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By Steve Jones,

I know that Twitter is really representative of only a fraction of the people in the world, and arguably it's not even a good representation of any group. That's because it's a self-selective group that chooses to share thoughts, ideas, news, etc. with the world. However I do enjoy the medium, and find myself learning about the world, thinking about opinions, catching up with friends, and once in awhile, getting help.

There is a hashtag on Twitter called #sqlhelp. It's an amazing tool that I'd highly encourage all of you to consider when you want a quick answer to a problem. Hashtags are a way of denoting tweets about a common subject, though there is no official set of hashtags. You can make one up yourself and see if it catches on. 

#sqlhelp certainly caught on, and I find it useful for many short, quick questions. While I was writing this piece, I saw questions come up on licensing, Oracle->SQL Server conversions, security in a database, and how to read an execution plan. I also saw some noise, with requests for consultants to teach, product advertisements, and a webinar notice. I'm slightly worried that noise level might overwhelm this channel, but if you're on Twitter, you should try using it for your next problem and see what you think.

As with any answer you get from the Internet, you should test things yourself and decide how trustworthy the source is. You might get an answer from Brent Ozar or Paul Randal, but you might get some new DBA on his first day of work. Also be aware that 140 characters can severely limit the questions you can ask. If it's complex, I'd suggest you try the SQLServerCentral forums instead and post a link to your question on Twitter.

Whether you like Twitter (and #sqlhelp) or not, I do believe that this is a great example of how our community does a great job of helping each other out. We teach, learn, support, and inspire each other, arguably more than any other industry or technological group I know of. It's a joy to be a part of the community, and I'd encourage you to join us on Twitter, forums, or local events.

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