Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
I'm back from ConvergeSouth 2007 now and caching up on email, blogs, etc. I enjoyed day two as much as day one. Here are my notes, quotes and paraphrased thoughts from two of my favorites sessions on Saturday, Social Networking and Corporate Wikis.
This panel was made up of Ruby Sinreich, Soni Pitts and Elisa Camahort. Ruby started off by explaining that she specializes in network centric advocacy, which like social networks is not a new thing. Online social network services like Facebook, Twitter, etc. are just just new parts of the existing social fabric. Online and off, aspects of an effective social network are the same. Those are: social ties, common stories, dense communication grid, shared resources and clarity of purpose. Good social software can support all of those. See also: Leonard Witt's post, Laurie Writes' post and Ruby's Network Centric Advocacy slides on Flickr.
Soni spoke next about how she helped businesses use social networking when she worked as a business coach. Then Elisa spoke and expressed some caution and skepticism of Facebook and social network services in general. Those thoughts were echoed in the audience discussion that followed which covered privacy issues, the creepies, LinkedIn vs. Facebook, owning your data and some good advice about managing your online identity from Wayne Sutton.
Near the end, Ed Cone spoke up about his recent articles in CIO Insight about Wachovia Bank's new Microsoft SharePoint-based 110,000 employee-strong social networking site. The articles Will Microsoft Become Facebook for the Enterprise? and Social Networks at Work Promise Bottom-Line Results are well worth a read if you are interested in business applications of social networking.
This session wasn't well attended, but it was very informative and I enjoyed meeting session leader and wiki consultant Natalie Koeplinger. Natalie presented slides on wiki basics, how to select a wiki, best practices and measuring wiki success. Natalie works most with MediaWiki and Microsoft SharePoint, which now has some basic wiki functionality, just enough to make it a player even without help from Microsoft partners SocialText and Atlassian.
The last session of the day was a short wrap-up and gave the attendees and opportunity to speak up about how to improve the conference. I agreed with pretty much all of the suggestions from the audience: don't end the conference so early each day, keep the how-to sessions but convert part of the conference to bar-camp format, try to get the NC A&T students more involved and establish and make use of a conference wiki. Later in the evening FilmBabble Dan and I attended the ConvergeSouth film festival, which was very good. It had to be pretty good to keep me in that horribly uncomfortable chair for three plus hours ;-)
That brings me to the end of my ConvergeSouth 2007 coverage. Thanks to Sue Polinsky, all the other organizers and host NC A&T University for a great conference. I hope to make it back next year for ConvergeSouth and BlogHer, which will be in Greensboro the very same weekend.