Cerado Haystack To Support OpenSocial API

Cerado Haystack
, our white-label social networking platform for businesses and associations, will be supporting Google’s Open Social efforts in a number of ways over the coming months (more on OpenSocial here).  In particular, Cerado will be:

1)  Enabling Haystack to be a container for Open Social apps
2)  Creating applications that leverage the Open Social API that can be embedded into other applications and environments

What is Open Social?  Well, remember all that buzz a couple of months ago when Facebook announced their proprietary API that allowed developers to create applications for the Facebook platform?  Now, that same notion can take place for any site on the web.  (By the way, Marc over at Ning sums it up well, and his analysis of the implications for FB are spot-on.)

We already have an Open API, and have been long-time supporters of efforts such as OpenID.  As such, we see the release of Open Social is a very good thing for the industry and, in particular, enabling better connection with information about individuals and their activity streams and creating a standard way to integrate that information with business applications (especially customer-facing ones) is a huge step forward.

Well done, Google.

Bob Garfield: “Comcast Must Die.”

Picture_3 As a  new blog, ComcastMustDie, has been set up by veteran NPR On The Media host and AdvertisingAge writer Bob Garfield.

Garfield writes:

"Actually, I have no deathwish for Comcast or any other gigantic,
blundering, greedy, arrogant corporate monstrosity, What I do have is
the earnest desire for such companies to change their ways. This site
offers an opportunity — for you to vent your grievances (civilly,
please) and for Comcast to pay close attention.

Congratulations. You are no longer just an angry,
mistreated customer
. Nor, I hope, are you just part of an e-mob. But
you are a revolutionary, wresting control from the oligarchs, and
claiming it for the consumer. Your power is enormous. Use it wisely
(emphasis added)

In a separate post, he hits it out of the park, and echoes the reasons for the existence of The Social Customer Manifesto itself.  Garfield:

"Partly because you [Comcast] have behaved so arrogantly till now, and partly
because the world has changed around you, you now must answer to a
Greater Power.


And we have demands:

1) You
will recruit a standing panel of customers to consult, brainstorm,
complain and advise you every step of the way — from your
customer-service practices, to your billing, to your programming
content. This process, within the confines of protecting proprietary
information, will be transparent.

2) You will host a website soliciting customer feedback of every kind.
In other words, there will be the customer-delegate panel, and a
mega-panel online. Don’t sweat the flaming you will take. You will also
get a) countless great ideas, b) a mechanism for locating and attending
to hardcore customer-service issues, c) a vast increase in customer
loyalty and goodwill, and d) a vast advantage in impressing potential
customers. If you’re smart, you will also cultivate a social network of
TV watchers of all stripes who credit you for your hospitality.

Most importantly of all, you must recognize that none of this is PR
move you have to make through gritted teeth in extremis. It is a golden
opportunity to exploit the unprecedented potential of a connected
world. How ironic. You’ve been stringing co-ax for decades, yet you
don’t even realize what you’ve wrought.
Yes, that’s right, you have
created the very conditions for all of us to band together against you.
At the moment it must seem like Frankenstein’s monster, but take our
word for it:

It’s Comcastic!" (emphasis, again, added)

Juicy, crunchy, wonderful stuff.  Go check it out.

Hat tip:  Andy Sernovitz

Hot Dish

JM over at Good Morning Silicon Valley
tells us:

Danelle Azola described the exchange [with Dish Network] in a TV interview:
“I called there to let them know that our house was destroyed, to
cancel all the stuff, and the first thing they asked me was if I had a
chance to grab their receiver for the satellite dish. And I told them
no, that was the last thing that was on my mind. So then they told me I
would have to pay the $300 for the receiver. … I asked to have the bill
postponed until we got reimbursed from our insurance and she said
sorry, you have to pay it as soon as you get your bill in the mail like
any other normal bill.”

