Being at the PASS Summit this past week was amazing for me. If you didn't have the chance to be here, there was an amazing amount of information on the Twitter feed for #sqlpass. Following that hash tag, or searching for it, would result in learning a tremendous amount about what was happening.
Last year when they keynotes took place, I noticed that there were 10-20 people that were sending tweets, making comments, during the keynotes. There were even information exchanges between Donald Farmer (donalddotfarmer) and people in the audience before and after his demo. It was fun for a small group of people, but the PASS organization took note of it. They not only encouraged a series of hash tags (#sqlpass, #sqlbingo, and #sqlpassawesomeness among them), they also had a live Twitter and Flickr feed running on a large monitor near the PASS booth.
In the keynotes this week you could have gleaned a fair amount of information about the keynotes just from the Twitter feed. As facts and figures were announced, a number of people would "tweet" them from the audience. You would have learned that there are two new SKUs for SQL Server 2008 R2, or that PowerPivot can quickly sort 101,000,000 rows, or even a few facts about why columnar databases make sense in data warehousing situations. You would have also learned the Dell keynote on Thursday was horrible. I don't mean to insult the presenter, but he did a bad job, and I'd encourage everyone to send real, specific feedback to PASS that they can pass to Dell. I'm working on my own notes now.
As I followed the tweets, I learned where people were, got interesting comments and facts repeated from sessions, and learned a few things about SQL Server. Some of the best tweets were from Paul Randal (@PaulRandal and @KimberlyLTripp, where each of them tweeted during the others pre- or post-conference sessions. I bet some of you would be amazed at what was sent to the #ktprecon and the #prpostcon tags.
The point of this is that Twitter is more than a "I'm getting a cup of coffee" posting. There is some of that, but there are pictures, notes, links, and more that can exchange a tremendous amount of information for a group of people looking to interact in the real world. If I look back at my tweets and then the blogs I wrote during the Summit, I'm amazed at how much data actually got out in real time.
I don't know that Twitter is for everyone, but with the Summit just ending, and a lot of blogs linked this week in the newsletter to help you learn about why the event is worth attending, I also wanted to point out some of the more real time ways in which you can learn about PASS and SQL Server.