Leveraging Social Media with Community and Influencers

May 26, 2014

The Internet gave us broad access to an endless supply of information (even if it might distract us and prevent us from deeply understanding topics). Mobile technology increasingly allows us to be constantly connected to the Internet, plus communities and connections. Social media, formerly known as Web 2.0, rode on the waves of new Internet and mobile technology, promising to transform business and communication. At EMC World 2014, I hosted a lively segment on theCUBE with two friends – John Troyer and Amy Lewis (2/3 of the Geek Whisperers podcast) – about social media, community and influencers. John recently ended his 9 years of running communities at VMware to launch a new venture, TechReckoning, a new place for the IT community to figure things out together. Amy manages Influencer Marketing for Cisco. When asked if we are now in a “post-social” phase, both John and Amy agreed that social media is a toolkit that can help with broader efforts such as marketing and community building, rather than a discipline that should be managed separately. We discussed that contributing to the community can come in many forms including coding, blogging or participating in online or in-person events. John proposed that people should dial things back a bit – creating less content with higher value such as long-form posts. Amy also noted that it is also important to have people who can curate information, boiling down the volume of noise into a consumable signal. Check out the full conversation below for great insights on community:

 

 

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On a personal note, it was my 12th year attending EMC World and it was by far the busiest. It’s been a busy season for theCUBE – in addition to EMC World, I was a primary host at the Open Networking Summit, Red Hat Summit and OpenStack Summit broadcasts. On the research side, Wikibon’s definition and market forecast of Server SAN (a scale-out compute+storage architecture including solutions such as Nutanix and VMware VSAN) has received a lot of attention. The week after having Geek Whisperers on theCUBE, I interviewed Brian Gracely and Aaron Delp of The Cloudcast at OpenStack Summit – summary is that blah blah cloud still has a lot of challenges. It’s been an exciting time talking with some top industry influencers, company founders and executives across enterprise IT. As always, feedback is always welcome and thanks to everyone who shares online and in person.

UPDATE: Below is the Engineers Unplugged session: How to Introduce New Tech Topics – hosted by Amy Lewis with John Troyer and me on the whiteboard and featuring the mystical Wookiecorn!

 

Stu Miniman

https://blogstu.wordpress.com

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Reflections on the Next Phase of the Social Evolution

June 9, 2012

The social media revolution came fast and furious over the last 5 years, and I believe that we’ve entered a new era over the last year. I wouldn’t call it “post-social”; while we are definitely past the heady days of early adoption, there are in my opinion still boundless opportunities in the social sphere. To use a financial analogy, with some big stocks like Microsoft, Apple and Google, if you had jumped in early, you could have become insanely rich and if you got in a few years later you’d only be very rich.

In my experience, social media is about social (connecting/community) and media (content). I’ve now been blogging for 4 years (I was on Facebook in ’07, Twitter in ’08, Tumblr in ’08, and WordPress in ’09), and it’s humbling how many connections I’ve made and how many people have read content that I’ve created. I’m a big advocate of getting people to share via blogs and Twitter (I just passed my 10,000th Tweet), so thought I’d share some thoughts on what most of us already know: there’s a big difference between just doing something and doing it well, but too often there are competing pressures or processes that get in the way of doing a great job.

Here I am with James Urquhart and Christofer Hoff at Cisco Live 2009, we were all Tweeting on our Blackberries at the beginning of this video. SQUIRREL!

First on the social side, I consider myself a people person and am active in a number of communities (lots of IT, innovation, social media). I read as much as possible, share what excites me and try and add to the conversation. Feedback through social interactions encourages me to put in the extra effort to write more or interact online (the Twitter retweet or Facebook comment provides the same dopamine ping that we used to get from email beeps in the ‘90s before email volumes became ridiculous). It always helps to understand the target audience for what you’re creating and being active in a community will give your shared items the network effect.

On the content creation side, in addition to blogging and Twitter, I enjoy giving presentations and recording videos that we do in theCUBE at conferences. Research, preparation and hard work separate a good presentation or interview from a mediocre one. A strong narrative or storyline help an audience to connect with both types of presentations. An audience can tell the difference between someone that is prepared, really knows the subject and can feed off of the passion of the presenter. As an example, readers of my blog will be familiar with my FCoE work and likely the YouTube video I did 4 years ago. The format was standard for EMC, there are 100’s of EMC whiteboard videos, yet that particular video has orders of magnitude more views. First of all, it was great timing (I was a non-Cisco person explaining a relatively “hot” technology–brought to market by Cisco–that spanned across storage, networking and virtualization). Second, it was a technology primer, not a product or company pitch. Third, I had seen lots of whiteboard videos, knew what I liked and didn’t as a viewer and worked hard to have a short, focused presentation (I try to follow Mark Twain’s advice – if I had more time, I would have made this writing shorter). Finally, once it was launched, I had the boosting of social media and the internet: I blogged about it, it was picked up and embedded by other blogs and news sites, and it was posted on FCoE.com. Good preparation, execution and follow-through are not easy, and my going “viral” isn’t something that I could ever hope to explain.

