My little interpretation of a time honored Christmas poem. Enjoy the Holidays everyone!
Earlier today KLM, the biggest flight operator at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam experienced problems after a software update. It caused their site, booking systems and other operations to fail and caused lots of delays and disruption at their main hub, Schiphol Airport.
I’m not flying today but noticed it because of an article on a Dutch news site. Now in general I wouldn’t really have paid much attention especially as I read the article several hours after it had been posted and the disruption had already been cleared and services resumed by then, but one line intrigued me: [translated from Dutch]
Now a major international company taking their online reputation and social customer service serious during a major services outage isn’t new but to specifically offer operational help (like booking or check in) through a Facebook or Twitter account is not something you see often. The reason being that in order to do that on a large scale you need a totally different skill set then for simply answering a customer service question or responding to remarks or complaints. Traditionally most companies still see the role of a social media department mostly as a communications / marketing endeavor and hire their social media staff accordingly. Thereby limiting the reach of their social channels.
From experience learned during the 2010 Iceland volcano eruption that caused worldwide mayhem in the aviation industry and a major boost in social Media use, KLM instead chose to create a Social Media department with people from all sides of its operations: “… a dedicated team creates synergy by sharing their expertise from a varied background including communications, e-commerce, customer care, ticketing, marketing, operations and cabin crew” [source]. Thereby making it possible to quickly and autonomously react to possible problems and easily involve other departments (volunteers) when needed.
And that meant that when their own IT services went down today they could immediately react and go beyond the normal realm of social media customer service and offer services that would otherwise not have been available.
They described their social media strategy and the process of how that came to be in this 4 part blog series. I can certainly recommend reading it as it is a really good (and entertaining!) read for all those interested in how big corporations tackle the ever expanding social media tidal wave that is hitting them.
Paving the way for others, KLM is certainly among those facing it head-on.
A while ago I wrote a blog post about a twitter meme that was going on where people were tweeting funny things IBM’ers had said with the hashtag #stuffIBMerssay. It became hot real fast and got over 3000 tweets and retweets before it died out after about a week. In my post I did that first day when it all started I stated “ps. Seeing a perfect opportunity here for IBM to use it’s new Analytic tools to analyze this social phenomena!” and well, it seems they have.
I knew they were working on it but hadn’t seen anything made public about it yet until I saw a blog yesterday from Keith Brooks with a link to the research report IBM did on this, the official research page for the meme and an interview with the researcher. It’s really interesting to read and I can see how analyzing this kind of social meme’s can help understand sentiment and feelings within organizations as well as how the rest of the world perceives an organization.
But what this impromptu phenomenon and IBM’s response to it showed best to me is that IBM really is striving to be a truly social organization. Being a social organization isn’t just about providing the tooling and ‘talking the lingo’, it is about recognizing and empowering the individuals within the organizational eco-system so that they can leverage their strengths to get the organization to a next level. That also implies allowing yourself to be viewed through the eyes of those individuals both for the good as well as for the bad and both on the inside (employees) as well as on the outside (partners, customers, contractors, etc). A daunting thing to do, especially when it happens unexpected, unplanned and uncontrolled, which is exactly what happened here. The fact that over 75% of the people who participated were from within the IBM organization itself and that they felt save to tweet about this and inject a lot of humor and banter without feeling they were harming the IBM organization or their own career shows a remarkable openness and engagement. I think that is exactly why this whole thing grabbed me the way it did back then…. and still does!
Nicely said but the real proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say and for me that proof was that seven months on, the two people who unleashed it all, and whom I’ve been closely following ever since, still proudly list “Working @IBM” in their Twitter profile 🙂
Especially had to smile while reading this:
“Second, the qualitative analysis suggested that contributors to the #stuffibmerssay thread were also able to poke fun at the bureaucratic nature of a large global enterprise. We termed this “the Dilbert effect” where tweets served as satirical observations of how the processes within a large organization could be bewildering.”
So fitting with one of the tweets I quoted back then!
