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Putting Social Media to the test: Face-to-face vs. Online

Which delivery method do you think has the greatest impact: Face-to-face, telephone, or online? Certainly face-to-face allows you to deliver the most personal message, but the web allows for a much broader reach. Phone calls are somewhere in between. So here is the challenge…

I am a firm believer in charity. I feel it is important to give back to the community. Over the years I have been helping with the YMCA Partners With Youth (PWY) campaign.  This fund provides scholarships to families in need so their kids can participate in activities like swimming lessons, summer camp, or after school care. We get to help kids of single parents, parents who have lost their jobs, or many other financially stressful conditions. I know of one kid in particular who was quite a truant, always getting into trouble and usually dragging his friends into it too. One year, thanks to the PWY program, he was able to attend a leadership summer camp. Not only did it get him off the streets, but it brought out his natural leadership abilities. He ended up becoming a camp counselor and a positive influence on many more kids. It’s all about paying it forward.

In years past, during the month of February, I have spent my Wednesday evenings in a conference room at the Seattle Times building across the street from the Northshore YMCA  with dozens of other volunteers making calls to friends, family, past donors and even complete strangers, asking if they would like to donate. We work as teams of about 10 people each, in a friendly competition to see which team can raise the most pledge money. The room is filled with energy as everyone makes campaign calls from their cell phones. Honestly, this is tough work. Very few people feel comfortable making cold calls to strangers and asking for money. I will admit, as outgoing as I am, this is especially difficult for me. I can stand in front of an audience of 1000 people to give a presentation, but it’s all I can do to make these phone calls knowing most people will reject you and some will be downright rude. I found myself at times hoping no one would answer the phone.

So this year I’m trying a different approach. It’s time to put social media to the test to see if I can reach more people in a more comfortable way and make a bigger impact for the kids via my online presence than I would making phone calls. I think this will work well because there is no pressure. People can take their time to think about it, they can give as much or as little as they want. If you would like to help, please visit the donations page for details.  If you don’t want to donate, but you would still like to help, please share my message with your online connections so others will hear it and possibly donate.

It’s the power of small contributions by many people. I donated $100 myself. For some people, $10 is all they can afford to give. Others donate $500 or more. But even if it’s only $1, that’s fantastic. It moves us a step closer to the goal. Many employers will match your gift, effectively doubling your donation. Many people opt for the monthly draft contribution method so they can painlessly turn a small donation, like $5/month for 10 months, into a big donation of $50. (If that is something you want to do, just send me an email at and I can have the YMCA staff will set that up with you. The donor website can’t handle that type of payment.)

So please take a moment to check out my donation page at the YMCA website, read more about how this campaign has helped change kids’ lives, and make a pledge and/or share the link on your favorite social media website.



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.

Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters (be careful with that keyboard, it’s loaded)

Taking a brief break from my break from discussing Social Media to post about this good slide deck from IBM about Social Media and how NOT to use it.  The presentation sites more than a dozen examples of how companies have blundered on the web, but my favorite is definitely Ryanair’s press release stating “Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion.  It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.  Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.”

It describes some etiquette in using social media as a business, but these rules also apply to us as individuals.  I mention this in response to observing individuals engage in a social media personal assault.

With any form of broadcast communications (media), you should be sensitive to your audience.  But with social media, it is even more important because of the broad reach one person can have and the permanence it has.  With social media an individual can broadcast their message as widely as a fortune 500 company with a huge marketing budget, and once posted, it cannot be fully removed.  It’s a loaded gun.  There is no putting the bullet back once the trigger has been pulled.  So when it comes to using it, be judicious.  A great rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would have these 4 people read it:  your mother, your child, your future employer, and the person it is talking about.  If it can pass this test, it is probably good to publish.

When in doubt, leave it out.
Not to be confused with controversy, which can be healthy as it stimulates discussion and protects us from following on blind faith.  Don’t be afraid to point it out when “the Emperor has no clothes.”

