A technology-oriented economic development association is using social networking technologies to reach out to its members and showcase how they could use the tools in their own organizations.
The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) on Wednesday launched OCRIRadio.com, which will feature a series of monthly podcasts about IT as well as guest blogs written by a variety of business, education and research professionals. The content will be available through Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. All of these technologies, which use the Internet to communicate and collaborate in novel ways, are being described by some industry observers as “Web 2.0” applications. The first podcast includes an interview with NexInnovation’s John Kelly and a discussion on the venture capital scene with Andrew Waitman of Celtic House.
OCRI president Jeffrey Dale, who co-hosts the podcasts, said the media being used through OCRIRadio are intended to deliver a message to Canadian firms who have been slow to adopt Web 2.0 applications.
“We look at this as an experiment, a lab that they can judge how to implement Web 2.0,” he said. “We work with a lot of companies that export product, either direct, through channels or partnerships. Web 2.0 technologies offer a way to get out to that customer base and to end-user customers, even if you work though the channel.”
Dale said he hopes OCRIRadio will provide a more dynamic way to interact with the approximately 615 corporate members on whose behalf it conducts a variety of business development activities. Instead of sending out notices via e-mail, for example, they might sign up for an RSS feed. Guest blogs, meanwhile, will provide a forum where members can debates the pros and cons of Ottawa’s bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“A lot of times people won’t tell you something if they need to send it in an e-mail,” he said.
OCRIRadio is being developed in partnershp with Market2World, which describes itself as a social media agency specializing in Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and podcasts. Nathan Rudyk, the firm’s president, said OCRIRadio would be an “entrepreneurial mosh pit” where users would be given access to the Web 2.0 vehicles that suit them best.
“Passionate and hyper-literate people like to blog, and busy telephone-based executives like to talk,” he said. “To ask senior executives for an 800-word blog entry, you’re going to start to deal through PR departments and usually end up with something so sanitized it’s not very useful.” Ask the same CEO for a 15-minute phone conversation, on the other hand, and Rudyk said it’s possible to get much more genuine information.
Dale noted the rise of companies, including Microsoft, IBM and Google, that encourage employee blogging, and said he hopes OCRIRadio could inspire product managers who want to send updates about their products via RSS, or to create dialogues with customers through podcasting.
“People are zealots about this stuff. The ones who get it, get it big,” he said.