Tag Archives: hudson

Being social – first stop, Twitter!

5 Apr

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try {var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-4669406-2”);pageTracker._trackPageview();} catch(err) {}In one of my early blogs last August (the mother of all networks), I talked about us getting into the wonderful world of social media in the workplace. 7 months on and several blogs later, I thought I’d give you a peek on where we’ve got to on this.

Firstly, what the ‘eck is social media?
We all talk about social media all the time – but it’s worth recapping…As a quick reminder, our friend Wikipedia describes it as “primarily internet and mobile based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences.”
Confused (.com)??
Put simply, it’s blogging, discussion forums, micro-blogging (like twitter), web chats, wikis, RSS feeds, pod casting, video messaging, social networks (like facebook) and many many more. It’s about having two-way conversations – sharing stuff whether it’s words, pictures or videos – and doing it in a way that best suits the audience. Most of us are doing this outside of work – so, why not bring it inside?
Getting social

I’ve had so many chats with so many people… with so many ideas. I’ve been having meetings with key people across the business on getting this moving. I had a chat with Neil Berkett, our CEO, the other day, and he’s up for it – and, I’ve been talking to some lovely folks in IT who are seeing how they can help.
Virgin Media’s vision is about being “the simple choice in a complex digital world – giving people total freedom and choice, enabling them to talk, watch, listen, work and play, whenever, wherever”. Well, if this is what we’re doing for our customers – why wouldn’t we do this for our people?! We simply have to don’t we?
Very roughly, here are some key things about what Getting Social will mean:

  • Connecting and learning about each other through personal and professional sharing
  • Enabling us to communicate, innovate, collaborate, participate, learn, contribute – with openness and transparency – faster!
  • Unlocking the knowledge of our people, making it faster and easier to find experts and bring together diverse teams around a common point of interest
  • Using the internet to create highly interactive networks of individuals who want to stay connected in a very rich environment
  • Faster resolution of customer issues through a fully connected and networked community
    Extension of the power to reach our customers

We’re developing this over time rather than one big bang launch. So, I’ll keep you posted as new things happen.

And, my first stop is Twitter …
Twitter (micro-blogging)

Well, unless you’ve been hibernating over the past few months, you must by now have at least heard of twitter. Apart from me and a load of other VM Twits banging on about it all the time, it’s been THE news in social media land:

Jonathan Ross (@wossy) talked to Stephen Fry (@StephenFry) about it on his first show back from suspension (if you can, check it out on YouTube). Incidentally, @StephenFry is the 2nd most followed twit worldwide after Obama (@BarackObama) (more about Obama’s use of social media here)

The 1st pic of the plane crash-landing on the Hudson came from twitter (I blogged on this here)
Mainstream news, celebs and shows are all a twitter with things like…..Philip Schofield (
@Schofe) now has a laptop for his live show so he can tweet throughout; Chris Moyles (@CHRISDJMOYLES) tweets through his morning show on Radio 1; Will Carling (@willcarling) provides some fantastic commentary through each match in the 6 Nations; the One Show, Sky News, BBC News and a load of other shows have all done a feature on twitter; and there’ve been a host of fake celebs ‘outed’ by @wossy!
I could go on and on about the news stories on this – but I’ll spare you on that one. Try googling Twitter and you’ll see what I mean!
And, if you’re still not convinced about Twitter, then check out this blog from @davelee, an online journalist for the BBC I’m following on Twitter.
So, what have we been doing with Twitter internally?
I must apologise firstly about talking twenglish for the next few sentences…
We’ve now got a fantastic community of tweeple regularly tweeting and following our own employee account. It’s a locked twitter account, ie for Virgin Media twits only, that spreads the word about hot topics, events and top tips (or top twips!) on how to use Twitter. It’s bringing together a community of like-minded VM people – sharing ideas, helping each other out or simply bringing a bit of fun into people’s every day lives.
We’ve had some amazing connections and successes purely through our community on twitter – everything from sorting out someone’s problem on internal systmes, working across different teams to find answers to customer problems, to someone announcing that they’re going to be a dad!