Check out other related slide decks from IBM at

Grand Canyon Day 2: Jackass Creek to North Canyon

Next Post: Day 3
Previous Post: Day 1

(If you’re just checking in for the first time, I am posting my daily journal entries from my month-long rafting trip leading 16 friends down the Grand Canyon.  You may want to go back and start at the first post of the series and work your way forward.)

An exciting day!  I got up around 5:30 AM, just before sunrise.  Around 6:30 AM the wind suddenly picked up, gusting over 20 mph.  Then the rain came and it poured.  Ariel put on her drysuit before she even got out of the tent.  Best rain gear you could have!  It’s a good thing I had packed the gear back in the drybags before going to bed.  A few people left stuff outside and it’s soaked.  David C. didn’t fair so well.  Yesterday evening his tent blew down the hill in a wind gust like a tumbleweed.  Someone recovered it just before it went into the river, but it got torn up a bit.  He’s gonna get wet if we get more rain on this trip.  It’s a good thing everything dries so quickly in the Canyon.

We packed up camp in the wind and rain and were ready to go by 9:00.  Then the rain and wind suddenly stopped.  This is so much like those Florida summer rain showers.  The big difference is you can’t see what’s coming because the Canyon walls block the view of most of the sky.  You don’t know what’s coming until it is right over you. Then just as we prepared to push off from shore, red-brown water started flowing down the far bank of the river in the main current.

Watching the river turn brown as we prepare to depart Jackass Camp

Watching the river turn brown as we prepare to depart Jackass Camp

It gradually started filling in the eddy where we were parked, then finally filling in the middle of the river until it all ran brown.  A flash flood had come pouring down the Badger Canyon just across the river from us.  Amazing how the muddy water shows how the water flows within the river like smoke does in a wind tunnel.

Muddy water coming in from the Badger Canyon

Muddy water coming in from the Badger Canyon

Fortunately breakfast didn’t require any cooking.  I stuffed myself last night on stir-fry dinner, so I just had a bagel.  We skipped lunch because we were so close to the intended camp that we thought we would just push on and do lunch at camp.

This afternoon we ran our first class 7 rapid of the trip: House Rock.

Scouting House Rock Rapid at river mile 17

Scouting House Rock Rapid at river mile 17

I thought I was far enough right as I entered at the top, but I still got drawn into the big wave-hole at the bottom on the left.  the current really pushes hard into the left wall.  As I hit the last wave just before the wave-hole, I lost my grip on one oar and ended up hitting it sideways!  As vertical as we got, I’m not sure how we didn’t flip.

Commodore running House Rock Rapid

Commodore running House Rock Rapid

The grips on these oars are just a bit too fat.  I’ll try rowing without the gloves and see how that goes.  We reached our target camp at Upper North Canyon by 2:30 PM, River mile 20.8.  Some people rushed off to set up their own gear before the rafts were unloaded.  In the end it worked out OK.  I know they were anxious to get things dried out from the rain this morning.  Before dinner we all hiked up the side canyon.  I remember doing this hike at lunchtime last time I was here.  A big group of us did the hike.  I got a group photo at the upper end.

Hiking North Canyon - r to l: Lucy, Gary, Craig, Kika, Kevin, Captain Natalia, Ariel, & Commodore Dave

Hiking North Canyon - r to l: Lucy, Gary, Craig, Kika, Kevin, Captain Natalia, Ariel, & Commodore Dave

North Canyon

North Canyon

Dinner was at 6:00 PM, just as it got dark.  I want to eat earlier so we aren’t eating and cleaning up in the dark.  After a dinner of salmon and salad, we had a campfire and some guitar music.  I have been having a meeting in the evening for everyone to share stories about the day and talk about what we want to do the next day.  The veterans tell me they like the AM & PM meetings.  Good to know.  I am finding my Toastmasters skills quite useful too.

Last night I woke up when it rained briefly around 3:30 AM.  Never really got to sleep after that.  It’s not quite 9:00 PM and I’m falling asleep while writing.  Good night.

