Category: Opinions & Reflections

Folders versus Tags – Infographic

For a while now I’ve been working on various posts on the topic of “Folders versus Tags” and why there is no such comparison really… This is a topic that is often hotly debated among people involved with social business and definitely close to my heart. The problem is, none of those posts ever saw the daylight as they became too long, too complicated and simply said: boring. There is a lot to say about this topic but most of all a lot of explaining. therefore I tried something different. I hope this infographic will help explain some of the specifics of each of the options and why comparing them isn’t always possible. Have fun!

Click on the image to see a full version preview

Folders versus tagging

Why? – Why not

Sometimes something inspires you, hits you or just speaks to you. Today I saw this fragment on a Dutch tv show and it hit a nerve.

I’m not in science but I am in IT and I still get asked sometimes “why?”. I’ve never really paused at that question, I knew when I started that I was an exception in a sea of men (my then company employed 160 male and only 4 female IT consultants) but I never felt inhibited or held back in any way to become or do what I wanted. The ‘why?’ that I’ve been asked hundreds of times never really bothered me.

Until last week. And weirdly enough it wasn’t even about my work in IT when it did.

Apart from working in IT I also like LEGO. As a kid we had LEGO but I was always told it was my brothers’, so I could only play with it if we played with it together. problem was, we didn’t really play well together so I never got to play much with it and as opportunity dwindled I eventually forgot about it. After all, It was a boy thing.

30 years on and hearing from more then a few people (mostly men) in my circle who still loved building with LEGO I finally got over my own inhibitions and bought my own LEGO set. I loved it!

Showing a picture of my latest set (model of the Mini Cooper) to a coworker who also likes building with LEGO (yes, it’s an IT thing, nerds seem to love LEGO) he quizzically looked at me and stated “you really do love it don’t you?”, and then it hit me.

Even though we are the same age, spend roughly the same amount of money on LEGO and have been talking about LEGO for a while now, the fact that I’m a girl somehow still makes it an oddity for me to enjoy it. And although I’m certain he didn’t consciously mean anything with it I suddenly felt 10 again and being told: “Why do you want to play with LEGO? Isn’t that more something for boys?”. It made me aware of how much some cultural concepts creep into perception and into our culture and how even a simple question can make you question yourself when it is asked often enough.

This speech is not about LEGO, it’s not even about IT but it is about the power of cultural concepts and how those influence us in who we become.

The next time you ask someone “why?”, perhaps ask yourself “Why not?” first.

 

 note: The reference that started the response in the video above is in relation to a controversial statement made by former Harvard president L. Summers in which he suggests genetics play a role in why women are under represented in science.

Podcasting… an impulse, a plunge and a lot of sleepless nights!

So those that weren’t all caught up in IBM Connect last week (yes I know, not many of you) might have noticed I did something new. Well not new in itself, but new for me. I decided to try and see if I could do a podcast.

Now a normal person would probably think about that for a while, look into options, investigate Software/Hardware requirements etc and do a few trial runs….

Not me.

On Monday night, 6 days before IBM Connect was to start, I was thinking of having to live through the event without being there (I wasn’t going while all my friends and a good number of coworkers were) and decided that I needed some way of feeling connected as I would go stir crazy otherwise. So what could make me feel more connected? Well talking to people there! But what would entice people to make time for me out of their busy conference schedule….? Hey I know, I’ll interview them!

connect2014

And with that, presto the idea of doing a series of short podcasts about the conference  and all things going on around it was born. I called it “Connecting to Connect” and decided I could do one a day if I kept them to short 15min sessions.

Ignorant naive little me…

The next day I Googled around a bit, asked advice from a few friends, downloaded Audacity to edit my recordings, purchased Call Recorder as it promised to record Skype calls and set up my first call with Stuart McIntyre. Who, kindly enough, had agreed to be my first victim and guinea pig… The idea being: If I don’t crumble into a big pile of “Ehh’s” and “Ohh’s” then I’ll take the plunge and go ahead with it!

And so I did. To be honest, the first one I hardly had to say anything at all. Stuart was a great first guest as he didn’t need much prompting to talk at all and although I still had to edit out a good number of “Ehh’s” on my part it wasn’t too bad and thus I figured: “Yeah, let’s do this!“. I didn’t waste any time and promptly reached out to friends and acquaintances within the community to make arrangements to do one podcast a day for each day leading up to and during the conference: 10 in all.

So one day after coming up with the idea I had committed myself to doing 10 podcasts in just as many days…

oh boy, did I not realize what I had just gotten myself into…

————–

So, ten days on, what lessons did I learn from all this:

