Tweeting with Jim Irsay: A Suite Experience

Anyone ever tell you you’re wasting your time with social media? They don’t see the value it could bring to them?

Fortunately, I’ve found tons of value by connecting daily via “social networks” focused on social collaboration, golf, football, entertainment and life. But if you still have doubt, maybe my little story about how a few Tweets led to immeasurable “ROI” with one of my greatest passions, the Indianapolis Colts.

I wrote this blog post on New Year’s Day about the Twitter engagement with fans of Colts owner Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay). But that was BEFORE I found out I had been selected as a winner of one of his contests which I had been trying to win for the previous 36 hours. Recently re-reading the post I realized I certainly wrote it assuming I wouldn’t win because of how many people were trying and how few winners were left to be announced. I still think that the blog post contributed to me being part of the final winner announcement less than 24 hours before the game, but we’ll never know, will we?

So here is my story from the point I found out I had won…until we found out the Colts had won the AFC South division and the #3 seed in the playoffs:

Fold – As the darkness arrived New Year’s day, I decided I had neglected my wife and children long enough following the fan response to @JimIrsay’s tweets and contests, trying to find ways to prove myself as a dedicated fan worthy of winning, and writing a blog post about the whole experience. I also didn’t want to be a person publishing a tweet-a-minute to draw attention to myself with little substance. So, I published my new blog post, tweeted it a few times to draw some attention, then put the mobile away and started getting the kids ready for bed and folding laundry. I stopped following the tweets. Then my phone buzzed. It was a Direct Messages from Jimmy Land (@jland23). Jimmy was a perfect stranger, but one of the first winners selected by Jim Irsay the previous day, and he and I happened to connect had been exchanging tweets the better part of Friday and Saturday:

I didn’t believe Jimmy Land, had to check and see it for myself. Low and behold, Jimmy Colt had thumbed my name on his BlackBerry! I spent the next 4 hours in shock, tweeting some more, scrambling for kid care options so my wife could join me and reworking tailgating plans and ticket plans with friends and neighbors (I already had a ticket in section 612 I was going to use for the game).

Coincidence? I think NOT! – So I get a phone call from Irsay’s representative late Saturday night to talk logistics for winning, and I knew things were going my way when she and I discovered via phone that her First, Middle and Last Name were the EXACT SAME as my 5 year old daughter’s! Are you kidding me? She informed me I would be getting TWO free tickets to the game and ONE suite pass to Jim Irsay’s suite for before the game to meet Jim with the rest of the group, but that we would be returning to our seats before the game started and watching the game from there. Sounds good to me!

PPppppppp-rrrrrrriiiiiuuussssssss with 7777777777000000001111111111111 bbbbbballlllllsssss – It was cold Sunday, especially in the shade. It was a sunny day, and when we were in the sun it didn’t feel too bad. But the Prius being offered for the Sunday 1pm giveaway was parked in front of Lucas Oil Stadium in the shade! Typing on a mobile was not easy, and obviously neither was counting the number of balls you can stuff in a Prius. I didn’t win, and I guessed “147” when the answer was “701.” I tweeted my answer before I knew the balls were not all regulation size!!!

Will Call Tweet Up – We all had to pick up our tickets and Suite passes from Will Call. One of my favorite moments of the day (again, being someone in the “social” profession) was when a bunch of complete strangers, having only shared a few tweets with one another, immediately recognized each other like they’d been friends for years. I arrived at the window and quickly was able to say, “Hey, you’re @AmyMack74! And you’re @jland23.”  It was a really cool moment thanks to the use of Twitter to allow the participants and winners to have already established their own sense of “community,” purely via the act of participating.

Pre-game Pep Talk – So we arrive at the suite, do some more meet and greets…most sounding eerily similar to “Nice to meet you Chris, what was your twitter name?  Ah, @dunkman42, of course! Great to meet you in person!”  Then Mr. Irsay came to meet us all and talk to us a bit before the game. What a great talk he gave. He covered topics about his life, from growing up knowing and learning from Johnny Unitas and Bubba Smith, lessons his late father taught him, dealing with the death of his sister, dealing with the potential pending NFL lock-out and the implications that could have on the 2012 Super Bowl that is scheduled to be here in Indy. He talked about a visit he made to Twitter headquarters in San Francisco and his meetings with their CEO as he was obviously thinking and planning ahead about how to effectively leverage their service to best engage his fan base. It must have been a good meeting, because he has done things pretty darn well in my opinion. And as a huge NFL fan, my favorite story, when at Lamar Hunt’s funeral a few years ago (deceased owner of the Chiefs), former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue put his arm around Irsay and told him “He was the last of his generation of owners. It is your time to carry on the legacy of the founders of the NFL, the people that have raised you in this league, and it is your time to now to lead us.” Of course that line is paraphrased, but that is how I heard it. Great story telling.

