On Facebook I follow a number of cycling companies and one of them regularly hosts a Facebook session for an hour with one of it's mechanics where anybody can post and ask questions...you would think pretty mundane but about 40 people ask questions in the hour. Wind forward and I am running Mark Anzani's (IBM VP for System z) diary while he is in the UK this week. So I decide that it would be good to have Mark as the guest on a Twitter debate, playing the role of the mechanic!
Well after numerous conference calls, an IBM internal newsletter article and many swapped emails we get to yesterday at 3.30pm, thirty minutes before the debate is due to kick off. In the room we have:
- Mark Anzani
- Jeffrey Biamonte
- Richard Gamblin
- Paul Yarrow
- Geoff Eggleston
On the phone we have Carly Exum and Pratin Ashketar, in Le Guardia Airport it transpires we have Paulo Carvao another IBM VP...
On my laptop I have access to not only my own twitter account but also the main IBM_System_z account.
When we get to 4pm the chaos begins, we have questions backing up and we are brainstorming how we can answer questions that would normally require a 5-minute discussion in 140 characters...for the next 60-minutes it is a blur of switching between Twitter accounts, Sametime with you boss' boss, finding links, getting answers into 140 characters when they have been built by a room of people and general panic and chaos.
We get questions from multiple IBMers including 2 IBM VP's and 2 Business Unit Directors we even get 2 customers join in. We get representation from Jordan, India, USA, Cuba and Italy as well as bunch of guys from IBM UK during the debate. In the hour we get over 100 interactions and this leads to multiple subsequent retweets and mentions..
And then 5pm arrives and the fastest hour of my life has gone and we are agreeing to do it again next month. We learnt some valuable lessons while on line, so if it was less than perfect we apologise, bear with us we will be better next time...The lessons include:
- Don't attempt a Twitter debate on your own
- Don't have the main laptop on a dodgy WiFi network
- Set your Sametime status to do-not-disturb
- Get your WW colleagues involved they helped massively in the set-up
- Don't promise an IBM VP coffee when the canteen is closed
- Don't expect a Poughkeepsie Chip God to be succinct
See you on the 10th October (details to follow) for what will hopefully become a regular #mainframedebate