This week marks a milestone for the Pulse team as we kick off our plans for the 2010 conference this week. With my enthusiasm and curiosity to see what we come up with to maintain our creds as the Premier Service Management event at an all time high, I did what I do every day. I logged into Facebook.
Not that I thought that people would be posting, “Hey Pulse! We want more Cloud Computing sessions in 2010” or “Hey IBM! Bring back Magic Johnson!” I go to Facebook every day because it is a full-blown addiction of mine. If everyone I know wasn’t also addicted, I might have already begged for an intervention in a previous status update. Evidently, this predisposition for social media addiction is not unique to me and my “friends.” Look what I found on the IBM Pulse wall (names and faces concealed to protect the innocent):
Sounds like a cry for help and, judging by the digital face that follows her confession, she is truly concerned. That is, until she discovers she is not alone in this situation.
But I digress. Why didn’t I think I would be blown over with requests and suggestions for Pulse via our online community? Because in the two years since we launched the Pulse online community, I have been asking for suggestions and feedback on the event on all our social media channels and have gotten just about zero response to such open ended questions like, “What can we improve?” Or “Who would you like to see as guest speaker?” It seems what motivates people to share thoughts in an online community is just as unique as the spots on a leopard. But just as every leopard has spots, every social networker has something to say. When you add up all the comments, they represent what is common throughout the community.
Hence, this social media voyeur has learned that there is great value to be gleaned from lurking around Facebook and Twitter (LinkdIn too, no doubt) while planning an event for 5000 people.
Before I hedge my bets on what the Pulse 2010 agenda may or may not feature, let me share four common themes represented on the Pulse Facebook wall today.
1. More people are Tweeting and Facebooking more than ever from various mobile devices.
If “I want my MTV” was the social slogan of the 80s, “I want my Web 2.0” should be the slogan of our decade. I remember watching MTV for hours to catch a glimpse of Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Today, we can watch anything, anytime on YouTube, and more of us are using phones, laptops, whatever. The evidence? More and more of the mobile icon next to status updates:
2. More people are retweeting and linking Twitter with their Facebook and YouTube accounts.
I actually felt bad for United Airlines when I saw a retweet of a not too favorable blog, "If you won't listen, someone will." A disgruntled passenger’s complaints about a damaged guitar were ignored. The ignored passenger recorded and posted a video about his experience to YouTube on July 6, 2009. This video already has nearly 3 million views in just a little over a week. Ouch. Maybe United Airlines should send someone to Pulse 2010. We can help with that.
3. Sadly, there are still daily wall posts that reflect the state of the economy.
While some are sharing their pink slip news, others are chronicling job hunts. The one that that tugged my heartstrings was the Facebooker who reported discontinuing Blackberry mobile data services to make necessary cutbacks. *sniff*
4. It’s hot out there.
I don’t need Facebook to feel the heat, but there are plenty of posts on my wall about the heat wave, global warming, the rising cost of energy, and the looming cap and trade laws.
If I were a betting person, I would put money on chances of a continued conversation about the exponential growth of data and digital devices and how to manage them responsibly on the new smarter planet, also characterized by an ailing global economy and changing climate.
The writing’s on the wall. Just read it.