Hey, I have my first System z friend on Facebook. I posted a comment, he responded and I responded back and now we’re friends, Facebook style. IBM has been touting its presence on Facebook to promote its System z on campus initiative. So, I joined the IBM System z on Campus group at Facebook.
The group revolves mainly around IBM’s multi-million dollar, multi-year program to expand the System z curriculum on college campuses worldwide in an effort to nurture the next generation of mainframe professionals. As Facebook groups go, System z on Campus is not exactly the most dynamic.
In truth, it’s pretty quiet with new discussion topics and wall posts wandering in every few days. Still, there are a few job posts, one in Pittsburg, another in Belgium recently. A few discussion topics get batted around a bit but not nearly enough to keep you returning a few times a day or even a few times a week.
As it turns out, there actually are, in addition to System z on Campus, several other mainframe groups on Facebook;
- IBM Mainframe Professionals
- Mainframe Global
- Mainframe Sysprogs
What you find in all the groups are a smattering of IBM announcements, often around various events, as well as assorted wall postings and discussion topics that attract sporadic response.
But the main point is that they are there. Today they act more like placeholders for the Systems z on Facebook, although real job opportunities are being posted and worthwhile discussions could be taking place. And as the groups attract more and more people activity is bound to become more dynamic and interesting. It’s viral.
LinkedIn is another social network with a number of System z groups like System z Advocates. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn started from day one as a professional networking site. Its audience is overwhelmingly business and professional. LinkedIn groups I visit regularly are:
- Mainframe Expert
- System z Advocates
- Global Mainframe Group
- IBM Mainframe
Like Facebook, they feature the usual announcements of events, latest IBM news, discussions, and postings, mainly by people looking to hire mainframe staff and consultants or from those seeking jobs. About the most popular discussion was why-I-love-the-System-z, which drew more responses than other topics I found. (I added my own two bytes to that one.) You can find the discussion here.
Twitter is the latest social networking rage. You’ll find mainframe groups here. And yes, IBM and the System z is all over Twitter too. Here’s a recent Tweet (Twitter message): “I just dumped an entire production sized z/OS system to 4 encrypted tapes in 1 hour. Amazing.” A lot of Tweets came out of the Pulse conference. I suspect SHARE will generate a slew more. Twitter dices life into 140-character chunks.
To find some young geeks who might be candidates to eventually replace aging mainframe veterans nearing retirement the CIO of a state in the Midwest opened a recruitment office on Second Life, the virtual world. Second Life is social networking on steroids. IBM arrived at Second Life in 2006.
Adopting a cool avatar, the 50-something CIO trolled the byways of Second Life in search of techies he could interest in JCL, CICS, and Linux on System z. And he found some.
The point of all this: it’s a new world out there in the cloud, and the System z is smack in the middle of it.