I just got off of the Lotus Technical Information and Education (LTIE) community call and there was a loud voice that IBM executives be “more social” in the community. The community wants more executives like Ed Brill to be engaged on a daily basis. I can definitely understand the reasons for such a request but the problem I see in general with social communities is you either get paid to contribute or you want to contribute (usually in your own time). Like Ed, I also work out of my house and my “cooler talk” is actually the internet – so I blog, tweet, linkedIn, Facebook, etc more than most of my peers. Of course I am not an executive and I do it because I enjoy it and I want to understand what the community wants and needs. I also don’t have an office mate, unless you count my African Grey Parrot Larry (his full name is Larry Bird Balfe, see right) so it gets a bit lonely but he can carry on basic conversations . I don’t get paid to do it and outside of being a person who spreads the news about development with IBM technologies, my boss never says “we need more posts” or “post something about X”. What I post is what I feel like sharing or, I do post things that are referred to me by colleagues. I also have a very different agenda – I am a geek who writes about software development and coding. My level of posts are more granular and usually never focus on product futures. You may take away that if I blog about certain topics then the development team is looking into it but it may simply not be true because I also have a wide range of development interests outside of IBM technology.
For those that want to be more involved then I would suggest following PlanetLotus and the wikis. Being engaged in Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook is pretty important these days because many discussions go on in those places but they are usually a bit raw and may be hard to follow. There are also more and more groups, meetings and people joining these other social sites and many times that is where I get invites to meetings like the LTIE one today.
And I must add, this is strictly my voice and not the voice of IBM.