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

From the blog

The Man Who Should Have Used Lotus Connections – On the Misuse of Email

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las NievesI am not sure whether you may have been listening to the CBC radio show Spark interview I did with Nora Young earlier on this week, and which I have blogged about it over here, but, if you have, you may have noticed I have tried to explain how all along, during all of this time living "A World Without Email", I don’t have anything against it per se, as a system to help people communicate with one another. In fact, I still think it’s probably one of the best tools out there for 1:1 communications.

A different matter would be email as a collaboration tool, although that’s perhaps the subject for another blog post at some point in time. What I have been up against all along, throughout all of these months though, is not email as such, but how we keep misusing it (And abusing it!), over and over, for the daily tasks that we know we could use better tools for, in the first place, but that perhaps we don’t because email is just way too easy.

To follow up that statement with an example, I would love to point out to you a YouTube video that one of my fellow IBM colleagues, Jean Francois Chenier, has made available and which has been so incredibly popular inside IBM with hundreds of views and downloads that by that same popular demand it made it into YouTube itself, and the best part is that it won’t be the last one!

Go and have a look into The Man Who Should Have Used Lotus Connections; a short, incredibly accurate, and hilarious, video clip of a bit over three and a half minutes that describes the painful experience of going through such a relative easy task / activity of sharing files with your colleagues using what we have been using for years: yes, indeed, email! (Funny enough, if you would ask me for the number #1 misuse of email file sharing will be it, by far!; hummm, well, perhaps followed closely as well by Reply to All !)

You will find plenty of humorous commentary that describes pretty well (Too well at times!) the scenario that we go through every time we share a file through email. Pretty much along the lines of what Chris Rasmussen detailed not along ago with this graphic, but this time around showing it with an amazingly funny animation.

The rather interesting part of the video clip is from minute 2:14 onwards, where you will be able to see what a difference it would have made making use of a social software tool for file sharing. In this particular example, it showcases IBM’s Lotus Connections (The Files component, to be more precise, which is by now one of my favourite social software tools behind the IBM firewall! And I am sure you will be able to see why after you go through the video clip).

I tell you, indeed, after you watch that last part of the video you will see the huge difference between both approaches and you will see as well why I’m so keen on living "A World Without Email", specially when someone decides to send me a 10, 20, 30MB large presentation just because they wanted to make things really easy. Really? Do you think so? Specially, after going through that video clip? I am not sure what you would think, but I don’t think so!

A special big thanks to Jean Francois for putting together in a wonderful video clip the struggles we go through with relatively simple tasks just because we didn’t want to start Thinking Outside the Inbox! Well done! Thanks for showing us the way, Jean Francois!

Have a good one everyone!

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  1. Oh, boy. You know you’re preaching to the choir with me, Luis, so I’ll just add that people who spell it “definately” definitely drive me crazy. Another one is “loose” which causes me to lose my mind (what’s left of it, that is). I know this is off-topic, but I’ve kept that bottled up inside of me for a long time and I just had to let it out. It’s hard supressing my natural tendency to be an active member of the spelling and grammar police (not that I’m all that perfect myself . . . at times) :0)

    Thanks for sharing this. Any group or enterprise truly interested in collaboration and knowledge sharing needs to understand why email is so counter-productive in that context. Keep preachin’, my brother. You are a sane voice in what is still pretty much a collaborative wilderness.


    1. Hiya Rick! Thanks a bunch for dropping by and for sharing your feedback. Actually, it’s funny, even though I am a non-native English speaker I find it amazing sometimes some of those common spelling mistakes you mentioned above and how they get to me as well, specially the usage of “its” for “it’s” or “there” for “their” and the list goes on and on and on!

      I am glad I am not the only one who is part of that spelling and grammar police hehe And really appreciated your comments as well on email as counter-productive. I think that more and more we are realising about this in the context of collaboration and I surely look forward to seeing more and more of us making use of these social software tools to help us all become more productive at what we do and not just being stuck in our inboxes! That’s not what I would call being productive!

      Thanks for dropping by and for the feedback!

  2. Great video. And while it may seem petty, I just hate the following:

    People who confuse “flush out” with “flesh out.”

    People who use apostrophes with plurals rather than possessives.

    People who use the expression “reign in.”

    1. Hi Chris! Thanks for the feedback and for sharing your comments! I, too, have a thing for the second item you mentioned above; drives me nuts some times, although I shouldn’t complain much, since English is not my native language and I can imagine that it may well happen to me at some point. I just hope I am able to correct it in time! 🙂 hehe

      Thanks again for dropping by and for the kind comments!

