Tagged: Twitter

#StuffIBMersSay: testing IBM’s social elasticity

A while ago I wrote a blog post about a twitter meme that was going on where people were tweeting funny things IBM’ers had said with the hashtag #stuffIBMerssay. It became hot real fast and got over 3000 tweets and retweets before it died out after about a week. In my post I did that first day when it all started I stated “ps. Seeing a perfect opportunity here for IBM to use it’s new Analytic tools to analyze this social phenomena!” and well, it seems they have.

I knew they were working on it but hadn’t seen anything made public about it yet until I saw a blog yesterday from Keith Brooks with a link to the research report IBM did on this, the official research page for the meme and an interview with the researcher. It’s really interesting to read and I can see how analyzing this kind of social meme’s can help understand sentiment and feelings within organizations as well as how the rest of the world perceives an organization.

But what this impromptu phenomenon and IBM’s response to it showed best to me is that IBM really is striving to be a truly social organization. Being a social organization isn’t just about providing the tooling and ‘talking the lingo’, it is about recognizing and empowering the individuals within the organizational eco-system so that they can leverage their strengths to get the organization to a next level. That also implies allowing yourself to be viewed through the eyes of those individuals both for the good as well as for the bad and both on the inside (employees) as well as on the outside (partners, customers, contractors, etc). A daunting thing to do, especially when it happens unexpected, unplanned and uncontrolled, which is exactly what happened here. The fact that over 75% of the people who participated were from within the IBM organization itself and that they felt save to tweet about this and inject a lot of humor and banter without feeling they were harming the IBM organization or their own career shows a remarkable openness and engagement. I think that is exactly why this whole thing grabbed me the way it did back then…. and still does!


Nicely said but the real proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say and for me that proof was that seven months on, the two people who unleashed it all, and whom I’ve been closely following ever since, still proudly list “Working @IBM” in their Twitter profile :)


Especially had to smile while reading this:

“Second, the qualitative analysis suggested that contributors to the #stuffibmerssay thread were also able to poke fun at the bureaucratic nature of a large global enterprise. We termed this “the Dilbert effect” where tweets served as satirical observations of how the processes within a large organization could be bewildering.”


So fitting with one of the tweets I quoted back then!

@FlemChrist: I swear that guy writing the Dilbert cartoon works here. #stuffibmerssay


Deleted tweet and heated discussions

Ok, this one just rubbed me the wrong way.

Yesterday I followed a heated twitter discussion between @MatNewman and @APACloud (Andy Pattinson – ProQuest) on Lotus Notes vs Google Mail.
I’m always interested to learn what makes/breaks the products I work with so I followed the twitter exchange although I must say it all got rather direct… (nasty?)

What I mostly got from it was that it wasn’t a real discussion. Mat, asking (in his own unique enthusiastic way) for substantiation on some statements about Lotus Notes vs Google mail was replied with  statements in which he was called a lunatic and on crack.

Regardless of the form, I think it’s always important to keep the focus on the topic, not on the person.
So, although I must admit I was a bit annoyed by the unwarranted insults (even if meant in a jokingly way), I couldn’t help but wonder whether @APACloud actually had anything to say on the topic (Google Mail vs Lotus Notes) or was just trying to get out of a discussion he wasn’t up for but doing it the wrong way (getting a bit childish instead of admitting he had just made a rash statement he was not about ready to have a debate on).

And to test that I asked him to elaborate a bit on his claims about Gmail being so much better then Lotus Notes. Something that was asked by @MatNewman as well but just didn’t seem to be getting an answer.







Now at this point I kind of got that he really wasn’t up for it and I was about ready to leave it at that when he replied my tweet saying (something like) “Perhaps we could do a call on this, would love to elaborate”. Surprised I accepted.


I was genuinely up for it as I love to get the perspective of someone else. I only have limited experience with Google Mail so having a chance to talk to, and get the perspective of, someone who claims having used both professionally, as well as knows something about Salesforce (a topic I’m also interested in) was something I wouldn’t pass.

