On Tuesday Jan 27th 2015 my coworker Sasja Beerendonk and I had the privilege to present at IBM ConnectED in Orlando, FL on our favorite topic of Social Business. Below is the session abstract & slide deck for those interested.
BP202: Beyond Theory: Trials and Tribulations in Becoming a Successful Social Business
There are many theories and ideas around “how to become a social business” but what really does or doesn’t work? We wanted to know, and instead of just going blindly with the theory, we did the opposite and interviewed 32 companies in various stages of their journey to becoming a social business. Not just asking them about the big wins, but also talking about the struggles and small successes that really made the difference for them. Taking these experiences and real life examples of companies the likes of Dutch Railways, DAF, Saxion, Forbo Eurocol and Bavaria, and aligning them to the various theoretically relevant concepts, we were able to come up with some interesting concepts. In this session, we will take you through these concepts and theories and, using the examples provided by the companies, show you how these can help you identify the successes and avoid the pitfalls in becoming a social business.
For a while now I’ve been working on various posts on the topic of “Folders versus Tags” and why there is no such comparison really… This is a topic that is often hotly debated among people involved with social business and definitely close to my heart. The problem is, none of those posts ever saw the daylight as they became too long, too complicated and simply said: boring. There is a lot to say about this topic but most of all a lot of explaining. therefore I tried something different. I hope this infographic will help explain some of the specifics of each of the options and why comparing them isn’t always possible. Have fun!
Monday morning someone in my network tweeted a link to a site called “#UncoverPhilips“. A promotion by the large multinational we all know quite well to get some social buzz around their new logo that they are announcing today (Nov 13th 2013). The site was quite simple and showed a gray image hiding the new logo. Users could uncover a pixel of the image and so uncover the logo before it’s actual launch. Catch: you had to do so by signing in with your Twitter or Facebook account, effectively allowing them to access your data and post on your behalf.
Ok, not very shocking or innovative. This is done all the time and plays into peoples inert sense of curiosity. The Terms & Conditions even seem quite reasonable:
“4. Participants agree and confirm that …. can collect their personal information during the Promotion, for the purpose of this promotion. The personal information includes the individual name, the individual’s profile photo, and email address.”
Ok so they get your name, photo and email… Mmm…
“6. ….will not use participants’ personal information for other purposes <….> All the personal information and the webserver will be deleted after 30 days after the end of the promotion.”
Ok, not too bad. so why do they want me to sign in then?
“5. Participants agree that their names and profile photo can be displayed on <the site> in association with the Promotion during the Promotion.”
“13. You agree that <….> may provide you with notices by email, or postings on Facebook once the image is uncovered.”
Ok, so they get to use my name and picture to endorse their brand AND they get to broadcast that to my social network by posting on my Facebook stream. Again, not too shocking, this is done all the time. But…
“what do I get?“
Yeah and that’s where it gets interesting to me as there seems to be no added value in it for me, other then to be able to uncover 1 pixel of a 50.000 pixel image. There is no prizes to be won, no secrets to be gained other then a 1/50.000th sneak peak of a logo they are uncovering anyway… And that is what intrigues me! Apparently someone thought enough people would be motivated to participate solely for that so I couldn’t help but follow how this would evolve.
This was the state on Monday morning when I first noticed it:
And this is three days later (3hrs before the logo will be revealed):
Now ok, does this mean it is a success or not? I’m no Marketing expert but three hours before the deadline only 26% of the picture is uncovered… You might call that a failure but I have no clue what their goal was…. 13000+ people have done it. Let’s say that on average everyone of those has about 100-500 followers on Facebook and that an average post on Facebook reaches about 1/3 of your followers. Also factor in the multitude of people that visited the site based on tweets, links and posts who opted (like me) not to participate but have in the process learned about the new logo… That’s still an impressive reach without having to pay for it (other then to create this site).
I can’t help wonder though what the difference would have been had there been any prizes involved… Would the number of people participating be higher? Did the fact that apart from the curiosity factor there was no real incentive and the fact that most of the actual logo is concentrated in the center of the area (which was uncovered first) influence the results?
