Monthly Archives: April 2009

Compliance, security and transparency in the cloud [new article]

Torre Mare Nostrum / Torre Gas Natural
Image by jsprhrmsn via Flickr

I’m still working my way through RSA coverage. This article, focused on a panel of cloud providers at RSA,  emerged an editor’s scalpel stripped to its core. Many questions remain — but that’s for later pieces.

Cloud computing providers debate compliance, security and transparency
30 Apr 2009 |

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Biometrics, privacy and compliance [new article]

biometric birthday
Image by striatic via Flickr

It was deeply satisfying to see the piece on biometrics I’ve been working on go live today. It turned out well, especially with the usual polish that my brilliant copy editor put on the prose, formatting and pull quote.

Biometric security data adds layer of privacy compliance risk
30 Apr 2009 |

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What is the ROI in Social Media? Humana, EMC, MarketSpace, Communispace at MassTLC

Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua...
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A forum organized by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council addresses one of the hottest questions in social media: how do you measure the return on investment (ROI) for these platform? The panel, part of a “Social Media Summit” hosted in Microsoft’s Cambridge offices, was moderated by Dave Vellante, co-founder of the Wikibon Project and featured Fred Cremo of Humana, Leslie Forde of Communispace, Chuck Hollis of EMC and Katrina Lowes of Market Bridge. The panel followed danah boyd’s keynote on “social media evolution and digital ethnography.”

Chuck Hollis kicked off the panel by defining the challenge of measuring this kind of interaction and usage. “How do you measure a good conversation? A good idea? You guys are measuring the wrong thing.”

Lowes, whose focus on results and specific case studies throughout, put ROI in the context of creating relationships with Medicare recipients. The campaigns she has been involved with have been razor-focused on measuring all of the interactions, including what people are interested in. She described a partnership with Eons to host and provide discussion groups. Using them, they watch what people are talking about. As people move towards trigger point for Medicare, they watch more closely. As Lowes noted, “you get one chance to get a 65 year old into Medicare. If you can get people interacting with you three times before 64, you become relevant. That will have an impact on conversion rates.” At present, they’re taking a research-based approach to measuring impact utilizing a control group for direct mail and comparing it to the conversion rates of different groups based on a mix of social media presentations.

After a while, the audience grew restive, looking for a measure of hard ROI that could be used to justify social media use. The panelists understand the issues, especially at a large enterprise:

“When executives ask about social media ROI, they’re asking about risk. Why should I change decades of experience?”-@ChuckHollis

Hollis noted, in following, that managing risk in social media is challenging but possible: “negativity is passion that needs to be channeled to constructive conversations,”

Forde also sees the challenges for engagement marketing. With consumers (and users in general on the public Internet, you simply don’t know what you’re going to hear. (Note the Skittles experience). As she noted “in opening dialogue, you get serendipity & surprises.” For instance, Forde cited a case study provided by Kraft. People on their discussion boards were talking about weight loss through portion control. “Why can’t you make a tiny bag?” Kraft listened — and in the first six month, Kraft’s “Calorie Pack” earned more than $100 million dollars of revenue. Forde noted that the marketing campaign and manufacturing cycle in a one third of the time.

Forde noted as well that “It’s amazing how self-policing communities can be.” In her experience, community managers rarely have to step in and intervene. It is necessary, on occasion, to send private emails or direct messages and pull aside members to assert norms. How do you manage risk? Hollis noted that “EMC had a governance board for each project. They met once — and never met again. We never had a problem – but the structure was there to address it if necessary.”

When queried about adoption of social media by enterprises, Lowes voiced a key concern: “Everyone is in love with the technology. They haven’t thought about maintaining the conversations.” In her view, a company needs to have someone passionate to engage people and answer questions. The issue that many organizations are having with community management and conversation curation lies in a widespread tendency to put lower-paid people customer service reps. It’s not about technology or governance. It’s about skills, behaviors and attitudes. In Forde’s view, it’s about “trust, transparency and demonstration of listening.” That means that organization need to allow customers to be heard, with the understanding that it’s crucial to nurturing a long term relationship. That means “building websites around their interests and preferences, raising awareness of a company as a trusted partner,” according to Cremo — not through pushing sales directly.

