Social Connections 8 is approaching fast! In fact it feels as though the pace is picking up with every day that passes!
With this being the first Social Connections event that has been run in the USA, the team is working hard to pull together the very best experience that it can.
What does that mean? Well we’ve been busy on:
The abstract submission process. We’ve been delighted to have received a great number of abstracts submitted for this event than any we’ve run before. We’re also thrilled at the range and depth of the topics that we’ve seen, as well as hearing from some awesome speakers both old and new. Despite this, we’ve extended the deadline a teeny bit (by one week to next Sunday, the 22nd February). Why? We would love some additional sessions in specific tracks – Spotlight, the Future of Work and Case Studies. The team will review all abstracts that are submitted, but those are the ones we’d most like to add to the very balanced agenda that we’re pulling together. Submit your abstract now!
Planning the agenda. Whilst the final set of sessions are yet to be confirmed, we’ve already started to add key sessions to the schedule… If you’re waiting to see the agenda before confirming your own attendance, it will be published early next week.
The gala reception. Those that have attended previous Social Connections events will know that we really lavish a lot of focus and attention on our receptions – from a Welsh castle, to the Guinness factory in Dublin, at the lakeside in Zürich, a villa overlooking Prague (and the fireworks), to the gallery in Stockholm. Therefore we know we have a lot to live up to! We’re busy confirming the venue and arrangements for the Boston reception (with complimentary attendance for all attendees), and should have some news to share very soon.
Recruiting sponsors. We sometimes feel that we don’t say this enough… We could not run this event without our sponsors – they are absolutely key to funding the event and enabling us to deliver a conference that meets your needs. (For background, the small fee that we now charge to attend the conference barely covers the daytime catering, let alone the reception, the signage, the materials, etc. etc.) Therefore we hugely value their support for Social Connections, and are delighted that IBM, Kudos, GoodMeeting, TimeToAct, Ephox and Panagenda have already committed to sponsoring and exhibiting at the Boston event.
Planning some great ‘extra-curricular’ activities. Whilst formal sessions are key to any conference agenda, we feel that the really great interactions often take place outside the auditorium or breakout rooms. Therefore we’re ideating hard to try to provide a really great mix of activities at the conference. From SpeedSponsoring to unconference sessions, to opportunities for feedback on designs, there will be plenty of chances to get up close and personal with key IBMers, speakers, and IBM Champions.
Although IBM Connections has been in the marketplace since 2007 it is still a relatively new product by IBM/Lotus standards.
The larger LUGs (Lotus User Groups – such as UKLUG and ILUG) tend to focus on traditional Lotus technologies – Notes, Domino, a little Sametime and TDI with lots of the newer XPages thrown in the mix.
The WUGs (WebSphere User Groups) tend to concentrate on core WebSphere technologies such as the Application Server, Portal and Process Server.
In addition, these events can be very technical in nature.
Therefore we feel there is a definite space for a Connections user group with a strong focus on social collaboration technology, aimed at both existing and prospective customers and partners, and at individuals with both business and technical perspectives.
We meet twice annually, in late Spring/early Summer and again in late Autumn/Fall, and from 2015 onwards we will be splitting the events between the USA and Europe.
In addition, through the use of these great social tools, we aim to keep a dynamic and lively online community going all-year round! The events will be social in nature, with a strong desire for real face-to-face networking and knowledge sharing as well as delivery of useful content.