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Now We Are Talking Telstra


On November 5th, I wrote in Sydney Morning Herald’s Razor blog:
Wiki collaborative efforts work beautifully. Telstra may indeed have plenty of smarties but even smart people get in a rut, going round and round and round. They may find that more viewpoints and input equals greater creativity of solutions. And if the “smarties” really had everything under control, they wouldn’t be facing the situation they have today, no? A wiki intiative wouldn’t hurt and might actually help, at least people would feel they had a say. If Sol can raise customer satisfaction with something as simple as forums or a wiki, why not do it?

Gotta say, I didn’t expect them to listen. Now We Are Talking is Telstra’s newest initiative into online communities.
We want to hear what you think. We’ll publish different views so everyone can join in the discussion.

Yahoo! has an interesting article.
A new Web site designed by Telstra to promote its views direct to the community has become the latest battlefield for telecommunications regulation and competition.
Havyatt told ZDNet Australia that Telstra’s new Web site was a positive move but didn’t go far enough.
While giving the carrier credit for making available forums that allow people to make unfavourable postings, Hayvatt said the site would “probably not” provide a good platform for debate over telecommunications regulation.
“The issue is that there are clearly lots of people who have just got an opinion based on personal experience or personal predilection… There’s not really the methodology or space in this for reasoned debate,” said Hayvatt.

A couple of things here. Simply, build your community first. In this case, Telstra is allowing everyone to let off steam. As a marketing exercise its the right thing to do. Later, most online communities look for Leaders or HyperUsers or whatever you want to call them – after a while, Telstra will find a few of these “stars” in their forums, and promote them to moderators or community leaders. Further along the track, if they are smart, they will invite them into industry discussions; most large successful online communities have these gurus that are respected (or at least, well known!), knowledgeable, committed, fanatical, evangelists and use them, often unpaid, as advisors and archetypal consumers. The community feels a sense of ownership with “their” speakers as it was community debate and dialogue that gave them the evangelist their voice; and the company (Telstra), has provided a platform to create this speaker that is acceptable to the desired demographic.

Win-win.

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Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

6 thoughts on “Now We Are Talking Telstra

  1. Interesting…I am curious to see how Telstra will be promoting this site and how it develops. Any chance of scoring an interview with a Telstra webmaster for follow ups in say 6 months time? What would be the criteria of success for this site?

  2. Just wondering if you’d be interested in bloging / podcasting about Matrixstream’s cutting edge video on demand and IPTV Technology ( TV over broadband ). This is a technology that allows the consumer to receive a potential for unlimited VOD / IPTV content up to 1080P in H.264 codec over any broadband connection on a PC Player or set top box for TV ( IMX1020 1080P High definition STB – the world’s first 1080P H.264 STB ) If you’d like to see pictures and video’s of the this new STB you can go to www.matrixstream.com/presskit . Let us know if your interested.

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  3. Well, Aaron, this blog is about Online Communities. So far, the TV technologists have been slow to offer community via television. Although a simple vote on Big Brother or Idol can take place via the TV remote, the real community features (so far) are via a webpage/net device. I see that changing, but no great strides just yet.

    But thankyou for asking! 🙂

  4. Laurel

    Interesting view – but having had another four months of usage appear on Now We Are Talking I haven’t seen the site develop as you proposed.

    And I do take Dr Burgess seriously in claiming the site was designed to promote debate – not to be a place to build customer loyalty. A customer loyalty (and advocacy) site would be somewhat different and certainly more inclusive and would indeed have the possibility of finding “community leaders”. Instead they’ve resorted to churning their bloggers.

  5. Hi David.
    Although I prefer the open forums of php.bb style than a collection of blogs, I understand why they did it that way (easiest to control discussion topics and moderate answers). I had a quick look at the (http://www.nowwearetalking.com.au/Home/PageForum.aspx?mid=205) What do you think is the best way to bring affordable broadband to all Australians? blog and it had some interesting comments on it, amongst the “I only live 15km from an Xchange” whinges. I’ll give Telstra more time – its easy for us to see where “dialogue with your customer” thing is going, but not everyone is as visionary! Telstra will catch up, eventually. 😉

    Having said that, it is tempting for Telcos to leave the discussion to a 3rd party. http://bbs.adslguide.org.uk/ is a great site. I used it a lot in the UK. A similar one here is http://www.whirlpool.net.au/ Whirlpool – Optus, Telstra et al should be paying someone to keep an eye on those forums, and respond as required. Not undercover. Unwired should be paying someone danger money to read and respond. Heh.

  6. Laurel

    I can promise you there are people monitoring the Whirlpool sites – and as much snide underhand negative comments being lobbed about competitors as there is defence – but the defence is anonymous.

    One of the probs with NWAT is that it has been designed more as a shareholder political lobby attempt than a consumer attempt. We are somewhat more interested at AAPT of developing a customer community of our own – might even call you about it.

    David

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