need to give Pinterest a chance, and now there are ways to better personalize your boards, as the site released a much-requested feature: the ability to customize your board cover pin, the most recent update to their redesign process that began last month. Learn more here and happy pinning!


Skype Slams Facebook and Twitter

In its recent campaign, “It’s Time for Skype,” video conferencing service Skype takes a swipe at social networking sites, suggesting that their technology is “degrading humanity.” Released in the U.K. on April 2 and expected to hit the U.S. in the coming months, the ads take direct aim at Facebook and Twitter, claiming that “140 characters don’t equal staying in touch” and encourages users to “upgrade from a wall post to a first class conversation.” Those are fighting words in my book, and here’s the funny/ironic part: Skype uses these very sites to promote its services—the campaign has a Twitter hashtag #timeforskype, and there’s also an integration feature that allows Facebook users to make video calls. So, is Skype the bully that steals your lunch and then tells you how bad it tastes while he’s eating it, or is it just trying to take an edgier approach, create a little controversy to rise above the din? Read more here and then send us your thoughts.

Read more from Whitney Clifford

Roll Out the Red Carpet for Facebook Brand Timelines

There may not be paparazzi sneaking about, but here’s an event you won’t want to miss. A week from today, Facebook is expected to debut its Timeline (not Time line or timeline) feature for brands at the first fMC—a Facebook marketing event—on February 29. No longer will this scrapbook-like format be available only to individual users, but soon many of the brands you “like” will be able to make the switch.

With Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest making headlines as of late, it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of “what’s hot” in the social media world. So what do Facebook Brand Timelines mean for companies’ future social engagement? Well for one thing, more pictures. From cover photos to tagged images to profile pictures, the new layout is laden with visuals and, let’s face it, people love visuals. The more personal a page is, the more likely fans and customers are to interact with that brand—which is ultimately more compelling to marketers, according to AdAge.

In addition to the collage of pictures, Timeline will allow for brands to go back in time—that is to say events that occurred prior to a company’s presence on Facebook can be added in retrospect, to present a more comprehensive view. Similar to when this feature was introduced to individual users, there will most likely be a “grace period” to clean up what appears on a brand’s Timeline. In fact, I came across a checklist of sorts for brands to get started with the crossover on “All Facebook: The Unofficial Facebook Resource,” which includes the following:

  • Start planning which material in your archives you’ll want to feature on the timeline.
  • Determine whether to add more administrators to the page, and whom, since the workload may increase.
  • Plan a cover image in advance.
  • Determine a new editorial process for timeline.

I’d like to take this advice a step further and say take advantage of the grace period. Seriously. Perhaps a little “spring cleaning” of your photos is in order? (Thanks, Tina). Out with the old and in with the new! Just hired a new CEO? Make sure your page reflects that. Nasty comments on the page? Take ‘em off. The Internet doesn’t forget, but you can control what you’re pushing live on your Timeline. And another thing, if you’ve got third-party apps linked to your company’s Facebook page (like Twitter), make sure you check the settings before you start bombarding faithful followers with excessive updates—that’s one way to lose fans quickly.

What it boils down to, is you need to do your homework before making the switch. In a contributed article on Forbes, Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue, said, “Investing time in understanding how this shift impacts the way your brand’s story is presented to your social community is vital to any organization’s success.” It sounds like common sense, but it’s an obvious piece of advice that often gets lost in the hype of shiny newness.

Read more from admin

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of November 28

This past week in the wonderful world of social media was fitting for the bustling pre-holiday season: articles covered everything from Facebook’s IPO to Britney Spears on Google+, and we were left feeling a little like we do after an impromptu trip to the mall—overwhelmed, but somehow satisfied. Below, I share a few highlights:


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Facebook IPO

There has been a flurry of news surrounding the Facebook IPO—with analysts and users speculating: will they, won’t they? Recently, Facebook officially announced that the company will go public between April and June of 2012. Most of us know that Zuckerberg and the gang aren’t exactly struggling in the revenue department (the company is valued at almost $100 billion) and might wonder why they’re moving forward with this plan. This Mashable article breaks down the pros and cons of going public.


