Using Technology and Social Software to Connect with Members and Allies

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This presentation was given at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Orlando, Florida in October 2009. My co-presenter and I offered this as an introduction to social software and discussed ways it can …

This presentation was given at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Orlando, Florida in October 2009. My co-presenter and I offered this as an introduction to social software and discussed ways it can be used to connect with the GLBT community.

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  • Set up parking places on easels for: Challenges (we’ll get to these) Concerns (we’ll get to these) Other questions (we may answer these right away, or table them for the right moment)
  • Although we’re presenting a lot of content, our hope is that we’ll learn as much as you do! If we don’t get through the slides, no worries.
  • Point to “parking spots” on easels, etc.
  • Poorly named… All of our new information comes from weak ties Our strong ties have many of the same sources we do, and we’re likely to have already seen the same things. Who will hide the body for you? Frequency isn’t the measure… relationships can be important, even if the contact is infrequent.
  • There are different kinds of people… and they need different styles of relationship management. Show of hands… who wants to work with the fool? Jerk? So the moral of the story is… we need to find ways to manage our relationships.
  • Um, social software! So, what is it, and what does it look like?
  • Your network is the platform, and your browser is all you need.
  • Users own their data on a site and exercise control over that data. Social contract. Mention problems Facebook has had in this regard.
  • An architecture of participation and interaction that encourages users to add value to the application as they use it.
  • A rich, interactive, user-friendly interface based on Ajax or similar frameworks.
  • Nope. Social networks have always existed. Taverns vs. palm of your hand Social software just makes it easier for us to manage them, grow them, and find value from them. For some people, this is overwhelming. For others, this is heaven. Neither end of the spectrum is wrong. This isn’t just about Facebook. This isn’t just for your kids. Don’t connect everyone to everyone. Connect the right people to each other. So, let’s see some examples.
  • This is the part where I get to explain the various different parts of “Social Software” A lot of this sounds confusing, and I’ll be the first to admit that there are way too many different pieces out there. We’ll go through each of these things one-by-one and explain how they can be useful to you, your Diversity Group, and your Company
  • First up…. E-meetings The most basic view of e-meetings is that they are simply an extension of “tele-meetings” This is true, but it also misses out on a slew of other nifty features! Spend some time here Audioconferencing / Videoconferencing / E-meetings
  • What is this good for? Event calendars! Take subscriptions, reactions, and commenting a step further and let others contribute directly! Mention change history and rollback.
  • The next step you can make on the “social software roadmap” is to take what you’ve learned in your e-meetings and apply it to one-on-one conversations Video-Chat anyone? (ack! Who wants to do their hair and makeup for a conference call?!) Don’t rule all video out though… There’s a lot more to it.
  • Can you believe there are no good pictures on the web of a phone displaying an audio-player or video screen? Sheesh! Talk here about giving people media to view on their own time… working out, on the way to work, etc. How many times have you wished you could share a conference session you attended with another person? What about those classes you wish they’d offer more frequently? Or maybe you’d like to learn about new events or strategies at your company, but can’t bring yourself to read all the business-speak? All of this is already possible. YouTube and Podcasts are the most well known examples, but there are countless other ways to offer these same functions in-house, privately. If your group were to create a series of these kind of media, your interested parties could – anonymously – subscribe and view your updates as they arrived.
  • Tags! Each user can tag an item with words that identify its relevance
  • Let’s stop to make sure I haven’t blown anyone’s mind. Up till now, everything has been an extension of something we are used to in everyday business. Lets add pictures to our phonecalls! Lets put meetings on the internet! Lets record stuff so we can listen to it later! Now, we are going to turn everything on its head. Instead of sitting here and pushing everything out to our users, we’re going to let them come to us! We do this through a technology called “RSS – Real Simple Syndication” RSS is anything but simple, and if you want to discuss its merits and failings, see me after! The beauty of “subscriptions” (as it is called) is that many many many different people at your company can make all of this newfangled “Web 2.0” media and share it with many many many others without needing to worry about complex infrastructure, publicity, distribution, etc. Instead of mailing out newsletters every week or month, you can let the people who are interested come to you. This is big, because it saves you time to do what is important – creating content. Take, for example, a blog.
  • Talk about Chris’s personal blog And then discuss how blogs can be used to spread news, announcements, spark discussion. Blogs are one of the best ways to reduce the massive amount of email you get at work. Instead of everyone emailing things like: “There are bagels in the hallway” “Check out this awesome thing I learned” “There was a great panel discussion the other day and here are pictures!” You can post these items to your blog and the people who are interested in them can find out via their subscriptions. Emphasize the fact that no technical experience is required
  • I don’t have anything good to say about twitter, but I’ll try. Awesome examples: Cal-Tran announces when trains have available bike racks so bikers can time their arrival to the station ???
