A chat with Willie Favero DB2 for z/OS evangelist about is secrets for social media success
With close to 6,000 RSS subscriptions and 14,000 to 15,000 hits a month, Willie Favero runs one of the top DB2 for z/OS blogs on the Internet. So when Willie talks … people listen.
But it wasn’t always that way for the senior certified IT software specialist. Spurred on by a friend in Toronto who had started a blog on DB2 for LUW (Linux, Unix, Windows), Willie began his blog in 2005, “… when most people I dealt with didn’t know what a blog was,” he says.
His approach, which Willie maintains to this day, was simple: frequency, brevity and informality.
- Frequency. “If you write a blog post once every two months, no one is ever going to read it because no one is going to take the time to check periodically. But if you always have information up in front of your readers that is of interest to them, they will continue to read.”
- Brevity. “The idea of being able to read something that isn’t as lengthy as an article is really quite nice for a lot of people. They sit down, they get their cup of coffee in the morning, they check what new blog entries are out there.”
- Informality. “You can’t write it formally like you would a white paper or an article. You write the blog as if you were talking to the person across the table from you because that’s what they’re expecting.”
He also advocates an occasional non-technical post — “Be careful not to overdo it,” he warns. So, for example, when he bought his new motorcycle or became a grandfather for the fourth time, he blogged about that. And his readers love it.
Soon after he started his blog, Willie built a LinkedIn profile, jumped on Twitter and started using other social media platforms, such as SlideShare, through which he could further promote and explain the inner workings of DB2 for z/OS. He even developed a small Web site which ties everything together.
Making a difference
Today, Willie is constantly bumping into IT professionals, both customers and colleagues, at conferences and seminars who faithfully read his blog and tweets. He recalls sitting in sessions when the presenter “will quote something and he’ll say, ‘I picked up this item in my presentation from Willie’s blog.’”
“Now that’s really nice,” he adds, “because not only do I get the satisfaction of knowing someone’s getting some use out my blog, but I just got a free piece of advertising in front of 50 to 60 people in the room.”
The DB2 for z/OS evangelist’s blogging also caught the eye of his manager. “My manager looked at my interest in social media and said, ‘You like doing this and we benefit from you doing this, so let’s make it a bullet on your performance plan.’ Now I’m supposed to write at least one blog entry every week.”
Willie really likes having his manager’s buy-in because it takes the pressure off his blogging activity and he’s recognized for it. He believes everyone active in social media should get that same support.