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

From the blog

A World Without E-mail: The Mashable Effect!

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the Spring Last week was one of those weeks that would surely mark a before and an after on my mission of living “A World Without Email“. Two years back, in June 2008, to be more precise, I published an article on this very same subject in The New York Times. For a good few hours it was the most emailed story of the day, or so I was told. The amount of buzz generated around the subject of giving up on corporate email and, instead, make heavier use of social software tools, was just outstanding! One difficult to forget! Till last week. Welcome to the Mashable effect!

If you would remember, on Friday September 3rd, Amy-Mae Elliot published a lovely article over at Mashable’s Homepage under the heading “A World Without E-mail: One Man’s Vision of a Social Workplace“, where she talked about a recent interview I did with her talking about what it is like being a remote knowledge worker working for an email driven corporation like IBM (Most businesses would probably feel the same way as well, I guess…) using, mostly, social software tools to collaborate and share your knowledge across, giving up altogether on work email. I had a terrific time talking to Amy-Mae about this topic, but I never expected what would be coming along after that! Basically, when the article was finally published!

Welcome to the Mashable effect, indeed! What happened from there onwards was the emergence of a huge number of superb conversations and overall buzz generated that it kept me busy for the entire week last week! Several dozens of blog posts, thousands of tweets, retweets and Mentions; hundreds of buzzes; hundreds of Likes; several dozens of comments on the original article (Which I have now finally caught up with!); traffic on my blog tripling from previous weeks, and, most interesting, a massive decrease of incoming emails, during the course of those few days… Something that, with the NYTimes article, didn’t last that much longer. But it looks like the Web has matured in this respect quite a bit! What before was perhaps the most emailed story of the day, now it’s been a huge buzz on various social networking tools for over a week!

Yes, I’m posting today this blog entry over here to reflect on the overall experience of what has happened in the last week and a day, since that article in Mashable was first published. I didn’t have much time to reflect on it till now and it surely is one of those wonderful experiences difficult to forget. For certain! Alas, new week, new stories coming along at Mashable and traffic over here has gone down back to normal; well, perhaps a bit more than double of what I used to have. But, certainly, things seem to have settled down quite a bit!

The remarkable thing from this whole experience has actually been getting contacted by people who I know very well for a long while now, and who I trust dearly as well, and, also, most interestingly, getting contacted by a whole bunch of total strangers, both fellow IBM colleagues, as well as non IBM social networking evangelists and enthusiasts, who have started themselves their own conversations on reducing some of the email clutter they are exposed to on a daily basis. That has been tremendous and what I would consider mission accomplished!

Social Networks’ traffic is a nice thing to have, it makes you feel good, it helps you get a good sense of being “noticed”, but, like I am witnessing over the last few hours, it’s something that will pass. People will move on. Just like yourself and myself. And that traffic will slow to slightly higher levels than before, but sticking around there. Yet the effect of that buzz will disappear eventually, over time! However, I cannot say the same thing about the conversations that’s triggering; about how it is helping people question the way they do and process email, and, most importantly, how they collaborate and share their knowledge with others. And, that, to me, is exactly what I wanted. To challenge email. To help people wake up and think before they send out that next email! And it looks like that objective has been met quite extensively, because the email traffic I got over the last week, including today, has been averaging 2 emails per day!! And the amount of social networking traffic has gone sky high!

Yes, indeed, mission accomplished! Everyone is out and about sharing their knowledge and information more openly and publicly, thinking outside their inboxes! And I cannot be happier than that, to be honest! Well, actually, I can be! Because also last week, a total “stranger”, Amber MacArthur (Amber Mac, for short), kindly invited me to participate on TWiT’s net@night live podcasting show with her and the one and only: Leo Laporte. Yes, I mentioned “stranger” a few seconds ago, because, to them, I was a total stranger, even though I have known, and followed!, them for years! (Some of my favourite podcasting shows I still listen to on a regular basis come out of TWiT).

