Archive for category Social Business

Change is the only constant

Posted by on Monday, 10 August, 2015

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It is somewhat of a bitter-sweet day for me:

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Yup, today I officially resigned my ownership of the Notes from Rational Support blog, and all other associated social accounts. I had actually transferred duties to a new team of colleagues over the past month, in part to help cover for me while I vacationed last week, but in a larger part to take the space and bring it to even higher levels of value. But today it all comes to a pivotal point where I’m letting go of my ownership access to the blog as part of my continued transition in to the IBM Internet of Things support organization where I am working on social business strategy and logistics like I did for Rational Support since 2008.

As you may have already noted from prior posts on that blog, I am leaving it in the very capable hands of Denise McKinnon and Naomi Guerrero. I couldn’t be more pleased to leave this institution in their hands, much like Kelly Smith did for me a few years back. Kelly started the blog in 2009, and drove it to great heights in the beginning, so much so that when I took the lead in 2012 (and then the reins when she transferred to newer opportunities in 2013) I was quite daunted and unsure if I could keep the blog as valuable and relevant as Kelly had. Thankfully, I saw the value climb as I pulled in other authors to aid in content creation and to provide deeper technical topics for our clients. This helped us continue the climb in value and finally saw the blog hit and maintain the #2 most viewed blog on developerWorks for the past two years running with over 17 million views to date!

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My pride in what we’ve achieved with that particular blog space is hard to miss, and of course makes it even harder to step away. Even harder still is the fact that it has been part of my daily life since I began helping Kelly in 2010. But, as I noted in my farewell post on Notes from Rational Support and in the title here, change really IS the only constant, and with that I have to acknowledge my time to move on…. Thankfully, I’m not moving far!

While I no longer run the IBM Rational Support social accounts, I AM still involved in social at IBM. More specifically with the IBM Internet of Things support teams. Now I hear you asking… What IS IBM IoT Support? And THAT, my friends, is a great question!

IBM IoT Support is a team of IBMers who are now part of the new IBM Internet of Things organization supporting the tools makers like our clients need to build components and connected devices. IBM IoT Support is focused on helping our audience, the makers, with their product questions by providing content relating to the various products covered by our new division.

Through our focused support of asset management and continuous engineering tools, we are here to provide our clients with the best support in the industry; to help them be successful with the applications and components to ensure your work on the connected devices in the Internet of Things brings you the right value.

To that end I’ve been working the past few months to create a few new social channels like our Notes from IoT Support  blog, our new Twitter account, and our new Youtube channel So you can see, I’m still doing the same job just in a different division of IBM. Of course I still have my hands deep into social support strategy as well as the day-to-day administration and content curation of our social channels and often act as a consultant helping colleagues in similar spaces navigate some of the speed bumps we all encounter in social business. Turns out, that is one of my favourite parts of this job: helping others be successful in their own areas of focus, which I guess is a trait that helps me be successful in my own areas as well.

Reminiscing with my day job blog posts

Posted by on Friday, 19 December, 2014

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In building out some year-end blog posts for my day job on Notes from Rational support, I realized how some of my thought-leadership focused posts were maintaining some nice traction. While I’ve missed a few months of posting here I thought I might collect some of those top-viewed posts to highlight, if for nothing else than posterity showing part of what I’ve been able to accomplish on NFRS (now the #2 most viewed blog on developerWorks and over 12.5 million views to date). Here’s the top 16 of my op-ed/thought leadership posts in descending order of most viewed:

Of course some of these posts are re-purposed and published from this blog as a test bed for some of my ideas around social business. Of course I’ve a lot more where those came from, which you can read by browsing through the social business category here.

 

Psst, I have a Secret

Posted by on Friday, 13 June, 2014

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I’ve been playing around on Secret lately. As a new social channel, I found it interesting and alluring to delve into the realm of anonymous social sharing. In doing so, I discovered a few interesting bits:

People use it to talk about sex. A LOT. While nowhere near surprising, it did reinforce how as a society we simply don’t talk about sex in any meaningful way publicly, or just openly. I’ve encountered some awesome discussions within the realms of sharing and commenting on secrets simply because of the safety involved with anonymity, thus by nature there is little chance of actual repercussions. More than just the issues we have with talking about sex, it also points heavily to the need to talk about it. With so many posts and comments surrounding the broad topic, there is a longing and desire to talk about these things in safe spaces. Things that are otherwise seen as taboo or lurid in mixed company or more public venues where anonymity isn’t a factor.

Even with outstanding community guidelines, people are still going to use the tool/service as they wish. Also known as “trolls will always be trolls”. Secret’s guidelines really are awesome, but they are only as good as the community that adopts them. With the overall tone of “Be Kind”, it seems that anonymity is seen as permission to be anything but. Thankfully, Secret has some outstanding report and block features that can help to quell hate or other inappropriate posts…

Which brings me to judgment. When Secret expanded its market a month or so back, I noticed a large uptick in comments that rained down judgements upon the secrets being shared, or even upon other comments in the threads. Because there is no demographic data to back up and corollaries I may draw, I have no way to know if such judgments are attributable to a particular age range, gender, or socio-economic status. What I do know, is that a large influx of people felt the need to shame, demean, and/or harshly reprimand others for sharing secrets, which seems to me completely misses the point of Secret in creating a safe place for people to share things they can’t say out loud to others.

Gender essentialism is rampant, and starts with basic assumptions of gender as it relates to the post author or anonymous commenters. This is yet another unsurprising behaviour, but one which is highlighted in how often those assumptions are proven incorrect, as well as how easy it is to fall into the traps of essentialism as it can be so deeply ingrained in our upbringing and socialization. Of course it doesn’t stop there, as assumptions of sexuality and even nationality are relatively common and can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Relationships are hard. People make mistakes. People are scared to do what is right for themselves. Yes it is a huge generalization, but I’ve noticed a lot of secrets relating to interpersonal relationships, questioning themselves or their significant other, and lamenting being stuck in situations. One great secret shared put it very well as a PSA: “Pleasure is our birthright”. What so many secret sharers seem to miss is that it is indeed okay to be happy, to find your pleasure, to do what is right for you.

Being able to see that a “Friend” shared a particular secret has reminded me how amazing and awesome my friends really are. There are heartbreaking secrets, sexy secrets, and even dull work related secrets. But they all show our humanity and beauty, and that to me is the best part of Secret: through anonymity I can see your true beauty.