Posts Tagged Social Business

Change is the only constant

Posted by on Monday, 10 August, 2015


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


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!


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.

A brief musing on personal branding versus personal life…

Posted by on Monday, 2 August, 2010

There’s been a large amount of chatter recently surrounding the concept of ‘personal brands’. Specifically with regards to social media, it has been said that building a personal brand is an important aspect of achieving success in the industry. This is something I’ve been contemplating recently, as I’d like to further my success in this space, but at the same time I don’t wish to alienate any real life friends with tailored tweets intended to build my personal brand professionally.

The problem, it seems to me, is that a drive towards building my own personal brand would likely conflict with the authenticity of my personal voice in the social media spaces. Building a brand would mean more work centric posts, causing a reduced following (or at least less of a reach) with my present audience of real-life friends with whom I connect via social media outlets to stay in touch on a personal if not slightly passive level. So, which is greater? Authenticity or branding?

Or, perhaps, I am thinking about this all wrongly…. since I am more focused (professionally speaking) on using social media in a -support- context, maybe the centralized account I currently maintain is more appropriate than an individual account with personal branding. After all, few of my personal followers really care about support material coming out of my work space. While some of my followers -are- interested in support content, that isn’t the reason they are following -ME-. Perhaps the answer I am looking for here is to build my brand based on my own authenticity, and drive visibility to the other channels while maintaining my own voice in my own space. One account working to help the other, or more specifically, working in tandem.

I think when it comes to support contexts, personal branding is irrelevant unless you are an SME (subject matter expert) within a very particular space. In the larger scope of providing another direct channel to locate timely information, centralized accounts are going to be the best best as clearing houses of content. As my role is within Knowledge Management, my subject matter expertise runs at a higher level than what a single client may be looking for in terms of product support, therefore negating any need for a client to follow me specifically, and more of a need for that same client to follow our centralized support account to stay informed.

Hmmm. I think I just talked my way through continuing to do what I/we have been doing already 🙂

A short diatribe on Social Media pitfalls and pet peeves

Posted by on Friday, 19 February, 2010

You all know I am active in the social media world, both personally and professionally. You also know I have opinions and I am not shy about them. I’d like to take some time here to discuss a few missteps I often see in the various social networks which may cause you more harm than good if you are trying to build or maintain relationships in these spaces:

1. Don’t shout… converse! Social networks are not your personal advertising stream, they are ways to connect with others of similar interest and build relationships which you may not have otherwise had the opportunity for. This means engaging in conversations with your network; listening AND speaking. Twitter is not a bullhorn, Facebook is not a one way street. If you are looking to use these sites to their advantage, you MUST stop shouting your message and take the time to listen to your audience; begin engaging in conversations around your space, and soon you will find that perfect cadence which your audience is looking for.

What does this mean in more concrete terms?
For Twitter, it means you need to watch your follow list and absorb what is being talked about. It means putting out your opinion and ideas about other’s updates. It means taking a look at your own feed and not seeing one way posts just pushing out your message, but rather seeing @replies and discussions occurring.

For Facebook, it means replying to comments left on your updates. It means commenting on other’s updates. I am sure you can extrapolate this all for other networks as well… the key is to engage in dialog; after all, networking is a two way street.

2. Provide context to your updates! Without any context, many updates lose all their value. Imagine an update that only says “Wow, what a busy day!”, where’s the value there? Ok, I can surmise that you are having a busy day and may not have time to talk to me about something trivial. But imagine how much more value that update would have carried had some context been applied like “BUSY DAY! Working on new social media strategies”. Now I can see that you are indeed busy, but more importantly your project may be something I can help with or would be interested in seeing the results from, even reusing it if appropriate; so I may tweet back “@you Hey! I’d love to help or see what you come up with, let’s collaborate!”… and bingo, now we’ve got a conversation and possibly even lightened our collective workloads by collaborating.

Too many times have I seen Facebook status updates similar to: “worst day EVER!” or “Not sure I can handle this”, with no further context. Not surprisingly, there are often somewhere between 5 and 20 comments on that status, all effectually asking the same question back: “What’s going on?”. Rarely, however, do I see the original poster reply back with any explanation of the context surrounding the first update. This leaves all their friends in the lurch, so to speak, reaching out to try and help, but without context there is no way to know what anyone could do. Now imagine that same update as”Not sure I can handle changing my tire on the freeway”. Immediately friends can identify something tangible to assist with, and the poster may even see a comment come back like “tell us where you are and we’ll pick you up” or “I have AAA, and will call a truck for you”.

Context, my friends, is important. It can mean the difference between radio silence from your followers, and an overwhelming flow of support helping you do things you never knew you could accomplish. Really, the line between the two is so small, it may just be the difference of a single word in your update that opens the floodgates of conversation or assistance.

3. When someone asks a question; reply. I hit on this in number two, but it bears repeating and being called out on its own. If someone comments on your update or @replies to one of your tweets, do the courtesy of replying. Even if the reply is “I don’t know”, at least you will be engaging in conversation and showing that you are listening to your friends and followers. This also goes back to number one as well, where if you aren’t replying, you are in that paradigm of shouting your message and telling your followers that you’re not listening to them. By not replying, your followers will begin to think that you aren’t interested in conversation, that you’re only interested in pushing out your message. If your followers get to that point, you’ve just lost any benefit you may see from playing in the social media spaces, and even worse, will likely begin losing followers to the point where the audience for your message has dwindled to completely ineffectual levels.
The net result of this: if you ignore your followers, they’ll ignore you.