It’s a fact that Forrester has managed to establish some sort of dominance in the analysis of social media trends and technologies. Despite the departure of one of their most prominent names, the commercial side of it is running strong. This week was proof enough: two out of three, and new ideas running scarcer.
Yesterday I attended the AERCO‘s event «Maximizing digital channels to thrive in the recovery«, pushed through by the inexhaustible Jose Antonio Gallego. It featured a nice use of social media as a marketing tool, by the Cervantes Institute. I wouldn’t call it a community by a long stretch, but it was a very nice use of online conversation channels to push a worldwide event. It also featured a quite thoughful and new (if woolly) presentation by Ignacio Villoch, whose role as marketing head of the BBVA’s innovation center makes the vision more relevant. The piece de résistance was Forrester’s Jonathan Browne talking about the evolution of online experiences. Essentially nothing new (OK, so online experiences are becoming Customized, Aggregated, Relevant and Social… impressive insight, or trite rehash of Web 2.0 ideas? It depends on your background, and it may be good marketing), with very nice examples and effective conducting ideas, even if the presumed tie to fostering the recovery was hard to find. I arrived late and left very early, so the people side of the event was disappointing this time.
Jive sent yesterday the materials for their latest webinar and roundtable (very nice Gartner and Forrester take-aways by the way, I’m not yet sure if they can be linked to). Much more interesting as always, touching as it did on several real-world uses of online communities (not just social web) for business ends, such as Nike and Cisco. Both have already featured in Jive materials. They also had a Forrester analyst to give the roundtable some more weight (they actually brought Laura Ramos to the roundtable, whose focus is 200% sales and marketing). The set-up part was complete rehash; the good elements were in the comments and questions.
Last but not least, on the 13th there was a webcast by Lithium that on paper looked quite as good (I appreciate Lithium’s specialized range of solutions and they had Genesys presenting, plus I’m actually building a consulting offer on that angle) but they managed to host it in one of the world’s most inhospitable online collaboration platforms, Microsoft Livemeeting. It actually refuses to work on Firefox on Mac OS X despite the advertised existence of a Java applet for us technologically disadvantaged punks. In the event I refused to fire up Windows for such impolite people. Too bad. Also it was the only one not to advertise some Forrester analyst on the lineup, which is beginning to look like bad manners.
So? Well, some good working reports by Gartner and Forrester, some nice slides, some (few) new good angles and ideas. A definite sense that someone should clarify that «social software» and «community» are different things. Forrester’s pervasive presence and thinning message (well, they did give out some nice leaflets). A new instance of Microsoft’s lack of interest in interoperability (and their customers’ either gullibility or shared lack of sensitivity to the increasing market share of Mac among executives and social-IT people). The continuing interest of webinars as sales tools. All in all, interesting.
PS – «Social-IT». Hmm. Now there’s a word that could have a future. Maybe I should trademark it :-).