A CrazyBizTalk confession

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Introduction

(This blog post was co-written by Pieter VandenheedeGlenn Colpaert, both colleagues at Codit)

We finally admit it… we both were the brains behind the CrazyBizTalk account. There… it’s in the open. After Integrate 2017, day 3, we were no longer able to keep it a secret, so there is no use of denying it anymore…

It was a fun ride, which started in 2013 already. We’ve written this post to give you some insights on how it all got started, the fun we had through the years and what the next steps are.

How it all started

In May 2013, both of us were very actively developing BizTalk applications. The Microsoft Integration community was starting to become a vibrant place and the #msbts Twitter hashtag (for Microsoft BizTalk Server) became a thing we both started following on a daily basis.

Now and then we were making fun of BizTalk items and the very first tweet Glenn sent out was the following:

It was also the birth of our very own hashtag: #crazybiztalktweets!2

We both thought it would be a great idea to start a Twitter account and several minutes later, Pieter registered the Twitter account CrazyBizTalk, a name inspired by the moment.

We thought of things to do and after a few days of brainstorming, we decided we had our first few memes and quotes we could start with.

The very first tweet from the CrazyBizTalk account was on May 27th, 2013:

It didn’t get a lot of love back then, but we felt it was funny, so we decided to amp things up and put up some more tweets in the days to come, this time including the meme pictures:

It was fun, but still it was something casual after those few first days. Thought to be forgotten at some point. However, it clicked with us. We discussed the next steps, proposed new quotes, confirmed or vetoed others. We had some good laughs and giggles, every time we came up with something new.

At some point we even created a DropBox shared folder, in order to keep up with the new ideas and memes we had… and yes, we even had some BizTalk lyrics…

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They were good times, but neither of us had thought we would keep going 4 years later.

Some “glorious” moments

Time went by and we started getting 100+ followers on Twitter and getting more every time we made up something new. People started liking, re-tweeting (RT’ing), we even had some private messages from time to time… you know who you were 😉

Some of our best moments were at Integrate 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Audiences hooked on Twitter with a single #integrate hashtag are all potential followers we discovered. Here’s a selection from the past years:

Admittedly, we sometimes made fun of our beloved BizTalk Server. Being anonymous gives you the advantage of being able to say what you want. We realized we had to be very careful in what to say, in order not to burn the account. However, we did notice that whenever we approached the acceptable line, we did get more likes and RT’s than usual!

Some other things to know:

  • We have amassed a 700+ followers. Not bad considering this is a parody account for a Microsoft Server product considered “dead” to some, and in such a specialty domain.
  • We had likes and RT’s from some interesting people/accounts.
    • Josh Twist when he was Program Manager for BizTalk Server for a while.
    • The official BizTalk Server account.
    • etc…
  • At some point, we owned a website: crazybiztalk.azurewebsites.net, but due to an error in the hosting, we had to close it again with a corrupt database.
  • Some of our colleagues knew who we were, but we made them vow not to tell anyone. We still have a lot of people in the company who don’t know.
    It’s so much fun having colleagues show you the funny tweet they just saw on Twitter, not knowing you just posted it a few seconds earlier! 🙂
  • At some points in time there were only one of us posting to the account.
  • During Integrate 2015 we were too busy writing blog posts for our company blog and didn’t feel we were able to post anonymously enough. We did not tweet during that conference.
  • During Integrate 2017, day 1, we actually won a book for having the most popular tweet that day. On day 2, we were about to do the same, but Nick Hauenstein won with a tweet from the day before 😉
  • At some point, somebody created a CrazyAzure Twitter account! Whoever you are, you are awesome! 🙂

Also, over time, people always tried to figure out who was behind the account…
A special thanks to the following people,  who made this a very fun experience:

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Also, people gave us some praise now and then, which was much appreciated!

The cover blown

A few years ago, Glenn was already considered as being the only person behind the account. A few months later however, speculation started again, as the account started posting at conferences while Glenn not being present. A few years later however, disaster struck.

Integrate 2017, day 3 will be marked as a black page in our book. The conference was a BIG HIT so far: we won a book on the first day due to the most popular #integrate2017 tweet. Appeared during a demo of SteefJan on the second day and tweets were getting a lot of likes and love.

During one of the last sessions however, while trying to appear in yet another demo, things went downhill when we used Tweetdeck to post (too) quickly. Pieter forgot to uncheck his own account and posted. Only to be followed by:

The damage was done and the secret identity broken… What a pity!!

Could you have known?

Is there any way you could have known it was us or related to us?

Sure, there were some clues we were not able to hide:

  • The first two followers of the account were both of our Twitter accounts. There was no option to remove them (unfortunately).
  • The first 7 followers were Codit Belgium accounts.
  • We always posted during hours comparing with the Belgian timezone

Conclusion: What’s next?

There is no next… unfortunately.

We have both decided to quit the account.
Although it is tempting to continue with the account, it would no longer be the same as it was. Now that we are affiliated with the account, we feel people may become biased by what we think is funny. It was very fun doing what we did however.

We will close the account and login now and then, to make sure the tweets are preserved for any new BizTalk developer that happens to stumble upon them.

We very much enjoyed doing what we did and truly hoped to have made you laugh, giggle or just sparked an interest into what we did. We did not spend a lot of time on it, but we felt like making things better by adding a little humor.

Let us know what you think!
What was your favorite one? How did you experience all of this?

CLOSURE

Cheers! #crazybiztalktweets

Glenn Colpaert & Pieter Vandenheede

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