Yet, there I was, about to be invited to participate in episode #167 on the topic of “A World Without Email“. Can you imagine how hard my worlds collided?!?! Still, I had a blast! I couldn’t say “No!”, of course!, to such kind offer by Amber, so despite the unearthly hour I stuck around and spent a good few minutes talking to them about the experiences of giving up on corporate email. What the main reasons were, why I still keep doing it, what social networking tools I use on a regular basis, what have been the main implications of such blunt move, and a bunch of other stuff, including some helpful tips on how to get things going for other folks!

Lots of good fun with some really interesting discussions going on as well! And all of that recorded for posterity! Yes, that’s right, there is a recording both at the TWiT site, as well as in YouTube. Thus I thought I would finish off this blog entry sharing the embedded code over here, so just in case you may have missed it last week, you would still have a chance to go through it and get a glimpse of what it is like starting a week at work getting hit by the Mashable effect and finishing it off with being the host of one of your all time favourite and unforgettable TWiT net@night shows with Amber and Leo!

Whooaahh! Will it get better than that?!?! I don’t know. I doubt it. But I tell you what… I would be incredibly excited if you would stop using email to collaborate and share your knowledge across with your fellow co-workers and other knowledge workers altogether and, instead, make a heavier use of social networking tools for business. Yes, that would make me really happy! Not just for you, nor for me, but for all of us! And if the urge to send that email is just still far too strong for you, breathe, count to 10, and think before whether you would really want to send that email or not. Hopefully, not! That would make me happy, too! 🙂

From here, I just want to take another opportunity to send a special thanks to all of those folks (Yes, you know who are!) who have made a reality such an incredibly exciting week for yours truly and his mission to live “A World Without Email”. I’d be eternally grateful, to say the least … Thanks ever so much, folks!

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A World Without E-mail: One Man’s Vision of a Social Workplace – Wear Sunscreen

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringUsually, weekends, as most of you already know, are rather quiet over here in this blog and in most of my virtual social networking hang-out places. More than anything else, because I use that time to unwind properly; to chill out, relax, charge some batteries from that week at work and, eventually, connect with my real life social networking connections (Those who don’t live on the Web…). I guess it’s all part of that work / life integration that one has got to put together in place in order not to lose that balance. Well, this weekend has been an exception… And what an exception! Late on Friday evening, yours truly was featured on the front page of Mashable (Yes, that Mashable!) on a beautiful article put together by Amy-Mae Elliot under the title “A World Without E-mail: One Man’s Vision of a Social Workplace“.

As you can imagine, that article has got a lot to do with this initiative I have been carrying out since February 2008, originally called “Thinking Outside the Inbox” and nowadays just simply living “A World Without Email“. In it, Amy-Mae tells the story of how I got things started over two and a half years ago on giving up corporate email and, instead, making a much heavier use of social software tools and how I’m still going strong at it, right as we speak, while still employed by my current employer, IBM. If you would remember, there have been a few other publications that have echoed, in the recent past, what I have been doing so far (Starting with The New York Times, Forbes and CIO, amongst several other dozens) and Mashable’s piece is the latest one on that very same topic. Exciting stuff, to say the least!

The interesting thing from that excellent write-up by Amy is that it captures, very nicely!, not only plenty of the great discussions we had last week in preparation for the article itself, as part of the interview, but also she captured the latest progress report available, so that folks could catch up with things in the last year or so; at the same time, she has also put together, and quite nicely!, the three major tips I keep sharing with folks over and over again on how they themselves can reduce some of their inbox clutter, should they decide they would want to tackle it at some point in time. To name:

  1. “Don’t Reply (to email)
  2. Study your inbox (i.e. group conversations)
  3. Tackle one area a week”

These are the very same tips that I talked about not long ago, when I blogged about the last progress report and where I included a link to a recent mindmap I put together on the topic as well as a recording of a customer event that I did just recently as well. So those folks who may want to find out plenty more about what this nearly 3 year old experiment has been like all along could surely have a look into those materials to find out the whole story.

Now, at this point in time, I am sure you must be thinking that I have got the job done; that I have proved it’s possible to survive in an email driven corporate world without making use of it at all and, instead, rely more heavily on social networking tools to carry out work. I guess there may be plenty of folks out there who feel that now that I have been featured in Mashable, I am done with. It’s time for me to move on. It’s time for me to go back to business and continue making use of email as before, since there may be a sense that all I am doing would just work for me and no-one else. You know, the eternal battle of the early adopter. Always go against the current. No matter what! However, that’s not the case. Quite the opposite!

Like I have mentioned in the past a couple of times, this is just another step; another move in the right direction to hopefully raise plenty more awareness of the harm that the misuse (and abuse!) of email has been causing within the enterprise for decades as a knowledge sharing and collaboration tool. To me, it’s just one more step towards continuing to push gently for that successful re-purposing of email altogether to bring it back to basics; back to where it belongs: a messaging and notification system of content that’s stored elsewhere!

Yes, to me, all of this living “A World Without Email” is just an initiative to keep pushing for more open, public and transparent interactions where multiple parties could take place and participate, where knowledge workers could help, finally, bring forward much more clarity on how they share their knowledge with others and collaborate more openly. After all, that’s the final frontier, as far as I am concerned, and Mashable’s Amy-Mae’s superb write-up is just another step in the right direction that, eventually, it will be happening!

Whatever it takes, whenever it happens, whoever decides to embark on it, I will still be there as well, wearing my sunscreen, which was my first reaction, to be honest, after I read Mashable’s article. “Wearing your sunscreen? Are you crazy?” You know, it’s still summertime, but what has got this article to do with wearing sunscreen then, you may be wondering, right? Well, I blogged about it over three years ago and thought I would finish off this blog post with it, embedding it over here, as a clear reminder of what lies ahead… Errr, what? Wait, don’t worry, watch the YouTube video clip in its entirety (It’s only 7 minutes long…) and you will see what I mean:

(Yes, Luis Suarez has got a dream, and it’s one that many of us
with our overloaded inboxes could well buy in to — a world without e-mail)


(Note: A big and special Thank You! to Amy-Mae for the great interview and wonderful article put together and to Laurie Friedman for making it happen! And another special thanks! to all of those folks who over the course of the weekend have been tweeting it, liking it, buzzing it , blogging it and sharing it across in multiple online places! Thanks ever so much!)

 

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A World Without Email — Year 3, Weeks 24 to 28 (Email Is Where Knowledge Goes to Die – The Presentation)

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the Spring It has been a while now since the last progress report I have shared over here around the topic of living “A World Without Email“, that experiment that has been going on for over 2.5 years now, where one day I decided to give up on corporate email altogether and, instead, make heavier use of social networking tools to collaborate and share knowledge with other fellow knowledge workers. So I thought I would drop by today over here and share with you folks an update of how things are going, specially now that there seems to be a growing interest in demonstrating how social software tools are consistently not only helping reduce the amount of emails we receive on a daily basis, but at the same time we are starting to witness the changing role of email itself, transitioning successfully into becoming that messaging / notification system that was designed for over 40 years ago versus remaining that content repository where everything goes. Even your knowledge!

Matt Forcey put together a rather insightful blog post not long ago under the heading “Email Usage Drops 28% in Past 12 Months!” where he quotes a recent study by Nielsen “focused on how Americans spend their time online, [and] unexpectedly found that email usage has dropped by 28% over the last year“. Worth while a read, for sure! Just as much as Ethan Yarbrough‘s Email’s Role in an Enterprise 2.0 Environment: Signal Not Source where he is sharing a terrific story of how his own team is progressively changing the role of email in a business environment, moving away from that content repository format where conversations used to happen, to only serve as a notification and messaging system for content that’s stored elsewhere, in this case, social software tools.

If you remember, and if you have been reading this blog for a while now, that’s exactly what I am trying to advocate with “A World Without Email“. Yes, I do realise and acknowledge that email is not going away any time soon. And that’s probably a good thing! What we are seeing though is how email is being re-purposed into no longer becoming the bottleneck of how work gets done. How it is now part of the flow of conversations happening all over the place and, perhaps, in much better, and suitable, social spaces, so that both information and knowledge flow faster and, as a result of that, knowledge workers become more efficient and effective at what they do, which, I am sure, is what really matters at the end of the day… So how have I been doing over the last few weeks, since my last progress report, on moving away, successfully, those various email driven conversations, you may be wondering, right?

Well, things still are going really good! Actually, better than ever! Here is a snapshot of the last five weeks of incoming emails I have received:

A World Without Email - Year 3, Weeks 24 to 28

As you would be able to see, except for last week I have been consistently getting less and less email by the week, and, even more exciting, way below the 20 emails per week mark!, which surely is making a good progress from when I started 2.5 years ago. Remember, at the beginning, before starting this experiment, I used to receive 30 to 40 emails per day! And now, 2.5 years later, it’s just 17 emails per week! Yes, indeed, you are reading it right! I’m now averaging 17 emails received per week, while the majority of my online interactions are now happening through social software tools.

So, to me, it is not just a drop of 28% in the past 12 months, but way over 90% of the email I used to get! And, not sure what you would think, but that’s *huge!* Yes! Being able to state how email is no longer the only game in town for me, quite the opposite!, actually, is a good thing. It proves it can be done! It proves I am not the only one who can make it happen. And this is when it gets really exciting! When you see other folks increasingly paying more and more attention as to how they interact with their email Inboxes and how they effectively start looking for ways of reducing such email clutter.

Very exciting, indeed! Even more when you notice it’s folks around you who are starting to ask you how you can help them eliminate most of their incoming emails and instead progress towards a much more receptive adoption of social software tools for business. That’s why I’m pretty jazzed up about seeing a whole bunch of fellow co-workers who are continuing to make efforts to reduce their email workload. To the point where entire teams are figuring out strategies to make it work for them and over the last couple of weeks I have been working with a couple of them where there is plenty of promise ahead! Yay!

But it gets better! Because over the last few weeks as well I’m starting to notice how even customers want to figure out ways on how they themselves can get rid of, or reduce substantially, their incoming email. And they seem to keep finding me out there as they search how it can be done (Double yay for #lawwe), which is really good news, because I have been invited a couple of times already to go and present to them how they themselves could live “A World Without Email“.

One of those presentations was eventually one I did last week in Germany for that one customer where they wanted to know what it was like making the transition from using email as a collaboration tool into that messaging & notification system. Thus they wanted me to speak to them for about one hour on what it would be like. Of course, I couldn’t say “No!” to it, right? I didn’t.

And the end result is this mindmap I have put together under MindMeister (One of my preferred online mindmapping tools available out there!) and which tries to explain that 2.5 year long journey of having given up on corporate email and, instead, use social software tools using four different entry points of discussion:

  • Why did you do it?
  • How did you do it?
  • How has it changed the way we work?
  • Tips on reducing email – where do you start?

Now, the great thing about MindMeister is that rather you can go to the Web site to see the mindmap itself, or, instead, you can just go through it in the embedded version attached below, which I think is a really cool way of delivering presentations. In fact, for none of these did I use any kind of slideware and it surely was a new, and quite refreshing!, way of delivering a presentation. I should do it more often! Here it is:

I think at this point in time you may be wondering whether there would also be a recording of this presentation so that you could listen to the flow of going from one node to another and learn some more about what that journey has been like in the last couple of years, right? Well, great then!, because I do have a recording of the presentation, although not the one from last week’s customer visit, but from another customer presentation I did remotely through an emeeting (Using LotusLive) and which I’m pretty excited to be sharing it across with you folks over here, in this blog.

It’s a 45MB download you can grab from here and the recording itself includes both the audio and the video, with a short introduction, so you could be able to follow the flow of the mindmap and how the various pieces fit together. It lasts for a little bit over one hour, so you may want to go and grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back, hit PLAY and let the show begin. And if you are looking for a one pager of the mindmap itself, I have also gone ahead and uploaded it into my Slideshare space and can be accessed through here.

Hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did putting together the mindmap, reflecting some more on what that experiment has been, and the couple of customer events I have done in the recent weeks. Somehow, I sense we are just starting to have some good fun!

(Ok, here is the thing though, after going through the various Tips on Reducing Email – Where Do You Start?, will you now be capable of Living A World Without Email …? What do you think?)


 

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Blog Talk Radio – Business Value of Social Networking: Become a Hippie 2.0!

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringYesterday, if you would remember, I put together a short blog post where I was mentioning how apart from having one of those days of meetings galore jumping from one to the next, I was also looking forward to the great opportunity of participating live on the Blog Talk Radio podcasting show, hosted by John Moore, and along with one of my favourite Enterprise 2.0 people, Mark Masterson, as co-guest. Well, I am happy to confirm that the recording of that podcast episode is now available for replay.

And, boy, did we have such a good fun with that interview or not? John asked us a few rather interesting, insightful and provocative questions on what we thought were some of the major key points behind figuring out the business value of social networking. That was just a blast! What an adrenaline rush of back and forth between Mark, John and yours truly! I had such a great time!

John himself has actually put together a rather nice short blog post on that podcast under the title Social Media ROI and Hippy 2.0… It all made sense... In it he mentions how the recording lasts for about 56 minutes and it starts off at around minute 5, after he spent a little while sharing some further thoughts on the news and trends of the day / week related to social media.

I bet you may be wondering, right now, what we actually talked about during the course of nearly one hour, right? Yes, I agree with you, that’s a long time to spend on a podcast, but it certainly was such a good fun that I don’t think none of us minded at all! Thus here you have got some of the headlines and an annotation of two on the topics that we covered during that live podcast show:

  • Business Value of Social Networking: Where we talked about how sometimes it’s much more effective, and productive, to focus on figuring out how to get the most of all of these social networking tools as our next generation of business tools to help us collaborate and share our knowledge more efficiently than trying to figure out the Return On Investment (ROI) of those social interactions without having even gotten things started in the first place!

    How it may prove to be much more convenient to demonstrate how social software can change the way we interact with customers, as well as with the rest of our peers, by humanising those very same business interactions helping nurture, even better, our own personal business relationships. We eventually shared plenty of thoughts and ideas of how this could pave out for almost any business out there!

  • Living "A World Without Email": Yes, of course, we couldn’t miss out on this one, could we? Most of you folks, regular readers of this blog, already know quite a bit what this topic would be about, but what you may be interested in is the part of the conversation where I shared some further insights on demonstrating the ROI of giving up on corporate email and what it’s meant not only for me as a knowledge worker, but also for the organisation I work for and for those other peers I get to interact on a regular basis.

    Reducing your corporate email conversations by over 95% and instead move those into open social software spaces is one heck of a success story, don’t you think? Specially when over 3.5 years ago, most people felt I was crazy for doing such thing in such an email driven corporation like IBM (And probably like most of them out there as well!) and today, more and more teams and groups are also seeing such substantial reduction with their incoming emails by utilising more various different social tools. I may not be that crazy after all …

  • Or, maybe, I still am! Because the other topic we talked about, during that one hour conversation and which we covered quite extensively, was a new crazy? idea that I came up with a few days back and which is picking a rather nice momentum and plenty of traction. Of course, I am talking about Hippie 2.0.

    Who would have thought about that? An initial blog post that I put together and shared across a little bit weary about it (I wasn’t sure whether it was going to strike a chord or not!), eventually has been raising a huge amount of rather interesting and very refreshing conversations on the true nature of embracing social networking beyond the business context, that is, how it is affecting us all as a society.

    That blog entry so far is one of the most popular threads on this blog and has sparked a good number of developments that will certainly keep a bunch of us buzzing for a little while longer! Who knows, perhaps for a long while…

    The thing is that we already have got a Web site up and running under Hippie 2.0 (Using Posterous at the moment and with a unique opportunity to have an open space where everyone can contribute with whatever the relevant content); we talked extensively about it on yesterday’s live podcast; a few people have already contributed some top notch content (Including some fun stuff!); and a few folks have been leaving comments already throughout the various entries and we have got a bunch of other really cool things coming up!

    I say we because my good friend Jay Deragon has been doing an outstanding job in pushing forward some of the content you will see on the Web site when you head over there. And for that, I am incredibly grateful! Thanks ever so much, Jay!! Really appreciate all of your efforts and glad you, too, feel the same way about this crazy idea! 😉

Right, there were plenty of things related to social networking and proving its business value altogether that we talked about during that live podcasting episode over at Blog Talk Radio, but I think I am going to stop commenting further on it for now. Instead, I would encourage you all to go and listen to it, by perhaps quoting one of the best live tweets that people shared across during the show and which clearly represents the true spirit behind such a movement as Hippie 2.0:

"If you focus on fear, you’ll get fear. If you focus on humor, you’ll get laughs" (Superb quote from Mark captured by Susan Scrupski)

I hope you have enjoyed listening to the episode, just as much as we did during the live recording of the podcast. Like I said above, I had a great time participating in it and from here I just would want to take this opportunity to thank John Moore for inviting both Mark and myself into the show, to Mark for being such great fun, smart, insightful, witty, and another Hippie 2.0, like yours truly, and, finally, to Eric Andersen for helping facilitate the connection over … Twitter!

Thanks ever so much, guys! It’s been a great pleasure and hope to see you all soon over at Hippies20.com!

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A World Without Email — Year 3, Weeks 19 to 23 (Breaking the Email Addiction)

Gran Canaria - Pozo de las Nieves & Surroundings in the SpringIt has been a few weeks already since the last progress report I have shared over here around the topic of living "A World Without Email" (#lawwe) and since quite a few people have asked me recently how things are going, to the point where I will be talking to an internal group doing smart work and then a customer event on this very same subject very soon, I thought I might as well get together another update to relate how things are going. Has my weekly inbound email increased or decreased? Have I given up altogether on it already? Have I gone back to email after listening again to the sirens singing along? No, not likely! Still going strong and steady! After all of these years I can finally proclaim I have now, at long last, broken my email addiction!

Indeed, 5 weeks have gone by since the last time I blogged on this subject and even though I haven’t commented much on the topic on this blog throughout that time, things have been going rather well, steady and straight to the final destination of living that dream of "A World Without Email". One step at a time, year after year, but eventually getting there! Check out the latest progress report from those five weeks:

 A World Without Email - Year 3, Weeks 19 to 23

As you may have noticed, except for a single week where I reached the mark of 30 emails received in that week, for the rest of them the numbers have been rather consistent to go under 20 emails received per week, which is not bad considering the average of those 23 weeks gone by so far is still around the 18 emails mark, which I consider a rather good result to end up the remaining of the year in pretty good shape closer to the 15 to 10 mark. Indeed, not bad at all!

But might social media ever win the war with email? Or are the claims about the death of email greatly exaggerated, as Beth Kanter seems to provocatively suggest? Or are we in recovery mode, for the time being, since it looks like email is bad for our health? (My good friend Frank Bradley eventually suggests a few tips on reducing the impact of email in our health on that post; worth while having a look into it!). I’m not too sure, despite the wonderful news coming along indicating otherwise; like Ben & Jerry’s dropping email marketing in favour of social media, which a few folks have asked me what I thought about it … Well, what can I say? Hummm, Yummy!! 🙂

No, seriously, what I think is happening at the moment, is that we have reached the tipping point where we are finally breaking loose from our email addiction, as Tony Schwartz has nicely put, just recently, under the title "Breaking the Email Addiction", over at Harvard Business Review, with some rather thought provoking, controversial, but very much descriptive quotes of where we have been for a while:

"It isn’t overload we’re battling anymore, it’s addiction — to action, and information, and connection, but above all to instant gratification"

To then finish up with this other quote that seems to tackle that very same problem of email addiction and what we can do to break it:

"[…] We, too, can strategically train our attention. When it comes to email and the Internet, it’s critical that we do so to give ourselves more time to think more reflectively, creatively, and deeply in an increasingly complex world"

This last quote clearly reminds me of a recent blog post I put together where I was questioning whether multitasking is bad for the brain or not. And while still pondering some more about it, there is something out there going on that tells me that we don’t seem to have learned much from our previous addiction(s) and here we are, finding ourselves up another alley, but with another addiction: social networking, as Steve Rubel, from Edelman, has nicely described over at "Study: 43% Of Online Americans Addicted To Social Networking". Ha! I bet you saw that one coming, didn’t you?

I can certainly recommend folks have a read at Tony’s HBR piece, as I am sure that plenty of the tips he shares on breaking our email addiction could also be applied to taming that very same addiction leaning towards social networking. To me, eventually, it is all down to how we manage our interruptions; basically, how we train ourselves to focus our attention on what we really need to do, using the proper collaborative,  knowledge sharing or social software tools. Or, as I shared on another blog post over four years ago: "We create our own distractions and just need to learn to manage them".

I guess after three and a half years of living "A World Without Email" I have learned how to manage those distractions, and if folks out there may be wondering about how I have done it all along, I think I could just summarise it with two key words: balance and flow. That is, focusing on striking the balance between my distractions and the tasks / activities at hand and flow with regards to the point that I have finally learned to come to terms with my limitation of not being capable to read and digest everything that gets thrown back at me. Instead, I rely on the flow of the Social Web, as Stowe Boyd would put it, having realised that whatever it may well be, if it was really meant for me, i.e. something I would need, something that would really require my attention, it would eventually come back to me. In whatever other form or shape.

Perhaps that’s what breaking our addiction from both email and social networking is all about. Relying more and more on the social networks we all belong to, so that they can do their work in helping collaboratively filter what we need, and get rid of what we don’t need; resulting, eventually, in carrying out (our) work inside of networks and communities versus our traditional organisational structures, which seem to have trained us very well, over the course of the years, in sustaining that email addiction. May be it is the time to break loose and let social networks do the job. May be it’s the time for us to finally cultivate and trust, essentially, those networks we have learned to nurture over the course of time, because whether we like it or not, they do know what they are doing, don’t you think?

Are you ready to break through and join the revolution? What do we have to lose? Or, better said, what do we have to win? Something tells that a lot! Just hope we would all wake up before it is too late… before we transition from one addiction, that one of email, to another one: that one of social networking.

Hope not!

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X Seminario Compartim – Las Organizaciones en la Epoca de la Participacion y las Redes Sociales por Luis Suarez

Gran Canaria - In the SpringFor a good few months plenty of people have been contacting me, mostly offline, asking whether I participate in Spanish speaking conference events where they could hear some of the very same stories I have been sharing over here in this blog for a long while now on the topics of KM, Social Computing, Collaboration, Communities & Learning. Specially, when related to how IBM has been going through a massive transformation with its wider adoption of social software, both inside and outside of the firewall. Up until now, my answers were rather limited, since most of those events were of a rather private nature, mostly customer workshops. Well, not anymore!

Indeed, over the last few weeks, couple of months, actually, I have had the great opportunity to participate in a number of Spanish speaking events where I have been presenting on these very same topics and at the same time I’m now in a position to share with you folks both the presentation materials, as well as the recordings of the pitches I have done. So people out there may now have a chance to listen to plenty of the stuff I have talked about over here for the last few years, including living "A World Without Email", and make some sense of it, if Spanish is their preferred language.

