What I learned at EMC World

You’ve all seen my coverage of EMC World both here and on twitter, so I won’t bother linking it again. What I wanted to write about here was how the trip was fundamentally different from any other company travel I’ve done, and what the changing face of EMC had to do with that.  My apologies to my EMC readers, who have already seen this content from me.

A responsibility to my co-workers

First off, the buildup to the event made it clear that there was a hungry audience inside of EMC looking for information about EMC World. I knew at least one person who was supposed to attend and who couldn’t, at the last moment. I knew of multiple people within RMSG who were going to be looking for news. I felt like I had a responsibility to keep my fellow employees up to date, to do it in a timely fashion, and to do it in a way that brought the event home to them.

The timely stuff I accomplished with Twitter. To make it more personal, I kept notes. I always take notes when I travel (for work or for fun) because it helps remind me of the little details later on. This time, the notes fueled blog posts both inside the firewall and outside, with the intent of keeping things real and personal for my fellow EMCers.  Instead of the notes forming the basis of a postmortem several days after the event which only a few people would read, they formed the structure of my blog posts which were fresh and timely (sort of … see below).

A new audience

I also knew that EMC was pushing Twitter as a way to distribute news to people at the conference (via the @EMCWorld account) as well as a way for people outside to follow the goings-on (via the #EMCWorld hashtag). So I could be sure that new faces would see my name if I could find things to tweet about. So I did.  I made a point to Twitter as often as I could and to combine the obligation above (timely info to my co-workers) with the opportunity here (finding a new audience). It kept me engaged and interested in everything going on, and it many times influenced my choices as to what I would do and how involved I would be in it.

Maybe I was guilty of too much information, but I wanted a mix of what was going on in my life along with the cold press-release style of “And here comes Tucci taking the stage” tweets. I liked how it came out.

As a side note, it’s very empowering to realize you’re one of a dozen or so people real-time covering an event of almost 10,000 people.

The guilt trips

Of course, Las Vegas is a town where if you are asleep, you’re doing something wrong. I stayed up late, a few times very late. My online time was limited and my best way to do anything was on-the-go. This meant my blog updates were not timely. I was writing every day, but not at predictable times, and not on things that had happened that day. I felt like I was letting my readers down, and shirking my duties. Never mind that my job was to deliver the hands-on sessions, and that everything else I was doing was of my own volition. The fact stands, I stood up and told the world to come find my posts, and I was delivering them slowly.

I also make it a rule not to carry my Blackberry with me 24/7. A couple of trips “out” I might have had the opportunity to Twitter about interesting events (like our dinner for 14 at Bellagio) but I had left my device charging in my hotel room. This is one of those “can’t have your cake and eat it too” scenarios. Can’t stay connected if you don’t want to, well, stay connected.

Falling behind

As I struggled to keep up with email, I watched as dozens of emails from our internal social media site got skipped over. I’m behind on blogs, I’m behind on new communities, I’m behind on discussions. I wasn’t able to stay involved. I just didn’t have time to keep up with everything.

It’s one thing to fall behind in your job. I expected that!  It’s another to also fall behind in the overall social community. For some reason, I wasn’t prepared for that.

Wanting better

What does this all boil down to? I want more, and I want the stuff I have to be better.

  • I want better mobile access to our internal site. I don’t know what I want, exactly, but I know I want more.
  • I need to set up my own blog for email posting, to make it easier to update with small posts on the run.
  • I felt like the Twitter support sort of dried up mid-conference (even though individual Twitterers were quite active).  That could be improved.
  • Future events like this, I need to budget time out of busy schedules for online activities.
  • Having an employee intranet lounge where we could access our intranet in a physically secure location would have been awesome.
  • Charging mobile devices is vital. Lose power, lose connectivity, and everybody loses out, not just you.