Hashtag Overuse #LOL #Funny #NotGuiltyOfThat

Hashtags in the digital world allow you to connect conversations together.  They are great for searching and categorizing content.  However, when you share social content you need to limit your Hashtags so that the whole conversation is not just many Hashtags with the value of the message lost.   For example, in Twitter you only have 140 characters so you don’t want your Hashtags to take up most of your message.  One or two Hashtags are enough to share your content effectively.

What do Hashtags look like and why would you use them?

  • Anatomy of a Hashtag, the pound sign (#) followed by a word.  For example, #Business #Work, #SmarterWorkForce
  • Use Hashtags to make your content easy to find and categorize
  • Search or click on Hashtags to see what other people have shared using the same Hashtag
  • Join into a conversation with other people who are talking about the same Hashtag/topic

How do you use Hashtags effectively?

  • Use one or two Hashtags to categorize your content.  For example, if you are attending a conference you would use the conference hashtag to listen to what other attendees were saying about the conference.  You might also consider using a second Hashtag for a particular session within the conference.  Or for a world wide event, like the Olympics you might search on #sochi2014 to keep up with the event and medal standings.
  • Search on the Hashtag you are planning to use to see what it stands for and what people are saying using that Hashtag. If you make an acronym, check to see how people are using it.
  • You can make up your own Hashtags by using upper and lower letters to put words together #LoveToDance #SocialBusiness
    (remember #DoNotMakeThisTooLongOfAWord)
  • Include your audience.  For example, is there an organization you can include in the conversation that is relevant?  If I am talking about #InstructionalDesign, I might also include #ASTD (which is the American Society of Training & Development).  Note, when using Twitter, you would include specific people with an @ sign, like @adreyzin is my id on Twitter.  However, many organizations do have Hashtags you can include as well.  For example, #IBM, or #NBC, etc.

This is a very funny video about Hashtag overuse by Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake.  I hope we never have conversations like these 🙂

Posted in social-media, youtube | 1 Comment

Cutting through Organizational Silos. Applying Social Business to how you work, connect, collaborate and lead within the enterprise!

These days “social business” is an expected skill that is part of your job, but what does that really mean?

Let’s focus on one aspect:
Does it mean to create yet another private community and invite some chosen colleagues to “collaborate”?

I think it goes beyond that, it’s about being brave enough to think and share your thoughts/ideas within the enterprise even if they are not quite perfect yet. I know these is a little voice inside that says …. I don’t want to look “stupid”. However, being bold and inviting others to comment and add their opinions will make you smarter. I think part of using social tools is getting out of your comfort zone, making the community public within the enterprise to increase ease of search for others. Finally reaching out to new people within the organization and asking for contributions. Yes, there maybe files that require privacy, but yet a better practice is to just restrict the specific file and leave the community open.

Here’s a summary of five Social Business work tasks to cut through silos:

  • Search for content first, before you create content or any new communities (you will be surprised what you can find, and who are the experts in that space)

  • Contribute to communities where you have expertise, even if you do not directly report to that group

  • Partner with communities instead of creating a new one where possible

  • Create open communities and only restrict files within the community when necessary.

  • Ask for contributions and help for your community

What social business tasks do you perform to cut through the organizational silos?

Posted in collaboration, share, smarter-leaders, social-business, social-media, work-related | 2 Comments

Motherhood, social software … and staying connected


Staying home with your baby is like a beautiful dance. It’s not the first time I have danced with my children, but it’s been a long time, this time it’s our third lovely baby, and we are trying to balance life. It feels like we waltz our way through life or rather salsa because the rhythm seems so much faster these days. In one hand my baby, in the other my smart phone, common themes for many mommies these days.

Communication has changed since the last time I was home with my kids. As I walked to the local mall, I saw a mommy feeding her child with one hand and texting with the other. It made me think how social software is changing how parents connect with others and how we stay connected to work when on leave. I found myself checking my iphone more often, perhaps for the adult company and checking what new developments happened at work. As my baby sleeps, I have a moment to reflect …. so what have I learned so far?

