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13 Sep 2010
By Kristen Boschma
Sep
13
2010

Digital People – Trevor Long

trevor-long-digital-people-banner

Next up in the Digital People series we have Trevor Long. Trevor has over 15 years experience in the media, and in 2007 began hosting his own one hour talk-back radio program all about Technology on Sydney’s 2GB.

He now appears weekly on the Ross Greenwood program  on 2GB Sydney and MTR Melbourne and on the Luke Grant night show on Melbourne’s MTR 1377am and can also be seen making appearances on various programs such as A Current Affair offering expert advice and commentary on all matters relating to Technology.

Trevor also publishes a regular blog on Technology Gadgets and news at the SBS Website

His weekly Podcast ‘Your Tech Life‘ is published at  every Thursday night, and regularly tops the iTunes podcast charts as Australia’s most popular Technology Audio Podcast.

All that on top of his day job as a Business Manager. Trevor’s wife Amanda gave birth to a beautiful Baby girl Victoria just 2 weeks ago… all are well:)

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On Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 8:08 AM, Boschma, Kristen wrote:

Question 1

If you were in charge of the world which digital practices or habits would you ban and which would you reward? (The punishment for doing the banned thing would be the loss of a finger and the reward for doing more of the good thing would be a gift from someone you love. So the consequences of both are very, very serious.)

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From: “Trevor Long”
Sent: Thursday, 26 August 2010 8:44 AM
To: “Boschma, Kristen”
Subject: Re: Telstra Digital People interview

Now that I am in charge of the world I would begin by rewarding the best of the best with regard Social Media interaction.  You see plenty of people claim to do it well, or do it for a living, but not all of them get it right.  True Social Media interaction is about conversation, interaction – not broadcast.  At a very top line level that would be the foundation for the broader Social Media Interaction legislation.

I would also reward the designers of the most usable websites.  It’s a bloody hard thing to get right, especially for companies that have an overwhelmingly large base of content – so tapping into the “what will my user want or be looking for” idea, rather than the “damn that looks good” or “wow that is cool” would be rewarded.

The question of banning something is much more difficult to answer.  There are so many things I could consider – some of them though would be quite unpopular, and working on the assumption that I’m in my position through a democratic process, I need to consider my constituency :)

That said, I would look to banning any fake or anonymous social media accounts that are not clearly set out for satirical purposes.  I follow some of the great fakes.  But for example, @WyattRoy_MP appeared recently, great stuff, a 20 year old MP on Twitter – but no, its fake, problem is there is no indication on the profile that it is fake. It wasn’t until the 7th tweet it became clear it was fake.  Now the tweets themselves demonstrate that it is fake finally, but why not just put “Fake Wyatt Roy” as the profile name, it’s fun, and it’s funny.   These impersonators, and more importantly the people who create anonymous Facebook accounts and devalue social media – and make it especially hard for the non-believers to even consider believing.

Harsh I know, but it was very hard to think of one!
Trevor Long

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On Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 10:19 AM, Boschma, Kristen wrote:

I reckon the fakes are often more interesting than the real ones – except in the case of @Fake_Trevor Long. He’s dead boring.

Question 2

Australians seem to have a love affair with social media. Why do you think this is?

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From: “Trevor Long”
Sent: Thursday, 26 August 2010 10:46 AM
To: “Boschma, Kristen”
Subject: Re: Telstra Digital People interview

I Agree! Love the fakes, as long as we know they are fake – that’s my issue!

Re your next question – I think its because we are a very social country!  Nothing beats a good Aussie BBQ, sit around watching Bathurst or the Grand Final whatever it is. However, more interesting than that is the way that Social Media opens up a social ‘life’ to people who are introverts or just not big fan’s of getting out and socialising – those who enjoy a home life and love it.  Social Media allows you to jump out of your normal world and interact with people you may never have before, meeting people, debate people.  And I think Australian’s love a good debate as much as anyone.

Also, you can’t overlook the tyranny of distance. We are so isolated here, it’s a long way to anywhere, and it costs a lot to both go there and communicate with there.  Social media puts us all on the same level – the only time I feel like I’m on the other side of the world is when I wake up to a stream of tweets about something that happened while I slept.  But – for events we know about, we can be part of them just as easily.

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On Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 11:12 AM, Boschma, Kristen wrote:

I’ve been thinking a lot about introverts and social media. I reckon it’s a gift to us introverts; you can say what you think but in your own time and own way. Quite frankly we don’t need to be all extroverty “look at me with the lampshade on my head” to make a point. Although I did put a pineapple pinata on my head at a party once – but that was mainly because it was pretty and the colors worked with my outfit.

Question 3
I read about Checkmate for foursquare – this is where you pre-nominate locations and an automatic background checkin is done for you. This sort of seems to take the fun out of  it to me. Is the fun in social in the participation process or the outcomes?

