Intel Forming “The Insiders” Social Media Advisory Team

In the spirit of risk-taking, we’re facing the fact that we need advice from people who are doing great things in the quickly advancing area of social media…so we’ve pulled together The Insiders. This social media advisory board will be giving their take on evolving the newly revamped Intel.com Web site — i.e. “What’s Inside You” — and Intel’s increased focus on consumers.

This group includes many new friends and some long time acquaintances. They gathered together on Tuesday to form and create the framework for the Intel Insider advisory board.

Our idea was to reach out to a diverse group of social media activists with three goals in mind:

occasionally feature their work or opinions as part of our What’s Inside effort

see whether any are interested in writing about Intel’s products or are following Intel’s social media efforts on their own (note: this is not a requirement)

seek feedback on our social media efforts, upcoming product plans, roadmaps…

This last item is important, but not an end-all. We are trying to monitor and better listen to opinions on all the areas a company like Intel touches with its 80K+ employees in 300 countries.

Our first meeting yesterday was fascinating and encouraging. We agreed to follow WOMMA guidelines on disclosures. We hopefully went out of our way to encourage constructive criticism, and the exchanging of ideas and insights. The Insiders were engaging as they talked about what other companies are doing in social media, gave their take on APs recent blogger attribution brush up and shared thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.

One thing we didn’t discuss was length of service, and whether or not to expand the group. Should the board remain at its current size or grow by 1, 10, 100 or higher if there is interest? We’ll let The Insiders and our own resources determine next steps later this year. For now, we will keep this at about 10 and have The Insiders help has make changes when and if the time is right.

Here’s who came to the first meeting:

Cathy Brooks, Other Than That blog and Seesmic

Justine Ezarik, iJustine and her blog Tasty Blog Snack

Tom Foremski, SiliconValleyWatcher (my team has sponsors the dynamic widget on his site for over two years)

Frank Gruber, Somewhat Frank

J.D. Lasica, Darknet

Sarah Austin, Pop17

Christian Perry, Snap Summit

* Brian Solis, PR 2.0 and Bub.blicio.us

There are others who have accepted our invitation, like Irena Slutsky of GeekTV and Peter Cashmore of Mashable. (UPDATE: I failed to include Justin Kan from JustinTV).

We agreed to invite one another to events and to share information, including some undisclosed Intel information at times when they’d agree to a non-disclosure agreement. And my team, the Global Communication Group, offered to provide an occasional prototype device to test out if and when the opportunities arise.

The Intel team did ask that if they ever do talk about Intel or any special treatment that there be transparency and acknowledgment.

No compensation will be provided, but the group agreed that if any gifts or test product loans were exchanged, each Intel Insider would clearly and truthfully describe the situation. The first product each will receive is a MacBook Air, which reflects stunning design in part due to Intel’s engineers and designers. Taking a concept from our R&D team, our mobile group shrunk the processor, chipset and related ‘board’ about 60 percent in order to get that laptop so thin, yet offer great performance and battery life. And they did it in about a year.

Cathy Brooks shared live video recording of a Q&A with Intel’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sean Maloney, who came in and talked about Intel hard and fast move of advertising dollars away from broadcast and towards online.

Tom Foremski describes the impact of Intel move online and he outlines the direction for the Intel Insiders. Here are some signature style of photos by Brian Solis, a fun photo posted by iJustine and even some photos from the Intel Museum tour by Somewhat Frank Gruber.

We’ll continue introducing The Insiders to our social media posse, the growing group of Intel employees who are passionate and always sharing their knowledge generously. It was Intel Software Network‘s Josh Bancroft who prompted me to write this post!

Do you think this type of program might help companies like Intel? What are the potential benefits or things to avoid? Please let me know your thoughts.

If you’re curious, please follow the Intel Insiders on Twitter. In the comments section below, we”ll add links to other items that came from the first meeting.

