Social media these days can be perceived in a bad light, the common perception is that it is mainly the hangout of trolls, celebrity stalkers and people who have a fascination with posting selfies. However there is a good use for social media, from a professional perspective.
There are so many types of social media e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit …the list is quite extensive, and it can be difficult choosing an outlet for you profile. I personally use Twitter as my main ‘weapon’ of choice. Why? It provides a way to consume quick snippets of information, and helps focus your line of questioning. Due to its 140 character limit, it is obviously not the place to write/publish a whitepaper, but it is a good way to quickly direct people to your blog post or whitepaper , where they can consume the full article at their leisure. Twitter is also a good place to connect with subject matter experts the world over.
There are a plethora of subject matter experts that actively share/engage with their relative online community, sharing knowledge, through blog posts ,white papers and articles , and engaging in discussions with their followers, in other words raising their online profile.
They key words to remember in all this is …community and sharing.
If you follow the right people, and ask the right questions, then you can find an wealth of experience and expertise, ready and willing to engage with you.
I follow approximately 500 people on Twitter with more than 60% of those being subject matter experts in my particular field, virtualisation. Within this group of ~300 people there are virtualisation experts the world over, from the likes of :-
- Mike Laverick (VMware Evangelist)
- Michael Webster (Nutanix & vExpert)
- Anthony Spiteri (Veeam Vanguard)
- Joe Baguley (VP & CTO , EMEA VMware)
- Anton Gostev (VP Product Management Veeam)
all whom actively engage with the online community, sharing the knowledge.
I’ll admit at first I was a bit of an online lurker, reading the tweets but never engaging with these experts. However the more I read, then more I realised that these people were encountering similar issues to myself, and writing/commenting about them. The more I read, the more I thought I want to do that, I can contribute to the community (there’s that word again), I want to share my knowledge with my peers.
I started to blog (www.cragdoo.co.uk) about my experiences/issues encountered during my day to day work, and sharing the posts via twitter. The blog posts served 2 purposes :-
- As an online knowledge base where I could document my experiences
- A way to share my issues and resolutions, in the hope that it would help someone else with a similar issue.
To be honest , it’s the 2nd purpose that gives me the most satisfaction. If my posts can help just 1 person, then that post has achieved its purpose.
At brightsolid we have a core company value , Sharing Knowledge is the real power. This doesn’t just apply to the boundaries of brightsolid, but is something that our employees also apply to their online profiles. Several of our employees also write about their personal experiences :
- Matt Thomson (@vegaskid1973 Head of Networking – http://vegaskid.net/ )
- Brian Davidson (@bcd_dundee , DevOps engineer – https://bcd.me.uk/blog/)
- Kenny Lowe (@KennyLowe, Head of Emerging Technologies – http://www.kennylowe.org/)
Generally the online IT community is very welcoming, good at sharing information and offering guidance/advice. So don’t be afraid to join this active online community. Write about your experiences, interact with the experts. You never know where it will lead you.
Get out there and raise your online profile, share the knowledge.