Y Bont, Gwobrau Theatr Cymru 2014 a diolchiadau pwysig

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Mae’n anodd credu bod blwyddyn lawn wedi mynd heibio ers cynhyrchiad Y Bont yn Aberystwyth. Roedd y ddrama yn nodi hanner ganrif ers y protest iaith torfol enwog ar bont Trefechan yn 1963. Mae Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru yn lansio archif o’r cynhyrchiad ddydd Sul yma (2il Chwefror 2014). Bydd e’n cyfle i bobl a fynychodd y ddrama weld safbwyntiau eraill yn ogystal a chynnig cyfle i’w wylio i bobl a fethodd y digwyddiad. Ewch i gyfrif Twitter Theatr Genedlaethol am ragor o fanylion cyn hir.

nativehq-gwobrau-theatr-cymruMae NativeHQ a Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru newydd dderbyn gwobr am waith ar Y Bont oddi wrth Gwobrau Theatr Cymru, sef Defnydd Gorau o Gynnwys Digidol/Ar-lein. W00p!

Fel y dwedais ar y llwyfan nos Sadwrn, y stwff digidol yma ydy cyfrwng. Fydd ddim llawer i wneud ar ein pennau ein hunain ac rydym yn hollol ddibynnol ar bobl eraill er mwyn i ni ddogfennu, dehongli, rhannu, recordio Vines fel yr un uchod (platfform yr oedd yn newydd sbon ar y pryd) – ac ati.

Rydym fel cwmni eisiau cymryd y cyfle i ddweud diolch i’r bobl ganlynol.

  • Heledd Hardy a’r tîm digidol am eu gwaith caled, sef myfyrwyr o Brifysgol De Cymru a Choleg y Drindod Dewi Sant: Efa Harris-Davies, Lowri Wynn, Catrin Lewis, Sioned Evans, Elen Jones, Aaron Cooper, Mali Rees, Bethan Evans, Aled Bishop, Steffan Morgan, Steffan Griffiths. Mae’r wobr yma i chi hefyd.
  • Yr ysgrifenwyr Catrin Dafydd, Ceri Elen ac Angharad Tomos
  • Lois Jones, Chris Hoskins a’r cast i gyd
  • Elin Williams a Steve Dimmick am eistedd mewn ystafell dywyll gyda llwyth o dabiau porwr ar agor tra oedd pawb arall tu fas
  • Green Bay, Dylan Richards, S4C a Huw Marshall am gydweithrediad weddol esmwyth rhwng platfformau
  • Arwel Gruffydd a phob aelod o dîm Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru a’r criw ar y cynhyrchiad

This post is about our Wales Theatre Award: Best Use of Digital/Online Content for our work on Y Bont with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. There isn’t enough room on the slate for the names of the digital team who are sharing in this award with us plus the others we want to thank, so we’ve credited them here. Congratulations to the other nominees in our category too!

Ein model ar gyfer twf mewn busnes digidol – yn cyflwyno cydweithwyr NativeHQ

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English version of this post

Rydym yn dal i hudo gan y broses o adeiladu cwmni, pum mlynedd ers i ni ddechrau.

Mae adeiladu busnes bach yn broses gymhleth a mentrus ac mae sawl cwestiwn. Un maes allweddol yw twf eich tîm: pryd ydych chi’n ehangu neu dyfu eich tîm, sut ydych chi’n dod o hyd i’r bobl iawn a pha sgiliau neu brofiadau dylech chi ddatblygu? Eleni yn NativeHQ rydym newydd ddechrau ein chweched flwyddyn ac yn ddiweddar penderfynodd i dyfu ein tîm.

Mae llawer o fodelau a chanllawiau ar gyfer tyfu y tîm mewn busnes bach. Mae yna hefyd nifer o ragdybiaethau y dylid eu cwestiynu yn rheolaidd. Ni fydd unrhyw fodel neu ddull yn addas i bob busnes, ond yr hyn sy’n hollbwysig yw beth sy’n addas i’ch gwerthoedd a diwylliant ar hyn o bryd. Rydym yn gobeithio, trwy rannu ein model o dwf tîm rydym yn dechrau yn y flwyddyn hon, efallai y byddwch yn codi rhai syniadau defnyddiol.

