As everyone knows the economy has been tough on the I.T. field. Redmond magazine even did a great piece in their June issue called “I.T. Hell: How the Recession Has Affected I.T. Jobs“.
More often than not the first thing out the I.T. budget window is training and travel. Since technology changes almost daily an “axed” training budget puts any kind of professional development on the back burner.
In my case twitter has come to the rescue!
At first I was among the ranks of those that really did not want to know the last time people washed their dog, or how much they love Justin Bieber. However, once I finally took the plunge I felt like I found the mother-lode.
The first hurdle I/we had to overcome was to get management buy in. In my case we had the following points:
- Direct contact with the public and/or customers.
- Some of the top people in their respective fields are on twitter and will actually answer questions.
- Gives the sense that your organization is innovative and technologically savvy.
One additional bonus we found (and really the most valuable benefit) is the free resources and training.
Free you say? Absolutely!
Tons of software vendors and professional organizations are out there hosting webinars, conferences, user groups, and free software contests. Twitter is the gateway to finding out about these if you start to follow those in your field of interest.
Once you have management buy-in all that’s left to do is sign-up, download a client (like tweetdeck), and start tweeting away.
One pitfall I see is lots of people have one twitter account, but your boss may have a real problem if you’re not tweeting business related items during work hours. HR may also have a problem if you’re tweeting dirty jokes after hours on what is supposed to be a work account.
If you’re really interested in being a serious twitterer there are some simple rules to start building your twitter persona. Rather than go into detail on that I will simply point to a great resource by Brent Ozar called “The Simple Twitter Book“.
My final word on twitter is that it has helped me to identify free resources to move my career forward. It has put me in contact with awesome people I would never ever have come in contact with before. It has pushed my vistas out and prevented me from stagnating in a terrible budget year.