Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have really taken off in the past five years or so. What sets these latest destinations apart from online forums of the past, however, is how quickly they were adopted by the business community. While seemingly opportunistic, leveraging the online sites for doing business is actually very beneficial to both vendors and customers. Think about it. The immediacy and candor of the informal communication on social media benefits both vendors and customers because it encourages ongoing communications.
In these settings, like most situations, eventually certain individuals stand out as knowledge leaders. Now, with the new EMC Elect, there is a formal program to recognize these leaders and empower them to be more effective. This community-driven, peer-nominated recognition program acknowledges the distinguished contributions of customers, partners, and EMC employees. Additionally, it bestows upon them privileges that involve them even more in the course of EMC technology development and delivery. Launched with a small group in November 2012, this program is about to go out more broadly.
What is EMC Elect?
EMC Elect is a community-driven recognition program designed to award individuals who have invested time and engaged with the EMC community. These individuals are contributing to the EMC community where they provide thought-leadership in areas such as storage management, data center management, cloud computing, virtualization, and big data. Members are determined by peer nomination for their social engagement during the previous calendar year.
When you read the program documents, you will see it positioned as an awards program, which it is in part. In addition to recognition, however, getting elected to the program opens up doors for participants. Think of it as receiving a personal pass to a big candy store; in this case, a technology store ranked 139 in the FORTUNE 500.
What is the objective?
The objective is simply to deepen the engagement with thought-leaders in the EMC community and scale the dialog by empowering these acknowledged leaders. Similar to the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) program and VMware vExpert program, the EMC Elect program intends to achieve the coveted status of these earlier programs. What will help it reach this level are the people.
The EMC Elect program began with ten initial members known for their passion, influence, knowledge, and sense of community. They have a large footprint across the EMC Community Network (ECN) and Twitter. Among these ten are people like Dave Henry whom I have known since I joined EMC over five years ago. Back then, Dave was our technical marketing liaison with VMware. Dave helped bridge the gap between virtualized compute and storage. Dave has seen all sides of the virtual data center. Imagine the wealth of information someone like Dave can bring to this new concept of the software-defined data center, which is really the next step in the further virtualization and automation of the data center.
Very Close Collaboration
How is it different?
What makes the EMC Elect program different from similar programs that preceded it is the state of online social activity. In the age of blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, conversations, especially in the technical community, have moved from conference rooms and chat rooms to online communities. Programs like EMC Elect knock down the barriers that have long separated vendors from customers, by extending the conversations to include other opportunities to exchange information. This program makes the business relationship more of a collaborative effort.
The Quid Pro Quo
What are the benefits?
The rewards for individuals participating in EMC Elect include connections directly to product teams through dedicated liaisons for insight into emerging technologies and input into developing products. Other benefits of the EMC Elect program include, but are not limited to:
- Priority access to product betas and roadmaps
- Private audiences with EMC technology leaders
- VIP treatment at top events like EMC World
- Personal liaison into EMC
- Private VIP community on the ECN
- Greater access to technical content
EMC benefits from this trusted connection with influencers in the EMC social ecosystem. Everybody benefits from better products.
How can someone get involved?
To become nominated, individuals need to be active in social media. That might seem obvious given the pervasiveness of social media activities but I see very knowledgeable and experienced people who still do not even attempt to participate in the social channels.
Below is a summary of the program requirements:
- Qualifications: Candidates qualify by being socially active and sharing their EMC knowledge and experiences with others. This could be online—answering questions on the EMC communities,—or it could be offline, for example, by helping to organize or speak at an EMC User Group. EMC Elect is awarded based on influence, scope, and quality of content.
- Nominations: For this inaugural year 2012, nominations were accepted November 15 – December 15, 2012. A similar process is anticipated for 2013. Qualified candidates can nominate themselves for the award or be nominated by their peers.
- Eligibility: EMC Elect can be customers, partners, or employees. Awards are to individuals, not companies. All members of the EMC social community are eligible, including EMC employees and members that contribute to the EMC brand that work for vendors who may in some areas compete with EMC. EMC reserves the right to limit access of anyone identified as a competitor or analyst.
- Selection: A judging panel comprised of the previous year’s EMC Elect will determine the award winners in future years based on an individual nominee’s contributions throughout the previous calendar year only. For example, EMC Elect 2013 members will be selected based on contributions from January 1 –December 31, 2012.
- Duration: Award winners earn the title EMC Elect and can use the logo and designation for one calendar year. Award winners may receive the award in following years, but renewal is not automatic.
For the complete list of the program requirements and more information, go to the EMC Elect program page on the EMC Community Network. The EMC Elect 2013 members will be announced there on Tuesday, January 15.
The EMC Elect program is just one way to put a spotlight on the phenomenon of communities as it pertains to EMC. EMC community members are encouraged to strive for EMC Elect status; it is a great way to expand ones social network and influence. Plus, it is fun! Equally important, though, is to participate. Be social!