Cisco Focus: The Year in Review

July 21, 2014 - 4 Comments

Everyone loves “year in review” articles, slideshows and wraps, right? Well, I do. Cisco’s fiscal year ends July 26, so I thought it would be an appropriate time to give our fiscal year in review for the Cisco Social Media team and all the great content that we produce week-in and week-out.

We created and run “The Network: Cisco’s Technology News Site.” This is where we have great journalists writing stories about the impact that technology has on your life or your business. We also create short, informative videos that highlight Cisco Innovators, our Leadership team, and other video series like “My Networked Life” or “City of the Future: Songdo, Korea.” And, whether you are a customer or partner…or are just interested in technology, we invite you and encourage you to take our content for your own site and re-use it or share it.

Last August, we launched our monthly digital magazine entitled “Focus.” Each month we do a deep dive on technology topics that we care about and that the industry cares about. You can see all the issues here.

Our Top 3 Issues this year:
1.       Technology in Education
2.       Women in Tech, and

3.   Internet of Everything

As gauged by page views, Twitter and LinkedIn shares, Facebook likes and other social activity, some of our most popular “Focus” articles this year were:

Bob Pittman Trailblazer  – Video issue

Cyber Security Test your Knowledge –  Security issue

Changing Role of the CSO – Security issue

Rising Tides of Ed Tech – Tech Ed issue

Human Body as Interface – IoE issue

Smart Farming on the Vine – IoE issue

All this effort comes from a small, but mighty social media communications team and I thank goodness that Cisco is lucky enough to have them. They are all talented professionals who “bring it” each and every day. Thanks especially to Joie Healy, Karen Snell, Kirsten Chiala, Alex Romano, Lindsay Kniffin, Kati Dahm, and Mary Bradburne.

Thank you all, dear reader, for continuing to read our content, share our content and GROW our social media footprint. The “Big 3” (Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook) corporate social channels for Cisco now have nearly 1.8 MILLION followers. If you haven’t already joined us, please do so at, or, or Thanks for a great (fiscal) year!

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  1. You said “The “Big 3″ (Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook) corporate social channels for Cisco now have nearly 1.8 MILLION followers.”

    I’m wondering, do you believe that savvy tech marketers will start to measure active engagement with content in the coming year, instead of counting passive followers?

    Also, even though it’s difficult to measure, do you believe that a positive shift in customer “sentiment” will become the substantive litmus test of corporate communication performance that matters most?

    John, I welcome your thoughts and perspective, regarding progressive Brand Journalism trends.

    • David,

      Believe me, I do believe in quality, not quantity, but the 1.8 million collective followers give ONE metric for the success of our content and our engagement strategy.

      Brian Solis and others have long said that “engagement” is the ultimate measure of success and while we have active engagement on our content, I would argue that there is, of course, a subset of those who engage who are more important to us than others…i.e. is a customer engaging? Is a customer engaging as they make purchasing decisions? Is an “influencer” engaging? Is a competitor engaging? Etc. All of these are likely more important than my mom or your dad engaging in our content. But, with 30% of our stock now held by individual shareholders, maybe my mom and your dad could be shareholders and influencers in their own right.

      In summary, we don’t just want to throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. We want to align the content to our company strategy, target the audiences that we want to engage with, and HOPEFULLY offer them some value in our content and our engagement. Their first vote will likely be with their likes, shares, retweets, follows, etc., however.

      Hope all is well with you.

      • John, you know that I have admired your collective team’s multimedia storytelling accomplishments over the years — you’ve won awards for your work, and rightfully so. The quality of the content has never been an issue. That’s not why I asked the questions about forward-looking Brand Journalism impact assessment.

        It’s understood, by definition, quality engagement may never extend beyond a small group of people who take the time and effort to share their thoughtful insights, as I’m doing now. While I can appreciate Brian’s (and the other experts) point of view, and I do believe we need to move beyond merely reporting the metrics that are based upon the easiest data to capture, the question remains — how do we evolve.

        The only way that I know to assess Sentiment effectively is a comprehensive survey that captures quantitative and qualitative data via primary market research, with a large enough sample of readership to be statistically relevant. It’s a time consuming and expensive exercise.

        Believe me, I understand the degree of the challenge. I’ve written on my own blog (daily) since 2004, I know that I have a small and loyal group of return readers. But most people never share meaningful and substantive comments, and I have no reason to believe that will change. So, my questions were not rhetorical, and I don’t have all the answers.

        That being said, if you haven’t already checked out DemographicsPro (the Twitter analysis tool), then do consider trying the trial version — it provides some interesting info that may help you uncover new insights.

        I have one more suggestion. You also said, “And, whether you are a customer or partner…or are just interested in technology, we invite you and encourage you to take our content for your own site and re-use it or share it.”

        I believe that you’ll achieve increased syndication if the Cisco blogs were changed to a “Creative Commons” license. I have no doubt that there’s a forward-thinking attorney in Cisco’s legal department who can help you make this happen for the next fiscal year.

        I am well, thank you for asking. I trust that this message finds you well. Always a pleasure to exchange thoughts.

        • Thanks for the tip. Will check out DemographicsPro. We go back and forth on creative commons licences mainly for our Flickr site, but we will revisit it for all content.