Joi Murugavell founder of Joi Design, is a designer by trade. She's passionate about 'cutting the crap' and helping her clients make money from good, solid Brands.
Simon Young is a cofounder of iJump, a social media consultancy that helps organisations conduct real, human conversations with their communities through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media.
James Mawhinney is the Business Development Manager at PositionMEonline, providing high quality internet marketing strategies to a range of clients including Merrill Lynch, Downer EDI, Hawaiian Group, Citect PLC, and Quest Serviced Apartments.
Google Sidewiki and Brands in Public are two things you should watch as both enable anyone to talk about your brand, publicly - whether you like it or not.
Google Sidewiki is a free browser tool bar anyone can download, once downloaded click on an icon in your tool bar to make a comment on any website you're looking at (just like I did in the example above).
Imagine this, someone visits your website, they have a look at your blog, which you haven't updated in 6 months, they make a comment "wow these guys have not touched their website in 6 months!". Someone else visits your website, clicks on google wiki, reads this comment in a side panel and immediately forms an impression of your company, before even looking at your services and amazing list of clients. That one thing (not updating your blog) has put a prospect off. And that was just me using a mild example (and at the same time reminding a few of our clients to update their blogs ;)
Instant judgment is prevalent on the web. Browsing the web is not a leisurely activity for most people, the incredible amount of information available to us on the internet has also made us incredibly impatient and judgmental - only the best will do, naturally.
Its pretty overwhelming I guess, there's so much out there, a new 'BEST' tool is born every day. The trick is to keep an eye open to what's relevant to you. Of course Google Wiki is only one thing which will make your company transparent whether you like it or not.
There's twitter where sharing ideas and opinions is pretty much information on speed (oh yeah I'm on twitter) but what's particularly interesting about Google Wiki is, judgment is literally right next to your brand, no one has to look for it on twitter scans. It's there, right next to your website. How would you change your website now that you know you could be judged openly, in writing?
Technology isn't for everyone (I've heard this often), owning a business isn't for everyone (heard this very often too) but if you own a business and don't embrace technology in a world where technology is going to dictate who you are - in the most transparent of ways, you're in a bit of trouble.
It doesn't matter if you feel like you're always playing catch up with technology (even the big geeks feel that way :) start today, google twitter learn a little bit about that, install Google Sidewiki feel your way around it a little, make a few comments, half the battle of techno phobia is won when you look at technology in the context of how it can help you, directly.