When I stepped out, however, I returned to a groundswell of pushback for the panel. Where are quantitative social media metrics? Hard ROI? “The problem with social media is that we’re all talking to each other,” as one audience member put it. He stated that the total social media spend is “0.4% of the total annnual advertising budget in Fortune 500.” (That number was cited as $250B). Where’s the real return?

In response, Katrina Lowes offered the most substantive response of the day. “Consider: I’ve got a video to put online or on broadcast. You need to calculate the advertising comparison impact between the two mediums… How much would I have had to pay to get this exposure in traditional media?” She suggest looking at click through rates (CTR) of a cluster demographic from a social media platform or campaign back to the launch page of your website. Measure “Media equivalent purchase value” and conversion traffic, in other words, when it comes to ROI.

Forde noted that it’s also key to consider cultural differences, especially overseas, particularly with respect to hierarchical processes. If decisions are made once a month by a small group, observe how that can be improved. For instance, asynchronous tools can help – a lot – with time to market for products or campaigns. She cited one client where a 52-week time to market was cut to 14 weeks.

Considerable concern still remained in the audience with regard to unleashing social media internally. “What about the sexting that’s going to happen in my company.” Executives are worried about risk.

They should be, as Lowes noted. By tracking & gathering people’s personally identifiable information (PII) at Humana, they’re liable under HIPAA. That’s a major responsibility. Given the longevity & permanency of data on these platforms, organizations must be mindful of measuring ROI in more than conversion; they need to consider the risks of the overall project.

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dana boyd on social media evolution and digital ethnography

facebook myspace orkut bebo linkedin
Image by .Andy Chang. via Flickr

dana boyd kicked off a discussion on the ROI of social media in Cambridge with a rapid-fire, necessarily abridged keynote on the history of social networks and their associated digital ethnographies in the United States. dana boyd presented on her research (available at A longer version of her presentation. “Living and Learning with Social Media,” is available online, though without the pretty pictures.

Her first point is that social media isn’t new, either as a concept or platform. It’s just part of a broader part of Web 2.0. She framed Web 2.0 for different audiences in the following ways:

  • For the tech crowd, Web 2.0 is “about a change in development and deployment; constant innovation; perpetual beta; open source/real time”
  • For the business crowd, “it’s about hope. Emerged from bust. Bubble 2.0 followed.”
  • For users: “It’s about organizing communication around friends, communities of interest. Boundaries became blurred.”

One clear distinction boyd made was between social network websites and social networking sites. The former are distinctly not about finding jobs; they’re about finding communities of interest. When rhetorically discussing how social network sites gained traction in the US, boyd cited the network effects created by these self-organizing communities of interest.

When she looked back at the history of these communities, she started with Friendster. (Paul Gillin noted as the first in “Why people love social networks“earlier this week). Friendster, as boyd noted, was designed to be online dating. The three original demographics that populated it were gay men, the “digerati,” and 20-something hipsters that cycle around the playa — aka “burners” at Burning Man.

The trouble Friendster’s leadership found is that “Fakesters started popping up.” These fake profiles, of bands, places or really anything that wasn’t an authentic person with a personal profile, were seen as polluting the community — at least by Friendster’s leadership. They tried to stop it and were faced by a  rebellion. The infusion of Fakesters was followed by another wave: indie rock bands that wanted to connect with fan. Both, in boyd’s words,’ fueled the ire of Friendster and were encouraged to leave. And, in quick order, the early adopters left, moving to or, in the case of those musicians, to Myspace.

Facebook’s introduction followed soon there after, growing meteorically since then, alongside of MySpace. As Boyd noted, however, along with that growth came a series of “digital panics” over culture and risk as embodied in these social networks.

The assumption tended to be that MySpace was about social deviance and sexual meetups, an image that was fueled by sensational reports of sexual predators and exploited teends in the media. Part of this was a division of between Facebook and MySpace in the US that boyd had famously written about in “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace” and her subsequent response. Boyd’s dissertation, “Taken out of context,” deals with precisely this issue.

The castes and tribes called out aesthetic differences between the two massive social networks but, as boyd pointed out this was about class. As played out in media, this lens shaped how we understood them, though the websites were functionally and practically quite similar.

For those look for ways looking for ways, to measure the utility or effectives of social networks, Zephoria suggests measuring network density. Look at the activity of clusters. Look at stickiness. If someone is using it but none of his or her friends are, they aren’t likely to stick around. Look for way to measure the health of the community – not just individuals.