Notice how I included every tweet form our little exchange except that one in which he invites me for a call?

Well guess what, this morning, reading back the exchange (yes I do that sometimes) I noticed he had actually deleted that particular tweet. Apparently it was just a way to get out of the discussion and to shush me up. So I expect no call on this and to be honest after this, I’m not even up for it either.

Next time, be a man and just say you’re not up for the discussion.

The Twitter censorship storm: Hype or reality wake-up call?

A storm has been raging on Twitter today after it announced on its corporate blog that it will implement an option to re-actively censor tweets or twitter accounts for readers in specific countries if a valid request to do so has been made by a legal entity. The example was given of France and Germany using this to block prohibited pro-Nazi statements.

It caused a host of blog posts and tweets from people strongly opposing this and calling it an infringement on the freedom of speech. Some better researched then others. Now Twitter certainly didn’t do itself any favors announcing it the way they did and corrected it by adding more info about the solution to be implemented after the storm erupted but what does it really mean??

A lot has already been said about this so I’m not going to repeat it all but in short it boils down to this.

  • Legal entities will be able to report Twitter accounts and individual tweet messages to Twitter and ask them to censor those to readers in a specific country based on local law.
  • After reviewing Twitter might decide to honor the request. The specified Tweets/Accounts will not be deleted or blocked from posting but readers in the specified country will get a replacement text stating the account or tweet was blocked for that country. The text will still be available to readers in other countries.
  • Censoring is done on a per request base, meaning tweets will not be blocked automatically but after they’ve been placed (except when accounts are blocked) and reported to Twitter.
  • Determination of the users country is made based on IP address but can apparently be overruled by the users own country preference settings in the Twitter settings (I predict this option will be restricted pretty soon by the way if it is a working work around).
  • Twitter is doing this to comply with local law but at the same time more or less says this doesn’t mean it feels it has to agree with all regimes ideas of freedom of expression: “…we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there….“.
  • Some call Twitters’ action a way of actually ensuring its existence as an activist platform in oppressive countries (link). Given the previous statement I doubt that. If regimes find that it is to much of an opposition platform they will block Twitter regardless of its policies.
  • A large group of Twitter users is opposing this change by calling out for a #TwitterBlackOut on January 28th.

Ok, to be honest it really doesn’t set off any alarm bells to me right now. I actually think Twitter has found a pretty nifty way of working around something that would have inevitable come around anyway. What some seem to forget is that Twitter is not an idealistic or activist entity that transcends laws, it’s a company. With people working for it, offices, accountability and (uhoh… blasphemy) a goal of making money. That means it is required to obey the common law restrictions imposed on it by law makers as would any other company. And operating globally means being globally accountable.

The other thing that really intrigues me here is the fact that most people automatically associate this with the freedom of speech restrictions in oppressive countries while in fact most countries (including Europe and the United States) have certain restrictions on the absolute right to Freedom of Speech as well. Mostly when it comes to things like racial or religious hatred, discrimination and slander. So it isn’t just about protecting itself and its employees from prosecution in rogue states and dictatorships, it’s just as much a way of complying to the rules in open minded regions like Europe and the United States.

So do I think that what Twitter announced is a bad thing? Not necessarily. I regret it, but having to obey to law restrictions is an inevitable fact of live if you operate a company and at least they are making an effort to be open about it.
Am I opposed to the boycotting Twitter for a day (#TwitterBlackout)? No, but I think it should be about an awareness call to address the universal Freedom of Speech rights. Not to address a company trying to walk the tightrope between upholding the ideals of Freedom of Speech while obeying local law restrictions at the same time.


Hot trending topic around the Lotus community on twitter tonight: #StuffIMBersSay. All kinds of things IBM people have said that are silly, funny or simply plain absurd. Good fun and definitely worth reading! It was started by two IBM’ers as a joke apparently but spread around the world in hours, reaching thousands of IBM’ers, business partners and customers.

