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W3C Social Business Jam Report Just Released


(If you’re following my Grand Canyon story, the next post is coming soon.  This week is Lotusphere.)

The W3C sponsored an online forum to study opinions on social business. The results of the Jam have been compiled and they published their results yesterday.
The jam focused on 6 aspects of social technology:

– Identity Management for Social
– Mobile and Social
– Information Management
– Business Process Meets Social
– Seamless Integration of Social
– Metrics for Social Business

The jam was hosted by W3C member IBM using IBM’s Collaboration Jam platform.  (Not to be confused with IBM’s Social Business Jam, an entirely different report made by IBM )

Not familiar with who the W3C is?  In their words, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.”   This is the organization that tries to define industry standards that make integrating computer systems possible.  Without them, the world wide web (www.) would not exist.

As Lotusphere 2012 is all about Social Business, the timing of this report is appropriate.  The report provides some great insight into the future of social business from the viewpoint of the jam participants.  A few points:

– Only 18% of the participants Social Business is just marketing hype.  I don’t hold much faith in the longevity of their businesses.  But that also means 82% of those surveyed see Social Business as a real part of business today.  That is important if you are in the business of Social Business.  That means opportunity.

– Only 7% of the participants have only one identity on the web. Does that mean we all suffer from dissociative identity disorder?  I hope not.  Does it mean we don’t trust the world enough to let our whole self be seen by everyone?  Perhaps at least to some degree.  For example, many people don’t use the same identity on LinkedIn as they use on Facebook because they don’t want their employer or prospective employer to know about their personal life.  But it may also say something about how people play many roles in their lives and that one identity cannot represent us appropriately.  You see this in twitter profiles all the time: “CIO, whitewater kayaker, father”.  This becomes relevant because it’s the commonalities you share outside of business that make the strongest bonds for doing business.  It’s the fraternity effect, as I call it.  For Social Business to be most effective, it will need to be able to handle our split personalities.

– The report reveals how we treat our constant-connections of mobile phones so differently from all other devices.  Not just that technology must accommodate this in many ways including partial data wipes that remove corporate data while leaving personal data untouched.  The implications go into the usability features of the devices themselves too.  Think “It’s not business, it’s personal.” for a mobile phone, but “it’s not personal, it’s just business” for the desktop.

– The respondents also see value in social technologies in how they can handle exceptions to processes more effectively than structured forms.  This will shine most in a crisis.  If you are familiar with Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, you can see how this could fit in.  Imagine a natural disaster hits the headquarters of a company.  While their computer systems will survive if they properly setup a co-located data center, layers of leadership may not be available.  Social technologies are inherently flat organizationally, allowing people at all levels to communicate directly with the people they need to in the most effective manner.

– An interesting point that will play out in the near future is the response to the survey question “I want social tools integrated with my other applications”.  This is exactly what IBM is doing with IBM Connections and the Social Edition of Lotus Notes coming soon.  65% agree.  I expect those that disagreed probably just couldn’t envision such an integrated world.  They probably don’t realize that they already have that in places like facebook (if they use it.)

If you want an idea of where social software is going, this report is a worthwhile read.

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Public speaking tip for presenters at Lotusphere and elsewhere


Eight months ago I joined Toastmasters.    I will never be able to watch a Lotusphere session (or any other presentation) the same way again.  Did you ever wonder what it’s like to present at Lotusphere?  On the positive side it must be rewarding just to be selected.  You’ve been chosen by IBM as one who stands out among your peers.  On the other hand, giving a presentation is challenging and even more so when presenting somewhere like Lotusphere in front of your peers where you are expected to be the subject matter expert.   More people fear public speaking than anything else, even more than dying.  For most technology experts, their expertise lies in the technology, not in public speaking.  They may give presentations just a few times a year.  Even without the fear of public speaking, it is difficult to be good at it without frequent practice.  Imagine if you only administered your servers or wrote code a few times each year?  Quite a challenge.  So as you watch their presentations, keep that in mind.  It’s not easy.

On the other hand, if you find yourself speaking at Lotusphere or anywhere else for that matter, consider this:  you’re already an expert at your subject matter.  So if you’re trying to improve the quality of your presentation, you’ll probably get the biggest return on investment of your time by honing your communication skills rather than your topic competence.  There are a few speakers out there like Chris Miller and Mat Newman, who have somehow mastered the techniques AND know what they’re talking about.  But for the rest of us, it takes lots of practice and feedback.  And I have stumbled upon what I think is the best venue for this.  It’s Toastmasters.  If a Toastmasters club meets somewhere near you, join it.  Toastmasters is one of the very best paths to develop good communication skills that you will find.  Toastmasters is an international non-profit organization of people who want to improve on their communication and leadership skills.  It’s a fantastic way to minimize your weaknesses in public speaking in a positive, supportive, and fun environment.  You will uncover things like

  • How many times do you say ‘uh’, ‘um’, ‘so’, or ‘you know’ while giving even a short 5 minute presentation?
  • Do you commit “death by Powerpoint” (or Symphony Presentations)?
  • Do you ramble on without pauses for emphasis?
  • Talk monotone without any inflection or energy in your voice?
  • Are your slides packed with text and complex graphics?
  • Do you read your slides to the audience?
  • Do you use gestures and body language and make use of the whole stage or do you lock yourself in behind the security of the podium and stand motionless?
  • Do you read from a script (e.g. Open General Session!) or worse, do you try to memorize your speech?

You get the idea.  Whether you are currently a presenter or aspire to become one, until you have mastered all of the skills (and even the best speakers practice to improve), you should practice and get feedback from people who know the intricacies of public speaking and can help you can improve. (I’m not talking about the feedback forms at the end of the sessions.  They mostly cover content, not delivery, and the observers are not watching with a critical eye for communication skills, they are there to learn the content.)  Toastmasters is a great place to do this is.

I have been in Toastmasters for less than a year and while my peers in the club give me great praise and support, I learn every time I give a presentation or evaluate someone else giving theirs.  If you think you’re good enough already, check out this list of famous people who are in Toastmasters.

The most amazing and relevent presentation ever posted on slideshare.net about effective use of Social Media


I was going to slideshare.net to post a presentation of my own when I happened upon this presentation about storytelling and social media. It was appealing from the very first slide. Having just finished a college level, 5 credit-hour course on digital storytelling, I have a new perspective on this topic.

Storytelling is an important part of getting people to hear your message. Whether you sell Lotus software to the people in the business world, give presentations at Lotusphere, write a blog, or just have a linkedin profile, understanding this topic will have a huge impact on getting the results you seek.

There are actually two things to note about this presentation.
1. The style and structure of the slides. Visually appealing, Very few words, yet it yields a powerful message.
2. The content of the presentation. The message it contains.

As you sit through hours of sessions at Lotusphere and view their presentations, ask yourself how their presentations could be enhanced by incorporating the style of this presentation and the storytelling techniques it describes.

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