Another memorable moment was when he stopped everything in his tracks when a women entered the room, and gave her a hug and had a private conversation with her, and you could see she was a little shaken up. I didn’t know it at the time, but later found out she was the mother of a young man that had passed away in Iraq or Afghanistan serving our country, and he treated her to the same experience he treated us. It was a special moment for sure.

Then near the end of the talk he made a passing remark about “…when we take you guys down to the field…” and you could see the faces of each person in the room immediately light up. You mean we get to go on the field??!!?? It is only one hour before game time, there are going to be players roaming around, practice punts booming, fans looking at us jealously!  Awesome!

Field Pass -You can see most of my field experience from the photos in this album and the videos I uploaded to my YouTube channel. But the most exciting moment (no offense Mayor Ballard) was being on the field during warm-ups while Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight” played.

Nobody Puts @TheBrycesWife in a Corner! Except @JimIrsay – So as all of the excitement above comes to a close, we are instructed to take our regular tickets and go watch the game from the seats associated with the free tickets we received for winning. I will never complain about free seats, but I was a little surprised to find out we were in the top row of the corner of the stadium. Thought we may get some nice seats, but cool, no biggie. My wife and I are there, having a good time, I don’t need to exercise again that evening after climbing all the stairs. And one more positive? If I stand up the entire game, nobody is going to yell at me from behind!

About one series into the game, however, my cell phone rings. It is one of Jim’s aides. He says I am welcome to use my suite pass to return and hang out, eat, drink, be merry for the rest of the game! Suite!! Dude! Sweet! Dude!!!  Oh, but I only have one Suite Pass. What is @TheBrycesWife going to do the whole time? Is a loving husband, like myself, really going to leave his wife all by her lonsesome in the stratosphere of a huge stadium just to go hang out in the owner’s suite during a division clinching Colts game?

See ya honey…meet you at the car! Zoom…

Back in the Suite – To little surprise, I returned to the suite to find many of my new friends hanging out with one another, all with a similar family abandonment story to share. “But how often to you get this opportunity?”, we all convinced each other, so we could enjoy our guilt-free game together. I know I am forgetting some of the other winners I met, so I apologize, but it was great meeting all of you: @AmyMack74, @TaxMegan, @dunkman42, @naturallysassy1, @Mr_Focker, @badtippy, @jland23, @ssimonindc, @LynnieLynn77 and @amcarter. You guys rock!

Unexpected encounter of the day? During the first half someone informed me that IRL driver Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) was also roaming around the suite with us. I had seen him in the suite, but not recognized him as Rahal until it was pointed out to me. So I didn’t think much of it. But during the 3rd quarter as I was standing watching the game, Graham and his girlfriend Katie Osborne (@ktmosborne) came up behind me and asked which of our group was the person that had requested to have a picture taken with him. Well, turns out it was @jland23, who happened to disappear for the better part of 30 minutes! So I was looking around and informed them he wasn’t around at the moment. I fully expected Graham to go back to his business and forget about us. But he didn’t. He and Katie stood and talked with myself and some of the group for the rest of the game! Most of the 3rd and 4th quarters. We talked football, racing, golf, workout methods (I was quiet during that portion of the conversation), Ohio sports (he grew up in Columbus) and more. What a great, down to earth guy for a 22 year old IRL super star. Oh yeah, and he got his ticket because AJ Foyt and Casey Irsay couldn’t make it that day! Ha.

This is @Mr_Focker and @GrahamRahal. I’m not in the picture (my batteries died!) but I am just off the left edge, I promise!!  No, really, I am. Seriously.

Really enjoyed meeting Graham and Katie. And of course as we were leaving the suite I couldn’t resist relaying to Graham as I said goodbye, “Drive Safe!”

Most importantly of all, the Colts won in dramatic fashion and we were all treated to a spectacular game, a spectacular experience and memories we’ll never forget. Thanks to everyone involved, especially Jim Irsay and the Colts organization for being so good to the fans.

Now, Go Colts, beat the Jets!!

Colts Weekend with Jim Irsay and Other Fun Tweeps

Thought I would share a quick note for any Colts fans out there about the weekend I had.  I am going to write a longer post detailing my full experience on Sunday, but don’t have time at the moment. But wanted to quickly highlights things I’ve already published.

I spent the better part of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day tweeting with @JimIrsay and MANY other big Colts fans trying to win a day in Jim’s suite for the Colts v Titans game, and to meet him before the game.  Jim offered the prize (in addition to contests for a Hawaii trip and a free Prius) to 10 fans on Twitter that could show him they were the biggest Colts fans around. I was selected late Sat night as a winner after nearly 48 hours of driving my wife crazy.

Irsay and TheBrycesWrite at Colts game.jpg

 

Here is the blog post I wrote BEFORE I found out I won, and which likely could have been why I was selected.

Here are my pictures from the event, which I only was able to take until halftime because my phone ran out of batteries from taking so many pics and videos.

And here are a few videos I recorded while down on the field during warm ups!

 

You can also check out my tweet history on what it took to get there @TheBrycesWrite.

