Quelques pages en français [fr]

[en] I've added some French content to stephanie-booth.com. One page describing my standardized offer for blogging in business (of course, other packs can be negotiated -- this is mainly to help my clients get started). Another detailing private classes I offer individuals (not my main business, but I like doing it and I'm regularly asked to). A description of the "Get Started with Blogging" seminar -- I'm doing it as a workshop at LIFT, but I also plan to organize these regularly here in Lausanne (or elsewhere if there is enough interest).

I'd like to announce a first blogging seminar end of February -- but I'm a bit concerned about how I'll get the word out about it. You see, I'm pretty good at communicating stuff using new media, but I do sometimes feel a bit at loss with more traditional ways of promoting events or business initiatives. Any advice or assistance in that department would be greatly appreciated.

Chers lecteurs francophones (si vous êtes encore par là!), j’aurais besoin de vous. Dans le cadre de l’opération “[mettre vaguement à jour stephanie-booth.com](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/28/quest-ce-que-je-fais-au-juste/)”, j’ai ajouté un peu de contenu au site francophone. Alors bon, comme d’habitude, c’est un peu brouillon (mais j’ai quand même réfléchi un peu à ce que j’écrivais) et c’est déjà en ligne. Mais votre avis sur ce que j’ai écrit m’intéresse. Bien? Pas bien? Détails à corriger? Problèmes de fond? Mauvaise stratégie? Parfait-y’a-rien-à-retoucher?

Vous voyez l’idée.

Les pages en question sont les suivantes:

– [Blogs et entreprises](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/entreprises/blogs/) — j’essaie de “standardiser” un peu mon offre pour que les clients puissent s’y retrouver. Il y en a pour tous les budgets, et bien sûr, on peut toujours discuter de formules particulières. Mais il me semble qu’offrir 2-3 “packs” est une bonne chose.
– [Cours pour particuliers](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/cours/) — ce n’est pas mon business principal, mais il faut bien que je me rende à l’évidence, on me demande pour ça. J’essaie d’expliquer dans quel contexte je fournis ce genre de service.
– [Cours d’initiation aux blogs](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/initiation/) pour particuliers — il s’agit de la fameuse [idée de cours](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/17/trois-heures-pour-se-mettre-a-bloguer/), que je propose dans deux semaines [sous forme de workshop à LIFT](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging) (si vous allez à LIFT, profitez-en).

Concernant cette dernière offre, j’aimerais fixer une date pour un premier cours à Lausanne toute fin février, mais j’avoue que ce qui me fait un peu souci, c’est comment communiquer là autour. Voyez-vous, je suis une spécialiste de la communication *nouveaux médias*, et les personnes à qui s’adresse ce cours ne s’alimentent probablement pas quotidiennement sur les blogs.

Il faudrait recourir à des moyens de promotion plus “traditionnels” que je maîtrise mal: annonces, affichettes, mailing-listes un peu “pushy” (oh horreur!), alerter mes contacts journalistes, mon entourage offline, faire passer des infos dans écoles ou entreprises… Tout conseil ou coup de main dans ce domaine serait bienvenu. Merci d’avance.

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Blogging in Internal Communications [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence que j'ai donnée aujourd'hui à Zürich sur les blogs dans la communication interne.

First of all, let me thank all present for their participation, and Nils ([Enzaim Communications](http://enzaim.ch/)) in particular for making this happen. I also appreciated having [Stefan Bucher](http://www.stefanbucher.net/blog/) amongst the audience — it’s particularly nice when fellow bloggers show up, share their experience, and to top it all tell me my talk was interesting to them, too. Thanks!

Two months ago I gave a talk titled [“How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/). This one is quite similar, but focused on internal communications.

As I explained, the dynamics involved are very similar. It’s about having conversations, whether it’s behind the firewall or outside on the big bad internet — about engaging with people (employees, customers, colleagues) rather than talking *at* them.

Although the talk I prepared was very similar (with some added stuff specific to internal communications), it did of course turn out rather different. Different people, different questions. I like it (particularly with small audiences) when instead of giving a lecture-like talk, there are lots of questions and I am derailed from what I had planned.

