Five Ways Twitter will Help your SAP Career
Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read other user messages called tweets. These tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters that are displayed on the author’s profile page. The growth of Twitter over the last few years has been very impressive as shown by these recently published graphics. I am a big believer that all SAP professionals should set up and start using twitter as there are many benefits which I will outline below.
When I first joined Twitter in February, 2009 it was more of a curiosity after hearing all the buzz about it. After “using” it for 15 minutes without any idea what I was doing I deemed it a waste of time and boy was I wrong. Luckily, I revisited it again later in the year with a goal to tweet one message a week mostly trying to promote my new HR Expert articles or SDN blogs. Slowly I came to realize what an incredible platform twitter could be for SAP professionals and enclosed are 5 ways that twitter can help you in your SAP career.
1. SAP Information – I realized early on in my career that there was a lot of SAP information available and half the battle was being able to find it. Twitter makes this process a lot easier and the amount of cutting edge and new information being shared daily is very impressive. Twitter can be overwhelming when you first start so I would recommend only following a handful of individuals until you get comfortable and expand from there. I am a big believer that information one of the most important aspects in a successful SAP career and Twitter will help provide that to you.
2. Networking –There is something unique about twitter and the method of communication that you have to experience for yourself before you will begin to understand its networking possibilities. I have met new individuals as well as strengthened existing friendships and industry connections by using twitter. The list of SAP individuals and companies using twitter is very impressive and the SAP Affinity Group has a great collection of SAP twitter accounts on their website. Twitter is a great tool for networking as well as communicating with SAP industry experts, mentors, management, user groups, industry contacts, colleagues and friends.
3. Knowledge Transfer– We all know individuals in the SAP industry that try to hoard their knowledge thinking it will make them more valuable. There used to be a lot more of these individuals before the SAP Community Network was formed and sharing became more fashionable. I consider twitter a further extension of that and a great way to share information with your “followers”. I personally share information regarding SAP News, SAP Careers, SAP HCM, Payroll and CRM as well as anything I feel is relevant to SAP professionals. Likewise, I follow individuals who provide great information about SAP in their area of expertise. Twitter has a reputation for mindless posts about what people ate for breakfast etc, but it is important to note that you have the power to only follow individuals that provide information that you find useful. If you want to continually learn and become an expert in your area share all your knowledge and you will be rewarded.
4. Troubleshooting–Twitter can be used to help troubleshoot issues and get quick information about a SAP problem that you have come across. While I haven’t seen twitter used widespread for SAP troubleshooting it is a logical future extension of the product. Twitter can be used to help troubleshoot SAP Issues.
5. Promotion –Twitter is a great way to talk about your SAP career, company, project or general accomplishments. Are you speaking at an upcoming conference, did you publish a new blog or article, did you just read an interesting SAP article, did you just solve a SAP problem, read an interesting OSS note, go live on a complex implementation, if so people are interested and want to hear about it. You have invested time in your SAP career and twitter is a great medium where you can share that with the community.
I am a big believer that social networking for SAP professionals is only in its infancy and that twitter is only going to continue to grow in popularity and importance. You all have a unique opportunity to become active in an emerging technology that will help you in countless ways in your SAP career. If you enjoyed this article and want to give twitter a try please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SAP_Jarret
Yes, Twitter can be very useful for networking within the SAP ecosystem. Unfortunately it is still seems to be blocked at many corporations, on the network and on corporate mobile devices. In fact I was unable to watch an SAP TV event not long ago because the web page for the TV event had a Twitter login, and the whole thing was blocked. Of course there are exceptions, but generally speaking, it seems that large corporations other than those in direct-to-consumer sales have not rushed to embrace social media, at least not in the US.
Thanks for your blog, gr8 to see you chime in.
Well as Gretchen underligned, the first question is to have or not to have access to Twitter although alternatives channels do exist (not all 'user friendly' convenient).
Assuming that you have access to twitter, you'd better suit up with pilot gear as there is a lot of wind and noise out there...
Users should use twitter as a channel to communicate and most important to listen ...
Although wind and noise are omnipresent, users should get familiar with the creation of list and seek for individuals 'worth following'.