Mae’r model yr ydym bob amser wedi defnyddio yn NativeHQ yn un sy’n dechrau gyda chydweithio. Fel partneriaid (Carl Morris a Tom Beardshaw), rydym bob amser wedi cydweithredu gyda rhwydwaith o bobl ar sail ad hoc. Mae’r perthnasoedd hyn wedi cefnogi ein gwaith ac yn ein herio i feddwl a gweithio’n wahanol gyda chyfryngau cymdeithasol a chleientiaid. Rydym yn penderfynu cymryd y cam nesaf ac yn ffurfioli hyn trwy benodi dau gydweithredwr i ymuno â’n tîm yn ffurfiol.

Perthynasau cyswllt fel model ar gyfer twf

Gall y model cydweithredwr ar gyfer tyfu busnes cael ei adeiladu ar nifer o egwyddorion gwaith. Mae anghenion prosiect yn ei arwain, gyda strwythurau agored, cytundebau gweithio hyblyg, ac yn canolbwyntio ar gyfathrebu parhaus a chynydd mewn perthnasau ymhlith cydweithwyr.

  • Anghenion prosiect: Mae pob cydweithiwr yn berson yr ydym yn cydweithio â hwy ar sail prosiect-wrth-brosiect. Mae hyn yn dibynnu ar anghenion y prosiect, y cleient ac i ni fel arweinwyr prosiect. Pan fydd unrhyw brosiect penodol wedi dod i ben efallai na fyddwn yn gweithio gyda’n cydweithiwr am sawl wythnos. Mae hyn yn caniatáu i ni i fod yn bartner gyda’r bobl orau mewn gwahanol feysydd ar sail anghenion.
  • Strwythurau gwaith agored: Mae cydweithwyr yn rhydd i ddatblygu eu gyrfaoedd a gweithio ar brosiectau yn eu rhwydweithiau eu hunain. Mae NativeHQ yn dod i mewn ac allan o’u bywydau gwaith fel y bo’n briodol. Mae llawer mwy i rannu ar yr arferion a’r offer a ddefnyddiwn i gydweithio o bell a byddwn yn eu rhannu mewn cofnod blog yn y dyfodol.
  • Trefniadau gweithio hyblyg: Nid ydym yn cyflogi ein cydweithwyr ar gytundeb sefydlog neu gynnig taliadau fel cyflog misol, ond yn datblygu pob prosiect gyda chytundebau prosiect sy’n hyblyg i anghenion pawb. Nid oes angen adeilad mawr chwaith neu’r gorbenion cysylltiedig sy’n dod gyda chyflogi pobl, gan ddewis yn hytrach i weithio o’n swyddfeydd cartref, mannau rhwydweithio a gofodau gweithio ar draws y wlad, fel Indycube.
  • Cyfathrebu parhaus: Hyd yn oed os nad ydym yn gweithio ar brosiect byw gyda ein cydweithwyr fel arfer rydym yn cadw mewn cysylltiad â hwy i gyfnewid syniadau a gwybodaeth a dysgu mwy am y gwaith arall y maent yn wneud. Egwyddorion a rennir yn bwysig i ni yn ogystal â lleisiau a barnau amgen i finio ein meddyliau.
  • Tyfu perthynas cydweithwyr: Rydym hefyd yn tueddu i beidio â chyfweld cydweithwyr posibl, ond yn dewis cydweithiwr o bobl yr ydym wedi gweithio gyda nhw yn y gorffennol fel ffordd o ddechrau perthynas broffesiynol ac asesu os byddwn yn rhannu gwerthoedd a meddyliau tebyg am gyfryngau cymdeithasol.
    Ar gyfer y math o waith arbenigol a chymdeithasol a wnawn yn NativeHQ, rydym yn credu y bydd y berthynas cydweithiwr dod i ganlyniad llawer gwell i’n cleientiaid a chymhelliant gwell i bawb na phe baem yn cyflogi gweithwyr cyflogedig.

Yn bendant nid ydym yn dweud fod y model hwn ar gyfer pob cwmni ond rydym yn credu ei fod yn gweithio i NativeHQ yn sicr.

Y llwybr fwy traddodiadol i dwf ac ein safbwynt ni

Mae llawer o fusnesau bach sy’n bwriadu tyfu eu tîm yn meddwl am y model o adeiladu tîm o staff llawn-amser â’r ymrwymiad i’w talu bob mis, i sicrhau gwaith i lenwi eu dyddiau a’r gorbenion ychwanegol o brydles hir ar swyddfeydd ac ati.

