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Using Communities

8 Posts authored by: BMC Editor
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Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Rixon, Principal Solutions Marketing Manager for BMC Software. Chris is very active these days on social channels and participating with Google Hangouts around MyIT but it wasn’t always that way. 

You can find Chris Rixon on BMC Communities or via @messagemonger on Twitter.

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How long have you been Social? 

I have been actively using social channels for about 12 months – but a bit longer for Chatter—about 18 months. My focus is more in the creation of content for social channels.


I just jumped in professionally into social. For me, Twitter is like having a radio tuned into ITSM – FM if there were such a thing. (lol) I think it’s a great way to keep up with what the hot topics are in the industry; how information flows between people; how our audience behaves and interacts with each other; and what those connections look like. I would say rather than outbound communication, social media has been more of a research tool for me. I am much more of a “watcher.”


How do you get started in Social Media?

As part of the team that creates content and messaging for IT Service Management and other solutions, we are increasingly using social media channels to deliver and promote content. As a result we started to take a very different approach to the design of content.


An example is our four-part handbook around ITSM migration. It is a large piece of work, but has been put together in a very marketable fashion with chapters that can be promoted independent of each other. The structure of each chapter is also very modular which makes them very social. You can deconstruct the chapters into blogs or shorter pieces. We tried to make sure there’s a lot of content to tweet in there too.  It’s interesting for me both as a social practitioner, and also as a designer of content and creator of content for social channels because I see both sides of the business.


How do you find “Inspiration” for social content?

Social media allows me to make sure I am tracking the things that everybody is talking about—the open questions that are out there in the market place that we serve. I think that if you can target your content to answer those questions, and design your content so that you can post answers that are social friendly, then that’s a huge win for us.


How do you approach content development?

One thing I am very conscious of is to be efficient with content development. I am a huge believer of creating something that is designed to be used everywhere. It’s a  modular construction of pieces. Alot of the larger pieces I am working on now are deliberately designed so that they can be taken apart and each section can stand alone. And that’s a real shift, say  from white papers that are designed to be read from front to back, with additional effort to be able to deconstruct and re-purpose it. Now, with so many channels available to us (and each with their own subtleties) if you have that in mind as you construct the piece you can avoid constructing lots of variations of the same thing.


Recently I have been working very closely with the programs and design team to get a lot more focused and deliberate about how we use Slideshare. (It is a social channel more focused on presentations that has its own set of design best practices that we are building and documenting now.) By deliberately adapting our content, voice, and message to Slideshare, we started to change the way that we create and share material in Slideshare. The results are astonishing. We recently had our highest ever performing presentation with lots of social communications around that presentation, especially Twitter and LinkedIn. Really, it’s been taken by the ITSM community.


We think this win stands for the fact that we are answering interesting questions about ITSM migration that no one else has answered. It also helps that the presentation was designed to work in to work in other social channels. It has been a fascinating exercise to watch and see its performance with some deliberate and conscious design.


Do you have a Personal Rule/Mantra?

My philosophy to the channel really has been to make it count every time. I am not a huge fan of noise for the sake of noise. I know that is a valid approach to social. And I realize that things – particularly in Twitter -- are only living for three to four hours unless you repeat yourself. But I think in general, that you can differentiate yourself by either producing and talking about highly differentiated content, or with attention to detail, and not just noise made simply to fill dead air.


Would you share your Biggest Win/ Achievement?

I think my biggest win is one that came as having a holistic approach from one carefully designed, but extensive piece of content that we were actually able to extend across multiple channels. It got market attention. It got BMC attention, but also it grabbed the attention of one of the major analysts that follows our space. For me that was integrated social media in action and it really was fun to be part of the team that pulled that off. 


The project was an integrated set of activities in support of a book chapter that I wrote focused on working with people and ITSM migration. This is a very thorny issue and probably the most difficult issue of any IT project.  I created a whole book chapter designed to be used in many different social channels that was picked up very well and actively promoted. Slideshare content was lifted from the first few pages of that book as a teaser – the last slide linked to the full piece and also to the Google+ Hangout where we talked about the book chapter, and mentioned the Slideshare. We had live Twitter interaction so we could take questions and had people quoting us from the HangOut. A few weeks prior, our buildup of  activity had been picked up by Forrester and re-tweeted as a link to the book.


