E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Lotus Connections – What Is It? – Some Initial Thoughts

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As you may recall, I mentioned in the past a couple of times that over the course of the next few months I will actually be sharing some information details about one of the latest IBM offerings on the space of Social Computing: IBM Lotus Connections. There have been lots of different conversations around this very same during the course of Lotusphere 2007 and beyond, and while I am getting to digest some of those I am thinking as well about sharing with you folks those weblog entries that I have found particularly interesting.

Like, for instance, the one that one of my fellow IBM colleagues, Rob Boccadoro, shared not long ago over at Yellow is the new black: Lotus Connections – What is it? In that particular weblog post you would be able to get some further details on what Lotus Connections is actually going to be based on. Five different components: Profiles, Communities, Blogs, Dogear (Social Bookmarking) and Activities:

I am sure that by now you may have heard about the different components themselves. Perhaps even checked out some of the screen shots of what they would look like (Rob shared some of them over there as well) during the course of 2007. However, I thought I would share a couple of quick comments on why I feel that each of the different components would eventually be making plenty of sense as part of the overall offering, because if there is anything really interesting about this particular Enterprise 2.0 application is the fact that we find a whole bunch of social computing areas put together under a single focal point of entry to make the final product: Lotus Connections.

Profiles –  This particular component puts together the best of both worlds: the enterprise employee directory data from every single knowledge worker picked up from the system itself plus some nifty social software features like tagging. So people would have the opportunity to tag themselves and associate themselves with the different annotations that would probably help others find and identify those different subject matter experts. In short, both a fixed taxonomy in combination with a powerful folksonomy.

Communities This is actually going to be one of the components that I am actually going to find myself very interesting and enlightening, because in the era of the Me First (I am not sure I would agree with that particular concept, actually, but more on that at a later time) this particular component is actually going to show how to get the most of social networks from a community perspective, instead of just being Me First.

Blogs – I don’t think I would need to speak much more on this one, since all along I have been talking about how IBM has been embracing blogging, both internally and externally since as early as 2003, and some other folks like Elias Torres or James Snell, two other IBM colleagues who have been working really hard on this particular component, have given some further details indicating how this particular component would be running Roller Weblogger. Thus if you are interested in checking out how things develop from there I would suggest you keep an eye on their weblogs, too!

Dogear – This is actually one other component that I have mentioned in the past and, perhaps, one of my favourites: social bookmarking within the enterprise. As you may already know, I am actually a big fan of BlinkList as my default social bookmarking tool for Internet Web sites, but for those Web sites where content may be a bit too sensitive to share it with wider audiences I am actually making heavy use of Dogear: a protected and secured environment where I can share with other colleagues my favourite social bookmarks knowing that it is a safe place to share whatever I feel I need to bookmark behind the firewall.

I know there are other different social bookmarking tools available out there and, perhaps, one of these days I will detail why I am sticking with BlinkList and Dogear, despite some other really powerful offerings. We shall see.

Activities – And, finally, one of the most unknown new components that Lotus Connections will put together: Activities. I could tell a whole bunch of different things about this really cool social computing initiative within Lotus Connections, but I think that for the time being I am just going to point out to you a paper, that Rob also mentioned in his weblog post: Activity Explorer: Activity-centric collaboration from research to product. And from there I am going to venture that this is potentially one of those social software components that will make you walk away from e-mail and just collaborate and share knowledge much closer with your colleagues, as opposed to just exchanging e-mail messages. Yes, that is right. Activities will take you away from e-mail and will help you collaborate with others in exactly the same way as collaboration was conceived in the first place: sharing information and knowledge with others in an open environment where everyone has got the same level of visibility and involvement.

Thus, as you can see, a good bunch of different components from the social computing space put together under the same single focal point of entry, something that not many other social software tools are currently providing. As time goes forward, and as I get to digest some other interesting weblog posts from Lotusphere 2007, I will actually be creating different weblog entries regarding each of the different components so that you have got the opportunity to discover much more as we come closer to the availability of the offering some time soon! Thus stay tuned for some more to come!

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  1. Thanks a lot, Sawada-san, for the feedback comments ! I am glad to read you have enjoyed the weblog post with the brief summary. I have got in my drafts a number of different thoughts I would be sharing for each of the components and how they would be coming along together, so stay tuned because there would be some more updates as we move forward in 2007 and in preparation for the final release some time during 2007. And, of course, there would be a couple of surprises along the way 🙂

    Appreciated the feedback and the trackback, Simon. Thanks a lot for dropping by and for helping spread the message around! Actually, I don’t think that you would need to wait for a long while before you may be getting that invite 😉 Stay tuned for some further updates… because there may be something coming along the way very soon !

    (Oh, and I just noticed that you live in a place which is not that very far from the place where I was born and raised. Excellent!)

  2. Luis, so far the blogs that cover REFLECTIONs of Lotusphere 2007 is NOT so many as oppoesed to enthusiatic comments by those who are deeply involved in organizing the event itself. So your coverage would be very much arrpreciated. Rgds

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