Looking for a Few Good Bloggers: IBM Redbooks #SocialBiz Residency Now Open!
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  femke_goedhart ibm_redbooks social social_business
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Early 2009 I received a mail from my boss asking me how I would feel about applying for an IBM Redbooks team on one of my favorite topics: document management. I would have to decide that day if I wanted to apply and, if I was chosen, be ready to fly out two weeks later for a three-week residency. It took me less than a heartbeat to reply – I didn’t even check my calendar. I knew that anything on it would not be even close in importance to this – YES, of course I wanted it!
Being on a Redbooks team isn’t just about writing. In fact, the writing part itself (although time-consuming) is not the most important part of being on a Redbooks team at all. Being on a Redbooks team is about using your own and others' hands-on experience, knowledge, and most important common sense, to deliver strategies, tactics, options, and insights into how to use the IBM products more effectively. That’s really the strength of Redbooks. It’s not just about sitting down and writing out a procedure (you have help files for that), it’s about thinking through strategies, options and offering insights into how each company can adjust the processes to their situation and then combining that with real live examples and hands-on, step-by-step descriptions. A lot of work, but so rewarding!
So, when I saw a notification last November about a Social Business, Social Media Redbooks Residency I couldn’t help but do exactly the same: I signed up for it without even thinking. This was my chance to do that again and on a topic close to my heart. Of course I was going for it!
This time round though, things would be different. The end result of this residency wouldn’t necessarily be an actual Redbooks publication. No, the end result for this, one-week residency would be a series of blogs on the topic of Social Media and Social Business for the IBM Social Business Insights blog.
What does that mean?
Well, in a lot of respects, it is quite similar to a Redbooks document because you get a lot of information, are encouraged to insert your own opinions and insights, and write about that. The difference is, though, that the topic in this case is not specifically focused on any product, but on a very broad area of interest — social media and social business — and that you don’t write one complete book as a team, but a number of blog posts. So, the whole aim for bringing us on-site in Raleigh, NC was to give us ample information and topics to write about. Not that we were obliged to write about any of the topics discussed, but to give us a solid base to work from. In fact, we more or less were told to write about anything we felt would be relevant relating to "social."
I can tell you, the words INFORMATION OVERLOAD flashed red in front of my eyes more than a few times during that week — having phone conferences and sessions with product managers, developers, strategists, and researchers explaining their ideas and discussing them with them and also with the other team members. It’s a fantastic way to kick-start the thought process, which is exactly the whole idea: get people to start writing about their personal ideas of social business and social media.
So…what can I expect?
The fantastic thing about being on a Redbooks blogging team is that although blogging in general is a solitary job, you are never really left on your own. Every week there is a half hour group call to discuss planning, ideas, and possible events you could write about and each blog you write is read by a professional editor who will help you get your message across linguistically and (most important to a non-native-English speaker like myself) your typos out. Having a team also means that there is always someone to ask for input or an objective eye. And although you are expected to commit to a number of blogs to be written, there really are no fixed deadlines (unless you put them on yourself). After all, coming up with ideas and writing them into blogs is a creative process, and none of our team members are professional writers.
“But I’m no expert?!” Good, because that’s not what this blog necessarily is about. What the IBM Insights blog aims to do is to offer new ways of thinking about "social" and how it can benefit your company or organization. Getting different view angles is what it’s all about, sharing your experiences and knowledge with the rest of the world, whether you are an expert, a keen user, or someone with a specific angle to social.
Now why am I writing this all down? Well, because you too have a chance to do this. How? Well, because there is so much to say about social media and social business we need more bloggers on our team and therefore there is going to be another Social Business, Social Media Residency and it is open for your application!
So if you are anything like me and think you’ve got a thing or two to say about social media and social business, then… DON’T HESITATE, APPLY! I’m sure it could be just as amazing an experience and learning opportunity for you as it has been (and still is!) for me.
We’d love to have you join our team!
Femke Goedhart is a Business Consultant for Silverside, an IBM Premier Business Partner from The Netherlands. She specializes in document management, collaboration and social business; she is an avid blogger, and a speaker at several events including NLLUG, LCTY, and Lotusphere. Femke is actively involved in the online community and was recently honored as an IBM Champion. She is also a published IBM Redbooks author and is a contagious enthusiast about all things social.
Femke is an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader