SXSW Wrap Up on developerWorks


Scott Laningham has a pretty popular and respected blog on the IBM’s developerWorks blogs. So I was really excited when he asked me to join fellow IBM’ers Kate Motzer and Rawn Shah. We summarize our thoughts on SXSW and give some comments on the direction of social media. I hope you enjoy the podcast and feel free to comment. You can find the podcast here: http://ibm.co/gt3192

IBM and Social Intelligence: Real Time Monitoring and Engagement


The following post is my initial thoughts and ideas as I develop our corporate strategy around real-time monitoring and engagement.  While the team and I are still developing our discourse, we know that we also need to define our approach to social and what our needs are in the form of tools.  For now, we have organized our social intelligence system into three parts:  1) Social Research 2) Real Time Monitoring and Engagement 3) Social Relationship Management.  While real time monitoring is a stand along function, I believe it must be married to engagement.

These categories are not perfectly clear and there are definitely some gray areas and overlap.  Regardless, I am confident that this is a good start to developing our framework.  This system is not just about tools, posts and analytics, rather is it a way to define how IBM (as a brand) and IBM’ers make social media a part of our everyday business.

My current focus is on evaluation of real-time monitoring & engagement tools.  The challenge for us has been understanding how people engage today, where our internal infrastructure gaps are, and what are the metrics and  KPI’s we can standardize on.  What complicates this is the diversity in features and functions of the tools on the market.  This space is continuously evolving in terms of the behavior of the social media practitioner and how companies are developing tools.

People, Places, Posts

At IBM, we have a great internal group called BlueIQ.  This is a core group of experts that don’t just look at social media (Twitter & Facebook) but take a holistic view of social, collaboration, and how companies can benefit from this emerging area.  I sat through a presentations one day in which the presenter segmented social media into three categories: People, Please and Things.  This presentation has always stuck with me.  I think it continues to be the lens I use to view social media.  However, I think I want to transform this into the three P’s of social media:  People, Places and Posts.  These three P’s is how I often approach our business and social.  I’ll try to come back and expand this idea in the future.

Engaging creates a Feedback Loop

What we are looking to do is develop a process and find a tool (or set of tools) to facilitate the day-to-day interactions between IBM’ers and our constituency.  The emphasis is less about tooling and more about interactions and scaling those interactions.  The significance of our mission is to expose more IBM’ers experts to new ideas and people and equally expose the public to our thought leaders.

The focus and quality of engagement will create a feedback loops between IBM and the rest of the world.  This isn’t new.  Companies have been engaging and interacting with their customers, partners and prospective buyers from the early development of commerce. What social changes is the scale and volume of the interactions.  More importantly it creates an environment where consumers can connect with other consumers and exchange comments and sentiment With the emphasis on experts engaging in their topics of expertise you also develop focal points of interaction between two people and or groups of people.  This concentration of conversation can create the richest understanding of a topic and presents the greatest opportunity for thought leadership (Social Media 101, I know you already know this stuff).  Many take this feedback loop for granted, and I believe it’s basic “blocking and tackling” that should never be overlooked.  When I  look at our experts and their influence, I find them in area’s of: research, product development, product marketing, support and consulting.  A organizational map would become even more complicated when you consider the experts that focus on geographies world wide.

Through a series of conversations with people inside and outside the company about monitoring and engagement, I am coming to the conclusion that there are diverse approaches and perceptions that conflict with one another and then those that are just flat our wrong (not that I mine right).

IBM has always been a firm in which is brand equity I directly related to its employee’s success.  Hence, the term the development of the term “IBM’er.”  Over the past 100 years, IBM has taken great pride in the people.  It’s the IBM’er that has helped the world solve big problems.  These interactions have built the company and have given our customers a sense of credibility and reliability behind the brand.  (Take a look at our “100 x 100 video” and our “They were There Video in my previous posts and our Twitter stream around #ibm100)

Today IBM adopts social as a natural extension of what we have been doing for the past 100 years.  So as I look at our social intelligence system, I prioritize our ability for an IBM’ers to engage with our diverse constituents.  Social Media Research and Listening are always the first way to place to start however, the heart of social media is in the everyday dialogue through posts on all platforms:  Our own ibm.com communities & developerWorks Communities, 3rd party Forums, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn (Herein lies my idea of the first two P’s in my 3 P model:  People and Places).

To enable and support these individuals demands that an engagement tool should not just help them post comments rather, empower, inspire and motivate them to be a part of a greater community.  Our experts have tight schedules.  Our constituents have tight schedules.  Communication has to be easy and quick.  Also, Twitter is not the only venue communication.  While popular with the rest of the world, Twitter is not the primary venue for dialogue between IBM and our constituents.  In fact, Twitter is often used as a tool to promote their ideas, and find others to network with.  Most of the real content generated by our experts would have to be in a forum or a blog.

I hope that my next post will be about real-time monitoring.  Looking forward to your comments.