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Starting a new Blog?? January 29, 2009

Posted by Jeremy in Business, Green Business, Social Networking, Tools.
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Blogging is an awesome way for people to share knowledge.  Whether it be for personal or business reasons there are many good reasons to give it a try.

Personally, I think that businesses should have a blog.  It would be in their best interests to have an active blog.  They can discuss what’s going on with their business, products, markets, etc.  This allows the customers and potential customers to connect with the company in a more personal way than they will on a standard web site.  It also allows the business to be a knowledge provider and earn trustworthiness with the clients and potential clients.

If you decide to start a blog you need to start reading ProBlogger’s Blog (twitter @ProBlogger).  He has a wealth of information for blogging.  His blog should be on every blogger’s list of required reading.

Today, he compiled a list of 29 tips (archive articles) for you if you are starting a new blog.  Here is the article:

Starting Your First Blog? 29 Tips, Tutorials and Resources for New Bloggers

If you haven’t started a blog for your business yet, you might want to consider it.  If you do consider it, check out the ProBlogger blog post above for help.

Do you blog?  Does your business blog?  What do you see as the benefits and drawbacks?

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What is crowd sourcing? January 27, 2009

Posted by Jeremy in Business, Business Solutions, Efficiency Process, Efficient Technologies, Green Business, Resourcing, Social Networking, Tools, Virtual Office.
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Okay, I am going to share information that I am finding as I try to understand the concept called “Crowd sourcing”.   Here is what I found as a base definition on WikiPedia:

Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call.

So from a basic perspective utilizing many resources to do a task.  It’s a very interesting concept and I am wondering how it can be best utilized.

I will keep you up-to-date as I try to figure out how to best utilize it…

Please feel free to help me understand and post a comment!  Have you crowd sourced something?  Have you provided crowd sourcing services?

Observing the Twitter in it’s native environment January 26, 2009

Posted by Jeremy in Business, Business Solutions, Efficient Technologies, Green Business, Social Networking, Tools.
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Twitter Bird

Well a little over a month ago I posted an article called “Some Thought about Social Media” and I said at the time that I was trying out Twitter.  Well, I have definitely enjoyed using Twitter up to this point.  I think that it is pretty cool technology but I am never quite sure how to answer the question “What is it?”.

Even though I can’t answer the question, I have found a few things that I think could be utilized when utilizing Twitter.  Three observations that can help improve traffic, communication, and marketing.

1. Blog/Web Traffic

One of the things that I notice with Twitter is that is a great tool to announce new content on your site/blog to people who are following you.  This can be very beneficial to companies because you can get your customers to follow you and send them virtually instant updates.

There are tools that can be used such as TwitterFeed that can automatically create tweets when your blog gets updated.  This is a great feature to promote the new content on your blog.  By providing the information via Twitter your followers can see when you have updated your blog and hopefully come check out you new content.  You may have even expanded on discussions from Twitter on your blog so this could generate traffic and conversation on your blog.

2. Hash tags

Hash tags are really a work around that someone came up with in order to get around the fact that Twitter doesn’t have groups.  The group simply picks a hash tag like #refocusing and then you put that in every message that you intend for the group.  When the group wants to see it the conversations they can either search or use some of the tools that can monitor search results.  This allows for anyone who wants to be involved to simply add your tag and provide feedback.

This could be a way that you could interact with remote employees, vendors, business partners, etc.  You could also utilize it to receive feedback about your recent presentations or product releases or whatever you have been doing.

Through creative use of hash tags there are many things that you could do on Twitter with them.

3. Potential for constant instantaneous contact

Many companies thought that sending emails over mail was so advantageous because it got in the hands of their customers faster.  Can you imagine how quickly you can get a tweet in the hands of your customers?  Many people have constant connection to Twitter through the Blackberries, IPhones, and other mobile phones via SMS.   This means that you can potentially have instanteous constant contact with your customers.

I read something that gave an example of a restaurant that was extremely slow one Thursday evening.  So, at 5:30 the owner decided to put out a tweet that said from that time until 9:00 anyone who came in with the special code provided on twitter would receive a 40% discount and free dessert.

Obviously, this wouldn’t bring in everyone who was following but on a slow night wouldn’t five, ten, or twenty families make a pretty big difference?  What other form of marketing could you do this kind of thing?

No bull tweet

I think that Twitter has a lot of potential for use by business.  “The rules” haven’t really been defined as to how to best use it for business.  The ideas above are just some observations that I have noticed in the last month of using the product.

Are you using Twitter?  Do you have creative ways that you are using Twitter?  Any observations that you have of the product?

Shameless: Follow me on Twitter

Some thoughts about Social Media December 11, 2008

Posted by Jeremy in Business, Efficiency Process, Efficient Technologies, Green Business, Social Networking, Virtual Office.
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Recently, I signed up for a Twitter account.  It was a research project for me.  It was hard for me to understand the concept of micro-blogging but I thought I would try it and see.  It is kind of a neat tool that gives you the ability to think “out loud”.  Really I have a long way to go in order to understand the benefits and uses of it but I at least have a little better appreciation.

So, last night I was bouncing around some ideas of how you can use these types of communication tools to bridge the communications gap in business and also in the virtual office world.  The ideas were very high level and formative so I jotted them down and figured I would think through them a little more.

