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Engage With Your IBM i Community


The sense of community within the IBM i space is like no other in the IT world. We have multiple groups advocating for the platform, talented bloggers providing regular advice, numerous forums where users are ready to help one another solve issues, online newsletters that share the latest technology news and events, and social-media channels for connecting and sharing resources within the IBM i community and beyond.

If you’re not making the most of these, consider becoming an active participant. These online communities can make your job easier, connect you with others struggling with similar issues, open up career opportunities, and even help those outside the IBM world discover the benefits of this remarkable platform.

This article will highlight the IBM i communities and resources available to you—some of which you may be familiar and others you may not have seen before. We’ve categorized these resources by blogs, social-media channels, forums/discussion groups and advocacy groups. Read on; you might find a hidden gem!

Blogs

An estimated 31 million bloggers exist in the U.S. alone. We’re lucky to have many valuable blogs to consult for IBM i information. While there are many great ones, here’s our list of the top four blog resources you should check out today. This is based on frequency of posts, activity of the audience and the usefulness of the content provided.

You and i – IBM Trends and Strategies
Focused on IBM trends on strategies, IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will dishes on the future of the platform, IBM i events, newsworthy discussions and highlights on the latest releases.

iDevelop – Application Development for System i
Focused on technology and development, iDevelop is written by two popular IBM Champions, Susan Gantner and Jon Paris, both who are high-draw speakers at IBM i events.

Planet i – News and Updates from the IBM i Community
Planet i features a great directory of the many IBM i-related blogs out there as well news updated within the IBM i community.

iPro Developer Blogs
A wide variety of industry topics relating to the IBM market are regularly provided including product news updates, application modernization and programming.

Social-Media Channels

The increasing popularity of social media has dramatically changed the way people connect and create communities. The days of waiting for the next COMMON event to get advice on your current IT project are long past. A simple post to LinkedIn could generate the advice you’re looking for in minutes.

Consider this:

  • On average, 340 million Twitter messages (tweets) were posted daily in 2012
  • In September of 2012, Facebook exceeded 1 billion users
  • LinkedIn membership grew over 45 percent during the last year, with more than 150 million members today

How are you using social media? If it’s just to post photos of kids on Facebook, you’re missing a lot when it comes to bettering your present job and future career.

I’ve been able to connect with many like-minded people who are being drawn to online community efforts,” says Trevor Perry, chief strategic, Angus Thinks! “My favorite impact has been to engage passionate community members to add their voices to the support for IBM i and its future, and spread the important message of how we promote our platform.”

IBM i users agree. “I've been involved in the IBM i market for the last 21 years and have found that keeping up with current trends and direction of IBM i platform has been much easier to follow and learn from than ever before. This is because of the ubiquity of social media, which I use daily to keep up on trends and developments,” says Daniel Cheney, IT administrator and IBM i user-group leader. “I especially use LinkedIn groups to keep in touch with people and find answers to technical issues. I use blogs to keep in touch with industry leaders, and Twitter streams provide immediate access to information that we never had access to 10 years ago.”

If you’re not using social media, get involved by contributing to conversations, sharing expertise and asking for the feedback you need to make your next IT project a success.

Twitter
Literally changing the way we communicate, Twitter users are speaking out and connecting 140 characters at a time. You’ll find hundreds of IBM employees, vendors, advocates and users contributing to IBM i topic “streams” (strings of IBM i-related messages). Follow the streams and you’ll likely read about an IBM i event that’s being discussed in real-time or see references to the latest article announcing new features and functionality from IBM or your software vendor.

Popular hashtags you can use to group together IBM i-specific Twitter posts into streams include #ibmi and #powersystems.

An easy way to find the many hundreds of IBM i people and entities in Twitterland is to look at existing Twitter lists of IBM i community members compiled by active community members, such as:

https://twitter.com/billricecomm/ibm-i-related/members
https://twitter.com/WayneJames/ibm-i-15
https://twitter.com/mindSHIFT_Tech/ibmi
https://twitter.com/idashcommunity/ibm-i
https://twitter.com/LinomaSoftware/iseries
https://twitter.com/jromeh/i-folk
https://twitter.com/fallingrock/common
https://twitter.com/fallingrock/ibm-i-geeks
https://twitter.com/BizDevTalk/ibm-i

Bill Rice is the founder of Humanized Communications and an IBM i advocate.

Jennifer Phillips is an account manager at Humanized Communications and an IBM i advocate.


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