The Holiday Season is upon us yet there is no rest for the wary at this busy time of year.  Lately, I've been working to establish an online social community for Professional Developers and Architects working for a Microsoft Partner in the United States.  After a short assessment period, I have settled on Facebook and their Group application to launch a social network for communicating with my partner community.  Though not an optimal solution, in terms of feature and functionality, Facebook does provide the built in infrastructure I sought for managing group membership and allowing opt-in/out model for partner participation.

Group Benefits

You are probably curious as to why create yet another destination for the community; are there not enough resources out there already!  Well the answer is yes and no.  Most professional communication channels today are publish-subscribe models such as newsletters, emails, and web sites.  Some of the content is very good, some of it not.  In many cases the scope of content is so robust, discovering what is important and relevant to you can be a challenge.  And, opting out of the subscription model brings with it a whole set of problems and concerns.  Blogging and RSS feeds have opened up the door for a better experienceimagee yet the truly social element of blogging is somewhat absent.

So, I'm looking to Facebook Groups to create the professional social experience I seek for working with hundreds, if not thousands of Microsoft partners in my region.

From my perspective, the key benefits of using a Facebook Group are:

  • Facebook is one of the most widely accepted social communities online.
  • The infrastructure is in-place today; no need to build out my own.
  • Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is managed by you, not me.
  • Enrollment can be managed.
  • Subscribers can opt-out of my group without going through me.
  • Microsoft recently invested in Facebook so I'm betting on growth and improvement in this space.

Announcing "Partner Huddle"

Officially, I've named the Facebook Group, Partner Huddle.  And officially, Partner Huddle will be a social community for members of the Microsoft partner community; specifically Professional Developer and Architects within these organizations. The group will serve as a forum for the Microsoft Developer & Platform Evangelism Team (D&PE) and Microsoft Partners to share best practices; highlight early adoption success stories; increase awareness of Microsoft sponsored or partner sponsored readiness training; and increase awareness and enrollment in Microsoft early adoption programs. More importantly it provides a forum for members to socialize ideas that will strengthen and improve the Microsoft partnership.

My Blog vs Partner Huddle

Where does my blog fit in?  Do you join the group or simply subscribe to my blog to get the same information.  Personally, I hope everyone subscribes to my blog and that partners join both as each will have its own identity and purpose.  Think of them this way:

  • MY BLOG - Enterprise & Solutions Architecture - Notes from the Field
    • My blog is intended to share insightful wisdom (tongue in cheek) and information with Software and Solution Architects and Professional Developers striving to better understand the strategic direction of Microsoft's platform technology.  This will include summary findings of relevant research I conduct, important announcements and events I hear about, and my personal experience working with specific products and technologies.
  • PARTNER HUDDLE
    • The conversation here will be relevant to a partner community only, and as such, for the time being, will be a private group on Facebook.  As a professional social network for Microsoft Application Development partners, all members, whether from large or small partner organizations, are peers with an equal voice and equal role as contributing members to the site.  It is only through this interactive exchange of information that we can learn from one another about the challenges and successes we've experienced as professional developers in a Microsoft partner organization.  My role will be to manage the group, participate as a peer in our conversations and deliver value by serving as an aggregator of information specifically benefiting our professional developer partner community.

Who Should Join

Partner Huddle is for Professional Developers and Architects working for a Microsoft Partner in the United States.  But, all members of the Microsoft Partner Community are welcome.

How to Join

It's easy.  There are three simple steps for membership:

  1. First you must have a Facebook account.  This is prerequisite to joining a Facebook group.
  2. Next add me as a Facebook friend
  3. Lastly, send me a Facebook message requesting membership to the Facebook group.  Include the following information in your message
    • Subject line should read "Partner Huddle Membership Request"
    • Body of the message should include the name and address of your partner organization

Once I have confirmed your partner status,I will send you an invitation to join the group.

Act Now

Why?  Because if you join today, I will let you in on a special holiday offer that I'm running to launch Partner Huddle.  Offer expires on December 21st 17th.

Happy Holidays,

John