Look for a new blog post coming soon highlighting the day, including talking with Irsay directly, spending the 2nd half with Graham Rahal, leaving my very understanding wife in the nose bleeds and how a social networking “community” like Twitter made it all happen and made it much more than just an afternoon!

Case Study: Tweeting with Colts Owner Jim Irsay

Over the last two days I have become enthralled with the Twitter activity of Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay). He has been using Twitter to reach out to Colts fans with various contests.
This isn’t a recent development as he has done some cash and ticket giveaways over the last few weeks, but he has recently upped the ante, and as someone in the profession of “social”, I can’t look away much to the chagrin of my wife!

Jim Irsay

He has launched three different contests the last few days with a ton of activity and interest from Colts fans:

  1. Free trip to Hawaii during the Pro Bowl, with some spending cash.  He posed a riddle, and awarded the first person to reply to him with the answer with the trip. Went pretty quick.
  2. Free Toyota Prius with $4,000 in the glove compartment.  This will occur tomorrow starting at 1pm before the Colts vs. Titans game, and the winner must be the first to correctly answer a trivia question. You know I’ll be participating!
  3. This is the one that has been the most interesting to me...Inviting 10 fans to join him in his personal suite at Lucias Oil Stadium before tomorrow’s game and also get 2 free tickets to the game, the 10 that can make their case to him via Twitter that they are the Loudest and Proudest Colts fans out there.  (Actually was expanded to 11 late last night).

The response to Irsay has been nothing short of fascinating. Just take a quick look at posts directed to @JimIrsay for a quick taste (still going because at least one if not two of the spots still remain).  Watching it over my New Year’s Eve and New Years (and I must admit participating in some capacity) has been chaotic and a fascinating at the same time. So I wanted to share some observations that may help us learn from how such ideas and attempts at “customer” engagement can be so powerful in the world of Social Media / Social Collaboration / Social Business / Enterprise 2.0, etc.

What Went Well

  1. An emergent community – Irsay’s “Tweet wall” (found by searching for mentions of @JimIrsay) has become a community for Colts fans in and of itself. No lists necessary, no groups. Just follow tweets targeted at Jim and you see a thriving conversation between Colts fans.  I myself shared tweets and direct messages with no less than 10 strangers I have never met but now will probably have as fellow Colts fans to tweet with during and around games!
  2. Fans Helping Fans – A lot of the tweets are people making a case for themselves and not interacting with anyone else, but a surprisingly high number of tweets are fans that realize there are those more needy than themselves or less likely to ever get to a game. So you started to see tweeters building campaigns for strangers to win instead of themselves!
  3. Winners Picking Winners – Jim did something else cool. After he picked winner #1, he assigned that person to watch the tweets on his “tweet wall” and pick a winner (I believe it was @naturallysassy1).  All of a sudden, her “tweet wall” was bombarded with pleas, requests, jokes and new followers. And she picked who she thought was most deserving.
  4. Colts Picking Winners – Next Jim assigned one of his players, punter Pat McAfee (@Pat1McAfee), an active tweeter himself, to identify another winner. He did something that ended up being really neat to watch via Twitter. He enlisted popular teammate and fellow Tweeter Pierre Garcon (Garcon! Garcon!) to make an impromptu trip downtown, asking fans to meet them there. The winner would be the person with the best touchdown celebration dance. I couldn’t make it due to family obligations, but this lucky winner probably had some great moves, and likely was flagged for excessive celebration by any refs in the area!
  5. Having Fun Trying to Win – I didn’t tweet near as much as others, particularly those that won. But I did try some creative things here and there. Like my Blue Blood theme (think True Blood) and Breed Blue submissions.
  6. Talking to Winners – My favorite part were some of my direct interactions with people and for some strange reason, most I ended up “tweeting” and “dm’ing” most often all ended up being selected as winners (although one was not able to accept due to family obligations, but received this incredible tweet from Jim in response)!  What are the chances?  Am I the golden tweeter? I also had an inside track from early winners on what the exact details of the prizes were so I knew what I was playing for.

What Didn’t Go Over Well, In My Opinion

  1. Imposters! – Someone using @JimLrsay (with a little “L” to confuse users) actually caused some confusion and through some inappropriate tweeting actually caused some issues, one very noticeable violation of respect that probably was very emotional for one person. And the account was so difficult to visually detect, I had fear personally some of the tweets could damage Mr. Irsay’s reputation from only partially aware Tweet watchers. He even garnered responses from heavy Twitter media types like Peter King (SI), Bob Glauber (NewsDay), Micheal Smith (ESPN) and Bob Kravitz (IndyStar). But what was amazing, was as soon as people started to pick up on the stunt, it didn’t take long for everyone to “save the community” by raising awareness and calling out the ONE BAD SEED out of hundreds involved to keep a good thing going. Too often risk-averse people would have reacted but shutting the whole thing down, but the REAL Jim Irsay attacked it head on and didn’t let it interrupt his fun with the fans. He magically turned it to his advantage in the eyes of the fans.
  2. Mystery winners – A few selection seemed to come out of left field as this was presented as a Twitter contest, and all of the early winners were very active in Twitter. But one or two selections went to folks that had mysteriously little interaction up to that point. So it zapped the motivation of some participating. Not a horrible thing, but when looking at this from a fan engagement perspective, definitely want to play by the rules you establish in selecting winners and recognizing participants in your game.

