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Flattening the World

Businesses Adopt Social Tools to Improve Effectiveness and Efficiency

Sandy Carter’s job as social business evangelist is to help teach IBM’s clients about the value of adopting social networking into their business models.
Photography by Matt Carr

The World is Flat

An avid tweeter, Carter also has a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and uses foursquare. She was an early adopter of social media at IBM and has been using its tools for five years. Its impact on her business life is profound. She often relates a particular story that shows just how profound.

Before a business trip to India, Carter tweeted about what city she was going to visit and where she would be speaking. Not thinking any further about it, she arrived late one night in Mumbai. When she reached the hotel, the manager told her a big group was waiting for her in one of the ballrooms. “I said, ‘That’s funny.’ I had told the IBM team not to come out because it was late and I didn’t want them to be away from their families,” she recalls.

Carter walked into the room where a big party appeared to be under way. “I shut the door quickly and went back to the manager. I said, ‘I think that’s a wedding. Where are the IBMers you told me about?’ He walked me down to a huge room with 100 to 150 people—nobody I knew—with music on, [people] hanging out, having a great time. I walk into the room and he says, ‘These people are here for you.’ ”

She was greeted by the leader of the Social Media Club in Mumbai. “He said, ‘Sandy, how was your trip? How are your daughters? We decided to do a tweetup in your hotel and we were hoping you could spend a couple hours talking with us about social around the world.’ ”

At that point, Carter had an epiphany. “This guy is asking me about my family and my dog and my flight. I had never met him before.

“That’s when I realized the world was definitely flat. This was a whole new ballgame. And social was going to enable relationships on a level that we just don’t expect in the marketplace,” she concludes.

Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at



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