Beehive builds buzz at IBM

By Toby Ward — IBM promotes innovation and collaboration through it's own employee social networking site.

“You cannot create a culture of innovation without creating a culture of collaboration – and at its core it is creating a culture of trust with people you may never have met. And Web 2.0 tools help create trust.”

Liam Cleaver, Program Director

IBM Jam Program Office (Office of the CIO)

Innovation and collaboration takes many forms at ‘Big Blue,’ including countless Intranet 2.0 tools such as thousands of wikis, blogs and the increasing popular Beehive.

Beehive is akin to Facebook, but slightly different. It is an employee social networking site.

IBM Beehive

Like Facebook, Beehive users (appropriately called bees) can:

  • create a profile
  • post pictures
  • post updates
  • post comments
  • organize events
  • tag others’ photos

Bees can also do other things such as create top 5 lists (e.g. favorite books) called High5s. According to IBM, bees can “add a 'hive five' list that outlines their ideas about their project, and then invite their team members to 'reuse' the list and voice their opinions. Hive fives cover a lot of territory, from clearly work-related subjects to the kinds of personal exchanges that might only happen among collocated team members at the water cooler.”

Bees can also host events and create an event page that invites others to attend (think

“The page can be a place to spread the buzz about the event and get people talking about it through the comments feature,” says the IBM website. “It's also a handy place to keep track of who is invited and who's RSVPed, and to share photos and reminisce about the event afterward.”

Beehive enables IBMers to track friends and share social activities. When an IBMer becomes a bee they get a profile page and at any time can update their status. New users are called ‘new bees’ and accumulate points for activity, including posts, comments and photos. As you accumulate points, IBMers grow from a new bee to a working bee, to a busy bee, and finally, a super bee.

“One of our goals is to create a ‘smaller’ company in spite of our size,” said Cleaver during the Intranet Insider Word Tour. “Beehive has done more than anything than create a sense of community at IBM.”

Over 30,000 people have opted-in, sharing over 40,000 photos in less than a year since Beehive issued its first honey. And it’s still being enhanced.

To learn more about the IBM intranet and to see the Intranet Insider case study webinar, you can purchase a CD of the webinar from, which includes a 70-minute Flash recording of the session as well as separate audio and handout files.

For more information on creating a social media strategy for internal audiences, check out Prescient's Intranet 2.0 Blueprint and download our updated Social Media Checklist.

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