Jason has asked about our Twitter usage, specifically how it has helped us as DBAs or developers, or in our careers as general.
Microblog… Something Else… Profit!
I didn’t get Twitter at first. I thought that it was a service for self-involved folks to talk incessantly about what they ate at each meal. I sometimes fail in having the best confidence, and I thought, “Who would even care to learn about what I ate?”
But I didn’t get Twitter; I didn’t understand how people were using it. Sure, there are plenty of people who Tweet about what they ate for lunch, what they bought at the store, what location they just checked in to (and that you are free to rob their houses while they’re away) – and even I’m guilty of such behavior from time to time – but this isn’t want Twitter is about. Twitter isn’t about broadcasting; it’s about having conversations.
Twitter is a public, global chat room, except it’s cooler than AOL ever was and you can tune in to just the people you want to hear.
How I Use Twitter
When I was unceremoniously handed the role of Accidental DBA, I was alone. I had no one to go to with questions. I didn’t even have the support of the IT department. What I had was a SQL Server database, the knowledge of how to restart IIS via Command Line (seriously, don’t ask…), and a lot of questions around, “How would I even know if something were going wrong?”
Like any good geek, I turned to Google for answers. But it wasn’t until I ran across Brent Ozar’s blog and found his Simple Twitter book that I was sold enough to give Twitter a try.
Twitter saved me. Twitter became my support system at work. Twitter became a way to ask questions, double check assumptions, verify functionality, and blow off steam. Twitter became a way to find new blogs to read, and to share new blogs that I’ve written. Simply watching the #SQLHelp hashtag through the day opened me to new and often-times esoteric knowledge that I probably wouldn’t have encountered on my own.
How Should You Use Twitter?
Well, you first have to sign up for an account! After that, download a Twitter client to help you manage it. In the past I would’ve easily recommended TweetDeck, but they’ve made some changes to their app recently that I don’t fully approve but at least you can run it in a browser. (Yeah, I know: it’s free so get over it.) Do some searches for #SQLServer, #SQLHelp, #SQLPeople and #SQLPass to find some interesting and knowledgeable people to follow. And then…
Jump into the conversation! Offer your opinion, help in answering a question. Don’t hesitate, don’t become a lurker. Like I mentioned, Twitter is about conversation, and sure, you’ll often times jump in right in the middle of things, but that’s how the SQL Community rolls on Twitter. And it’s funny how a conversation can thread from clustering to coffee to bacon in a matter of minutes.
Come and join in!