Social Connections – The show must go on!

Bright Future

Social Connections logo - cropped tight

In the last week several members of the Social Connections team attended Engage conference in Ghent, Belgium. It was a great event and I recommend everybody to visit it next year. Many of us love the way Theo Heselmans runs this event and Engage always provides us with inspiration on how to improve our own conferences. By the way, Engage is sponsoring our event in Boston and we greatly value their support.

The reason for this post is that members of our team received a lot of questions in Ghent regarding the future of Social Connections after Stuart’s recent career move. Though this user group is his baby and his involvement is now somewhat reduced (he won’t be in Boston, for example), we want to make clear that Stuart is still with the Social Connections team, and we continue to plan future activities and events.

The team will cover the future plans in more detail at the Boston event, but we want to make a few statements earlier, to avoid concerns and rumours:

  • The event in Boston is definitely NOT the finale! We are already planning and working on the Social Connections 9 event in Western Europe this autumn. As usual, we will announce the exact date and location during our closing session in Boston.
  • The group remains IBM-centric and focused on IBM Connections and related topics, as it always has been.
  • On the other hand, we want to widen our scope to include more speakers from ‘outside the bubble’, presenting on generic topics like collaboration strategy, social business adoption, digital transformation, the future of work, and so on. Again, there is no big change, the talks on these topics started many events ago.
  • We have already started to look for possible venues for Social Connections 10 in 1H16.  Any suggestions, recommendations or offers are welcome! 🙂

The world of social collaboration continues to evolve and the team are delighted that Social Connections has became a significant event in the conference calendar (the only semi-annual multi-continental user group we’re aware of!).

Whilst the Boston event is somewhat limited by the venue’s capacity, it has still seen new peaks reached for numbers of sponsors, sessions, speakers and even IBM Champions in attendance. In addition, it has seen even closer collaboration with IBM itself, with previously unimaginable access to product managers, designers and development lab staff.

The team are happy to continue to share in discussions about the future direction of this user group – we greatly value the input of our long-term sponsors and speakers, and of course we try to listen to all members of this great community. However, the team are also very confident that our own strategy and direction means that the future of the Social Connections user group is both bright and assured!

We can’t wait to see you in Boston!



By Social Connections

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.