It appears there are endemic issues for the industry, though.  Cite:  Paul Greenberg’s DirecTV (er, "DreckTV") saga

Update:  AT&T/Dish Network have reversed their position.  Karl at Broadband Reports tells us "We spoke to AT&T spokesman Brad Mays, who investigated the
incident. Mays says that after the couple called AT&T, they were
transferred to Dish Network, and a Dish Network representative did not
follow the disaster policy Dish has in place. Mays ensures us that
they’ve contacted the couple, and they will not be charged for service
cancellation or equipment fees."

Desert Island Blogs

  My desert island in the sun. 
  Originally uploaded by elvis_payne.

The folks over at my alma mater have created a nifty algorithm that answers the question: Which blogs should one read to be most up to date, i.e., to quickly know about important stories
that propagate over the blogosphere?   The method they used was intended to answer the following: "If we can read only 100 blogs, which should I read to be most up to date if we want to be the first to know about something with many people blogging about the story after us?"

Here’s a link to the paper and supporting information.

And here are the 100 desert island blogs:

  1. http://instapundit.com
  2. http://donsurber.blogspot.com
  3. http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com
  4. http://www.watcherofweasels.com
  5. http://michellemalkin.com
  6. http://blogometer.nationaljournal.com
  7. http://themodulator.org
  8. http://www.bloggersblog.com
  9. http://www.boingboing.net
  10. http://atrios.blogspot.com
  11. http://lawhawk.blogspot.com
  12. http://www.gothamist.com
  13. http://mparent7777.livejournal.com
  14. http://wheelgun.blogspot.com
  15. http://gevkaffeegal.typepad.com/the_alliance
  16. http://www.anglican.tk
  17. http://www.micropersuasion.com
  18. http://pajamasmedia.com
  19. http://blogher.org
  20. http://mypetjawa.mu.nu
  21. http://reddit.com
  22. http://soccerdad.baltiblogs.com
  23. http://www.thenoseonyourface.com/the_nose_on_your_face
  24. http://ahistoricality.blogspot.com
  25. http://theanchoressonline.com
  26. http://americablog.blogspot.com
  27. http://www.sfist.com
  28. http://tbogg.blogspot.com
  29. http://www.horsepigcow.com
  30. http://whyhomeschool.blogspot.com
  31. http://daoureport.salon.com
  32. http://sisu.typepad.com/sisu
  33. http://www.metafilter.com
  34. http://www.megite.com
  35. http://www.laist.com
  36. http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt
  37. http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com
  38. http://blog.guykawasaki.com
  39. http://tryinotocomeundone.blogstream.com
  40. http://bluestarchronicles.blogspot.com
  41. http://googleblog.blogspot.com
  42. http://theglitteringeye.com
  43. http://asterisco.paradigma.pt
  44. http://www.readwriteweb.com
  45. http://digbysblog.blogspot.com
  46. http://www.conservativecat.com
  47. http://www.phillyist.com
  48. https://www.socialcustomer.com
  49. http://business2.blogs.com/business2blog
  50. http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com
  51. http://www.crooksandliars.com
  52. http://www.rightwingnews.com
  53. http://www.10000birds.com
  54. http://radar.oreilly.com
  55. http://cowboyblob.blogspot.com
  56. http://www.business-opportunities.biz
  57. http://www.dcist.com
  58. http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users
  59. http://www.legitgov.org
  60. http://www.whataboutclients.com
  61. http://www.roughtype.com
  62. http://www.tuaw.com
  63. http://aude91.canalblog.com
  64. http://thelondonfog.blogspot.com
  65. http://www.bostonist.com
  66. http://www.seattlest.com
  67. http://www.austinist.com
  68. http://indianwriting.blogspot.com
  69. http://powerlineblog.com
  70. http://firedoglake.blogspot.com
  71. http://elisson1.blogspot.com
  72. http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu
  73. http://ragnell.blogspot.com
  74. http://pulverblog.pulver.com
  75. http://mry.blogs.com/les_instants_emery
  76. http://www.gapingvoid.com
  77. http://catymology.blogspot.com
  78. http://hughhewitt.com
  79. http://www.lifehacker.com
  80. http://www.jordoncooper.com
  81. http://www.econbrowser.com
  82. http://socialitelife.com
  83. http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com
  84. http://www.nevillehobson.com
  85. http://www.waxy.org/links
  86. http://aliferestarted.blogspot.com
  87. http://volokh.com
  88. http://library.coloradocollege.edu/steve
  89. http://drsanity.blogspot.com
  90. http://www.mudvillegazette.com
  91. http://www.saysuncle.com
  92. http://www.privacydigest.com
  93. http://www.londonist.com
  94. http://www.shanghaiist.com
  95. http://markshea.blogspot.com
  96. http://www.singleservecoffee.com
  97. http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog
  98. http://www.scienceblogs.com
  99. http://www.basicthinking.de/blog
  100. http://scobleizer.wordpress.com

