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