IBM outdid itself this time by announcing the release of IBM Connections 4.5 and the new Connections Content Manager for March 29th 2013. Only 2 months after first presenting it at IBM Connect.
On top of the great new features IBM Connections 4.5 offers, Connections Content Manager will additionally offer document management functionality like checkin-checkout, nested folders, versioning & draft control as well as integrated access security to organize and control content within the IBM Connections communities. A great addition to an already great platform! To see why this could be important to you check out a blog about the new functionalities I did a few weeks back based on the announcements at IBM Connect. It should give you an indication of what to expect.
People who know me know that I have two soft spots. One for for everything relating to Document Management, another for Social Business. Managing information and document collaboration are topics that have been my focus for years so I’m really happy I’ll be getting to speak about this during my session “Taxonomy Versus Folksonomy: Document Management in a Social Age” at IBM Connect 2013 this year.
BP303: Taxonomy Versus Folksonomy: Document Management in a Social Age
“With the rise of social business and platforms like IBM Connections, many companies are re-evaluating their document strategies. Ideals of employee-driven sharing, tagging and folksonomies are desired, but is all documentation really suited for the freedom of ‘social’, or do some types require more structure, process and control? If so, how do you determine this and integrate it with your social ambitions? This session will cover the principles of document management and social file-sharing. You’ll learn how concepts like versioning, meta-data, retention, record and lifecycle management are important to you. We’ll show you how to identify key requirements for document management within your organization and teach you how to strategically plan your way forward.”
Wed 30 Jan 04:14 PM – 05:15 PM, Swan SW 1-2
If you are, like me, interested in Document Management and ECM integration in Social Business then here’s a few other sessions you might be interested in too:
ID501 : Come One, Come All! Integrations for a Next-Gen Social Organization – Mark Neumann (IBM) Tue, 29 Jan 08:15 AM – 09:15 AM, Dolphin S. Hem IV-V
AD106 : Customizing Your Document Management System in a Social Environment – Jessica Forrester&Jonathan Brunn (IBM) Tue, 29 Jan 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM, Dolphin S. Hem I
ID502 : What’s New in IBM Docs — Everything! And You Need to Know About It – Sean Brown (IBM) Wed, 30 Jan 08:15 AM – 09:15 AM, Dolphin S. Hem II
ID308 : Social Content Management Solutions for IBM Connections – Diane Loomis & Jonathan Brunn (IBM) Wed, 30 Jan 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Dolphin N. Hem E
SPN105 : Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Corporate Content! – Margeret Worel (IBM) Wed, 30 Jan 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Swan 3-4
To see details on these and all other sessions please visit the IBM Connect 2013 Session preview tool. I look forward to seeing you at IBM Connect!
During my opening at Social Connections in Amsterdam on November 30th a few weeks back I tried to make a link between how the Dutch culture of ‘Consensus decision making’ that was formed by hundreds of years of fighting together against the rising water levels and social business relate to each other.
Water to The Netherlands traditionally is both a blessing (as it gives us opportunities for trade and access to the rest of the world) as well as a curse (as it is a constant threat with 1/3 of the country being below sea level). It forces us to constantly reinvent ourselves and our environment and forces us to work together on all levels. It has shaped the way we do business, do politics and live together and resulted in a flat hierarchy system focused on collaborating for a common goal with strong ties outwards. Which is underwritten by this report by DHL on the global state of connectedness where The Netherlands is ranked first out of 140 nations.
So does that make The Netherlands better at ‘social’?
I think it certainly helps as social business thrives in flat hierarchy systems and collaborative environments… but what do you think? Does national/regional culture help or not and if so, what aspects of your culture do you see that play a role in how Social Business is taking off (or not!)?
How is reputation build? How do people become known as experts in what they do, how is credibility established and what role is the internet playing in all this now personal information is becoming so much more available due to social networks?
“Reputation of a social entity (a person, a group of people, an organization) is an opinion about that entity, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria. It is important in education, business, and online communities. Reputation may be considered as a component of identity as defined by others.” (wikipedia)
In general you can say that reputation is based on what you say you know versus what others say, and content you’ve published shows you know. That isn’t new, recommendations and background searches have always been a strong factor for people when deciding on someone’s expertise. The difference now is that internet is taking it a step further. It is providing us with many more channels of information and it is giving us all this information we never had before. Forcing us to change the way we weigh opinions on reputations as it is coming less and less from our own (trusted) social circles and more and more from external networks and sources.
