Three new useful Google Chrome extensions

A couple of months ago I started writing posts on the latest Google Chrome extensions I am using in the Chrome browser. Today I want to present you three new Google extensions I found very useful over the past months.

Buffer – Useful Twitter tool for tweets throughout the day: With Buffer you can add a lot of tweets into your queue of Buffered Tweets, without flooding your followers. I find it really useful throughout the day to either tweet the interesting article right away or put it in my “buffer”, ie. to tweet this at a specific time. I would encourage you to try it out. Really useful. I first saw this used by @davidcoethica, thanks David.

SEO Site Tools – All you need, to know what your and other websites are up to: I am a website geek. This is when this extension is very useful. The little gadget gives me all the metrics and numbers I need in order to see how my site is doing and what SEO metrics other sites have. It also includes some social media reactions.

Clearly – Read the articles without the noise: I am reading a lot of articles each day. This extension is a great helper in making sure I am focusing on the article the best way possible without beng distracted. Clearly makes blog posts, articles and webpages clean and easy to read, as simple as that. Once you have tried you do not want to miss it.

The Social Responsibility of MMORPG game companies

Online role playing games have also evolved into so-called MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) games these days. Over the past weeks I had the chance to talk to people playing and producing MMORPG games and realised that there is an interesting CSR angle to these kind of games.

MMORPG games such as World of Warcraft, Star Wars TOR  obviously are a lot of fun to play but they also enable its players to develop their social skills as well. Social skills such as working together in your team, called your “clan”, in order to reach a certain goal is just one example of how players are indirectly developing skills within these games. These games have some many interesting social facets these days. Truly amazing.

And this is just the beginning. MMORPG games will become a lot more complex and more popular over the next years. This is why companies producing these games will have an ever-increasing social responsibility towards their customer, the gamer. This social responsibility in my view is massively undervalued at the moment. In a way this industry is in a similar situation to the lottery industry and its discussion about responsible gaming  years ago.

Take the time to watch this video from TED below by Jane McGonigal called “Gaming can make a better world”. For me this talk opened up a whole new way of thinking about the potential of the MMORPG games.

CSR in Germany – 2012 Update

I am German and I now also live in Germany having moved from the UK back to my home country. CSR in Germany generally therefore is and has always been important to me. Having lived abroad for nearly half of my life I am also very critical of what the German CSR field has to offer, especially when we talk about current CSR best practice.

This is not the first post on CSR in Germany. These are the links to posts dating back to 2008 and 2009.

Overall situation of CSR in Germany in 2012
Germany in terms of CSR has a lot to offer but for some reason best practice over the past 2 years has not really evolved. There are some exceptions to the rule of course as the below mentioned CSR best practice examples show. But generally I can not see a huge difference to the overall best practice and CSR direction of German organisations now in comparison to 2 years ago. Why this is the case I am not sure. It might be the economic downturn or the lethargy of global business to step up a gear in CSR best practice. There are many possible reasons and I am sure all of the CSR practicing organisations will have a good reason for what they do in CSR. I believe we will see a lot of positive change in German business but lets just hope some of it will also be in the CSR field.

Here are my top current CSR best practice examples and further CSR in Germany resources you might find of interest.

CSR in Germany best practice examples

  • Puma: Puma and their very innovative Environmental Profit & Loss Account (E P&L). This is the future in this business sector in my view. Excellent best practice.
  • Siemens: A lot of data and information shows that they are serious about learning from past CSR problems. Transparency is the key here for Siemens. Siemens on Sustainability
  • BASF: The information approach to CSR. BASF, similar to Siemens, is taking the proactive approach in providing a lot of information and resources. If you have the time as a stakeholder to dig through their information resource that is. BASF on Sustainability

CSR in Germany resources

  • CSR in Germany initiative led by the German government – This overall CSR initiave is a step in the right direction but has not really established any thought leadership within the German business community in my view. There is a lot to be done and not much to be shown for so far.
  • German Council for Sustainable Development – The purpose of the council is to “support Germany on its way towards sustainability, to promote sustainability as an issue for public discussion, to support the German government in all matters of sustainability”. A very bold statement indeed. Has it achieved much? Hmmm, very sketchy I must admit.
  • CSR Germany (PDF) –  The CSR Internet portal of Germany’s four leading business organisations. This is an OK website for CSR information but the issue I have with this organisation is that it is lead by trade organisations and not an NGO.
  • UPJ – German national network of engaged businesses and local non-profit intermediary organizations. UPJ have some good initiatives is one of the few organisations with useful global partnerships
  • CSR News list of German CSR businesses – This is a good list of companies active or doing business in the CSR field in Germany. CSR News is also based in Germany and run by some really engaged founders.

Keep it simple and direct when promoting CSR / Sustainability

When successfully communicating and promoting a certain product or cause, I learnt over the years that you need to keep it simple. Not overly simple but simple enough to let your audience know what you want to tell at a moments notice and with a tone they understand. This simplicity but also directness is not something you can learn quickly but only by continuous, honest and substantiated stakeholder engagement. This is the link to a stakeholder engagement series I wrote several months ago: A structured stakeholder engagement approach.

I believe that this kind of simplicity & directness is essential when we look at promoting CSR / Sustainability. Anything else will not work. It might work in the short term but long term engagement needs to include a different tactic.

Companies and related to CSR / Sustainability communications work I like at the moment:

What other good communication & promotion examples have you come across lately?

Picture Credit: Wesley Fryer

Is Facebook mutating into a money-making machine?

I just heard about the upcoming Facebook IPO via mashable and needed to write a quick post about it as I feel that this development has a significant CSR angle to it.

The CSR angle of the Facebook IPO

The big problem I see is that Facebook is getting to powerful and influential due to its extreme high valuation ($15 billion USD+) and the consequential interest of global investors that are after one thing only: Making lots of money.

Facebook’s purpose in my view, is to provide us with a platform to connect with our friends and family. And to me it seems that an IPO will in a way sell our personal information and relationships to the shareholders of Facebook. And this is not right. It is actually very wrong.

As a responsible business Facebook should focus on providing us with the best possible personal global social networking site and not mutate into a global money-making machine out to let us pay for premium features or inundating us with the latest PR exercise of a global car manufacturer for example.

I really like Facebook don’t get me wrong but if Facebook will mutuate into this money-making machine once it is a publicly-listed company, then I am surely leaving it for good as I do not want to be part of this website anyone.

This is my view on this. What is yours?