When discussing the differences betwen adults and teens, boyd sees fundamentally different cultural, socioeconomic and power structures in play. Teen conversations can look inane from the outside — at best. boyd suggests thinking of them as hallway conversations, part of the process of “digital social grooming.” As she notes, you can have isolated kids in the corner offline too. Wall posts on Facebook are, in her eyes, simply forms of ritualistic hallway talk.

As knowledge workers joined Facebook, they started hanging out with friends — but what they did there was fundamentally different than the teens. Adult are much more likely to create status messages that broadcast outwards, while their “About me” sections are basically resumes, rarely offering up to date bits. Teens are more likely to include what they want friends to know about now.

boyd also noted they way that social media is shifting, including the relevant demographic. The median age of Twitter, for instance, is 31 and shifting higher. Teens aren’t engaging with the site at all. As boyd wryly noted, “for some reason, it’s more the Demi Moore” crowd.

Why? It may be an issue of power, which teens generally don’t have with respect to US society, especially with respect to building digital tools themselves. All of us care about how searchable we are, particularly with respect to the about people who have power searching for data, like law enforcement, potential bosses or academic institutions. We haven’t always been searchable, a reality that boyd put a geeky spin on when she noted that “Mom would have loved to be able to write “grep” or “find” to track me down as a kid.”

Virtual worlds didn’t escape notice. When asked about how social network mixed, boyd first refined the question: “anything that allows us to create social space w/avatars” vs 3D immersive online environments. She noted that teenagers aren’t using Second Life but are using console or online gaming environments to escape and have fun. Such world necessarily require real-time synchronous interaction, which is quite powerful for those who can get online at the same time to play, say, World of Warcraft.

Given that mobile phones are still the number one way to get online, however, there are inherent limits. (That could change if WoW really does work well on the iPhone). Virtual worlds therefore require “dumbing down” or different access patterns. And, in fact, boyd said that “70% of teenagers share the password for their social networking sites with their friends” so that their virtual identities could be curated by others. For the security-minded, this is of course anathema, but for a teenage member of a digital tribe, this is apparently close to the norm.

boyd talked about other cultural differences that vary by country and platform.  Cyworld, for instance, a social network in Asia, is shared family experience. She notes that micropayments are working in Cyworld, sometimes in unexpected ways. “You can buy poop on a friend’s profile, which they then have to pay to clean up.” When she noted that she would “like to see that on LinkedIn,” the audience enjoyed a chuckle. More seriously, however, she observed that as long as teenagers are part of an “oppressed demographic” in the US, our social networks won’t be like Asia. The US market is just beginning to get “all you can eat text messaging plans.” She suggested that the audience “consider the weirdness of someone else having to PAY to receive your message” and the worst cases where cyberbullies blasts someone w/txts, incurring costs.

In closing, boyd noted that social networks and social media in general are here to stay.

As we all create our digital identities, teens and adults alike are aware of the reality of “invisible audiences” that require us to adjust our projections to those who might see us. Once of the central challenges of social media use is how we adjust in the absence of social cues when the rules are still a moving target. The numerous firings that have now occurred after poorly-considered status updates bear witness to this reality. Firing is relatively minor compared to consequences elsewhere, as boyd noted in the the example of journalists in China. They write at two different levels to escape the censors to convey information.

There is now a massive blurring of public and private spheres. boyd doesn’t see privacy as dead — “it’s just very, very, very confused right now.”

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Notes and Tweets from the TechTarget ROI Summit at #TTGTSummit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

Marilou Barsam at the TechTarget Online ROI Summit

The week before last, before I went off to San Francisco to be immersed in security, compliance and cloud computing at the RSA Conference, I was lucky to be present at TechTarget‘s annual ROI Summit. The event, held in Newton, Mass., showcases the best research, advice and case studies from TechTarget’s online marketing efforts. I attended at the invitation of Dave Bailey, an estimable director of corporate marketing at TechTarget, sitting in on his panel with Sean Brooks on the ROI of Social Media.

Before that session, however, I was privy to a full slate of presentations and findings in the main ballroom. The following post is a reflection of the “best of the back channel,” as represented by posts (so-called “tweets”) to Twitter from attendees and TechTarget staff on site. The hashtag for the event was #TTGTSummit, as you can see if you visit and search for it. Tweets are presented in chronological format here, as opposed to the most recent additions you’ll find in the links above.