All in all, I hated how addicting this was because I probably watched it too much and neglected some time with my family. But I couldn’t look away. Mostly, I came away with even more admiration and respect for Jim Irsay, and that is saying something because I was already a huge fan of the guy.  Great work Jim! I hope you keep it up, if not at this furious pace you have begun!

There camaraderie element is so powerful, I’ve “met” many of the people that will be down there as winners tomorrow, and a little part of me wants to go down there and meet some of them in person after the last two days of posting back and forth. But I am fully aware of the “stalker-like” nature of a non-winner showing up to “hover” with the winners until they get whisked into Jim’s suite…to meet him…without me…eh hem…I mean..Congrats to them!!!  Guess I’ll just go hang with my carbon friends like I usually do!

The real lesson here, for me, is how an event with some incentives not only motivates people to participate in your activities, but helps build loyalty, community and support that is hard to replicate in other mediums. Kudos to Jim and his Colts staff (assuming he had to have help with this, right?) for being so creative and engaging in a way no other professional sports organization has, as far as I can tell. I only hope I have the creativity to learn from this and apply something similar to the work that I do on a daily basis.  Very inspiring to me.

And finally, I’ll see all of you Colts fans tomorrow on Jim’s “tweet wall” trying to win that car!!!  More fun!

Go Colts!

ME2: The 4C-able Future

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my regular foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind. I am realizing as the weather gets nicer and my golfing activity picks up, this may become a bi-weekly / monthly type post instead of a weekly Monday post. Too hard to sit a computer when I could be spending my time outside playing with my kids or hitting a little white ball all over the place!

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

The 4C-able Future

I am going to start out by saying this is really corny, and I recognize that. But it basically summarizes my primary outcome for working in an enterprise environment: 4C’s – Community Collaboration with Consolidated Consumption. We have collaboration capabilities  in place already, but when I listen to employee struggles and study what is missing vs. what is needed…it boils down to being able to collaboration more easily across the organization (cross-silo communities instead of just within team structures) and being able to consume all the data/activity/conversation occurring that is relevant to the person in a simple, aggregated fashion. Simple as that. Corny, but a nice succinct way to describe my desired outcomes.

Top Reads/Tweets of the Week:

Departing from form a bit this week because I have been a little too busy to keep up with anything interesting on Twitter, other than this nice summary of the best reads related to Enterprise 2.0 for the past month. But I’ve been debating something in my mind for the last month or so and I think I’ve finally come to a conclusion.

Last summer I decided that if I was going to have a “professional presence” in the social media space, my moniker of @GolfinBP just wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted something that identified with me as a person a little better than just me as a golfer / fan of golf. So I created a new account that is @TheBrycesWrite. I would have just dropped @GolfinBP, but I was quite happy with the following I had established as a sports fan (primarily NFL and golf related people) and I didn’t want to mess with losing that. Plus, as I advertised my “professional presence” a bit more I didn’t think people would be interested in my ramblings about the Colts, my toddlers, The Masters and my incredibly overwhelming DVR habits! And this was before Twitter enhanced the lists function, so I also wanted a nice segregated “feed” of the very different content I followed with each account.

So I have been trying to manage each since then, mostly talking personal topics as @GolfinBP and reserving any E2.0-related tweets for @TheBrycesWrite. But I think the time for that has come to an end. I don’t regret that I did it because I was still testing the waters for what I felt comfortable interacting with in a public forum related to my work, but I have become a bit more comfortable with that now and I understand better where my boundaries lie for what I should and should not discuss in public. This blog has also been an exercise in learning how to discuss interesting content while respecting the boundaries I need to consider as an employee of Lilly.

Thus, over the next couple of weeks I’ll be shifting my tweet activity to @TheBrycesWrite full-time and attempting to get some of my @GolfinBP followers to come with me (as well as attempting to ditch some of the unwanted ones as well 😉 ). And I’ll be making better use of lists to aid in my ability to consume what I need based on what I am looking for at a particular point in time (Enterprise 2.0, Football, Golf, Friends, TV, etc.) So THAT should be a fun process! I am sitting at 1,496 tweets on the @GolfinBP account, so maybe I’ll just stop at 1,500 even! That will be tough given that tonight is the NCAA championship and this is Master’s week. Not sure I can go completely cold turkey!

But really what it means is that my @TheBrycesWrite account will become much more active now!

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

With Butler in the NCAA Championship tonight and The Masters starting this week, I couldn’t talk just one sporting topic. So going with two.

