Traditional Websites – RIP

The number of Social media tools is on the rise and it seems as if there still aren’t enough to go around. We have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and dozen of others and now Microsoft have joined the party with the new So.cl (pronounced Social) network which, they announce, is aimed at students. When another ‘big hitter’ like Microsoft enters the market you can bet that their social network will evolve and who knows where it will be and what it will look like in a years time.

If we highlight Facebook (with over 900 million users) and we see how it has changed over the past year as a case in point. I suppose the vast majority of us are now used to the Facebook ‘timeline’ but can you remember the consternation and anguish it caused when it was first announced. Whether it is a better or worse social media tool for this change is not the question because the majority of these changes are compulsory and what the provider wants you to have is what you get.

A large number of small businesses use tools like Facebook as their only web presence and are quite happy with the functionality it provides but larger businesses tend to have an interface between their back-office databases and systems and their websites, and Facebook alone just doesn’t cut it.

What worries me, and should worry you too, is not so much the functionality, or lack of, these social media tools provide but the question of control. You are no longer in charge of how your brand is presented and you have very little say in any changes that are proposed. You wouldn’t give away control of your business in normal circumstances so why would you want to when it comes to such an important area. I would be a little scared and I think you should be too. I am not saying that there is no place for social media tools in business but ….

Will social media tools replace traditional websites? I don’t think so. Not in the immediate future anyway.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer.

And The Winner Is … Google+

Screenshot of Google+ Hangout

Screenshot of Google+ Hangout


Joined a trial last week to investigate the usefulness of Google+ Hangouts and I must admit I was rather impressed.  The scenario was to join a classroom based workshop along with other on-line delegates to see if it was acceptable as a method of delivery.

Setting up

It was really easy and straight forward to set up and to take part you need access to the Internet, a webcam and a Google+ account.  A microphone is optional.

The hardware I was using was an Acer Aspire 5750 with 2.4GHz i5 processor and a built-in webcam and microphone.  My broadband connection speed was 1.1Mbps (pretty slow).

Quality

The video quality was extremely good throughout and the sound quality was excellent but this was dependent upon the location of the person speaking and the quality of their microphone.

A standard instant messaging system (called Chat) is available on screen and was useful to communicate with the other hangout members.

Reliability

During the trial (7 hours plus) I lost the connection to the hangout on five separate occasions, with no prior warning, and each time had to return to my Google+ page and re-join.  It was annoying but access could be re-established within 30 seconds.

Conclusions

In my opinion the trial was a complete success and the benefits far outweighed the negatives although there is a limit of only nine hangout members which is a real shame.

I was impressed with the sound and video quality and found the chat facility worthwhile.

All-in-all I would recommend Google+ Hangouts.

Go on … give them a try.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

He is also the Group Manager of the East Ayrshire Business Forum on LinkedIn.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options