@FlemChrist: I swear that guy writing the Dilbert cartoon works here. #stuffibmerssay
As most of you know, there haven’t been many Redbooks published for the last few years for the Collaboration software of IBM as documentation has moved more into Wiki’s. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities to be become a Redbooks author. One of them is to join a Redbooks Thought Leader Residency. Those do not produce a Redbook but aim to produce series of blogs on specific topics. Some of which will eventually be combined into an actual Redbook.
I was really excited to be on one of those residencies (the first one for ‘Social media and Social Business’) last December and have been writing for the IBM Social Business Insights blog since then. A great experience as it gives you access to information and opportunities you would otherwise not have.
So why am I writing all this? Well because there is room for more bloggers on the team and there is going to be a second residency in August! So if you feel you have something to say about ‘Social’ and aren’t afraid to voice an opinion then don’t hesitate and apply. From experience I can say it’s worth it!
Got a Memolane reminder of tweets from a year back this morning and noticed this one:
I can’t believe it’s a year already! And more importantly I can’t believe how important it has become since then.
I use my iPad more then any other device, and take it everywhere. It allows me to quickly read my mail, check things online, write blogs, read books, relax by playing games (Mahjong & Wordfeud, I’m no hardcore gamer), Skype with my friends and check my social streams. But it does more. It allows me to follow my favorite podcasts, serves as a wakeup alarm, keeps my groceries list, tells me what weather to expect and allows me to take snapshots of quirky situations I get myself in (and post them!).
It has literally penetrated every inch of my life.
I can’t do without but at the same time it is also causing me to spend way more time ‘connected’ then I ever was. Don’t get me wrong, I love being connected but I also love unwinding and right now I’m thinking I don’t get enough of that.
So when the iPad3 (or ‘New iPad’) came out I stood in dubio. Should I or should I not… Apart from the better screen & camera it had more or less all functionalities my old iPad had… Eventually I decided not and used the money I had set aside to buy a fantastic new camera. An old fashioned one as in: ‘it doesn’t come with an internet attachment’, and I love it. It allows me to look at the world differently, not just from the perspective of ‘this would make a funny Instagram picture!’ but as in ‘wow, what a beautiful composition’.
So will I never go for the iPad 3? Oh I will probably. I know myself and as soon as I see a valid reason for it (like my battery life expectancy going down lately) I will most likely upgrade. It is my favorite piece of equipment as I said and I can’t do without but just a better camera or a retina screen is not enough to win me over right now. Especially as the quality of pictures I can take with my new camera is so much better.
But most importantly because it’s time I spend a bit more time offline…
Ok, this one just rubbed me the wrong way.
Yesterday I followed a heated twitter discussion between @MatNewman and @APACloud (Andy Pattinson – ProQuest) on Lotus Notes vs Google Mail.
I’m always interested to learn what makes/breaks the products I work with so I followed the twitter exchange although I must say it all got rather direct… (nasty?)
What I mostly got from it was that it wasn’t a real discussion. Mat, asking (in his own unique enthusiastic way) for substantiation on some statements about Lotus Notes vs Google mail was replied with statements in which he was called a lunatic and on crack.
Regardless of the form, I think it’s always important to keep the focus on the topic, not on the person.
So, although I must admit I was a bit annoyed by the unwarranted insults (even if meant in a jokingly way), I couldn’t help but wonder whether @APACloud actually had anything to say on the topic (Google Mail vs Lotus Notes) or was just trying to get out of a discussion he wasn’t up for but doing it the wrong way (getting a bit childish instead of admitting he had just made a rash statement he was not about ready to have a debate on).
And to test that I asked him to elaborate a bit on his claims about Gmail being so much better then Lotus Notes. Something that was asked by @MatNewman as well but just didn’t seem to be getting an answer.
Now at this point I kind of got that he really wasn’t up for it and I was about ready to leave it at that when he replied my tweet saying (something like) “Perhaps we could do a call on this, would love to elaborate”. Surprised I accepted.
I was genuinely up for it as I love to get the perspective of someone else. I only have limited experience with Google Mail so having a chance to talk to, and get the perspective of, someone who claims having used both professionally, as well as knows something about Salesforce (a topic I’m also interested in) was something I wouldn’t pass.
