Orlando, FL (Jan 19, 2008) - Tomorrow, thousands of business executives, technology professionals, vendors and media will be gathering in Orlando, FL (USA) for Lotusphere 2008. This is the 15th year for this conference which celebrates the longevity and success of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino collaboration software. Used by major corporations around the Globe, the software has survived numerous premature declarations of its death (with the birth of the Internet), campaigns from rival software makers designed to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt, as well as perceived missteps by the IBM Corporation after the acquisition of of Lotus Development Corporation in the 1990's.
In preparation for tomorrow's activities, a group of core evangelists from around the world gathered tonight for the 4th Annual BALD event, with BALD meaning "Bloggers (and friends) Annual Lotusphere Dinner". Warren Elsmore of Edinburgh, Scotland said that this event gives people in the Lotus blogging community a chance to get together with friends new and old, catch up on each life events, and talk about the upcoming conference before the masses descend on the Disney Swan and Dolphin properties tomorrow.
Rob McDonagh, a blogger from Massachusetts who posts at http://www.captainoblivious.com, says that "this is really the only chance we have to get together as a group before we get dispersed with the thousands that will be here this week. We only get to see each other once or twice a year, so it is important for me to be here for this dinner."
The Lotus blogging community is unusual because of its tightness and their willingness to write posts critical of IBM decisions regarding the software, while supporting each others. The growth of blogs in the IBM Lotus Software community has opened new opportunities for the authors to be selected as speakers at the annual conference, which is for many people one of the crown jewels of their technology careers. Beyond Lotusphere, many of these bloggers have been invited to speak at other conferences around the world and write for technical and trade magazines.
"The key for this dinner is the personal networking it allows us to do," says one blogger who cannot be identified because of his corporate policies. "I have been able to talk to people here about career opportunities with or company, which would be much harder to do once the conference kicks off full force."
The success of this blogging community has not been lost on IBM. Through the visibility of and community leadership involvement of IBM blogger Ed Brill (http://www.edbrill.com), IBM has developed a corporate blogging policy and encourages its employees to publicly blog. This led to unusual interactions over the past couple of years as IBM was readying Lotus Notes and Domino 8 for release. Through conversations on blogs, both IBM Corporate and in the larger blogging community, changes could be made to the software design which provided greater benefit to users.
Tomorrow, which begins with Business Partner Development Day and Technical Jumpstart sessions, will mark the beginning of the new steps IBM will be sharing with their community. Good or bad, one thing will be certain. The bloggers at tonight's BALD event will be writing about it as it happens, offering their critiques, and people will be reading their thoughts.