Monkey, Sí

  bounce monkey, chillin’ 
  Originally uploaded by dogwelder.

David Cushman has started a new Facebook group called "No More Call Center Monkeys!"

He also distilled down a number of his key points thusly:

  • I want to talk to someone who is listening to me – not reading a script from a computer screen.
  • I want to talk to someone with the power to do something about my problem.
  • I want to talk to someone who knows how to get round the moment when ‘the computer says no’
  • I want to talk to smeone for whom reason is allowed to mean something.
  • I don’t want to input my account number on my phone – then have to tell three more people what it is during the same call.
  • I want a full response to my complaints.

We urge these companies to stop insulting the intelligence of both their customers AND their employees. Giving the poor saps on the end of the phone a script they must stick to effectively turns them into a computer. We don’t want to talk to a computer.

We think it is grossly unfair on call centre staff – the very people charged with dealing direct with your customers – to leave them with no power to think or act for themselves.

Read more at "The Call Centre Customer Manifesto."

Open Spacing Out

One of the sessions at yesterday’s Consortium summit was an Open Space.  This particular conversation was on the topic "How can our company involve the customers more fully in creation and adding content to our [customer support] knowledge base?  What are the risks?  What are the benefits?"

I tore a page (an admittedly clumsy page, but if you don’t try you can’t improve…) from the Eileen Clegg school of notetaking/journaling; the results of which are included below.  So.  The high points, in a mostly stream-of-consciousness form…

CSI - Page 1

The conversation centered around how to enable customers to contribute more fully to a collaborative workspace that is shared between a company and its stakeholders, primarily centered on the support and service functions.

– Templates were suggested as a means to make it easier to customers to contribute.  That is, instead of starting with a blank page (we were primarily talking about wikis as the collaboration mechanism), templated, more structured pages may encourage participation.

– Should customers be encouraged to create entire "documents" to contribute or, perhaps at the outset, is allowing "commenting" on existing documents an easier path?  Are there varying methods of collaboration – creation, editing, commenting, etc.?

– Context is key.

– Is there a "certification" process?  That is, if an individual has invested the time and energy to be "certified" in a particular domain, does that individual obtain more advanced privileges in the community with respect to contribution?

– Contribution privileges may be granted with increased reputation in the community

CSI - Page 2

– "Flag it" or "Fix it"…Dave Kay asked the very relevant question of whether a customer should be "flagging" content that needed further attention (e.g. how flagging is done on Craigslist) or should that customer be "fixing" things that needed attention (a la Wikipedia).

– "Extra premium" content is a lose/lose (Exhibit A: The about-face of Times Select)

– Let customers rate support content

– Watching what is actually being searched on is a great driver to highlight the most relevant information

– The best information that is most useful to customers might not live within the walled garden

CSI - Page 3

The group also brainstormed a number of different ways customers and service professionals within the organization could collaborate online.  These methods included:

– Comments (both visible internal to the organization as well as externally)

– Forums

– Integration across multiple support mechanisms (e.g. integrating forums and the knowledge base)

– Search

– Recognition and attribution contributing to the reputation of a customer in the system

– Differing levels of "spidering" of content could encompass internal, partner or Rest of World sources of information

– Not losing sight of the fact that the best material will likely be outside the firewall — realize that external monitoring is ultimately critical to success