Humor is the best way to communicate, Social Media is the perfect platform. That was definitely proven tonight!

Small selection of those tweets below. Spotting a trend here….There is a lot of web and phone conferences going on!

@DelphineRB:  Do you mean 3pm ET or GMT or EST or CET ? #stuffibmersay

@kate_motzer: “Someone is breathing heavy into the phone – can you please go on mute?” #stuffIBMerssay

@seralewis: Did anyone hear the recording start? #stuffIBMerssay

@FlemChrist: I swear that guy writing the Dilbert cartoon works here. #stuffibmerssay

@creckling: sorry i’m late, i was looking for a hotspot. #stuffIBMerssay

@ragtag: “Larry? Larry? I think we lost Larry” #stuffIBMerssay

@Chappers5: Can everyone on the call press *6* please as there is a dog barking in the background #stuffibmerssay

@wesmorgan1: Working as designed. #stuffibmerssay

@tpeisel: I can do that @2 …i’m only doublebooked then #stuffibmerssay

@FemkeGoedhart: “Let me just mute my cat for a moment” #stuffibmerssay

@HP_Dalen: Will you action these deliverables? #stuffibmerssay

@linny2777: well – we have beaten that horse dead #stuffibmerssay

@wesmorgan1: We’ll do a 360 postmortem on that… #stuffibmerssay

@mmoyer: We’ll start as soon as the speakers join the call. #stuffibmerssay

@mmoyer: Who’s on the call but not in the meeting? #stuffibmerssay

@blm849: Let’s put that in the parking lot and then circle back at the end of the call #stuffibmerssay 

@lina_farr: Can’t do that right now, I’m in a sea of red! Ping you when I’m free… #stuffibmerssay

ps. Seeing a perfect opportunity here for IBM to use it’s new Analytic tools to analyze this social phenomena!

Get in touch!

You would think that getting in touch with people has become a whole lot easier since we’ve all become so ‘social’. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Connections, IM, chats, etc. You could even say that in some cases it’s hard NOT to. But still I find that really getting ‘in touch’  sometimes is a challenge. Take a recent situation I encountered.

I wanted to ask a distant social business contact something that required some delicacy and a personal touch. I didn’t know the person ‘in person’ (there’s an ocean between us) but I ‘knew’ her on Twitter, Facebook, through Connections, Sametime and even through a persistent Skype chat group. More then enough venues I guess to contact her. But this was harder than I thought.

First I considered the Connections link I had to her. The question was related to that anyway so this seemed logical. The problem though was that she hadn’t listed her contact details and I wasn’t about to put my question on her public message stream.
Next was twitter but that is mostly public and even when I had used a DM I couldn’t really get my question into a 140 character text anyway. So that one was out of the question too.
Facebook wasn’t ideal either. On reviewing her Facebook stream I figured she used it strictly for non- business related stuff and as it was a business related question I didn’t want to use that route (DM or Chat) for a business related question. Even social business has its etiquette…..

So I looked on. She didn’t have a blog (I knew about or could find) and on LinkedIn I found several people matching here name, most without pictures, so no luck there either.
My last chance seemed to be the Sametime and Skype chat. Not ideal but it would at least allow me to ask her for her mail address.  The problem was though that she wasn’t online much and by the time she was, I wasn’t (that darn ocean again!).

This was frustrating! Here I am, connected to this person on at least 3
social networks and 2 IM systems and still I had trouble getting in
touch with her! Having this persons email address would
have saved me a lot of trouble. In stead I had all these social links
but no decent way of getting in touch.

So in the end I solved it the old fashioned way. I called her company switchboard and asked for her.

Ironic isn’t it? That even with all these digital channels and links to her I
finally had to resort to the old fashioned phone call to really get in