Live (sorta!) from IBM Connect

It was really fun and interesting to have a chance to talk with Cheryl Burgess (@CKBurgess) at IBM’s annual confab on the topic of social business: IBM Connect.  The conference had many, many great talks — alas, I only got to be there for a day and most of that was hustling to do my talk.

You should check out Cheryl’s detailed write up here, but in the meantime, you can watch the video here:

IBM’s point of view on Social Business (that’s me, mom)

We initially created this video as part of our Think Academy — a monthly education program that we do virtually for all 400,000+ IBMers on strategic topics like cloud computing, analytics etc. For January’s session, we covered Social Business and the organizers of the program asked me to appear with my colleague Tami Cannizzaro to describe IBM’s point of view on social business. So here you have it — a video initially made just for IBMers, but now we’re using it externally — it’s on YouTube — for example, we played it at my panel discussion with Cheryl Burgess yesterday at IBM Connect.

Mostly publishing stuff elsewhere

I’ve been neglecting my blog…but it’s not for lack of online content creation. Far from it! Here are some links to some articles and podcasts I’ve worked on in recent months for other sites.  I’m having a great time doing it and may ultimately re-post some of it here or revisit some of the topics in greater detail.

For now, the links:

Ever Onward: Social media enablement from the early days

A few years ago when my team and I were getting super excited about podcasting (gosh, this must have been like 6 or 7 years ago now that I think about it) we realized that we and our other podcasting pals at IBM needed good intro, outtro and music-bed tracks for our IBM podcasts.  So we did a remix of IBM’s rally song from the 1930’s, Ever Onward (original lyrics and music; playable file from 1930s).

We did four mixes…a “corporate” mix which we wanted to sounded newsy, a “warm” mix which we wanted to sound folksy, a “rock” mix we wanted to sound energetic and an embarrassingly named “techno” mix that we wanted to sound, uh, techy.

Say what you will about the titles of the remixes, they were popular! The files were downloaded more than 15,000 from IBM’s intranet and used many, many thousands of times again in podcasts, live employee events, video podcasts and a zillion other contexts. We had negotiated a novel contract with the producer that would allow us to use them as we saw fit with the exception of advertising…this was pretty cutting edge, I think, for the time and allowed IBMers from all around the world to have professional-sounding audio branding for their podcasts without having to negotiate individual licenses.

Anyway, that’s an example of early-days social media enablement for the enterprise that I am pretty happy to have been a part of here at IBM 🙂

IBM slides from SXSW 2013

Somehow I forgot to post these here despite having uploaded them ages ago to Slideshare.  Oh well, here are my slides from the keynote I did at the OMMA track of SXSW earlier this year.


<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Enterprise transformation through social media” target=”_blank”>Enterprise transformation through social media</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Ethan McCarty</a></strong> </div>

Social Business presentation

I keep meaning to share this presentation about social business that I did at Ragan‘s event late last year…

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”Social Business @ IBM” target=”_blank”>Social Business @ IBM</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Ethan McCarty</a></strong> </div>

Video: A couple thoughts about IBMers and LinkedIn

I attended LinkedIn’s TechConnect conference a month or so ago — I peeled off for a few minutes to describe a bit about how IBMers are using LinkedIn.

A new value exchange between your brand and employees: authenticity for credibility

Screenshot of running on a mobile device
Screenshot of running on a mobile device

Organizations that allow and encourage individuals/employees to become comfortable integrating their personal and professional personae aren’t getting enough press.  That is to say, we are all experiencing the convergence of organizational brand & culture with personal identity that is unprecedented — and the organizations that will win in this era of greater data transparency, permanence, velocity and discoverability will be those that can attract and retain people who improve company culture by embodying the company’s character.  Essentially, social brand strategists need to create intentional systems of engagement that share benefit with employees and allow these individuals to contribute positively to how the brand is experienced.  Naturally, this is especially true for business to business firms.  It might even be a no-brainer when we look back one day.

One externally visible representation of this strategy in action is where we have begun to experiment with a data service (rendered there on a web page pretty simply) that combines our “official channels” with those of some of IBM’s subject matter experts.  This juxtaposition of the individual IBMer’s expertise and the official channel content seems to have an overall improving effect — for the brand channels, you get additional legitimization because they’re right there with individual people.  For the IBMers, they get the credibility of being in this special data service (which leads to more exposure etc for them.)  We have been building out the criteria, guidelines, registration systems, training etc on the back end for this for a while — but more importantly, we can do this because at IBM we have been working a long time on creating a values-led culture, which somewhat mitigates risks and tends to improve the likelihood that the quality of the interactions will be good (thus obviating decreasing the need for micro-management).

I think this all indicates a new value exchange emerging between employees and firms — authenticity for credibility — and it can flow bidirectionally depending on the context.

*This blog post is an edit to an email exchange I had with Kare Anderson, who is hosting the panel discussion I’m on next week at New Media Expo in Las Vegas, “Driving Social Business Results at Scale” .

Digital War is Over! (If you want it)

ImageHow many times have you heard your social media or digital campaign described with vocabulary borrowed from a field commander?  Even the term “campaign” has a distinctly military connotation.

Just the other day I participated in a webinar where the social media ‘expert’ describing his program used the following phrases in less than 15 mins:

  • “boots on the ground”
  • “battle for mindshare”
  • “the enemy”
  • “attack the competition”
  • “laser focus”
  • “Shotgun approach”
  • “social media bootcamp”
  • “Trojan horse”
  • “turning the battleship”
  • Referred to employees as “troops”

And it wasn’t just this one guy…I hear this language of war applied all the time to marketing and communications….”battle for hearts and minds” “on target” “crusade” “tip of the spear” etc etc.

I find it particularly disturbing because so many people in our field overtly declare themselves passionate advocates — and even evangelists — for doing things in new, social, highly collaborative, inclusive and innovative ways.  The whole war-as-metaphor seems like a colossal miss.

I am all for spirited competition and passion in our work, but can we agree to try to give the war words a rest? Heck, I will take impenetrable marketing lingo over jingoistic jargon any day.  Leverage THAT synergy, pal.

Two articles with Drew Neisser from FastCompany

I did an interview with Drew Neisser a couple weeks back for a piece he was writing for Fast Company and a study he’s doing — he’s interviewed about 100 social media peeps from a bunch of firms around the world in service of a broad social media survey.  In the mean time, he published this summary article of the Social Media Fitness Report.  He also took the interview I did with him and posted it to The Drew Blog.