  1. Don’t forget to press “Record”!
  2. Don’t start every question with “So!”, respond to every answer with “Ok, ehh…” and end every question with “Uhem,…” (Let’s say, it made me very good at editing)
  3. Make clear appointments and set times…. no seriously, SET TIMES. Saying “Yeah, we’ll do it sometime tomorrow afternoon…” with a guest that is 6hrs behind you in time zones will cause you sleepless nights… literally.
  4. Insight jokes are no fun to outsiders. Doing podcasts with people you consider to be friends is great as it makes you less stressed but you have to be careful not to be too familiar with them (and definitely don’t forget to introduce them!).
  5. Getting people to talk isn’t the problem, getting them to STOP can be a whole different story! (Still learning that one)
  6. Don’t fear sudden silences, they are an editors Godsend (and I know this by experience, believe me)
  7. Don’t try to record a podcast with someone standing in the CGS room while they are rehearsing it and blasting the CGS music in the background. It really isn’t that good of an idea… No really, it isn’t… (that one got trashed unfortunately)
  8. Bet on the conference WIFI to do the interviews over Skype? Yes! It was surprisingly reliable! Apart from one dropped call it held up perfectly all week.
  9. Prepare a basic set of notes & questions ahead of time so you have something to refer to when you get nervous and forget everything, including your guests name… (he didn’t notice)
  10. Don’t get nervous! It will make you start blabbering in incomprehensible Dutch…
  11. Don’t panic if you forget a question. Just ask it again later on and cut it in afterwards. That’s why there is editing software (had to do a good few of those!)
  12. Don’t scratch your nose while you are recording… yeah, don’t really think that one needs explaining…
  13. Don’t set yourself to doing more then you can handle…. Oh boy did I learn that one… Being a total beginner at this I spend, on average 3-4,5 hours per 15min podcast (reading up on the guest, recording, editing & posting). Doing that all week while still also doing a normal (and busy!) work week as well as trying to do my daily exercise routines and cook/clean/other housework definitely broke me up after 10 consecutive days! I will be happily catching up on sleep this weekend.
  14. headsetExpensive software and or equipment really isn’t necessary when you are starting out. Call Recorder cost me 29$, Audacity was Freeware as was Skype of course, and for recording I simply used my MacBook and a little iPhone headset. I did order a real microphone but as I kind of did all this last minute that didn’t arrive until today (day after the conference and finishing the last one, go figure).
  15. Enjoy what you are doing. It comes out soooo much better if you do!
  16. Oh and did I mention: DON’T FORGET TO PRESS “RECORD”!

So will this be a one off? I don’t know. I did like doing it – stress and all – and although I’m certainly not planning on doing so many of them in such a short time frame ever again and absolutely need more training on this, I definitely see myself trying this again in some way or form.

Most importantly though I want to give a big THANK YOU to the people who made time out of their busy work and/or conference schedules to be a guest on the podcast and to all the others that gave suggestions & advise as well as supported me. Without them none of this would ever have happened!

p.s. Personal hat tip to the great podcasters this community has had over the years. I don’t know how people like Darren Duke & Stuart McIntyre, Chris Miller, David Leedy, Bruce Elgort & Julian Robichaux and many others that have done or still do podcasting on a regular basis managed to keep going for as long as they do/did. It takes a lot of effort and dedication and these 10 days have given me a newfound respect for them! Kudos guys!

Times are changing so are the names…!

The anticipation for Connect 2014 is growing. The yearly conference in Orlando that brings together the best of our technical IBM community and an opportunity to meet with experts, build or renew friendships and learn about upcoming changes and improvements in the IBM Collaboration Software stack. I’m not planning on being there this year due to other circumstances (breaking my foot being one of them) but I look forward to reading all the updates and post that are sure to come!

What I most definitely plan on attending is Engage, formerly known as BLUG, the BeNeLux user group that will be hosted in Breda, The Netherlands on March 17th & 18th this year. Knowing the people behind it and seeing the list of sponsors already committed I’m sure that it is going to be another great success and with a location so close to my hometown (30min) and Silverside committed as Platinum sponsor I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Engage is not the only user group renaming itself at the moment, with INFORM (formerly AUSLUG) the gulf of renames that started with Connect (formerly Lotusphere) and ICONUK (formerly UKLUG) is definitely setting through. On the one hand I feel sad seeing the Lotus brand name slowely disappear, on the other hand, it’s just a name and I’m happy to see that the names these conferences take on now are more general, allowing them to cover the broader spectrum of products and information that is already being handled by them.

Another thing that changed is the names on the list of IBM Champions. After much anticipation the list for 2014 was announced last Friday. I’m feeling fortunate and honored to be named among them and look forward to meeting some of the new names on it as there seem to be quite a few this year!

A healthy community thrives on it’s ability to renew and rejuvenate itself. Seeing all these “new names” is promising, I’m looking forward to see what else 2014 is going to bring us!

 

Social Connections – Zurich

I know I’ve been less than forthcoming with posts these last few weeks, my apologies for that. It has just been crazy busy.

First of all with work, second of all with achieving my CIP (Certified Information Professional by AIIM) certification and lastly by Social Connections.

After a very successful Social Connections IV in Amsterdam the International IBM Connections user group is about to decent on Zurich for a day filled with high level sessions and great exchanges on June 28th. On top of that we will be hosting a great evening program with a dinner at the Zurich lake and the Michael Sampson masterclass on Thursday June 27th. To organize all this and make sure it all runs smoothly needs a lot of organizing as you can understand. Something the Social Connections team has been very busy with and which has taken most of my time.

So hopefully I’ll be able to blog a bit more once this is over. Till then bare with me and if you haven’t done so yet then sign up for Zurich! The event is free and it’s the best opportunity to learn more about IBM Connections and get insight into how Social Business can help your organization take the next step. I hope to see you in Zurich!