We hear a lot about social media these days: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, etc. More and more, we’re expected to participate, to put ourselves out there, on display for the world. How we present ourselves online has become just as important, and in some cases more important, than how we conduct ourselves in real life.
One of the most ubiquitous pieces of advice I received when I decided to dive into the SQL community, was “Get on Twitter.” Now, I had a Facebook account already, but that was (and still is) purely personal. I don’t talk about SQL Server on Facebook, nor do I cross post my blog there. That’s an entirely separate part of my life. None of my Facebook friends are from the SQL community.
On the other hand, I’d never used Twitter; had no idea, really, even how to use it. I know that sounds kind of silly, but, I just didn’t “get it.” You just say things? To whom? Why, who cares? What’s the point? But I signed up anyway and started following some SQL folks. I set up my blog to tweet my posts. I downloaded Tweetdeck to follow along to others’ conversations and monitor certain hashtags, like #sqlhelp.
But, try as I might, I just couldn’t get into it. It didn’t feel… natural. I read a book recently called “QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain. In it, she discusses the differences between introverts and extroverts; how each processes information, how they communicate, and how, more and more often today, our world is tailored towards extroversion. I am an introvert. I enjoy meaningful conversations with one person, and intimate gatherings with a few close friends. It takes me a while to open up to new people. I enjoy blogging. Even though I get incredibly nervous, I enjoy presenting. I’ll even update my Facebook status, now and then.
But I don’t care for small-talk. I don’t like big parties with a lot of people I don’t know. I never know what to say, how to involve myself in an existing conversation, how to introduce myself to someone. Those situations typically leave me feeling mentally exhausted. That’s what Twitter feels like to me: a big party full of people I don’t know making small talk. And I’m over in the corner watching everyone and wishing I knew what to say.
Am I bashing Twitter or people who use Twitter? Absolutely not. It offers a valuable resource for getting to know people in the SQL community, getting yourself out there, and finding help when you need it. Which is why I have and will continue to use it, in my own way. Am I feeling sorry for myself? Not at all. I am how I am and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So what’s my point then? Nothing really. Just expressing some thoughts. In a venue I feel comfortable with.