  • Staying connected is easier than ever, you can choose to just listen if you are sleep deprived or to interact when you are ready
  • Finding local groups is only a search away, whether it’s local mommy groups or baby playgroups
  • When I get back to work I will be able to catch up faster than ever, because I have stayed connected and I know that what I missed can be found by tapping into experts and documents available at work through online social networks
  • Before I know it, I will be back at work and hopefully better with all the experience I gained caring for my family at home

This brings me to think about Mother’s day which is coming this weekend. I wanted to wish all mothers out there a very happy Mother’s Day! I know I get so much amazing help from my mother and mother-in-law, I really couldn’t do half of what I do without all the help I get from them. So a big thank you to my moms and all moms out there who help so much! It also makes me smile to know that my moms are staying connected through online social networks these days too.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Posted in motherhood | Tagged | 2 Comments

I am not looking for a new job, why should I update my LinkedIn profile?

I think that myth that if you update your LinkedIn profile means you are looking for a new job has now passed.  Yes, there are recruiters looking through LinkedIn, but so are customers, colleagues and potential new opportunities.   Before you know it, people have already looked you up, even within your own company and today regardless of your seniority and role, it is always a wise decision to represent yourself well, both for you and for the company.  If you are not easily found on the web, this too speaks volumes about your ability to interact and adapt to new ways of connecting and communicating online.

Here are 7 tips that only take a few minutes to enhance your profile, but many people don’t take advantage …
(all are on the free LinkedIn account)

1)  Customize your public profile url link (For example, use your name and remove any numbers/letters, so that it’s easy to add to your e-mail and business cards)

2) Update the skills section (Currently LinkedIn is automatically asking your colleagues to endorse you on skills, make sure it reflects your most current skills)  Don’t forget you can actually click on a skill to see who else has those skills and which skills are related.

3) Add Links to websites such as your company website and/or blog to your profile in the additional information section

4)  Use the advanced search capabilities to look up customers you are planning to visit and follow companies you may be looking to engage with.

5) Backup your contacts and export your profile to use as an always current resume and to have your contacts in an e-mail list format.

6) Update your Headline so it reflects what the outcome is of what you do and how you can help customers, by default it’s your previous position

7) Tag your connections, so you can remember where/when you met, it also makes it easier for you to send one e-mail to a group tagged with a particular label/tag.  Click here to learn how to invite a group to a local event.

Why would you do all this?  How could this benefit you and your team?

  • Benefit from your network and your team’s network, see who you know that is connected to the person you want to meet.
  • Find and reach experts fast (both inside and outside of the company)
  • Gather competitive intelligence
  • Gain insight
  • Build relationships online and stay in touch
Posted in LinkedIn, smarter-leaders, social-business, social-media, work-related | Leave a comment

A critical resource in building your reputation and brand within your organization – your colleagues.

Last week, I had the honor and pleasure of serving as a mentor at the IBM Toronto’s Women’s Mentoring event.  The event allowed the participants the opportunity to ask all types of  questions about various aspects of their work and careers, within a collegial and supportive environment.

Among the many things we talked about with the very bright and intelligent women who had gathered, was the importance of building one’s reputation within and outside the company.

During one of the sessions, I asked one of the participants the following question: “Would you ever ask a colleague to endorse, or recommend your work, or to nominate you for a specific company award – as a way to build your reputation within and outside the organization?”

Here was the candid response I received: “No, I would be too shy or I would feel awkward asking this of a colleague”.

Something tells me that this would likely have been the response of many of the participants had they been asked the same question.

From personal experience over the years, I am quite sure that if they had actually asked, their colleague would very likely have been more than happy to help with their request.

I have to admit that early in my career, I remember thinking along the same self-defeating lines.  Over the years, however, with the encouragement of my colleagues, friends  and family, my response and attitude has significantly changed.

So what stops us from asking?

