Social Business Sandy

BIZTECHBUZZ in the world of social, cognitive, IoT and startups

Month: March 2010

Update from Forbes on Business Games and Social Media

Timely article out of Forbes underscoring value of business games –

Why videogames are the future of business–and women are getting on board. –

World Food Bank Game — WOW!

When you get a chance, check out this spectacular ARG game from the World Food Bank.

Watch how they use Facebook to promote the game’s missions. Excellent example of creating a game to collaborate and innovate with a broad broad audience.

***LOVE IT***

SocialStar Digest: Featuring Darren Bibby from IDC

 So our next SocialStar featured is Darren Bibby Program Director, Software Channels Research IDC.  Darren does phenomenal work on the partnering ecosystem and is a social media fan for the channel.

Follow Darren at

1) Darren, tell me about IDC and your role there.

IDC  is an IT analyst and research firm with almost 1000 analysts worldwide. My specific domain within IDC is all about software partners.

Every day at IDC I think about how software vendors and their business partners (VARs, ISVs, regional SIs) work together to make money, essentially. My small team and I look at partner programs, industry announcements, key trends, and the like. I’m always looking for ideas. Big ideas and small ideas. Anything that can help vendors and partners get more out of working together.

Social media is certainly a topic that applies in terms of new ideas. Many vendors and partners are doing some great things. It’s also appealing to me on both a business and a personal level. If you’d like to hear more about my work at IDC, check out my bio.

2) How do you see social media impacting the ecosystem space?

It’s already happening. IT solution providers of all varieties are experimenting with social media to see what can work for them. Many are already building communities, creating YouTube channels, writing blogs, tweeting, and more.

A survey of partners we did last summer showed that LinkedIn for networking was the top-used social media site or tool, followed by LinkedIn Groups; and then reading blogs. Our survey showed that the social media sites or tools that were going to grow the most were: writing blogs at number one and Twitter at number two. I still think that 2010 will continue to be a year of experimentation with social media for most solution providers. Perhaps by this time next year, VARs and ISVs will start to settle on a few key tactics that they can show some ROI for.

For instance, some partners I’ve talked to said they’ve traded in their traditional marketing newsletter for a blog. The blog allows them to show more personality, show thought leadership, and get feedback from readers. Much better than a one way email newsletter. Other partners are focusing on pushing out their thought leadership through Twitter. Some are using company Twitter handles and some companies are opting for one or two individuals to make a name for themselves and represent the company to the public.

I love what Ascendant Technology is doing with its South Park videos on YouTube as Liz Albert was describing in a previous post. The videos are catchy it seems to be working for them with the Lotusphere 2009 video getting over 20,000 views!

There’s no one magic formula that works for every partner. Liz and Ascendant are showing that being unique and humorous is the key for them!

3) What are a few of the top lessons learned that you’d like to share with my readers?

a) If you’re new to social media, it’s probably best to watch and learn first before participating. Digital records of what you post can last a very long time! Start following people on Twitter to get a hang of it. Sign up to some relevant groups on LinkedIn. Take advantage of the endless guidance available out there. IBM’s social media guidelines would be a great place to start.

b) Come up with some kind of plan for your company on how to leverage social media as a part of the marketing mix. It should be a well thought-out strategy for using social media versus what the common everyday user does, which is more random in nature. If you’re going to replace your newsletter with a blog, how are you going to get content? Who are your writers? At what frequency of new content can you maintain? As much as partners in our survey wanted to start new blogs, my gut tells me that most don’t know how much work it takes to keep them up-to-date with fresh content.

c) Go for quality and not necessarily quantity with your social media contributions.

I came to a realization a long time ago that I wasn’t going to be able to read every tweet out there nor was I going to be able to publish 10 value-added or interesting tweets a day.

Now, many people can do this, but it doesn’t fit with my own availability or style. My plan with Twitter, as an example, is to tweet at events I go to and only really when I feel I have something valuable to say to “the community.”

Remember it is a community out there. Think of any big meetings you’ve been in – you generally think twice about whether or not your comment will add value to the meeting. Hold yourself to a similar value-added threshold for social media sites. Again, your digital record lasts for a long time.

d) Look for inspiration and ideas from social media posts. 

There is a lot of information out there.  Way too much.  Social media sites and tools can help to bring the cream to the top.  I have stumbled across some great ideas through Twitter, blogs, and LinkedIn groups to name a few.  For example, I was pointed to one specific “TED Talk” a couple of years ago through Twitter and now I often make it a lunchtime diversion to watch an interesting speech from one of the world’s top thinkers.  Thanks Twitter!

 4) Why do you think social media is important to partners and vendors alike?

Good or bad, I think there is a new playing field because of social media.  People want to know how you think.  Let me use a theoretical hiring example to explain what I mean. 

Old world:  Candidate A has a resume, but that is usually peppered with embellishments, “mostly truths,” etc..  We all know there is only so much you can take out of a resume and I don’t think many people hire based solely on that. Then there’s the job interview, which I’ve understood from HR science aren’t actually very useful at determining someone’s future performance.  And then thirdly there are often references.  Hand-picked references, of course…  Candidate A has all three things, like any old world candidate would. 