O ystyried y gyfradd uchel o fusnesau bach nad ydynt yn cyrraedd eu chweched flwyddyn, mae’n hawdd dychmygu sut y gall NativeHQ mynd y ffordd yma pe tasen ni wedi mabwysiadu’r model mwy traddodiadol ar gyfer ein gwaith.

Yn y pen draw beth sydd o ddiddordeb i ni ydy gweithio gyda sefydliadau cleient, gweithio gyda’r bobl orau ar gyfer y prosiect wrth law er mwyn helpu ein cleientiaid i drawsnewid y ffordd y maent yn ymgysylltu â’u cymunedau digidol. Mae ein diffyg pryder am bob dim sy’n gwneud cwmni ‘traddodiadol’ megis ‘letterheads’ trwsiadus, placiau enw mewn marmor a thîm staff parhaol wedi dod yn fantais. Rydym wedi goroesi’r hinsawdd economaidd anodd, ac yn edrych at ein chweched flwyddyn mewn busnes, gyda llawer o ddysgu a chleientiaid hapus.

Ein cydweithwyr newydd

Wedi dweud hyn i gyd, hoffem ni gyhoeddi i’r byd yr ydym wedi penodi dau gydweithiwr newydd at ein tîm yn ddiweddar; Dr Kelly Page a Marc Heatley. Mae Kelly a Marc yn bobl rydym wedi adnabod ac wedi gweithio gyda nhw am amser hir ac ymhlith y gorau ar yr hyn maent yn eu gwneud.

Dr Kelly Page

Dr Kelly PageRoedd Kelly yn ddarlithydd yn Ysgol Fusnes Caerdydd, ac er ein bod yn drist bod symudodd i Chicago yn 2012 i ymgymryd â swydd newydd fel Athro Cynorthwyol yn y Coleg Columbia Chicago, rydym wedi bod mewn cyswllt ers iddi adael. Mae Kelly yn ymchwilydd rhyngrwyd profiadol iawn yn ogystal ag artist, awdur a siaradwr â meddylfryd strategol call, llawn profiad yn astudio cyfryngau cymdeithasol a rhwydweithiau byd-eang.

Mae hi’n dod â’i ymchwil a meddwl strategol i’r tîm NativeHQ, a bydd yn ymuno â ni i feddwl am sut y mae’r cwmni yn datblygu, gan archwilio’r materion yr ydym yn dod ar draws drwy ein gwaith gyda chleientiaid ac yn gweithio ar brosiectau sy’n gallu elwa ar ei harbenigedd ymchwil, ei hysgrifennu a dealltwriaeth strategol. Byddem yn argymell dilyn Kelly ar Twitter, lle mae’n rhannu ei syniadau diweddaraf yn rheolaidd.

Marc Heatley

Marc HeatleyMarc yn ddylunydd gweledol a creawdwr WordPress sy’n rhedeg ei gwmni dylunio ei hun yma yng Nghaerdydd. Yn ein barn ni, fe yw’r ‘wrangler’ WordPress gorau yn y ddinas, yn ogystal â bod yn math arbennig a phrin o dylunydd gweledol sydd yn wir yn deall y we ac yn gwybod sut i adeiladu profiadau defnyddwyr gwych arno. Rydym yn gwahodd Marc yn rheolaidd ar brosiectau NativeHQ technegol sydd angen ychydig o arbenigedd ychwanegol a meddwl dylunio, er enghraifft ein gwefan mapio diweddar i Gwmni Theatr Forest Forge

Mae dealltwriaeth Marc o’r we a chyfathrebu gweledol yn wych ac sy’n cryfhau gallu technegol ein tîm, ac mae’n mwynhau heriau ychwanegol yr ydym yn cynnig iddo fe. Mae hefyd yn werth dilyn ar Twitter, lle mae e’n rhannu o’r hyn mae wedi bod yn gwrando ar yn ddiweddar, i’r fframweithiau cwl diweddaraf ar y we a driciau WordPress ac ategion ei fod wedi darganfod.