Is it that we don’t want to inconvenience the other person or put them in an uncomfortable position?

Is it that we’re not confident or secure enough to see ourselves as deserving of praise, recognition or endorsement?

Are we afraid to be perceived as too aggressive, selfish or self-promoting?

Are there cultural barriers that make us uncomfortable to ask this of our colleagues?

What are your own personal barriers?

OK.  But what if there was a way to approach our colleague(s) with this request but at the same time provide them a “way out”, so to speak – to present our request in a way that puts no pressure on them to act on our behalf?  Would it be easier to ask then?

The old adage: “ask and you shall receive” – comes to mind.  This is something I have definitely grown better at doing over time, but it still takes that little extra push inside of me to reach out and ask.  Deep down, I know that in the end it will be well worth it!

So here is my reminder: keep asking for what you would like in your career and life in general.  Whether it’s a recommendation, a nomination for an award, or just simply some help.  And if you haven’t done this in the past, now is the time to start.  This could be the real key to your professional and personal growth!

And what’s the worst that could happen? The answer could be, “no”, but then you are no worse off than if you had never asked at all.  And who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised by the responses you receive!

How often do you “promote” or “endorse” yourself within your organization?

How often do you approach a colleague to help with building your personal reputation within or outside of your organization?

What do you think are some ways in which you could go about in building your reputation or “brand”?


Posted in ibm, inspirational, smarter-leaders | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

How Social Business is revolutionizing the way we interact at work!

Here’s a summary table I put together to show how we can work more effectively using social tools for common work tasks.

 Thanking Colleagues

Common Approach Results
  • Send thank you e-mail
  • Copy everyone on e-mail
  • Forward to team and manager (lots of e-mails)
  • Eventually e-mail gets lost or deleted
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Write on colleagues Internal Company Profile Board
  • Micro blog about it
  • Update your Status to thank them
  • Connect with them online using social platforms
  • Their manager and network can see the thank you
  • e-mail not required
  • Highlights expertise of person
  • Builds their reputation online within the company

Creating Presentations

Common Approach Results
  • Create draft presentation and e-mail team, get feedback from team
  • e-mail as attachment
  • Spend lots of time integrating feedback
  • Stuck in mail jail from multiple attachment versions
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Upload file to Company file sharing system (e.g. IBM Connections)
  • Share with team directly from Files through notifications
  • Update with comments from team
  • Upload new versions without having to e-mail everyone
  • Automatic notifications to team
  • Transparent feedback and comments
  • Share with new team members easily
  • Others within the company can discover your presentation


Brainstorming With Team Members

Common Approach Results
  • Meet with team member
  • Take notes
  • Send rest of team notes
  • Receive feedback
  • e-mail’s going back and forth between team members
  • Eventually e-mails get lost and deleted
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Blog about brainstorming session in Team Community
  • Ask for team feedback
  • Integrate team comments into blog
  • Team members can easily add ideas, the whole team views all new ideas and comments
  • No e-mails required
  • Content stays in community for new team members to view and contribute


Assigning a task to a team member

Common Approach Results
Send team member e-mail with task assignment e-mail’s go back and forth on due date and task completion
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Create an Activity within the company
  • Assign team members to the Activity
  • Assign tasks and todos with due dates
  • Re-use Activity Template from other similar projects
  • Team member updates activity when task is complete
  • Activities transparent for the team
  • Easily reused for next similar project
  • Share Activity with other groups in the company

Connecting with new clients and sharing content

Common Approach Results
e-mail and/or call client, setup time and date to meet
  • e-mail’s / phone calls back and forth deciding on time and agenda
  • Too much time spent on logistics
  • Many file versions exchanged through e-mail
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Create a private community space to share information about your upcoming meeting.
  • Share agenda and files with clients, make updates and build content for future meetings.
  • Private space to share content with clients.
  • Fewer e-mails required
  • Created content stays in a central location to share

