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web 2.0 ideas for scientific organisation

we are a publishing business with around 200 employees and around 20,000 members around the world who subscribe to our information services and professional journals. We also do a lot of work to advance awareness of ecological research amongst the general public.

We would like to utilise facebook applications/and or open social or other web 2.0 and social networking platforms such as second life. Does anyone have any application ideas and how it could benefit our organisation. Benefit could be internal for our staff, external for our subscribing members or for the general public.
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WebMoghul
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WebMoghul
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Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
Lot's of companies (including a couple of my customers) are experimenting with Second Life as a marketing and communications tool.  Host bookstores, virtual book tours, "meet the author", virtual book signings, Q&A sessions, and other events.  Big publishers like Bantam Dell and Penguin already have a Second Life presence.

http://freshtakes.typepad.com/sl_communicators/publishing/
http://freshtakes.typepad.com/sl_communicators/2007/03/bantam_dell_pub.html
http://www.publishingtalk.eu/blog/marketing/get-a-second-life/

My suggestion: network with companies similar to yours (but not direct competitors) and talk about their experiences with these "viral marketing" experiences.  Find a marketing / PR firm that understands how to utilize these forms of media, and let them guide you.

- Gary Patterson

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Jason C. LevineNo oneCommented:
>> Benefit could be internal for our staff, external for our subscribing members or for the general public.

The big thing right now is Twitter.  You could establish Twitter feeds aimed at all three of the above groups and publish quickie updates on activities there.

My company runs non-profit professional medical associations who subscribe to journals and their most frequent requests to us are more options for content delivery from the journals.  Twitter feeds, RSS feeds, mobile content are all common.   This year, we are experimenting with establishing Wikis so our members can extend/debate the journal content outside of the publisher's framework.  We're in the dev stage now but that's another area where you might explore.

I'm NOT a big fan of second life and I don't believe it has gained enough widespread acceptance to be worth the time and effort to establish a presence there.  It's likely to be hundreds of hours to attract dozens of people and that math doesn't work for me.

Thinking more globally, anything that puts people in touch with each other to discuss issues relevant to you is a good thing.  Consider revamping your online publications to allow for reader -> author interaction if you are not doing that already.
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Gary PattersonVP Technology / Senior Consultant Commented:
Speaking as a consumer, Second Life events leave me a bit cold.  Twitter is a bit gimmicky (and scant on content for my tastes), but does have some neat applications.  

What I really want is access to content formatted for my mobile phone (Blackberry in my case).  I'd prefer to be able to download at least complete articles, so they are sitting here ready to read when I have time (like a podcast, but text and images instead of audio).  I hate to read on the blackberry where I have to wait for page loads between each skimpy page.  I want fast access to content that interest me when I have a few minutes: stuck in a meeting, stuck in a waiting room, standing in line, eating alone, waiting for a flight, or on the plane (radio off, of course).

  • I want images optimized for viewing on my device, too.
  • I'd like a service that allows me to set up a search agent containing subject, author, or keyword search terms, and alerts me when there is a new article that meets my criteria (or maybe even automatically downloads the article or synopsis at a scheduled time).
  • I'd like for the service to offer me the option of tracking what I've read, and offering suggestions for related articles.
  • I'd like to get an email update formatted for my BB with links to self-contained chunks of content that I can download and read later.
Bet I'm not the only one.  Of course, you'd want to build an engine that allowed you to create content in one format (you prepress format, perhaps), and then create conversion programs that automatically reformat the content appropriately for the list of devices that you choose to support.  By creating a core content management system, with device specific converters, you can easily extend suppor tto a growning number of devices without touching the core system.  Once you add a device, all content, new and old, is automaticalle enabled on the new platform.

That's what I want.

- Gary Patterson
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Mark WillsTopic AdvisorCommented:
For a good news / information / blog site check out : http://secondlife.reuters.com/

Do not understand some of the comments above - it is a very good site, easy to navigate easy to present information. Have found most of the other sites (twitter included) is more chat oriented, too much social networking and not enough professional business content.

However secondlife is not without it's own challenges including some of the teleporting and actual site execution can be a bit "hit and miss", or throw up the occasional error. That does make the user experience a tad tarnished, and possibly why it isn't used more. I do believe it does have string business orientation than most of the others with a slightly more individual one-to-one representation - but that could just be a measure of time, and "personal use" type of popularity.

You raise an interesting conundrum in the 2nd paragraph, "you would like to", and then, "how it could benefit". Well, why do you want to do it ? What is the compelling reasons behind why you would like to ?

The obvious is to better deliver content to your target market, and gather feedback. And as gary points out : Host bookstores, virtual book tours, "meet the author", virtual book signings, Q&A sessions, and other events. And provides flexibility for your 'consumers' as jason1178 says : "more options for content delivery from the journals".

But, it should also be pointed out (as jason did) that you can do a truck load of all that from your own website. And that could also accomodate a lot of the "gary wants" list.  The main thing that most of these sites offer are hosted services, blog/chat and content delivery methods. But, what do they really do that you cannot readily achieve ? Well, simply put, they have the expertise that you might not have, and a point of presence that can provide a controlled forum outside the auspices of your own company, but then your marketing company, or web hosts may well be able to assist.

As a case in point, look at reed media and what they have done with http://www.publishingtalk.eu/blog/marketing/get-a-second-life/  and also note the various links and feed to the social networking sites. Getting a web presence and improving visibility is not really a social networking directive, more a result of having good and relevant content that people want to know about...


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Mark WillsTopic AdvisorCommented:
Sorry, that last link was incorrect - should have been : http://www.publishingtalk.eu/blog/about/  - more specifically look at the third paragrah whilst reading through and ask yourself "why" would the creators of FaceBook Group move in a different direction ?
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Mark WillsTopic AdvisorCommented:
Actually answered my own question... have a look at their facebook group site http://www.facebook.com/pages/Publishing-Talk/53384433273. Compare to say http://www.facebook.com/pages/Penguin-Books-India/29139940906  (keeping it in the publishing family).
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WebMoghulAuthor Commented:
thanks to all your great replies so far, im gonna look into these carefully over the next few days and ill let you know which ideas i like the best, they all look great so far!
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WebMoghulAuthor Commented:
some great ideas from all of you so i have split the points up. Thanks for your help we have plenty of ideas now to focus on and look at the benifits of each.
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