How do you approach Time Management?

Twitter is more of an information source but I do occasionally interact. Given that my full time role is the creation of content, Social is becoming a huge part what I think about when I build stuff. Rather than a time management exercise, social has become part of the fabric of my every day working life.

I am thinking about social channels all day long—whether I am building something to be used on that channel, writing a blog for myself or someone else, creating modular content, I am watching various feeds for fresh ideas or information. 


What are your biggest Challenges with Social Media?

Making sense of noise. It’s a very noisy format which is part of what’s driven me to have a personal philosophy to focus on quality not quantity. I see a lot of people out there just making lots of noise. That can make it hard to track down the good stuff. I don’t filter content due to my anxiety of missing something. That can make it hard to track down the good stuff.  I am pretty good about scanning through the tweets as they come in, and I am picky about who I subscribe to. I have gotten good about filtering through noise because buried in some noise are some real gems. Most of the people I subscribe to are quite judicious in how they are using the channel and are being disciplined to making sure they deliver.


Do you have a parting thought to share?

I look forward to the day, (and I think it’s coming soon), where we don’t distinguish between social channels and other channels. At the moment there is a special significance attached to social and I would like to see it evolve from consideration in our communications plans, to a being a working part of each employee’s life.


I think part of the nervousness around social is that it’s being built up into this separate thing and that is a little intimidating. (A few years ago I would have put myself into that category.)


Social is really just another communication channel with its own idiosyncrasies that is immensely powerful. And I believe that together, all social channels combined, our customers are increasingly collaborating with each other (that includes the products they should work on next, the things they should buy, what to decide what to do next) social is that space where the conversations are happening—and we absolutely have to be a part of it.


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Have you been following the series? We hope it has inspired you to take steps towards being more social within your career.


Today Anthony Orr, Director, Office of the CTO for BMC Software shares his experiences and social insights from the past few years. You can find Anthony on BMC Communities or on Twitter via @AnthonyOrratBMC.


How long have you been Social?  anthony orr.png

From a personal perspective I have been active for a while on Facebook and was browsing—but not using--Twitter because originally I didn’t recognize much business value in the tool.  My first business view into social media was a blog. I started a blog over four years ago. I didn’t pay much attention to it because I didn’t get any feedback from it.


With a BMC business focused perspective, I have been actively using social tools for about a year. I promote BMC best practices and try to create awareness of things people might not consider to as it relates to Service Management as a practice--not just ITIL but eTOM, Six Sigma, project management and so forth.


Overall today from a social perspective, I use LinkedIn, Twitter, Chatter and use Facebook more for personal use, however do connect with a few business colleagues with Facebook. For me, the impact of social technology such as LinkedIn and Twitter is just unbelievable at the end of the day.


How did you get started in Social Media?


I got started blogging about four years ago. It was a company initiative to make us more social and I was asked to write a blog on a regular basis. I was glad to do it and they allowed me to write about anything I wanted to—but had to reinforce that it was my opinion.


A number of months later after the blog, I was approached at an ITSM user conference. A lady approached me after a presentation I gave and commented “Anthony I really enjoy reading your blog, it had an impact on me.” I thought to myself… “what blog?”
That’s when I started realizing the power of social media.


I wish I had gotten positive feedback like that more often. But as I started understanding social media, I realized that there are different virtual personalities in Social Media—some people that watch, others that respond and others that lead/influence —etc. You might not know that there are people listening to you, but you are making a difference. Over time, you can ultimately see your followers and influence grow.

Today I am approaching socially differently because of the Best Practices Social Media training and insights from Chris Dancy. My perspective and approach changed due to understanding the value chain on Social Media and my part of the overall value chain from the social moment to action.


How do you find “Inspiration” for Social Content?

What inspires me most is conversations that I have with customers and my peers.  I think about my day-to-day conversations and realize that there are probably other people who have the same questions or thoughts about these topics—so I then choose to Tweet or write a thought leadership article, etc about it.


