27Dinner & The Future of Work

Wednesday evening I attended the 27Dinner and it was great to see some old faces and meet some new people Face to Face.  All in all it was a great evening of just socializing with old and new friends.  And oh the talks was great too 🙂

One of the questions I was asked over and over again when people hear I work for IBM, is what is a big corporate like IBM doing at a social event like 27Dinner.  Few people know that IBM with 400000 permanent employees is dependent in its daily work on social software, networks and communities. Each of the social tools like Twitter, Blogging, Wikis, Forums etc has an IBM equivalent inside.  Also we have social tools inside that I have not seen outside yet, but cannot say much about that.

One of my colleagues, Luis Suarez, has recorded a video on The Future of Work and the use of social networks and tools.  To give you an idea how he works – he works for IBM Netherlands, stay in the Canary Islands and report to 2 bosses in the United States.

The Future of Work by Luis Suarez from Luis Suarez on Vimeo.

The video is fairly long but gives a good idea what he thinks. In the video he also discusses the use of email – here is a blog posting from him on that subject.

Can Social Networking tools replace e-mail?

A colleague, IBMer Luis Suarez, wrote an article in the NYtimes on how he is using Social Networking tools to reduce the use of e-mail.  And I quote

E-mail can become extinct, if not repurposed altogether, even at big companies like I.B.M. An e-mail in-box no longer needs to be like Pandora’s box.

I am not sure whether I totally agree with this … there is still a place for e-mail.  As another IBMer Ed Brill say and I quote

Even if you move all of your collaboration to other tools, there still needs to be a prompt, a push, a tickle, an alert … something that draws you into the collaboration.

And this push or tickle as Ed calls it is usually via email. If somebody comments on a blog post of mine I get prompted about it via email.  If somebody follow me on Twitter I get informed via email.  If somebody send me a message via Facebook then I get informed via e-mail.

So to answer my own question, no I do not think so.  Yes it can reduce the volume of email (an I do not talk about all the spam) in your inbox but totally replace, no I do not think so.  I would love to hear your comments about it.