  3. Hey Luis ! ¿Cómo estás? (now.. don’t ask me for any more Spanish because because that’s about all I know !)..

    Anyway. I like this video ! I’m starting to prop up some Lotus Connections pitches (I work for a french VAD that sales IBM SWG stuff) – and although I’m a tech guy, I’ve been pretty much put in charge of all things 2.0 related (I know.. my sales force are so ‘last week !’)..

    I’d never actually thought of putting it this way – the nefarious effects of e-mails – but that’s something I was (am) actually putting forward when promoting Quickr (ok.. very 1.5 – and way too document oriented.. but still a step forward).

    Thanks for sharing !


    PS : Thanks to Betrand for pointing me to this little piece !

    1. Bon jour, Ivan! That’s a little bit how far I can go with my French, too! hehe Thanks a bunch for dropping by and for the feedback comments! Appreciated the follow up!

      Actually, I do think that Quickr is also one of those tools that can certainly help you walk away from some of the various misuses of email! As a Team / Community collaborative space, it’s probably as good as it gets and it surely is rather interesting to see how you can reduce email clutter by focusing on a close, tight niche collaboration amongst peers using an environment where everyone can contribute, but still lock down to the many benefits of the team (Some times, there may be a need to secure sensitive or confidential info, so having an option like Quickr is just incredibly helpful!).

      So glad you are pushing along these messages as well even if it is with Quickr, which I still think is a very powerful 2.0 environment, to say the least!

      Thanks again for dropping by and special thanks to Bertrand for sending you along to this blog post. Greatly appreciated! 😀

  4. Very nice post. We still have the problem of consultants and sales people who have a lot of disconnected time behind client firewalls or on airplanes. Email attachments work better for people on airplanes still (I think).

  5. ¡Muy buenas Luís! First of all I must say I’m also a non-native English speaker so I’ll do my best in order not to throw my grammar to the rubbish bin!
    I really like your post, I have followed your blog because I am a true believer in social networking because it makes life much easier! I am currently working on a Web 2.0 project deploying Connections 2.5 and Quickr together and I need to hand out some training for the final users. The most difficult thing I find is changing the way they used to work and moving them towards next gen working methodologies, this implies changing the way they think!! And normally it’s hard work!I, as a Social Networker see all the benefits in Web 2.0 but lack the guide to teach people “How to change the way they think in order to change the way they work”…Any ideas? Thanks!!

  6. @Joachim: Hi, I’m on the Marketing team for IBM Collaboration Solutions. I loved the first video as well. After the original creator left IBM, we kept them up for a while, but eventually had to pull them because the content and branding were out of date. I agree there were great content, so if we can get them back up in a new fresh version, that’s the goal 🙂

    1. Hi Joachim & Jacques! Many thanks for dropping by and for the lovely conversation! Indeed, the videos were absolutely wonderful and very inspiring! As Jacques mentioned they were a bit out of date, specially, since there have been a couple of new versions of IBM Connections, so it made sense to take them down and start the process of updating them accordingly and I am sure Jacques will be keeping us up to date when it happens. Thanks again, Joachim, for reaching out and much appreciated, Jacques, the heads up! Good stuff!! 🙂

    2. Thanks for that update. Do you know, the videos are linked from / embedded at the “Getting Started with IBM Connections” web based training? That’s why people often try to access the videos in vain.

      1. Hi Joachim, I am not too sure where the videos were being linked to, as Jacques mentions below as well, but if you happen to have a link to that resource we can have a look and update the link accordingly to reflect the changes that are taking place. No rush, whenever you would have a moment … Thanks much, once again!

      2. Hi Joachim, one other update… I have been checking things out with my colleagues, along with Jacques, internally, and it looks like there is a URL link where you will still be able to find all of the videos in YouTube, so while we go through the process of updating them to the latest version of Connections along with a new, fresh look, here’s the link to them: The Man Who Should Have Used IBM Connections

        Hope that helps as an interim solution …

        1. Hi Joachim! Oh, no problem at all! Many many thanks for sharing the links and for dropping by! I have been in touch with a couple of colleagues who have been talking to the person who put together the video clips and there is also a great chance that he may be able to help out as well… Will keep you posted and everything, but many thanks again for taking the time to help out and identify the sources where the videos were still being hosted! Much appreciated! 🙂

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