Startups: The New Cambrian Explosion?

It seems as though every day, we hear about new startups forming and getting funded. Many “starters” have taken advantage of today’s ever-evolving tech environment by mastering new technologies and packaging them into products. At TechCrunch Japan’s Tokyo 2011 conference this past week, TechCrunch Editor Erick Schonfeld’s talk focused on this topic, as he compared the startup “boom” to a new Cambrian Explosion, in which many species are created. In this video, Schonfeld dissects why and how many of these species thrive and how others quickly became extinct.


Amazon’s Kindle Fire Burns Hot

Holiday shoppers — If you’re looking for the Amazon alternative to the Barnes and Noble Nook, you’ve probably been inundated with news about the Amazon Fire. Coming in as the #2 tablet (second to Apple’s iPad, of course), the newest edition to the Kindle family is flying off the shelves at a rapid rate: 3-4 million already sold, to be exact. If you’re not sure if the Fire is Christmas stocking worthy, read on here. For more gift ideas for the tech gadget lover on your list, check out GigaOm’s suggestions.


Britney Feeling the Google+ Love

Once primarily dominated by techies, Google+ is now seeing an influx of celebrity accounts. So, who currently tops the Google+ charts? None other than Britney Spears. In our last round-up, we broke down the steps for creating a Google+ page for your brand, and between her CDs, movies, tours and product lines, Britney could absolutely be considered a brand. So, while we’re not suggesting that your business needs to post photos of your MTV awards or of the people camping out to see you, Miss Spears’ popular page may serve as some inspiration.


YouTube’s New Challenges

If you’re a regular YouTube viewer, you may have noticed its new look. Last week, the video hosting site introduced a new homepage. As part of the largest redesign since YouTube’s founding in 2006, users will notice a shift towards a more personalized experience that focuses on video subscriptions and video recommendations from Facebook and Google+. But the homepage has been receiving some criticisms—read on here.

Read more from Whitney Clifford

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of November 14

Wendy’s Stealth Campaign, Google+ for Businesses, Yipit Goes Mobile, Sundance & Twitter, Apple Board Changes and a Fresh Voice for the Crimson


Wendy’s Stealth Twitter Campaign

Wendy’s has gained 33,000 Twitter followers within a month’s time with very limited ad support – an accomplishment matched by few brands. How did they do it? The fast food giant created an online “game show”to promote its new burger using the handle @GirlBehindSix, a reference to the open slot on Wendy’s menu. Fans and participants of the game show received cash prizes, shark sleeping bags, mopeds, and, according to the ad agency behind the campaign, “other things you wanted, but would never buy for yourself.” Was the campaign a success? Well, I’ve never wanted a shark sleeping bag (*blatant lie), and am a vegetarian, but here I am talking about the new burger and its cool contest.


Google+ for Your Business

There have been mixed reviews of Google+ since its inception, but now that it is offering pages for brands, people might be changing their opinion about the social networking site. Creating a business page may prove slightly challenging at first; if you haven’t done so already, create a personal account for yourself to familiarize yourself with the features and then check out these great tips from Social Media Examiner. This new addition may be Google+’s smartest move yet, as last week was the site’s third-biggest in terms of U.S. traffic with 6.8 million visits. Is your brand on Google+, and if so, what are your thoughts?


Yipit Goes Mobile

Daily deal sites remain extremely popular, and Yipit is now taking its success to the next level with an iPhone app. Just in time for the holiday shopping season kick-off, consumers can now use the mobile version of the “My Deals” feature to search through Yipit’s 800 deals to receive top product recommendations. So, unless you’re looking forward to waiting in a line at 3:00am on Black Friday, click here and simplify your shopping.


