Tuesday Jun 12, 2012

Tweeting about Oracle Applications Usability: Points to Consider

Here are a few pointers to anyone interested in tweeting about Oracle Applications usability or user experience (UX). These are based on my own experiences and practice, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle, of course (touché, see the footer).


  • If you are an Oracle employee and tweet about our offerings, then read up and follow the corporate social media policy. For the record, I tweet under the following account names: @ultan, @localization, @gamifyOracle, and @usableapps. The last two are supposedly Oracle subject-dedicated, but I do mix it up on occassion.

  • Complete the Twitter account profile, and add a profile picture too. Disclose your interest. Don’t leave either the profile or image blank if you want to be taken seriously (or followed by me).

  • Don’t tweet from a locked down ("protected") Twitter account, as your messages cannot be circulated to anyone who doesn't follow you. Open up the account to all if you really want to get that UX message out.

  • Stay on message. The usable apps website, Misha Vaughan's VoX blog, and the Oracle Applications blog are good sources of UX messages and information, but you can find many other product team, individual, and corporate-wide sources with a little bit of searching. Set up a Google Alert with likely keywords and obtain a daily digest of new information right in your inbox.

  • Add your own insight and wit to the message, were relevant. Just circulating and RTing stock headlines adds no value to your effort or to the reader, and is somewhat lazy, in my opinion. That said, don't steal other people's insight and links either. Attribute where appropriate.

  • Leave room for RTing of your tweet. So, don’t max out those 140 characters. Keep it under 130 if you want to be RTed without modification (or at all-I am not a fan of modifying tweets [MT], way too much effort for the medium). Use URL shorteners, remove articles and punctuation marks and use fragments, abbreviations, and so on at will to keep the tweet short enough, but leave keywords intact, as people search on those.

  • Follow any Fusion UX Advocates who are on Twitter too (you can search for these names), and not just Oracle employees. Don't just follow the people you like or think like you, or those who you think like you or are like-minded. Take a look at who is following or being followed by whom and er, follow up.

  • Create and socialize others to use an easily remembered or typed hashtag, or use what’s already popularized (for an event or conference, for example). We used #gamifyOracle for the Applications UX gamification design jam, and other popular applications UX ones are #fusionapps and #usableapps (or at least I’m trying to popularize it). But, before you start the messaging, if you want to keep a record of the hashtag traffic and analyze it, then set it up with an archiving service. Twitter’s own tweet lifespan is short.

  • Don't confuse hashtags (#) with Twitter handles (@) that have the same name. Sending a tweet to @gamifyOracle will just be seen by @gamifyOracle (me) and any followers we have in common. Sending it to #gamifyOracle is seen by anyone following or searching for that hashtag.

  • No dissing the competition. But there is no rule about not following them on Twitter to see the market reactions to Oracle announcements enabling you to tailor your own message accordingly.

  • Don’t be boring. Mix it up a bit. Every 10th or so tweet, divert into other areas of interest, personal ones, even. No constant “Thank you Joe Schmoe for giving me +K for this, that, and the other” or “I just ousted Mr X as Mayor of on foursquare" pouring into the Twitterstream, please. I just don’t care and will probably unfollow pretty quickly.

And now, your Twitter tips and experiences with this subject? Them go in the comments...

Sunday Nov 14, 2010

Oracle's Rich Community Conversations

Been doing a lot of research into the community help and support area lately. Of course, we should remember Oracle already has powerful community resources to hand, contributing a very rich and lively conversation with valuable how-to information and examples to try.

For example, there are the My Oracle Support Community and Oracle Technology Network (OTN) forums, the Sun communities,  official wiki, and internal and external blogs from employees like David Haimes, as well as enthusiastic non-employee gurus like Chet Justice (OracleNerd), and friends, Floyd Teter, Eddie Awad (check out Eddie's news aggregator for more names), and so on.

davidhaimes.png

David Haimes's Financials Blog

oraclenerd.png

OracleNerd Blog  

There are lots of other Oracle voices other there too: the user groups, Oracle Mix,and so on. The best place to get started, in my opinion, is the AppsLab. I usually track all this stuff through Twitter. I'll come up a list of the best tweeters soon!

A Conversational Style

I've been reading a superb paper called "Engaging Diverse Audiences With Screencasts, Wikis, and Blogs", written by Gail Chappell and Cindy Church of Oracle. While they were with Sun Microsystems, Gail and Cindy presented the paper at the 2008 STC Summit:.

The paper is rich in ideas for anyone interested in the community user assistance model--I'll return to that subject later--but their thoughts on adopting a conversational style really struck home:  

For the blog and the wiki, however, the writing was less formal and more folksy--we used our own writing style and own voices. We did not strictly follow the editorial style guidelines, nor did we pass the wiki or blog content to an editor. However, we did adhere to our company's branding requirements and blog guidelines.  

The blog was a good place for us to use a conversational style, as we frequently engaged in conversations with our readers. In fact, we were on a first-name basis with many who regularly read the blog. We also used the more conversational style when responding to customers who used the feedback mechanism in our tutorials and screencasts.

JavaFX Blog article on animations

Complete common sense. A conversational writing style that talks with users rather than at them or to them. We'd do well to follow this user-centred design approach to language in all of our blog and wiki efforts. And, what better way to change the antideluvian "say Web site, not website" mentality than harnessing the voice of the community too.

If you can get your hands on Cindy and Gail's paper and presentation through your local STC chapter (and internal Oracle employees should be able to get a later update too), I think you'll find it's well worth reading.

About

Oracle applications user experience (UX) assistance. UX and development outreach of all sorts to the apps community, helping to design and deliver usable apps.

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Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @ultan

See my other Oracle blog about product globalization too: Not Lost in Translation

Interests: User experience (UX), user centered design, design patterns, tailoring, BYOD, dev relations, language quality, mobile apps, Oracle FMW and ADF, and a lot more.

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