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IBM Lotusphere and CONNECT 2012 – Here We Go Again! #ls12 #IBMConnect
Luis Suarez    


Yesterday was my last vacation day and today, once again, to kick off another exciting year ahead of living social, and a few other things, I am sure!, I am on the road again on what means my first business trip of the year, with plenty more to come along over the next few months! And like every year, it is time for that yearly pilgrimage to what, to me, is *the* main IBM event of events on the topics of Collaboration, Knowledge Sharing and Social Business and, specially, this time around more than ever. Of course, I am talking about the IBM Lotusphere 2012 event, which this time around, also comes along with the second edition of the CONNECT 2012 event. Orlando, here we come! Are you ready?

The first word that comes to mind when describing what we are about to experience, those of us, lucky enough to be there in person, is probably going to be overwhelming. At best. And very much so! The amount of online resources, references, places to check out (and hang out for a while before, during and after the event!), communities to join, blog posts, podcasting episodes, live tweets, plusses, articles, various press releases, and whatever other publications that keeps popping up all over the place (And we haven’t even just gotten started!) surely don’t have anything to envy to the real life experience of being there, where this year there are going to be even more social activities than I can remember in the last 4 editions that I have been to so far! It’s going to be rather difficult and very tough at times figure out what to do and where to go to, thinking about the richness of what promises to be a great event, for sure!

But that’s just fine! That’s where I am hoping that serendipity will do its magic (once again) and help out clearing up the good mess and total chaos we are just about to get exposed to. Last year it did such a wonderful job that perhaps one of these days I should describe on a blog post how I look up to these kinds of massive events without having that sense of having lost it all and lose track of everything that’s happening… But, so far, it looks like my tips for those folks going there for the first time still stand more relevant than ever before for yours truly as well: walk around with a couple of good, comfortable shoes and network! Never stop moving! The rest will come at its own pace!

For those folks who may not be coming to the event though, but who would still be interested in finding out some more of what will be happening, there are lots of ways to catch up with it altogether. Let’s start perhaps with some of my favourites… Beginning with the Lotusphere Social Media Aggregator or the Social Business Aggregator, where people can follow up with all of the social media activities coming along in a single place. No need to have multiple windows open or anything; those two aggregators will help folks get sorted out right away! Phew! And thank goodness for that!

Moving on with the tweets … There will be plenty of hash tags that folks will be using during the event and which have already started to get some steam in the last few hours as plenty of us are heading to Orlando to attend the events. First, we have got the general ones for #ls12, #IBMConnect or #IBMSocialbiz; then there is also a hash tag (#ls12u) for the several hundred students that will be attending the event in person as well; and another one for scavenger hunts under #ls12hunt, another one for the usual TweetUps under #ls12Tweetup and then there is this other one, #ls12ask, rather interesting, and new as well, where folks watching over it may be able to ask questions to developers and product managers about IBM Collaboration Solutions products. Yes, indeed, going straight to the source! hehe

But there is more! Watch out for the #TEAMSOCIAL group. A very special group of very smart and talented folks, which includes plenty of the IBM Champions recently announced and fellow IBM volunteers, who will be making sure that this year you are the one who becomes more social than ever!, by putting together a whole bunch of different activities that I’m sure will get publicized in time for everyone to enjoy the experience to the max!

There is also an official blog for the event: The Social Business Insights, where a bunch of guest bloggers will be sharing along their experiences, insights, and highlights of both events before, after and during the course of the entire week! Worth while subscribing to it, for sure! Then we move into the online communities space where there are a whole bunch of options in there already up and running. We will have the IBM Lotusphere Community, the IBM Connect Community (Notice that for these two you would need to have an account over at the Greenhouse), the IBM Social Business Facebook page, the Lotusphere Community LinkedIn community and other groups like the sempiternal PlanetLotus, which will continue to always provide lots of great insights not only on both events, but also on the overall IBM Collaboration Solutions community (Formerly known as Lotus).

On the YouTube front there will be a couple of channels to watch out for. Starting off with IBMSocialBizEvents, followed by the IBM Social Business one and perhaps also the IBM SmarterPlanet Social channel, where I am sure we will starting seeing a whole bunch of video interviews, and recordings of the various different activities during the event.

Lotusphere and Connect 2012 will also have a strong presence in Flickr with a couple of links that will try to capture most of the imagery from the event. Starting off with the IBMSocial Business account or the Flickr group IBMSocialBizEvents.

