So I’m Dutch and I’m in no way a native English speaker. I do ok, blog in English, get myself understood and can even be relatively ‘witty’ in my Social Media responses. It has allowed me to interact and connect to numerous people around the world and it has even given me some new friends. Ok, yes, I know. How can you call them friends without ever meeting them?!? But with some of them they really do feel like friends.
I can’t wait! I look forward to really meeting these people but at the same time I’m a bit apprehensive too. Truth is that connecting over the internet really isn’t the same as connecting in real life. Apart from the obvious facts that Social Media allows you to filter out the less attractive and boring elements of your personality it also helps eliminate language borders.
Again, as a non-native English speaker I think I do pretty well, but I do mess up…. regularly…. This has lead to several funny (and embarrassing) instances and confusions where I tried to express something which actually came out as something totally different.
My Dutch colleagues would now argue I don’t just do that in English, bytheway…
Saving factor here though is that as Social Media is mostly a ‘written’ form of communication it has something of a grace period. Allowing you to at least think for two seconds and read back that post, tweet or chat message (as well as having a spelling control) before clicking the ‘send’ button. Believe me, I’ve become a regular speed-Googler over the last few months and have Urban Dictionary bookmarked as a favorite. Problem is though, these don’t yet come as build in options for my mind and so I will have to do without my regular safety nets next week…
….So that’s why, even with all my enthusiasm about going to Lotusphere I’m also still feeling a bit apprehensive about talking to all of you with whom I’ve been chatting, Tweeting and Facebooking. Not knowing, whether I will be able to actually have the same kind of spontaneous interaction without having Google & spell checker at my fingertips is daunting….It almost feels like sitting my high school exams again.
Luckily for me I’m also pretty sure most of you guys will forgive me for my little language-mishaps. And if I do ‘confumble’ my English big time and mess up I can only hope you guys will look through it and have a laugh with me about it. It’s all in good spirit!
I stumbled upon Instagram a while back. A nifty little iPhone app (I don’t have an iPhone but use it on my iPad) that lets you quickly share photo’s that portray your mood of the moment to the world. Not whole series but snapshots that really give others a quick glimpse of what you’re up to. The simple interface and the nice filters let you enhance the pictures before posting them and make it a joy to work with.
I love it! It’s just another form of social Media but in some cases a picture says more then a 1000 words and as it allows you to post the pictures to Twitter and Facebook as well it’s a great alternative if words fall short (or inspiration is lacking).
Last Week, after posting an Instagram picture, Bruce Elgort DM’ed me a link with the text “Working on this….“.
On opening the link I got a collection of Instagram pictures for Lotusphere and IBM Connect….. Now I didn’t realize immediately what I was looking at and as the pictures were from previous Lotusphere’s it took me a while to realize what he and Serdar Besegmez had been working on. A site that collects all the Instagram pictures (regardless of who’s posting it) that contain the #ls12 tag and shows them in one big photo album overview. Of course the current selection is very limited but come Jan 15…..
So I love this initiative. We’re all going to follow what is going on around Lotusphere on Twitter, on Facebook, on the communities but what better way to portray the mood and excitement of the community coming together then pictures!
So if you’ve got an iPhone or iPad then download instagram and start posting. And while at Lotusphere take a picture of what Lotusphere is to you and post it to Instagram with the #LS12 tag. It’ll be a great way of looking back on the event of the year!
Serdar & Bruce thanks for coming up with this!
If you are anything like me you probably had the dates for Lotusphere 2012 inscribed and blocked in your calendar as soon as they were announced last year and spend the last 11 months bugging your boss about letting you go (yes, I did). Still, not everyone gets to go…..
Breath in…..ok, relax. I know it’s a disaster and I feel for you but in the incredible situation you’re actually not going, there are still ways to participate. So, to help you overcome this horrible scenario, some tips from someone who lived through it last year (and yes, that was hard!). Because you might not be able to be there physically, you can still be there online:
- Keep an eye on central sites like the Lotusphereblog and official IBM Lotusphere site for relevant links, news and updates.
- Try and find a Live feed that allows you to follow what’s going on. Last year I ended up watching the whole OGS through a LotusLive web meeting feed. With running commentary and a very active comments section with like minded people who weren’t there. It gave me the comfort of knowing I was not alone, pining behind my desk in a cold & rainy place far, far from sunny Orlando…
- Check out the #ls12 hashtag. Anything going on at or around Lotusphere will in general be tweeted with this hashtag. Even better, check out the IBM Social Aggregator for Lotusphere site that lists tweets & blog posts about Lotusphere all in one convenient web page with link backs to authors profiles and other blogs.
- Listen to the podcasts that are around. There are several out there like Taking Notes and This Week in Lotus for instance that are really worth listening to if you want to know what’s going on in the Lotus Community. Leading up to and during Lotusphere they tend to do lots of interviews and even live recordings from the conference itself.
- Check out PlanetLotus. The place to go for all blog’s Lotus and during Lotusphere the place to get the latest scoops.
- Check out the Greenhouse Lotusphere Community (register for free with Greenhouse if you haven’t done so yet to get access). An online Connections community where people can connect, post pictures, links and video’s, search for information, post questions and get involved while at Lotusphere. But also open to anyone not there.
- Follow and connect with people on twitter that are there. This is the best way of getting to know what’s going on. Who to follow? Well there are lot’s and finding the right ones can be difficult if you’re new to this. A good basic set of active Lotus community tweeps is to simply follow the IBM Champions twitter list. These are some of the most active members in the community and it’s an easy starting point to broaden your network. Don’t be afraid to interact with them either. These are people that were recognized by IBM for their active role in the Community so in general they are really open and willing to engage with you.
So although none of the above really replaces the actual ‘Lotusphere experience’ itself these could be tips to get a little bit of the feeling of being there. And, if you’re smart, you can use it to get the arguments to convince your boss why he should let you go next year…. :)
This list is far from complete. Any more tips I might have forgotten? Add them to the comments!