I am going to try to convince you that Twitter IS worth your time as a data management professional.
So, if you think that Twitter consists of nothing but banal conversations of people describing the taste of their burps, or discussing the origins of belly button lint, you’d be very wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, you can definitely find those kinds of things and worse on Twitter (follow the above links if you don’t believe me), but to say that that is all that exists on Twitter would be naïve. To be honest, I also felt that way. It just wasn’t worth my time.
However, last summer (2010) I started seeing more and more of those little blue birds saying, “Follow Me”, on many of the technology and business blogs that I read. Why would these well-respected professionals lower themselves to participating in this medium? I even started seeing those stupid little birds on corporate web sites. What could those companies possibly be doing out there on Twitter? I just didn’t “get it”. So, with more than a little reluctance, I started clicking on the little birds to see what’s what.
The Smarter, Edgier Collective
Amazingly, I found a community of like-minded people spending their time (too much of it in many cases) sharing their relevant thoughts and ideas, as well as recommending articles that they found interesting on web sites that I likely never would have found on my own. There’s also the occasional good natured banter that’s fun to follow. And of course, the banal crap is still there, but its mostly in the background and easy to ignore.
For a much more eloquent and thorough description of this community that exists and thrives out there on Twitter, I’d like you to pop on over to the Julie Hunt Consulting blog site to read her fantastic article titled A Smarter Edgier Collective: Business Technology Professionals on Twitter.
As for how to use Twitter, when I first started exploring it, I made use of several tutorials that are out there from people who want to help the newbies. The one that I spent the most time on was from Brent Ozar, a highly respected SQL Server DBA, consultant, trainer, and avid Twitter user. He has created a Twitter resource page on his blog that you should check out.
Once you’ve signed up, you’re going to need to follow people and/or organizations so that you can see their tweets. To help get you started, I’ve created a Twitter List called DataMgmtStarterKit. This list contains a whole bunch of people and companies in the data management space that I follow myself. You can always un-follow my list once you’ve gotten your feet wet and have started making your own decisions about who to follow.
Finally, to give you a little taste of what you can expect as far as the quality of a professional community’s tweets, below are the results of four separate Twitter searches: Data Management, Data Quality, Business Intelligence, and Data Warehousing. Take the leap; go ahead and click on something. These are professionals like you and me. Most everyone here wants to share things with you that can benefit you in your daily work and your overall career. The burp-tasters are definitely not hanging out with our crowd. Give it a try; it may surprise you too.
See you on Twitter.