Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trend 4 - Five Trends that indicate Social Media and ECM are Converging

Trend 4
IRL becomes Global - Tweetups will become Meetups
More Details From the Article: The Convergence of Social Media and ECM

Trend 4
IRL becomes Global - Tweetups will become Meetups

clip_image019The ability for people to connect via Social Media tools, like Twitter, is global by the very nature of the internet. However, people have taken it the next step and have gone on to meet up in person. To meet In Real Life (IRL) in order to continue the conversation. Twitter users have given a name to these IRL encounters – they call them Tweetups. I think companies can go to the next step to what I’m calling Meetups. Ostensibly IRL events are about content sharing – not content access.

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However, the creation of the IRL events and activities can be designed and focused to a group of people (a target audience, if you prefer) by using the content that companies already have in their repositories. Of course, Meetups have been happening for years in the form of user groups, trade shows, etc. Social Media combined with content stored in ECM systems can help make them better.

Additional Details about Trend 4

Companies can do more of this by fostering customer and partner advisory panels and by sponsoring social events as well as charity events and fundraisers. A Meetup will typically revolve around similar interests. They will happen whether a company organizes them or if a motivated individual starts something on their own. For example, I organize (or at least try to organize) a group of about 150 business development and alliance management professionals. Ostensibly, each of the members is involved in working with Microsoft – the only caveat is that they cannot work for Microsoft. Microsoft does not organize these Meetups, but the majority of the members work in the Microsoft partner ecosystem and spend the majority of their business efforts working with Microsoft. To the extent possible smart companies will want to Meetups to happen.

IRL might seem like a bit of a stretch for a tying into Content Management, but I do think IRL events and activities can be designed and focused to the right group of people (target audience, if you prefer) by using the content that companies already have in their repositories.

Maybe a few examples can illustrate this a bit more:

Supporting the Community IRL

  • Life is Good – The clothing and lifestyle company sponsors Festivals. I attended one in Boston. It was great.
    • Did they sell anything that day? Sure. They had a stand, but that was not the intention of the event.
    • Did they collect data for drawings and other giveaway? Sure. People provided their information freely so that they could be informed of the next event. They were having a great time.
    • Did they foster a LOT of GOOD WILL? Absolutely.
    • Will I buy more Life is Good stuff? Absolutely. I’m wearing one of their shirts now – The Van Gogh shirt.
  • Airport Tweetups – How do you pass the time while waiting at the airport?
    • Boarding_ - has set their Twitter alias to be an electronic gathering spot. Send you airport code to Boarding_to see who else is at the same airport at the same time. Time will tell if this catches on – not just for airports, but train stations, sporting events, and anywhere else people might be gathering.
    • Meeting in real life is not for everyone, but there will always be people wanting to meet in person with others. If you have even been stuck in an airport this is a chance to make a connection and pass the time with a fellow Twitter user.

  • Making a Difference
    • Raising money to help people in need – David Armano leveraged the power of Twitter to raise over $12,000 over a 24 hour span to help someone in need. This was another example of a somewhat random group of Twitter users that came together to make a difference. In this case there was a minimum of IRL engagement and a lot of online sharing, retweeting, and caring enough about a family in need to make a huge difference in their lives.
    • Will we see more of this? I hope so.
    • Read the Neighbors + Neighborhoods story
    • KEY POINT - This story is NOT about content or collecting data. It’s about using a tool, in this case Twitter, in real time and to affect some In Real Life.

Meeting people face to face is part of the human experience. It’s a logical extension of the online experience that at some point there will be a group people that want to meet In-Real-Life (IRL). The use of Social Media technologies makes it easy to find interested parties. The use of Enterprise Content Management technologies makes it easy to identify interested parties. The convergence of the two makes it possible to build an online and an IRL community.

Thinking Points:
Are Real Life interactions and experiences really part of Social Media? Will you make the time to Meetup or Tweetup? Why or Why Not?

Your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated. Please feel free to comment on this blog, tweet about it, Retweet it and if you are so inclined send me e-mail directly. You can also find me on Facebook and LinkedIn too.

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About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company.

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