Mediacamp London on 5th July at the SAE institute, a great idea from the Social Media Mafia.

Yet again an amazing event for learning and getting up to speed on all aspects of Social Media. Here are my notes of the day.

1. Google cloud computing.

We have heard a lot about this recently in the press due to the acute shortages of power in London holding back data-centre expansion. Similarly new data-centres are being built in the colder climes of the planet just to cope with the shift towards the cloud.

Anyway, Jo Jordan presented her Zimple project. Essentially the idea is simple, you need to learn a bit of python, develop on your laptop and stick it on Google for free. If your project explodes then Google will take care of the scaling for you. Seems like a great idea as I am sure many applications will be delivered in this way. Once you are on the cloud it becomes very easy for you to acquire customers as they will have nothing to install. Your potential clients will only need their browsers. The implications of the cloud model are huge:

a) Google has everything. (scary?)
b) Costs of entering the market are almost Zero
c) Traditional developers beware. (About time someone killed of Sage?)

2. Adi Ben-Nesher & Steve Lamb talked about Social Media and the enterprise

The important point made was simple. Enterprises have historically resisted all new forms of communication. Examples given showed that staff were not allowed outbound calls or emails or even mobiles seems ridiculous right? Telephone, emails and mobiles are now universally used in all businesses. But what about social media? Who has MSN blocked? Who is not allowed to use facebook? The argument given for not allowing social media runs along the lines of work time must be full of work related activities. How can twittering be productive?

Well the opposing argument says that history will sweep aside these blockages and that any company not allowing social media in the course of normal business interaction will appear to be as stupid as denying an employee a phone on their desk. Why? You might ask. Well, take an example that runs something like this:

What if in the course of a day employees are facebooking, blogging and posting ideas on what they are up to… are they not testing the market? Are they not avoiding costly mistakes? Are they not asking their peers for advice? Combine this with the idea of 85% of learning happening informally….. What would you do? Ban social media? Or embrace it.

I remember Caudwell famously banned emails and turned his business around Was this a case of back not forward?

On another note, Swarm groups are all the talk at the moment within the Social Media Mafia group. http://home.swarmteams.com/swarmpro Great idea, and would seem to be ideal for action teams. Pssssst! No one mention this to the parking enforcement teams!

3. Whatleydude aka Whatleydude.vox.com

This 3rd session was around social object theory. The money is in the object and not the network. Facebook is a social tool, the Mediacamp unconference would be the example for a social object. Social objects bring people together. Then the tools such as Facebook can help groups form, stay in touch and help gather feedback. At this point things were getting a bit over my head…. http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/004390.html

4. Reputation management by DeCabbit (Judith Lewis)

After the social object gubbins I was ready for stuff that I could handle! Reputation management by an ex-black hat SEO specialist had to be worth listening to. And it was, and it was well presented, well done Judith.

Type the following into Google Landrover discovery and you will find a horror story. With more and more people researching the products they are about to purchase you simply cannot afford to have bad press at the top of the Google search results. (Read more here: http://www.haveyoursay.com/)

Judith basically told us to wake up and to start taking our reputations seriously. There are tools out there to track reputations and you can actively do something to build up good PR. If anything bad does happen you should spot it quickly and take action. Deal with the issues immediately and not bury your head in the sand.
Some actions you can take:

a) Set up RSS feeds and monitor keywords via Google and Yahoo alerts
b) Set up search results short cuts
c) Monitor once per week
d) Engage, talk with bloggers, deal with complaints and get your side of the story out there!
e) If your website is important to you, well then the 1st page of results in Google are even more important to you. If you find bad stuff, start taking action to drive the negatives down in the rankings.

5. Neshio and SEO stuff

By the fifth session I am not taking in all the stuff! It was good to see that we at Imre are not that far off the mark in terms of what we have been telling clients. The fundamental principles of SEO are not rocket science. (U, A and R)

a) Usability
b) Accessibility
c) Relevance

Do the above and you are well down the road to having a search engine friendly website. As part of the U, A and R the site should have a good architecture, be CSS and XHTML complaint, and not use images for navigation.

In terms of the optimizing bits, one should pay special attention to

a) Title
b) Descriptions
c) Keywords in headings
d) Limit number of keywords per page
e) URL structure (get the keywords into the URLs)
f) Good incoming links from _relevant_ sources
g) Check your competitors
h) Use blogs for the long tail
i) Use forums for the long tail
j) Get and start using Social Media tools such as Facebook
k) Use the Google webmaster tools
l) Check out ning (a new one for me: http://www.ning.com/)
m) Check out http://www.seomoz.org/
n) Check out http://www.e-consultancy.com/
o) Use analytics and find out which keywords actually work for you. This is a long term iterative process.
p) Keyword research is a big part of SEO, use the Google tools, adwords, Google trends and use traffic estimators.

Is that all? How hard can SEO be? Very funny. But I was glad no black hat stuff was mentioned. We strongly believe in the ethical approach.

All in all the London MediaCamp was a great success. In one day it is possible to learn stuff that might take six months of trial and error. What great PR for the SAE institute for having opened their doors to an unconference. Keep it up Don!