Becoming an IBM Connections convert after a decade of email addiction
Brittany Detamore, ITSO Social Business Manager
Who’s addicted to their email? Come on, don’t be shy. You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand. I feel like email has been running my life for the past decade. I keep nearly every email that’s sent to me, just in case I need the information in the future, which leads to an unbelievable number of folders so that I can properly file (and later easily find) everything I save.
But let’s be honest. Email is hardly perfect. Email can cause countless headaches such as not being able to find the email you swore you meticulously filed two months ago when you now need it. Or, finding out you’re in “mail jail” because you have either sent or received too many large files and never set up auto-archiving. These are just a few of the many problems we all experience as regular email users.
Enter IBM Connections.
Like all 400,000+ IBMers, I have an employee profile on IBM Connections. Now, I am by no means going to claim to be a Connections expert. I mean, until I joined IBM 18 months ago, I had never heard of it. Admittedly, I’m still in the middle of my own culture shift—trying to use Connections more and email less. I haven’t quite succeeded yet, but I’m trying something new every day and have definitely found value in communicating more through Connections. In particular, here are a few of the functions I have found success with.
File sharing – Without a doubt, this is my favorite part of Connections. Sharing files through email leads to all kinds of complications including, but not limited to, mail jail, files getting lost in folders, version control and so on. Skip this hassle and share files through Connections.
Communities – I love IBM Connections Communities. They take some time to get used to, but once you’ve explored all the functions I think you will find them to be a great resource. You can brainstorm through forums, break down your project into specific activities and assign to-do’s, and house all the files associated with your project. Once you create a Community, you’ll never want to host a virtual brainstorm over email again.
Connecting with colleagues – IBM has been my first experience with working remotely. I wasn’t used to working with people I had never met face-to-face. Right off the bat, I was so grateful for Connections! After setting up my profile, I spent a day researching my new colleagues and I continue to do so now. Isn’t it nice to put a face to a name? Believe me—it’s great to get to know who you’re working with.
Status updates – I know, I know, another status to update. I can hear the overwhelmed sigh from every reader as they think about updating another social status. But don’t approach Connections status updates the same way as other social channels. Remember, this is a work community. The social network most similar to it would be LinkedIn but even LinkedIn is for a broader professional community; this is just for you and your coworkers. It’s not necessary to post something every day, just when it’s relevant to your network. What do you want your fellow colleagues to know about you? Maybe share a blog you’ve written or highlights of a campaign you just finished. Share when it feels right and relevant to your work audience. Don’t treat it like Twitter and certainly don’t share the cat video you just posted to Facebook!
I know my examples above are some of the most basic functions on IBM Connections, but we all have to start somewhere. And perhaps, for anyone reading this that hasn’t started using it at all, these simple functions will encourage you to take a break from email and get started with Connections. (And if you’re an IBMer, please add me to your network!)
Follow Brittany on Twitter at @brittscorner
Learn about more ways to improve the way you work, join IBM's General Manager, Alistair Rennie and IBM Vice President, Jeff Schick for the upcoming "Reinvent the way work works with the leading social platform" event on September 18, 2013 at 10:00am ET. Register today.