Imagine how many times you were stuck with an issue which is about to cause an outage and you are not sure how to go about fixing it. You Google your best but could not get what you needed. You post a question in one of the forum, keeping refreshing that post or your mailbox anticipating someone to respond to your question. No response on time but you somehow managed to resolve the issue on your own. Then you refresh the post and a very good response has been posted. It was a great tip but it wasn’t useful to you because it was not on time.
Even I have been through this many a times. You know the fix but you are not recollecting it on time. Wish someone could read your mind and respond at that time.
Not anymore! A Twitter account is all you need. You might be thinking “What Twitter? That social networking site where people tweet 140 character messages about in which restaurant they are in now and which movie one is watching currently?” Relax. Twitter is much more than that. If you are already using Twitter, I am one among you. If you are not I recommend you to go through The Simple Twitter Book by Brent Ozar (blog|twitter) to understand the basics of Twitter. Brent as always has kept it real simple and very informative.
Ok, now you have/will have a Twitter account. What next? How will it help you to SQL Server related help? Please welcome, #sqlhelp hash tag. In short it like searching for the word sqlhelp in Twitter. Any tweet that has #sqlhelp in it will be listed for you ordered by the latest tweet first. So whoever has a question to be asked will include #sqlhelp in his/her tweet. Who wants to view/respond to any tweets having #sqlhelp would have created a Saved Search for this particular hash tag. The good news is here. The “best of the best” guys in SQL Server track #sqlhelp and anyone posting a question using this hash tag can be rest assured that his/her questions are answered/responded to by the “Gurus” in SQL Server. Apart from the quality of the responses/advices, one more good thing about this is the speed at which one responds. I have seen some questions/issues getting resolved in matter of seconds in this community. Let me give you an example. Here is a screenshot of one of the discussions that I witnessed yesterday night. Start reading this discussion from bottom to top.
The question got answered literally in few seconds. This is just an example, I have seen some great advices given over this channel in crisp < 140 characters. If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, the time is now!
Even though the Twitter web interface is good, I find it not useful while tracking different hash tags. I prefer TweetDeck over all the tools that are available to track tweets. It helps you to have multiple views in one screen and it is a light weight desktop client, very easy to use. If you are new to Twitter and TweetDeck the following screenshots will be able to help you track the #sqlhelp using TweetDeck.
After installation remove the columns that you don’t want to see.
Then add the column to include #sqlhelp.
Thats all! TweetDeck is ready and you are welcome to the #sqlhelp community. Remember to include the word #sqlhelp in your tweet while asking/answering questions. Even if you don’t have any questions to ask or answer, just watching those super quick tweets fly around makes you learn new things.
So what are you waiting for? Come, join the party! Most of the times I am available on Twitter and you can just drop by to say Hi to me @pradeepadiga 🙂