Building Relationship with conference/event attendees

Common Approach Results
Get business cards from attendees. Follow up with e-mails and phone calls
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Connect on social platforms like LinkedIn when you meet (using mobile device or from your computer in the evening)
  • Follow conference conversation on mirco blogging channels (e.g. Twitter)
  • Find out which are the best speakers, which sessions to attend, what are the questions and takeaways that are coming up during the conference
  • Join Tweetups and meet attendees in person
  • Benefit from the conference livestream and twitter stream either at the conference or if you are not able to attend from home
  • Connect with new colleagues right at the conference
  • Tag colleagues in the social platforms you use so you can remember how you met and easily follow up in the future

Communicating with your team

Common Approach Results
Send e-mail and copy everyone on team Team members read, reply and delete e-mail
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Create a community for your team
  • Blog about your communication for team
  • Team members can comment on blog
  • When new members join, they can easily view previous communication
  • No e-mails required
  • Tag content to easily organize communication

Finding Experts

Common Approach Results
Send your contacts a request for help and if they know an expert e-mails back and forth, you may or may not find expert
New Social Tool Approach Results
Search IBM Connections or
Company social space through tags or keywords to find expert.
  • Find expert in other parts of company
  • Find their shared blogs, papers, and files
  • Learn from their shared content
  • Reach them for further questions.

Creating a Collaborative Paper

Common Approach Results
Send e-mail with draft attachment, requesting input from colleagues
  • e-mails go back and further
  • Multiple versions of files
  • Extra of time spent integrating paper.
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Upload your draft to Company Files sharing system (e.g. IBM Connections Files)
  • Notify colleagues of draft
  • Make colleagues editors, they can go in and update sections as required
  • Complete the paper faster
  • No e-mails going back and forth
  • Versions available and contributions without one person being the bottle neck.

Sharing Insight within your Company

Common Approach Results
Send e-mail to colleagues about interesting insight/news colleagues read e-mail, forward to others, delete
New Social Tool Approach Results
  • Update your status on company micro blog with interesting insight and news
  • Blog about your thought leadership
  • Bookmark important links
  • Your whole network is aware of new insight and news
  • Your network is able to share with their network
  • Grow your network to include others in your company
  • Easily refer to your shared content at a later time

What are some tasks that you do differently using social tools? 

Please comment and share them.  Looking forward to hearing how you work differently using social tools both inside and outside of the company.

Posted in collaboration, education, ideas, smarter-leaders, social-business, social-media, work-related | 20 Comments

Twitter Chat – What’s coming up at IBM InterConnect! Will you join to ask questions and participate in the chat?

I am planning to participate in a Twitter Chat about #IBMInterconnect:
September 27th, 9 p.m.- 10 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)

IBM InterConnect 2012 is a new and unique event to provide you with opportunities to meet and collaborate with business and IT leaders in your region. IBM InterConnect conference explores topics and key business imperatives, including unleashing innovations, managing the velocity of change and reinventing relationships and uncovering new markets.

Join the IBM InterConnect Twitter Chat to discuss with experts what’s coming up at IBM Interconnect in Singapore!

Add to your calendar via Eventbrite

Instructions to others in case it is people’s first time joining a twitter chat:
· What: A twitter chat is an online conversation held at a pre-arranged time following a specific hashtag, in this case #IBMInterConnect. You will need a Twitter ID to take part.
· When: Thursday September 27, 2012 from 9 p.m. – 10 p.m. ET
· Where: The chat can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #IBMInterConnect. Alternatively, log on and access the chat on http://tweetchat.com/room/ibminterconnect
· Who: Anyone and everyone is welcome to join and tweet-along! Please remember to include #IBMInterConnect

Follow the #IBMInterConnect to chat with experts from the conference.
You won’t want to miss it!

If you haven’t yet registered for the IBM Interconnect Conference, be sure to register today.

Here’s a video to learn more about the conference:

Posted in IBMInterConnect, smarter-leaders, social-business, social-media, work-related | Leave a comment