Monday, January 15, 2007
IBM Blogging Chief: Join Web 2.0 or Become Lunch
Chuck Garber, a Ph.D. who runs a microscopy supply company in West Chester PA, leaned over to me in the front row of the Kanbar Center at Philadelphia University, nodded to the speaker at the podium a few feet away and whispered:
"This guy is amazing."
Indeed, Christopher Barger, tieless in jeans and a jacket, was memsmerizing the audience of Web 2.0-hungry communications executives from corporations, health organizations, universities, ad agencies and public relations firms.
Barger is IBM's Blogger-in-Chief and he was explaining why IBM has been a leader in corporate blogging, with hundreds of employees writing external blogs and thousands blogging on the company's private web.
"We're not doing this to be cool," said Barger, whose last name is a scrambled version of Dr. Garber's. For the Ph.D., who took copious notes, IBM's Barger was unscrambling the mystery of blogs, podcasts and the second-generaton Internet.
"This isn't just about seizing communications opportunities," Barger said. "It's about remaining relevant in a changing organizational dynamic."
In short, said the IBM expert, blogging is about survival.
Barger spoke for more than an hour and the questions kept coming right into the lunch hour and beyond.
Barger was among numerous speakers at last week's "Using the New Web 2.0 for Corporate Communications" Seminar that provoked plenty of discussion and questions from an audience that in some cases needed ammunition to persuade their bosses to use the new web tools. "My CEO doesn't get it," said one participant privately.
(For another view from a seminar paricipant and speaker, see this post by Carol Lynn Daly, marketing director for the Lourdes Health System.)
By day's end, Barger and the other speakers seemed to have persuaded the room that Web 2.0 tools are not only helpful but just about mandatory for those who want to communicate effectively.
(For more information on the seminar content and speakers, see column on the right. True, the seminar is over, but more help will be on the way in the future, so wach this space.)