How and why I joined IBM as a social media lead to work on SmarterQuestions.org

Social Media Lead

I work for IBM and my official title is “Social Media Lead”.  In the hierarchal nature of IBM, I sit in the Software Group, specifically Information Management.  That’s when it gets interesting.  I work with a cross-brand competitive team focused on Oracle.  That means that although my chain of command runs up through Software, I also work pretty closely with another branch of IBM, the Systems and Technology Group (hardware).

When I joined IBM in late 2009 through the acquisition of Datacap, I was transferred from a digital marketing role.  I joined the competitive team to work on a project called SmarterQuestions.org.  SmarterQuestions was just getting formed as a response to Oracle’s acquisition of Sun.

Oracle and Sun

When Oracle, a software vendor, purchase Sun, a hardware vendor, it caused a little bit of consternation at IBM.  Now we were not only going to be competing with Oracle Database (DB2) but also with Sun hardware (Power), meaning Oracle could offer a “unified stack“.  Part of our plan for dealing with this new force in the industry was to develop our social media capabilities.

SmarterQuestions.org was going to be the central cog in our Oracle social media plans.  When I joined the project, SmarterQuestions was being built as a forum for conversation on dispelling the lies and myths that Oracle was putting into the market place.  It would be a responsive site and a clearinghouse for IBM’s opinion on Oracle selling and advertising strategies.

Content is still king!  Writing amazing posts

My opinion was that this site would only work if we had absolutely compelling and amazing content.  With so much content to consume, a reader interested in the competitive differences between IBM and Oracle can be quite picky in what they choose to read.  In order to attract a reader’s attention, I wanted some of the really smart minds inside IBM to start putting words on the page and we would publish a blog collecting all their ideas together.  It’s one thing to read what an industry analyst says about IBM and Oracle.  I thought it would be really cool to also be able to read what the IBM insider thought about the competitive differences.  I wanted to bring the people closest to the subject area, who deal with IBM and Oracle products every day, to the front of SmarterQuestions and share their thoughts publicly.

This is where SmarterQuestions began.  And the evolution of SmarterQuestions, which mirrors the growth and conceptual understanding of social media at IBM, is the story I want to tell on this blog.  Next week I’ll discuss what I think the central mission of a social media lead should be inside a big company.

Posted in IBM

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