  • It’s easy, and it works more effectively than storing local bookmarks. Reduce dependency on browser/computer Tag web pages Share links of importance We have this on our wiki Talk about having bookmarks on multiple computers Talk about “following” someone whose bookmarks interest you. Use this to share links – people can subscribe!
  • Allow people to filter content for you. Use crowdsourcing as a means to find the right things. The delete key is your friend; if it’s meant to come back to you, it will.
  • Ask how many people think privacy is absolute, and how many think it’s subjective. Count hands. Ask if a is bathing suit appropriate for work? Count hands. (Sure, if you’re a lifeguard!) Just like your dress code, it’s subjective and situational. Less of an issue inside the enterprise, but consider EU countries.
  • May be caused by concerns about any of the others. May be due to a lack of time. May be due to a lack of interest. This is the basic problem of engagement… if you match their needs, they’ll participate.
  • Set guidelines (business conduct guidelines, blogging/social computing guidelines at IBM). Partner with your HR, legal, etc. teams to keep you in check.
  • Great, now you know all about social software. But how does this help you?
  • Use the parking place to jot them down. This doesn’t have to be technology-specific. We’re looking to understand the challenges, and examine how social software might help solve them. Allies? Members? Non-local?
  • Some might call this living/working ‘in an echo chamber’ How many allies and closeted GLBT people are you reaching? Are all of your participants out and proud GLBT? GLBT-specific blogs, podcasts, etc…. Is anyone but your own constituents even listening?
  • Reach out to straight allies and would-be allies Establish common ground (e.g., delicious… PHOTOS). Goes back to relationships. Once I started posting pictures of my pug, I met people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
  • Do you have multiple buildings, cities, states, or even countries within your company? How do you include all your sites in diversity initiatives? Lack of density (they’re everywhere, not necessarily in easy clusters)
  • We made a video over a period of about six weeks, with a $150 investment for a tiny Flip video camera and a few hours of our own time. It’s personal. It’s impactful. And in our case, it’s been seen around the world.
  • Not enough out GLBT people? No official channels to find them? Some people don’t want to be found… but they still want to know what’s going on.
  • Don’t have the technology? Use public technology. IBM has over 400 people in their Facebook groups… which includes “Friends and Family” as well as GLBT IBMers. This gives you a channel to send messages, create events, share photos and videos, and generally network with others who’ve opted in to your message. Also allows you to include “alumni” and retirees.
  • Too few channels? Time to get creative and build your own. Blog, email, podcast, video… work with HR, communications… use your network!
  • The more channels you use, the more potential audiences you reach. Social software makes it easier to spread the word. We use internal tools, because we have them available. Lots of public tools exist that work just as well!
  • Point to “parking spots” on easels, etc.
  • Set up parking places on easels for: Challenges Concerns Other questions


  • 1. Using Technology and Social Software to Connect with Members and Allies Thursday 08 October 2009 · 2:30 PM · Coronado G Christopher Wyble · Michael Young ·
  • 2. Or, in plain English…
  • 3. What is Web 2.0, social software, and collaborative software… and how can I use it to improve my ERG, community, and world?
  • 4. Let’s start off with the ground rules.
  • 5. You don’t need to know anything about social software to be here!
  • 6. This isn’t a lecture… it’s a conversation.
  • 7. We welcome your questions at any time, but we may park them as a reminder for later on.
  • 8. Disclaimer: Okay, you found us out. We’re IBMers. IBM builds and sells a lot of this “social software” stuff, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to talk about the concepts, not sell the tools. m ®
  • 9. Let’s start at the top.
    • Social networks are all about people.
    • What is Web 2.0, and social or collaborative software?
    • How do we use it for business?
    • How can we use it in the GLBT community?
  • 10. Before we can talk about social software, we need to understand relationships.
  • 11. Hi, I’m Chris … … and I’m Mike …
  • 12. … and we have a relationship …
  • 13. … (no, not that kind of relationship) …
  • 14. … that we can describe or tag in any number of ways.
    • co-worker
    • friend
    • gay
    • ibm
    • [email_address]
  • 15. We also have other relationships …
  • 16. … that we can describe or tag.
  • 17. And all of those people have relationships that they can tag, too.
  • 18. And each of these people is a source of information and knowledge.
  • 19. From there it can get really confusing.
  • 20. So what?
  • 21. Because relationships matter, in ways we can measure.
    • Over
    • 40%
    • of people find their jobs
    • through personal contacts.
    “ The Strength of Weak Ties.” Mark S. Granovetter 1973.
  • 22. When it comes to relationships, there are two kinds of “ties.”
  • 23. Do you mean… and ?