Given the 140 character limit to each post, there is naturally a need to condense the insight and add context and resources with hyperlinks or other usernames. In aggregate, however, this conversation provides some useful insight into the state of online marketing, as practiced by one of the leaders in the space. I enjoyed the opportunity to “micro-report” on it using my personal account @digiphile.

You can read Marilou Barsam’s “Takeaways from the TechTarget 2009 East Online ROI Summit” at “My Educated Guess.’

Introductions & Keynote from Greg Strakosch

digiphile: The TechTarget Online #ROI Summit is getting rolling here. Follow the #TTGTSummit hashtag. More info:

digiphile: Glad to find @RandyKahle @GSasha @AqaMarketing @Cathie_Briggett @rsk1060 @ESalerno here. Consider using #TTGTSummit & following @ITAgenda

digiphile: My CEO is up at the #TTGTSummit. Enterprise IT pros researching at the same activity level during this #recession, despite budget tightening

digiphile: Over 60 websites in the TechTarget network as of April 2009. In aggregate, that’s the largest audience of IT pros on the Web. 

digiphile: Barsam introduced the concept of the “hyperactive lead” at the #TTGTSummit | My take: IT pros consume media like bears eat blueberries.

digiphile: An IT pro here at the #TTGTSummit describes himself as an “informavore” – always foraging for information. I share that hyperactivity.

Online Marketing Case Studies

InboundMarketer: At TechTget Online ROI Summit (#TTGTSummit) talking abt nurturing in 2 ways-inside ur environment & outside of it, both need 2 b synergistic

digiphile: Panel on #OnlineMarketing drives home importance of integrated media & customized, thoughtful messages. Many touchpoints. 

digiphile: The # of tools #OnlineMarketers have now is unprecedented. Virtual trade shows, videocasts, social media, data/Web analytics 

digiphile: Detailed case studies of how #OnlineMarketers use automated CRM tools/dashboards to gather & track leads at the #TTGTSummit | Analytics key.

digiphile: PRT @InboundMarketer Tableau software uses Eloqua; “great 4 a small co,” uses CRM ( 4 visual scoring w/dashboards 

Andy Briney’s Presentation on trends for CIO spending

cappypopp: IT in ’00s: ‘webify’ servers, apps, infrastructure. Bandwidth leasing, compliance. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Online ROI Summit #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: To succeed IT is going to need to rejustify its role in the business #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Only 29% of companies to grow their IT budgets in ’09 | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Andy outlining major IT trends for 2009 : Consolidation (virtualization, outsourcing w/cloud/SaaS) & compliance. >regs coming |

cappypopp: 96% of co.’s (of 500) believe that IT’s role in compliance hugely important; 70% of IT pros surveyed will focus on it in ’09 

digiphile: What’s the #1 IT spend area in 2009? According to Briney @ #TTGTSummit, it’s disaster recovery. Hurricanes had an impact on banks/insurance.

cappypopp: What is ‘business intelligence?’ Getting more and better data faster. | #ttgtsummit

ITCompliance: PRT @cappypopp 96% of Fortune500 co’s believe IT’s role in compliance hugely imptnt; 70% IT pros surveyed will focus on it in 09 

ITCompliance: RT @ITAgenda Major recession-proof areas of IT spending: Business Intelligence/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation

digiphile: RT @CappyPopp “Consolidation, compliance, DR, & BI are not “opportunities” for IT: they are imperatives” -Andy Briney 

InboundMarketer: – Techtarget Online ROI Summit #TTGTSummit main session room

ITCompliance: Andy Briney gave special note at the #TTGTSummit. USGov/EU regs have made “IT” a crucial issue for #2009.

cappypopp: IT marketers: target proj. teams, not all stakeholders, and audience closest to your product or pain. Use independent content | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Good advice for #OnlineMarketers: Focus on unique value prop, stick to the truth, get specific, speak prospect’s lingo -Briney 

Tedesign: RT @ITAgenda: There are 4 major recession-proof areas of IT spending – BI/BPM, Compliance, Disaster Recovery, Consolidation #TTGTSummit

CIO Panel

Note: Linda Tucci wrote about this panel at, publishing “In Great Recession of 2009, three CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” the next day.

digiphile: At a #TTGTSummit #CIO panel. Jay Leader, iRobot’s CIO here. Noted Roomba & IED detection. Also: a gutter cleaning robot

digiphile: CIOs for TAC Worldwide ( & PlumChoice ( also presenting on #TTGTSummit #CIO breakout panel.

cappypopp:#CIO panel #ttgtsummit: focus on speed and resilience. Keep up w/ speed of business.

digiphile: @cappypopp iRobot #CIO kept IT budget flat in 2009? Focus on managing IT as a business is key for all orgs, profitable or not.