So what’s the new world?  Now I have heard that people are starting to ask, “Can I see your blog? Can I see your Twitter stream?”  What a good reference point for HR departments and hiring managers to learn about how someone thinks. It’s arguably far more useful than the traditional “resume, interview, references” package. Candidate B happens to have all three elements that Candidate A has, plus a blog and a Twitter stream.  It’s far easier to see how “B” thinks than “A.” 

This will be the same in business.  Before we work together, “Can I see your blog? Can I see your Twitter stream?”  I’m not sure how, “I don’t have either” is going to go over. 

Tell us about your Social Media Needs! Take the IBM Social Media Survey

Tell us about your Social Media Needs! Take the IBM Social Media Survey !

The Social Media Universe.  Where do you fit?

Take our Social Media survey and let us know!

IBM has launched a “Business Partner Survey on Usage of Social Computing” in order to assist us in strengthening our social computing strategy and capabilities into the future. 

I hope each of you will take some time to tell us about your needs and your current social media preferences.  Are you a “twitterholic? like me”  A Facebook fan?  A member of LinkedIN?.   Do you blog?  

These are all aspects of social media that some of our Business Partners use, or listen to. Through the survey we are seeking Business Partner input to better understand market preferences, needs and reactions to specific social computing capabilities and tools. 

This will also include an assessment of preferences regarding use of IBM and other IT company websites that utilize social computing capabilities.

As members of the IBM PartnerWorld Community, please take a few minutes to complete the survey available now in the Making Business Sense of Social Media and Social Networking forum.

The survey has been approved by IBM’s Global Business Partner organization and is available through March 31, 2010.  So hurry and take the survey today !:) 

Results will be made available in the above forum where participants are also invited to join a discussion around the use of Social Computing in business today.  The survey is voluntary and, as all surveys are in IBM, this survey is completely anonymous – all personal information submitted becomes anonymous at time of submission. 

Social Networking has grown dramatically in the last 18mos.  But not everyone uses it for business , for some its only a tool for sharing personal information or photos.  For others, it can be a great way to share business information and network in real-time. 

Social media offers immediate information that can help you better understand market needs and information to better help you interact with other IT professionals. For myself, I am continually amazed at the amount of good , relevant information flowing through Twitter, blogs and social networks. 

If you’re new to Social Media, and looking for introductory education, you may want to view the new Getting started with social media guide from IBM on Partnerworld.

Social Media in Israel!

I am Israel this week with a whole set of partners and clients that are amazing!

During my time spent with clients and partners, here’s some of the things that I learned that I thought I’d share!

  • In Israel,   Facebook growing faster than Twitter  •2 Million users:  53.8% are men and 46.2% are women •Ages 18-24 = 32.4%; 25-34 = 37.6%, teenagers 14-17 = 18.3% .  Interesting that in my Partner roundtable today, the country sentiment is that Twitter isn’t understood in value — I tried to help!  Let’s see if it worked!
  • IBM Israel team did a ** Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn ** only campaign to attract partners to an event here and ended up with over 200 new developers!
  • Social Groups.  I found a first of its kind! — Social media conference for Torah-observant people and organizations.  Sponsored by Kishor Women’s Professional Networking Group (   It was spent addressing legal and philosophical issues relating to use of social media as well as internet safety for children & students
  • Social Media Networking – Israel – connect via LinkedIn §For developers, technical writers, and users
  • Shin1 – most popular social network for Israeli kids (
  • Supermom Network (
  • Dec 2009:  IDF cyber defense strategy — planning to use social     networking —  Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube — to reach international audiences  

   Some great and creative work by Isreal on Social Media!

SocialStar Digest: Featuring Liz Albert from Ascendant Technology

In my New Year’s resolution, I suggested doing a set of guest bloggers who are experts and users of Social Media in their businesses!  I had *Great* response to this idea and have a series of guest bloggers joining me ! 

The first in my series will be from Ascendant technology, who has a Social Media Practice in their business. Liz Albert, is our first guest blogger, and has some great experience in a small business setting leveraging social media! 

1.    Ascendent is a leading business partner with IBM. In a few sentences, what’s Ascendant’s value proposition and mission?

Ascendant Technology (Atech) is the leading provider of end-to-end web-based solutions to enterprises worldwide.  We create business agility for organizations through the adoption and implementation of technology, to both increase the speed at which organizations innovate and drive efficiency through this innovation.   

We work comprehensively across all five IBM software brands—Lotus, WebSphere, Tivoli, Rational and Information Management—to develop elegant Portal, e-Commerce, and rich Internet applications.  Our top-notch business services combine best-in-class subject matter expertise to develop solutions in Strategy Definition & Value Measurement, Requirements and Process Engineering, User Experience Research and Design & Digital Marketing.

