On the Second Day of Christmas…2011

On the second day of Christmas I gave a gift to me… Two Twitter Handles

and Mirrored Disks with Parity.

Two Twitter Handles… why?

A Base Twitter Primer

Twitter, in and of itself is a great tool for communicating with one, or many “followers” in 140 characters.  At the core it really is nothing more that a mass paging system with a GUI lain over it.  It’s been widely adopted in the business sector because of the ease of use by both businesses and consumers alike.  Some would even contend it’s been so widely adopted that grammar, spelling, and punctuation rules are being ignored in schools and offices worldwide due to the overlap of the Twittterlance into the education-business sector (or overlp of the twitlance into ed/businss lol).

Many companies block Twitter and Facebook (to a greater extent) in their corporate firewalls.  I contend this is because they fail to understand, particularly in the technology sector, the methods in which Twitter is being used as a tool for assistance, collaboration, and socialization in environments.  Socializing – particularly in today’s corporate environment – is often portrayed as being a distraction that pulls your nose from the grindstone of the Great-and-Powerful-Money-Making-Machine.  In the days of razor-thin margins where recession looms like a convicted sex offender 101 feet from a school zone the Overlords of the Bottom Line fail to remember that when we went to school, from preschool through late elementary, we are taught that play and socializing is core to building strong interpersonal skills and augments the learning process.  Many tech environments, which is the target audience for this post besides my mom are smallish and lonely for those that inhabit them.   There is, more often than not, no one else in your organization that does what you do unless you’re organization is in the upper percentage of companies in the world in their particular business sector.  At most their may be one other person in your company that does what you do otherwise; very few that understand your jargon; and almost no one you can bounce complex ideas off of, while also building a credible rapport.  We are also talking interaction.  This is not a one way feed, this virtual office space fostered by Twitter.  It is expected to give as well as receive.  In the exchange all parties benefit.

I know from my own experience that for many years I was the only DBA in my company specializing in Microsoft SQL Server.  I had a Junior DBA named Google, but other than that I was on my own.  However, thanks to Twitter I now have (currently) 1,700+ virtual co-workers, some now very dear friends to the point of being #sqlfamily, that I welcome into my life daily, and home occasionally.  They are there for me to bounce ideas off of.  They offer interesting methods of accomplishing things that pertain to what I do.  They also interject life and character into my day and make me feel as though I’m not alone in what I do.  Even now that I have a fellow SQL Server DBA in my company, I still turn to my Virtual DBA Team in what is Twitter.

Back to the question then; why two Twitter handles?

How Much Do You Expose on Twitter?

The first Twitter handle is for being able to communicate your skills, help others, ask for help in your own right through the various hashtags available to your particular area of interest (in the Microsoft SQL Server realm of influence that being #sqlhelp), and interject your personality… to a point.

There has been talk concerning just how much of your personality you should expose on Twitter.

The Consevative Argument

The conservative argument is that you only use your Twitter handle associated with who you are for business.  This basically equates to “Don’t shit where you eat.”  The proponents of this argument would be aghast at the fact I just swore in a blog post that is tied to my business reputation and that’s precisely why it’s there.  Like most extreme opinions across politics, religion, sports, entertainment, news, and science I like to thumb my nose at the advocates of said extreme views.  Life is not black and white.  You are whom you are.  If you disguise or dilute yourself in your message you’re not being honest with yourself or your audience.  Not everyone is going to like you.  Life is not a popularity contest though.

The Liberal Argument

On the opposite side of the spectrum, being who you are – and showing it off proudly – is advocated.  If every other word out of your mouth would make Gordon Ramsay blush; if you have a penchant for dressing up as the Easter Bunny for sexual gratification; or even worse – you like Lady Gaga -  then you should proudly let your freak flag fly while dispensing technical wisdom to the masses.  I again have issues with this extreme as well, not because I don’t appreciate swearing, furries, and Lady Gaga okay, maybe I find it difficult to see the attraction in her/him/not my business, but rather because at certain point it detracts from the message and it will harm your chances of possibly gaining new clients, a promotion, or friends.

The Second Twitter Handle

So this is why I gave myself the second Twitter handle for Christmas.  Don’t brand it with any identifying marks – name, email address, and so forth.  Don’t initially follow yourself when setting it up.  Share it with your friends and family who appreciate you for who you are.  Others will find you if they like your message and your style.  This is where you can proudly raise the freak flag of your choice and we ALL HAVE THEM.  This is where you can vent and scream and rage about the idiots you encounter, the pains we deal with, and the horrible things we see throughout our day BECAUSE WE ALL EXPERIENCE THEM.

I strongly believe you devote your main Twitter handle to your core message, whatever that may be, and you throttle the extremes on both sides to a limit that you and your audience are comfortable with – there is no fixed line on that horizon.  Do I swear and blather on in my main account?  HELLS YES.  But that is who I am.

What is my second Twitter account?  Who says I only have one?