ITCompliance: “SOX is the magic word that gets it past the CFO.” #CIOs on #TTGTSummit panel note poetic license in GRC software purchasing.

ITCompliance: A #CIO at the #TTGTSummit noted necessity of “J-SOX” #compliance at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Wikipedia def:

digiphile: iRobot #CIO places 2009 focus not on tools (has BI & ERP) but on getting better use from them & optimizing data/biz processes | #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Top drivers for #virtualization for these CIOs are consolidation & DR. Reduce # of servers, contain costs, provision faster. 

digiphile: Watching @ltucci take notes on today’s #CIO panel. Her last post shed light on CISO risk mngmt mind-set:

digiphile: Key Q for a #CIO: What can we *do* with it? What business problem does it solve? Applies to SOA, Twitter, UC, you name it. 

digiphile: “It’s not the solution, it’s the box that goes with it. Support, implementation costs, configuration, etc.”-Jay Leader, #CIO

cappypopp: iRobot #CIO Jay Leader: never vets technical products, done lower in hierarchy. He does business eval: does it solve a problem? #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: Very hard to access #CIO s to sell to them. Panelists almost never talk to vendors. If they do you better KNOW your product. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: ‘Sell your product in a way that tells me how it solves MY problem. Understand my business. No webinars!’ #CIO panel #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “A ‘#green data center’ only matters to a #CIO consuming megawatts of energy or dealing w/colocation. I’m a capitalist.” 

JeanSFleming: RT @digiphile: “Understand who I am & express your solution to me in a way that shows me how to address a problem.” 

cappypopp: #CIO Jay Leader (iRobot): DONT CARE a/b green tech. I’m a captalist. Green tech == no $ for us. Solves no problem in my space. #ttgtsummit

rotkapchen: @digiphile Or “don’t waste my time” Problem: High cost to ALL of that — figuring it out. Must be mutual discovery. #CIO

digiphile: @rotkapchen I agree. There IS a high cost to figuring out how to market to an enterprise #CIO. First step: Understanding IT.

Social Media ROI Session

cappypopp: #ttgtsummit Measuring #ROI of social media panel with @seanbrooks @digiphile David Bailey. Waiting for the @radian6 mention. :)

digiphile: Panel on #SocialMedia ROI starting at #TTGTSummit. @SeanMBrooks up. Nearly every hand went up when asked who uses SM. ~75% on Twitter now.

digiphile: Case study in #socialmedia success from the audience. #Intuit promoted a webinar w/Twitter, blogged it, engaged influencers.

cappypopp: Amazing difference in one year of audience survey of %age that use social media. Easily 75% of hands up. Last year: maybe 20%. #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Uses of #socialmedia from @SeanRBrooks: Focus groups, new distribution channels, feedback, real-time product/company tracking 

digiphile: Quick hits on corporate #socialmedia case studies getting ROI on Twitter from @SeanRBrooks: @CAInfraMan @NetBackup

cappypopp: ‘take a breath, learn how to respond.’-@SeanRBrooks Re: #Twitter | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: “Instant feedback using Twitter or other #socialmedia platforms is easy & quite powerful.”-@SeanRBrooks. Example: Try @TwtPoll | #TTGTSummidigiphile: “Empower your employees to participate in #socialmedia. They’re already doing it.”-@SeanRBrooks on suggesting best practices. | 
digiphile: Other #socialmedia best practices: Strategy 1st, don’t sell, offer help, make it P2P, allow criticism, accept feedback, have fun 

cappypopp: ‘sitting quietly and letting comments sit’ not a great idea. #Socialmedia is 2-way – @seanrbrooks | #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Measuring success? @SeanRBrooks suggests #socialmedia metrics like ROMO (return on marketing objective) vs ROI. RTs/links. 