To coincide with the Brit Awards, we also hosted our very own TwitAwards in February to celebrate the most dedicated of VM Twits.
And, we’re now hosting regular conference calls (TwitCons) and inviting all of our VM Twits so we can share progress while also hearing back from them on any ideas they have.
Over to you…
So, have any of you used Twitter for your employees? If so, would love to hear from you!

There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.

19 Jan

I’ve spoken before (Ho Ho Ho! Merry Twitmas Everyone!) about how social media has gone a bit nuts lately and has been hitting the headlines left right and centre around the speed at which things get reported by the general public – many an occasion before the media’s had a chance to report on it.

Well, last week saw probably the most amazing example of this yet! You’ll all have heard about the heroic emergency landing in the Hudson. What you may not have heard is that the very first pic of the incident was posted publicly by Janis Krums – on Twitter!!

And, this (on the left) is his, now very famous, tweet on it. There he was, minding his own business “leaving the city” and “trying to beat the traffic” (according to his previous tweet) – and he was caught up in one of the most amazing set of events that would hit headlines across the world – and change his life forever. Interestingly, in his twitter profile, he says “Always working on the next big thing” – well, you can’t really get bigger than this can you @jkrums!

Anyway, on seeing the plane landing, he immediately reached for his iPhone and took this picture, uploaded it to twitpic and posted his tweet.

He was the FIRST person to show a pic of the incident, beating EVERY major media organisation – many news organisations had heard about it and were trying to report on it – but just couldn’t get the pictures.

Within minutes, cyberspace was buzzing with the news as the tweet was retweeted, posted on blogs, emailed, IM’d and SMS’d- worldwide.

Such an amazing example of the power of social media and citizen journalism – something that itself has been talked about extensively over the past few days – even hitting the 10 o’clock news (for those that can look at YouTube, take a look at the ITV report here)! If you want to read more about what @jkrums has been up to since, check out his blog – “after the shot”.

With all this in mind, I thought I’d talk a bit more about the speed at which things get reported, and how this can sometimes lead to our employees feeling like they’re hearing about stuff in the media first…

So, why does it ‘feel’ like you hear first from the media?

Good question! Well, actually, 99% of the time, we do actually let you know first.

“Oh no you don’t” I hear many of you cry – but, honestly, it’s true. It just may not ‘feel’ like it. Here are some reasons why…

1. As a US listed company, there are certain SEC* (Securities and Exchange Commission) requirements which mean we can’t give information to any one particular group of people (including our employees) before others. So, for certain bits of news, like financial results for example, we can only communicate moments before or at exactly the same time as the story is filed externally. For more on SEC, check out the wikipedia definition.
2. With the technology that’s now available and the dynamic nature of media reporting, news (and even worse, gossip and speculation) can travel extremely fast (the Hudson emergency landing being a perfect example). No sooner has it hit the wires or a social network, automated news feeds and word of mouth kick in, and, before you know it, it’s headline news.
3. Many of us are plugged in brilliantly with the outside world – whether that’s through RSS feeds, social networks accessed through your phones & pcs or simply having a tv on in the office – you hear news as it breaks.
4. With a company as high profile as we are, there’s always a ton of rumour and speculation so there’ll be countless examples of inaccurate stuff floating around

A key priority for us in internal comms is to let you know stuff before anyone else – and we work really closely with everyone like PR, investor relations, the people team, product management etc to make sure we’ve got the information we need, when we need it – so we can in turn, let you know before, or at least at the same time, as everyone else.

With the power and speed of things like twitter, it’s getting harder, but it’s one of our top priorities and a key objective for everyone in my team.

I’d love to hear from you on breaking news you’ve heard first through things like twitter or if you’ve got any comments or ideas on how I can make sure you hear it first from us!

PS. If you want to join an ever growing community of Virgin Media twits, sign up to twitter and follow @VMGrapevine. And, if you want to follow me, I’m @abisignorelli.