Putting the “Global” in SMUG

When I first named our august institution of social media higher education, calling it Social Media University, Global was a bit of overstatement. Yes, through the world-wide Web it did have the potential for global reach, and I did already have some visitors from other continents, but clearly our institutional naming (and my self-designation as “Chancellor”) was, as the English say, “cheeky.”

Over the ensuing months the “G” became more deserved, or at least less ridiculous, as we reached the point at which we had SMUGgles from every continent (except Antarctica). We have continued to grow, with now more than 700 people having joined the SMUG group in Facebook.

But it’s one thing to have a global reach via the Web; it’s another to personally visit other parts of the world. Starting tomorrow, SMUG will officially become a little more global in reality, as I am at the airport in Rochester right now traveling to the Netherlands for two presentations. I will be arriving in Amsterdam at 9 a.m. Sunday morning and taking a train to Nijmegen, where I will participate in a series of events led by Lucien Engelen, including Reshape09 and the Health 2.0 Challenge. On Thursday we will go back to Amsterdam, where I will be presenting at the first international E-Mental Health Summit, and then I’m spending the night in London, where I will be visiting British media on Friday morning before returning to Minneapolis.

I look forward to an interesting adventure, and will be regularly reporting on the events here and via Twitter if you follow me.

If any of you have tips for international travel, or about the places I’m visiting, I would appreciate any guidance.

HR Executive Forum Web 2.0 Presentations

I had the pleasure on Thursday of presenting on Mayo Clinic’s social media activities at the HR Executive Forum in the Twin Cities. It was great to also hear from: 


  • Jacqueline Prescott, co-founder of Frank, a consulting firm helping organizations by focusing on the 2.0 mindset (Check out Biz Behind the Buzz)
  • Bethany Kinsella, BBY Digital Director and a key leader of the Web 2.0 revolution inside Best Buy;
  • Jim Emanuelson, VP of Information Systems Applications who leads a web-based mentoring program at Land O’Lakes


Because the Q&A portion of the event was somewhat truncated, I offered to post the presentations here and invite all the participants to share their questions, comments and ideas. Bethany, Jacqueline and Jim all graciously provided their presentations, which I uploaded to Slideshare.net. They are embedded below.

Please share your comments or questions for any of the presenters in the comments below. Hopefully we can have a good conversation about how to employ social media tools in your organizations.

Click the Read More link to view the presentations and share your comments.

Continue reading “HR Executive Forum Web 2.0 Presentations”

David Pogue Keynote

David Pogue from the New York Times is giving gave a GREAT keynote at the Ragan conference. Here’s a photo of David with Mark Ragan. I will be updating this post when I get back to my laptop and can more easily add links.

Updated: Here is video of David’s musical parodies that I shot using a Flip camera and uploaded to YouTube.


Here are some of the newer sites David mentioned in his talk:

I’ve admired David’s work for a long time; it was great to have a front-row seat for his presentation today.

Cisco Systems on Web 2.0 for Employee Communication


Maureen Kasper, Director of Corporate Communications for Cisco Systems, agrees that if communications professionals don’t become experts in social media, we will be obsolete.

As I’ve said previously, professional communicators failing to keep up with social media at least borders on malpractice.

She lives in the central coast of California, having moved south from Cisco’s San Jose office without telling anyone. This remote working has been made possible by social media and the real-life connections she made before the move. She says CEO John Chambers has been a communications champion.
Cisco Social Media Objectives: Encourage use of social media by giving access to the best tools, but protect both the corporation and individuals. They have done a major initiative on employee training.

Cisco has 20 officially sanctioned corporate blogs. Each is related to a corporate priority. Each unit/each employee looks to connect with the priorities relevant to their jobs.

She says the rules for social networking are the same as in the offline world, but just using the tools.

When commenting in a blog, be Transparent: State you are with Cisco, Use Cisco in your user name, use Cisco email, link to a Cisco website for reference (either your dept. page on cisco.com or blogs.cisco.com). Tone should be conversational, thoughtful, thank for perspective, “perhaps you might consider” other fact that have not been as well represented. No corporate speak.

Maureen says: “If you want people to behave differently, take away the tools that let people interact the old way.”

They are developing an internal alternative to MySpace as a souped-up corporate directory called the Cisco Employee Connection directory. It will list personal skills and interests, expertise and other user-editable fields.

For example, she says Cisco IT doesn’t support Macintosh, but 1,000 of their employees use Macs. So they’ve formed an online user group to solve each others’ problems since they can’t count on official IT support. That’s the value of the Social Graph within Cisco.