Next Post: Day 3
Previous Post: Day 1

Just returned from an amazing place where Social Media is totally irrelevant. The story begins…

Next Post: Final Preparations
Previous Post: Preface

View of Grand Canyon from Nankoweap graineries

I just returned from my adventure as trip leader, taking 16 people on a rafting expedition down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon; 21 days, 226 miles.  It was an amazing journey that explored the geologic depths of the Earth exposed by The Canyon like a biology student examines the internal organs of a frog through a scalpel cut.  Yet this expedition was as much about delving into personal introspection and group dynamics as it was about examining the physiology of the Earth.  They always are.

An expedition is defined as a journey undertaken for a specific purpose, often exploratory or scientific in nature.  While the intentions of these 16 people may have been purely for recreational purposes, the result was much more for everyone.

A  rafting expedition through the Grand Canyon has many facets: the amazing scenery; the hikes through stunning side canyons; the remoteness and what I would call protection, rather than isolation, from the outside world; the simplified lifestyle; the camaraderie of living closely among friends; the quiet time for personal reflection and introspection;  and hours of relaxing drifting on calm water with the occasional brief moment of Adrenalin anticipating the next big rapid just to remind you you’re alive.  Then there are the elements that aren’t discussed so much: the risks off the river; the hard work; the conflicts; the dry skin; the group dynamics generated from living so closely with and depending on a small group of people for your survival.  These are the elements that differentiate a Grand Canyon expedition from a vacation in Hawaii.

Many of my friends have asked me what is it like to go on such an adventure.  They want to hear the stories and see lots of photographs.  Most people envision such a trip as just a really long vacation spent sightseeing.  For some who have actually visited the Grand Canyon and viewed it from the South Rim park, they think it is 21 days of views just like what they saw.  The reality is that The Canyon is more like the backdrop for a movie and it is the action that takes place during the trip that makes the adventure.  So for the next month I am dedicating this website to a daily account of our expedition to give a more accurate feeling of what it’s like to go on a rafting expedition through the Grand Canyon.  Check back daily to get a recounting of the adventure in real time.  The adventure begins now…

Next Post: Final Preparations
Previous Post: Preface

IBM and ESPN 3: Using social media to tell the world what they mean by “Let’s build a smarter planet.”

You’ve heard me ask “What does IBM sell?”  Sure, *I* know what they sell.  But my point is: what do they do to make sure the average consumer knows?
Well, on this idle Saturday afternoon, while watching my Gators on ESPN 3 crush UAB, *BAM*, there it was – A smarter planet ad on ESPN 3 with a twist: it ended with a URL:
What’s the big deal?  First, IBM is talking to consumers.  That’s right, beer-drinking, college football-watching average America.  Second, this is ESPN 3.  In other words, the webcast version of ESPN.  So anyone watching that ad is already sitting at their computer.  I don’t know about smarter planet, but certainly smarter advertising.  So I went to check it out.  On my other monitor, of course.

What did I find there?  The first video was their 30-minute story: “IBM Centennial Film: They Were There – People who changed the way the world works”.  On the new youtube, you can have longer videos than the old 10-minute limit.  Of course, that doesn’t change the fact the the average attention span is somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes and the average time spent on a web page is 1 minute.  That was one of the driving reasons for the 10 minute limit in the first place.  The cool thing about youtube is that everyone can see the results.  It shows how many viewings each video gets.  So we will get to see just how successful the videos are.

The good news:  This video includes IBM founder Tom Watson’s answer to my question.  Retired IBMer Fred Brooks tells the story of how Thomas Watson Sr. used to go into the lab and ask some young engineer: “What do we sell?”
And the young man would say “punch cards sir.”
“NO, NO!” Watson replied.  “We sell a service that satisfies.”

Now the bad news:  This answer comes at 28:52 minutes into a 30:41 minute video.

But this video isn’t about what IBM sells anyway.  It’s about their past.  A good production, but wouldn’t it be more effective to lead with a short ad that builds on the *BAM* that the original ad made on ESPN 3?  Something that teases with a bit more details on what IBM has to offer today and how they will take MY company into the future and give ME an advantage over my competition?  To make ME a leader in a smarter planet?  End it with the viewer wanting to know more.  Make it a two minute video to fill those dead zone commercial breaks that don’t show anything for web viewers.  Just say:

Visit the next time you see this:


My compliments to IBM digital marketing.  (Maria, is this your doing?)  Now take it to the next level.