That’s a bit what blogging is about, isn’t it? Having a dialogue. So, when the setting permits it, I try to do the same thing with my talks. My impression is that people get more out of them that way. (Do feel free to correct me if you think I’m mistaken.)

You should probably go and have a look at [the notes from my previous talk](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/), as I’m not going to rewrite everything here. I’ll just concentrate on what seems to me was the important additional stuff we talked about. If you were there and want to add things to what I’m writing here, please feel free to leave a comment. I’d be very happy if you did.

If you look at the slides, they’re very similar in the beginning, aside from slides 9-10-11 in which I try to clarify the difference between blog and wiki, as I was told confusion was common.


Content on blogs is organised based on the time they were written. From an editorial point of view, blogs also put the author(s) forward. He has a very different status from the commentators, who are guests on his blog.


Wikis, on the other hand, are organised solely through the links created between the various pages. The focus is on the documentation produced rather than on who produced it. The various author voices tend to merge into a uniform community voice.

Both blogs and wikis are part of the larger class of tools one can name “social media”. These are the online tools which help us publish information in a way that connects us to other people, and encourages us to engage in conversations and relationships with them. You’ll also come upon the expression “social software” used with roughly the same meaning (though the emphasis is in this way more on the technology than on its usage). “Social tools” can be considered a wider category including all technology that explicitly connects its users to one another. (I have to say, though, that many people — I included — will sometimes use these terms interchangeably.)

Short version: it’s “social media” that is important in this discussion, more than “just blogging”. I’m talking of “blogging” inasmuch as it is a popular incarnation of social media.

We spent quite some time commenting the [blog examples]() I showed. These are of course examples of blogging externally, because unfortunately, it’s kind of hard to find examples of internal blogging on the internet ;-).

There are a lot of “damage control” or “crisis” examples, because blogging is a good tool to use in this kind of situation where real communication is required.

Here are a few quotes I read out. First, the beginning of the open letter to Palm on Engadget:

> Dear Palm,

> Man, what a crazy year, right? We know things haven’t really been going your way lately, but we want you to know that we haven’t given up on you, even though it might seem like the only smartphone anyone wants to talk about these days is the iPhone. It can be hard to remember right now, but you used to be a company we looked to for innovation. You guys got handhelds right when everyone else, including Apple, was struggling to figure it out. And it was the little things that made those early Palm Pilots great — you could tell that someone had gone to a lot of trouble to think about what made for a great mobile experience, like how many (or rather, few) steps it took to perform common tasks.

> The problem is that lately we haven’t seen anything too impressive out of you guys. Sure, over the past few years the Treo has emerged as a cornerstone of the smartphone market, but you’ve let the platform stagnate while nearly everyone (especially Microsoft and HTC, Symbian and Nokia, RIM, and Apple) has steadily improved their offerings. So we’ve thrown together a few ideas for how Palm can get back in the game and (hopefully) come out with a phone that people can care about. (And we’re not talking about the Centro / Gandolf.) Read on.

Dear Palm: It’s time for an intervention

And two days later, the response of the Palm CEO, Ed Colligan

> Dear Peter, Ryan and Joshua:

> Thank you for the very thoughtful post about Palm. I really appreciate the fact that you guys and others care enough to take the time to write such a comprehensive list of actions. I forwarded it to our entire executive staff and many others at Palm have read it. Although I can’t say I agree with every point, many are right on. We are attacking almost every challenge you noted, so stay tuned. Let’s remember that it is very early in the evolution of the smartphone and there is enormous opportunity for us to innovate. We have only just begun to fight!

> Thank you for taking the time to write. I really do take your comments to heart and I know the team at Palm is totally committed to delivering the best mobile computing solutions in the world.

Ed Colligan

Not bad, huh? This is the kind of openness people want to see more of.