Sports Minute I:

My wife and I earned our MBAs at Butler a few years ago before we had our children. Less than 2 years after we finished undergrad (at Miami of Ohio), she told me one day “I’m bored, we either need to have children now or go back to school.”  I said “Where’s the application?!?”

So needless to say this is a great week for our schools. Butler plays tonight in an improbable run to a chance at the National Championship, and Miami hockey is the #1 seed in the Frozen Four tournament and playing on Thursday night this week for a chance to play for the championship. I am going to be at Miami’s campus on Friday, so I certainly hope they win so the mood is good around campus.

Also, my wife’s sister is a student at Duke and we were down there to visit this past Thanksgiving. So I am sure the family/school rivalry jabs will be flying across Facebook tonight during the game! Should be a fun evening for all of us (well, except my brother-in-law, who is a Kentucky fan an expected the Wildcats to be in this position and is probably still sulking a little, but I can throw some jabs his way too just for fun).

Sports Minute II:

I am going to do my best to talk Masters and not focus solely on the whole “Tiger returns” thing like every other medium you might read…darn…just did it.

I usually pull for Phil Mickleson at the Masters just because I know how exciting watching tournaments and listening to crowds is when he plays well. But this year I have another sentimental favorite: Ernie Els. I know he wants nothing more than to win at Augusta and he is playing really well lately. Plus his recent public work to raise money for autism and coming out and talking about his family experience with a child with autism is pretty cool stuff. So here’s hoping Ernie has a great week! If only Ernie were on Twitter! Love following pro golfers on Twitter.

ME2: Spring Forward Edition

I am breaking form this week and going with a short version instead of my typical format because I lost an hour today and I have a really hectic week to prepare for! So think of this one more like a journal / reflection of the key things on the tip of a practitioners mind…and will likely ask more questions than provide any answers for anyone:

Enterprise 2.0 Stuff

  • One of my favorite weekly tasks is working with a group of folks to identify the best blog posts written within Lilly to publicize to the internal blogosphere. As I peruse the various blog entries that have been written I discover bloggers I have never read before, learn about projects and issues within the organization I wasn’t aware of and I typically take the time to comment on a few during the process where I have something intelligent to contribute. It is always  nice way to start off my week!
  • At Lilly we have many different buildings on our campus, and multiple campuses for that matter. In the last few weeks a few Foursquare users have begun to create locations for our buildings and have been checking-in regularly. It is a very small community, but a little game of #mayorwars has emerged. It has gotten a few of us thinking about ways to make practical business use of this in the enterprise. I know how business are using it to attract customers, but how could enterprises use for their internal employees? The employee engagement aspect is obvious, but what other ways can you think of to leverage location awareness on a corporate campus? This post offers one idea, but I’m wondering if any other creative uses out there?
  • I’ve been doing some prep work for some consulting with our internal recruiting department. While it is easy to study examples of how other companies are utilizing social media for recruiting and teach about effective ways to use external social media tools, the non-obvious element to consider teaching this group is creating increased awareness of internal social collaboration capabilities for two reasons: 1) For communicating to potential recruits the capabilities we have available for working effectively with peers and 2) As a safer “practice” environment for social tool interactions that they’ll need to utilize communicating with prospective employees.

Fun stuff:

  • Loved watching the PGA Tour event at the Doral Resort in Miami, FL this weekend. I have played two rounds at that course and watching an event on TV when you are familiar with the course changes the experience. I’ll still never forget standing on the tough 18th tee needing a par to shoot 79…and hooking my 2nd shot into the water! Double-bogey, 81. Now I want to got back and get it next time! Nice win by Ernie Els too.
  • Michael Emerson, Dr. Ben Linus, incredible on LOST this week. I actually watched that episode twice. So in the 2004 flash-sideways Ben and his Dad left the island…hmmm. Pretty significant revelation there, no doubt.
  • I am watching The Apprentice with Donald Trump in the background while writing this, and I am imagining getting 10 minutes in his boardroom to try and make the case for increasing the social collaboration presence in his organization. Tip #1: Don’t tell him that Rosie O’Donnell believes in it (not that I know if she does or doesn’t). But he has no love lost there.
  • This NCAA tourney is going to be fun for me, because in one form or another I have at least an indirect vested interest in the following teams: Kentucky, Butler, Ohio State, Duke, Louisville, Purdue, Notre Dame, Pitt. Sometimes that interest is in hoping that team loses!

Have a good week all. I’ll certainly be ready for some basketball come Thursday afternoon.