I work on many of the Infographics that Wikibon creates, and we strive to fuse strong data points, a good narrative and attractive design (we work with creative teams) so that we’re not putting out “Infocrapics”. Design is very important, as Dan Pink said in his book A Whole New Mind, those who can fuse right-brain and left-brain solutions together (Apple engineering + design is a classic example) can thrive in the economy where commoditization and globalization are disrupting so many industries.

Scott Adams (the Dilbert guy) said at a conference that we make our own luck by looking out for opportunities, trying and persevering on things that pop up that others would likely ignore. I got on Twitter because PR asked for help, did that YouTube video to help marketing, and started blogging thanks to encouragement from the social community. I try to say yes to most requests to share information; time spent with journalists looking for information or participating in podcasts or videos is always rewarding. There’s an insatiable demand for good content in the world. And while I’m a small fish in the blogger world, I know that it’s relatively easy to get connected to some very important people through engagement and sharing of ideas.

Cheers,

Stu Miniman

https://blogstu.wordpress.com

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Some questions for the next phase of social:

As social adoption grows, is your network an echo chamber?

How do you keep community and fun in social so that it doesn’t become un-social and irrelevant?


vAgents of Change, Positive Deviants and Stories That Inspire

September 9, 2010

So much going on, wanted to put up a quick summary of some recent and upcoming activity:

VMworld

Amazing week in San Francisco, I got to talk with over 100 people that I met in person for the first time that I knew through online discussions. [here’s a photo courtesy of Rich Brambley from the blogger section at the conference keynote – Aaron Delp is next to me, Jase McCarty and John Troyer behind]

On Technology:  “vAgents of Change.  Virtualization is still relatively new to IT, but it has clearly crossed the chasm into a mainstream product line with 190,000 customers.  Leading the charge to deliver virtualization around the globe are 50,000 VMware Certified Professionals.  The culture of the virtualization community goes far beyond understanding a few products, as can be seen by the volunteer group that puts together the VM User Groups (VMUGs) and the passion of the vExperts.  Will these expert ambassadors of virtualization embrace and drive the change to cloud computing?” – see the full post for my take on ITaaS, Ecosystem, Mobility and xSPs.

On Social Media: “The big takeaway of VMworld 2010 for me from a social perspective was people were using the tools more than talking about them.  While most companies have a long way to fully embedding social into their culture and processes, VMware’s VMworld showed that events can have a multi-dimensional social media offering that supports and amplifies the messaging of the event.” – full post here

Lots of video – I was part of the SiliconANGLE live broadcast during the conference.  I did three segments live (Ed Bugnion of Cisco here, Abner Germanow of Juniper Networks here and Bob Zuber of IBM here), plus 2 recorded segments: with EMC on the journey to the private cloud and Cisco blogger round-up of convergence, VMworld awards and more.

Positive Deviants

I announced a new Wikibon award today which was inspired by Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky.  “Positive deviants are those who behave better than the norm, even when faced with similar limitations or challenges.”  The PosDev award is “to celebrate those who create a positive impact on the IT community through a collaborative process of sharing information and providing critical thinking on the business and technical challenges of the day.”  The idea of the award is to inspire more people to collaborate and share information – read the full post here.

Stories That Inspire

The PosDev award is an idea that I hope to spread (hat tip to TED – “ideas worth spreading”).  Speaking of great ideas, next week (Sept 15-16 in Providence, RI) I will be attending BIF-6, the summit of the Business Innovation Factory.  BIF is a 2 day event with a fantastic line-up of storytellers in an intimate setting.  You can get a taste of the event from the free “story book“, plus they will be streaming the event live and you can follow the #bif6 hashtag on Twitter.  I’ll be looking to share what I hear and see how it can connect with IT trends and communities.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve got a full quarter at the new job.  I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone that has been so supportive.  I’m very easy to get in touch with, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a person or topic that I may be able to help with.

Cheers,

Stuart Miniman

https://blogstu.wordpress.com


Q&A from First Week on the New Job

June 4, 2010

The first week at Wikibon has flown by.  I’ve gotten a bunch of questions from people and thought I’d do a quick Q&A.

What does “Wikibon” mean? Very simply, Wikibon = wiki (quick from the Hawaiian wiki wiki) + bon (good) >> Quick & Good Information

What is the logo? The bee is associated with community.

