Learning from Social networks

CEO Blog | 02 Aug 2011

Genkiosk learning from social networks

James Oladujoye (CEO) explores ways in which his company and others could learn from the social networking phenomenon.

Often I have been described as being a dreamer.

And that makes me very proud. Star gazing is fun and every now and again it’s comforting to predict correctly.

In this vein I have some strong beliefs about how systems like machine management platforms – such as Genkiosk – should interact with data-overloaded users.

Firstly let’s stop for a minute to take a look at how Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook share information.

Each signed up-user has to prioritise and choose whether to act upon 1000’s of messages, updates, photos, invitations etc.

The needs of the individuals can be quite different. For example, I use Facebook to stay in contact with friends I have known from my early life, whereas my brother who is younger than me is very much more in the now, using it to organise events and share time sensitive information such as birthdays, get-togethers and sports events.

Having a way to manage all these different needs within one common interface is a real trick.

Information is shared on walls and in feeds which if selected take you to more detailed information. This enables the user to make their own choice – to ignore or to act upon the notifications they receive.

Google and others want to know their customer – because any resulting advertising will be more targeted, more effective, less annoying and more profitable for all concerned. It’s this profit analogy that interests me.

For several years we have attempted not only to run a profitable business here at GWD Media (creators of Genkiosk) but also to be able to create flexible, scalable and appropriate tools for our market place.

If we can agree that a phone call, an email, or running a report all takes up valuable time (debit) and the balancing act for any organisation is being able not only to control this and make sense of it all but most importantly arrive at an action or decision that leads to greater efficiency (profit).
James Oladujoye making decisions

As I sit here writing this article (which took some 40 minutes) I have received:

  • 4 phone calls
  • 7 emails
  • 2 meeting requests
  • 1 Linked –in request
  • 3 Facebook notifications
  • 2 taps on my shoulder from my team in the office who need decisions

That’s 19 items that are requesting my attention!

Do the maths.

It is impossible to process it all in that time.

Data smog – as we call it here – is the challenge that anyone who is “plugged-in” will experience to some degree.

I am fortunate in that I have a great assistant who helps me, but there is some respite on the horizon.

Systems are starting to talk to each other.

Consolidation of information makes for an easier day and reduces the likelihood of important information being overlooked.
However there is still some way to go.

Recently our development team held a series of workshop to discuss the topic of data overload and how business intelligence could be better applied across the Genkiosk platform. It became apparent that there needed to be a better way to “get the system to talk” without having to set up specific business rules and notifications.

The Genkiosk team are now planning ways to get the systems to identify obvious issues for themselves, and to nudge the user in similar ways to social networking whereby the user can throttle the type or amount of information and can choose to act or ignore.

This would mean that the need to set up rather binary rules would become less important.

After all, information has trends in it, and that just needs to be made apparent to the users of the system..

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