ME2: Network Effects in Action

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind. Today I am providing an algorithm for predicting what time of day on each Monday this blog entry will be posted: Weekend weather in Indianapolis good = Late post; Weekend weather in Indianapolis bad = Early post. Playing outside is too much fun! And sometimes I’ll take the kids out with me too.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Network Effects in Action

As I was brainstorming the content for today’s post, I kept coming back to the amount of activity I received late last week on my Horizontal Collaboration post from February 22nd as a perfect real-life illustration of the very concept the post was trying to convey. Let me explain:

  • I published that post on February 22nd, and tweeted its existence one time as @TheBrycesWrite. At the time I only had approximately 55 followers on that account. My blog posts also get syndicated to my personal Facebook account (~200 friends) and the 2.0 Adoption Community website. The post had approximately 45 total readers through March 4th, 32 of which came from the 2.0 Adoption site!
  • I also posted it that same day to my internal Lilly blog for Lilly employees to read, and posted an “advertisement” on our internal micro-blogging platform (probably reached ~150 eyes that way). I also sent a couple of emails to individuals in the week or two following with a link to the post. I have had 44 total unique readers of that post since February 22nd just inside Lilly’s walls.

So the immediate reaction could be anti-Horizontal Collaboration – because a post publicized to a huge online public virtual audience (external web / Twitter) generated the exact same readership as the same content in a much smaller community (my existing Strong/Weak ties within Lilly). “So where is all the serendipity, knowledge discovery, Potential Tie conversion, bigger inner circle benefit you keep blabbing on about that a large transparent social network presence should bring?”

That’s when March 5th happened. Susan Scrupski (@ITSinsider) came across the post by chance and re-tweeted it. That resulted in 10 subsequent re-tweets from people following Susan to their respective followers (some of which have fairly large follower numbers compared with my “modest” 68 – admittedly bumped a bit by last week’s activity). By my calculations (adding up the total followers of those accounts, then calibrating to some percentage of overlapping followers and non-active followers) that the approximate reach of that post increased from ~500 people to over 15,000 people!  So what has happened with reader activity (outside of Lilly) since then?

  • Between March 5th and this morning (3.5 days) the post has been read approximately 131 times.
  • Between Feb 22nd and March 4th:  ~4 views / day
  • Between March 5th and March 8th:  ~33 views / day
  • So an 30x increase in “reach” resulted in an 8x increase in “hits.”

Now I am not a statistician, so there is probably some flaws in this experiment to consider it rock solid, but it is certainly eye opening for a few reasons:

  1. Knowledge and Expertise Management – Content doesn’t speak for itself anymore because there is sooo much of it out there. If you want to achieve reach, you need to create Weak Ties with individuals that have a much greater reach than you have! And the more you do that, the more you can sit back and watch the power of the network do work for you, instead of you having to spend significant energy trying to accomplish that same reach on your own. Large organizations without effective Horizontal Collaboration networking and consumption capabilities will lack the ability to leverage this phenomenon.
  2. Self-Filtering – You mean a 30x increase in reach ONLY resulted in an 8x increase in hits?? I actually find that encouraging data for critics that complain that a heavily populated social network will result in employees being overwhelmed with information they have no interest in consuming. Sure, a lot of information can come their way, but people will naturally apply an “applicability” filter on top of their automated social network connection filters. Do you feel like you can get away with only consuming 25% of the emails that others target to you specifically? Do you think people will thrive by merely consuming 25% of the serendipitous knowledge that appear within their social network activity streams that they have elected to target on their own?
  3. Network reach – Think about the capabilities available inside of your organization vs. those available to you in the external world right now? Do you have the ability to leverage a network effect like this example for innovative ideas / cross-silo collaboration / knowledge sharing inside your firewall?  Tools can’t make this happen without willing people able to leverage them appropriately, but willing people can certainly be obstructed from maximizing their value without the tools to set them free.

Please retweet 🙂

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

Just because people recognize and encourage the benefits of “working out loud” and sharing transparently does not automatically translate into behaviors that epitomize the philosophy. Changing your core behaviors and habits takes time. I often catch myself putting something in an email message that after the fact I wished I had published using a different medium. That’s partly why I contrived this weekly blog format, to provide myself with a routine I could rely on to “train myself” to share my thoughts with more regularity instead of falling back into old, less collaboratively-responsible communication means.

Internally we had a blogger challenge herself to a 30-day blog post challenge – one post a day for 30 straight business days. And the posts had to be thoughtful each day, not just a funny Dilbert cartoon of the day, for example. She also wasn’t challenging  her readers to do so, she was just trying to spice up the process a bit to stay in the habit. But a funny thing happened – at least 3-4 other people were inspired by the idea and have taken on the “the challenge” for their own individual blogs. The result has been a daily stream of thought-provoking posts from the participants, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the trend extend to a few other people before too long. I myself have not joined the challenge as of yet, because I don’t want to saturate the market, if you will. But maybe as this first round slows down in 25 or so work days, I’ll jump in to the challenge myself to see if we can motivate a few other bloggers to practice “working out loud” too.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. Social Media is key at the 100 largest Fortune 500 Companies – Jamie Pappas: Jamie summarizes some great data on the use of external social media by large organizations. I don’t have any data to support it, but I believe that transforming the “inside the firewall” culture to be more accepting of social collaboration amongst one another will begin to increase the comfort and aptitude to using external sources for effective customer / patient / partner / shareholder interactions. Benefits: Greater reach than almost any traditional medium, Lower entry cost than most traditional mediums.
  2. Webciety and Enterprise 2.0: A snapshot of today’s social computing conversations – Dion Hinchcliffe: Including some data on the dreaded ROI question – like the example where IBM “…cited that new collaborative technology had reduced the email volume in the company by 28%.”

