Bring back my Web !

IMG_5622

I remember a web before Facebook and before Twitter. It was a place built so that people could talk among themselves, share and collaborate to build things that would make everyone’s life easier.

Sure, you would also use to post funny pictures of cats or brag about your latest party. There was however a different way of doing things online that I can’t explain. Less ego and more community.

I still love that web, and I still think we live in that reality. (Even though it does sound a bit lyrical to say this.) Sometimes I do lose faith on that web, for a little while. Then something wonderful happens, like a new open source project on Github, a new and constructive subreddit, or a blog post to rally time and resources towards something worth doing.

Cidadania 2.0

Lately, it was Cidadania 2.0 that brought my faith back. It’s a conference on using the web to build social tools, forums and ways to practice citizenship and governance in a more effective and efficient way. This year it was filled with amazing new projects, blogs and platforms to help us understand what is going on in our own street or what we can do to improve our education system.

It is also a project built by the love and dedication of three people. Ana Neves, Ana Silva, and Vitor Silva work hard to bring everyone a free event, 1 day full with presentations and discussions and one morning to network with people who are behind new projects and look for partnerships and people to help.

And did I mention it is free to attend? I would gladly pay 50 euros or more to attend and meet so many interesting people. Yet, the team insists on keeping it as easy to attend as humanly possible. You would imagine that government institutions and other companies would jump at the chance to sponsor this initiative.

Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to happen, as this year I didn’t see many public institutions in the list of sponsors. It’s not that the content of the conference isn’t interesting to them. In fact, most of it challenges the status quo or proposes new models of governance and decision making. From where I stand, every city hall in Portugal should be ashamed for not to being present at Cidadania 2.0 and listed as a sponsor.

The people

Every good story needs a hero, right?

My friend Basílio decided to use the web and social media to pressure a number of public institutions into doing their job of making a street safer to walk in. It took him 2 years to get them into doing the job they are supposed to do anyway. Just think about it: they had to be pressured into doing their job.

I talked about this when I was in BledCom last year and you can find the slides in the end of this post.

Upload Lisbon

This is more about the future. Today mostly everyone from digital marketing and social media in Lisbon will be at Upload Lisboa. They will surely talk about Facebook, Twitter, the latest campaign and best practices. They will talk about what is new and exciting, because it is indeed exciting and interesting and shows great promise.

But I don’t think they will all be talking about this web I know and love. Where the main goal is to get people to talk and understand each other, instead of increasing the reach of a facebook post. I risk saying they will forget about the importance of 4chan in monitoring, how to take part in a community on reddit and worst, they may forget to mention why #blogs are still so important.

Well, some of them might but I am here to talk about blogs and about the web I grew up with. How it is still alive and showing great promise even to those who seem to have forgotten about it. And thanks to Pedro Rebelo I know I am not alone.

BledCom 2013: Towards a connected government from bruno amaral

Mind the doors, please. Mind the closing doors!

battersea_resized

This is an amazing story about an incredibly boring individual — Or is it the other way around?

It brings us back to September 2012. I had just completed a chapter of my life that consisted of being constantly divided between finishing my degree in Computers Engineering and working on the overwhelming passion of making music (see my stuff). I didn’t exactly enjoy the former but I couldn’t make a living of the latter. It’s not that I didn’t like programming — I always did and I’ve always been pretty good at it. It’s just that I can’t see my life as numbers and calculations, so I tend to look at computer programming and music in the same way: I love creating things in my mind and then bringing them to life.

When I graduated, I decided that I should live abroad for a while and enrich my academic background a little further. The location seemed pretty obvious: I’d been to London before a few times and I fell in love with the city and the atmosphere (not so much with the weather), so that was my immediate choice. I completed a Masters degree in Web Development (with Distinction and with the faculty’s award for best masters project, which I’m legally obliged by my mom to state in public as often as possible) and the experience was amazing. It allowed me to specialise in a more creative area within computing and that made me feel good again about my education choices. I finally knew exactly what I wanted to do.

It was time to go back to Portugal, which I had learn to miss.

Back in sunny Portugal for a couple of weeks I started to realise that going back home right after the masters wasn’t really getting the most out of the whole UK experience, so I decided to start looking for jobs in London. It was my first time looking for a job which meant that I had no expectations whatsoever. I had a couple of Skype interviews — yes, I was wearing my pyjamas on my first ever job interview — and a couple of days later I had a job offer. This was the start of a crazy couple of weeks that led to me going back to London and staying on a tiny hotel room with no windows while going to a couple more interviews, refusing the initial job offer on the last minute and accepting a role at Monocle instead.

Almost 9 months later I handed in my resignation letter — I was offered something better and more exciting somewhere else. Portugal? Not just yet. There’s not a day that goes by without me thinking about Portugal and how much I want to go back, but it’s still not the time. There’s still room for me to grow here as a professional and maybe there’s still room for Portugal to stabilise a bit more. I don’t know when that will happen, but whenever I book my final flight to OPO I don’t want to book a return.

Eduardo Bouças, Web Developer, London

This post is a part of a series of guest articles entitled “a country of emigrants and a world of stories“. You can find the whole series here.

On metrics for social media at EDIT

EDIT - escola de design e tecnologia

Your day can change pretty fast in Lisbon. One minute I was sitting down at a coffee shop, talking with Pedro Garcia through Facebook, the other I was writing down some thoughts on social media metrics and reports to share with his class at EDIT.

Not surprisingly, some of what I wrote down came from what I learned with James and Sabrina at Webnographer, other bits from the reporting models I built at Fullsix.

The one I feel works best uses Output, Outtake and Outcome.

Output will refer to everything we are able to produce and publish, it is also a map of where we are putting our social media efforts.

Outtake on the other hand will be the first step we get from that output. It can be interactions on each social media channel, clicks or visits to the website. Metrics we fit into this category will be a half-way step towards the communication goals and business objectives.

Outcomes should be clear indicators that our strategy is working or failing.

There are of course other ways to look at our efforts, such as AIDA or a conversion funnel.

One of the questions that came up was which source we should use for the reports. Either each channel’s own export or a more industrial solution like Buffer or Social Bakers. Exporting raw data directly from the source will no doubt be safer. Take buffer for example, one disclaimer on their analytics is that there may be discrepancies on linkedin data because of the way it un-shortens links.

And for an end-analysis, the client should provide data for business goals. At Fullsix, some brands went as far as running survey studies to get a perspective of the effect their social media strategy was having on an offline context.

“Social Media is always changing” is repeated every so often, and even if we don’t agree with it, it is important to keep some things in mind when the landscape changes and we need to adapt reports.

  • Make sure everyone can understand and replicate the data
  • Always link communication objectives to business goals
  • Prefer metrics that show actual behavior (a pageview is not really a reflected act, but sharing a piece of content is)
  • Avoid compound metrics

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but after such a great time talking with Pedro and his class I couldn’t just let it die there. Feel free to add to it or correct in the comments!

%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this: