IBM Sandy Carter’s ‘New’ Social Paradigm – WITI

sandycarter_witiWomen In Technology International Keynote speaker Sandy Carter, Vice President, Social Business Evangelism & Sales at IBM, says social adoption outpaces radio, TV and even Internet adoption. Facebook added 100 million users in 9 months and iPhone apps hit 1 billion downloads in 9 months.

To Carter, social networks are the new production line. She defines Social media as marketing, PR, branding and exposure.

In 2005, The Harvard Grad invented a way to move social beyond communications into talent management, sales, and customer service. “It’s not an option,” she says, “it’s really a mandate to fuse the two.”

She was one of the first execs in the tech sector to converge Social and Big Data Analytics into her internal employee structure. Her team created a proprietary crowd-sourcing app to offer solutions to complex business issues at the tech giant. IBM integrated this tool into its robust and successful social media strategy.

Carter elaborates further in her book, Get Bold Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business. At its core, a social business is a company that is “engaged, transparent, and nimble,” she explains.  A social Business is one that understands how to embrace social technology, use it, get value from it and to manage risk. Carter boils it down to one acronym: AGENDA.

A – Align organization goals & culture
G – Gain social trust
E – Engage through experiences
N – Network your business processes
D – Design for reputation and risk management
A – Analyze your data

Continuous alignment of business and technology yields financial results. According to a study by the London School of Economics, synergy accounts for a boost in overall productivity by around 20%. This certainly trumps working in silos and individual contributions.

“Culture eats strategy for lunch,” Carter proclaims. She’s right. [I’ve worked for Fortune 500 brands and smaller businesses who claim they are nimble. Then they’ll allow things like legal approval processes to thwart progress. Often, there’s a lack of process around legal approval for content. The reason: no one can agree on the best process or what it could be.]

When culture norms become a stumbling block, Carter’s advice is simple: take an approach to change the culture into a collaborative place. C-level execs often say, “We need an Instagram presence” or “we need more followers” or the shiniest new toy/tool. Goals are simple or bold. Simple goals are getting new customers and more brazen goals include creating a new product in a new category or industry.

Carter’s 3 goals for a social business:

  1. Enable a good work force – operations, HR, etc increase job satisfaction and productivity when exposed to new knowledge, teleconferences, travel and collaboration.
  2. Accelerate innovation – Product research and dev teams hasten idea sharing, brainstorming and discovery. They can help generate ideas, gather feedback and share strategies from internal and external resources.
  3. Improve customer relationships – When customer service reps and agents have access to social content, they will work more efficiently. Marketing teams will also have more time to spend with customers and provide their own consumer-focused initiatives.

What are your experiences with social business?


Suzanne is an industry leading digital strategist. Currently, she’s a partner at a new interactive, post-production and full service agency: STICKS AND STONES.


Guy Kawasaki Keynote – WITI

guy kawasaki suzanne baran Spending three days with some of the most innovative women working in technology confirms that inspiration isn’t in short supply.

Women in Technology International held a summit in Santa Clara this month. Inspiration is what drives excellence and innovation in a fast-paced world with no signs of slowing down. Progression is fuel.

The Women Powering Technology Summit showcased global talent otherwise inaccessible.

Thought leaders in technology, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and high-powered execs shared the ways technology is empowering change. The summit was the perfect backdrop for idea exchange, knowledge and networking in a collaborative, non-competitive space.

Guy Kawasaki original Apple evangelist, special advisor at Motorola and Google, says the key to driving change is Overcoming procedural and people-driven challenges means breaking down silos. Based on three pillars of enchantment, anyone can learn how to accomplish greatness in marketing, tech and beyond:

  • Be Likeable
  • Accept Others
  • Default to Yes

Seems basic, right? So simple in fact that they are the bedrock of building trust. “Bakers are more trustworthy than eaters,” Guy quips. Finding common ground and arriving at a place of agreement no matter how trivial — is a segue to acceptance and trust. By defaulting to yes, you send the message of “I know you’d do the same for me,” Guy says.

Companies that embody these “noble truths” are Zappos and Nordstrom. “My wife never tried on any of their shoes” but [she] will make a purchase and Zappos will ship  and return it for free. A company based on mutual trust takes a small leap of faith. Now Zappos is a large-scale successful business model.

Guy says there’s a roadmap companies like Zappos and Nordstrom use for its employees:
M – Mastery of new skills
A – Autonomy
P – Purpose

By empowering people, a company demonstrates a willingness to get its hands dirty and take risks.


Suzanne is an industry leading digital strategist. Currently, she’s a partner at a new interactive, post-production and full service agency: STICKS AND STONES.

Content Curation & Social Bookmarks

Back by high demand, here’s the updated list of curation and social bookmarking sites: platform_comparison_baran_111612

Let these tools be your virtual personal assistant, a cyberspace concierge to increase your knowledge or collect cool stuff. Since brands are now publishers, it helps to survey and document which content has an impact.

Remember, less is always more.

For a complete map of curation tools and platforms, check it:

Content Curation Platforms

content curation platforms, proces

I’ve recently updated the content curation platform – excel file here: Platform_Comparison_baran_091412
comparison list to include a new player in the space: Lingospot is a curation software platform and content marketing consultancy with partner publishers such as USA Today and Bloomberg, to name a few.

Content Curation Rules of Engagement:

1. No One is an All Knowing Expert
You may know a lot about your industry, enough to write regular blogs with plenty of insight. You might experience a gap in your knowledge base which others may care to explore. Find true experts on the topic. This is where content curation comes in. It supplements original content.

2. Build Authority
When I was a reporter in the early 90s, I created queries. These queries were stored in a database media/press folks could access to find subject matter experts for interviews/resources. Today, when readers recognize the names of the authors of your curated content, they are more likely to engage.

3. Have a Content Mix
Many of us can write informative blogs but we may not have production chops at making videos, designing infographics, or whitepapers.

By creating a hybrid strategy of the right mix of content, content types and subjects, your site will provide the learning experience readers need. They won’t be scattered in their efforts to find original and curated quality content.

Content Curation Comparison

Content curation platforms

content curation

Welcome to content curation. Not to be confused with content aggregation, curation is a three-fold process:

Seek + Sense + Share
Know what you’re looking for.  Next, create meaning for that piece of content. Make “sense” of it by learning how to annotate links, writing a blog post, or summarizing key points. Once you’ve applied context, it’s time to share. Provide the best nuggets of content to your audience in a format they can access, digest and share.

A simple way to conduct this timely process (and daily practice) is finding the best curators on a topic and immediately following them. Thank them and credit each source, too. (Curate does not mean steal.)

Best Curation Platforms
I’ve complied a list of 53 content curation and social bookmarking sites. You can view it here: Platform_Comparison_baran_0910

My comparative view includes the following criteria:

    • Automatic selection: To select content, the application uses an algorithm based on various factors such as link popularity, the authority of the source.
    • Edit: The curator has the ability to edit content, add a comment, an opinion, layout (prioritization of news, etc..). This option is crucial. It gives added value to the selection and content sharing.
    • Output formats: Most tools offer an output thematic webpage, that is to say a custom page to the topic of attorney on the publisher’s site, and visible to all. The links on this page may be generally shared on Twitter and Facebook. Widget format or embed (embedded code) is essential for those who need to publish the proxy on their website or intranet leu (media site, blogs, brand content for corporate, etc.).
    • Export: For developers who want to integrate the proxy, an API is essential, an RSS output can be useful.
    • Social Network: the tool provides features social networking or animation of a community around the theme.
    • Collaboration: the tool allows the proxy to several on a theme.
    • Analytics: Measuring functions of traffic, trends, influence are bundled.
    • Mobile App: Application is available

Content Marketing Lessons from ‘The Lorax’

The Lorax UniversalThe Lorax, released on Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday relates the tale of a forest guardian who protects the trees and animals.

Parallels to modern-day are pretty obvious. The 12-year old boy in search of a real Truffula Tree is anyone seeking truth in an era of cyber pollution. Accosted with whitepapers, infographics, presentations, blog posts, tweets, updates, feeds, webinars, etc. is more content marketing than we can consume during a lifetime of 120 years. Content muckrakers are nearly extinct like Truffula Trees. Here’s my/our tale:

Way back in the days when the Internet was still green
and the content was still fresh
and false info was still lean,
and the voice of media rang out in cyberspace…
I joined the ranks of this beautiful place.
And I first saw Real Journalists!
I sourced magazines and books and shared content online!
Content is recycled, re-purposed, regurgitated, reused, devalued and polluting cyberspace… 

So who is our content Lorax?

Step aside, Google. The Panda algorithm can’t save us. It’s another ‘thneed’ disguised as a preventative measure to mass ‘thneed’ production.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” — The Lorax

Become a content Lorax to:

  • Learn from the past to improve future content
  • Challenge the status quo by using integrity and authenticity to reach your audience
  • Craft quality which attracts quality…Use your passion to promote quality content creation — especially if it’s unpopular within your internal org. Truth has resonance and does prevail.
  • Turn fear into fuel for new ideas. Spark innovation by experimenting with new techniques and package content in original ways. Forget the whitepapers, videos, infographics and invent your own method of storytelling. Try traditional mediums with new media twists — a poem, a song, video greeting cards … get creative.

Who’s with me?