Submit your abstract!It is just 10 days until the Social Connections 8 call for abstracts slides ever so tightly shut.

Yes, you have just ten short days in which to submit your great ideas for sessions at the upcoming IBM Social Business user group, which takes place in Boston on 16th and 17th April.  We’re looking to select 20-30 really tip-top sessions to fill out our provisional event schedule – we’ve had some really super abstracts so far (thanks go to everyone that has submitted) but we’d really love more!

For the first time at Social Connections, we will be offering a selection of session durations:

  • 15 minutes – solely for Spotlight sessions (see below)
  • 30 minutes – the standard session length, used for ~75% of our session slots. You will increase your chance of being selected by opting for this session length
  • 60 minutes – for in-depth technical sessions, where it is difficult to get to grips with the content in 30 minutes

We are inviting sessions in the following tracks:

  • Administration – sessions relating to administering Social Business platforms. It could be the design and build of infrastructure, upgrading, managing users, migrating to the cloud, integration with other services or platforms etc. Sessions relating to cloud, hybrid or on-premise infrastructures are welcome! (30-minute and 60-minute slots)
  • Case Study – sessions focused on telling the story of existing Social Business projects. We love case studies! And the more honest the better! Ideally these sessions should feature at least one speaker from the company that uses the platform, but they could be accompanied by a vendor or partner. (30-minute slots only)
  • Development – how and why to develop for these services. We’d love you to share your tips, techniques and experience of developing solutions or applications, where you might hit issues, and how you overcome them. (30-minute and 60-minute slots)
  • Future of Work – new for this conference, sessions in this track should explore topics around the area of improving the productivity of individuals and organisations through the use of social technologies. (30-minute slots only)
  • Management – sessions that take a higher-level view of the issues, challenges and opportunities that surface when deploying social platforms. (30-minute slots)
  • Spotlight – also new for Social Connections 8, this track is designed to give new (or experienced) speakers the chance to present a short session on a topic of their choice. Think of it as being akin to TED talks, but within the framework of Social Connections. You can choose to use a presentation deck or not, to prepare earnestly or to speak from the heart, the choice is yours. What we’re after is insight, interest and passion – the rest is up to you! (15-minute slots only)
  • Sponsor – for those organisations that are sponsoring the event at Gold level or above, there is the option to submit a Sponsor session for the conference. (30-minute slots only)

The theme for the conference is ‘Beyond the Enterprise‘, so you may wish to give some thought to how your topic relates to this. You can take it any way you like, e.g. bridging internal and external communities, working with partners, making Social Business relevant to small organisations, creating non-work-related social communities, and so on.  It’s not mandatory for the abstract to relate to the theme, but obviously it would be even better if it did.

The deadline for submitting an abstract is Sunday 15th February 2015, so you need to get your proverbial skates on!

Some advice that might help:

  • If you’re an experienced speaker and want to submit your session that you presented at IBM ConnectED, or will present at InterConnect, Engage or ICS UG, then we’d be happy to accept it. We’d just advise that you might tweak it to suit the session lengths described above. Also, we do try to have a really interactive atmosphere at Social Connections, so make sure you leave some space for questions and feedback from the audience.
  • Keep Calm & submit your abstract!If you’re new to speaking at events such as user groups and conferences, please don’t let that put you off! We all have to start somewhere, and we’d love to support you make your debut at Social Connections 8! You might want to consider submitting for the Spotlight track mentioned above, which would give you an informal 15-minute slot to cover your case-study, concept, solution or idea. If you need longer, but feel unsure about delivering a session alone, please reach out to the Social Connections team – either one of us would be delighted to assist or co-present, or else we can recommend another speaker that might be ideal for your session.
  • We’re always very keen to receive submissions for the case-study track, so please give some thought to whether you can tell your own organisation’s story regarding adoption of Social Business technologies. Typically case study sessions get really high ratings from attendees, as well as comments that suggest how useful they’ve been in assisting their own organisation’s journey.
  • Please consider submitting multiple abstracts for different topics and tracks. The selection team will be trying to create a balanced and informative schedule for the two days of the conference, therefore we may (for example) have a surplus of great management sessions, where a quality administration abstract would have been selected.
  • Submit ASAP! We’ve already highlighted a number of speakers on our site and will be selecting a few key sessions throughout the remaining few days of the process to list on our site. If you have a great idea for a session, get it to us right away…

So, ten days and counting! Hope to read your abstract(s) very soon!