…and other advice for First Timers.
I recently wrote a post (on my other blog) about being a Big Sister for the PASS Summit. There are so many great blog posts on the official First Timers’ page, I couldn’t possibly begin to link to all of them (or cover half the information in them). Pretty much anything you’d want to know about attending the PASS Summit is going to be found there. Just click on the words “First Timers” above for all those links.
While I do not know a lot about the insides and outsides of the PASS Summit, there is some advice I can give for people wanting to connect with other members of the SQL Community. After all, isn’t that why you are coming? OK… I know you also want to be learning about all things SQL, but the networking is an important part of PASS events as well. That’s why there are after parties, and social events pretty much every night. The #1 piece of advice I can give is to get on twitter. If you don’t already have a twitter account, why not??
OK, I will admit, I thought twitter was scary too… and pointless. That is, until I went to my first SQL Saturday. I had met some really cool people, and most of them primarily used twitter for social networking. I didn’t want to lose touch with them, so I got an account (@Dancem0m). I now use twitter almost as much as facebook (if not more). The SQL Community spends a lot of time tweeting.
In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know about twitter. Think text messaging:
You only have 140 characters to say what you want to
@ – Found at the beginning of a person’s “name” (known as a handle)
If you are responding to something someone else is saying, or talking to someone, you start your tweet with their handle. You can, of course, use a handle in your 140 characters, or you can “cc/” someone at the end.
RT – Stands for retweet (it’s like using a “like” button, or forwarding a message)
OH – Stands for “overheard.” Often followed by a funny or interesting statement someone made.
# – Means a searchable term. You can search by or follow different hashtags.
Here are some hashtags you might find useful at the PASS Summit.
If you have a SQL issue, you can post questions with the #sqlhelp hashtag, your online peers are ready and willing to help you. You have direct access to MCMs, MVPs, and other incredibly smart people who love to talk SQL. Even the people who write the code for SQL itself, are very willing to take a look at problems and help people out.
Watch the #sqlpass hashtag to see what the buzz is at different SQL events. You will find out which sessions are good or bad, where to go afterwards, where people are at, events you might not know about that are going on, etc. For example, I am sitting in Iowa City at a SQL Saturday event. People are tweeting with the #SQLSat98 hashtag as to who’s speaking, where food is at, etc. The hashtag may end up being #PASSummit for the week of Summit, but you can ask other people and they will tell you what the hashtag to follow is.
If you want more information on twitter, you can read Brent Ozar’s book.
Enough about twitter… One last and completely random piece of advice for the PASS Summit, is to bring business cards. You might not remember all the info for everyone you meet. Handing out business cards will be a great way to remember people you met, and help them remember you. Enjoy meeting new people, and then stay in touch.