How to Use the #SQLHelp Hash Tag on Twitter

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

No, not Radio Shack – Twitter.  Right now, no matter when you’re reading this, there are people on Twitter who can answer quick questions for you.  Thanks to an excellent idea by Aaron Nelson (@SQLVariant), it’s even easier now.  In this post, I’ll show how to ask questions and how to answer them.

How to Ask #SQLHelp Questions

Sign up for a Twitter account.  You don’t have to follow anyone, but if you want to, I’d suggest following my SQL Server Twitter list instead of individual people.  Lists let you keep in touch with a lot of people who focus on a particular topic.  The cool part is that their tweets don’t clutter up your main Twitter page, which is important because there’s several hundred SQL Server folks on Twitter as of this writing.

When you need help, write a tweet and include #SQLHelp in the tweet, like this:

Asking a SQLhelp question

If your question involves more than 280 characters, you’ve got a few options:

  • Post a question to StackOverflow if it’s a programming question, to ServerFault if it’s an infrastructure question, or DBA.StackExchange.com if it’s a SQL question.  Tweet the link to your question.
  • Include screenshots if possible.
  • If you need to share an execution plan, use PasteThePlan
  • If you need to share code, copy/paste it into a Github Gist

After you click Update to post your question, click on the Notifications tab (or bell icon) at the top of your Twitter home page.  This page is your replies page – it shows anyone who’s mentioned your name.  Then sit tight – as people reply to you, you’ll see the new tweets on this page.

If you need to reply to someone to include clarifications, include the #SQLhelp hash tag in your tweets to keep everyone in the loop.

How to Answer #SQLHelp Questions

Set up a search in your Twitter client for #SQLHelp, or search Twitter results for #SQLHelp.

As you’re interacting with the questioner, remember that they’re probably new to Twitter, so be gentle and helpful.

Thanks again to Aaron Nelson (Blog@SQLVariant) for suggesting this!  I think it’s a great way for the community to get even more involved in real time.

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