With local offices across the U.S. and in Europe, Brazil, and India, Atech is a recognized Premier IBM business partner and has garnered numerous IBM awards such as Best Portal Solution and SOA Innovator Award for the Lotus, WebSphere and Rational brands.  Most recently, Atech was recognized as the 2010 North America Lotus Distinguished Award winner. 

2. Liz, tell me a little bit about your background in social media? 

 I have been an avid consumer of all things “social media” for several years, especially since the advent of social networking sites and public online communities.  Like many, I started with interest in Myspace.  Then Linkedin. Then Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Blogspot, etc.   At one point, I must have been signing up for 3- 4 social media sites every week!

 Over the past couple years though, I have noticed a trend in social media advancement, how the tools can now help address particular business needs and what social media truly means in today’s challenging economic environment.  It is these applications and uses of social media which will drive the next wave of social media demand and innovation.

3. Interesting. What are your 3 favorite social media tactics that you have executed? 

 Currently some of my favorite social media tactics include the new and somewhat innovative paths we’ve been taking with our recent Atech marketing campaigns.  Throughout 2009, Atech embarked on a path to introduce social media tools to our customers and partners with tactics intended to promote both the activities within Atech but also facilitate solution & methodology launches.  My 3 favorites through all our recent  campaigns include:

·      Expanding social media campaigns to include a more varied form of media (including video and photograph applications) with traditional print and blog campaigns.  Perhaps you’ve seen the Southpark videos we’ve created for the various IBM brand conferences in 2009?  These campaigns employed the use of YouTube to reach of different type of audience, one that perhaps would not have been familiarized with Atech and IBM solutions had we not “reached” them through this media platform.  The success of this tactic has resulted in expanded plans in 2010 to utilize the medium in a much greater fashion, so much so that we’re including a YouTube blog area of the new website, which is deep in the midst of redesign now. 

·      Development and promotion of Atech’s own instance of Lotus Connections, hosted on the Amazon Cloud:

This site was launched at the recent Lotusphere 2010 (#ls10) conference and was also recognized as a finalist for the Best in Showcase solution.  As an innovative social media tool, the site is both an example of how easy it is to get up-and-running quickly with IBM Lotus Collaboration software and is designed to provide users an easy point-of-entry to experience the innovative features of the IBM social networking tool.  More than just a demonstration of the functionality of Connections on the Cloud, this particular instance is a live, working, full version of Connections for Atech employees, customers and partners.  Within this environment, there are various blogs discussing the latest tech and world news of the day, bookmarks to pertinent technical and life resources, and much more information as it relates to Atech and our current path of innovation, which our community of followers can now access in a centralized location. 

·      Finally, and I’m sure you knew I was going to say this, but Twitter has been a tactic which Atech has found great success through 2009 and will continue to expand upon in 2010.  Through lessons learned in 2009, we’ve learned the types of news (both Atech and Tech world in general) our followers find value in being alerted to and what will help to generate additional business for Atech.  As I mentioned earlier, is undergoing a massive redesign, specially to address the greater need we see for social media marketing tools such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.  The homepage of the site will now have a live feed of all corporate Atech tweets (@Atech_Speaks), as well as other feeds that include the soon to be introduced hastag #Atech, specifically from myself (@socialmediamvn) and Jim Deters, the King of social media forethought (@yodeets).

4. What do you think are the top 2 trends for future leaders to focus on?

Currently Atech, quite like yourself, is committed to a “Social Media Resolution” strategy for 2010.  There are definitely areas within our social media strategy that we need to improve upon to address the growing demands of both consumers and developers.  The one trend I can definitely foresee in the very near future which will help us meet these demands is that social media will be simply everywhere.  Take a fictional coffee drinker (Stan) for example.  While sitting at home, computer in reach and watching a prime time TV show (which happens to have a promotional twitter feed streaming during the telecast) Stan will see a commercial promoting a new fangled type of coffee pot.  Stan is encouraged to “Visit a website to learn more,” which he immediately does, as he was engaging in the twitter promotion with other viewers of the TV show he was watching.  Once at the site, he sees an embedded YouTube video showing a regular consumer, just like Stan, using the coffee pot of interest.  Also on the site, there is a link to purchase the product, which leads to an area with a social tool allowing other consumers to create reviews and product ratings.  Some of these reviewers chose to link their facebook and twitter ID’s, which Stan chooses to friend/follow, and so begins a discussion with previously complete strangers to determine the best coffee for Stan’s now purchased coffee pot.  Social media will be everywhere and very soon influence every activity we engage in!

5. What didn’t I ask you that you think I should have?

 The one thing that I’m constantly asked is how I maintain my high-level of involvement with the many social media tools, as it seems like a very time consuming activity.  I challenge all who question the applicability and ease of use within social media to find one thing that interests them, be it coffee like “Stan” or new innovations in the world of Mac, and start seeking out information via social media tools for that one topic.  Find something that grabs hold of you and learn how easy it is to engage within the many realms of social media to get complete information quickly and easily!

 Thanks Sandy! J