Paul Gilliham is Lithium's Director of Customer Marketing, responsible for customer engagement marketing, social media and Lithium's own community, the Lithosphere.
He is a regular blogger for Lithium and in the Lithosphere you'll see him as PaulGi. You can follow him on Twitter at @lithosphere or @bladefrog
If you have had your coffee you might have noticed that things look a little different on Lithosphere today!
I am delighted to unveil the updated community for you, and let you in on some of the changes, new introductions and features.
First up, the visuals... no more orange! We definitely have a new look for the site, it's much more closely related to our overall brand experience on www.Lithium.com
But more than that, we really wanted to show a different approach to the community from our last iteration. Previously we had showed off some of the flexibility of the platform visually, making a lot of use of our REST API and specific customizations. With a lot of great customers making fairly extensive use of these techniques now, we really wanted to show how, with a fairly minimal amount of development time, much like any of our new customers, you can have a very fully featured and great looking community - virtually 'out of the box'. We hope you like it!
Next we have the introduction of some new tabs and terminology:
Discuss - Customer Forums
Learn - Knowledge Base
Ideas - Your Suggestions
Read - Blog Articles
Support - Your Account
We had the Forums, Ideas and Blogs before, and some of you had the Cases (Beta) too. We have introduced the new Learn tab, which uses our Tribal Knowledge Base (TKB) to create a center of best practice, as well as deliver Education materials and Product Documentation and Admin Guides.
You can nominate content from the Forums to be included in the TKB - things that helped you out a lot, useful tips and tricks, or other material that helps you manage the product or do your job.
We will be adding a lot of material from our CSMs over the coming weeks too - and that is a wealth of knowledge!
Remember you can comment on or help contribute to the TKB too, it's a living tool.
The Support area is the first extension of our Cases functionality. For those with account access, you still get the ability to log Cases for your community, and keep an eye on status, but everyone who is a customer and has customer entitlements in Lithosphere now gets the Support tab. This gives you access to the Education and Documentation without having to contact your CSM - great for those people that need to look up something fast. Your CSM will always be here to help you out, but this way you can get access quickly or at the odd hours many of us work.
The documentation and education areas are built out using the TKB too, so you can get notes, leave comments, kudo the things you like and make suggestions to help us improve the materials we produce.
Forums, Blogs, Ideas:
Forums, Blogs and Ideas remain fairly unchanged. You can still ask questions, submit an idea about the product or read one of our blogs. We have finished the streamlining of the blogs which we started at the beginning of the year.
We now have four public blogs:
Social CRM Matters - Viewpoint, observation and direction on the Social CRM industry from the Lithium team
Building Community - Everything you want to know about Lithium's Social CRM/Community Platform
Best Practice - Digging into how companies are using online communities and social media successfully today
Lithosphere Log - Announcements, news, changes and events on the Lithosphere
There is also a Customer only blog called 'Coming Attractions' which is available only if you have the customer entitlement. This gives you detailed information on each of the new product platform releases from Susan our resident technical documentation expert.
If you are a customer and can't see this blog, then let your CSM know and we'll make sure you can!
You will see our Twitter widget integrated into the side of the communities, in the forums mainly, this is pulling material from our main Twitter stream and allows our admins, CSMs and moderators to post and respond to questions that come in through the Twittersphere... Plus we wanted to show you how it works!
Yes. We are mobile enabled. Just go to the lithosphere on your phone and you get this experience optimized for your mobile device. It's pretty cool, especially as you can have all the major interactions such as posting to forums/ideas/blogs, kudoing/voting, commenting, checking subscriptions, reading personal messaging, etc.
We have also rolled out a new look Profile page with a slightly different layout and the addition of the Activity Feed, which gives a real time view of all the posting, kudoing, tagging and authoring you do on the community.
I just wanted to add a personal note to say thanks to our whole team in prepping the Lithosphere, all launches are team efforts and require skills from multiple teams. So special thanks to Doug N, Adam N, Adam T, Kirk Y, Monique L, Jared C, Patrick R, Kaela C, Emma N, Sherry Q and Susan M.
Let us know what you think, we'd love to hear your feedback!