Sundance Channel & Twitter

In an unprecedented move, the Sundance Channel has announced its plans to premier the new season of its returning show Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys exclusively on Twitter. This is the first time that Twitter has been used as a TV platform, however, last spring, Paramount released a movie trailer via the site. This is most likely a very smart move for Sundance, as it can leverage the show’s already large social following to encourage regular viewership. Will other networks be following suit? Read more here.


Changes to Apple’s Board

This week, Apple announced the first changes to the board since the death of co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs in October. The company’s new chairman of the board is Arthur Levinson, chairman of Genentech Inc. Apple also appointed Robert Iger, the chief executive of Walt Disney Co., as a director. Jobs was on Disney’s board before his death and the two companies have had a longstanding relationship. Apple is optimistic that these changes will support the company’s future success. Interested in learning more about the others that fill out the board’s ranks? Click here.


A Fresh Voice for the Crimson

Harvard University has never had an issue with brand awareness, but a few years ago, the school turned to social media to change its stuffy reputation. Through marketing efforts led by its first chief marketing and communications officer, the Ivy League leader continues to attract prospective students by telling its historic story through new outlets. Read Mashable’s interview with the man leading the academic marketing charge here.


Read more from Whitney Clifford

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of October 31

Twitter Experiments, Old Spice Revival, iPhone Does it All, Google Takes TV? and Halloween Infographic

Twitter Tests “Top News” and “Top Story”

Word on the street (and OK, on TechCrunch), is that Twitter is testing out new “Top News” and “Top People” features. It seems as though some users are seeing these categories highlighted at the top of Twitter’s real-time search results. Enter a popular search term and you’ll see a highlighted boxed result with a link to a top news story along with a thumbnail image from that article or blog post. This is a pretty smart idea, and I agree that publishers are going to be vying for that top slot, as they will inevitably see much more Twitter traffic. Have you noticed this new feature on your page? Read on here.

Old Spice Campaign Revival

Most of us remember Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, featuring spokesman Isaiah Mustafa. The funny commercials received numerous industry accolades in 2010 and Mustafa starred in hundreds of YouTube videos, responding to fans and bloggers by name, answering their questions on screen. But, like the famous Budweiser “Wassup” campaign and the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” character, Old Spice execs worried that Mustafa’s appeal had come to an end. So, how did they revive a campaign that no one wanted to touch? They created another hugely successful social media campaign…and added Fabio.

5 Tips for Creating Video & Audio Content with Your iPhone

In a previous news round-up I shared iPhone 4S news, including glowing reviews for its advanced camera and video capabilities. So, now that you know the camera is awesome, what are you going to do with it? What Social Media Examiner writer Tom Martin is doing is using his iPhone—and only his iPhone—to conduct interviews, edit material, and post the final product on his blog for a new project. Want to know what Tom learned about capturing audio, pictures and video with nothing but an iPhone? Read on here.

How Hotels and Travel Companies are Nailing it on Social Media

Before booking any trip these days, most people’s first step is to read online reviews of that destination, hotel, activity, etc. In addition to the restaurant industry, the travel sector is unique in that its success is so closely linked to online reviews. So when hotel chain Accorhotels—which runs Sofitel and Motel 6, among others decided to feature TripAdvisor reviews on its site, it was a very gutsy move. The key, according to Forrester Research, is to “figure out a way to control some of that social media chatter by using social media as a sounding board for positive experiences.” How have some of the savviest players in the travel industry done just that? Read more about their social strategies here.

Google Disrupting the TV Business?

Could the search giant have its eyes set on TV? Maybe. Already extremely successful in online advertising, Google has announced plans to build a fiber-optic high-speed internet service and may be looking to expand that into video and phone services as well. If the rumors are true, that would mean that Google could not only sell subscriptions to these TV channels, but it could also sell the advertisements that would run on those channels. Find out more here.

Hottest Halloween Costumes Infographic

Thanks to Jen’s last post on how visual aids can help you understand abstract ideas and retain important subject matter, we all know how powerful infographics are. And, this past week, the subject matter on the forefront of many minds was Halloween costumes and what was going to be the top trend in 2011. So, for fun, I share this spooky infographic to show which costumes (and candy) received the most online buzz this week. Boo!

