Monday, August 20, 2012

Social Residency a Review


Redbooks ROCK!
graphic originally from Femke's blog

I am now an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader along with five other friends and the original six which were the startup guinea pigs of the IBM Social Residency. Now we are The Social Dozen. We also use the hashtag #ibmsocialbiz and you should follow it if Social Business, Connections or anything else is of interest.

A week in Raleigh is what it takes to enter this special group. Okay, that and an application which gets reviewed and it helps to already be blogging, social, into IBM Connections and other ICS solutions and have something unique to say at times. I was the only American in the group or if I use my irish citizenship...we were all foreigners. Something which we discussed as well along the way.

Not for the faint of heart, there are manufacturing ghosts from decades past, a surplus depot which is to die for if you are a true tech geek (oh the things one can find), lunch and coffee was a mile hike inside the building(I love old IBM buildings for their architecture, design and signage that provides us glimpses into what it was like in prior times) and many other unique items along the way of your travels, like pirates and skeletons, The Whole Internet and which beer indicates your social aptitude (pics from class of this here and here) among other interesting discussions. But enough sightseeing, what did we do and what does it all mean?

The idea was to bring in people from different parts of life such as technical, sales, blogger, wiki writer, IBMer and Business Partner. we had a great group and our evening activities only spurred us on to greater topics the next day. Indeed we felt it was like Lotusphere in some ways because it was very social and no one was left out of any outings. I guess you can't take the Lotus out of us.

The sessions we experienced spanned the ICS offerings in addition to hitting on IBM Watson, IBM Content Manager, IBM SmartCloud, IBM Cognos (which I already blogged about) and some more formal IBM guideline sessions for our blogging.

We will eventually become part of the blog posting members of this site:
screenshot from the original IBM site

But what will we discuss? This was the question which ran throughout the week in our sessions with numerous IBMers and our own brainstorming sessions.

For me the brainstorming sessions were very useful because when I blog, and presumably for most people it is the same, I rarely have a queue of topics/ideas. I have some posts on save/hold but rarely do I have a title and then go write. This forced each of us to produce 3-5 topics and titles which we then hashed out some details.

Along the way during the week we tested some ideas around Gamification, Klout(it worked), Google Plus +1, social media, Facebook Likes, customer engagements and work around when faced with challenging situations.

What does all of it mean? It means we were free flowing ideas, looking at angles to discuss and blog about and work to a greater good. It is not all altruistic, it is in essence a way to get ourselves and our companies and blogs to a new group of people who trust Redbooks and we hope in turn trust us to work with us in the future.

We shot a few short videos which highlight our usage of social tools and just before leaving we did an impromptu commercial for Redbooks. After 20 years of reading and using them, I thought we should give something back for the IBM team to show their management what we all think of Redbook's and luckily so did everyone else.

We have a weekly conference call to maintain updates on blog posts and other ideas and/or IBM info so we will maintain our efforts and not forget what it was all about. A very critical point, just because the heavy work is done, does not mean you should forget about the customer. I look forward to those calls.

It is expected we will produce 1 post a month on average with the first one due about 2 weeks within completion of the residency. The posts are reviewed for IBM guidelines among other items and then set to publish which is when I can start encouraging others to read it and mention it on my social networks. You have been media efforts will be published.

If you ever get a chance to be a part of the Redbooks you should because IBM Redbooks ROCK!

Want to do a residency? Go here to see what is available.


  1. I could not have summarized it better.
    It was and will be a great experience

  2. Great write up! The group video came out really well, thanks for the idea Keith. Looking forward to your upcoming blogs.