Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Twittering You Will Go?

This week, a thread was started on the DB2-L list server about Twitter, the micro-messaging Web 2.0 social networking tool. Basically, someone wanted to know why more DB2 people did not use Twitter. The consensus seems to be that many organizations block it as a "non-business" web site.

(Surprisingly, LinkedIn seems not to be blocked as often as Twitter, even though LinkedIn is a prime vehicle for job search networking.)

This is disputable. If you've tried Twittering you know that it can be addictive, but it is also growing in popularity as a business tool for communication. This might seem hard to believe when you first dive into Twittering.

The basic idea of Twitter is simple: provide a platform for users to publish messages of no more than 140 characters at a time. And that can seem limiting... until you've used Twitter for awhile. If you subscribe to my Twitter feed you'll find that I send out regular Tweets (that is what a Twitter message is called) for many things, such as:
  • when I post a new blog entry (maybe you got here that way),
  • to share the highlights of interesting sessions when I attend a conference or user group,
  • to notify folks when I've published a new article or column, and
  • just to share some of the "things" going on in my life.
OK, so what are the business uses of Twitter? Well, sharing information (like I do) is absolutely a
business usage. Sharing practical web links is another. Keeping abreast of technology topics, yet
another. Micro-messaging can help you reduce email and eliminate unproductive meetings.

Other DB2 professionals use Twitter to communicate and solve problems. Willie Favero, Troy Coleman, and even some in-the-trenches folks use Twitter. So you know you'll get some good DB2 information if you participate.

So what? you may say: "my company already blocked Twitter so I can't participate." Well, there might be a way around that (I don't know if this will work or not). From your home PC, or some other non-company PC, go to, register and see what it is all about. Then download a Twitter client, like TweetDeck (which my personal favorite) or Twhirl. Take the download and install it at work... now see if things are still blocked when you use a different client. They might be, but then again, maybe not...

Now (wink-wink) I do not really advocate people trying to get around their company's policies. But if you try this out and it works (or even if it does not) post a comment here to let us all know.


Willie said...

Don't forget about using a mobile device for accessing Twitter. I do updates while I travel, including from conferences, using my BlackBerry.


Anonymous said...

Good point, Willie!

Jeffrey Benner said...

Thanks for posting this. There are actually several ways around firewalls including Tor. (google Tor to find it) Where there is a will there is a way. But I also detected some defensiveness in posts and am not sure everyone is getting on the Web 2.0 bandwagon at the same time. Unfortunately there always has seemed to be a retro mindset to many of my DB2 colleagues and an unwillingness to embrace new tools, particularly collaboration tools. I suspect that has something to do with the old Silo / proprietary mindset that the IBM mainframe world encouraged.

Nick said...

Thank you Craig. You have a good point(s) about Twitter. I will use it (courtesy of CM ;-) to break the "conservative" mindsets" around us (I am 55+ and still NOT thinking to retire - probably because I have never played golf LOL!). I guess it's cheaper than SMS or Black Berries or bosses or standby staff use (or need - either way ;-). I wonder if it's an iPHONE version too (wink wink), I guess yes, because it comes with the Facebook stack.
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