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @Greg2dot0: “RT @carrieyoung: Microblogging will fade. We expect 2 C it as a feature of a fully integrated platform that has hooks across the enterprise.” – We’ll be watching this closely over the next few months because of the engaging and effective nature of short-form sharing and when / if / how the more powerful micro-blogging capabilities become incorporated into broader enterprise social collaboration platforms. I personally don’t want to see it “fade” as a capability, but only as a disconnected platform amongst other capabilities.
  2. @ITSinsider: “How innovation is measured at CSC. One of the best case studies in e20 from a conservative, traditional org. http://is.gd/9BRHo #e20″ – Anytime we can learn from the success CSC has had, that’s a good thing.

From the golf bag of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

Holy spring-creep, Spiderman!  (That was a subtle shout-out to Camilo Villegas winning the Honda Classic this past weekend.) I received an email that my weekly golf league starts on April 8th! It was just 3 weeks ago I was shoveling my driveway nightly. My game is in no shape to take the course in defense of our league tournament championship from last season. I think Tiger and I are going to be on a similar training regimen over the next 4 weeks to return to action – Tiger focusing on the Masters at Augusta, me focusing on my 9-hole Big Divots Golf League at the historic Sarah Shank golf course.

TV Minute:

Obviously the voters for the Oscar’s didn’t read my blog post about Avatar, otherwise it would have won hands down. If only I could have gotten Ashton Kutcher or Oprah to retweet that blog post history, James Cameron would be “king of the world” yet again. I am sure he is really hurting financially as a result of that lost opportunity.
Top Reads of the Week:

  1. Tiger’s Comeback tougher than Ali’s – Bill Simmons: With football season being over, my non-work related reading is a bit down…and the golf I am reading about has to do with a guy that isn’t even playing yet! My apologies to the guys out there playing and living well. I am ready for Phil to play some more!
  2. PhRMA’s FDA Comments related to the Social Media hearing: Progress on the topic!

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @wingoz: “Chilean earthquake changes earths axis. Wow. http://bit.ly/duytno – Does this mean we won’t have to “fall back” next week? I don’t like losing an hour.
  2. @jimmyfallon: “Gatorade ended its relationship w/ Tiger. They checked his cell & found texts from Powerade & Vitamin Water.”
  3. @golfinbp: “Luke’s random and worrisome quote of the night (stated with sweet 3yo voice): ‘When I get my real light saber, Abby will be dead.'” – Heh, kids. Where do they get this stuff? Certainly not from me!

ME2: Social Features or Social Network?

Thanks for visiting ME2: Monday Enterprise 2.0…my weekly foray into exploring professional and personal topics on the tip of my mind.

From the desk of @TheBrycesWrite:

Social Features or Social Network?

A distinction I think that will become more and more important in the next 12-18 months will be clarifying to business decision-makers the difference between software that has social features and software that is an effective social network. We are starting to see more and more announcements from major enterprise application providers that they are introducing one or more of the following basic social features within their platforms, using the Enterprise 2.0 moniker along the way:

  • User Profile / Expertise Search
  • User web publishing (blog / wiki / file sharing / link sharing)
  • Commenting on content
  • Rating / Recommending content
  • RSS feeds
  • Status Updates / Micro-sharing
  • Tagging / Tag Clouds
  • Bookmarking

Until this market shakes out a little more, this could lead to confusion among those only partially paying attention to conclude “I have this enterprise platform with blogs, tagging and tag clouds, thus I don’t need to invest in any other capabilities touted as a social network.” The business case WE then have to make is not about what the specific capabilities are or are not in varying platforms, but if our enterprise environment has anything that is capable / effective at helping cross-silo collaboration communities grow virtually and thrive? Without the following complementary capabilities to go along with the above list of social features, in my opinion, your enterprise and its organic virtual communities within will continue to feel unsatisfied and will continue to yearn for other collaborative options:

  • Community concept with opt-in membership (self-declared Join / Follow)
  • Aggregated Consumption – Filtered Activity Streams of your colleague AND community connections, in one easy to access place
  • Engagement – Features that engage users to continue conversation and contributions (timely and relevant notifications, participation points, highlighting popular contributions, etc.)

Getting Real with E2.0 – My best example from the week of people using E2.0 to generate value in the work environment:

This week my example is more of an anti-example. I’m not to the point yet where I am shouting from the mountains that email is dying and it has no place in the workplace anymore, because I don’t believe it. But what I do see and what I do prefer as a user is the trend that email is becoming more of a notification system and less of a conversation medium. For folks comfortable with email as a work day workflow mechanism, using email as your “news feed” for keeping up with relevant collaboration activity can work well to drive early adoption of more social tools (by being notified of activity and then linking to the source for further participation), particularly for mobile devices.

