How Web 2.0 is the OSS Industry?

What your peers are doing on the web…

I’ve been blogging for just ten months. Facebooking for a couple of years. Twittering, well, I’m still working out why.

I am not the lone late-adopter in this industry. Most people in the OSS industry are late adopters of commercial or professional ‘social’ networking.

For example, if you’re one of the six OSS professional who Twitter, check out the #BSSOSS hash tag. There’s stuff there, but its no cacophony of tweets.

It is starting to pick up though.

Start-ups and small consultancies are using blogs, in particular, to drive traffic and openly discuss the issues they help solve.

Large OSS/BSS organizations are starting to use blogs, where once webcasts would have been used, to create ‘thought leadership’, and to jack up their PR.

Thinking about being more socially-networked for business purposes? Consider some of these approaches…

Big Business Blogs

Adan Pope, Telcordia chief strategy officer, has become a guest blogger on the magazine-style B/OSS Insider blog. Check out Adan’s first blog here. He eases himself in to this new role with a bit of gentle positivity. I expect plenty of thought leadership and slightly controversial opinions in the future though.

I also here that Amdocs is setting up an ‘elite’ blog site, bringing together their most brilliant minds. Haven’t seen it yet, but when it’s out there I’m sure I’ll comment.

Amdocs have a few other outlets like marketing blogs, podcasts and micro-sites. They are one of the few big OSS companies actively Twittering, which is great, because their tweets actually add value by being a single source for update alerts across all their news streams.

Start-Up Blogs

Celona. Doing 21st Century start-up right! Great website, useful content, and a blog that’s as good a source of data migration thinking as any out there.

Celona also make good use of guest-blogging to promote their messages, and drive traffic to related articles. Check out Tony Sceales, Celona CTO, posting about your favorite blog, OSS Line, on the TMF data migration blog.

RiverMuse are, if you can’t guess from the name, a network fault/alarm/event management start-up. So early stage are they, that they don’t really have much of a website. Instead, they generate interest through occasional updates and debate on their simple blog. Worth a look, especially over the next few weeks I believe…

Consultant and Enthusiast Blogs

This is where OSS Line lives. I use it to stay in touch with the industry, build network, generate traffic to my consultancy propositions, build an online professional brand, e.t.c.

MicroSperience, the blog of the TeleSperience guys, is a favorite of mine. It has regular updates and probably the most interesting articles of all my OSS related RSS streams. TeleSperience are Teresa Cottam and Darran Clemants, independent analysts. They draw attention with articles and useful tools, like the recently added Twitter directories, and in doing so build a philosophy, methodology and brand.

Telco 2.0, consultancy (as STL) branded as a new paradigm in telco business models. They have a though leadership blog which doesn’t just output PR, unlike larger organization blogs typically do. Indeed, the Telco 2.0 blog is a good source of news on business, regulation, transformation and plain old cool stuff. None the less, its primary purpose is in supporting and proving the concepts of the Telco 2.0 business model, and it does this well.

Start Getting Social

It’s easy to start blogging, tweeting and Facebooking.

It’s not easy to get it right and show a return on your invested time.

Learn from the examples above, and if you think it might help your business, dip your toe in. Guest blogging is an excellent first step. Many blogs welcome guest writers (OSS Line included) who can offer something other than their company PR.

Running a blog or Twitter account is a significant investment of your time. Consider who will contribute, how often posts are expected, what topics are valid, how reader comments will be moderated, e.t.c. Get it right from the outset or, like any poorly conceived web site, your audience will look once and never return.

Next, invest more time in the rest of the industry’s social networks. Commenting, referencing, and responding are essential to build up connections, SEO and site traffic.

And finally, loosen up. Your social network should not be constrained by your official corporate writing style. Show your personality. Let the readers in to your business culture. Create some sort of a connection between individuals.

Need advice and support in defining and setting up your company’s OSS/BSS social networking strategy? Drop me a line!