Of course, on a face to face conference event things would not have been the same if we didn’t have our mobile devices to help us enjoy the experience even more. And this year both events come fully loaded with lots of social mobile opportunities. Going from Foursquare checkins (Even for sessions!), the always incredibly helpful LSMobile Session App, Instragram and a few other bits and pieces that I am sure will gain air coverage as we move closer to the starting time. So stay tuned for more to come along!

And then, finally, my favourite resource of them all and the one that’s surely going to challenge the way I have been doing live tweeting, blogging, plussing in the past, which is the availability of Livestreaming of a good number of the keynote presentations (the Opening General Session, a.k.a. OGS), and breakout sessions which would surely give a new dimension to the entire week. The main link for the livestreaming will be over here with the corresponding replays over as follows: Lotusphere and IBM Connect.

Gosh, and the list of online resources to keep up with quite an amazing week to follow both events keeps piling up on and on and on. And all of that without mentioning the social activities on the side; yes, the ones that all along have also been my favourites and which I can clearly summarise them this year with three single keywords: networking, networking, networking! Indeed, the amount of informal gatherings, parties, cocktails, receptions, dinners, drinks at the bars, etc. etc. are just simply mind-blowing! I think I would not be exaggerating much if I were to confirm that we would probably have to clone ourselves a couple of times just to make it to all of them! Going to be a huge challenge having to make a pick without going crazy! But good fun altogether, I am sure! hehe

I bet I am leaving behind plenty of stuff, for sure! Hoping that, if that’s the case, folks who may have had an opportunity to absorb more of the events logistics may be able to drop by and share their thoughts in the comments adding further on some more of the activities that will be going on… That would be much much appreciated by everyone, including me!, to figure out what’s happening this year.

Now, to close off this first initial blog post from the series of entries I will be putting together, to share along plenty of the highlights from both Lotusphere and CONNECT 2012, here’s the challenge I am facing this year with what I hinted earlier on about my own live tweeting, plussing or blogging experiences. If the vast majority of the keynote sessions and breakout sessions are going to be livestreamed, like they are starting off on Monday morning, what’s the point of live tweeting or live blogging, without risking the opportunity to repeating yourself, amongst several other hundred twitterers and bloggers when people out there may be able to watch the sessions online, even with the replays available right afterwards, as well as the opportunity to download the presentation materials for each of the sessions? Hummm … I am not sure what you folks would think about, but the last thing I would want to do is bore the online audience(s) to death with repeated messages or blog posts about the very same stuff they may have seen themselves through the livestream. It would sound pretty much like a “marketing” machine-gun of mindless tweets and retweets that I am sure are going to turn people completely off right from the start!

Nice challenge, eh? And a tough one to come around it, I would think! So this year I have decided to take a different approach. I will be doing some live tweeting over at @elsua for both #ls12 and #connect12 but, instead of reporting live the course of events from the keynotes, as well as the breakout sessions, I will just be doing some casual live tweeting, but always trying to add some new insights on additional thoughts, with the aim to make it somewhat original and provide rather my ¢2 on what I have learned, what I may have found important, or what I would think would be of interest to those folks I have been interacting with for a while or, just simply, what may be worth while annotating without sounding too repetitive about all things Social.

Then when I get back home next weekend, after the event is over, I will be putting together a series of blog posts where I will be sharing my major highlights from both events, as well as what I have learned throughout the entire week and some additional thoughts folks may not have heard or read about from what we get exposed to. I was initially thinking about doing some blogging during the course of the week as well, but knowing how challenging that’s going to be with a non-stop conference from 7:00 am till 7:00 pm, plus the extra curricular social activities, I think I’m going to spare the very little energy left that I would have (And, most importantly, the last few hours of sleep I will have!) and save it for something that time and time again I just can’t get enough from live events: offline social networking!

Yes, indeed, as good as it gets! :)

Look forward to seeing you all at Lotusphere and IBM Connect 2012 … Oh and don’t be shy! Say “Hi!” whenever we may bump into each other! The week is long, the conferences are just about to get started. Let’s go!

Let’s keep having plenty of good fun altogether!


PS. Big Kudos to both The Taking Notes Podcast as well as This Week in Lotus podcasts, where Bruce ElgortJulian Robichaux and Stuart McIntyre & Darren Duke have done a tremendous piece of work through a good number of podcasting episodes to help us all get around what promises to be one of those events not to forget in a long while! Thanks much, folks!! Well done! :-D

Jan 14, 2012
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