Do I know you?

My blog domain has moved.

Posted by Gia Lyons on July 10, 2008

I’ve moved my blog to If you’d like to continue receiving my posts, please update your feed readers with the following feed URL:


Posted in Social Software | Leave a Comment »

Who owns an employee blog?

Posted by Gia Lyons on July 9, 2008

When I was an IBM employee, I enjoyed writing my employee blog. I also enjoyed being the number two blogger at IBM, trailing only behind my pal, Luis Suarez (natch). I wrote about business stuff and personal stuff. It was my voice to my colleagues.

I left IBM in May 2008. I didn’t, however, leave my people network. Those relationships remain strong, although we are careful about what we discuss now, since many of us actually compete with one another in the marketplace (which I am not thrilled about, but that’s life).

Public Ownership

Public Ownership

I found out a few days ago that someone at IBM has suggested that they “take over” my internal IBM blog.

Boy, that really pissed me off.

I immediately asked Twitter what they thought. Lots of IBMers and non-IBMers chimed in. After I calmed down a bit and read a few of the responses, I decided to feel this way:

  • the blog is IBM’s
  • the content – even my personal stories – is IBM’s
  • the voice is mine

I got all Zen then, because I knew who the person was who might “take over” my IBM blog, and realized that my voice is WAY different than their’s. Also, since my IBM blog contains my name in the URL, I figured it would be interesting to see how they could even accomplish a “take over”. It would be like someone taking over my email, really.

Why do they want to take it over? Most likely for the traffic it receives. I say, start your own blog, put a redirect in front of mine. Done. Oh wait. They still need some of the content in that blog.


So, in retrospect, all of this is a classic example of Waffle Thinking. I’m a cog who left the wheel. Need to get a new cog (waffle square?). Fortunately, there are many IBMers who are fellow Spaghettians, and I hope they continue to encourage IBM’s ever… so… slow… culture change to include more Spaghetti Thinking.

Spaghetti Nation, FTW!

So, IBM, not that you ever need my permission to do anything, feel free to replace me. Take over my employee blog. Fart in my office chair. Use my coffee mug. Take my pens. But know that my voice will always be mine.

Posted in Social Enterprise | Tagged: , , , , | 19 Comments »

Choice matters.

Posted by Gia Lyons on July 9, 2008

Something my pal JD successfully hammered into my head last week caused a lightbulb moment.

Employees can choose not to use enterprise social environments.

About to dive inDo you have a customer relationship management (CRM), procurement, portal, or other software you are forced – yes, forced – to use by your company? Me too. I have no choice. But when it comes to social networking and collaborative applications, there’s no “force” about it. I can choose to use it or not.

This means that the traditional way of implementing “you gotta use this” software doesn’t really work with social enterprise solutions.

So, what does work? Think about the things you use in your life that you don’t really need to use, but want to use. It’s all the things that you could live without if you had to. And I’m not talking about choosing a less expensive model of something you consider a necessity (e.g., selecting a discount diaper bag over a Coach diaper bag – a mom’s gotta have a diaper bag).

Why do you use those things? You get some kind of personal satisfaction out of them. Can you say that for your company’s CRM or procurement applications? The authors of Groundswell refer to one type of this personal satisfaction as psychic income.

I wish I had a magic answer for my customers about what kinds of things constitute personal satisfaction for everyone in their organizations, but then I’d just sound like a dumb software vendor wonk. Instead, I’d rather spend time with my customers to help them figure it out. Because one person’s satisfaction is another’s irritation.

Posted in Social Enterprise | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Does your wiki have the Q&A blues?

Posted by Gia Lyons on July 2, 2008

Tell me if you’ve heard this one (I have, from several customers)…

Them: “We implemented a wiki so that our team could share their expertise with a wider audience.”

Me: “That’s great! That’s how many have gotten their feet wet with Enterprise 2.0 over the past couple of years.”

Them: “Well, it works great for co-authoring documentation, and creating a knowledge base, but the comments/discussions feature just doesn’t do it for us when it comes to our Question & Answer needs.”

Me: “Really? Why?”

Them: “We’d like to be able to mark a question as answered, and have the people who provide the answers receive points when their answers are helpful or correct. We want them to get the recognition they deserve, but have the system do all the work for us.”

Me: “Ah I see.”

That’s when I tell them about Clearspace’s Community Everywhere.

With Community Everywhere, you can embed discussion threads directly into existing news articles, blog posts or other content that would benefit from comments or discussions. Instead of forcing users to leave your content to create a comment or view a discussion thread, you use Community Everywhere to enable users to participate in discussions while on the page that contains your content.

You can choose to display one of the following on your wiki pages (or news articles, or non-Clearspace community sites that have less-than-stellar discussion features, or press releases, or home-grown web applications, or portal pages, etc.):

  • Display “Discuss This” Link
  • Display “Discuss This” Link and Recent Posts
  • Display “Discuss This” Link, Recent Posts, and Comment Box

The beautiful part of this is that, if you ultimately want your people to use Clearspace instead of that wiki implementation, this is the painless way to do a behavior migration first. You don’t have to migrate any wiki content right away, if at all. Instead, simply ease people into Clearspace via Community Everywhere in your wiki. Over time, Clearspace wiki pages might become the preferred solution, especially since folks can watch individuals, or specific pieces of content (wiki pages, uploaded files, blogs and blog posts, projects, spaces, etc.), or specific topics, and receive email notifications or an RSS feed whenever those watched people or things are updated.

I usually prefer to just watch the subject matter experts in knowledgebase environments such as this. I’ll get everything they create, comment on, and answer.

And, Clearspace’s discussion component allows the people who ask the question to designate which answers are helpful, and which answer is correct. There are points assigned to each designation, which are awarded to the people who provide the answers. These points accumulate, along with points earned elsewhere in Clearspace, to create a reputation rating for each person. This is displayed on the person’s profile, and anywhere their name shows up throughout Clearspace.

So, go ahead and use Clearspace along with your existing wiki environment, and use Clearspace’s Community Everywhere to solve those Q&A blues.

Posted in Social Software | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Clearspace just *shows up* in your browser’s search bar

Posted by Gia Lyons on July 1, 2008

How cool is this:

Navigate to any Clearspace instance using IE7 or Firefox 2 or higher, then click the search drop-down menu and select it as a new search option.

Cisco Learning Community Search

This is made possible by Clearspace’s implementation of the OpenSearch API.

Your search results will include people’s profiles, and their files, wiki pages, discussion threads, blog posts, projects, and the ever popular “what have you” using your browser’s search box.

I wonder what happens if the Clearspace site is configured with other OpenSearch search engines, like Google or Google Search Appliance or Yahoo! or Wikipedia or whatever other site supports OpenSearch (because you can do that in Clearspace)? It stands to reason that your results will include items from those search engines as well, but I don’t know for sure. I will confirm this. When Clearspace search is also integrated with SharePoint (coming soon), I wonder if I’ll get SharePoint results as well? Gotta confirm that, too.

In any case, try it today on your company’s internal Clearspace site, or the following “powered by Jive Software” public sites:

How we did it

Posted in Social Enterprise, Social Software | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Quotient: Do your employees “get” customer service?

Posted by Gia Lyons on June 26, 2008

My pal, Steve Mann at SAP, wrote a thoughtful post about how folks should start with the right type of employee first, and not social media tools, when it comes to social media marketing.

My favorite:

Marketing Drives Conversation, Conversation Drives Relationships, Relationships Drive Brand Affinity, Brand Affinity converts into Revenues.

I’d say this is true even for an organization’s internal “customers”… For example, if you want your salesforce to better absorb your enablement materials, create some relationships with them first.

Posted in Social Enterprise | 7 Comments »

Laundry: Childhood “punishment” to adult sanity preservation

Posted by Gia Lyons on June 22, 2008

When I was a pre-teen and pissed my Mom off, she’d “sentence” me to fold clothes for 30 minutes in the spare bedroom. That’s where we stored our family’s Mount McLaundry. See, my Mom believed in spending time doing fun things, family things. Laundry wasn’t one of them. We didn’t store clean clothes in bureaus or closets. We scaled the Mountain every few days to gather what we needed, when we needed it, much like our ancestors did, I imagine.

Me being a tad more anal than Mom, I can’t handle having unfolded laundry for very long, especially if there’s no more clean underwear in my drawer. Combine that with a love of aloneness – which is ironic, considering my passion for creating a trusting, social, corporate world someday – and suddenly, Laundry becomes an oasis.

Ok, combine that with a 4-year-old daughter who thinks “normal” is spending 16 hours straight playing with me – not her Dad, me. Gee, thanks, Grandma Lyons, for setting that impossible standard. :)

Every weekend, I look forward to escaping to the man-cave-turned-toy-storage downstairs with a glass of red and a full basket of clothes. I fold, I drink, I revel in unresponsibility. I absorb endless HGTV. It’s the equivalent of my husband watching his recorded Ultimate Fighting Championship episodes while I’m gluing some crazy family “crap” together with my daughter in another room.

When I don’t get “folding time,” I turn into a nasty version of myself. Blech. Thus, Laundry is sacrosanct in my house. I, and only I, do it. And I do it alone. With joy, and surprisingly, a little reverence. I sometimes attend our local spiritual house, but Laundry becomes my sanctuary more often than not.

What’s your regenerative habit?