I may (or may not) get some feedback or a follower that is interested. It’s the 80/20 rule as it relates to social—80% have some of the same thoughts, while 20% might think differently. Social Media keeps those day-to-day conversations out of the silos and makes industry challenges open to discussion.


How do you Approach Content Development?

Basically, content development is inspired by people i.e. peers, customers, etc. Sometimes a white paper will inspire social content—and sometimes it the social content that inspires the creation of the paper.  For example, I may have a white paper under development, so as a precursor I start tweeting or blogging. If I don’t’ get any feedback, I take a step back to look, listen, and  to see if the content is relevant by looking at metrics such as are follower accounts going up or not. If not, I might change directions on that piece.


I am approached to create thought leadership material i.e. podcasts, blogs, videos, whitepapers, etc regularly. Once the video, podcast, blog, etc airs, I may not get written feedback, but people sometimes call me directly to comment and ask for more information. If it impacted them and made sense, I am inspired to do more and look for more details to create additional content in that focus area.


Do you have a Personal Rule/Mantra?

Yes. Keep it simple and relevant.


Try not to talk in a lot of industry consulting terms/jargon but in a manner that resonates socially.  Use everyday language so people know what you are trying to communicate. Every time I write something I look at it and try to clarify and simplify.


Would you share your Biggest Win/ Achievement?


To me the biggest win at the end of the day is my ability to influence and help people. When we think about services, delivery of services, and management of services, it becomes very complex as it relates to Service Management as a practice within an organization.


Every day, I try to measure myself against the metrics of —“How am I helping people?” And “How am I influencing the market in a positive way?” I measure myself with the goal that I am helping people overall to do things better, have better experiences and  specifically our customers run their businesses better with the solutions we have at BMC in technology, services and education.


How do you approach Time Management?


I actually put time on my Outlook calendar on to direct me and schedule my social time. It’s a general time and I decide what works for the week. When possible, I try to put an entry into my calendar that is specific to an activity—like if I have a podcast to prepare for.


When I have a break in the day, I try to take that time to send out a few thoughts on Social Channels or Tweets, even if it is re-posting content that someone else has done that I find interesting. One of the Tweets that I just started a few months ago is called the #ITSMTIP “ITSM Tip of the Day.” Even though I don’t create a daily Tweet, I use the phrase “Tip of the Day” to get people to come back and keep looking for more.

Generally I schedule my social time on Fridays but try to beat that deadline. If I do, then I use that time on Friday for something else.  My content usually goes out real time, when it comes to mind, dynamically on a mobile device.  I rely on content scheduling that is BMC driven to happen at other times.


What are your biggest Challenges with Social Media?


My biggest challenge is always trying to be current in the industry and understand what people are discussing or sharing interest in. I try to get feedback from my social media team to determine the top searches to see what people are talking about that I may not see because I am not looking at internet ITSM search history.


Ultimately my biggest challenge is working more collaboratively within other functions at BMC to make sure that I am working with the team messages vs. Anthony’s thoughts of the day. I want to be more coordinated and holistic in my approach.


Do you have a Parting Thought to share?


Just Do it. And, when you do it for the right reasons— to help people in organizations to do things better—it’s a very good thing.
Feedback may not happen. Forget about the feedback—just do it.


As long as you are positive in expressing yourself, you can be influencing people. You may never know what the outcome will be and may never know who you will inspire with positive and helpful communications.

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Happy Monday.

Have you been reading lately?

If not you might have missed these BMC Software contributions and mentions ....



Technical Insights: Four Key Requirements for Modernizing Mainframe Applications

By April Hickel


How to Reduce System Z Software Costs

By Nick Pachnos


Moving to SaaS? Five Considerations for Your Application Integration Strategy
By Chris Dancy

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Today we speak to Hema Mohan, Senior Product Manager for BMC Software.  She has been recognized by her peers as someone who is eagerly embracing social in her own unique way. Hema has an enthusiastic following within the ITSM community. You can find Hema on BMC Communities or via @Hema_Mohan on Twitter.



