FIR Interview: The launch of GMnext – January 3, 2008

GMnextThis coming September marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of General Motors Corporation. As part of engaging with broad communities during 2008, GM today launches GMnext, a global communications platform aimed at improving perceptions of GM by employees, consumers and influencers.

GMnext is about conversations: a dialogue-based initiative that will engage people globally via social media and interactive experiences to discuss critical issues concerning energy, the environment, globalization and other factors that will shape transportation in the 21st century, with as the hub.

GMnext starts today with the GMnext Virtual Media Forum, a global online media event where senior GM leaders from headquarters, divisions and subsidiaries around the world will engage with journalists and social media influencers in online moderated dialogue. The event kicks off with an introduction by GM Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner.

In this exclusive FIR Interview, Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz talked with GM’s Scot Keller and Christopher Barger about GMnext including discussion on its objectives and how the programme was developed; how GM’s leaders and employees engage in GMnext; engaging with the media and social media influencers; the roles of social networks such as Facebook; and addressing communication, organizational and regulatory challenges.

About our Conversation Partners

Scot KellerBorn and raised in Southern California, Scot M. Keller is a third generation car executive whose career spans 25 years. He has broad based experience in automotive marketing, communications, motor sports, heritage, and brand management with brands including Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler and Jeep.

In 1999, Scot joined General Motors Corporation where he currently holds the position of Director Communications GMnext. In this capacity, Scot directs the corporation’s day to day activities around the global centennial celebration and GMnext digital experience. He also has responsibility for GM’s Heritage Communications directing the corporation’s involvement in key events including The Amelia Island and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegances.

Scot currently resides in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan with his wife and two children.

Christopher BargerChristopher Barger is Director, Global Communications Technology at General Motors, and leads the company’s social media communications efforts.

Christopher is responsible for setting General Motors’ communications strategy in the emerging social media that make up “Web 2.0” (blogs, wikis, podcasting, user-generated content, social network engagement, and others). His team coordinates and counsels authors for GM’s corporate blogs (FastLane and FYI), builds and manages GM’s relationships with influential voices from across the social media landscape, and develops new social media resources for GM content and information.

Prior to joining General Motors in mid 2007, Christopher held a similar position at IBM where he was involved in such ground-breaking work as the investor relations department’s ”IBM and the Future Of…” series of podcasts.

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If you have comments or questions about this podcast, or suggestions for future interviews, email us at; or call the Comment Line at +1 206 222 2803 (North America) or +44 20 8133 9844 (Europe); or Skype: fircomments; or comment at Twitter:; or at Jaiku: You can email your comments, questions and suggestions as MP3 file attachments, if you wish (max. 3 minutes / 5Mb attachment, please!). We’ll be happy to see how we can include your audio contribution in a show.

This FIR Interview is brought to you with Lawrence Ragan Communications, serving communicators worldwide for 35 years. Information:

Podsafe intro music – On A Podcast Instrumental Mix (MP3, 5Mb) by Cruisebox.

(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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