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June 2009

Reflections on Enterprise 2.0 2009 in Boston


I’ve been looking forward to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference this past week in Boston for some time. I had the pleasure of being on the panel organized by Peter Kim (@PeterKim) - “Lessons Learned from Internal Communities” – with the likes of extraordinary women like Joan DiMicco (@JoanDiMicco) at IBM and Patricia Romeo (@PatricaRomeo) at Deloitte.


Photo courtesy of Alex Dunne.

Lessons Learned From Internal Communities

View more presentations from Peter Kim.


In addition to the panel session, which went very well, I enjoyed quite a few other sessions. Rather than recapping each session, I’d like to call out my overall observations from the conference.


Many companies, both big and small, are interested in social media as a business tool. The general feeling I got though, and still do, is that they’re not sure where to start. People are hungry for the knowledge of those that have gone before them on where to get started for both an internal and external social media presence – be it communities, how to use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, etc – it’s all on their minds. I imagine that’s one of the many reasons our panel was jam packed.  Types of questions that were consistently circulating around (of which these will make an excellent future post):

  • What are some steps to get started?
  • How do I convince executives that we need to do this?
  • Who funds the initiative?
  • Who manages/staffs the initiative?
  • Who monitors/moderates?
  • Where do HR and Legal come into the picture?
  • How do we treat international participants? Is there translation?
  • How do we deal with international laws, regulations, etc.?


Analytics are a hot topic.

Everyone’s trying to figure out how to measure success of these initiatives. Nearly all of the vendors offering community solutions, also offer some sort of analytics package to go along with it, and some (although few and far between) even offer independent analytics packages.


One huge miss I was feeling is that the push was on the numbers themselves, but there were no actionable recommendations coupled with the tools to suggest what could be done with the analytics. Numbers are only numbers without a keen understanding of what you want to gather, why you want to gather it, and what you want to do with the numbers to improve.  You need not only to know what you’re trying to measure, but what your goals are and why they are important, and then you need to take action and be willing to modify your plan if you’re not getting where you want to be. Key questions that need to be answered include:

  • What are your goals?
  • What are you trying to measure?
  • Why is the measurement important?
  • What will the measurement tell you?
  • What actions can you take as a result of the measurement?
  • What changes will you make if you’re not meeting your goals?


There was a keen interest in understanding the complete social media/social strategy package.

Many folks seemed to be interested not only in what the tools are that are available for use, but how they are being used currently. There definitely seems to be a tendency to want to be “everywhere” (have a presence on all of the tools) NOW vs. slowly moving into using each of the tools as one is mastered. I’d personally recommend the second option – get involved in a few and see how that goes rather than joining all that are out there and attempting to master them all simultaneously.  Key questions on a social strategy include:

  • What are your goals for using social media?
  • What are the tools available to you and what can they be used for?
  • Who is your key audience? Or who are you trying to communicate/converse with?
  • Where are they already conversing?
  • Is there anyone that has experience/expertise in these tools at your company already? Find them – you’re going to need them!


Twitter is still huge, but…

There was hardly a person in each of the sessions, myself included, that was not busy on their laptop or cell phone tweeting their way through the sessions.


…How do we use Twitter as an enterprise tool?

Clearly at the forefront of everyone’s mind was how can people use Twitter to achieve business goals. The first step to that is, of course, defining your business goals. My strong recommendation is that you do not need a Twitter account just because “everyone else is doing it.” You need to instead, answer the following questions about Twitter and then create an account:

  • What are your goals for using Twitter? How do you want to use it?
  • Who is your target audience? Are they on Twitter already?
  • Are others (companies) doing it and can we learn from their example?
  • Who will be responsible for monitoring and engaging?


It's about the people and the technology!

It’s not practical or even possible to just focus on only the people or only the technology. For the longest time, many have said it's about just the people, and the technology doesn't matter...but a consistent theme at the conference this year was that if you're not also paying attention to the technology, you're missing out.


My favorite quote on this topic was by Peter Kim "If its just relationships and technology doesn't matter, we should all go home."


A good social media strategy will take into account both the people and the technology. The people you expect to use the tools on behalf of the company, the people you expect to communicate with, the people that will be impacted by your strategy. The technology you wish to use to support your strategy, the technology people are already using, or will need to learn to meet the organization’s goals. It must be about both the people and the technology.


Enterprise 2.0 tools are an extension of other tools, not a replacement for them.

