FIR Interview: Catching up wth GMnext – February 23, 2008

GMnextIt has been six weeks since the launch of GMnext, General Motors’ ambitious communication effort aimed at tighter integration into the social media space and earnest, comprehensive engagement in conversation with customers and other constituents.

In this FIR Interview, Shel Holtz talked with GM’s Scot Keller and Christopher Barger about the initiative’s first month-and-a-half, lessons learned, surprises, things that have gone as expected and reaction from mainstream media and the blogosphere. They also provide insights into events that followed the activist takeover of the comments section of four user-uploaded photos.

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.

download for immediate release podcast

Download the 35-minute conversation here (MP3, 31.2MB), or sign up for the Interviews RSS feed to get it and future interviews automatically. For automatic synchronization with your iPod or other digital player, you’ll also need a podcatcher such as the free Juice, DopplerRadio or iTunes, or an RSS aggregator that supports podcasts such as FeedDemon.

To receive all For Immediate Release podcasts including the twice-weekly Hobson & Holtz Report, sign up for the full RSS feed.

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.