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From: “Trevor Long”
Sent: Thursday, 26 August 2010 3:03 PM
To: “Boschma, Kristen”
Subject: Re: Telstra Digital People interview

I once had one of those ‘team member profiles’ done and it showed I was in the top 2% of introverts in the world:) Who’d have guessed:)

With regards ‘foursquare’, I’m a fan, but in fact I’ve not liked that I need to make a conscious effort to ‘checkin’ to places I go alot.  Checkmate is exactly that.  I love it!

I just want it to check me into the places I go a lot, so I get that recognition.  I don’t think it takes the fun out, the fun is remembering to use it in new and exciting places.  I’d suggest for example that ‘auto checkin’ not be allowed unless you have made 4-5 checkins at that location – or something like that.  I’d prefer the initiative came from Foursquare too, not a 3rd party.

Foursquare is fun, but its a complete and utter waste of time unless you get benefit – a special deal, or an offer.  I used it at Darling Harbour for the FIFA World Cup FanFest to give away prizes.  There were 10+ people ‘checked in’ but only 1 came to get the free prize.  Go figure!

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On Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 3:40 PM, Boschma, Kristen wrote:

How would they know you were one of the top 2% introverts in the world? Have they surveyed all the introverts in the world? I reckon that lost tribe of Amazonian basin dwellers they found a couple of years ago would give you a run for your money.

Question 4

Macon Phillips, is special assistant to the President and Director of new media for the White House. What a job. He recently took part in a summit on the use of social media in an emergency. One of the interesting points made at the summit is that social media allows the community to be part of the response.

If you were bitten by a snake whilst on a bush walk and you only had your iPad with you (don’t we all go walking with our iPads?), would you try and tweet up some help? Who would respond? Do you think that social media has a role in emergency situations in Australia?

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From: “Trevor Long”
Date: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 7:36 am
Subject: Telstra Digital People interview
To: “Boschma, Kristen”

Ok, clarification – top 2% in the average workforce… does that make it more likely? :)

Regarding social media in emergency situations – you’re right, it’s a bit extreme, but I see where you’re coming from – it’s not a phone.  So, I’ll exclude the use of SKYPE via the ipad to dial out:).  I think you’re spot on – assuming the network coverage is there on your iPad and of course your phone is dead or broken – Social Media could easily play a role.

However, it wouldn’t be your first or only option.  You’d use email too – trusty old email! – But Twitter would be my first main hope – I’m fortunate to have hundreds of people following me – so a tweet like “HELP – NEED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE – HAVE NO PHONE – AM AT XXX Location” would be great – and even better given the location based services which are so standard now likely to be able to pinpoint your location.  The assumption is that your friends or followers would know very clearly that you are not joking – back to my issue with Fake accounts, the Boy who cried wolf scenario means that we need to be ever mindful of what to believe and who to trust online.

You’d also have the benefit of being able to get advice on what to do – either via the web, or Social Media, perhaps people would keep your spirits up, and give medical advice.

All that said, its amazingly far fetched, but I guess we’ll both eat our words when its splashed across the front page of the paper that someone survived by twittering!

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On Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 8:05 AM, Boschma, Kristen wrote:

I like my words seasoned, grilled and with a side salad. How about you?

Question 5 – last one

Are Australian corporations using social media well? It feels to me that we are lagging behind the Americans. What do you think?

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From: “Trevor Long”
Date: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 8:26 am
Subject: Telstra Digital People interview
To: “Boschma, Kristen”

Hmm… I don’t like the sound of “He said he used Twitter because his cell phone battery was running low and he didn’t want to end up stuck on hold with 911.”

I mean really, MAKE THE CALL!

However.

To your final question – Australian companies.  I’d say – some yes, some no.  We ‘hear’ things about Best Buy and others in the states.

My experience has been that companies like Dell, MYOB, Telstra (and other Telcos to be fair), some of the Banks (only SOME!), and plenty of Tech companies (OXXDigital, Haul, BushAustralia among others) seem to interact well with people, and the key there is the pro-active nature of that.  You HAVE to have a live search active if you are in Business now.  If anyone mentions companies that I work for or am associated with, I see it, I respond to it.  You simply have to.  But remember, this is not just about Twitter – If people are commenting on your website – REPLY, engage with the, don’t leave it as a static conversation.

I moderate comment posts on a Digital Radio Station I am working on, and I publish not only the comments but a reply – to each and every single one – good or bad.  People need to see a converstation, they need to see a real person not just a computer.

Thinking about your core question – No.  We aren’t doing it well – given scale.  Not enough companies are doing it.  But for many that is a resource issue.  You need an internal champion a lot of the time to get these things going.  And even when you do, sometimes it’s hard to justify ‘all the effort’ for the hundreds, or if you’re lucky thousands of followers.

This is one of those moments and issues where it need not be about direct ROI, it has to be about the long term good, the long term opportunities.  I can think of several top level blue chip companies who are not even in the ballpark yet, and could do so much with so little… A real shame..

They need to talk to real users, people who understand this area, rather than consultants and people selling ideas – it’s almost always going to end bad that way:)

Previous Digital People blogs:

Fi Bendall

Trevor Young

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