There has been buzz off and on that these tools will replace other tools we use to work and live, such as email, phone calls, traditional media, etc. However, the consistent theme at the conference – which I wholeheartedly agree with – is that these tools will not be replacements, but that they will and should work in harmony with other, existing tools as supplements to them. Amen.


Social interaction in-person is just as important as online interaction.

Might seem like a no-brainer for those of us that use these tools and talk to people, but we’re all aware of the perception that is out there than people would rather interact online using social tools instead of chatting with folks face-to-face. The response to that theory - and also self-evident by the participation at the Tweetups during the event – is an overwhelming I don’t think so.


This is particularly important to make note of companies who may be relying heavily on community or Enterprise 2.0 tools in and of themselves to help with employee satisfaction and employee retention. Keep in mind that they are only a part of the bigger picture. Sure, they’ll help, but they’re not a replacement for face-to-face interactions and discussions.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and conference in general. Although the sessions were great, my favorite part of the entire conference was finally meeting, in-person, folks that I've chatted with for weeks, months, even years online or via phone, but never had the opportunity to meet until this wonderful event!


Seeking Voluntary Donations for Life-Saving Heart Transplant for 2 Year Old Son of EMC Employee

Hou-chan1 Hou-chan's Heart Disease

Houku Katagiri (Hou-chan) is a 2-year-old boy who lives in Mitaka, Tokyo.

In October 2008, he had sudden heart failure and was diagnosed with

restrictive cardiomyopathy or RKM

- an incurable disease that takes the lives of 50 percent of those afflicted within one year.


Hou-chan’s condition is serious, and a heart transplant is the only way to save his life.

Heart transplants for children are not permitted in Japan, where by law organ donors must be at least 15 years old. A bill has just been approved by the upper house to work towards changing this law, although likely still a long way away from completion.  Hou-chan's condition is deteriorating and he is currently hospitalized at Kyorin University Hospital. He needs a transplant operation as soon as possible. 

Devastatingly, Columbia University in New York has refused to carry out a heart transplant on Houku, reportedly saying it had filled its quota for overseas transplants. Imagine!

Hou-chan2 Seeking Voluntary Donations to help Save Hou-chan - every little bit helps!

Loma Linda University Hospital in California, USA will perform the life-saving surgery, but first Hou-chan’s family must secure the USD 1 million required to cover his estimated medical costs. 

In Japan, health insurance does not cover this operation and government support is unavailable.  Katagari-san’s family needs your voluntary donations to help raise the funds required for his life-saving surgery and recovery.  

Below are details for how to donate to the support group that has been established in Hou-chan’s name, Hou-chan wo Sukuu-kai.  

Thank you for your consideration and support!

Making a Donation

Below are details on two options for making a donation.  

Option 1: Donate through PayPal

You can also use PayPal, an on-line service for transferring money safely and easily.

Please note the transfer fees from overseas before calculating your donation:  3.9% + $0.3 per transfer

How to Use PayPal
1. Create your own Personal Account on PayPal. 
2. Please transfer your donation to



Option 2: Donate through bank transfer - recommended for group/collective donations 

You can directly transfer payment to the Hou-chan's bank account.  Please note that Hou-Chan's account is charged approximately USD 15.00 per transfer so ideally individuals can combine their donations and remit in groups to reduce the banking fees for every overseas remittance and normal banking transfer fees. 


Branch (Branch #)


Account Type

Account Holder

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ

Mitaka branch office (222)


Saving   account


Hou-chan3 Spread the word! 

Flyer in English

Flyer in Japanese

"Hou-chan wo Sukuu-kai" website(Japanese only):  











































住所:東京都三鷹市下連雀3-28-23-604 TEL: 0422-49-5372


Ten things I love about Twitter

Ilovetwitter When I first heard about Twitter, I could not really understand why I’d even want to use it. I really didn’t see the point in reading or “listening” to everyone’s thoughts on any topic that crossed their mind. And to be perfectly honest, when I looked at the feed of tweets, I really didn’t see anything all that interesting to me, either. So, I sat back and I watched for a while…quite a while, in fact – about 6 months if I remember correctly.

I watched, I listened, and I learned from people I knew already using Twitter. I saw the good, the bad and the downright unmentionable. Then I finally took the plunge and joined. Even still at that point and time, I really didn’t “get it.” So, I continued to watch, shared a few tweets of my own, and weighed what Twitter might end up being for me. Then I decided to explore searching on Twitter, and that’s when I really started getting value because I was finding others who had similar interests, and that was cool!

