In this week’s “i Can” blog, Dawn May celebrated three years of giving her readers excellent tips and techniques, as she has revealed some of the “hidden gems” from the IBM i operating system.
But it’s more than that. It is a cornerstone of the commitment the IBM i team has to the idea of ensuring our clients can get full value from the platform. As the years have gone by, we’ve adapted our information strategy to include more social media than we ever imagined a few years ago. Today, social media is part of our platform strategy. Since this blog deals with strategic topics, and this week also marks the third anniversary of “You and i,” I decided to share some history and some highlights with you.
In the spring of 2009, several key IBM i people gathered in a conference room here in Rochester to discuss how to get more information out to the IBM i community. We decided we should start two blogs. “You and i” would focus on strategy, customer stories, high-level technology, and new features. “i Can” would be more deeply technical, telling people things they might only find out by going to a conference or playing around with the machine on their own.
I wonder if any of our readers appreciate how startling this decision was. As we sat in that conference room, some of us wondered, “Will they let us start blogs?” The unanimous feeling by the time we left the room was, “We are they – we need to start them, so we will do it.”
Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive. This blog, for example, has more than twice as many hits each month than when we started it. Of course, the growth of social media in general has been tremendous. (Did you know Twitter had only reached its billionth tweet in May of 2009, but by 2011 a billion tweets were happening each month?) IBM has been embracing it companywide, and the IBM i team is glad to have been at the forefront.
Our strategy for getting information to our partners and clients now explicitly involves social media. Of course we still have the Information Center, which will remain the “Technical Reference” for the platform. And, of course, IBM i will continue to have a presence in ibm.com. These are both extremely important reference points. But these days, it’s important for you to understand the role played by blogs and developerWorks.
Blogs: We now have (at least) four IBM i-specific blogs being written by IBMers. (I say “at least” because someone will read this blog a year from now, and it’s possible we’ll have more.)
- “You and i” – Announcements, strategy, customer references
- “i Can” – Tips, techniques and examples
- “Modern-i-zation” – Modern application development
- “DB2fori” – IBM i’s integrated DB2 and related topics
For the most part, the authors of those blogs have discretion over their topics. However, we do coordinate some messages and articles. For example, “You and i” always talks about the highlights of a new release or Technology Refresh, and then we ask Dawn May to pick out a few of the highlights and describe them more deeply. Now that Tim Rowe and Mike Cain have started blogging, if we have a topic that fits best in an application development blog, Tim will write about it and if we have a DB2 topic, Mike will put it in his blog.
developerWorks: For almost a year and a half now, we’ve been working to consolidate many widespread IBM i webpages into a cohesive set of material hosted in IBM’s developerWorks. This information is for everyone, not only for people who think of themselves as “developers.” This, too, is a cornerstone element of our information strategy. The IBM i Technology Updates page in developerWorks is the home for detailed information about the function delivered with each new Technology Refresh, as well as function delivered via other means between releases. It also hosts many forum topics, and links to many articles written by our technical team.
Twitter is another social media tool that I am using fairly extensively to communicate with our users. If you follow @Steve_Will_IBMi on Twitter you’ll get notified whenever this blog has something new, and sometimes I tweet about what’s going on in IBM i development, or I’ll point you to a webcast or article or blog which might be useful. Though Twitter has the reputation for being the medium used to share unimportant details, I can tell you Steve_Will_IBMi I won’t be tweeting about what I had for lunch! I use the @Steve_Will_IBMi account for IBM i-related tweets, or sometimes other IT or IBM topics. After my blog about IBM i strategy work, for example, I used Twitter several times to let you know which technologies had presented their strategic updates, but I also pointed to a couple of articles about clients who are using mobile technology with IBM i.
If you are interested in keeping up with IBM i, you have many more opportunities to do so than you had as recently as three years ago. We hope you find our information useful and interesting. Let us know. We are definitely paying attention!
Twitter: #ibmi, @Steve_Will_IBMi