Four ways the internet is used to determine your reputation:
gifted/attributed reputation: What others say about your knowledge or expertise (linkedIn recommendations & expertise vouching, tagging, commenting, etc)
digital output reputation: what people can find about you online in the form of contributions, blogs and anything else you throw out there (linkedin, personal blogs, Google search results)
reputation by association: who do you interact with and what is their reputation? Who reads and responds to your content? It’s not just about how many times it is tweeted, liked and recommended that counts but by whom too!
system attributed reputation: reputation assigned to you by digital systems based on interaction, submissions and topics you respond to or talk about (Klout, Peerindex and Kred, but also suggested reads, ‘people of interest’, etc).
The first three are not that astonishing. They more or less are what people have always done to determine someones reputation: get information and recommendations from people and sources we trust and form an opinion based on that. The only difference there is that we have more sources and they are much easier to access.
So where the first three merely give back what others have said or done and leave it up to you to interpret that, the fourth one takes it a step further and does the interpretation for you. By using algorithms and complex computations they try to determine someone’s expertise and knowledge areas. The problem is though it does so indiscriminately and without taking into account any of the cultural or social elements that could factor in and without weighing the topics for relevance.
“…Klout declared me influential in ‘Bollywood dancing’…”
It’s scary to see what digital systems nowadays know about us. It’s even scarier to see how they interpret that knowledge. A good example for me was when Klout declared me influential in ‘Bollywood dancing’….. I can tell you I have no relation with Bollywood dancing, know next to nothing about it, have never practiced it or ever expressed any knowledge about it but still Klout was telling the world I was an expert on it. I could not determine how it came to that conclusion nor could I really influence that other than by having my Klout account removed.
So how do I control my reputation?!?
The thing is, you don’t. Your reputation is not something you determine yourself. It’s being determined for you and you’ll have to life with that as it’s very hard to get rid of. There are however things you can influence. One of which is your online profile. And as your online profile is becoming more and more important in determining your reputation, finding ways to influence it becomes more important too.
So what can you do to build your online profile in a way that helps your reputation?
“Your name“: Hardly anyone is unique but some are more so then others (I pity all John Smiths out there). So before ‘going social’ research your name (Google it!) and try to come up with a social handle (twitter name, etc) that makes you recognizable. Not just to other people but to automatic systems too. Once you do, use it everywhere and stay consistent. That is your key to being recognizable and unique. It’s your trademark in a sea of ‘John Smiths’ so to speak.
“Company affiliation“: Try not to affiliate your complete persona to a company name. Not seldom do you see people having a twitter handle or personal blog domain mentioning or linked directly to a company name. Realizing you’re losing your job is bad enough without having to realize that your whole digital profile is tied to the company that just kicked you out. Like someone told me recently: “your work might be owned by your boss, your digital reputation is yours, guard it!”.
“…You would be amazed how much influence you can have on what Google shows…”
“Be visible“: Determine your visibility and monitor what people find if they search for you. Keep your profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc) up to date and go through the first 20 Google hits for your name / handle regularly to check what people will find. Is it still current? If not, can you influence it (e.g. post blogs, respond to hot topics in popular sites, etc)? You would be amazed how much influence you can have on what Google shows.
“Project your vision“: Envision what it is that you want to project with your online profile. Do you want them to find you work related stuff or is it fine with you that they will hit all the other stuff you do too? There is nothing wrong with being a prolific contributor on all kinds of topics or someone with a wide area of interest but if you want to set a professional image you might have to think of ways to highlight those areas that you want people to notice. Balancing your output or using different aliases to distinguish professional and private life and keeping different networks for your business and private stuff can also help in setting your profile vision.
“Be connected” Build a network of people around you who do what you want to be associated with. Not just so your profile gets associated with them but also because by being in their vicinity you learn and get alerted to relevant information and posts. Interact with these people, provide feedback and ask (and respect!) their opinion on your content. When done sincerely most people are more then willing to help you on your way.