digiphile: Suggested #socialmedia tracking tools from @CappyPopp: | http://tweetgrid |

digiphile: Effects of #socialmedia? @SeanRBrooks asks: “How big is your reach? Traffic benefits? Happier customers? ‘Influencers’ linking?” 

cappypopp: Serena Software #socialmedia campaign case study – generated 14x avg CTR on #Facebook. #ttgtsummit

cappypopp: #Norton brand advocates: #Symantec built 15k customer advocates using #socialmedia and raised their Amazon ratings accordingly #ttgtsummit

digiphile: Dave Bailey presenting on thought leadership in #SocialMedia. Start w/strategy, objective & audience. Then choose tools. 

digiphile: Bailey showed a detailed media plan summarizing a Dell campaign at @ITKE that integrated multiple #socialmedia components. 

digiphile: Next #socialmedia case study @ #TTGTSummit: #IBM‘s B2B play across multiple platforms: @MrFong |

digiphile: Remember blogs? Dell does. Ideastorm blog went from “worst to first” (-@JeffJarvis). -27% negative blog posts. =$100M in ads? 

digiphile: More on measuring #socialmedia: Reach, Traffic, Leads, Interaction. Watch subscription #s, CTR, PVs, RTs/@replies & comments.

Google/TechTarget Research

digiphile: Final session at #TTGTSummit features research from the @Google/@TechTarget Roadshow: | #Search behaviors of IT buyers.

digiphile: Next from @Google #search? Perhaps: concept clustering, filtering w/in results, categorization by page type, on-hover preview 

IBM_ECM: RT @digiphile: This post from @ChrisBrogan is for those in #SocialMedia session wondering where to start:

Closing Notes

InboundMarketer: Create a separate remessaging strategy based on content consumption & velocity of consumption – good advice, #ttgtsummit

ITAgenda: Online media complexity creates opportunity – examine metrics carefully and see how media plan improves SEM/SEO strategy #TTGTSummit

digiphile: Closing notes at the #TTGTSummit from co-founder Don Hawk: “Complexity creates competitive advantage.” Execution matters — & it’s not easy.

cappypopp: Thanks to all at TechTarget Online ROI Summit. Great job. #ttgtsummit

rsk1060: @jhurwitz shared some great ideas about articulating new concepts to IT professionals at #TTGTSummit – thank you!

rsk1060: Peter Varhol’s session at #TTGTSummit provided interesting research information indicating the #SOA is, in fact, not dead.

LeahRosin: Article on #TTGTSummit #CIO Panel: “In the #Recession of 2009, 3 CIOs do more with flat IT budgets” (HT @digiphile)

digiphile: “Content is still king in IT marketing.” @BennettStrategy, on @TechTarget/@Google research: | #TTGTSummit | HT @MarkMartel

ITAgenda: Marilou Barsam’s key technology marketing takeaways and wrap-up from the #TTGTSummit on My Educated Guess blog

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“The challenges of a state CIO” [New podcast]

I was happy to find the podcast  I recorded with Anne Marguiles at the top of tonight. The conversation I had with the Commonwealth’s CIO is captured in two portions at “The challenges of a state CIO.” Marguiles was an engaging interview and offered insight on a wide variety of technological challenges and opportunities that exist in 2009 for government agencies and their leaders.

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First scoop: “ICE Act would restructure cybersecurity rule, create White House post”

Image by Boyce Duprey via Flickr

After I caught wind of a bill that was going to be introduced by Senator Karper this week during RSA, I followed up on the information I saw presented there by Erik Hopkins and Alan Paller. I reported on its introduction Monday night, posting “ICE Act would restructure cybersecurity rule, create White House post” before any other news organization had covered the story.

In short order, Jolie O’Dell blogged about it at ReadWriteWeb (Proposed Act Would Create National Cyber Security Office).

Half an hour after that, Brian Krebs picked it up at the Washington Post (Proposal Would Shore Up Govt. Cyber Defenses).

He wrote a great story — but I had it first, which in of itself is a first.

It’s good to get a scoop. Terrific day.

IT Business Edge picked up the story from RWW (Legislation Proposes National Cyber Security Office) and quoted me.

Dennis Fisher blogged about it at Threatpost: (New ICE bill would overhaul federal cybersecurity).

As he noted, there was a hearing today morning on the bill in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. You can watch the archived webcast here.