How long have you been Social?

I have been active on facebook since 2007, and on professional sites since 2009.

I started with using Facebook to connect with friends and later joined Twitter and LinkedIn as it helped extend my professional network.


How did you get started in Social Media?

My sister works in Public Relations and she introduced me to Twitter and LinkedIn. In fact, I was hired by BMC when HR spotted me on LinkedIn. I’ve always been active in FaceBook, but became active on Twitter only a year ago, soon after I realized the power of Social Media – I once tweeted about a faulty bill I received from my Wireless provider. Within minutes I had the Zonal Manager contact me and resolve my issue. That’s how it started.



How do you find “Inspiration” for social content?

There is no dearth of inspiration in the social world. You just need to find your topic of interest and your influencers. Luckily for me, I have both. My main inspiration is the space I work in – anything interesting or new perspectives in the ITSM field excites me. Other major sources of inspiration are “Thought Leaders” like Chris Dancy and Alf Abuhajleh who use Social media to effectively evangelize their field of work and at the same time try something different to reach out to their audience.  I’d love to be where they are in terms of being Social Media active. Currently I’m still in a learning phase.



How do you approach Content Development?

With regards to Content development, I am in a reactive mode. My aim is to communicate frequently in the form of blogs, tweets etc. though I feel that I am not there yet. However, my current approach has been promote or tweet interesting articles, concepts and  thoughts that I read on a source like Flipboard, or on a news site or I read in a book.



Do you have a Personal Rule/Mantra?

Chris Dancy rightly said in one of his tweets “If I follow someone on twitter, you have my attention. This is important to remember. I am your customer”. So that being my rule of thumb, I try to keep it simple and not offend my customers.  There are some people (from other organizations) who focus on giving their competition negative publicity rather than talk about the accomplishments of their Organization.


-          I am very careful about my message. With followers comes responsibility.

-          If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.



Would you share your Biggest Win/ Achievement?

Some of my followers (from companies that compete in our space) RT me, so that is always encouraging. Being connected to people you look up to, is definitely an achievement.

Personally, the experience you gain from this is intangible.  That is a huge achievement. All the people and knowledge that you have access to, is very enriching.



How do you approach Time Management?

For me, everyday, half-an-hour on Twitter is a must. When I am having lunch, I look forward to reading posted tweets and articles.  I also use my commute time for this. However, I wish to become more disciplined with blogging.



What are your Biggest Challenges with Social Media?

With Social media, the challenge is to know how much is “enough”.  There are people who try hard to be visible on multiple forums like - Klout, PeerIndex, Pheed, Quora, Instagram etc. You need to decide which one suits your style and stick to that medium and not get distracted with too many options.



Do you have a Parting Thought to share?

Social collaboration has become a way of life. You can no longer live in an ivory tower and say my role doesn’t require me to be socially active. We all need to embrace it in order to stay relevant.

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Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Erin Avery, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for BMC Software.  Her approach has evolved over the years. Erin brings a lot of herself into her daily social marketing and because she really enjoys social (a surprise to her) and it shows in her light-hearted approach.  You can find Erin on BMC communities or via @ErinKAvery on Twitter.erin avery.png



How long have you been Social? 

I think my family would say since the day I was born…


I have been actively using social platforms for my job for the past six years. Initially I was admittedly leery about social media in general. What I realized over time is a bit opposite from most people—meaning that I got comfortable using social platforms when I really began to use them professionally. For me, once I started seeing the value of social connection though my work life, it then made me more conscious of how I could use social platforms to create deeper connections in my personal life.


How do you get started in Social Media?

I was at another company and got my budget whacked. When that happened, I could no longer afford traditional marketing communication vehicles so I looked at what’s available in Social Media to help me tell the story—because I had a great story to tell, I just lacked the money to tell it using traditional marketing vehicles.