The video ends with the words of another IBMer: “You’ve got to stay alert and you’ve got to be nimble on your feet.  You’ve got to recognize that what was true yesterday will not be true tomorrow in terms of technology.”

Taking Social Media to the next level: “Message on a bottle”

When it comes to helping meet people, Twitter doesn’t compare to this: a vodka bottle with a programmable LED text banner that you can enter your own message.  It gives new meaning to the phrase “social drinker”.

Check out Medea Vodka’s website.

Quiet, but not Idle. Latest news from The Notes Guy in Seattle.

I’ve been quiet lately on my website, but I haven’t been idle. I just wrapped up another semester of higher education. I’m doing a bit better this time around. I didn’t fully appreciate how tuff the University of Florida was until now. I’m sure the the keg parties had something to do with it too.  Also working on a special assignment to redesign a website.  I think you’ll like what I’m putting together.

I am working with a new client here in the Seattle area. It’s nice working with a non-profit organization that makes a real difference in the world.
I gave two presentations on social media and it’s impact on recent world events.  Several more possible engagements in the next few months too.
I joined FourSquare. If you’re there, be sure to friend me. You can also follow me on Twitter:

If you follow IdeaJam, you might have noticed my numerous posts there as well. Be sure to go check them out and vote for them. This month’s posts include:

1. Lotus Forgot Series: Make MTBF an integral part of the server software (was in the Sandbox)

2. Lotus Forgot Series: Bring back the Diff tool (from R4) that compared two documents selected in a view

3. During server configuration, let me name the group added to template ACLs instead of assuming it is LocalDomainAdmins

4. Add a button for Access Control to the database properties dialog

5. Give the option to pull system templates from another server when configuring a new server in the domain.

6. Lotus Forgot Series: Add basic development functionality back into the Notes client.

7. Do not require being logged into Sametime to use screen capture tool

For a complete list of ideas, visit IdeaJam


Seattle: Land of…Apple?? Also info for you wordpress bloggers

I have posted several times explaining how Seattle is not as Microsoft-centric as outsiders have convinced themselves. But I think this story really makes the point.

Yesterday I attended a free workshop about using WordPress for your blog presented by Bob Dunn who is quite savvy on the subject. The event was directed exclusively toward members of Biznik, a social media website where entrepreneurs and small business owners can network and share ideas.

Bob’s WordPress workshops are always filled to capacity with 35 people. In the past I didn’t give much notice to all of the people taking notes with Macs because I’ve grown used to seeing Macs so much in my classes at Bellevue College. But this time it finally dawned on me: where are all the PCs? Looking around the room I counted the following being used to take notes:

8 Macs
2 iPhones
1 iPad
1 PC
Also Bob was presenting on a Mac.
the rest were using paper.

That’s a 12:1 ratio in favor of Apple products. In Seattle. You know, Microsoft’s headquarters?

These are not just students or individuals doing this in their free time. All of the attendees here are entrepreneurs and small business owners who are heavily involved in social media. Just imagine the potential of this market for business software WITH NO COMPETITION FROM MICROSOFT.

Wait, it gets better. During the break, I chatted with the woman next to me. Her name is Viv and her company works with patients recovering from brain injuries. She had a Mac. I told her that I work with Lotus software. “Oh, I remember Lotus Notes” she said. “I used to use that at a company I worked for some years ago. I wish I had it for my email now.” She was using Mac mail. She was surprised to hear that Notes also works on the Mac. We talked about the widespread use of Macs at the workshop and she mentioned that at her last job the company used Macs exclusively. (Did I mention that the company is right here in Seattle?)

So where am I going with this? To Lotusphere, of course. In search of a plan of action to help provide this group of business and social media-savvy people in Seattle with the high quality software they demand.

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

I was going to 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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