Now that I’ve been using Twitter for a little over a year now, I’ve been thinking about what I love, what I hate, how I decide to follow or unfollow people, and some things that I wish I could do on Twitter. This is the first in a series of posts along these lines…

  1. I can connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise had an opportunity to meet if it had not been for Twitter. With few exceptions, I’ve met these folks (to name a few) on Twitter first, and in person second or not at all – yet! - @ChrisBrogan, @PeterKim, @JOwyang, @DavidAlston, @BryanPerson, @CFlanagan, @GiaLyons, @JimStorer, @RHappe, @JoanDiMicco, @PatriciaRomeo, @UnMarketing, @CBensen, @RobertCollins, @VicenteM
  2. I can learn new things about people I already know - @PappasNick, @Stu, @LenDevanna, @Storagezilla, @ChrisFernandi, @NuzhatMKarim, @DanSchawbel, @SuzySpaatz, @MichelleLavoie, @KCornwall, @Beeks06, @DaveGraham, @JDowson, @Zirnhelt, @TheGoose2 
  3. I can very easily learn about new interests and topics as well as who’s tweeting about them by searching hashtags or key words. I love that the tweets are all searchable.
  4. Twitter is respectful of my time if I manage it correctly - 140 characters is a nice length to receive updates in an easily digestible format. It requires (for proficient users) that people be concise with their messages. It’s easy for me to keep up with people, new interests and topics in real-time in this format.
  5. I like that people put their own categories and definitions on their posts. It helps me to understand more context about what they’re sharing and where they’re coming from.
  6. I can use Twitter from anywhere I have access – internet, phone, or 3rd party apps such as TweetDeck or TwitterBerry.
  7. Twitter users are enthusiastic, to say the least. People who are on Twitter are on there because they want to be there, so they’re generally very happy to engage in conversation.
  8. I can integrate my tweets into my other accounts like Facebook, FriendFeed, my blog, and LinkedIn, for example
  9. I can leverage the collective wisdom of my network by joining in any conversation or asking questions, and I always get a quick response.
  10. There’s no overhead to using Twitter, no crazy downloads, no crazy software updates, it’s just a plain and simple web interface. Put simply, Twitter’s easy to use.

So, what about you? Why do you love Twitter?


A little fun with Wordle

Have you ever tried using Wordle? If not, I highly recommend it!

The backstory
I had stumbled upon it several months ago, but was reminded of it when prepping for my upcoming participation in Peter Kim's panel at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston in just a few weeks with Patricia Romeo and Joan DiMicco! The cool part - Joan knows the guy who made it ;-)

We were chatting about the topics that many people have expressed an interest in with regards to lessons learned when managing an internal enterprise community, and discovered we have many, many things in common.

Joan suggested putting our bullets in Wordle to create a visual representation of the commonalities instead of just putting words up on a slide - AWESOME! You'll need to attend the conference to see this coolness, or, I might just share it here afterwards ;-)

What is this Wordle thing?
For those familiar with communities and the notion of tagging, you've probably come across a "tag cloud" in your day -- essentially a cloud of the tags most commonly used in a community, blog, "pick your area" - it lets you see at a quck glance what the prevalent topics are in that given area.

Wordle does the same thing for you - only you can either specify a website or you can paste in your own text, perhaps from a sample of writing.

So, why would you use Wordle, anyway? Ok, I'll tell you what I like to use it for:

It's a great way to see at-a-glance what your blog, twitter account, or any other website is "talking about" most frequently - Are you getting across the message you want to? Do you need to adjust?  

My blog:
Wordle - Blog

My Twitter:
Wordle - Twitter

What's the main point of what you're about to read? Take Google's top news story today, for example:

Or, check out what our Enterprise 2.0 panel will be about, based on the one paragraph description online:

Or here's another version:

One of the reasons I think Wordle is great - it gives you the visually appealing version that can sometimes be lacking in text heavy sites, descriptions, etc. It lets you see things in a whole new light. It boils down the prevalent topics/themes, and lets you decide for yourself if it's worth investing your time. You can also pick fonts, layouts, and color schemes to make it jive well with just about any format or presentation you're looking to include it in.

Not to mention, it's also wicked cool! ;-)