We had just launched a customer community, so I started blogging, knowing it was a way to tell the story. Writing is not my favorite activity. I was the kid in college who hated to write, so it was hard at first. I committed to blogging once a week and put time on my calendar to condition myself to do it.  I blogged for 18 months and shared the blogs via social platforms. So, I would write a blog; and then post it to Twitter and LinkedIn; and coordinated to get it posted to the company Facebook Page. Then something amazing happened, people from around the world started dialogues with me based on what I’d posted.  Those dialogues came in the form of tweets, email exchanges, impromptu phone calls from colleagues on other continents and messages over LinkedIn.  I admit, the fast, meaningful responses and instant gratification fueled me to keep blogging and engaging.  Writing wasn’t such a challenge anymore. 


It was the perfect storm for me. My budget money was gone so I couldn’t use traditional marketing platforms and at the time, my employer was dabbling into an online customer community, which meant  I had a place to tell my story and an audience.  Social was a free platform to distribute my story and I started sharing.  Because there was no barrier, I didn’t have to wait for an interview or development of a story with a reporter to get the information across. Once I got responses from people, it pretty much spiraled.


How do you find “Inspiration” for social content?

I am so fortunate to have great customers. They are clever and brilliant and they fuel my inspiration. One of my social mistakes early on was that I thought I had to have brilliant thoughts every day or I couldn’t post them. What I discovered was in my daily connections with amazing, talented people, I find a constant flow of inspiration.


The second inspiration?...,(lol) the rambling thoughts in my head.

At BMC, I have met this diverse group of amazing technology and business professionals. This varied group of gives me inspiration as well because it’s the people that you interact with that make you better. I believe it’s incumbent on us to share those conversations.


How do you approach content development?

When I was first getting started I knew I had to condition myself to do what was out of my comfort zone.

I have a content calendar for myself. Because when I want to post, it gives me inspiration and content to draw from. A lot of times I write based on a conversation that I had with a customer. For instance, I was writing on a napkin last night after a customer meeting in Minneapolis. The conversation was inspirational, so I want to blog about that first, and will go back to the calendar another time. In absence of those inspirational moments, having a content calendar helps give you a frame of reference.


My content development has changed over time with different forums to tell the story including webinars and videos. Plus now there are lots of other bloggers out there. I still have time on my calendar to write, but now blogging is just one of the ways I share my thoughts and stories socially.  In the beginning I focused on writing content, tweeting it and posting it on other social outlets. I have evolved to be a more social person who will tweet statements or thoughts that I have--verses thought management.


Do you have a Personal Rule/Mantra?

I have a few…

-        1)  I endeavor to be myself. If you read a tweet that doesn’t sound like it would come out of my mouth, then I failed.


         2) Nothing you say is wrong. It’s your opinion. A lot of people are worried someone will criticize what they say. So what?! It’s your opinion. They can agree or disagree.


Be authentic, be yourself, and be true to who you are. Write, post, Tweet, Blog, but make it a reflection of your personality. Don’t be scared of getting it wrong. I told something this the other day--- nothing you say is wrong, You won’t get it wrong. It’s your opinion.


Would you share your Biggest Win/ Achievement?

On a business level, to this day, I have the most read blog post from my previous employer. It had a clever title about a topic that wasn’t interesting. I still check it occasionally to see if the count has gone up. ( I am a geek like that.) It was an early post, and it was a big win. 

On a semi-personal level, I have a twitter friendship with a customer that I met virtually years ago.  After some Twitter activity, I figured out his real name and ironically we went to the same college.  So I connected with him on LinkedIn to say I was also an alum to thank/ acknowledge that he followed me.  To this day, we banter on anything from technology, to football. Because he is a technologist at heart he totally challenges me. I have had some awesome back and forth discussions with him. Realize,  it goes back to, “nothing you say is wrong—it’s your opinion.” And that is the power of social … 6 years later, someone I might never have connected with otherwise is a social friend.


How do you approach Time Management?

I am a little bit Type A – (others would say I am a lot Type A.) I like to be organized and pragmatic on how I approach things. The content calendar was the first step in conditioning myself to blog. A year later I added a meeting reminder daily from 8 - 8:15 am  to check community blogs, twitter, and my Linkedin groups– again, conditioning myself. It took about a year. NOW, time management isn’t an issue because social is part of my everyday approach to product marketing, not something I do after all the other work gets done..