  • 24. How about… STRONG and weak ?
  • 25. All relationships are not created equal.
  • 26. Remember those 40% of people who find their jobs through personal contacts? Over 60% of them found those jobs through weak ties . “ The Strength of Weak Ties.” Mark S. Granovetter 1973.
  • 27. Fools and jerks Ability Likeability “ Competent Jerks, Lovable Fools, and the Formation of Social Networks,” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 83, No. 6, June 2005. Competent jerk Incompetent jerk Lovable superstar Lovable fool
  • 28. I need to manage all these relationships, and deal with fools and jerks? How!?
  • 29. With social software. So what does it look like?
  • 30. Web 2.0 software has four common characteristics. 1 2 3 4
  • 31. Are you a Mac or a PC? Maybe Linux?
  • 32. Web 2.0 doesn’t care. 1
  • 33. You own your data, and you share it on your terms. 2
  • 34. You participate in your web experience. 1997: What they want me to see 2009: What I want to see and do 3
  • 35. The interface is rich, interactive, and user-friendly. 4
  • 36. Is social software really necessary?
  • 37. Blogs and wikis and bookmarks… oh my!
  • 38. Webconferences are more than just lectures and slides.
    • Your options are numerous…
    • Cisco WebEx
    • IBM Lotus Sametime Web Conferencing
    • Microsoft Netmeeting / Windows Meeting Space
    • IBM LotusLive Meetings (aka Unyte, Web Dialogs)
  • 39. What is a wiki?
    • It’s a web page
    • That anyone can edit
    • Yes, anyone
    • Yes, even if you don’t know HTML or any other markup language
  • 40. Print is dead. Well, not quite… but new media (audio+video) is here to stay! Well, assuming you talk to paid models all day… Those are real people on the other end of the line!
  • 41. “Broadcast yourself.”
    • YouTube and online video
      • Corporate webcasts
      • Training and education
      • Personal stories
    • Podcasts and online audio
      • News with a personal touch
      • Recorded Q&A sessions
    • Portable! Let people listen on the go.
    © Apple Inc.
  • 42. How do we track all of this content?
    • co-worker
    • friend
    • gay
    • ibm
    • [email_address]
  • 43. Let your viewers come to you.
  • 44. What is a blog?
    • It’s a journal…
    • … or a newspaper
    • … or an announcement board
    • … or almost anything you want …
    • in article form.
    Sometimes you get comments and discussion too… for better or worse!
  • 45. Microblogging (e.g. Twitter )
  • 46. And what about social bookmarking?
  • 47. What are you afraid of?
  • 48. Afraid of being overwhelmed with content?
  • 49. There’s an easy solution for that one.
  • 50. Afraid of sacrificing your privacy or anonymity?
  • 51. Afraid that nobody will show up? Or worse yet: they’ll try and then give up?
  • 52. Afraid of getting yourself in trouble?
  • 53. Make some rules.
  • 54. So how does social software help the GLBT community?
  • 55. Well, what challenges do we face?
  • 56. Preaching to the choir?
  • 57. Find common ground with a wider audience.
  • 58. People all over the country? The world?
  • 59. Use video when you can’t be there in person.
  • 60. Unable to identify your community?
  • 61. Let them self-identify.
  • 62. Trouble getting the word out?
  • 63. Catch different people different ways.
  • 64. Now’s the time. Any other questions?
  • 65. Social software resources
    • Blogger – blogging platform – http:// /
    • Blogspot – blogging platform, now part of Blogger – http:// /
    • Delicious – social bookmarking – http:// /
    • Facebook – social networking –
    • Flickr – social photo sharing – http:// /
    • Friendster – social networking –
    • – social music sharing – http:// /
    • LinkedIn – social networking for professionals – http:// /
    • LiveJournal – blogging platform – http:// /
    • Lotus Connections – social software for business – http:// /lotus/connections/
    • LotusLive – social networking and collaboration services – http:// /
    • Magnolia – social bookmarking – http:// /
    • MovableType – blogging platform – http:// /
    • MySpace – social networking –
    • Twitter – microblogging – http:// /
    • WebEx – online meetings -- http:// /
    • Wordpress – open source blogging platform – http:// / and
    • YouTube – social video sharing – http:// /
  • 66. Housekeeping
    • Legal mumbo jumbo
    • This presentation is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License ( ).
    • All photos are used under license from Stock Exchange ( ), Flickr ( http:// / ), iStockPhoto ( ), the individual copyright holder, or are publicly available and not copyrighted.
    • Acknowledgements
      • Special thanks to Frank Jania ( http:// / ) for his Web 2.0 wisdom.
  • 67. Using Technology and Social Software to Connect with Members and Allies Christopher Wyble · Michael Young ·