But each day I continue to see examples of extremely long emails that contain project status updates, organizational newsletters, brainstorming results in tables / diagrams, etc. within the body of an email and not captured in a medium better suited to later retrieval, central updates and sharing with broader audiences…particularly when better tools for doing so are available. Another illustration that just providing the tools is not enough, but educating and providing examples of it working is a constant grind to get people out of the “email for everything” mindset.

This is teaching me to be more patient as I realize this takes time. I am thrilled to see gradual adoption and new examples of people starting to utilize superior conversation mechanisms, but I want it faster and more often!! Serenity now, serenity now.

Top Reads of the Week:

  1. A Collection of 50+ Enterprise 2.0 Case Studies and Examples from Jacob Morgan – I’ll make this my only link this week since it has so much stuff.  But a nice collection of real world applications of Enterprise 2.0 activity. Again, about a month old, but I read it for the first time this week!

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @Mashable: “HUGE: Facebook Secures Patent for News Feed – http://bit.ly/cmn89j – Not sure this will turn into anything, but consider the possible Enterprise 2.0 ramifications if Facebook decided to be difficult with this. One of the key usability elements of drawing employees to such a capability is aggregation of connection-driven content/conversation…a nice use of news feeds!
  2. @hebsgaard: “10 emerging Enterprise 2.0 technologies to watch — http://bit.ly/9Tq1fg #gov20 #startups http://bit.ly/dmlint – Couldn’t help call out the relevancy to the use of the term “social features” when discussion a trend in Enterprise platforms…and “activity streams” beings called out as important to the industry (aka News Feed!..see above).

From the life and times of @GolfinBP:

Sports Minute:

So did anyone watch the exciting conclusion of the Waste Management Phoenix Open? No? Well, I have to admit I didn’t watch much of it either even as a huge golf fan because it was on at the same time as that hockey game yesterday. What most don’t know is that PGA Tour stop is probably the most fun golf television you get outside of the four majors (The Masters, The British Open / Open Championship, The US Open, The PGA Championship) due to the raucous crowd surrounding the 16th hole. It’s an NFL crowd at a golf event, the one and only such environment on the tour. But it has been very unlucky from a scheduling perspective in recent years. For the last few seasons it was always played on the same day as the Super Bowl, and finally this year with some schedule changes I am sure tournament sponsors were ecstatic to highlight that environment to a large TV audience! But then USA vs. Canada: The Rematch happened, Sunday at 3pm EST. Oops. Sorry Waste Management. I bet your ratings got trashed.

I think this video of  Tiger’s Hole-In-One during this first PGA Tour season tells most of the story. And that crowd behavior wasn’t just because of his great shot, they act like that constantly on the weekend and end up intimidating every golfer that comes through. Better luck next year sponsors! Hopefully you don’t end up opposite Michael Jordan’s first game back after he un-retires again and plays for the Charlotte Bobcats next year…against LeBron James.

TV Minute:

I proclaim proclamations: For the most part I thought the Olympic action was “tremendously tremendous.” But I found the opening and closing ceremonies to be overwhelmingly underwhelming.
Top Reads of the Week:

  1. LOST Cast and Creators Give Scoop to Fans on the End from Watch with Kristin at E! Online – #5 says “Some IS coming to the island.” And here I thought Jacob’s statement was just a metaphor for convincing Jack to come to grips with his destined role to the island. What do I know?
  2. Crosby beats Miller in OT to earn gold for Canada – You didn’t happen to see this game did you? Anyone, anyone? I am not an avid hockey watcher, but something about the speed, intensity, unpredictability and lack of commercials during periods made this great sports television! Way to go to both teams.

Tweets of the Week:

  1. @SI_PeterKing: “RT @MikeVacc: And now, thus mandatory historical reminder: in ’80, US trailed Finland 2-1 after 2 periods … Thanks, Mike.” – This was posted at the beginning of the 3rd period of the Gold Medal hockey game between US and Canada.
  2. @ProFootballTalk: “More details on the possible overtime changes http://is.gd/9opkK #NFL” – Hopefully some changes get passed on the NFL overtime rules. Much overdue now that field goal kickers are so much more efficient (distance and accuracy) these days vs. when the rule was created.
  3. @EricStangel: “USA Canada – Al Michaels is running to the microphone right now. ‘Come on, let me say something about another miracle!!'” – Immediately following the goal for the US that tied the game against Canada.
  4. @golfinbp: “Dang. The one night I get out, I can’t get foursquare to check me in! At Fleming’s in Indy. Shout. #nevergonnabemayor” – Seriously, this was a big deal. With children the ages of 3 and 4 and no immediately family within a 2 hour drive, we really don’t get out much. I was just excited to use my new Foursquare Blackberry app. Come on, man!