What will you be doing? On the technology side, I will be doing research and being an analyst.  The area that I am going to focus on is the “the convergence of server, network and storage – INFRASTRUCTURE CUBED”.  I’ve written a couple of blog posts on the Wikibon site already, I will tag all of the posts on this topic with the infrastructure_3 tag which you can find here.  My first full post is FCoE related; I’ll be branching out to cover virtualization, infrastructure and lots of other topics.  You can also subscribe to the Wikibon blog.

As for the community/social media aspect, I also put my first entry on the wiki side – an idea on how to further engage and leverage the community to help create an “Executive Primer” on the various technologies that get discussed.  It’s a very broad community which I’m looking forward to getting to know more about and engage with.

Have you met with any EMC competitors yet? Yes, I had my first NDA meeting and it was with a competitor (one of the attendees was a former EMCer who I knew – no shock since there are lots of great people at EMC, and plenty of great people who have left EMC to work on other things).

How is the commute? I can get to the Wikibon HQ a few different ways depending on traffic. The morning ride for me is 10 miles further than the old one, but is the same time since it is highway instead of back roads with plenty of lights and school busses.  The ride home is a bit tricker.

Do you have time for lunch? The month of June is rather busy, but possibly yes.  Within a 1 minute drive from the office are Five Guys burgers, Chipotle, Panera, an Indian restaurant and many more.  The grocery store nearby has a good salad bar which I’ll be trying to use more than the other places and I’m going to need to hit the gym to make up for all of these indulgences.

What about the Blog Stu site? I expect to be very busy writing in a number of places.  My current plan is that the more technical (Infrastructure Cubed) posts will be on Wikibon while general social media and innovation related posts (such as what I’m doing next week at the World Innovation Forum) will go on this blog.  There will be times that I’ll syndicate content on both sites (I also post on SiliconANGLE).  My Twitter account and Google Reader/Buzz shared items will be a good central source for all of my content.

Thanks everyone who has been writing me notes of encouragement and for reading and following on the various sites.  I’d welcome any feedback or suggestions on how I flow content between the sites – let me know how I’m doing at balancing the “personal vs. career“.

Stuart Miniman

https://blogstu.wordpress.com

PS – Am I link too much?  Would you prefer references at the end rather than links embedded? See “Delinkification” from Nick Carr.

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Pull the Outside In for Events

September 2, 2009

In the current economic situation, a marketing idea that has gotten a lot of discussion is how business can use FREE to engage with customers.  Not that everything should be free, but that the idea can be used to give people a good understanding of a product or service before having to commit money. Conferences and events have been under intense pressure with the economic conditions, especially those that require travel which is one of the tightest controlled budget lines.  I have attended a few conferences this year and most of them have been embracing social media to enhance the experience.

In order to reach larger audiences, companies have been providing remote participation options.  Cisco’s Cisco Live and VMware’s VMworld both have very robust remote experiences (I attended Cisco’s in person and VMware’s remotely).  You can watch webcasts of the keynotes for free; Cisco also offers the technical content online for a lower fee than attending.  The one piece of the conference experience that is toughest to replace is the one-on-one interaction.  This is where I see social media playing the biggest part; not that blogs and Twitter replace this experience, but they give a flavor of the energy and engagement of the event.  People can remotely be pulled into the discussions remotely and will be more likely to want to attend in-person the next time.

Social media tools also provide an opportunity to get people engaged ahead of time.   The World Business Forum, at which I will be blogging in October, has been doing a nice job of this.  They have posted videos, webinars and blogs of the speakers available.  Not only does this promote attendance and build buzz, but it should also improves the quality of the attendees and their experience, since they will be more familiar with the topics and will, therefore, have better questions.  As a little help for the upcoming conference, I created a FriendFeed room which aggregates some of the related blogs and any Twitter posts tagged #WBF09.

View my FriendFeed

For recurring events, there is the further opportunity to build a year round community.  I recently got to learn more about the RSA Conference community (RSA is an EMC company).  The event is vendor independent, which allows the community to cover the entire security industry.  While traffic tends to be highest around the conferences, people share information and connect through the site year-round.  The community site has become a valuable resource to the industry, but it has also created connections between people that make the conference a “must attend” event where collaborators can meet face to face.

If you have an exciting and engaging conference, don’t kill it or go all virtual.  Consider how you can engage the community before and during the conference so that the free experience that they get outside will pull them in.

Comments are questions are always welcome and please consider subscribing to this blog.  If you will be at the World Business Forum, I’m always interested in discussing innovation and social media.

Stuart Miniman

https://blogstu.wordpress.com