> Corporate types will always be concerned about negative comments, which is a valid concern; however, if you’ve got a product or service that’s worth blogging about, your fans should be coming out to support you — which they have, in Yahoo!’s case. Also, by allowing full comments, and better yet, responding to some of them, you gain a valuable sense of integrity and, as loathe as I am to type these words, “street cred” — that you just can’t buy.

> Negative comments are the price you’ve got to pay for having a Real Blog, and companies that have them deserve to be recognized. It shows that they believe in their own business, and they respect their customers enough to allow them to have a public opinion on their business.

Yahoo’s Blog Takes Its Blogging Lumps, Like a Real Blog Should

We talked a lot about negative comments and what to do about them (they can actually turn out to be a good thing if you respond to them openly and honestly). We also talked about ghost-writing (don’t!) and human relationships in general. Things that are true for offline relationships, I find, are also true for online ones you can establish through blogging: if somebody is willing to recognise they made a mistake, for example, or acknowledge that you are upset about something, it goes a long way. Same is true on blogs.

Here’s a link to [the corporate blogging 101](http://engineerswithoutfears.blogspot.com/2007/04/tooling-around-blogs.html) I mentioned in passing and I said I would point you to.

I also skipped a bit quickly through the Do/Don’t lists, so here they are again:


  • eat your own dog-food
  • trust your bloggers
  • read other blogs
  • be part of the community
  • use a feed-reader
  • link! even to competition, negative stuff
  • be human
  • learn the culture
  • use an existing blogging tool
  • discuss problems
  • define what is really confidential
  • give existing in-house bloggers a role (evangelists! learn from them!)
  • tag, ping, use the “kit” and other social tools


  • try to control
  • use a ghost-writer or outsource blogging
  • “roll your own” tool
  • ignore established blogging conventions, they’re there for a reason
  • copy-paste print material in posts
  • use corpspeak
  • force people to blog
  • write happy-clappy stuff
  • write blog posts or comments as if they were e-mails (starting with Hi… and ending with a signature)
  • be faceless (signing with the name of the company instead of the person)

Employees know (and so do internal communications people) that the best sources of information are usually one’s direct boss and… the cafeteria. If you think about it, your boss is probably one of the main people you actually have real conversations with. You don’t often have a real conversation with the CEO — but you probably have regular briefings with your boss. Hopefully, you have something resembling a human relationship with her/him.

The cafeteria or the corridors are the informal networking spaces of company life. And often, these informal relationships can actually be more useful to your work than the hierarchy. “Networks subvert hierarchies”, says the [Cluetrain](http://cluetrain.com).

Well, in a company in which employees can blog, subscribe to their feeds and leave comments on each other’s blogs, the online space can become a kind of “virtual cafeteria” — only in the public eye. This might sound scary to some. But you’re not preventing people from having conversations in the cafeteria, are you? By having these conversations online, in a “public” space (which may still be behind the firewall), you can help them be more efficient if they’re positive, and debunk them more easily if they’re rumors.

RSS is an important technology to be aware of. It’s the one that allows people to subscribe to blogs, comments, or other sources of news. In a company where employees can have their own blogs, they’ll need to learn to use an aggregator, which will enable them to create their own news channel. One can expect an employee to know best exactly what sources of information to follow or people to stay in touch with to get her work done.

People who work remotely, who are on different sites, different silos, or who simply have different working hours can all benefit from the online cafeteria.

A few key checkpoints, if you’re thinking of introducing blogs in your company (“are we ready?” style). 5 prerequisites:

– the management/CEO/company needs to **care** about their employees. Blogging won’t work well in an “abusive” relationship.
– be willing to **engage** in real, honest **dialogue**, also about problematic issues (difficult, but often the most rewarding, as with normal human relationships)
– blogging takes **time**, so it should be counted in as part of people’s workload/job
– accept and understand that communication **cannot be controlled**
– understand that blogging is not just a technology/tool, that it is mainly a **culture/strategy**

5 ingredients to “make it work”:

– **training**. Don’t assume blogging comes naturally to people. We “natural bloggers” are the exception, not the rule. The technology is cheap — put money in the training, so people have a chance to really “get” the culture.
– **eat your own dog food**. If you want to get people in your company blogging, do it yourself, too.
– blogging is a grassroots phenomenon (bottom-up), so **enable** it (top-down), knowing you can’t “make” people blog. Create a blog-friendly environment.
– **read** blogs and comments. This can easily be 50% of the workload involved in “blogging”
– speak like a **human** being.