Rydym wedi diweddaru’r tudalen Ein Tîm ar ein gwefan gyda’n ychwanegiadau newydd ac yn edrych ymlaen at lawer o flynyddoedd cynhyrchiol yn gweithio gyda Kelly a Marc – croeso i NativeHQ!

Our model for growing a digital business – introducing NativeHQ’s new associates

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Fersiwn Cymraeg o’r cofnod hwn

Even five years since we began, we’re still fascinated by the process of building a company.

Building a small business is a complex and risky process, and one filled with many questions. One critical area is team growth: when do you expand or grow your team, how do you find the right people and what skills or experiences should you develop? This year at NativeHQ we have entered our sixth year and recently decided to grow our team.

There are many models and guides for growing the team in a small business. There are also many assumptions which should regularly be questioned. No one model or approach will suit every business, but what is critically important is what fits with the values and culture of your current team. We hope that by sharing our own model of team growth we are embarking on this year, you may pick up some useful ideas.

The model we have always used at NativeHQ is one starting from a place of collaboration. As partners (Carl Morris and Tom Beardshaw), we have always collaborated with a network of peers on an ad hoc basis. These relationships have both supported our work and challenged us to think and work differently with social media and our clients. We decided to take the next step and formalise this a little more by appointing two associates to formally join our team.

Associate relationships as a model for growth

The associate model for growing a business can be framed around a number of key working principles. It is project-needs led, with open work structures, flexible working agreements, and focused on ongoing communication and growing established peer relationships.

  • Project-needs led: Each associate is a person with whom we collaborate on a project-by-project basis, depending on the needs of the project, the client and us as project leaders. When any given project is finished we may not work with our associates for several weeks. This allows us to partner with the best people in various fields on a needs basis.
  • Open work structures: Associates are free to develop their own careers and work on their own projects, in their own networks. NativeHQ comes in and out of their working lives as appropriate. There is a lot more to share on the practices and tools we use to collaborate remotely which we will save for a future blog post.
  • Flexible work arrangements: We don’t employ our associates on a fixed contract or offer renumeration in terms of a fixed salary, but develop each project with project agreements that are flexible to everyone’s needs. We also don’t need a large premises or the associated overheads that come with employing people, choosing instead to work from our home offices, popular networked hotspots and office space hubs across the country, like Indycube.
  • Ongoing communication: Even if we are not working on a live project with our associates we typically stay in contact with them to swap insights and knowledge and learn more about the other things they are working on. Shared principles are important for us as are dissenting voices and opinions to keep us all sharp.
  • Growing established peer relationships: We also tend not to interview potential associates, but select an associate from the peers we have worked with in the past as a means of beginning a professional relationship and exploring if we share similar values and thinking about social media.

For the kind of highly specialised, highly skilled and socially-oriented work we do at NativeHQ, we believe the associate relationship will yield a much better result for our clients and a better motivation for everyone than if we were to take on salaried workers.

We are definitely not saying that this model is for every company but we think it is one that definitely works for NativeHQ.

Why we stepped away from the more typical path to growth

For many small businesses looking to grow their team, many think firstly of the model of building up a full-time team of fully dedicated staff with the commitment to pay them monthly, to bringing in the client work to fill their days and the additional overheads of a long lease on premises and so on.

Given the high rate of small businesses that don’t enter their sixth year it is easy to imagine how things may have gone this way for NativeHQ if we had unquestioningly adopted this more traditional model for growing our team.

What ultimately interests us is working with client organisations, drawing on the best people for the project at hand to help our clients transform the way they engage with their digital communities. Our lack of concern for the trimmings that make a ‘traditional’ company such as vanity letterheads, marble name plaques and a permanent staff team has become an advantage. We have weathered the tough economic climate and are looking to our sixth year in business, with lots of learning and many happy clients.

Our new associates

With all this in mind, we’d like to announce to the world that we have recently appointed two new associates to our team; Dr Kelly Page and Marc Heatley. Both Kelly and Marc are people we’ve known and worked with for a long time and are among the best in the business at what they do.

Dr Kelly Page

Dr Kelly PageUntil recently, Kelly was a lecturer at Cardiff Business School here in Wales, and while we were sad that she moved to Chicago in 2012 to take up a new post as an Assistant Professor at the Columbia College Chicago, we’ve stayed in touch ever since she left. Kelly is a really experienced internet researcher as well as an artist, a writer and speaker with sound strategic thinking , bags of experience studying social media and extensive global networks.

