April 7th, 2011

Get Social, Do Business - How do I do that?

So before, I mentioned that I'd be back asking for help with my job - and here I am.  As I said before, we (IBM employees)  are being asked to Get Social and Do Business.  What's really happening is a lot of discussion about what that means. One discussion I was in recently included "How do we MAKE people use Connections?"  I very quickly gave the opinion that attempts to force the use of social software would result in shutting down participation - does anybody else share that opinion?  

So how is IBM to do this and what exactly does it look like when we've done it?  Goodness knows we've gathered up enough business analytics companies to be able to measure it all, but what to measure?  Here's where you come in.

The way I figure it, my job in IBM Support is to help customers with software.  Since I'm in the Lotus part of  IBM Collaboration Solutions, my tendency is to support those products since I know them better.  So how would I and a few thousand of my colleagues use 'Social" to help YOU, my customers?  

Those of you who know me know that I will pretty much respond to any ping on Sametime, Skype (the more active route of pinging) or email.  I respond to business partners and customers alike and do so without 'credit' from my management, because its who I am.   In the past, Ed or Mary Beth or I have responded directly to customers who posted blog entries on our sites or on YOUR websites and solved problems or answered questions.  Again, this doesn't get seen by management, but it does solve your problem.  

Is this what IBM has to do in order to be social and do business.  Are blogs still relevant?  Quite a few IBMers have tried blogging and after a few entries, the sites died.  Do we wait for you to contact us or complain? How do we get proactive with using 'social"?

Interestingly enough, I got this link in a Skype chat this morning (Thanks Marie)  - "How IBM Uses Twitter for Marketing".  Awesome!  I went to the IBM Intranet to get a link so I could encourage my work friends to sign up and use twitter and guess what?  There's nothing - anywhere on the Intranet about this.  I searched several different ways and got nothing - so somebody somewhere in IBM has declared this, but the message delivery is spotty at best.  And I'm not sure I want IBM to follow my tweets, ya know?  

So, I'm encouraging ideas - How do I (and my colleagues) Get Social and Do Business and better yet, how to I do it in a way that my management writes pretty things on my review next year and gives me tons of money in raises and bonuses?  (Okay, that last part is far fetched, but it just flowed).  

Talk to me.