There… that’s about it. Did we talk about anything else important that I missed?

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FOWA: Enterprise Adoption of Social Software (Suw Charman) [en]

[fr] Notes prises à l'occasion de la conférence Future of Web Apps (FOWA) à Londres.

*Here are my live notes of this [Future of Web Apps (FOWA)](http://www.futureofwebapps.com/) session. They are probably incomplete and may contain mistakes, though I do my best to be accurate. [Suw has written a blog post about her presentation.](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2007/10/05/fowa07b_me_preparing_for_enterprise_adoption.php)*

FOWA 2007 105

Suw is a freelance consultant, has done a lot of work with businesses and vendors. Guide on getting your stuff used by businesses, based on her experience.

A couple of areas to think about:

– tech readiness? does our tool work?
– support readiness? are we ready to provide support to our customers, and how they will adopt our tool and convince people in their business to adopt the tool?

Two sides of the same tool.

Important: make sure your tool is really ready. If it’s still buggy, if the interface or language is confusing, don’t try to sell it into enterprise. Get more funding first. You only get one chance in enterprise. They won’t come back to see where you’re at.

FOWA 2007 106

Incremental improvements based on user feedback won’t work in businesses. They want something that works now, and regular but not-too-frequent updates. Stability.

Have a process for feature requests. Difference between big vendors (MS, Oracle) “this is what we’re giving you, deal with it” and small vendors.

Pilots aren’t an opportunity to do user testing. They’ll shy away if they feel they’re being used as guiney-pigs.

Don’t assume simple tools will automatically get adopted. People very resistant to use software. They don’t use software because it’s cool. They just want to get the job done, and will find ways to work around the tools they’re given.

Where do you start? Try to figure out what businesses want from you as a vendor, and your tool.

– integration with their existing systems, single sign-on, active directory, LDAP
– very concerned about security: “can our employees use this and put data in it and have that data be safe from accidental stupidness or prying eyes?” Technical security and user stupidness security (delete everything by mistake). Big plus for wikis, which have history. Disaster recovery: offices burn down, how will you help them retrieve their data

Understanding time scales. It can take months for things to happen. Lots of things can get in the way of adoption, even with vocal evangelists inside. Contracts, lawyers, packaging…

– be aware of internal political rankings (stakeholder management)
– be flexible about how you intend to sell into business. You might end up having to host your service (very different from selling a chunk of software). Trojan mouse solutions.
– be prepared for runaway success. Can you scale? Really? Quickly? Administration can turn around from “against it” to “we want this everywhere, now!” in the space of weeks
– be prepared for failure — understand what happened, and have processes in place so that you can learn from failure, but possibly not the same way. Try and fail in new and innovative ways.

Businesses are quite happy to spend money on hardware, software, but not really on operational (people) stuff. Bundle in your support costs into your selling price. If you do an unsupported package, they’ll take that, and you’ll still get the calls. You need to make sure you can afford to help your client get the best out of your tool. How will you be responsive? How will you deal with your contacts in the business, and all the (possibly tens of thousands) of people in the business using your tool?

Sales! One case where a business tried to get through to the sales people to buy, and didn’t get a response. Had to call the CEO! Have someone available to talk to a client.

How are you going to explain your tool to the people who are going to use it? You *need* an adoption strategy. No use in just giving people your tool. *steph-note: as I say, [throwing blogs at people doesn’t make them bloggers](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/).* What kind of materials are you going to provide them with?

A good place to start: **pilots**. Groups of like people. Who are groups of people who might benefit from this? Case with wiki: PAs and secretaries, for example. People like very specific use cases. Not good at generalising. Who are you talking to and what do they need from your tool?