Read more from Whitney Clifford

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of September 26

New Profiles, Don’t Give up on Google+, Twacking Infographic, Twitter = Olive Branch, Mobile App Tips, Exercise and Creativity

Facebook’s New Profiles

This week’s social news was dominated by Facebook and its new profiles. From old information once believed to be long buried being uncovered and other privacy concerns, to fun cover photo suggestions, to a recent trademark infringement suit from, Facebook has been quite the media hog. So, what do you think of the new profiles? One thing is clear: for personal accounts, we can expect to continually discover changes. And what does the update mean for brands? It could be huge.

Twacked: When Twitter Accounts Go Bad

Most of us Twitterers take great care in cultivating a quality following. We share our expertise, opinions and, sometimes, personal information with the Twitterverse. Imagine if your treasured account was hacked and someone had free reign to use it to damage your Tweeting rep? It happens more often than you think. Check out this infographic and evaluate your account – is your password strong? Have you clicked on any suspicious email attachments lately? Remember, even though you may not have a following of Bieber caliber, you can still be at risk.

Israel Prime Minister Extends an Olive Branch over Twitter

Last Friday, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu (@IsraeliPM) reached out to Palestinian officials via a Tweet: “We’re in the same city, in the same building, let’s meet here today. I extend my hand in peace.” That message, along with other tweets, was sent after weeks of controversy. Could 140 characters be the catalyst for change and peace talks? Wouldn’t that be something? Read more here.

Six Tips for Building a Mobile App

GigaOM held Mobilize 2011 this week, a conference that brought top mobile company founders and executives together to share what they’ve learned throughout their careers. Couldn’t make it to San Francisco for the conference? Don’t stress — GigaOM has the top tips for building a mobile app from Pandora, Flipboard, Instagram, and other experts here.

20 Ways to Master Google+

When Google+ launched, people could not wait to join and explore all of its features. It wasn’t only the “new Facebook,” it was a “better Facebook.” Now, however, perhaps some of the newness has worn off, as user activity has declined. If you’re one of the many that are considering giving up on the site, maybe you just need to learn how to use it more effectively. Before you call it quits, check out these great tips to becoming a Google+ master. Because, really, everyone deserves a second chance.

The Creative Brain on Exercise

Tomorrow is the first day of October, and, in my mind, the unofficial start of autumn. For many, autumn signifies a transition into a busier time: school’s back in session, projects begin to ramp up at work and it’s hard to schedule time for yourself. This is exactly the problem. The time when you need to be the most creative is also the time where it seems your brain has hit the proverbial wall…and it’s not getting up. So what’s the solution? Tactics for making space for creativity vary from person to person, and for me, it is running. Check
out Fast Company’s article about Japanese Writer Haruki Murakami and his thoughts on the relationship between creativity and exercise – move your legs and your brain may follow.

Read more from Whitney Clifford

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of September 19

Facebook’s New Profiles, Netflix Flops?, Google+ on Klout, WSJ on Facebook and Augmented Reality


Facebook’s New Profiles: First Impressions

This week, Facebook held its F8 developer conference. After unconventional introduction, the main focus of Mark Zuckerberg’s talk was about the much anticipated profile redesign. The profile changes are a part of a broader launch, including a music and media platform, and are designed to make profiles “stickier,” or encourage users to stay on longer; profiles will also feature a prominent new timeline. Check out Mashable’s first impressions of the updates here. The changes will obviously affect users, but marketers on Facebook are really beginning to feel the pressure to produce more gripping content. Find out why here.

Netflix Flop?

Netflix recently came under fire for splitting its services: DVD and video streaming, causing subscription fees to skyrocket and angry customers to feverishly cancel services. As if that wasn’t enough bad press for a lifetime, Netflix learned another very valuable lesson this week – always do your research. The popular DVD mailing service underwent a rebrand, including a name change to Qwikster. After the official launch, Netflix learned that the Twitter handle Qwikster was already taken – by a foul-mouthed user whose profile picture was a doctored imageof Sesame’s beloved Elmo smoking marijuana. This was a huge misstep for Netflix, as they have been active on social media sites for years now, and should’ve known better. And now, the owner of the Qwikster handle wants to negotiate. Stay tuned for more details as this saga continues. In the meantime, find out what CEO Reed Hastings thinks went wrong.

