Blog Authors: Valerie Skinner 060000VKGS is part of the IBM developerWorks team, getting to know the real developers who make up the My developerWorks community and exploring the world of social networking. I'm enjoying learning what makes developers tick! I'm very interested in exploring online communities and social media and understanding real world application - how they can help people solve problems and work together.
Interview with John Swanson, developerWorks newsletter editor
vskinner 060000VKGS Tags:  developerworks social_networking interview my_developerworks mydw 6 Comments 3,758 Views
This week, I'm privileged to share an interview with John Swanson, the managing editor of the English language developerWorks newsletter. John's been part of the developerWorks team for nine years, and as the newsletter editor, he has a bird's eye view of what's going on in the developerWorks universe. The free developerWorks newsletter is a great way to stay posted on what's new in developerWorks each week - subscribe here.
Learn more about John in the interview below and visit his My developerWorks profile to add him to your network.
So what's the most interesting thing about being the editor of the developerWorks newsletter?
The free candy! Just kidding. Every week, there's something new and cool on developerWorks and I get to tell the world about it -- and I like coming up with new ways of showing developers how they can benefit from the resources on our site. And after 10 years, we've accumulated a colossal amount of material -- tutorials, articles, demos, podcasts, and more (not to mention My developerWorks). Plus, subscribers can customize the newsletter so it focuses on information that's relevant to their interests and location.
From your perspective, what topics are the developerWorks audience most interested in lately?
The Linux stuff always draws a crowd -- the "Lazy Linux" piece was the top draw so far this year, and the "Learn Linux, 101" series has been popular lately. Other hot topics included "Speed up your Web pages," "Introducing Apache Mahout," and "10 great tools for any UNIX system." Our readers LOVE top-10 lists.
What's next for the developerWorks newsletter?
Well, my goal with the newsletter is to make the developer community aware of all the great resources on developerWorks, so as new stuff comes online I'll be showcasing it for everyone to see. If I'm doing my job right, readers are focusing on the content and not on me. (I'm sort of a digital carnival barker.) That's a longwinded way of saying what's new with the newsletter is what's new with developerWorks -- so subscribe already! :o)
Each week, you write such a creative editorial introduction for the newsletter - how do you keep your creativity sharp?
Thanks! Again, I have a lot of great material to work with. There are so many facets to developerWorks -- different topics, presentation formats, skill levels, etc. -- that there's always a new angle we can take with the newsletter. It's fun to find new ways to help developers overcome the challenges they're facing.
What do you think is something that is not commonly known about developerWorks that would benefit others?
Well, I'd like to believe that everyone in the IT community has set up their profiles on My developerWorks with robust data about themselves -- but I don't think we're quite there yet. It really is a one-of-a-kind resource that can help people connect and get exposure. (I mean, it costs nothing -- what can it hurt?)
It's funny: I'm really not a person who's prone to hyperbole -- but having worked with developerWorks for nine years now, I really do mean it when I say there's no other place quite like it on the Web.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
Hmm. Does a fishing pole count? If you're talking about computing, well, I'd go with a good cell phone with a decent signal -- we're quickly moving into a time when most, if not all, information-related tasks can be done with a phone. I mean, I'd have developerWorks -- what more could I possibly need?
What future technology would make your life easier?
I think speech recognition software has yet to hit its stride. Yeah, it's out there, but it certainly isn't part of our daily lives the way I think it will be one day (think household appliances). I see a future where people do far less typing.
How are you using social networking today?
I love to connect with friends and colleagues on My developerWorks and Facebook. When you work at home like I do, it's important to find ways to connect with others, and social networking has enabled me to connect with a wide range of folks who have enhanced my life an many ways -- people from all of the chapters of my life, including the current one. My developerWorks is great because there's an emphasis on the future -- solving problems, building careers, finding ways to move forward (and less on who sat next to you in Calculus class).
Do you know your Myers-Briggs or Kiersey personality type? Care to share?
I've taken both tests, but it's been years. I seem to recall that I'm officially an introvert -- but I do, in fact, get charge out of being around others. My personality makes taking those tests a little like nailing Jell-o to the wall.
- Thanks John!