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Are You on Twitter?

Like many busy DBAs, I used to be very dismissive of Twitter. It seemed like a self-indulgent waste of time. After all, who cares what I am doing at any given time? Did I really care that someone was reading the paper, sipping some good coffee?

Well, I decided to give Twitter a try during the 2009 MVP Summit in March of 2009. I knew that quite a few SQL Server MVPs were on Twitter, and it seemed like it was time to jump on the bandwagon. Once I actually started using Twitter, I was hooked. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a heavy Twitter user, with thousands of tweets, and thousands of followers, but I definitely see real value from being active on Twitter. BTW, I am @GlennAlanBerry on Twitter.

Professionally, I can interact with some of the best minds in the SQL Server community. If I have a technical problem, I can ask the SQL Server Twitter “community” and get suggestions and answers sometimes within seconds. Likewise, I can try to help other people solve their technical problems when I see something that I might have the answer to. Twitter is a very good real-time news source. Many breaking news stories show up on Twitter long before they show up on other traditional news sources. Within the SQL Server community, breaking news (like the brief problem with the download package for SQL Server 2008 SP1 CU6 this past week) is disseminated much more quickly than on blogs.

Twitter is also part of the process of “building your brand”, as Steve Jones likes to say. Becoming better known in the community among your peers and to potential employers and clients is very valuable for your career. Being active and well-regarded on Twitter is one tool for building your brand. You do want to be careful how you conduct yourself, and what you say on Twitter, so don’t be like that foolish guy who lost a job offer from Cisco over a silly Tweet. Remember, it is very likely that multiple people from your company are on Twitter. I try to follow the rule of not saying anything on Twitter that I would not want my Mom reading on the front page of the local newspaper. Another thing to be aware of is that if you mention any company or product in a Tweet, it is very likely that someone from that company will start “following” you, due to the pervasive influence of “social marketing”. That bothers some people, but I don’t mind. If Intel wants to follow me because I mentioned the Xeon 5500 series in a Tweet, more power to them.

Less professionally, Twitter is a good way to get to know the people that you are connected to on Twitter. Having more friends is never a bad thing after all. Twitter is also a good outlet for venting, in some situations (as long as you don’t overdo it).  If you want to give Twitter a try, just sign up for a free account at twitter.com, then follow a few people that interest you. Don’t worry, you can lurk for a while.

Here are some of the more well known SQL Server people that are active on Twitter:

BrentO                     Brent Ozar

SQLRockstar             Thomas LaRock

PaulRandal                Paul Randal

statisticsio                 Jason Massie

SQLSarg                   Jonathan Kehayias

SQLDBA                    Kendal Van Dyke

mrdenny                   Denny Cherry

KimberlyLTripp          Kimberly Tripp

kbriankelly                 K. Brian Kelly

buckwoody                Buck Woody

Comments

Posted by Tim Mitchell on 25 January 2010

Good summary.  Like you, I was dismissive of the Twitter phenom until a little over a year ago.  I missed the SQL PASS summit of 2008, but the scuttlebutt on blogs indicated that lots of SQL Server people had gotten wired up on Twitter.  

I started experimenting with it during late 2008 and early 2009, and almost immediately began interacting with some incredibly smart and helpful people in the SQL Server Twitterverse.  During the Summit this past November, Twitter was used to announce big events, communicate (or sometimes heckle) during keynotes, coordinate after-hours events, and lots of other useful pings.

It's still not right for everybody, nor do I think it's useful to spend your entire day on Twitter - if you follow a lot of people, it can really be a time sink to keep up with all of the conversations.  But it can be a handy communication tool when used properly.

By the way, I'm on Twitter at twitter.com/Tim_Mitchell, if you're interested :)

Posted by Jason Brimhall on 26 January 2010

I think you have made some good points.  Tim has also made some good points.  This has helped to prompt me to write a follow-up on my post about twitter.

Posted by Anonymous on 26 January 2010

Pingback from  Tweeting – I took the Dive. » SQL RNNR

Posted by Dugi on 26 January 2010

I can see that the twitter is very very active online communication environment where you have possibility to ask, communicate with filtered people. Example all the members mentioned above are the SQL professional persons and all we in comments side are using SQL everyday. But I'm afraid to not overdose (waste of time) using it.

I merge myself in the list, http://twitter.com/DugiSQL

Posted by nvman on 28 January 2010

Hopefully the people responding to your twittered problem, are doing it on their lunch break...

I can certainly see the potential for abuse.

Posted by Glenn Berry on 28 January 2010

Obviously, things like Twitter can be abused. As long as you are responsible, the potential for sharing useful, work-related information seems to outweigh whether someone is on a "lunch break".

Most DBAs end up working far more than 40 hours a week, and most employers are mainly concerned about the results produced by the employee rather than watching a time clock.

Posted by tjm on 29 January 2010

Love the SQL discussions on Twitter.  Feel free to hit me up...

Posted by tjm on 29 January 2010
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