Guest Blog by NewsGator’s J.B. Holston: Part One: A Morning in A-Day-in-the Life of a Social CEO

NewsgatorAs CEO of NewsGator, I'm a huge proponent and user of the latest social collaboration tools. I'm often asked by my peers to offer perspective on how I actually use these technologies for "business" purposes so I decided to choose one random day in my work week to offer a day-in the-life glimpse of the 'social CEO'. My social diary will also demonstrate how critical social collaboration tools are to establishing and maintaining a vibrant personal network that cannot be achieved as thoroughly or efficiently with email (instances noted with an asterisk*.)

The day I selected wasn't an entirely typical day as I was not travelling so I had more time to multi-task than I often do. But this day is representative of how I normally use social collaboration tools to augment my role as CEO (though our folks know location is no barrier to my role as Chief Sharing Officer.) Please note I haven't included any interactions that occurred regarding demos for prospective customers or interactions on our Extranet. Also note that, unless I specifically refer to it, none of these interactions involved email.

7:15 – 8:45 am

Reviewed content from our Social Sites Activity Stream and News Stream (within our Intranet) from the hundreds of external sources I track as well as various conversations on Twitter. Everyone following me on our internal social network* will see all of these actions except those I direct to private communities. A few examples:

  1. I found a reference to a great new SharePoint book, so I posted a microblog entry and directed it to all of our technical communities internally* and offered to pay for it if anyone wanted a copy. Three interested colleagues responded through our linked instant messaging (IM) application and the copies were purchased by the end of the day.
  2. Targeted a microblog post to our folks in NewsGator Europe* about an upcoming conference that I thought would be of interest to them.
  3. Found a reference to a blog post on "systems of engagement." Went directly to that post and commented on it from NewsGator's perspective (systems of engagement vs. systems of record, bringing enterprise content management (ECM) and social organization together conceptually). Using social collaboration tools, I then posted a microblog with the link to the blog post on our internal Activity Stream and alerted our marketing and research communities*.
  4. Found a very good ROI-oriented slide presentation from IBM on the social organization and sent it to our Social Computing ROI and Sales communities as further ammunition. When useful, these links or the underlying assets become bookmarked* in the community as a permanently available 'record'.
  5. Found a good book on 21st century talent management and directed it to our head of HR
  6. Posted some competitive information gleaned from meetings yesterday. Directed it to our Competition community but also added the appropriate keywords (similar to a Twitter hashtag) with specific competitor names and the keyword 'competition' for subsequent searches*.
  7. Forwarded a tweet (re-tweeted) from a participant at a NY event we participated in yesterday, re-thanking our guests for their participation. Added the keyword "NewsGator" so the post will appear internally on our Activity Stream for those users following that keyword*.
  8. Commented on three activities and 'liked' four others that cropped up in the last few hours. This is my opportunity to immediately offer my views and assistance through social collaboration tools, but also signal others to support positive internal actions!

8:45 – 10:30 am

I'm busy on conference calls. There is a lot of parallel IM'ing during these meetings and the subsequent notes from these meetings are all posted to our internal social network in our Strategy community* (a private community for executives only).

10:30 – 11:30 am

I'm back at my desk, and able to interact with the digital grid. My social collaboration activities included:

  1. Accepted three LinkedIn invites from folks I met in Boston at the AIIM Task Force.
  2. Reviewed materials from that event which are being shared on (full disclosure!). Summarized and or copied anything useful to any NewsGator communities* to relevant people/places on our internal Activity Stream.
  3. Twitter follow-ups (Note, some of these are via TweetDeck, and some are from our internal 'TweetDeck' where I monitor a wide range of News Stream sources including Twitter.) While there, I alerted our internal Competition and Europe communities* to an impending French webinar that sounds like it could be from a new competitor.
  4. Via internal social network, I responded to a consultant doing services work for us at new 1,600 seat client who generated a conversation around the types and amount of services required for a full production roll-out pilot. This is a public dialogue*, so all services, support, and sales groups can jump in.
  5. On internal social network, long string with sales rep that is doing a Total-Cost-of-Ownership analysis vs. two competitors for a 25,000 seat opportunity. I provided him with the data he was missing and pointed him to more resources to build his case.
  6. Saw that our VP of Corporate Development posted notes from our partner call this morning to our Strategy community. I will add commentary/color from my point of view later.


Conclusion: Nearly 10 instances in one morning of social collaboration success leading to a freshly informed personal network. What does the afternoon have in store? Check back tomorrow to find out.

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