Twitter: The Next Best Thing To Being There
August 24, 2010 16 Comments
Why do DBAs want to go to PASS, TechEd, or SQLConnections? If asked, I suppose that many would point to the great technical content that’s available there. Others, when out of earshot from their employers, may admit to going solely to visit the city in which the event is held. As for me, I’ve known for years that the number one reason I go to a conference is the people.
It’s A Small World After All
The SQL Server Community is a close-knit community. It’s not small mind you; there are hundreds of thousands of SQL Server professionals from around the globe. But still, it’s close-knit. People in the community know and regularly exchange emails with others in the SQL Community from all over creation. We don’t get to see each other often, but we’re still close.
Conferences are one place where we do get to see each other. When I’m attending a conference, I love catching up with members of the SQL Community. I would gladly forego many a technical sessions – as good as they are – to sit and have coffee with a friend from another part of the world. To me, that’s what makes a conference great, it’s the people who are there.
You Can Be In Two Places At Once
But alas, sometimes you simply cannot make it to a conference. You can only travel so much, you can only afford a certain number of trips out if the office, or other obligations get in the way. That doesn’t mean you have to completely miss out on the event. You can still be there from the comforts of your own home or office through the wonder of Twitter.
This past weekend at SQLSaturday #51 in Nashville, I monitored the #sqlsat51 hash tag on Twitter. There were lots of tweets from attendees throughout the day. Some asked questions, others made jokes, and others still shared what was taking place. Tweets made the day even more enjoyable.
A nice byproduct of event tweeting is that they open up the event to others who couldn’t be on-site. Twitter allows people who couldn’t make it to the event to still participate, to still interact, and to still network with those at the event. From afar, friends can crack jokes, ask questions, and add to the conversation.
Is it really as good as being there? No, but it sure beats missing it altogether.
Twitter can also be leveraged by the speakers to extend their reach and include an even wider audience. I first saw this at PASS last year when Paul Randal tweeted during Kim Tripp’s pre-con. He tweeted major bullet points and answered questions in the Twitterverse. Very cool! I know Brent Ozar has done similar things. I’ve used a plug in to PowerPoint that will automatically send tweets as I progress through my slide deck.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s free. Just go to the Twitter site and sign up. Then download Brent Ozar’s short ebook and read it in one sitting. It’ll give you the information you need to know to get started.