InfoSupport blogs migrated to Community Server 2.1

I just got back from a little vacation in France and am working through the e-mail and RSS feeds that have pilled up only 8 days. And then I come across a nice surprise… (I won’t mention the freakish time I’m typing this. 😉

My employer finally decided to migrate to a decent blog platform. Until recently they’ve been running an ancient .Text install. And let me tell you, it was not so pretty and lacked lots of handy blogging features like a decent comment spam filter, auto ping-back, track-back and tagging support.

InfoSupport blog Header

Make sure to take a peak. Right now I’m proud of the InfoSupport blogs. For those unfamiliar with the old look and feel, let’s just say I just tried not to mention our blogs, since they just that ugly to look at. The layout didn’t do justice to the actual content.

Also a few weeks back I gave a presentation to my co-workers about blogging in general. I also mentioned some handy features and things missing from the then current implementation. Although I’d like to think I caused this migration I just didn’t. But I do think that because of my presentation some people thought: “Well, to hell with .Text. Let’s do this migration from .Text to Community Server and be done with it.” From what I heard it was migration fraught with pitfalls and possible data-loss when done incorrectly. I’d say, well done and enjoy the new blogging environment.

Community Server LogoIf you’d like some more details about the platform the IS blogs are using… It’s Community Server. A Microsoft .Net based blogging solution. It’s one of the few serious blogging servers available. Unlike WordPress it supports multiple blogs straight out of the box. It’s comparable with SixApart’s Movable Type

Giving a presentation

Right now I am giving a presentation to my co-workers.

It’s about blogging at our company.

It involves a number of things:

  • Baking cookies
  • Mac programming
  • Me
  • Locks
  • Wildfires
  • Google
  • Seven of nine
  • BA Baracus
  • Agent Smith
  • Aragorn
  • Oh, lets not forget Naked Conversations

Curious? Let me know I’ll see what I can do for you. 😉

Sometimes I hate myself…

..because I get into the train to travel to work. I managed to get a nice seat, no yelling kids nearby or other nasty loudmouths. I flip out my PowerBook. *&@$, I forgot that I deleted my preliminary notes after posting them on my blog. Can’t find anything in my browser’s cache either. So I slept all the way, better luck tomorrow. Right now I only jotted down like 12 slides.

Also today our Knowledge Center secretary posted the invitation e-mail to all my co-workers. So that’s past a point of no return. I wonder who will show up this wednesday, a lot of people are on vacation too.

The biggest thing missing in my slides right now is a link to the “local hero” strategy my employer tries to implement. I promised I would tie my presentation into that subject too. Personally I am really curious what this really means for our company. We are a knowledgable player in The Netherlands, from my experience we have an ok reputation (always room for improvement). But this “local hero” stuff is still a bit vague. Does it mean we are a bunch of extremely hard working people? Are we really that much ahead of the competition? What qualities makes a “local hero” a “local hero”? Because I have not seen anything heroic as of yet.

I’ll have to figure this out today or tomorrow.

The problem with getting some input…

About three weeks ago I sent an e-mail to all my colleagues with a company blog. In the e-mail I asked for anything extraordinary caused by their blogs. So far I only received only a few responses. I let that settle a bit and I have come to the following possible reasons for the lack of response:

  • Nothing special happened.
  • People don’t care.
  • I ended up in a spam filter or got snowed under piles of other e-mail.

Lets review each of the items in the above list.

Nothing special happened
Well then that would be a shame. This could mean a few things:

  • Nobody is reading it because it’s just not interesting.
  • Nobody is finding it because it’s just not findable.

Both would be harsh conclusions if you ask me. Since the keyword count seems high at the blogs of my colleagues and I do believe that my company employes a lot of smart people. While I can not look into the server logs of the different blogs a few colleagues do have a stat counter on their page. Reviewing these shows that, while there is not a whole lot of activity, there are quite a few revisiting ip-s showing up. So my best guess would be that the blogs are just not indexed properly. Lets just put this on my TODO list for this week.

People don’t care
Another possible reason could be that people just don’t care about their blogs. “Nobody is reading my entries, so why would I care about my blog?” Let’s just say that I don’t think that’s the kind of people working at my employer, lets hope not. Then there is only one other alternative I think, people just didn’t care enough about my request. After-all it was a simple e-mail message. With about 14 addressees. The thought that someone else will have responded enough comes to mind. Luckily I got this cell phone here with all their numbers on it. So yet again, another one for next week. Let’s call some people, give them that little personal touch. Should work I think.

I ended up in a spam filter or got snowed under piles of other e-mail.
Spam filter? No way, it was an internal message to other internal accounts. Snowed under? Very likely. So like I said, my to-do list contains the following item: Haunt Query come colleagues about their blogs by phone.

I’m hoping to hear some statements like: “Oh yeah I read that, I must have missed it because I get heaps of other messages.” You know what I mean, the lame sounding excuses for someone not running their inbox to the best of their abilities. Perhaps I should do a blog entry on that too sometime. (Like nobody else did that before.)

The stage is set, pieces are moving… and I need pictures!

My Naked Conversations presentation is set. I always work better with a deadline. On the 2nd of August I will be presenting to my fellow co-workers. Now to actually start making the presentation. What is the plan:

  • The presentation should last 45 minutes, with an extra 20 minutes for questions at the end.
  • Motivate my co-workers to blog and to blog the right way (to my opinion offcource.
  • Provide a motivation for our company to blog. A lot of people wonder why we should actually do this.
  • Review the current blogging activity by comparing it to some empirical data. (Not sure what data yet though. 🙂 )
  • Gently point out what I think we should change in our current blogging activities. No reason to create animosity.

As you can see, that’s a lot to cram into a 45 minute talk. I think I’ll go for a sort of mash-up of things I’ve read in the book, found on the internet and my own experiences/opinions. Perhaps a high speed quote shoot-out with pretty pictures. The most important thing is to interest people in the first place. When they are interested I am hoping they will start asking questions.

There is one thing I still am a bit stifled about: What are good graphic representations of blogging? Anybody got ideas about that?

Naked presentations

On to something positive.

Last week I talked about doing an in company presentation about a book I read. Well I’ve mailed around a bit with some people that are responsible for the blogs of my employer. (Mine is not one of them though.) I got some positive feedback and some guidelines, so yeah I’m going to do it. Now to do some research on the book again.

Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers I’m not someone who does simple copy pasting, sure I’ll re-use some tips and anecdotes. But I’ll be sure to make it my story with credit where credit is due. The hard part will be to scrape together the best bits in the book and make a concise story of it that’ll fit inside 45 minutes. Also because it is not a really standard subject for an in company presentation I plan to experiment a bit with some tips taken from Presentation Zen.

Because the subject material is available all in the open and there is nothing secret about it’s contents I’ll look into publishing the results here. So stay tuned…

My build just finished, so I have to get back to work again…

Naked Conversations

Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers Not the most recent book, but I had this one lying around for a few months now and finaly I had some time last week to read it.

You blog?
You read this.

This book was recommended to me and it was definatly worth the read. Very insightfully written and full of examples on how the mechanisms of bloggin work according to Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

Basicly it’s a crash course into company blogging. The reasons to do it are explained, the effects of blogging compared to traditional media and marketing. And the do’s and don’ts of corporate blogging.

I could elaborate on how much I liked this book, it comes down to the fact that this is one of the few books I’d absolutely recommend if you have anything to do with blogging.

For more details on the book, do a google search or check a site like Amazon.

I’m actually thinking of doing an in-company presentation based on this book. Just to evangalize blogging a bit. The do’s and don’ts are set forth in this books are true indeed.