IBM Sessions at SXSW 2013

It’s voting time! Here are the IBM sessions being proposed at SXSW 2013. Please vote for your favorites and do let me know if there are any missing!

Getting Away With It: IBM Social Sells the Cloud

Social and Relationships
Dual
Are You a Hacker’s Dream? Social, Mobile Safety

Social and Relationships
Dual
Are you RAD enough? (Rapid Accessible Deployment)

Design and Development
Dual
Corporate Culture Shock: when strategy isn’t enough

Entrepreneurialism and Business
Panel
Yes, that TPS report can be social, too

DIY, Hacker and Maker
Dual
Avoid Social Jellyfishes: Enter the 4th Brand Era

Social and Relationships
Solo
Augmented Reality Brings Personalization to Stores

Design and Development
Solo
What’s holding you back from a #1 app?

Design and Development
Solo
Empowering Employees in Social Media at Scale

Content and Distribution
Dual
How Swordfighting taught me Social Business Skills

Work and Career
Dual
I Know Where You’re Going: Location as Biometric

WTF and Beyond
Dual
Now or Never: Leading “Social� Business Change

Entrepreneurialism and Business
Panel
Under the Influence: Activate Content & Advocates

Content and Distribution
Panel
Getting the most out of your Agile vendor

Design and Development
Panel
Corp Alums: Why Big Co’s Invest in Ex-Employees

Work and Career
Panel
Tricks of the trade: Grow unity in your community

Social and Relationships
Panel
Engaging Government for Fun, Profit, and Meaning

Government and Civic Engagement
Panel
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Please vote for our sessions at SXSW 2013!!

SXSW opens its PanelPicker app today for choosing your favorite sessions for consideration in 2013. It can be daunting to read though and vote on 3500+ sessions, so we’d like to help you find our sessions!

Please vote for our sessions!

Yes, that TPS Report can be social too – http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/582
At your job, your have access to a lot of information throughout many systems. Imagine if you had a single, social stream of updates from all the applications you worked with that enabled you to get your work done. Imagine if you could sign off on an expense report or submit your travel request or even get notified when your colleague finished a task all while you browse a stream of status updates and more. All of this you can do today. Using open standards, enterprise applications are able to stream into social tools and enable people to work in one single place. Find out how companies are best leveraging social platforms for major productivity gains.

Corporate Culture Shock – When strategy isn’t enough –
http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/575
You have a strong social media strategy. Your customers love you on Get Satisfaction. You hit the Twitter trending topics for your viral video campaign. BUT – does your organization have a social business strategy and know how to execute it? Today’s top performing companies are not only looking at socializing outside, but are also looking to socialize inside. In this panel we will learn how companies have transformed their cultures to create a more engaged workforce, accelerate innovation, and lead in social business.

Intuition is a smokescreen

Often times in design you will here people say something is intuitive or, maybe more often, something is not intuitive. And frankly, I’ve often found this is merely a smokescreen, to cast something they don’t like and have solid argument to reason why they don’t believe in the design. 

This happens because for some reason, people have learned that saying that something is “not intuitive” is somehow really important to design. And I want to be clear, we’re talking about software here. And when it comes to software, I will make this assertion…nothing is intuitive about a computer interface. Nothing. 

Why? First, let’s look at the definition of intuitive. Intuitive is defined as “Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.” Any software is a representation, an abstraction, a pure thought, so people engaging in using software are operating on this virtual, abstract object. 

Ever seen this painting?

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MagrittePipe.jpg>

It’s called the “treachery of images”…and the caption is “This is not a pipe”.

It ain’t, you can’t put tobacco into it, you can’t put it in your mouth and smoke it…it is in no way a pipe.

Software and the objects people use in software are just like that. 

Now, I want to take an example of something “real” and not abstract and I want to give you a sense of what is intuitive, what is not and why it matters.

Consider this simple example. I go to my handy-dandy tool box and pull out a screwdriver. Yes, one of those run of the mill deals, and I place it on a table. Even someone who has never seen such a thing will look at it and when told, “pick it up” will know what the handle on that sucker is. 

Why? Because how you hold a screwdriver, based on the fact that you’re a human being, with a hand, knows without thinking, instinctively, what the handle is on that thing. 

Now, I tell you to “use it”. Instantly we are transported to the world of the non-intuitive. Even if you figure out that the business end of that thing seems to mysteriously match to the slot or criss-cross of the head of screw…and you can fit the two together, at this point, you’ve no idea how to use it….and even if you figure out that pushing and pulling are not the way to go, but instead, twisting is…the way you twist the thing to remove a screw (or put a screw in) is 100% arbitrary. Not intuitive.