Notice how I included every tweet form our little exchange except that one in which he invites me for a call?
Well guess what, this morning, reading back the exchange (yes I do that sometimes) I noticed he had actually deleted that particular tweet. Apparently it was just a way to get out of the discussion and to shush me up. So I expect no call on this and to be honest after this, I’m not even up for it either.
Next time, be a man and just say you’re not up for the discussion.
I recently started writing for the IBM Insights blog http://ibm.com/blogs/socialbusiness. As part of a team of Redbook Residency bloggers. The aim is to write about anything having to do with Social Business or Social Media. To keep track and a personal log of it all I will repost the blogs I write for the Insights blog on my personal blog as well.
Original Publication: https://www-304.ibm.com/connections/blogs/socialbusiness/entry/food_for_thought_the_new_player_on_stage1?lang=en_us
Original publication date: February 22 2012
Food For Thought: The New Player on Stage
The fear of the unknown and a loss of control is what is holding back many companies in really addressing this. But with millions of people joining social networks each day, it’s a force that can’t be ignored. And even though the company might not be so far, the people often are, branching out on public networks and forging connections to co-workers, customers, friends as well as competitors, building their own audience as they go. It is time to catch up and start talking. Because if there is one thing social media has made clear, it is that individuals love to be part of a social team/network….So isn’t it about time you define your stage team and make them a part of that?Watch the Lotusphere 2012 OGS. Registration required.
It was just announced that the popular social photo network Instagram was bought by Facebook…
Wow! With that Facebook is doing yet another major buy in social Media land. I can’t say I’m happy with that. Yes I Facebook and yes I like it but what I like most about social media is that it allows me to pick my networks and contacts for each of the situations I operate in. My contacts on Twitter aren’t necessarily the same as on Instagram or on Facebook or on LinkedIn or on Google+ and neither is the content I share across those channels. I’d like to keep it like that. Different situations warrant different posts.
So when two of my favorite social networks merge….. Yeah, I don’t like it.
I think Facebook got that message too as Mark Zuckerberg announced in his post that it is their plan to keep it completely separate and keep all current options (like posting to Twitter) intact but for how long that is…we’ll see.
I just hope we don’t end up with a Social Media landscape that is completely dominated by just 2 or 3 major players that control it all and I’m going to make it my goal to keep supporting those independent players out there. I don’t hate the big boys, I just think we need a lot of smaller players out there to keep the big boys in check.
I LOVE running… when I do it. The problem is: I don’t do it enough. There simply doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do so and well… I’m way to attached to my laptop / ipad / MacBook / smartphone screen. I know I’m not alone in that and I need some motivation to get going again. So when I was talking to Garett Wolthuis (@GarrettWolthuis) last Wednesday night at BLUG and discovered he was the guy who wrote an amazing blog of his personal achievement of running a 5k last November a plan grew.
We challenged each other. Literally! We set a date: The weekend of May 19th and made the agreement to each run a 5k in that weekend and to motivate each other to train for that.
It is not about the time, it is not about the distance, it is not about the place it is about setting ourselves a challenge, motivating each other and sticking to it. And as we got talking we got some others involved too who are either going to be running or doing a hike. So yes Garrett, Paul, Kathy, Eileen and Steve and anybody else who wants to join; you don’t know it yet but I am going to keep you to that pledge as I need that stick behind the door to do this 🙂
Great idea? Well lets see, I need some serious training to get back in shape and I know that I will need you guys to help me do this. A social experiment? You bet! What better way to test the strength of the social idea in our community then to use it to motivate each other through Social Media to do a physical challenge.
So this is day 1. And I am heading for my first #YellowverseRun training run. It is going to be a challenge I’m sure but I’m up for it knowing I’ll have some supporters who will kick my butt if I don’t and give me an encouraging (virtual) arm around my shoulder when needed.
It’s time to man up and start doing, social running here we go!
Food for thought… Super Bowl, the power of connecting