What are your biggest Challenges with Social Media?

(silence) I am not going to give you a great answer here because at this point, today, I don’t see a challenge.  Social has become second nature to me. Why? Because it’s FUN. That was so unexpected to me—looking back over the past years.  Because there is stuff we do every day that is not fun. I have met so many authentic and cool people who have made me better—and this is because I developed an interest in something new-- that was unexpected to me.


Do you have a Parting Thought to share?

One of the biggest objections I hear from others is:  “I just don’t have the time to do this.”

I would argue, “You just don’t have the time NOT to do this.”  Social is one of the most effective ways to connect with people today. However else you are connecting may not be worth it. 


At some point the process tipped for me from being a time management issue, to being a participation issue. I realized I would miss those interactions—completely miss connecting with certain people—if I wasn’t engaging in social platforms.

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It's mid-January, have you broken any of your resolutions yet? Thankfully, predictions don't rely on an individual. Predictions are more of a "wait and see" formula where, ultimately, it's up to industry and technology to blaze the path for their outcome.


A few days ago we asked BMC Software CTOS to share some predictions towards the upcomming year.


If you haven't already read these links, I invite you to check out their blogs and comment. Are they insightful? Do you agree?  Have a great 2013.



                                             Anthony Orr, Director, Office of the CTO shares his thoughts:anthony orr.png


TOP 2013 Predictions for ITSM by Anthony Orr :


1. More focus on the service catalog

2. Greater interest in the user experience and user engagement models

3. Increased focus on retention of key IT staff










suhas 2.png

Suhas A. Kelkar, Chief Technology Officer (APAC), BMC Software shares insights:

Suhas’ IT Predictions for 2013 (and beyond)


1.  More Focus on Driving Business through Innovation

2.  IT Becomes Invisible and Magical







          david williams.png                                     David Williams, VP, Office of the CTO, BMC Software predicts these trends: 


Williams shares his 2013 Predicts

1.  End User Activity Monitoring (EUAM)

  1. 2.   Service Intelligence transforming the role of the Service Desk
  2. 3Crowd Sourced IT Awareness
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Welcome to another entry from our new Social Snapshot series. Take a read. I think we could all benefit from Christopher's insights and approach.


Today we have some great insights shared from Christopher Little, DevOps Solutions Marketing Manager for BMC Software. 


Chris came to BMC just a year ago with the acquisition of StreamStep. His approach to social marketing is very grass-roots, developer-style and works well. Find Christopher Little on BMC Communities, or on Twitter via @BMC_DevOps

chris little.png





How long have you been Social? 

I started being really social at about 4 and then overtime evolved with the digital of it.


Seriously, I have been doing “social” longer than it’s been called social.

Folks, Social is just more dazzling internet magic at work. It’s wonderful, one of those things that the better you understand it, the more you will embrace it. For a trivial example, most of the people I was associating with at a ‘meet-up’ after hours at vmworld this year I had never met (in person). But, because I knew them all already through social, meaning I already came to know “the mind” before “the body” -- it was great hanging with old friends who I had only just met.


How do you get started in Social Media?

I got started years ago where I was VP of Marketing at a start-up and we had no money. We had a great product, a depth of bench with MD expertise unmatched by any company of any size (we had a category-defining technology), and we solved a painful, expensive problem by . . . automating it.  Some of the ingredients of what we now call Social were in their nascent form and I grasped the opportunities.

I saw that “Social” is not a new flavor that you add to your marketing soup. It is not a new type of advertisement or trade show. It can be much deeper, more meaningful than that. It’s actually going back to the (CLUETRAIN MANIFESTO book) definition of marketplace as a place with real conversations in it.


How do you find “Inspiration” for social content?

Some of it is me tripping over serendipity. I am an avid learner of new things and information. For instance, first thing in the morning I will read a couple of online newspapers and go through my personalized Zite and send interesting items to Buffer to queue up tweet posts. And I will check hashtag streams for relevant topics (for example #DevOps).

You can also queue up your twitter feed using Hoot Suite or Tweet Deck if you don’t like the rigidity of Buffer’s schedules— that morning review of what’s happening usually gives more than enough Tweet content for the day.