Cisco also has Ciscopedia as a collaborative reference document and an internal portal they call Communications Center of Excellence (CCoE) that is available to anyone in the company. This is about “scaling the message” to 65,000 employees, because the communications leaders can’t be everywhere.

CCoE Content

  • Communications challenges, solutions, success stories
    • TEchnologies, process, behavior
  • Discussions throughout
  • News blog, Project Update blog
  • Roundtable Discussion show
  • One-Minute video overviews
  • Technology details
    • Education to Vision to Provisioning

Cisco did their first Virtual Company Meeting on Aug. 23, 2007 using Telepresence. You feel like you are in the same room with counterparts around the world. Here’s a cool example:


For Cisco, bandwidth is no object, so they use video mail and lots of leadership video on their intranet.

They also have discussion forums, the use of which depends on how much people care. The corporate strategy things don’t get much discussion, but the question of whether the green initiative meant taking away people’s water bottles had tens of thousands of discussants.

This was a very interesting presentation. I think one of her key points, as she mentioned above, is that you may need to “burn the ships” on some of the old communications technologies in order to drive adoption of the new. Otherwise, people will just settle back into familiar ruts.

Wikinomics Book Review

wikinomics book review
Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, provides an excellent overview of the technologies and trends that are so disruptive in the Web 2.0 world. While traveling today to the Frost & Sullivan Sales & Marketing East Executive MindXChange, I had the opportunity to listen to the first couple of chapters of the Audible.com unabridged audiobook version of Wikinomics.

I had previously listened to the whole book on one weekend when I had lots of yard work to do. The upside of audiobooks is you can listen to them while you’re doing something else. The downside is it’s hard to take notes when you’re holding a power washer, so it takes a second listen to get maximum benefit. But at least you know where the highlights are.

Let me share a few.

The Wikinomics authors, who also maintain a companion blog and wiki, see four great trends shaping the 21st century landscape:

Openness – As exemplified by Rob McEwen, the CEO of the gold mining company Goldcorp, who made his company’s geologic data available to the world to get bright people from outside his company to help find more gold deposits on company property. By providing the data and $575,000 in prize money, he enlisted more than 1,000 virtual prospectors, who helped find targets that yielded 8 million ounces of gold, turning his company from a $100 million business to $9 billion concern.

Peer production, or Peering – Getting masses of individuals to collaborate openly, as exemplified by Wikipedia. The Apache server and the Linux operating system are among the other varied examples of peer production the authors cite.

Frankly, Tapscott and Williams are too deferential to laments from Bill Gates and others that peer production eliminates the profit-making opportunity for businesses and other purveyors of intellectual property. The answer to that (and the authors should have been stronger about this) is: SO WHAT? (Please forgive my shouting.) There may be economic disruptions and dislocations if open-source software like Linux or Apache displaces proprietary software like Windows, but people like Gates with entrenched interests forget that the ability to make money isn’t a divinely ordained right or the ultimate societal good. What matters to users of software or services is the cost of a product or service and its value.

Businesses exist for their customers, not vice versa. If someone (or an organized group of volunteers, as in Wikipedia) provides a service for free that was previously expensive, that’s a good thing. People can then spend their money to buy other services, so they get the formerly expensive product plus something else, as the societal bonus of Wikinomics.

When the Berlin Wall fell, political leaders and journalists talked about the “Peace Dividend“: if we as a society didn’t have to spend as much money on defense, we could spend it on other good things.

The same is true today. For example, craigslist is a great service for its users, enabling them to place free classified ads (in many communities) for everything from rentals to job postings to personals to items for sale, such as theatre tickets. It’s terribly disruptive for newspapers, which formerly milked the cash cow of classified advertising.

Does it hurt newspapers? Certainly. Is that a problem? If you own or work for a newspaper. Will western civilization crumble because of it? Hardly. Instead of paying several thousand dollars for a job posting classified ad in the newspaper, companies can post to Monster.com for a few hundred dollars, or craigslist for free. The companies can then invest the savings in other areas important to their growth.

That’s the “Wikinomics Dividend.”

The other two trends the authors examine are Sharing and Acting Globally. But instead of discussing them in a post that’s already too long, let me suggest that you get the book yourself.

The key value of Wikinomics is in providing broad trend overviews. The examples used, from Flickr to YouTube to MySpace aren’t the main point. Future competitors may one day render these irrelevant, too.

If you’re looking for the latest new thing, Wikinomics isn’t the place to find it; it is, after all, an old-media tree-killing production. But Wikinomics does give the theoretical framework upon which to build your understanding of changes in today’s economy.