Going from B2B to B2C to P2P — Helping the enterprise engage in social media

According to IBM … “It’s no longer a BtoB or BtoC relationship. It’s PtoP”

via IBM – Social business overview.

Once considered a lagger when it comes to providing enterprise ready tools and services, IBM is now one of several leading consulting services firms who are looking to rapidly get in front of the Social Media curve. As with their push in the Business Process Management (BPM) space over the past two years, they are quickly providing offerings; combination of services, software, tools and assets, designed to help an organization operationalize their use of social media.

IBM joins companies like Infosys who have been providing comprehensive solutions for engaging with consumers, influence their purchase decisions and provide post-purchase assistance online. While the marketing organizations with many companies are looking for ways to harness the power of social media to improve their brand online, product and sales teams are looking for more effective ways to deepen engagement with customers to both foster innovation as well as monetize the interaction. To do this effectively the platform must have the ability to spans multiple channels and provides a seamless experience across web browsers, mobile devices and tablets.

Customer will soon realize however that an application or SaaS solution that provides a series of API’s to Twitter, Facebook and the growing number of social networks is not sufficient. To effectively implement a comprehensive social media strategy, an company must also address the organization impacts these tools will have on existing business processes and operating procedures. Communication to customers which was once limited to only a small group within the organization is now in the hands of a larger number of employees. Business must come to grips with the reality that hundreds of employees will have the ability to engage with customers through these platforms. Education programs and clear editorial guidelines will need to be established to ensure “the right” message is maintained across the organization. Additionally, social media like most online transactions happen 24 hours a day,7 days a week. The traditional, “we’ll get back to you in 48 hours” is a recipe for failure for a business looking to conduct a larger portion of their business via online channels.

It will be interesting to see how IBM and others address this challenge over the next 2 years.


President-elect Barack Obama uses the web to communicate transition plan

The Obama team continues to demonstrate that they recognize the value of the communication and that the internet can be a really powerful channel to help facilitate communication.

Their new website Change.gov publishes news releases, information about the President-elect, Vice President-elect and information about the various individuals Barack Obama has chosen to work with him in the White House. It is also a great place for you to post your ideas to help our country get back on track.

You can also apply for a job in the Obama-Biden administration!



Pulling an “April Fools” joke on a colleague via instant messaging

Between working all week on site at a client and preparing for Jake’s 5th birthday party, I never had a chance to post the chat transcript of a little trick I pulled on a colleague over instant messaging on April 1st! The team I am working with on my current project and I are sitting in one small room. We had just come back from lunch where we had been discussing the “gullibility” of people we know. When we got back to our computers, I decided to put this theory to the test.

The great thing about IM is that you can continue maintaining a straight face much, much longer than you could if you were attempting to pull this off face to face. If I didn’t have to get back to work I could have probably kept this conversation going for another 20 minutes.

I have changed the names to protect the innocent (and the gullible):

      Colleague: Hi there
      Me: Hi
      Me: Did you know that Sandeep has an illegitimate child with a girl he met in Canada?
      Colleague: NO, get out!
      Me: Yeah. It slipped out at lunch
      Colleague: I just read People at the dr. office and it was about teenage pregnancy 700K
      Me: Wow .. That’s high
      Colleague: what meeting do you have this afternoon
      Colleague: trying to keep track of all interviews we have
      Me: At first he didn’t really want to talk about it. It appears she trapped him or something like that
      Me: Then she found out he wasn’t a US citizen
      Colleague: does he keep in contact with the child?
      Colleague: was she Indian?
      Me: Canadian French
      Me: I think he does. He said its hard because of the distance
      Colleague: that’s why you gotta keep protected
      Me: Plus, she can’t immigrate to the US because he doesn’t have citizenship
      Colleague: are they still dating?
      Me: Not sure. I think they only have the kid in common.
      Me: The girls name is Avril. Means April in french [Can you tell that I went to an Avril Lavigne concert the week before?]
      Colleague: how old is she?
      Colleague: I’m sure his parents were not to pleased
      Me: 12 YO
      Colleague: What?
      Me: Not sure if he’s told them
      Me: He went to school in Canada before he came to the US
      Colleague: isn’t he 25
      Colleague: that means he had her at 13
      Me: No. He’s older
      Colleague: 28
      Me: I think that’s why he had to come to the US. His parents disowned him. He’s parents are pretty religious
      Me: I think they had an arranged marriage for him. But the girls family called it off.
      Colleague: wow
      Colleague: you are like the Enquirer
      Me: Just goes to show .. you never really know somebody
      Colleague: does he give $$ to support
      Colleague: so the mother was really young when she had Avril
      Me: He went to High School in Canada. They meet at school.
      Me: I think they both were very young
      Me: I’m sure he helps out
      Colleague: I’m getting [my daughter] a chastity belt
      Me: Good idea

This exchange has really made me reevaluate how much I can really “trust” a conversation I am having with someone over the internet (via email or IM). Especially when I can’t fully gauge the intent of the message they are sending. My point is this. When I speak with someone face to face, I use body language to judge the validity of what they are telling me. Without that sensory input, I become much more vulnerable and have to “trust” that the information they are communicating to me is the truth. Internet communication relies on a much higher level of trust than I realized before this little experiment.

Of course .. now that people know I like to play pranks over the net .. my trust-worthness has just dropped several points!


Twittering to my heart’s content!

You just have to love the simplicity of badges and widgets.  Badges are simply code that allow you to incorporate functionality into your web site. Flickr, Facebook and even Twitter provide you with some simple code that when dropped into an HTML/PHP/ASP/.Net page on your site pull content from those sites into yours.

You can see an example of this in the sidebar of my site.  The second column now displays a Twitter badge that displays my last 5 Twitter postings (affectionally known as “tweets”).The code was provided by Twitter (http://twitter.com/badges).  You can select one of three styles of badges.  I am using the HTML version that immediately leverages the CSS file I use to control my site’s presentation. 

To learn more about Twitter check out this video.

To learn more about badges check out:



A great way to explain Twitter to your friends

I normally don’t have a problem explaining new technologies to people but Twitter really caused me to pause and think.  

A Twitterer for more than a few months now I find it a great way to stay in touch with friends and colleagues.  Now that I use Twitterific I am able to submit and track Twitter posts all day long.

Cali Lewis (of GeekBrief.TV) latest show discussed a video created by the team at CommonCraft Show that does a great job explaining how Twitter works and why you would want to use it.  It is really short and worth watching.