She brings her research and strategic mind to the NativeHQ team, and will join us in thinking about how the company develops, exploring the issues we encounter through our work with clients and working on projects that can benefit from her research expertise, her writing and strategic insights. We’d highly recommend following Kelly on Twitter, where she shares her latest thinking on a regular basis.

Marc Heatley

Marc HeatleyMarc is a visual designer and WordPress creator who runs his own design company here in Cardiff. He is, in our opinion, simply the best WordPress wrangler in the city, as well as being a special and rare breed of visual designer who really understands the web and knows how to build great user experiences on it. We regularly bring Marc in on technical NativeHQ projects that require a bit of extra web expertise and design thinking, for example our recent mapping website for Forest Forge Theatre Company.

Marc’s understanding of web and visual communication is a great quality that strengthens the technical capacity of our team, and he enjoys the extra challenges that we bring him. He’s also well worth a follow on Twitter, where you’ll find him sharing everything from what he’s been listening to recently, to the latest cool web frameworks and WordPress tricks and plugins that he’s discovered.

We’ve proudly updated the Our Team page on our website with our new additions and look forward to many more productive years working with Kelly and Marc – welcome to NativeHQ!

Social Media Insights: Arts launched / Lansio Craffu ar y Cyfryngau Cymdeithasol ym maes y Celfyddydau

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Mae NativeHQ yn hapus iawn i lansio rhaglen gwasanaeth newydd o’r enw Craffu ar y Cyfryngau Cymdeithasol ym maes y Celfyddydau, mewn partneriaeth â Chyngor Celfyddydau Cymru. Mae’r rhaglen yn agored i bob sefydliad celfyddydol yng Nghymru gyda dyddiad cau o 20fed o fis Medi 2013.

Dros gyfnod o wyth mis, bydd NativeHQ yn darparu cymorth pwrpasol i bump sefydliad gan gynnwys strategaeth a hyfforddiant ar gyfryngau digidol a chymdeithasol.

Am ragor o wybodaeth ar y rhaglen a sut i wneud cais, ewch i’r dudalen hon os gwelwch yn dda.

NativeHQ are very pleased to be launching a new service programme called Social Media Insights: Arts, in partnership with Arts Council Wales. The service programme is open to all arts organisations from Wales and is open to applications until 20th September 2013.

Over a duration of eight months, five organisations will receive bespoke strategic and training assistance on their use of digital and social media, which we will provide.

For further information on the programme and an application form, please visit this page.

Video: Democratic Deficit event / Fideo: digwyddiad Diffyg Democrataidd

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Gwahoddodd Llywydd Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru fi i’r Pierhead i gadeirio trafodaethau grŵp am sut mae cyfryngau digidol yn gallu cyfrannu at ddemocratiaeth gwell yng Nghymru, fel rhan o’r digwyddiad Diffyg Democrataidd: Lleoliaeth – achubiaeth datganoli? ar 12fed o Fehefin 2013. Maen nhw newydd rhannu fideo o fy nghrynodeb o syniadau a sylwadau yn ôl i bawb. Roedd sôn am y we, newyddion lleol, sgyrsiau aml-blatfform, data agored a gwleidyddion a newyddiadurwyr ar-lein. Dyma fersiwn gwreiddiol o’r fideo heb lais cyfieithiad ar y pryd.

The Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales invited me to the Pierhead to chair group discussions on how digital media can contribute to better democracy in Wales, as a part of the event Democratic Deficit: Localism – the salvation of devolution? on the 12th of June 2013. We mentioned the web, local news, multiplatform conversations, open data and politicans and journalists online. I gave my summary of the discussions in Welsh and here is a dubbed version of the video with a live translation into English.

WWF Cymru: working on Earth Hour 2013 / Gwaith ar Awr Ddaear 2013

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Just poking my head out from the nerve centre to say that we’ve been working with WWF Cymru on the Earth Hour 2013 event and campaign. On 23rd March at 8:30PM many thousands of people, organisations and businesses will be switching off their lights for one hour. For those taking part it’s a statement of support for renewable energy and a chance to think about it with friends. I like to think of Earth Hour as an international festival, as people will be variously organising processions, poetry evenings, singsongs, candle-lit dinners, art projects and a whole lot more.