Klout Now Measures Social Influence On Google+

Google+ is now open to everyone, including influence rater Klout, apparently. Klout has doubled the number of services it offers in just a few months and users can now connect to 11, including other recent Klout adds Blogger, Flickr, Instagram and Tumblr. You’ll notice the Google+ button on your dashboard, right next to Twitter’s and Facebook’s buttons. It will take a few days for Klout to pull in everyone’s data. Learn more here.

Also jumping on the Plus1 button band wagon? Social guru Chris Brogan recently added it to his blog and shares how he’s finding it useful here.

The Wall Street Journal Brings Its Content to Facebook

In support of its “WSJ Everywhere” strategy, the Wall Street Journal has launched a Facebook app that republishes content on Facebook. Known for making readers pay for article access, the WSJ believes this will give that content greater visibility and that by providing content where the customers are (Facebook) without having to click through will attract more viewers. Is this the future and will other print publications be following suit? Let Mashable help you decide.

Augmented Reality: 5 Ways it Can Change Your World

Have you heard of augmented reality? Before reading this blog, I only associated the term with the Gary Busey, Charlie Sheen and Michele Bachmann, but it turns out that augmented reality is also a really cool new technology that is being developed to “heighten” reality. Previously reserved to enhance video games, it is now being used to boost businesses’ productivity. How? Read on here.

Read more from Whitney Clifford

How Unofficial Activity Drives Innovation: Lessons from Google, 3M and Pitney Bowes

Something about September makes me yearn for a new side project to tackle. I chalk it up to a combination of back-to-school withdrawal, the crisp fall air and my general inclination towards multitasking. I read a Wall Street Journal article about a new concept the author dubbed “work-work balance,” juggling your main work duties with more experimental side projects. The concept is intriguing and many of the most innovative companies already encourage employees to take time for “unofficial” activity to spur creative thinking. InkHouse is no different and making space for creativity is something we all strive for on a daily basis.

The WSJ article specifically points to innovative companies like Google and 3M, which allow their employees set time to work on creative, company-related ideas. Fostering innovation is not the only goal: these companies also want to keep employees engaged and challenged by providing opportunities for side projects distinct from daily work tasks. According to a Gallup Management Journal study, engaged employees are more profitable, create stronger customer relationships, stay longer with their company and are more likely to contribute to future innovation.

Google’s Gmail, Earth and News all came from Google’s policy of letting engineers use 20 percent of their time for company-related projects of their choosing. Not all of these ideas take off (remember Google Buzz?), but as someone who relies on Gmail and Google News in my everyday life, I’m happy to endure a few duds to reap the rewards of the winners. Failure is expected during these trials and embraced as a learning experience.

3M has employed its famed creative time off rule for more than 60 years, encouraging all staff (not just the engineers) to devote 15 percent of their work time to pursue ideas they discovered through the usual course of work but didn’t have time to follow up on. The famous Post-It Note was invented during one employee’s 15 percent time back in 1974. Other ideas now on the market with roots in 15 percent time include clear bandages and painter’s tape that sticks to wall edges. It’s no doubt that companies with high levels of inherent creative competitiveness have the most successful employee-driven innovation programs. One of 3M’s most beloved company events has employees present poster boards of their 15 percent time projects to fellow employees – science fair style – and receive feedback and suggestions.

In 2009, Pitney Bowes launched IdeaNet, an internal web community built around “idea challenges” that enables employees to generate and shape ideas. Since launch, 4,000 ideas have been submitted and unit leaders have adopted 900 ideas for implementation. The payoff? $8 million in revenue for Pitney Bowes. Pretty impressive, especially given that, on average, ideas from U.S. employees are implemented only once every six years.

