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Twitter is like public instant messaging. Users like me post short notes, and anybody who follows a Twitter user gets a copy of the message. You get a stream-of-consciousness view into some of the most interesting people on the web. (That’s not to say I’m one of the most interesting people on the web – I use Twitter so that I can FOLLOW the interesting people!)

This is helpful for DBAs because there’s some really SQL-savvy people using Twitter. It ends up being a fast question-and-answer session sometimes. If I’ve got a SQL question, I can post it with Twitter and get an answer back within a few minutes if one of my SQL buddies happens to see it. If not, no problem, I didn’t bother anybody.

A great example of this happened the other day: one of the people I follow Twittered a note asking if there were any reasons he shouldn’t name his differential backups with a .diff extension instead of .bak. I wrote back and said yes, make sure you’ve got your antivirus software set up to exclude .diff files before you do it. Presto.

Here’s a video explaining Twitter in plain English:

You can sign up for free at Twitter.com, and after you sign up, you’ll want to start following people. Start by following me – go to http://twitter.com/BrentO and click the Follow button at the top left.

Here’s the best list of SQL Server DBAs on Twitter.  It’s a wiki, so you can add yourself too!

The next thing you’ll want to do is install a program to alert you when people send Twitters. Sure, you could go to Twitter.com, but you won’t think to do that very often, and you’ll miss out on all the fun conversations that happen so quickly. Twitterific is my favorite Mac-based Twitter program, but there’s others for the PC. Twhirl works on multiple platforms, and seems to have a big following.

Another benefit to Twhirl is that it has some FriendFeed integration. FriendFeed gives you an RSS feed of what your friends are doing across all of their online services – Flickr, Twitter, their blogs, Facebook, etc. I’ll do a separate post on FriendFeed soon, but in the meantime, if you’re already using RSS, here’s my FriendFeed.

More DBA Career Articles

  • Moving from Help Desk to DBA – a reader asked how to do it, and I gave a few ways to get started.
  • Development DBA or Production DBA? – job duties are different for these two DBA roles.  Developers become one kind of DBA, and network administrators or sysadmins become a different kind.  I explain why.
  • Recommended Books for DBAs – the books that should be on your shopping list.
  • Ask for a List of Servers – DBA candidates need to ask as many questions as they answer during the interview.
  • Are you a Junior or Senior DBA? – Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but I explain how to gauge DBA experience by the size of databases you’ve worked with.
  • So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star – Part 1 and Part 2 – wanna know what it takes to have “SQL Server Expert” on your business card?  I explain.
  • Becoming a DBA – my list of articles about database administration as a career.
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  1. Brent, good job taking down the twitter site today with all the traffic coming from your post. :)

    http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/twitter_website_down_5_19_08

  2. You know, it’s funny, I kept saying to myself, “Man, Twitter is so quiet today!” That figures.

  3. I just signed up. Fun!

  4. Ah, good to see you here, my Florida buddy!

  5. Twitter down again. The lastest from them is that there was a database failure. If only they were using the Quest Suite of tools. :)

    Anyone know what RDBMS they use?

    http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/topics/may_20_twitter_downtime

  6. This is just crazy. I don’t care that Twitter is down, but I care that it’s down the day after I blogged about it. Argh. THE VERY NEXT DAY. Can you believe it? I tell DBAs it’s a helpful tool, and what happens? Their database goes down. That’s hilarious.

  7. Tonight, I’m going to write a blog entry about the price of gas, and let’s see if it goes down.

  8. I am late to this, but you have been followed

    I must say, Twitter performance SUCKS.
    It is so slow (today is 09/19/2008), better than going down though

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