“We’re living under this delusion that we’re BROADENING our experiences because we’re connecting to such large groups of people. More of the same thinking isn’t exactly a recipe for learning.”
“to help coders â€œbuild data services that can be used to present richer, more useful search results.” Hmmm. could be interesting. I’d love to see some news sites monkey with this…
|Brymo, via Flickr (CC license)|
|Talk is a good start, and it need not be cheap, but by itself it generally doesn’t get much done.|
Earlier today Nokia’s Charlie Schick posted a thoughtful comment about how Nokia and its current and would-be customers might, through talking openly together, improve the situation in the high-end US phone market. (Also, Nokia director of corporate communications Mark Squires also just left a comment on this theme.)
Here’s my response to the excellent points Charlie raised…
Excellent post about ferreting out one’s own tendency to only associate with or listen to people who are just like you. Vive le difference! I’m going to conduct a similar self-audit — and it won’t be pretty…
“Among people who research products and services after seeing them advertised in newspapers, two-thirds (67%) use the Internet to find more information. Of that group, nearly 70% of consumers actually make a purchase following their additional research.”
News research project to: “Look into whether the information needs of 21st century American citizens and communities are being met and make recommendations for public policy and private initiatives that will help better meet community information needs.”
“FCC Chair Kevin Martin said the FCC is still investigating pending complaints, but left little doubt that he would favor some sort of action against Comcast, if the company violated the FCC’s 2005 net neutrality principles.”
“Newspapers should use the net to execute a Google-like, open-source-inspired, conversational approach to journalism, while remaking print around focus, quality, depth and thought-provoking discovery.”
“Interesting discussion about improving Environmental News Online (ENO) as a brand, and improving its community. This is due to the fact that the level of content on the site is steadily declining – something which we need to address.”
Lessons from a trip to Israel: “A) People from all over the world talk online 24/7 B) Thus forming strong ties and virtual communities. C) Twitter is a key tool supporting a & b, but blogs, friendfeed, IM, skype, email, and flickr all contribute as well.”
|Nokia’s Conversations blog is getting interesting now that it’s not all just happy talk.|
Recently Nokia launched its Conversations blog, a good first step any company can take toward transparency and engagement with its customers, partners, and critics. Not surprisingly, most of the initial posts were “happy news” of one kind or another. I don’t begrudge them that — almost any company is doing some good things worth discussing.
But the real proof of how serious a company is about embracing public conversation is whether it’s willing to openly discuss thorny problems. Today Nokia’s blog took a first step in this direction with this post: When things go wrong with updating your device software.
There, Nokia staffer Charlie Schick picked up on the discussion that’s been happening here on Contentious.com, and on other blogs (like Beth Kanter’s and Jenifer Hanen’s), and via social media like Twitter concerning the myriad obstacles encountered by current and would-be US users of Nokia’s high-end N-Series phones. He focused on the firmware update problem I and other US users have encountered and mentioned Nokia’s support forums — which can indeed be a useful resource for solving some problems with Nokia devices.
Schick’s blog post is a good start. But I found his comment today on my blog even more to the point.
…All in all, I think this is a promising start to the public conversation. Of course, so far it’s all “just talk” — but real progress comes from action. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of action Nokia and its US market can muster together.
I left a couple of comments on Nokia’s blog — which will probably be approved for publication to the blog after people get to work in Finland. So in the meantime, here’s what I commented…
|Nokia Director of Corporate Communications Mark Squires (seen here in a recent MobileJones interview) has joined our conversation about Nokia’s US service problems.|
This morning I was encouraged to see that yet another Nokia staffer, Mark Squires (Nokia’s Director of Corporate Communications) left a comment on my blog. He wrote:
“Hi Amy, I work with Charlie at Nokia and have just tracked to your posts. First up sorry that one of our phones has rolled over on you and thank you for your input/thoughts/patience. Charlie and I are based outside of the US but I’ve written to my colleagues who are local to you and brought this matter to their attention. Lets see what can be done, in the mean time feel free to get in tough directly. Mark”
Thanks for joining this conversation Mark. Rather than taking this to private correspondence, I think it’s more beneficial to keep our exchanges on this public, since it affects Nokia’s entire potential US market for your N Series phones. This isn’t just about my personal experience.
You wrote: “Sorry that one of our phones has rolled over on you.”
…Actually, as I explained in my most recent post on this theme, my N95 phone (the device) was NOT the problem in my case. As I’ve expressed several times: the phone itself was great, I loved it. And I do understand that a firmware update to any high-tech device always represents a slight a risk of malfunction.
The main problem was Nokia’s inadequate service for high-end US customers like me.
I’m sorry to harp on the service quality vs. product quality issue, but it’s very important that you and your company understand this distinction. So far, I’m not sure Nokia really gets it. But this key concern could easily make or break Nokia’s attempt to make serious headway in the US high-end cell phone market. I’m continuing to speak up about this because I really do want Nokia to succeed in the US….
“Nokia needs Authorized Repair Centers that will take Nokia devices from all over the world & repair them, be it under warranty or for charge. Dell & Apple do it, Nokia needs to join the party.”
|I was so happy and excited to get my N95 (see video). I could be this happy again, if only Nokia would get its US service and support act together.|
“These are the nightmares that we never want to happen.