Saying that our role on the evening itself will be trying to document, blog, post and capture as much as we can of various things other people are doing. More generally, NativeHQ’s work on the event and campaign has included social media strategy, network building, online publicity, social media advertising and production of videos and other content.

Please sign up for Earth Hour so that your own participation and support is logged in the stats, whether as an individual or on behalf of a household, company or organisation. It will take around two minutes to sign up.

Follow:

Test your knowledge of renewable energy with this quiz (made by Carbon Studio).

Dw i newydd ffeindio gwagle prin yn y dyddiadur i ddweud ein bod ni’n helpu WWF Cymru gyda’r digwyddiad ac ymgyrch Awr Ddaear 2013. Ar 23ain o Fawrth 8:30YH bydd miloedd o bobl, sefydliadau a busnesau yn diffodd eu goleuadau am un awr. Mae’r gweithred yn datganiad o gefnogaeth am ynni adnewyddol a chyfle i’w ystyried gyda ffrindiau. Mewn ffordd mae Awr Ddaear yn wyl rhyngwladol – bydd pobl yn trefnu gorymdeithau, noson barddoniaeth, noson canu, cinio a chanwyll, prosiectau celf a mwy.

Ar y noson bydd angen i ni dogfennu, blogio, postio a recordio gymaint sy’n bosib o weithgareddau pobl eraill. Yn cyffredinol mae gwaith NativeHQ ar y digwyddiad ac ymgyrch yn cynnwys strategaeth cyfryngau cymdeithasol, adeiladu rhwydwaith, cyhoeddusrwydd ar-lein, hysbysebion cyfryngau cymdeithasol a chynhyrchiad fideos a chynnwys arall.

Cofrestrwch am Awr Ddaear er mwyn dangos eich cefnogaeth a chyfranogiad, fel unigolyn neu ar ran cartref, cwmni neu sefydliad. Mae’r broses cofrestru yn cymryd tua dau funud.

Dilynwch:

Profwch eich gwybodaeth o ynni adnewyddol gyda’r cwis yma (gwnaethpwyd gan Carbon Studio).

Y Bont digidol – Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru & NativeHQ

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Rydyn ni’n blogio o Ganolfan y Celfyddydau, Aberystwyth bore yma. Mae dwy awr i fynd cyn dechrau Y Bont, y stori aml-blatfform am ddau cymeriad – a llwyth o bobl ifanc y wnaeth protestio dros statws i’r iaith ar Bont Trefechan yn 1963.

Os dych chi’n methu’r digwyddiad byw a pherfformiad yn Aberystwyth rydych chi’n gallu dilyn popeth ar-lein – gan gynnwys lluniau a fideos – ar y pryd, o le bynnag yn y byd rydych chi’n byw. Mae dau opsiwn: dilynwch @ybont2013 ar Twitter neu ewch i wefan Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

We’re blogging from the Arts Centre in Aberystwyth this morning. There are two hours to go until the beginning of Y Bont, the multiplatform story about two characters – and a crowd of young people who held a sit-in protest on Trefechan Bridge to raise the status of the Welsh language (the word ‘pont’ in the title translates to ‘bridge’).

If you can’t make it to the live event and performance in Aberystwyth you can follow everything online as it happens – including videos and images – from anywhere in the world. There are two options: follow @ybont2013 on Twitter or go to the Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru website.

Your organisation and social media – taking steps in 2013

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We’ve been working on how we can best help organisations to use social media in 2013 and are launching a new service called Social Media Insights. So we want to share our thinking behind it in this post.

We have noticed big changes in how people deal with social media since 2008 when we founded our company. In NativeHQ’s early days we found ourselves introducing the potential of networked conversational media platforms in their organisations.

When we started, the term ‘social media’ was becoming more popular and there was a general sense among many that it might be worth investigating although probably a bit risky. NativeHQ received invitations to give talks of a certain kind, to shake people out of their regular routine and tell them that Something Is Coming and to try and unfold a few pairs of crossed arms by the power of presentation. We usually managed to find a balance between practicality and exuberance without straying too far into hype.

Recently we have been travelling between Cardiff, Caernarfon, London, Swansea and other places when we meet people where our clients are based. We get an impression of what people are doing with social media and the kind of questions they are asking.

