I spend a lot of my time talking to IBM customers, prospective customers, and, well, anyone who will listen, really, about how social software and social networks have transformed the way I work and connect with others – both in my job, and my daily life. In many ways it’s a disproportionate amount of time – my day job does not strictly focus on social software, and I’m not in our Lotus brand where this kind of thing would be my bread-and-butter. The point is that I’ve gained a lot from my early adopter status, I have compelling examples to share (I hope), and I’ve followed IBM’s trajectory in this space very closely. Best of all, I’m invited to talk about this stuff.
You may be aware that our process around a lot of the social software space has developed from our Technology Adoption Program – after proving that an enterprise blogging platform (BlogCentral), rich user profiles (our Bluepages internal directory), enterprise social bookmarking (Dogear) and other services worked on a large scale inside the company, we released Lotus Connections, an enterprise social software platform built from these innovations.
My two worlds have now come together. I have a lot of interaction with IBM customers and folks who develop using our technology, and I’ve been a long-term advocate of IBM developerWorks, since before I joined the company, in fact. I’m the first to admit that sometimes our product documentation lacks examples or can be a tricky read, but developerWorks consistently delivers great content by developers, for developers, which I always find hugely useful.
Over time we’ve opened up developerWorks to increasing amounts of interaction. There have been forums for a long time. Last year we introduced developerWorks Spaces, which enabled users to form their own interest groups and build customisable portals for sharing data. Last week it was time to put Lotus Connections into developerWorks (or is that the other way around?!), which led to the creation of My developerWorks – now anyone can sign in with their IBM ID, create a profile, make connections with friends or those with similar interests, and track and share their content. ReadWriteWeb describes it as “the world’s geekiest social network”. You know what? I don’t mind if it is…
There’s a great, short podcast on the usability and design experience behind My developerWorks on the developerWorks podcast channel. Oh, and if you’re a member, come and connect with me!