This draft of the Ice Bill (PDF) is now available for download and review from

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Twitter, Google, Meetup, AT&T and Howcast go to Iraq for IraqTech

Early this morning, tweets became coming in from Baghdad from @Jack Dorsey. Here’s the picture of Jack that he tweeted on a C-130, well-equipped in body armor.

@Jack in flak

@Jack in flak

The snap was taken by Scott @Heif, Chief Organizer at Jack and Scott are part of a small delegation of tech executives that were invited to visit Iraq by Representatives from Google, Meetup, AT&T, Howcast and other tech companies will be spending the week in Baghdad. The delegation also includes JasonLiebman, (Co-founder and CEO of Howcast Media), Richard Robbins (rar624) (Director, Social Innovation at AT&T).

You can follow their trip and discussion by searching for the hashtag #IraqTech on Twitter and view their photostream on Flickr. It’s worth searching for #IraqTech at at too, a new real-time search engine for Twitter. A search there show results aggregated from both of those streams.

Dorsey, is the founder and chairman of Twitter, the red hot tech company whose wildly popular microblogging social network has become the virtual water cooler of the moment. @Oprah joined Twitter on Friday. 1.5 million more people have joined since, urged on by Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk), who raced CNN (@CNNBrk) and Larry King to be the first Twitter accounts to gain one million followers.

@Jack tweeted that a press release will be coming later today that will explain more about the goals of the delegation…

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When shouldn’t an organization use social media?

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

Facebook broke 200 million users this month. Wikipedia is one of the most well-known websites in the world. Blogs affect stock prices. NPR is all over podcasting. Celebrities talk about Twitter on late night TV. The POTUS even used Twitter to announce he’d be taking questions for his livestreamed townhall at the White House with Google Moderator and blogged about it. Heck, President Barack Obama’s Open Government Directive will encourage Federal agencies to tweet and use other social media tools to achieve greater transparency.

Paul Gillin made some excellent points in a recent BtoB Magazine article, “When to avoid social media,” that I think Sarah Peres undersells in her recent post on ReadWriteWeb, When NOT to use Social Media, without perhaps giving full weight to his experiences talking to large enterprises about how they use technology.

I find Gillin’s last point most compelling, given that privacy and regulatory concerns that pertain to social media are an area I’m paying close attention to right now — and not just because I work at a public company myself:

Privacy and regulatory concerns. While a few health care companies have started blogs and social networks, most are proceeding with justifiable caution. If you’re in an industry where people can go to jail for what they say in public, you should be careful. Much as I hate to say it, you should probably get the lawyers closely involved.

Most large enterprises and governmental agencies have protected, proprietary or personally identifiable information that they can face considerable liability for disclosing or failing to protect against a data breach.

In those environments — and let’s be clear here, we’re not talking about a “handful of examples,” given the proportion of the economy constituted by big business, government, law and healthcare — jumping in to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other public-facing social media tools may hold much more risk than reward if it’s not done carefully. For attorneys, for instance, individual features like “Recommendations” on LinkedIn may pose ethical issues. Paul’s right; if such an organization doesn’t have a strategic vision or buy-in from upper management, they’re likely better off staying out of actively — and be clear with staff that that is the expectation for them as well. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be doing active brand management; just that posting publicly may not be optimal.

All of this pertains to social media as it exists on the public Internet. Once the various tools, including blogs, wikis and microblogging platforms, move behind the firewall, however, many of the issues posed by corporate communications and data leaks are addressed. That is, if the software is secured like rest of the enterprise’s systems. Adoption of social media tools in the form of collaborative social software at enterprises, or “Enterprise 2.0,” provides an entirely different value proposition and list of considerations that I’ll leave to folks like Professor McAfee to pose. I would note that if the CIA could create, extend and maintain an Intellipedia, there’s hope for even the most hidebound, hierarchical organizations to follow suit.

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Luck of the Draw: Opening Day at Fenway

Some days are just meant to be. I dropped by my bank in Roslindale after work and then made a beeline for Fenway for Opening Day. I got there just as Beckett finished the sixth, managed to find a standing room only seat and slipped into the ballpark.


I enjoyed my Guinness and the last three innings of a 5-3 Red Sox win over the Rays. The reaction Papelbon received as he jogged out to close the 9th, Dropkick Murphy’s blaring in the background is one I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Perfect way to close the evening.

Papelbon delivers

Papelbon delivers

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