18 Responses to Intel Forming “The Insiders” Social Media Advisory Team

  1. jacob morgan says:

    perhaps you should hire someone on the web side to make sure that the links you post work :)
    brian solis photos/ijustine = 404 error
    some seo wouldn’t hurt you guys either :)
    interesting idea with the insiders, some smart folks you have there, hope it works out for you.
    jacob

  2. Great post. Thanks, Ken! :-) This is a great idea, and awesome things are going to come from it. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!
    Will there be opportunity for people inside Intel (employees) to be part of this conversation? You know, connect the people inside Fort Business to the people in the market outside? I’d love to participate – many of the people you mentioned are my friends, and I’d love the chance to get to know them ALL better, and let them know some of the cool stuff we’re working on in my little part of Intel. I think it’s worth consideration, to see how to expand the program to include Intel folks in equal part to the external ones.
    And I’m not just saying that because I want a MacBook Air. Even though I DESPERATELY want a MacBook Air. ;-)

  3. Ken Kaplan says:

    Leif — thanks for the encouragement & sorry for getting you comment posted a little late.
    Jacob — errors corrected, thanks!
    Josh — Moving ahead, we’ll learn what the advisers are interested in and what they would like to do. We can certainly invite them to places where you and other Intel teams are going, like the Intel Developer Forum in August, San Francisco. We might even try planning some other informal get togethers, all on their terms.
    The MacBook Air is a sweet gift that the advisers can choose to take or not. This is not at all something for them to review. It is something instead of financial compensation, something they can try and return, keep for themselves of “re-gift.” Each adviser decides and clearly states appropriately if they ever do cover something related to Intel.
    If I recall, just about everyone in the room had a MacBook Pros, except for Brian Solis, who had a nifty little black Sony with cool keyboard and built in camera above the small screen. Everyone was fully engaged in discussion and seamlessly Twittering, blogging, fixing photos….

  4. I find your approach interesting and I am sure that the advisory board’s input will help you to continue blazing down the social media trail.
    What I am surprised about is that apparently your adv. board is quite U.S.-centric. Will it take into consideration what the rest of the world does.
    Considering that Intel is a multinational, should cultural matters not be considered?
    Sensible metrics requires a look at the mediating and moderating variables as discussed here: http://commetrics.com/?p=34
    Congratulations for putting your adv. board in place.

  5. Johny Ho says:

    Also like to congratulate Intel’s efforts in this direction. I started notice these changes through the coverage of the Intel ISEF, onto how it started to use a lot more online resources.
    I wonder how this will start to affect local Intel branches in different countries.

  6. Ken Kaplan says:

    Johny,
    Very cool that you caught some of the action we were sharing from the Intel Science and Engineering Fair last month. That was fun — even on just a few hours of sleep each night! Great energy there. Talking with many of the high school scientists there I realized this generation is light years ahead of my GenX! Promising!!
    The Insider efforts are something we hope to learn a lot from, and like so many activities inside Intel…we will work to share BKMs (Best Known Methods) throughout the company. No set plans for expansion just yet. For now, we’re hoping to learn from the small group of advisers and collaborate on next steps we can take.

  7. Bill Flitter says:

    Congrats on being so forward thinking. We have been working with Intel on several initiatives around RSS so I know they are putting their hard work to practice.
    Bill Flitter | Founder/CEO
    Pioneering RSS Advertising Solutions
    http://www.pheedo.com

  8. You say you’re looking for advice from social media experts. As a social media and marketing consultant, I applaud the concept you’re putting together. You’ve gotten a great volunteer blogger team together but you’re aware that social media does not begin and end with blogging.
    The key for you will be to integrate social media practices into all of Intel’s marketing initiatives, and really try to avoid creating a social media “silo” that’s just another department operating independently.
    When you do other web marketing initiatives at Intel, will you tap into the potential they have to build your social media presence? As an example, you featured one of my clients (warning: shameless promotion but I’m making a point here), the software artist Scott Draves, in your “What’s Inside You” campaign:
    http://www.intel.com/Consumer/Inside/Profile/sdraves.htm
    http://www.intel.com/Consumer/Inside/Story-Detail/sdraves-001.htm
    Using this campaign as an example, how could you have done better to leverage social media?
    First, Spot has a blog, but you don’t link to it from your section, you only link to his website. It would help your SEO to link to the blogs of all your featured consumers, and make it clear that you were acting as part of the blogging community and not just a big company doing your marketing thing.
    Next, if you had trackbacks on that page, you would be able to show that your campaign was getting traction with posts like the one where Spot blogged about you:
    http://draves.org/blog/archives/000564.html
    If you had a way to search through the different contributors you feature, visitors to your site would be more likely to stick around and find people they were interested in — right now all one can do is browse randomly through the featured people. I imagine if you had tagging and keywords (not to mention ratings and most-emailed lists) the campaign would get more viewing and longer viewing sessions.
    Since you took the trouble of finding these cool people to feature and filming and editing them, why not stick a watermark of your brand on the tracks and post the videos to YouTube or another partner video site so they can live elsewhere on the Internet? It won’t detract from your website that they are viewable in more than one place, it will only increase the traction your campaign gets web-wide. You’d get a double benefit because you’d be picking up additional mindshare for Intel every time a visitor to YouTube entered keywords specific to your featured contributors — as well as boosting the intelligence of the content that comes up in a search for Intel-specific keywords.
    You could post and tag stills from this campaign on Flickr, befriend all the campaign contributors from your Twitter/MySpace accounts and your Facebook group, and write comments on their blogs (identifying yourself as an Intel employee).
    Yes, it’s a lot more work than just putting the “What’s Inside You” campaign up on the web, but once you’ve made that initial investment why not invest a bit more?
    Personally I believe that Social Media in a silo at Intel has limited effectiveness for word of mouth marketing, but if you are able to infuse it into everything (not only marketing but also product development, QA, and employee satisfaction as you imply above) it has a ton of potential.
    Finally, don’t forget to create a way for your social media initiative to help you research what people are saying on their blogs about your products’ usability, your customer service, etc. – and ensure that the information collected gets listened to by someone who can do something about it. Learning from social media is the sometimes-forgotten flip side of trying to leverage it for improved word of mouth.
    Good Luck!