“I remember in the days before we allowed users to do their firmware updates, this was one of the worries that could have killed the whole process.
“I think what makes it hard for us is all the disintermediation – the, sometimes small but crucial, gap between us and you.
“And what concerns me is that we know when it happens to folks like you who write about it. Yet, that leads us to a one-time fix.
“How can we spread a policy or procedure down the line that helps anyone with this issue (and without costing the company or you an bundle)?
“I donâ€™t know, and any more speculation on my part might be irresponsible.
“For sure, the more folks who bring this up, the more likely the company will come with a plan that can deal with this in a way we are both happy with.”
Here is my response — which I hope will lead to further constructive conversation and perhaps better options for current and would-be US users of high-end Nokia products…
Excellent interview with the founder of Global Voices Online and its current editor — a project I continue to find increasingly compelling as it goes on. Favorite quote: “Homophily makes you stupid.”
What’s homophily? “the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others.”
“Communication is more effective when source and receiver are homopilous.” Actually, I think that’s not always true, because it can reinforce biases and create tunnel vision.
Trying to figure out if there’s some way I can bring myself to risk getting another Nokia N95. I really want one, but if it bricks again I can get royally screwed.
“Seeking to make money from mistyped website names, some of the United States’ largest ISPs instead created a massive security hole that allowed hackers to use web addresses owned by eBay, PayPal, Google and Yahoo, and virtually any other large site.”
“Newspapers are really good at institutionalizing serendipity. Whatâ€™s interesting is that online versions do not seem to be promoting serendipity.”
“Near infinity of people unlike you creating content. But you may never encounter it if you donâ€™t actively look for itâ€¦ or unless the systems you use to find ideas start forcing you outside your usual orbits. Donâ€™t fear serendipity.”
â€œReinstitutionalize Serendipityâ€. By this, Dan Gillmor refers to the story in the lower right hand side of the page – the story about something youâ€™ve never heard of but end up reading because some editor thought you should know about it.”
Check it out! A blog/social media aggregator for Africa!
George Frink on the DNS redirect problem: “My encounters with the live process in the wild taught me that it’s not a tame technology, and can be quite aggressive.– more aggressive than it is probably intended to be.”
“do not, DO NOT, whatever you do, think you can run Nokia’s Updater from the Windows install of Parallels on your MacBook Pro. JUST SAY NO. I have a lovely little N80 brick that no amount of the Kings Men or repair people will put back together again…”
Hmmm…. maybe I could go with a Nokia N82 instead…..
|Gdugardier, via YouTube|
|Charlie Schick, the guy from Nokia USA who just reached out to me about my N95 nightmare.|
This morning, I was pleased and relieved to see that a representative of Nokia USA, Charlie Schick, left a constructive comment on my most recent post about my recent N95 fiasco. I’m glad to see that at least someone in that company is savvy about talking over problems and finding solutions through public conversation.
Actually, I’d heard of Charlie just yesterday, before he left that comment. According to Mobile Jones, he’s Nokia’s “social media expert” who ran the company’s blogger outreach program. Also, blogger and N95 user Jenifer Hanen mentioned him in her comments yesterday.
Coincidentally, sometime today Nokia is going to launch a new blog, Nokia Conversations (that link isn’t live just yet, keep trying). Mobile Jones reported that this blog will “highlight the developments inside the worldâ€™s largest device manufacturer, and new entrant into mobile content and services that the 60,000 employee company represents. Some of those 60K employees are also introduced along with their accomplishments and new products. Comments are welcomed.”
In this interview, Nokia’s head of social media, Mark Squires (I gather he’s Charlie’s boss), told Mobile Jones that “The idea is to give people who use our products a route straight in to us to talk to us. …A lot of the time we’re selling products to people via up to six [intermediaries], and this way if they don’t like the product, they can tell us. …For me, commenting is the main thing.”
I’m crafting a separate post to respond to Charlie/Nokia USA. It’ll be posted shortly. But I did want to acknowledge that I appreciate being engaged publicly and constructively. I’m skeptical about whether it’ll make any real difference, but it’s a better approach to communication and service than what I’ve experienced thus far from Nokia. Thanks.
…By the way, here’s Charlie’s blog.
|OpenDemocracy, via Flickr (CC license)|
|What might this Malian girl and I have in common, and what might we learn from each other? How could we know if we can’t really connect?|
This morning I listened to an excellent Radio Open Source interview. Host Christopher Lydon was talking to Global Voices Online founder Ethan Zuckerman and GVO managing editor Solana Larsen. I’m a huge fan of GVO and read it regularly — mainly since I enjoy hearing from people in parts of the world I generally don’t hear much about (or from) otherwise.
One of the most interesting parts of the discussion concerned how homophily shapes our individual and collective view of the world. Homophily is a fancy word for the human equivalent of “birds of a feather flock together.” That is, our tendency to associate and bond with people we have stuff in common with — language, culture, race, class, work, interests, life circumstances, etc.
Zuckerman made a profound point: Homophily makes you stupid. Which is another way of saying something my dad told me a long, long time ago:
“You’ll never learn anything if you only talk to people who already think just like you.”
Here’s what Zuckerman actually told Lydon about how homophily makes it hard for people from around the world to relate constructively…