“…Don’t let your online profile make you look like a ‘corporate robot’…..”
“Be human” There is a lot to be said for keeping certain areas of your life private but at the same time social media and social business is also all about connecting on a human level. Don’t let your online profile make you look like a ‘corporate robot’ by being all business and no pleasure. In a social age this could actually look suspicious. Don’t be afraid to be human just do it in a balanced way. And for goodness sake use a recognizable and consistent profile picture on all your public profiles. Interacting with a persona that has a smiling kitten as a profile pic really doesn’t help build you a professional reputation.
“Be culturally aware” Realize that the internet is taking away borders and that your content (tweets, posts, blogs, etc), although perhaps only directed at people directly around you can usually be read by anyone, anywhere. Something that might be funny in your circle, country or culture might actually be offending to someone else. Some things can’t be helped, like being named “Dick de Cock” (and yes, that is an actual name in The Netherlands) but others can. So be sensitive for that. In general a good thing to keep in mind is what my mum told me when I was going off to university: “Never talk about sex, religion or politics in public or with anyone who at any moment in your life could become your boss or customer”. Well that makes for almost anyone.
“…people tend to forget the positive very quickly and remember the negative much longer…”
“Voice opinions, not frustrations” There is nothing wrong with not always being a ‘happy bunny’ but be careful not to come across too negative. Remember that people tend to forget the positive very quickly and remember the negative much longer so be careful when voicing frustrations and try not to be resentful when others scorn you. Taking the moral high ground might not be easy but almost always is best.
There are so many more things you can do but in short it all comes down to this: be truthful, be sincere, be aware and most importantly: be vigilant about what your online profile is saying about you.
It’s your introduction to the world, make sure it fits you
Wow! Now I heard the story two weeks ago at Social Connections where Ephox EditLive! was one of the sponsors but didn’t have time to take a good look at what it was they actually offered. “A better richtext editor for your Connections environment…” Right, have to admit that really didn’t get me excited right there and then. The richtext editor as I know it worked pretty well… or did it?!?
Well tonight I know better. Our Administrator posted a status update earlier today saying he had installed it on our environment and curious as I am I immediately tried it out. On opening any richtext input field within the IBM Connections environment the EditLive! plug-in loads instead of the normal richtext editor so users don’t have to do a thing except for approving the use of the plug-in on first open.
The first thing I noticed: IT SUPPORTS RIGHT MOUSE CLICK SPELL CHECK ACCESS! Ok, yes I know, perhaps not the most important for all but to someone who’s switching between two languages constantly a vital element of text editing and one of the most irritating things in IBM Connections today. Sure, the standard text editor will highlight wrongly spelled words but right mouse clicking it will not list alternatives, it will give you a ‘paste’ option…
Well in the EditLive! text editor it does work, listing me alternatives and even synonyms. That in itself was enough to get me very excited. Even more excited I got after realizing it adds a host of other great features. Things like “Track changes”, image editing and in-line comments.
So I’m more than curious now, can’t wait to test this further but I must say I’m impressed! This is going to be a great add-on for any IBM Connections environment and I can recommend anyone to give this Beta a try.
After months of preparations, endless Skype chats, mails and phone calls, lots of hard learned lessons and some of the funniest situations I’ve found myself in ever, Social Connections IV, the IBM Connections user group event is now a fact. It was a lovely day with great speakers, fantastic sponsors and most importantly with lots of people there to make it real, to make that social connection….
Sitting on my couch going through the pictures, the tweets and the blog posts written about it I can’t help but be proud of what we as a team managed to get together. It was so much better than I could ever have hoped for. Thank you everyone but especially Stuart McIntyre, Sharon Bellamy, Simon Vaughan, Jon Mell and Janneke Kamhoot for what you guys have done. It was a fantastic day!
getting ready for opening session & keynote…
Anything and everything that strikes my interest and makes it into writing. Focused on Social Business, Analytics, Data visualizations, Content Management, Social Media and my work as a business consultant, sometimes on other topics that float by.