Just how do Microsofties and others keep up with all the goings on at Microsoft and all their technologies? My most recent favorite way is Twitter.
So many of you who have been to any of the regional TechNet events, I prominently display my twitter hash (@bobhms) at all my events. I’ve heard feedback from lots of folks on what they like and what they don’t like about Twitter and I’ll admit that I was a reluctant convert to using this technology. Yes, I too saw Twitter initially as just another overblown technology and more “noise” that I didn’t need to keep up with a la all the facebook updates I rarely read that are often not useful for my professional life. One day in the office with my dev peers (@jzryshr and @rachelappel) and they strongly recommended using Twitter to stay on top of what’s going on in technology. I reluctantly listened and it wasn’t long before I wondered why it took so long for me to get on Twitter.
Why do I say this you ask? What’s my secret? Well, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on this exact topic recently in front of a Users Group, so I figured it would be a great topic to help IT Pros also stay on top of this crazy technology industry we’re in. So the reason Twitter has been so helpful to me is that I’ve only “followed” a relatively small number of companies/people/interests to keep the feed of information manageable. I’m currently only following ~60 of them today, and many of them are Microsoft properties, media that follow Microsoft or my peers at Microsoft. This approach has allowed me to use Twitter as a tool for work, rather than a distraction for the latest thing that some celebrity is doing or whatever. The other nice thing following a small number of users on Twitter allows me is the ability to actually go back a day or two and catch up on anything that I may have missed while travelling or away from the office. In whatever tool I choose to use to monitor these tweets, it allows me to go back in time and choose which relevant links to go read or learn about. In short, the use of Twitter has broadened my knowledge of Microsoft and our technologies and I’m able to do it in less time than ever.
So where should I get started? Who should I follow? Well, after you get your account on Twitter, feel free to follow me (@bobhms) and copy who I follow as the list of who I follow is publicly available. For those of you interested in following Microsoft related posts, news and what not, a good idea is to get a good idea of the folks at Microsoft that are using Twitter to publish the latest information and/or the media that’s dedicated to covering us. A good list of these was recently published by Engadget here.