I am a newbie to Twitter and Facebook; I used to think “they’re just toys for people trying to find their old high school friends.”
…then again, maybe not.
As I have previous discussed, my company is not very positive when it comes to supporting training, and being a new father makes me cash-poor and travel-averse, so I try to attend all of the online training experiences I can – they’re usually free or relatively cheap (a few hundred dollars at most) and don’t require me to go any further than the couch while allowing me to be home at night.
One of the great parts (to me) of the online events is the sidebar conversations and Q&A in the accompanying chat rooms; it is especially enlightening when the presenter (who is almost always pre-recorded) shows up in the chat room and is available to discuss the points in the presentation. Sometimes the presenter can’t make it (which happens) or sometimes attendees don’t sign into chat.
At the spring SSWUG Virtual Conference, I remember being in a chat room for one presentation and almost no-one was there…I thought “Is nobody actually watching?” But then somebody popped into the chat room and posted “Join us on Twitter at #SSWUGVC” and was gone.
I briefly considered and ended up at “why not?” I went through the short rigmarole to sign up for Twitter (the majority of the time was spent on coming up with a semi-descriptive name that wasn’t already taken - DBA_ANDY) and searched for #SSWUGVC –
Dozen of messages from people all over the place, including people watching the presentation I was in, flooded my screen, with new “tweets” arriving every few seconds. By the end of the day I had garnered much more knowledge (and many more bad jokes) from having Twitter up alongside the presentation and the chat room than I ever had from just the presentation + chat alone.
At the recent 24 Hours of PASS I experienced the same situation – I had Twitter up to monitor #24HOP alongside the presentations and it was great.
The downside is I am starting to become a Twitter junkie, watching the responses to #sqlhelp (a tag that anyone can use to ask the Twitter-sphere a SQL Server question which will usually result in multiple good answers from DBA’s all over the place) as well following the activities of my favorites SQL MVP’s as they prepare to present various webcasts, etc. – so watch out – it’s addictive!
Facebook is not quite as useful, but after signing up to get access to a presenter’s notes, it still provides a little value; preferable is LinkedIn, which is a more business-slanted variant of the social networking engine.
Unfortunately my employer doesn’t recognize the technical value of social networking, so to partake in anything other than LinkedIn I need to be working from home (which thankfully I can do semi-regularly as needed.)
If you are just used to forums and blogs, join in now and find out what you have been missing – especially on Twitter – it is a whole new world of useful information!