HOT: Social Media Club, Mr Tulk, State Library, 328 Swanston St, Melb

social media club breakfast

This week at the Social Media Club breakfast I met  Michelle Lambert, from SIRF Rt. SIRF Rt organises collaborative roundtables for corporate organisations to share their knowledge management processes, information, experiences and insights. Corporate member organisations ranging from Medibank, National Australia Bank, Australian Unity and Telstra gather together four times a year at Melbourne Zoo to talk big picture knowledge management issues. In addition, 8-12 times a year there are smaller common interest work group meetings where member organisations can discuss a specific aspect of a roundtable topic.

What I found interesting was the organisations were willing to share their content and processes with direct competitors. Michelle told me that the open, generous atmosphere and general buzz of the events was something quite exciting to behold. The reason the roundtables worked was because it allowed people to discuss their business issues in a safe environment and seek advice from their peers from other organisations.

Joining our chat was the stylish, distinctively Afro-coiffed Tutu Ralogaivau (“The Guy”) from 4horseMEN. Tutu and five guys produce a Melbourne-based life style video magazine which promotes the latest in art, music, street culture and fashion.  So in a way you could say that they’re doing street-wise video version of MEL: HOT OR NOT! Offering event reviews via images and 2-minute trailer-style videos is a great market niche. Who knows, if I get any budget maybe one day you might be watching me instead of reading this blog.

Read about my breakfast with Sam Sabey (Smart Energy Groups), Antony McGregor Dey (QM Codes and IPitch) and Luke Grange (Knowledge Solutions) here

Read about my breakfast with Guy Vincent (Drewery Lane) and Andy Cronin (Telstrahere

HOT: Social Media Club, Mr Tulk, State Library, 328 Swanston St, Melb

social media club breakfast

Another Friday, another Social Media Club breakfast at Mr Tulk. Having attended three breakfasts now, I’m starting to realise that there’s a bunch of regulars who I see every week but to whom I’ve never had to chance to introduce myself. So next week’s aim is to say hi to all those familiar faces.

This week I met Guy Vincent, whose interest in social media lies with the future of journalism, interactive ebooks and collaborative publishing. Our conversation started with him describing his involvement with E-week, a University of Melbourne initiative set up by a group of student entrepreneurs called the Agents of ChangeE-week events included presentations, panel discussions, workshops and the Innovator’s Challenge, where teams were given the task to create as much value as possible from household item (paint) and to implement it in six days. Apparently one of the projects was a charity fundraiser involving the application of paint to your chosen professor’s face!

When I was at uni, I would have said that a typical uni student held a generally laconic view of life, work and study. I certainly don’t recall meeting the kind of go-getting, super-motivated entrepreneurs that I seem to be encountering nowadays (or maybe it’s just law students who are laconic?). So I’m very impressed that the E-week team have a project in sight for the summer holidays and their grand plan is to develop Melbourne into a new Silicon Valley using the Y Combinator model by Paul Graham.

In addition, Guy’s has other projects on the go – an interactive ebook publishing business called Drewery Lane and an upcoming interactive e-book store called clicc (watch out for later this year). Phew.

Our conversation was joined by Andy Cronin, the Social Media Campaign Manager for Telstra. Andy’s interest in social media started when he was promoting his garage band on MySpace and now he’s helping the big bad behemoth telecommunications company to successfully engage with their customers online.

I didn’t even know Telstra had a social media strategy. But Andy told me that Telstra are very active on Twitter – in fact, BigPond is often used by brands as a case study for best practice in engaging with customers online and delivering customer service through Twitter. Bizarrely, BigPond also has the biggest presence worldwide on Second Life, second only to Playboy. Did you know that Telstra have a very successful Youtube channel? You can watch video tutorials on how to use your Telstra device, from setting up email to posting photos.

Telstra‘s social media strategy boils down to listening to and conversing with their customers to form relationships with them. For instance, the centralised social media team monitor tweets, contact twitterers directly and provide personalised responses to queries and feedback on all Telstra products and services. So you know that a human ‘Jase’ is doing his best to help you with your problem, and it’s not just some automated bot telling you to ‘have a nice day’. These kinds of genuine and humanised interactions make a refreshing change from the slick public relations mask often worn by big companies. I’m not a Telstra customer and I have to say I’m impressed by their approach.

Read about my breakfast with Sam Sabey (Smart Energy Groups), Antony McGregor Dey (QM Codes and IPitch) and Luke Grange (Knowledge Solutions) here

HOT: Social Media Club, Mr Tulk, State Library, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne

Social Media Club breakfast

When my friend Nikita at Design Junction read my blog and suggested I check out the Social Media Club, I thought it sounded like a great place to meet up with potential guest bloggers. I’m a girl and I have certain interests, which means that’s I’ll probably never be able to offer you an accurate review of fishing tackle shops or shops offering home brew kits.

The Social Media Club is an informal meeting of bloggers, tweeters and those interested in social media held at Mr Tulk every Friday at 8am. While I didn’t encounter my future guest blogger in the group of about fifteen people, my first breakfast was still a great success. I met a whole host of interesting people from diverse technological and social media backgrounds, such as:

  • Sam Sabey from Smart Energy Groups.  Sam’s worked in the energy business for around 15 years and during that time he came to the conclusion that energy is a finite public good and that we should be individually responsible for our use of that public good. So he decided to  build an online community for energy aware people to work together to share information on how to use energy more efficiently and reduce energy consumption. For the past two years he’s been building an open source home energy manager where Smart Energy Groups members will be able to link to  public energy groups to share information about their home energy use. Put simply, you’ll be able to buy a box with a chip in it from Smart Energy Groups, connect the box to the internet via your standard electrical socket and that box will talk to your fridge, airconditioner, TV etc to control, monitor and measure your energy consumption. Clipsal already do something similar with automation lighting but the box from Smart Energy Groups will go beyond your lights.
  • Antony McGregor Dey from QM Codes. Have you ever spotted a Pacman-like digital squiggle picture in print media and wondered what they’re for (The Age second page sometimes prints them)? Well, apparently it’s a new way of conducting mobile marketing. You take a picture of that squiggly picture (called a Smart-code) with your phone and the Smart-code becomes a hyperlink which directs you to the mobile content. Traditional static print media becomes interactive!
  • Antony was actually at the breakfast on behalf of his partner, the brains behind IPitch. IPitch is an online community which brings together entrepreneurs and investors to develop and manage new startups. Their Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to become the most comprehensive resource for companies and information in the Australian startup space. I think IPitch is a fantastic idea – I’ve come across many bright people with creative ideas but they’ve all been daunted by the nitty-gritty of starting their own business and dealing with issues such as where to get money, getting development support or even how to register a trade mark or business name.
  • Luke Grange of Knowledge Solutions, the founder of a company providing business advice on social networking media strategies and online corporate communications. He expounded an interesting yet simple idea about formatting blog comments and tweets alongside the relevant post (rather than underneath) to create a richer reading experience and gave me some food for thought about building voting/popularity interactivity into my blog.

I left the breakfast unusually excited on a Friday morning. I felt stimulated by the enthusiastic, creative and innovative people working and thinking in Melbourne, and I’ll definitely be back.