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

From the blog

Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 50 (Impact of Social Software in HR)

Lotusphere 2009 - At the ShowcaseStill on the road, currently in Madrid (Where tomorrow I am scheduled to do a couple of internal events on Social Software at IBM), and after a rather interesting event in Orlando with Lotusphere 2009, here I am again back at my regular blogging, this time around with another weekly progress report on my quest to giving up e-mail at work that I have started a few months ago, as most of you already know.

I hope later on this week to be able to share with you some further insights on Lotusphere, as I am sure plenty of you would be interested in that very same topic. But for now, I’m going to continue sharing with you that weekly progress, so that you get to see what’s been like after the last couple of weeks with some interesting events and the transition into IBM Spain I’m about to complete a month of already! Thus without much further ado, here is the weekly report from last week:

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 50

Right on target, indeed! Like I have mentioned a couple of times already, now that I am consistently on the average of 20 to 30 e-mails a week, I have got a new target which is getting below 20 e-mails a week! And, as you would be able to see from the report above, I have managed to do that, even though I was gone from the office the entire week and my connection to the Internet was more than desirable. But yet, there it is, 16 e-mails!! Nice one!

And now, on to the interesting link that I have bumped into the last few days. This time around it is going to be a Spanish link, but still incredibly relevant to the overall discussion. It comes from Gonzalo Martin, who, so far, has put together one of the best review posts from a conference session I have done in the past, in this case EventoBlog, "El hombre que mató al correo electrónico", colaboración con EventoBlog, and who, this time around, created a very compelling, enlightening and educational presentation (Put together by himself with the help of his community! Yay!!) that describes the impact of Social Software in Human Resources: "Charla sobre medios sociales para los alumnos del máster de RRHH de la Carlos III".

In the past I have mentioned how HR needs to start getting their act together in order to benefit the most from Social Computing, because, in my own experience, and while talking to other folks, they seem to be the last ones getting on board (This recent blog post is just a small proof of it) and it shouldn’t be like that.

If HR is all about the people and for the people, then they should hurry up quite a bit and dive into social software right away, before they lose their touch with those very same people. Because once the train starts to move on, there is no way to catch up! Lucky enough, Gonzalo’s presentation sets up quite nicely the steps to follow in order to jump into the bandwagon and keep up with the conversation:

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 47 to 49 (On a Steady Pace)

Once again, I am on the move! This time on another plane from Raleigh / Durham (RDU) to Atlanta (ATL) and from there on to Orlando (MCO), as I am on my way to attend and participate at the IBM event Lotusphere 2009. This entry will probably get posted when I get to the hotel, but I thought, while I am on the last flight, to eventually put together a quick blog post sharing some further updates on the progress report on my quest to giving up e-mail at work, specially now that I have transitioned into IBM Spain and I guess plenty of folks are curious to find out how things are going. So here it goes. The progress report from weeks 47 to 49:

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 47

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 48

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 49

As you would be able to see, while entering 2009, things seemed to start getting busier going from those lovely 10 e-mails for the entire week, right after New Year, to the usual and regular a bit over 30 e-mails per week, in this case, 35 and 32 for weeks 48 and 49. But this time around for a couple of specific reasons, which, in my opinion, are just temporary and don’t think they would last much longer:

  • HR e-mails: Yes, that’s right. On week 48 most of the e-mails that came through had to do with the local IBM HR department in Spain getting me up to speed with all of the stuff I need to know for my new contract, as well, as notifications from the various IDs I would be needing within the new organisation, so you notice how Thursday, for instance, was a rather heavy day from that perspective. But now that I am all set up, and that influx of incoming e-mails from HR is gone!

    I guess that’s one of the areas where organisations could learn a thing or two about communicating those news items without having to resort to e-mail, but then again, most of the stuff could be classified as private, i.e. 1:1, so pretty all right with that, as that’s the only instance of e-mails I still process in my inbox. I suppose I wouldn’t want my IDs and password flying around all over the place out there, right?

  • Having to maintain two inboxes: Mainly, for week 49, things changed from HR related e-mails to the ones coming not only from one inbox, but two! (The Dutch ID I still had and the Spanish one that has just been issued to me). So the count of e-mails for that particular week is from two inboxes, so if I split it up, I suppose the total number would have been 16, which I guess is not too bad, considering the time of the year. So things are starting to look up again for that new challenge I set up towards the end of last year of trying to go under the 20 e-mails a week. Getting there, indeed! 🙂

Finally, typically, by now, after I have commented on the various weekly status reports, I would go ahead and share with you folks an interesting link or two, relevant to the topic of re-purposing e-mail and which I would consider worth while mentioning. However, this time around is going to be different.

As you all know, I will be in Orlando for the rest of the week, participating in a number of various activities, mainly around the area of covering "Social Software in Action" while at Lotusphere 2009, and if you had a chance to check out the activities I will be involved with the rest of my team, you will know by now how we are going to be hosting a booth on that same topic I mentioned above, as well as an unsession where, in a very informal way, and over the course of one hour, I will be sharing some further insights on what my experiences have been all along on my quest of giving up e-mail.

Thus, from here I would want to invite you all to drop by the booth during the course of the week and get the inside out of the story, specially, if I am there 😉 or to come to the unsession on Tuesday. But not to worry, if you are not able to come along, I will try to record the audio of the informal conversation and then share it online for all of you folks out there to check it out, as well as invite you to come over here and share your feedback on how things are going and what will be happening in 2009! Exciting times, indeed!

Let Lotusphere begin!

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Web 2.0 Goes to Work for Business

Over the course of the last few weeks, and as more and more people out there are getting exposed to everything related with the social phenomenon on 2.0 (Whether you are talking about Social Computing, Social Networking, Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Social Media -Yes, I know! Far too many definitions for the same thing!), I keep getting asked what IBM is doing in this very same 2.0 space and share some further insights on how it is helping shape the corporate world of such a large enterprise as IBM itself. Both from a bottom-up and top-down approaches.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to let folks know that during the course of 2009 I will be sharing plenty more information details on how that IBM 2.0 transformation is taking place, specially since that is part of what I am currently doing in my own job. And to get things started, here you have got a couple of interesting and relevant resources, IBM related, that will help you get a much better overview of how Enterprise 2.0 is impacting the company I work for:

  • Web 2.0 Goes to Work for Business: Probably where it all starts regarding IBM’s approach towards everything 2.0; outside of the corporate firewall, that is. Interesting link, indeed, where you would be able to find plenty of resources, general information, various specific articles, success stories on making use of social software tools within a corporate environment around the world of Enterprise 2.0, etc., etc. Worth while a bookmark in your favourite social bookmarking site. For sure.
  • The Web 2.0 Goes to Work blog: Secondly, it couldn’t have been any other way, here is another worth while checking link that explains what’s happening around the topic of IBM 2.0, but this time around through the shape of a blog where a bunch of very smart and talented IBMers get to share with you their experiences and views on how that 2.0 movement is changing the way we work within the enterprise. Highly recommended subscribing to it, if you would want to keep up with what’s happening in this space and at such large enterprise.

Oh, and, finally, if you would want to check some more resources, perhaps more on the visual side of things, have a look into this YouTube video "Web 2.0 Goes to Work for Business", which lasts 3.30 minutes and which will give you some hints as to how Web 2.0 is shaping up the business. Any business.

In that video you would be able to get a little bit exposed to two different Enterprise 2.0 tools: Lotus Connections and Bluehouse, which, believe it or not, have been rather instrumental in helping me, and quite a lot!, with my own quest of giving up on e-mail at work. But more details on how I have made that happened at a later time… For now, go and enjoy the embedded video below that I am certain you are going to enjoy. I surely did!

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Changes, Changes, Changes – Part III

Gran Canaria - Degollada de las YeguasContinuing further with the series of blog posts on the recent blog template changes that have taken place over at elsua.net (Parts I & II can be found here & here, respectively), I thought I would continue with one more blog post, which perhaps is going to have the highest impact on my overall blogging style and which I thought was a good time now (With the upgrade and everything) to go for it.

For a good number of months I am sure you may have noticed how all of the blogs I maintain at the moment have become a whole lot more focused and specific on a couple of topics which have dominated most of my blogging for 2008: first, the initial experiment, now reality, of giving up e-mail at work and divert most of the conversations into social software spaces and, secondly, the huge amount of travelling I have done in the last twelve months.

Well, now that the experiment has consolidated itself over time and there is no way back for me, and also seeing how this year seems to be paving out a lot easier on my travelling schedule I think it is time for me to go back to basics. Yes, indeed, I am going back to where I started with blogging! And about time, I think, too!

Ok, I know you may be wondering what my blogging style used to be at the beginning, right? After all, I am talking about five and a half years ago that I first starting blogging at my corporate blog behind the firewall. Well, to start with, I am going back to the main topics that sparked the creation of this blog: Knowledge Management, Collaboration, Communities & Community Building, Learning and Social Computing (Social Software or Enterprise 2.0, whichever term you would prefer). Yes, I will still continue to write the weekly progress reports on giving up on e-mail and also highlights from the reduced travelling I will be doing, but at the same time, it is a good time to go back to where I started, which is still what drives my passion in the corporate world: Knowledge Sharing, Collaboration and The Future of the Workplace with Enterprise 2.0.

Thus expect to see more blog posts around KM, around Collaboration & Communities and the blend of Learning and Knowledge, specially within the corporate world. But expect as well to have shorter blog posts, too! Yes, that is right! You know this one already! A couple of times I have mentioned in the past how I wanted to keep my verbosity on the short side and time and time again, I failed! Like in this very blog post I am putting together! 😀

Well, I think it is time for me to re-focus on my blogging style; to start writing shorter blog posts. to link more to other interesting bloggers on what’s in their minds; to share some further insights and my two cents on plenty of the stuff that’s going on in the areas I have just mentioned above; to comment back on previous blog posts I have put together and comment as well on other articles I bump into; in short, to be elsua again! Yes, the same elsua that over five years ago decided to take the plunge and join the blogosphere, and for that matter, the world of social software altogether! And let his passion about those topics drive his blogging…

Like I said, this is probably going to be the last blog post on the long side that I will be putting together, unless the odd one sneaks in here and there (Probably the ones related to highlights of particular events that I may have attended or plan to), but for the rest things are going to be a lot more dynamic, a lot faster for your folks to digest and dive into the conversation, but, hopefully, still keeping the same quality you are all used to. At least, I am going to try my hardest in making it happen and somehow I sense the new blog template upgrade is going to help with that! heh (Talking about an incentive, eh?)

As a result of that my other two blogs are going to be impact in pretty much the same way as well. So expect to see shorter blog posts, but perhaps much more frequent. Oh, and since I know that I am running into the dangerous road of perhaps sharing far too many entries in a single day (Back when I got started I used to blog 4 to 6 blog daily posts! -Oh, the good old times! heh), this is when the Lifestream of elsua.net will kick in, because I am about to start using a couple of other social networking tools to share some of those different insights and all of that content is going to come through that particular section.

Of course, I will write about it whenever I am ready with the launch of those couple of social tools. They are not new, they have been there for a while now, but I feel it is now time for me to start making use of them. One of which is one you know already: ma.gnolia. My favourite social bookmarking tool out there on the Internet (Dogear, of course, is my favourite one behind the firewall ;-)).

In it you would be able to see all of the links I have been sharing all along and, just recently, I restarted again to tag those articles, blog posts, interesting references where I have dropped a comment under a specific tag: commented, and since I have configured Lifestream to grab those shared links from ma.gnolia you would be able to keep up with where I have been (Oh, this particular section also includes my twitterings). Mainly, because there may be the odd day where I may not have a chance to put together a blog post, but that doesn’t mean I have been quiet that day. Head over to Lifestream and see what’s going on.

Oh, and when the second social software tool kicks in, things are about to get even much more interesting … But that would be the post for another day. For now, I think I have taken enough of your time for one last time and from here onwards it is all down to me to see where I can keep up with this new challenge for 2009: going back to basics! Yay!

Let’s do it!

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Changes, Changes, Changes – Part II

Gran Canaria - Presa de AyagauresOh the excitement! It looks like the new upgrade of the blog template over at http://www.elsua.net has been a total hit! Plenty of folks have dropped by the launch entry, as well as through Twitter, to comment on how much better the new design is, compared to the old one, and although I am sure the other two blogs I maintain will keep the same flavour they have been having I can surely guarantee you it is quite a rush receiving all of the positive commentary and quite motivating to keep things going with some more regular blogging. And since we are starting another year, why not, right?

Well, here I am again then, putting together a follow up blog post to the one from yesterday where I will be commenting further on some of the various different changes that will be taking place over at elsua.net and which, in a way, will also affect to some extent how I will keep things going with all of the blogs I currently look after.

Thus without much further ado, here is a short list of the new things you will be able to find at my main person / business blog:

  • About: This is where folks can find a recent photo of what I look like (Ideal when meeting up face to face!), but also a description of who I am, what I do, what I like and what people can expect from the blog. And, finally the opportunity now to leave comments with whatever you may have in mind that you feel would need / require my attention. Whenever people may not be able to reach out to me through IM, Twitter, Facebook or whatever other social networking site, this would be the area to drop by and leave a comment. You see? I didn’t mention email 😉
  • Archives: One of the sections I am most excited about and which I was really looking forward to finally have it as part of the blog. A lovely, and nifty, index of the over 866 blog posts I have put together in elsua.net, so if you are looking for something I may have blogged about in the past you will be able to find it through there much easier! Oh, and the Search function now works, too!
  • Links: For a good number of months I was using a blogroll injected directly from BlogLines, where folks could check out some of the current reading I was doing. But then things got messy and I eventually had to take it down. However, since plenty of folks have been asking me about it again in the recent weeks I thought it would be nice to recover it and that’s why under Links you will find my current blogroll of over 270 feeds, because, yes, indeed, I still read feeds (As well as Twitter!). Don’t you?
  • Photos: Definitely, this was one of the sections I was really looking forward to, but never thought I would have a chance of implementing it. But, again, thanks to the lovely piece of work from Laura Whitehead, under Photos you would now be able to get a glimpse of all of the photos that I get to share in my Flickr account, without you having to go anywhere else. Over there you will be able to find pictures from all of my travelling (Getting started with 2009’s in just a few days from now, by the way!) as well as from the place where I have lived for the last five years: Gran Canaria.

    You may have noticed how I haven’t been sharing as many photos as I once used to and all along there has been a reason for it: not having a good enough photo editing / processing software on the Mac. But now that Picasa for the Mac is there (Which, along with Camtasia, was the only piece of software I really missed from Windows. Now, not anymore!), be certain that I will start sharing plenty more of the pictures I have taken during the course of 2008 and beyond! 😀

  • Lifestream: Finally, another section which I was really looking forward to implementing in elsua.net, was the one called Lifestream, which happens to be a super nifty WordPress plugin, put together by David Cramer, and which is going to prove incredibly useful as I start to diversify my online presence in more and more social spaces. Yes, that’s right, I won’t say much about it for now, but things are going to change slightly with my own blogging style and how I get to use other social software tools and Lifestream is the one that is going to put them all together in a single place. Thus stay tuned for more to come…

And that would be it, folks! Some of the most striking, and new, changes that you would be able to notice on my main personal / business blog on the Internet. The rest you would notice how it is much cleaner, a lot less clutter, plenty less widgets (I have only kept there MyBlogLog, since I still make use of it to a certain degree) as I was fully aware how much noise they added to the template as well as slowing down the overall Web site itself. So I decided to take them all down!

Finally, you would also see how for each of the blog posts I will be putting together you will have an opportunity to weigh in your thoughts not just with comments, but also with ratings (Thanks to the GD Star Rating WordPress plugin put together by Milan Petrovic), as well as share across that specific article in various social bookmarking and social networking sites, thanks to another really nice WordPress plugin called Sociable, put together by Joost de Valk.

Like I said, quite a thrill having gone through such a massive upgrade of the blog template, which in reality has also managed to introduce a few new things which I am hoping you would get to enjoy them quite a bit more, but, most importantly, a much more significant change, which is going to be detailed in Part III of this series and which will relate to describe some more the new blogging style I will be adopting (Adapting to) from here onwards. But that would be another day…

(For now, if you are reading this article directly from elsua.net, hope you will be enjoying this new ride, and remember if you find something is broken or whatever other issue or bug, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We will be more than happy to amend things right away!)

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Giving up on Work e-mail – Status Report on Week 46 (Living without Email – One Man’s Story. Are you Next?)

Gran Canaria - Degollada De Las Yeguas

This is probably going to be my last blog post of this year 2008; a year that will mark a before and an after as far as my own adoption of social software is concerned, both inside and outside of the company I work for: IBM. A year that will be very difficult to forget for so many things! A year that nearly 12 months ago I had no idea it would develop into what it has finally turned out to be!

Far too many things happened to talk about them all over here in just a single entry and while everyone gets busy with their summary of this year and their predictions for 2009, I am, however, going to save you all of that hassle and just sum it all up with a single highlight on what 2008 has been and with what 2009 will be; at least, for me:

A World Without Email!

Yes, that’s right! A world without email! But I am not going to spoil things further. At least, not just yet. Most of you folks who have been following this blog already have got an idea of what I have been doing for most of this year on the topic of Thinking Outside the Inbox, while giving up e-mail at work, but what you may not know is that next year I will be back for more. But with a twist! A slight change of plans that I am hoping to share with everyone shortly on what I would be doing next …

But I am not going to reveal it just yet. You will have to wait for another couple of days. However, for today, and for this last blog post of the year, I thought I would share with you the last weekly progress report before end of the year (There will be another one for this current week we are going through next week, by the way!), which, on its own, will mark a huge massive milestone on what I have been doing for the last eleven and a half months! And you will see why by checking out the report itself:

Fighting e-mail - Progress Report - Week 46

Yes, indeed! As you will be able to see from the report, I have hit a new low of incoming e-mails in a single week. For week 46, i.e. last week, I have received a total number of 3 e-mails! You are reading it right! 3 e-mails!!!

I know you are going to say “Hang on, last week it was Christmas! It was supposed to be quiet anyway, right?” Well, that may well be the case, but think about the amount of e-mails you got yourself. Probably with a significant slow down of incoming e-mails, for sure. But 3? And what’s even better, and here is where the milestone kicks in, all of those 3 e-mails I have received was actually Christmas eCards!!! Which means, that last week, for the first time EVER!, I have managed to not receive ANY work related e-mails!!! Whooooaaaahhhh! (Massive!)

It has taken me 46 weeks, but I have finally made it! I have finally been able to prove the point that you can go by a week without using e-mail, but social software, and still get the job done! And all of that having a stronger sense of being productive with my immediate team(s) / communities and the rest of the company. So, I guess it is time for me to embark into my next challenge … (Yes, that one I will be talking about shortly and which will have a significant impact on this blog overall. But that would be something to share at a later time …)

For now though, I would want to wrap up this blog post pointing you folks to a (recent) lovely blog post that my good friend Steve Rubel (Who I have finally had the pleasure of meeting him up earlier in the year face to face, in Hamburg, at Next08) put together from a recent webcast we did together for Edelman’s Change & Employee Engagement explaining further more what it is like “Thinking Outside the Inbox“. You can read the article over here: Living without Email – One Man’s Story. Are you Next?

There is also a YouTube video (See embedded video below) from our Skypecast conversation that lasts a little bit over two minutes, but the interesting thing, I would think, would be the longer version of that conversation, which you can go ahead and download from the following URL: Edelman’s Change & Employee Engagement – Steve Rubel Interviews Luis Suarez on “Thinking Outside the Inbox (40 minutes) where you would be able to listen to some further insights on what I have been doing all along and also shared a few tips on how you, too, can tame the e-mail beast!

And that would be it for me for this year, folks. A very exciting and unforgettable year already preparing what’s about to start, if not, already, in just a few hours from now … Happy New Year everyone! Hope 2009 will bring you all plenty of health, prosperity & peace!

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