Here at InkHouse, we work with innovative companies at various stages – from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. It’s important to understand each client’s culture and what makes them innovators in their respective fields. Disruptive products and ground-breaking technologies make for great product stories, but don’t forget to look behind the scenes to see where the idea originated. Stories of employee-driven innovation in action can be equally powerful and are happening right now.

Are you part of an idea-driven workforce? Share your side project and “unofficial time” stories here. After all, collaboration drives innovation.

Read more from admin

PR and Social InkLings for the Week of September 12

Social Launches, TechCrunch Feud, Facebook Marketing Success Stories, Walmart Schools Media Companies and the Warlock Social Media Experiment

Google Launches Flight Search

This past week, Google quietly launched Flight Search, a tool that allows users to find and book flights. Flight Search is a more user-friendly version of a similar service Google launched last May, and so far it has offered us an “early look” at the service with flights to and from a handful of cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas. Google is aiming to become a strong competitor in the flight search arena currently dominated by travel heavyweights Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz and TripAdvisor. Already thinking about holiday travel? As Flight Search continues to expand, we’ll have the convenience of searching and booking trips to many popular destinations – all without leaving Google’s page. Check out this video to learn more about Flight Search’s features.

How Twitter Web Analytics Will Help Your Business

In other recent launch news, Twitter announced its new tool Twitter Web Analytics. Website owners will now have access to more detailed information: how much of their content is being shared on Twitter, how much traffic Twitter is sending their way, how well Tweet Buttons are performing and more. Until now, Twitter had only offered Analytics to advertisers, and businesses had to rely on the word of online marketers that the traffic that was being reported was actually coming from real accounts. Now that owners will be able to have the data delivered to them, Twitter may gain a lot more marketing clout. The product will be available to the masses within the next couple of weeks, but if you can’t wait to hear more, read on here.

TechCrunch Founder VS. New Editor Turns Ugly

Recently, AOL issued a formal statement about its “parting ways” with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. The statement left readers believing that it was Arrington’s decision to move on, as he wished to focus on his newly formed venture fund. Is there any truth to that statement? Perhaps — but, Arrington’s recent actions suggest some bad blood. At last week’s TC Disrupt conference, newly appointed TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld made a comment referencing  a few of the finalist companies and Arrington’s relationship to them. Arrington responded with a not-so-nice comment on the TechCrunch blog. So, what’s next for Arrington? A new blog, of course.

Nine Facebook Marketing Success Stories You Should Model

Does your company have a Facebook page? Is it used as an outlet to promote products and company news? Great. But are you truly using it to its fullest potential? If you’ve had the account for a couple of years, you may have found yourself slacking a bit when it comes to customer engagement and fresh approaches. If so, check out this article. From Wisconsin cheese to American Express to Petco, these companies’ innovative tactics are sure to provide some inspiration.

What Media Companies Can Learn from Walmart

Recently, Walmart acquired social advertising company OneRiot. OneRiot joins Walmart Labs, a unit created to sort and analyze all of the data coming in from users on social networks. You may not expect it, but the retail giant has actually long-been focused on customer needs and trying to make sense of its business data; way before social networks existed (or even the Web for that matter), Walmart owned an extensive satellite information network that tracked the movements of every one of their delivery trucks. Why should media companies pay attention to what Walmart and their Labs are doing? GigaOM explains here.

Comedy Central’s Ambitious Social Media Experiment

Just because it airs tonight (and fine, also because I’m one of those awful people who still loves saying “winning!”), I had to share this story. We’ve all seen the roasts on Comedy Central, and now raunchy comedians have hit the mother-load of controversial subjects: Charlie Sheen. Building on the online response to a past roast of Donald Trump, Comedy Central developed a few social tools, including incorporating two main hashtags: #SheenRoast and #CrazyTrain into a digital dashboard where the audience can comment, interact with other participants and share with their social networks. Is digital the future of network TV? Learn more about Comedy Central’s social media experiment here.


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