  9. Kari Aakre says:

    Isabel — I work with Ken on the Insiders program and a number of other projects and am covering for him while he’s on vacation. Thank you for your post. It’s exactly the kind of feedback we’re hoping to get and you’ve captured the spirit of what we’re trying to do with this program. There’s plenty of room to improve and expand the program and your feedback will help. The team is planning a variety of updates to the What’s Insider You site, so please stay tuned and keep the comments coming!

  10. @Isabel – thank you for your comment and recommendations. I also work on Ken’s and Kari’s extended team and just wanted to say that we are “listening” and value your feedback tremendously.
    Many of your suggestions are already in the works; but as you may know, execution in large organizations sometimes takes longer than expected. But please, do let us know if you have any other feedback.
    I am totally on board with you about organizational silos. In fact, I wrote something about this very topic in a blog I contribute to, and authored entirely by corporate marketers: http://www.conversationsmatter.org/2008/06/10/the-impact-of-organizational-silos-on-social-media/.
    Lastly, I agree with you wholeheartedly about incorporating social media in every aspect of our business (i.e. listening = research development, talking = engaging in a two-way dialogue with our customers, energizing = influencing them to tell others, support = making it possible for our customers to leverage each other’s knowledge).
    Thank you again for your feedback. Feel free to drop me a line via email (on the website) or you can follow me on Twitter as well – I always reciprocate. : ) http://twitter.com/britopian.
    Michael

  11. deb schultz says:

    Congrats Ken and crew- a great model! Of course you already know that I believe strongly in this model vis-a-vis the work with the P&G Social Media lab! I am sure we will have a lot of ideas to share.

  12. Tom O'Brien says:

    Hi Ken:
    Nice post – and I think this is a model for how big companies can get going on social media in a smart way.
    Looking forward to much more.
    TO’B

  13. Nicole Simon says:

    Agreeing with Urs and adding that this is probably not even a US centric view but a Silicon Valley centric one. ;) While I applaud you on the effort (it is always a good first step), it feels a bit like celebs endorsing politicians.
    Only a few of them really work in a direction which I would have expected you to look for advise: bloggers who cover your product in that consumer area, who are connected and engaged into the communities you are interested in selling to.
    I am not sure how these people at a later point will react if you come to them and are interested to add them to the board.

  14. Mark Martel says:

    It’s great to see this advisory board get started – and out in the open for us all to discuss, learn from, and even contribute to. As others pointed out, this is a local Silicon Valley Group and Intel is a global company — but you’ve got to start somewhere. Good luck. I and thousands of others will be watching.

  15. chaux cedric says:

    I agree with Isabel Hilborn about her comment on the absence of trackbars. It could really be a nice way for intel to know what other people are telling on them. But I think the main reason is probably because enabling trackbar will also allow any reader to follow these link. Because Intel can’t moderate what people are saying outside this blog, it might sometimes link to negative comments.
    I follow Intel@CSR. But I m happy to see that initiatives here. I have to research for intel Public relation to read about it. I think Intel use very well different social media tools ( I like the Tweeter function and facebook group on Intel inspire project (http://inspiredbyeducation.com/), but as said in previous blogs it still lacks a coherent global strategy and more interactions between the different projects.
    For example, I would have love to read about this article on CSR@Iintel blog ( or just have a link ).
    I feel Intel is a really innovative. That’s why I ll keep a look at projects here.