Last week, I posted this month’s question for #meme15. As was mentioned in that post, the aim of these posts by myself and, hopefully, others will provide some insight into how to succeed in social networking areas.
The questions for this month are:
- Why should average Jane or Joe professional consider using twitter?
- What benefit have you seen in your career because of twitter?
Value to the Average Jane/Joe
Twitter is an interesting beast. To the outsider, it’s 140-character messages about the food we are eating, what we are wearing, and the latest Barbie fashions. But when you peel back the and look under the surface, twitter is much, much more than that.
When you understand twitter in a professional light, you find that you are transported to a strange universe where stalking your peers is a good thing. With twitter, you can follow anyone that is already using it. Making people such as Denny Cherry (Blog | @MrDenny), Thomas LaRock (Blog | @SQLRockstar), Brent Ozar (Blog | @BrentO), or, even, Paul Randal (Blog | @PaulRandal) your pseudo-coworkers.
Let’s be clear, this doesn’t mean that they’ll show up at your desk and do your work for you. But they are “virtually” hanging out at the twitter “water-cooler” sharing their days and will, at times, lend a hand to solving problems you may be facing. Even more, many people in the SQL Server community use the #sqlhelp (more info) hash tag to ask questions and offer assistance to each other.
The number of people in the SQL Server community that use twitter is extremely vibrant. And these connections are easy to make. There are no judgments about who you are, what you do, or what you look like. The community is about the conversations that we have.
This bring us to the last point on value that the average Jane/Joe can find through twitter. With twitter, we are never “going it alone”. You may work in an environment where you are the only DBA or developer, but with twitter there is always someone to turn to. Or if you there are other DBAs and developers, you may have the minority view point in a discussion. Twitter provides that outlet necessary to find others to relate to or to validate your position. And while you may not find what your view points are correct, we are there to help you out.
As I’ve thought about career benefits that I’ve had through twitter, I realized that it could easily fill pages and pages to highlight the places where twitter provided me value. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few places that have stuck out to me:
- It helped me connect with the Program Committee for the 2009 PASS Summit. By getting to know the members of the committee, it helped them know who the person submitting the sessions was. Which I believe helped me speak at the summit for the first time.
- I was recognized, at the summit, by some community members that I look up to. Even getting recognized and told that I didn’t look like my profile picture. But I was recognized. The benefit here was really that I was making an impact through my use of twitter and reaching people.
- Since I started using twitter, the number of readers for my blog has grown tremendously. From a dozen or so views a day a few years back to the record breaking 3,000 views I had last week.
- The network of professionals that I can tap into has grown from just the few people that I work with between my customers to a global network. Some of the people from this growing network were even invited to my wedding last summer.
In many ways, twitter has impacted my career and it can impact yours as well. Take it for a spin and put some effort into it, the investment in your time my be a big payoff in your career and maybe a position that matches all of your dreams.