Posted in Social Software | 6 Comments »

Firefox 3: Tagging your personal bookmarks

Posted by Gia Lyons on June 20, 2008

Once you build up a large list of bookmarks, keeping track of them all can get a little messy. To stay organized, you can assign tags to your bookmarked sites: just double-click on the star icon and you’ll be prompted to enter your tags.

You can tag a site with as many terms as you want (be sure to put a comma between each tag), and then easily find the sites again by typing that tag into the location bar. For example, entering “travel” into the location bar will bring up all the sites you’ve been bookmarking as part of your vacation research.

Ding ding ding. Sign me up.

Posted in Social Software | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

It’s Goopy in the Octopus Head

Posted by Gia Lyons on June 19, 2008

I got to be in Sam’s octopus head yesterday to “sound board” his most recent post, Anatomy of the Enterprise Octopus. It was gloriously goopy. That messy creation stuff always gets me excited, always energizes me, especially when the topic is awesome. And, I was able to share some interesting thoughts with him. Because he is my boss, I won’t have to figure out how to measure the worth of that interaction to report to him later. Whew. I’ll expect my raise soon, Sam.


One thought I’d like to flesh out a bit more is the co-Learning part of COLORS. This is because it is the low-hanging fruit in the overall culture change that must happen for a COLORS environment to thrive. That culture change is already happening in the eLearning space.

First, I always say that, if you want people to use social software, to become more collaborative and transparent in what they do, you need to co-opt existing business processes and work behaviors. You want to “capture the knowledge” of your retiring workforce? Tweak your existing mentoring program to effect that result. You want people to move conversations out of email and into the corporate “piazza” or townhall? Use tools that enable people to create and comment and follow the conversations in that piazza by using… email.

So, many enterprises have picked up on this. I have one customer who is thinking about how to co-opt their call center’s existing eLearning program to encourage more social participation. In a call center, associates are typically encouraged to participate in education modules during downtime. This company also wants them to create a sense of community, to have fun, and be fun. (This blew me away, because I’ve never heard of a company wanting to make their call center environment “fun.” Awesome.)

I have another customer who is working with my pal @jenokimoto to inject social learning into their existing structured eLearning program.

OK. Let’s get really uncomplicated here, and talk about how one person can get started with this. It’s not rocket surgery after all.

How to start a simple Social Learning revolution



Angela creates a quick video that explains the nature of her organization’s relationship with Customer X. She describes the Customer’s technical, non-technical, and cultural environments; she shares a story that highlights a failure, another that describes a success with the customer. Maybe the stories involve trying to sell them something, solving a problem, or simple relationship-building. Who would this kind of information be valuable to? To anyone in the company who needs to work with that Customer in any capacity.

All she’d have to do is brush her hair, click a button in the “piazza” social software environment, and start talking. Then, when she’s done, click a button to save it in the “piazza”. It’s that easy.

You know, certain types of knowledge and experience are better suited to particular mediums. I would probably never type anything like the example above. I’d most likely do it during a phone conversation, actually. But that’s the old way.

Hmm… what if people just started recording themselves during those phone conversations? If the tools are stoopid-simple to use, why not? I’m going to try that – video myself during my next customer interaction, then share that with my sales colleagues so that they get an idea about what I’m saying to customers about Jive Clearspace and user adoption good practices. Gotta go brush my hair now.

Posted in Social Software | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Facebook in Clearspace, create content via email, and more!

Posted by Gia Lyons on June 16, 2008

I haven’t blogged about how ridiculously extensible Jive Clearspace is. Or, how active the global Clearspace development community is. No need. Just check out the Clearspace Plugin Catalog, along with the discussions and ratings for each plugin to get an idea. Tell your geek friends about it.
You say you want Facebook for the enterprise. How about Facebook in your enterprise profile?

The Facebook plugin integrates users’ Facebook profiles into Clearspace while allowing each user to control how (or if) their Facebook information is shown.

You say you want to comment on Clearspace discussion threads, documents and blog posts via email. You’ve already been able to do that via the Email Watch feature. But now you want to create discussions, documents and blog posts through email, too. Ok. Now, you can.

The Advanced Email plugin gives your users the ability to comment on blog posts, documents and discussion threads and to create discussion threads, documents and blog posts, all via email.

You say you want to manage rich media, too? No problem. You can easily embed rich media from consumer sites with these plugins:

Oh, you want to create videos on the fly within Clearspace documents? That’ll be here sometime in July – September:

New Plug-In Enables Jive’s Product Line With High-Quality Video

You want to populate your Clearspace blog with content from some other blog? No problem.

Feed your Blog plugin

You want to display your personal calendar on your homepage, or a group calendar on a community or group homepage? Here you go:

Calendar Widget

You say you want a social software platform. Jive Clearspace might be what you’re looking for.

Posted in Social Software | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »