I really don't think that you can get the full flavor of the Summit unless you delve into Social Networking. There are multiple vehicles for social networking. Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Yelp are all tools in the Social Networking Toolbox. At the Summit, the best one of these is Twitter. With twitter, yo can eavesdrop on conversations, get tips in real time, and find out where people are hanging out at.
Here is a YouTube video that is pretty good about Twitter. There are other ones out there as well.
I recommend that you use a twitter client like TweetDeck on your PC and also on your smart phone. The interface makes it easier to use than the plain vanilla web page. In your twitter client, you can create custom "feeds" to target a particular word or idea. You can have multiple comuns on your client with many of these "feeds" that you follow. These words that you target are often referred to as hashtags. Here are some common hashtags to follow:
Once you start using twitter, you''ll understand more of what all this means. Brent Ozar has put together a great primer on twitter that may be found here. Closing thoughts on Twitter:
- You don't have to create an account to get value out of it. You can just follow some of the hashtags listed above - especially #sqlpass
- Get on twitter and try it out before you get to the summit
- Follow #sqlhelp and learn a LOT about where you can find great resources for SQL Server.
- make up your own hashtags like #JustSayin or #KilroyWashere or #whatever
- When choosing a "handle", consider incorporating "SQL" as part of it. Members of the SQL Community are more apt to follow you and value your tweets if they know you are a SQL Server Professional.
Another application (targeted for mobile devices) that can be valuable is FourSquare. FourSquare also integrates with Twiiter and FaceBook. It works best with smart phones with GPS enabled. Essentially, you check-in to a location such as a restaurant , bar, Conference Center, etc. As part of the "check-in" process, you can add a "shout" to your check-in that may be tweeted and/or set to update your FaceBook status. This is optional, but it can help with networking. Check out FourSquare.
The third social networking property that holds value is LinkedIn. There are many discussion groups affiliated with PASS. It is a great way to connect with other SQL Professionals once you get home.
There is also a PASS YouTube Channel. Check out the videos from last year's summit! Of course, PASS is also on FaceBook. Another social networking tool that you may find useful is YELP. It is particualrly good at helping to find a good restaurant near by.
Flickr - Many folks who are shutterbugs or just want to share photos do so via Flickr and the #sqlpass or #PASS2011 hashtags. I look forward to seeing a lot of pictures from everyone this year.
Bottom Line: Get on Twitter Now! Follow #sqlpass and #sqlhelp. Get involved in the conversation.