Now, if I come across anything relevant during the day, I’ll tweet it immediately – immediacy is important, too.

For the non-serendipity stuff like blogging, my approach is you manage it as if you owned a newspaper. You’re the editor, reporters and the editorial calendar. So I make sure I have a lot of content scheduled in the calendar (else you are relegated to publishing the equivalent of ‘man bites dog’ blogs).  A lot of people have views on this but I try to make sure I have content 4-6 weeks out. That’s baseline cadence stuff. Anything bubbling up that warrants a more immediate appearance goes to the front page slot and pushes the prepared article on the calendar out.


How do you approach content development?

Well, you have to have something real to say.  So, content development has two parts: found content and created content (and sometimes mixing the two).

Given content, my blogging approach for creating content in the DevOps community is brand focused: be a trusted resource for IT visitors on their DevOps value and discovery, be a central location of reference information and insight for evaluation, and have that all be offered under the BMC name.


I see the blog success come from its credibility and unmatched accumulation of unique resources. And being mildly sparky in a way, and not afraid of who and what we are. I’ve asked leaders in Open Source about the risks of open source (and the risk of not using open source). I’ve asked the guy who coined the term “DevOps” then watched it grow into a global frenzy – if vendor hype on DevOps is spoiling it. I’ve asked the Poppendiecks – founders of the Lean Software Development movement – on the profound shift in big software (IMO everyone should read their short answer, it’s excerpt #10 from their series)


Do you have a Personal Rule/Mantra?

I do. First a note: a core operating principle here: we are all knowledge workers. That’s KW in the Deming sense. Now, as individuals and knowledge workers, we have unique qualities that social can make shine and expose in a way no other method can do (except maybe public speaking).

So: don’t have a mission statement, have a mission. What’s your mission? The mission in your day, in your job, maybe in your life, in everything you do (life and job have a huge time overlap). Knowing your mission will help inform your social voice and presence. Speak from there and what you say will get heard.


Would you share your Biggest Win/ Achievement?

I actually have many favorites, because the Social dimension for the DevOps portal has been exceedingly successful.  Core DevOps is a very high-functioning alpha geek, pro open source, Agile-oriented audience. BMC Software and the BMC brand did not have a good reputation there.


So some background: when I started this in February of this year, I kept the focus to add value to the conversations in the marketplace and earn the right to be considered a trusted source of DevOps info and insight. That meant tweeting news, references and even competitor’s tweets and blogs (don’t tell my boss!). Over time I have also added my distinct and informed point of view, never selling, always advising and informing.


So that’s a little background. Now some of my favorite achievements may not mean much to some, but they validate a lot for me in terms of social: the time this summer when the CIO of a multinational UK bank stopped the beginning of a major BMC presentation to inform everyone in the room that BMC Software, through our DevOps portal, has the finest single DevOps source on the internet; or when a top BMC executive is told by an executive of a major account that BMC provides an valuable service with its DevOps Social; or when a leading DevOps speaker pulls me aside at a conference in Silicon Valley to say that BMC is truly classy, bringing valuable conversations to the market [and then personally apologizes for a (well-known) history of being aggressively anti-BMC].


What are the biggest Challenges with Social Media?

So here’s a real challenge for many, including me: remembering how much you may be able to contribute to the conversation. Give generously. You are an informed, educated, seasoned knowledge worker who can be a resource and a wisdom provider and trusted help. So become valued by being valuable. If you stopped to help a woman with little kids change a tire on the side of a busy freeway, would you also try to sell her a new jack because you work for a new jack company? (um, if you answered yes, you may need to look into a career in sales…)


Do you have a parting thought to share?

Wade into the “Social water” — just remember it’s an ocean, not a pool, so don’t look to dive deep or generate any big waves till you understand how the currents work and the kind of muscle tone you’ll need.

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Welcome to a new blog series we are beginning for Communities on BMC Social.


The goal is to share insights from all ranks of individuals who are social within the BMC community.