**Adoption isn’t a business goal.** Running the business is the business goal. You need to meet both the wider business goals and the individual people’s goals.

**People don’t use documentation.** They don’t click help. They ask human beings instead. There is a lot of informal and semi-formal learning going on in businesses. 80% is informal, it seems. Formal learning, training courses aren’t effective. How can you provide ad hoc support? IRC channel? Social collaborative learning tools? (blogs, wikis)

**Centralised support** is important for the people using the tool. If the company is going to take over that role, they’ll need the materials for it. Make your material user task oriented, not software task oriented. “This is how you do a meeting agenda in the wiki.” Not “this is how you make a page”. Present it to them on a plate.

A qualitative leap needs to be made between old and new things, even if the new things aren’t so much more complicated. That leap can be difficult. But at some point, when enough people in the organisation are using the tool, they start helping each other. Provide the materials for that. Giving people the confidence that they know how it works.

Don’t try to make it up as you go along. **Plan in advance.** Bring people in. You don’t have to do it all alone (materials, etc).

[More about this!](http://tinyurl.com/zbnfq) Important: both management and grassroots buy-in. Balancing top-down with bottom-up approaches.

Q: tips for demonstrating tool usefulness?
A: work on the use cases. ROI: investing time and money and getting something in return. Important to understand those metrics. Careful, metrics don’t tell you what an individual’s use of something is. One of the problems with social software is that it can sound a little fluffy. “It improves collaboration.” But people think like “I want it to improve productivity to the point I can fire someone.”

Q: is it different for open source tools?
A: enterprises can be very wary of it (how will we get support?) even though there is a huge amount of open source being used. The more technically savvy they are, the more likely they’ll go for it, and the more business-oriented, the less. No hard and fast rules.

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Corporate Blogging Talk Draft [en]

[fr] Je donne une conférence dans un peu plus d'un mois à des responsables de communication d'entreprises suisses. On m'a demandé de fournir une présentation de mon intervention, qui figurera sur l'invitation. Voici la version resultant de deux jours en sueur (oui je sais, c'est pas très impressionnant!) -- j'apprécierais votre feedback en la matière si vous lisez l'anglais.

A little over a month from now, I’ll be giving a talk on corporate blogging to leading communications executives of Swiss companies. I’ve been asked to provide an introduction to my talk, which will be included alongside some biographical information in the invitation to the event. Here’s my draft, based on examples of previous invitations I was given:

> Blogs are way more than teenage diaries, and it is now common knowledge that they can be a precious tool in corporate environments. Many companies today are interested in embracing social media, and some take the plunge — unfortunately, not always with the desired results.

> Blogging is not a magical solution. Though it requires little technical skill to exertblog (akin to sending an e-mail), it comes bundled with the culture of openness and real human dialogue described at the beginning of the decade in The Cluetrain Manifesto, which can be at odds with existing corporate communication practice.

> When a corporation starts blogging, whether behind the firewall or on the internet, it changes. Not all corporations are ready for that. Not all corporations can accommodate those sometimes unpredictable changes.

> Though one could just start blogging blindly, it is wiser in a corporate setting to identify some particular needs or problems which can be addressed with social media. Though social media is by nature error-tolerant, it would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of learning the “blogging culture”, or the time required to keep a blog alive.

> Stephanie Booth will share her insights on how blogs can find a place inside corporate culture, and how to go around introducing them in such a setting. The focus will be on blogging culture and practices, illustrated by real-world examples taken directly from the blogosphere.

I’ve been struggling with it for the last two days, and I’d appreciate your feedback in the comments (both on the language and the content).

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The Shadow IT Department (and Shadow HR) [en]

[fr] Un article qui montre du doigt un nécessaire changement de mentalité dans les départements IT: nombre des outils que les employés utilisent pour améliorer leur productivité ont en fait été introduits de façon "sauvage". Vouloir tout contrôler à tout prix n'est pas la meilleure solution.