Let’s just say that people don’t generally ask us for that kind of presentation anymore. Maybe you can identify with this – there is a cycle for anything new, especially in the application of technology. People no longer need convincing that social media can help them collaborate better, develop products, serve customers, promote products, services and events, and so on. They understand that it’s a revolutionary shift in communications and are looking for ways to use it effectively in their own context.

Much of the apprehension and maybe fear about social media is gone, which is good. In place is a feeling in organisations that some things are missing and that better work is possible in various departments. But there’s a sense that there’s a lack of time to learn and develop this. The situation in any company is unique but some questions recur. How could social media fit with the rest of what we do? How should we do it? What are the right platforms for us to use? Who should be doing this work? Could it be that some of our time is being spent on the wrong things? How do we realise the value of social media in our specific situation? How do we measure whether we are being successful? You can find lots of general answers on the web, but how do you make the right decisions for your own, unique organisation?

Sometimes people refer to their organisational ‘unknown unknowns’ too – that is, gaps in the field of view and what lies outside of their frameworks of assumptions brought from previous experience. It’s not as if assumptions are always a negative thing. It’s a bit difficult not to have assumptions. But these people are looking for clear reasoning in order to form a strategy – rather than a haphazard, opportunistic use of social media or an approach based on orthodoxies taken from another field.

Another ‘unknown unknown’ is how the best use of social media will develop over time, during 2013 and beyond. There will be new start-ups and services but there will also be new displays of human creativity using familiar platforms. So that means that it could be a mistake to lock down any particular set way of doing things. It’s a rapidly developing field.

In the context of all these observations we’ve been trying to put together a way we can respond to the evolving demand. Our new service is called Social Media Insights and is based on a longer-term relationship with a client. It involves regular analysis and monthly meetings with you where we explore relevant data and facts, share insights and help you to learn and develop your practice. We are making our experience and understanding available to help clients develop strategic approach, tactics, skills and knowledge on an ongoing basis.

We still don’t ‘ghost blog’, posting on behalf of our clients, on social media because we have no desire to own their network or community and the impersonation makes it a bit fake for that community, frankly. We much prefer to train and equip them to use their own voice and participate in the relationships they develop. We believe that in time, using an outsourced model for social media conversation will seem a bit quaint. When a professional who is in an organisation goes online to share some of his or her thinking, learnings and questions with honesty and enthusiasm then other people pay attention – they respond to that authentic voice.

This is about organisational change, which takes time. It’s about iteration and application of knowledge in context.

Besides there are a whole bunch of other things happening in the organisation and use of social media has to be integrated into the work flows. Personal, individual use of social media is very different to what happens in organisations. You could liken the change process to the difference between steering a bike and navigating a ship.

So that’s a bit of background about Social Media Insights, which complements the existing services we offer and special projects we do. Contact us if you’d like to know more and we can arrange to visit you to discuss what it involves in more detail.

Scratchr: towards an ‘open source’ for live performance

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For a few months we have been designing, developing and growing an online platform and community called Scratchr in close collaboration with the team at Battersea Arts Centre, London.

Do watch the above video as it explains more about the scratch process the BAC team have been refining for several years, in which an artist has the valuable opportunity to try out work with an audience of participants who then help shape it. As a means of making art, the scratch process is more like a conversation than a one-way broadcast. If you know NativeHQ then you’ll have guessed that this mentality of conversation-not-broadcast and process-as-product twigged our interest straightaway! The brief which led to the nascent Scratchr software platform and community started out as a question: how do we take the offline scratch process into online? In other words how can we reimagine and support the outworking of the scratch process using digital technology?

It’s still very early in the life of Scratchr. Like the artistic process, it’s a co-creation with the community of people that is forming there. I like the idea of giving people a broad description ‘it’s a platform for artistic collaboration and idea development’ and letting them work it out in wonderful ways. We do need some guidelines on what features are intended for what purpose. But we don’t want to prescribe exactly how it’s used. One never prescribes to an artist.

Check out the Scratch Blog for a couple of recent highlights. See also: the Digital R&D Fund blog post about Scratchr.