Great, so what? Well, the value of a screwdriver is that it is a very very useful tool, and frankly, the world could not exist today without it. If I can snap my fingers and make it so that a screw driver never existed, well, God help you if you’re in a car, plane or boat.

The thing is, it’s quite useful, but someone has to be trained in the use to know what they can do and regardless of how well trained they are, the use of such a thing is not ever instinctive. 

Software is the same. Nothing in the way someone uses software is ever instinctive. All of it is learned behavior. So, if you look at something I design and say, “hey, that’s not intuitive” you better have something to back that up…and if you ask why, I’m gonna make you read this.

Pocket Veto – the unspoken tenet of Social Software

Ok, just to be a pain, I’m starting with civics lesson. In the United States, there is a process by which “billsâ€� become law. The House of Representatives vote and if the majority agrees, the bill passes to the Senate. They vote and if majority agrees it goes to the President. He can sign the bill, making it a law, or he can veto it, and it goes back to congress for rehashing…or if it’s near the end of the term, he can simply “pocket vetoâ€� it. This allows him to safely do nothing with the bill, neither making it a law or vetoing it…congress has to wait until the next session of congress and go through the whole process again.

It allows the President to not really come right out and say I veto this.

And, my friends, this simple little act of “ignorance� is one of the main reasons why social software seems to “work� for people. Friending, connecting, networking, call it what ever, is all based on a few simple principles. You cannot become friends with someone just by your say so, the other person has to agree to be your friend. This is great and when it happens, you appear in each others network for people to see and you get confirmation that indeed, Suzy, accepted your friend request. Zippity-doo-da!

The thing is, this is all good until, say, you try to friend someone like, Mort. Mort really doesn’t care for you, but now, he’s got this thing from you he has to deal with. He knows you sent it to him, hoping beyond hope, he’d accept your gesture and become your friend. But Mort really is not interested. If social software systems sent out a notification, like when Suzy said “yes!, I’ll be your friendâ€� in this case, Mort would maybe be a lot less willing to say no, after all, he doesn’t want a record of his less than warm and fuzzy feelings for you to be recorded, and while he may not love your company, he doesn’t want to give you hurt feelings…and he can do this. He can “Ignoreâ€� your request and silently, this allows Mort to get that potential disaster out of his face and you can, with your fleeting memory, blissfully go along and not get any hurt feelings that Mort just doesn’t like you.

I point this out because of two things. First and foremost, this simple little function allows social software and it’s users to interact without too much concern over upsetting people they know…simply ignoring allows the potentially socially awkward thing to just kind of fade away. Without this, people would be much more apprehensive of social software and would be less likely to engage. Second, and this adds the icing to an already good design – it’s about as simple a thing to build, understand, and maintain over time.

Hooray for the pocket veto, and in this case, ignorance is bliss for more than a few.

Happy 5th anniversary, IBM Connections!

Image:Happy 5th anniversary, IBM Connections!
What a journey the last five years have been. We are thrilled to celebrate 5 years of IBM Connections on June 29th. Looking back on our original announcement from May 2007, we have come a long way since version 1.0.0! We are the market leading enterprise social software platform, thanks to the tremendous team we have and the amazing customers who are truly advocates for the product. Congratulations to everyone involved in Connections for achieving this great milestone.

IBM is #1 in Enterprise Social Software!

This week IBM announced that IDC has ranked IBM #1 in enterprise social software for the third consecutive year!

Image:IBM is #1 in Enterprise Social Software!

Social networking for the enterprise is hot and getting hotter, according to a recent IDC report. –The Wall Street Journal

Despite the clamor around Facebook, the No. 1 social networking site, the real king of the social networking sector is International Business Machines Corp… –International Business Times

IBM’s social enterprise software revenue grew faster than any competitor, and nearly twice as fast as the market overall. This is a considerable feat, given that the market for business social software grew almost 40 percent between 2010 and 2011. –CMSWire

Who’s #1 in #socbiz? IDC says it’s #IBM http://ibm.co/L9298j –@markfidelman (Mark Fidelman, Forbes)
A just-released IDC report crowned the Armonk, New York company leader in the enterprise social space for the third year running.  –Venture Beat

Do you love infographics? Peep this re: #IBM’s leadership in social http://bit.ly/Naa4kj #socbiz #ibmsocialbiz #e2conf –@triloggroup (Trilog Group)