Here’s a very interesting piece I picked up in [Bruno’s links](http://www.lunchoverip.com/2007/02/links_for_20070_8.html): [Users Who Know Too Much (And the CIOs Who Fear Them)](http://www.cio.com/archive/021507/fea_user_mgmt.html?action=print). It talks about the chasm between what technology IT departments make available, and what tools employees install and use behind the IT department’s back to be more productive at work.

> And that disconnect is fundamental. Users want IT to be responsive to their individual needs and to make them more productive. CIOs want IT to be reliable, secure, scalable and compliant with an ever increasing number of government regulations. Consequently, when corporate IT designs and provides an IT system, manageability usually comes first, the user’s experience second. But the shadow IT department doesn’t give a hoot about manageability and provides its users with ways to end-run corporate IT when the interests of the two groups do not coincide.

> “Employees are looking to enhance their efficiency,” says André Gold, director of information security at Continental Airlines. “People are saying, ‘I need this to do my job.’” But for all the reasons listed above, he says, corporate IT usually ends up saying no to what they want or, at best, promising to get to it…eventually. In the interim, users turn to the shadow IT department.

I remember that when I used to work at Orange, many of my most useful tools were things I “wasn’t allowed” to have on my computer. I also remember that when [I got really bad RSI](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2002/10/20/hiatus-repetitive-strain-injury/) and [using dictation software](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2002/10/31/trying-dictation-software/) was the only way to get me back to work, the IT department flat-out refused our request for [Dragon](http://www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/). (Somebody actually said that if I couldn’t type anymore, they should just get rid of me.) My boss had to have a chat with somebody else’s boss to finally have the program installed on my computer.

The bit that actually prompted me to write this post is the comparison with the way HR organises the company:

> For example, a similar dynamic has long played out in HR. A company’s employees have titles and reporting relationships that give their work a formal structure. But at the same time every company has an informal structure determined by expertise, interpersonal relationships, work ethic, overall effectiveness and so on. Companies suffer when HR is out of phase with the informal structure. Employees are demoralized when the formal architecture elevates someone at the bottom of the informal architecture, and people who occupy the top spots in the informal architecture leave when they aren’t recognized by the formal one. Good HR departments know where employees stand in both the formal and informal architectures and balance the two.

A few months ago, I was giving a talk on blogs (etc.) to a bunch of Internal Communications people, and one of my points was that there *is* an informal structure inside the company (the value of which is in fact recognized by the companies, who will invest in “teambuilding” or “recreation” activities to encourage transversal communication), and that use of tools like blogs can help make this structure more visible and efficient. (Think [Cluetrain, these 50](http://www.cluetrain.com/book/95-theses.html).)

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Lisez Ollie! [fr]

[en] You should read Ollie's blog if you're interested in corporate blogging. Some pointers to recent articles of his that I particularly liked.

Une petite page de pub pour un camarade blogueur dont je trouve les billets de plus en plus pertinents: lisez [le blog à Ollie](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/)! En particulier, si les rapports entre blogs et business vous interpellent, il est à mon avis incontournable. Quelques billets récents qui m’ont favorablement impressionnée:

– [une remise à l’heure de pendules concernant la place des blogs d’employés](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=1671) et le rôle positif qu’ils ont à jouer pour l’entreprise, suite à [l’interview assez alarmiste de Marianne Favre Moreillon dans Le Temps](http://www.letemps.ch/emploi/affichearticle.asp?artid=185502) (c’est pas le genre d’article qui va faire remplir [notre cours sur les blogs en septembre](http://www.romandieformation.ch/index.lasso?ID=14&Course=2318), ça non)
– [une analyse lucide de “l’affaire Nestlé”](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/index.php?p=1653): “La révolution promet d’être passionnante.”
– [gérer ses tâches avec GMail, mode d’emploi](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=1670)
– et enfin (je ne résiste pas), [une critique bien complète de coComment](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=1641) (et de ce côté-là, surveillez bien ce qui va se passer prochainement — je n’en dirai pas plus, non, même pas sous la torture…)

Bonne lecture, et merci encore à Ollie pour son blog!

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