So, over the next few days I will start sharing some of those presentation links, as well as the recordings themselves, and that way folks would have an opportunity to get a taster of the kind of work I do, but in my mother tongue: Spanish hehe. Yes, it’s going to be lots of fun; here I am putting together this blog post in English that will talk about a recent presentation I did in Spanish on the topic of "Social Networking for Business"; English being the default language from this blog from the very beginning. Perhaps one day I will create another entry explaining why…

Either way, the links and the recordings, I guess, would also be helpful for those folks who may want to polish their Spanish skills, as well as get a grasp of the kind of flow I usually go through when tackling these topics. To get things going I’m going to start with the most recent event I presented at and which took place last week, while I was in Barcelona, Spain.

A couple of months back I was invited by my good friend Jesús Martínez Marín (From the Centre d’Estudis Jurídics i Formació Especialitzada del Departament de Justícia de la Generalitat de Catalunya) to go to Barcelona and speak at the X Seminario Compartim about the topic of "Las Organizaciones en la Epoca de la Participacion y las Redes Sociales" ("Organisations in the Age of Participation and Social Networks"), where I could spend a few minutes talking about the kind of impact that social computing and social software tools have been having in such a large organisation as IBM, specially in helping change rather quickly how we share our knowledge across and collaborate in order to help accelerate not only how we innovate, but also how we have been capable of augmenting our own day to day productivity levels.

At the same time, he invited me to share what some of my experiences have been like, over the last three and a half years, with regards to living "A World Without Email". What I have learned, what it has meant for me as an individual, as well as the organisation itself, what it has been like shifting conversations away from email into social open spaces, in short, to share some thoughts on whether it’s worth it, or not, giving up on corporate email.

Of course, as you can imagine, I couldn’t say "No!" to such kind offer, don’t you think? So I accepted and last week, on June 29th, I participated on a rather interesting, and thought provoking, morning event, along with a few other folks. You would be able to check out some of the various presentations used over at the following Slideshare URL address; and if you would want to check out some of the recordings, you would be able to find them all over at the DepartmentJusticia YouTube channel, which I can certainly recommend going through, if you haven’t done so just yet.

Lots of great content shared across by folks like Francesca Cañas (With a wonderful case study on EndoBlocLleida ), Joan Torrent-Sellens (Talking about Organisations in the New Knowledge Economy), Sandra Sanz (I particularly enjoyed her presentation on "Elements to Cultivate Communities of Practice") and, finally, David Rodríguez Gómez (With another rather insightful presentation on Factors that Influence the Creation and Management of Knowledge).

The presentation I did can also be found in Slideshare at the following URL link, which I will be embedding over here as well, so, if you are interested, you can start playing it as you may see fit:

And if you are interested as well in listening to my pitch for this time around, in Spanish, of course, as mentioned above, here you have got the direct link to it and here is the embedded version:

The YouTube video clip lasts for a bit over 1 hour and 20 minutes, and my presentation starts around the 3rd minute or so. And from there onwards, you would be able to see what I have meant with "Social Networking for Business", as well as living "A World Without Email" all along…

Finally, if you would want to do some additional reading about the outcome of the presentation and several of its highlights I would recommend you take a look into the following wonderful blog posts put together by Marta Estella under "De com un dinosaure a la xarxa es converteix en pardal", Miquel Duran under "Compartim: organitzacions, participació i xarxes" (who included as well some of the live tweeting that went on during the presentations…) and Núria Vives Leal under "X Seminari Compartim" (All articles in Catalan), amongst several others … and which have been rather faithful in capturing some of the major highlights from the entire event. Thanks much, folks, for such wonderful blog posts! 🙂

(From here onwards, just wanted to take this opportunity to share a special thanks! with Jesús Martínez for his kind invitation to participate in such a fantastic event and for helping me feel at home in one of my favourite cities! Many many thanks, Jesús, for all your help and for your support! It’s very much appreciated! And hope to see you soon again!)

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