A friend recently asked us if we could have done something similar with Facebook or a pre-existing platform. I would say ‘no’. It would have been very difficult to change people’s perceptions of such a general-purpose platform and also bend the software to our will. That’s why we took the decision to build using WordPress multi-site and BuddyPress. We are not tied as a company to this software other than the fact we like it and know it to be flexible. Still, it has taken a lot of coaxing to have it perform exactly as we want it and it would be rash to say that’s it’s all there even now (the beta test group is testament to this). The decision to take this more difficult route wasn’t about picking up more development work – if we could have picked a platform which allowed us to begin even more rapidly then we would have! But we felt that the requirements of Scratchr were unique. (Thanks go to Marc Heatley for invaluable work with us on this.)

WordPress and BuddyPress are released under the GPL which is a free software licence – in other words, the software gives us freedom to copy it, modify it and use it for any purpose, independently of the software developers. The principles and licence underlying the software itself are also happily in keeping with our aim of being unrestrictive to BAC as a client and to embrace the results of good collaboration around the globe. I mean, it would seem odd to pick proprietary restrictive software for a project that celebrates collaboration, freedom and openness.

If you’ll permit I’m going to offer some half-developed thoughts that have resulted from this project – and grown from previous work we’ve done with theatre and live performance.

Many people would agree that another valid term for free software is ‘open source’. Now, there is something in the way the artists are using Scratchr which could be described as ‘open source theatre’ or ‘open source art’. In other words, they are sharing the process, they are inviting collaboration, they are not as ‘closed’ as theatre and live performance can sometimes be. Maybe some of them wouldn’t mind if you borrowed their ideas and adapted them (but that’s a tentative observation rather than a piece of advice). But I’m still trying to resolve what it means to use the term ‘open source’ in this context.

As I’ve alluded above, the discussion as relates to software is very well advanced. For example there are four specific freedoms associated with the GPL and such licences have allowed for a galaxy of innovation from GNU/Linux to Firefox to Raspberry Pi to cloud computing. In the world of content such as text, video and images there is a parallel in Creative Commons and GFDL licences which enable reuse with conditions – leading to amazing projects like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap.

But software and content are very different from live performance and its various offspring. In the world of theatre and live performance the conventions and rules of play for ‘open source’ are still being worked out. Sure, you could share a script or a planning document under Creative Commons BY-SA and many artists have done. But that doesn’t feel to me as if the potential for widespread collaboration has been fully realised. I appreciate that the original principle behind free software was user freedom but I think that this also changes the culture in the field and in the industry; it changes the way people and companies create.

A hallmark of success could be new forms of work that have never been seen before. We see this happening in other fields. Journalists are grappling with what the internet can do to improve their work to make reporting and analysis more collaborative – and to better serve society (hopefully). Businesses, filmmakers, musicians and other content creators are experimenting with crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter which promise to give us a wider variety of products and innovations.

What then is open source theatre? What would be the Firefox or the Wikipedia of live performance? I’m not necessarily referring to the scale of Wikipedia but to the fact that it’s living proof of newer forms of collaboration. If we believe that such a thing as open source theatre is possible and opens up new opportunities for more people to participate, what would that look like?

Ada Lovelace Day 2012: Dr Kelly Page

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Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in technology. You can read more on the event’s website.

This year I would like to mention someone who is very dear to us at NativeHQ and is well known among web people in Cardiff, where we live and work.

To call Dr Kelly Page an ‘academic’ would be factually correct but wouldn’t give you a full picture of the real value she brings to the projects she works on. She has a keen understanding of technology adoption and the ‘human’ factors and in a field often given to over-exuberance she never gives a simplistic answer. It is always fascinating to discuss with her how technology is really used and how digital media are being changed and in turn changing us, in education, in organisations, in companies, in politics, the arts and so on.

She is a highly versatile thinker who has no problem recasting the original question, category or definition on the basis of what happens along the way. That is a rare attitude. She has been known to remark, in one of her favourite phrases, that there are ‘a lot of learnings’ – a reflection of her curiosity and openness to new insights, however they might be found. She is a great asset to organisations, at least those that are willing to be inspired and learn with her.

Tom and I have benefited hugely from our conversations with Kelly, many of which have fundamentally changed the way we do things. As well as her flawless professionalism as a person she is generous, good at meaningful encouragement and big on laughs.

Although she maintains links to Wales, Kelly and her gigantic brain departed for a life in the USA earlier this year. And although it is a great pity for us as we don’t see her as often anymore, we know she is thriving on the new challenges and we look forward to future discussions – on whichever shore they may be.