While reading through some of my reader feeds this morning I noticed a post by John Jantsch about how businesses should view these products as tools instead of religions.  What a great point.  From a social perspective many people do view the tools as a sort of religion.  John makes a comment in that article that got me thinking:

Use them in smart ways, not necessarily the ways you see other using them.

What a simple yet effective point.  Utilize the tools to fit your needs.  Be creative in employing the tools.  If you see great ideas incorporate them but be willing to be innovative as well.  When reading this post it made me start thinking through some of the ideas I was working on.   Here is a very high level description of some of the ideas and I will probably explore some further in the future.

Potential Twitter Virtual Office Solutions

From a virtual office perspective these tools may be great ideas to help with the communication gap.  In my earlier post about virtual office, I made the statement that “Virtual offices require communication”.  This is so important to the success of that type of structure.  What do social media networks provide?  Communication.

Here’s the dilemma: how do you allow for collaboration/brainstorming of ideas when your team is virtual and works at different times in diverse locations?  Voice or text chat/conference might work but you have to coordinate time between all the players.  Email could be a solution but there is some level of overhead and headache to utilizing this tool.  One potential solution may be a Twitter or Twitter-type tool.

Twitter or a Twitter-type tool allows project teams to think out loud in a collaborative fashion.  The teams would have the ability to brainstorm ideas, work through problems, provide statuses, and help one another by utilizing a medium like this.  A tool like this would allow a resource to throw out an issue or idea and then have the rest of the team to provide simple feedback to the thought.  Once the idea has been thrown out there it can spur thought and allow it to grow.  One big advantage is that it is stored in a persisted manner.  This means that whenever the other teams members are available they would see it.  They could then provide feedback.  This allows for disconnected brainstorming sessions.

It’s still a very high level idea and would need to be solidified and structure provided (maybe I’ll twitter the idea) but I think that it could work to allow idea collaboration.

Marketing uses

Another great article that I read this morning about social media caught my attention as well.  Ivana Taylor wrote a post on the OPEN forum called “Getting Customers on the Cheap Using Social Media“.  Her main focus is utilizing social networks/media to generate buzz for your company.  This is an extremely powerful use for the tools.  She gives the example of  “On the go with Amy”:

Best Western’s “On the Go with Amy” Blog: Best Western hired Amy, an avid traveler who started a blog that discusses her travel experiences.

This type of concept is fantastic because people are interested in reading about the person’s experiences so they subscribe and then they tell others.  This generates buzz and word of mouth advertising.  You must utilize the tools correctly and not simply spam people as that will have the opposite effect but if utilized correctly it can be powerful.

Take a look at some of Ivana’s other examples as well.  She outlines how people have utilized many of the social tools on the Internet to create buzz.  Great ideas.

Post Game Summary

While I am learning how some of the tools work, I do think that they can be utilized to really make your business more efficient and effective.  Whether you are going to utilize them to help your marketing efforts, streamline your teams, educate your virtual resources, inform customers, or whatever else you come up with you should consider them as an option.  My recommendation would be to learn how the tools work and their benefits and then weigh the value of using them.  Don’t simply create a Facebook site because everyone else has one.  In this media you have to find a way to be authentic and potentially unique if you want to succeed.  Also, you have to find ways to use the tools so it benefits you not just so it copies someone else.

Be creative and be aggressive in building efficiency!

If you are interested my Twitter is: http://www.twitter.com/jeremylattimore

Borea Systems’ New Website November 4, 2008

Posted by Jeremy in Business, Social Networking.
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I am excited to be able to finally post that my company’s new website has been launched.  I am very excited by the new design and think that the content will prove helpful if someone is looking for help. 

Here it is: http://www.boreasystems.com.

I would love to be able to say that I have the graphic skills to put together this look but, alas, I do not.  I would like to thank Beth Allison Wickerson for help with the graphics and design of the site.  She is a great partner with a great design vision.

I look forward to feedback on the site and I intend to add to the content as time allows.

Blog Tag September 10, 2008

Posted by Jeremy in Social Networking.
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Well, apparently I have been blog tagged by Robert Stanke.  I had never heard of this before Robert tagged me.  So, here goes.

First, I am supposed to outline 6 random things about me.

1. Over the past few years I have realized that I have serious entrepreneurial drive.  I have a few ideas I would like to start but since technology is my background, I am doing this to start out at least. 

2. I found out through a gifts assessment that I have the gift of generousity.  At the time, I couldn’t believe it but I have found it to be true.  This is another reason for my business ideas because they are a real opportunity to give back and help people.  After all, what will the money really mean in the end.

3. I am originally from a small town in Northern Minnesota (Deer River).  I can definitely say that I miss the lakes and the trees but not the mosquitos and the winters.

4. I enjoy golfing although I never seem to have time.  There is something about spending 3-4 hours frustrating yourself that I find relaxing.

5. Someday I think that I may find myself in city or state level politics.  I believe that the only way to change the system is by being involved.

6. I have a serious interest in psychology and how people think and work.  I find it very interesting to learn more about why people do what they do.

Alright there are my six.  Let’s see who should I tag?

James Nix

Lisa Hendickson

Matthew Nehrling

Bill Brelsford

Okay, so I am two short.  These are the people I know who are blogging right now.

Alright here are the rules (copied from Robert’s Blog):

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Happy Blogging.