I had the pleasure of speaking with Alf Abuhajleh, Principal Solutions Marketing Manager - ITSM for BMC Software.  His approach is well, very approachable—AND “do-able” … take a look and see how it fits into your style.  Follow Alf on BMC Communities or on Twitter @BMCSaaS.




How long have you been Social? 

Regularly for about a year and a half now—since last summer. Three months ago I got more serious—that is, other than checking a box on my task list. Engagement went up but it was mostly some BMC’ers commenting. Then, when Chris Dancy told me to try to be more myself—communicate more like I talk and be less formal—things really changed. My Klout score went up 25% in a month.”


How do you get started in Social Media?

Well, it’s part of the job requirement and I still feel uncomfortable every time I have to write something.

I used to be a newspaper reporter, so it’s not about seeing my name in print. It’s more about the task and how to approach it properly. You want to write to create content and friction, but, it’s important to balance the friction with humor and sass and not upset people by going over the line.  We see so much content with newspapers, Internet, TV— the audience is smart and they can sense the story. With a blog, you have to capture the reader in the first two sentences or they move on.

My opinion is that the average blog is poorly written. While my writing ability helps—it’s the approach that matters. I know the blog is something that I need to report, write—then edit—before publishing.  Most people, I feel, skip the edit.”


How do you find “Inspiration” for social content?

I am a social skeptic. In a B2B community I am not going to communicate like my teenage daughter—which is what social seems to be all about—and I know that the CIO or CTO isn’t necessarily reading Twitter to check out the next business tool she should consider. But, I can see the greater power when we all become experts. If I tweet in a B2B environment with 2-3 others, we create the expert opinion of the company. Does the CTO see it? Maybe—but the process is new and growing and I do see value in what I have achieved over the past year.


How do you approach content development?

For responses, I try to respond to other who are influencers with the hopes that they will also follow me. My Klout score—I don’t worry about it much. I get mostly BMC level responses at this point. My next-phase personal social goal is to engage within other’s tweets more. The theory behind “good” Twitter content is much like how we as Americans eat— in “mouth blasts” of high-energy, amazing food, with short meals. It’s really hard to get that “blast” in Twitter with just 140 characters. For me, creating the amazing Tweet is a lot of thought and editing – hard work.


Do you have a Personal Rule/Mantra?

I don’t tweet from my phone to avoid mistakes. I encourage others to write the Tweet first in Word and check for spelling errors—spelling incorrectly just makes a bad impression.


Would you share your Biggest Win/ Achievement?

I commented on something Geoffrey Moore (author of “Crossing the Chasm”) tweeted, he commented back, and now we are connected on LinkedIn and communicate occassionally. That’s kinda cool and shows how it all can work with influencers—after all, he’s the father of technology marketing.


How do you approach Time Management?

I tweet every day. There is no formula for me. It’s a “task” or a box on my to do list. I guess I actually time my tweets around when I have the time carved out for research and reading. I try to read every day, so that research makes it easy to share. I tend not to tweet more than one thing. Rather, I keep a running list of what is good to share on hand for the next day. The trick is that the content gets old quickly—so I have to keep going with it.

For blogging, I post on Google and Communities with a twice- a month Thursday Cadence. The approach is a formula that I developed as a writer. Rather than saying what I think, I start with a strong piece of content, say a thought leadership piece, and I propose comments into what other people have created by breaking down sections and sharing bits of the larger piece, ending with a link to the actual full document. (see Dancy example)

A lot of people write new content but it takes days and is overwhelming sometimes. I prefer to look at blogging as sharing with comment and always with thought towards writing with style.


What are your biggest Challenges with Social Media?

Be yourself. Develop your own voice. It was something I had to learn. Being a business reporter for a daily paper I was conditioned to just report the facts. Report. Write. Edit. Publish. The edit part is usually left off and it’s the biggest part. Be careful what you say. Edit yourself—don’t just write and post.


Do you have a Parting Thought to share?

I was a skeptic—I’m still a skeptic. Don’t worry about followers. There is a lot of reluctance to start from zero, but you have to get your hands dirty to appreciate the value of social media. We are all learning…and will continue to.

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