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SQLAndy

I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

Do You Have Influence? Part 1

Most people blog because it’s fun, rewarding, good way to improve writing skills, be cool, and it looks good on a resume. Some people also hope to use their blog to influence others in a positive way. If you’re in the latter group, read on!

During our recent excitement about the 2010 elections for PASS it’s been interesting to watch the impact of bloggers and those on Twitter on both the general community and on the Board.

At the community level, this time, it was sharing views and exploring the why and how. Some of it heated, some of very well reasoned, it’s exactly what we want, a good debate about a topic that matters to a large number of people. That is a community doing its thing.

At the Board, it was our main view of the reaction to an unpopular decision. I’m going to really generalize here because I won’t write about specific comments without permission, and I think you’ll see why an overview works well for this discussion anyway. There was definitely an inclination to read and appreciate those that posted comments in support of whichever view you had. That’s human. There was also an inclination to just ignore or worse those that had differing opinions. I think that’s human too, and I’m probably as guilty at times as anyone, but it’s not the way to go.

That’s the easy stuff.

I’m not a big believer in governing by opinion poll. Yet, strangely, I’m hugely in favor of getting opinions! Anyone you talk to shapes your views. Talk to people you know will agree with you and you just get reinforcement, talk to those that disagree with you and you risk your blood boiling! How do you pick who to talk to, who to listen to, so that you get to hear both sides? The key point here is not that I want to decide based on what is popular. I’m either trying to reach a really good decision and what to see both sides, or I’ve mostly reached a decision and want to explore the edges of it.

So, who do I listen to? Who listens to you? And how much trust is involved in that?

I follow most of the bloggers in the SQL Server space. Many I know personally, some I know well, some I know only by what they’ve written and done over the course of some amount of time. Based on my own value set I’ve tagged them all with some kind of ‘credibility rating’ and I use that each time I read something they write. That might be based on my perception of their skill level, people skills, writing skills, focus/agenda, personal history, and more. So when they write something new, that rating affects how soon and how deeply I read what they write, and it varies even by topic. If you’re reading this today, I imagine you’ve done much the same with me.

Said differently, you probably put more stock in news you hear from your preferred news source than from someone waiting in line with you for coffee.

Tomorrow I’m going to write about how to increase your influence and your credibility. Sometimes they correlate, sometimes they don’t. Before then, a question for you to think about – who do you let us influence you and why? Did they earn it? Did you give them that trust too easily (or not soon enough)? Is it ethical to try to have influence? Or political? Good stuff to think about.

Comments

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 16 September 2010

Thought provoking information Andy.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Posted by Glenn Berry on 17 September 2010

Good post Andy. Infuence and credibility are earned over time, by writing good content. I am looking forward to reading Part 2.

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