A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Working on a social media strategy in Riga. How to take advantage of fine weather and get some good work done too.

Deep in the midst of developing a social media strategy, I asked one of the team of people I’m working with about their use of Flickr. The particular channel they shared with me relates to the Latvian armed forces, and when I asked why they used it, I got a very simple reply:

‘A picture paints a thousand words’

It was late afternoon and the hot Riga spring sunshine was streaming through the windows as we were started exploring the possibilities of using visual aids: photos, videos, info graphics and more, as part of a wider communication strategy. Rather than continue to let the fine weather distract us, I invited the team to split into three groups and go and photograph the city. Each team would then present their view of the city back to the group in the morning, as a way of promoting the city for the upcoming EU Presidency. Extra points would be awarded if the slideshow could capture the three Latvian EU Presidency values: Involving, Growth and Sustainability.

The following day we reconvened and were treated to a series of interesting and entertaining slide shows of Riga. Here are a few excerpts:

Often when the town or city where we work is just somewhere we walk through every day, we take it for granted. It was great to get out and enjoy the sunshine, sure, but the feedback that really interested me from this exercise was how much people appreciated the opportunity to see their city in a different light.

Fill in the blanks

The picture above was taken last Sunday. It shows Keira’s innocent smoothie letters collection, there are a few gaps. This is a story about how friends and social tools helped fill in the blanks.

facebook two

Tuesday evening, the postman has been and there are two letters for Keira. Two letters containing three letters, if you see what I mean?

And so now, everything is in its place.

Thanks to Sara Headworth and Belinda Unasing for their swift generosity.

And the next time someone asks you “where’s the return on investment on social media?”, maybe you should ask them to talk to Keira?

Visual data – a social graph

Another quick look at visual data today. I hosted a very interesting evening discussion around service in a social world earlier this week. I’ll write in more detail about what was spoken and sung about later, but for now I just want to share some emerging visual data I’m playing with.

social graph
social graph

The bubbles show a variety of social tools and the higher the bubble has risen, the more in use the tool is among the community. We looked at usage as an introduction to the extent to which social tools are (and are not) shifting the relationships between employees, employers, and customers. I want to have another play with this and try altering the size of the bubble to reflect usage. I think I can create an equally informative and more visually appealing image this way. Watch this space.

There weren’t many surprises in the data – except perhaps the low usage of RSS readers? I would have expected more people to take their news this way. What do you think? Does the idea work or not? Is there anything in there that prompts a question from you?

PS – here is the raw material, hand drawn style, which I used to kick off the conversation:

raw material 1
hand drawn conversation starter