I could certainly understand the point of view of companies, restraining access to such media tools but ... this is the 'easy choice'...
Indeed, I tend to think that Twitter is part of the mandatory 'technology watch' initiative, users like us should do.
It would also send a positive message to followers on 'how cool the right social media usage' is in the company, with potential impact on recruitment campaigns as well.
At the end of the day, just like SAP, it's all about internal policies, empowering users to take advantage of such tools, with the acceptation that there are rules and potentially consequences...
See you online ! http://twitter.com/mgillet
and btw follow a gr8 band aka SAP Mentors : http://twitter.com/sapmentors shall you start your own list 🙂
My five cents and humble opinion.
Although I have no account on any of those sites nor do I have an iPhone/iPad/iWhatever (and I don't want one) I would still consider myself being pretty well informed about what interests me - and more about what I need to know to do my job.
This may sound frumpy and very conservative but I just think that being too vitreous about what one does (or not) is especially NOT good for a career, be it positive or negative. Spending (too much) time on those sites with whatever would alarm me if I was a recruiter.
Just my EUR 0.02
I'd disagree, if the potential recruit was actively social networking in a professional capacity (not just sharing insights on the development of their veggie patch), then it would certainly encourage me to hire them. A proactive networker is a much more valuable employee to me than just someone how knows there stuff and does not network/share this information.
Today, more than ever, it is not about what you know, but who you know. Twitter is one way into this, communities like SCN another. Of course, you cna't just know nothing - because with that sort of exposure you'd be discovered in seconds.
my AUD0.02 😉
For one this is a gross generalization; and for another it is not necessarily a good thing if it is indeed true.
A refreshing counter-perspective (though about linked-in not twitter) can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcfXij6t4LA
Ajay, I agree with you on both points! It is huge generalisation, and I'm not very happy when it occurs! But I do find that if you want to get ahead, you will be much better off knowing the right people and having a few skills, than not knowing the right people but having excellent skills. If you want to excel - then have excellent skills _and_ get to know the right people.
Twitter is a tool, if someone is using it, it clearly signals to me that they are able to take up new ideas and run with them - the next thing I have to do is check _how_ they are using the tool?
Who says that I do *not* know them? 🙂 Just because I'm not telling the world that I do automatically assumes that I don't?
I'm a bit more "old school" here, I'm totally not closing myself to new ideas, I just think I don't have to tell anybody that I do.
What is that - "professional capacity"? Key figures?
> A proactive networker is a much more valuable employee to me than just someone how knows there stuff and does not network/share this information.
Interesting statement. Although I don't quite get what YOU as an employer gain out of the fact, that someone spends time on the net sharing what he (that person) knows instead of actually just DOING his work.
> Today, more than ever, it is not about what you know, but who you know.
I totally agree, but do I have to tell the world? 🙂
>...that someone spends time on the net sharing what he (that person) knows...
I'd have to direct you to the SAP Mentors - here is a group that spend a lot of their time sharing what they know with others, are you saying you'd not want to employ them? I would. To be a good sharer of knowledge I think that the sharer much have some to begin with, but I think that through sharing and networking they also learn so much more...I'd also see that someone who was willing to share on the net would also be willing (and able) to share internally too. If they can help with internal knowledge transfer, they will be an asset, because then my whole team start to come to the same level of ability. An individual who can share their learning, learn from others and pass on these learning in an effective way (and social networking is certainly a tool in this toolset) brings more than their own worth, they also enhance others.
Conversely, someone who hoards their knowledge, does not share it, is a liablity - what do I do when/if that person leaves? They take what made them valuable to my company with them, the time, effort I invested in this person is lost! The proactive networker however, has shared what they have learnt with the rest of the company, the issues they will cause when/if they leave are greatly mitigated...I would also suggest that from my experience, by sharing information we learn, we become better at doing our jobs. Today I learnt about a brand new way of exporting to Excel from ABAP - had I not been "sharing" on SCN I'd not have seen it. That piece of knowledge could save me days of work. And you know what - I've already sent a post out to all my technical team sharing this new knowledge with them - hopefully saving them work too. 🙂
> I'd have to direct you to the SAP Mentors
I am one of them 🙂
> The proactive networker...has shared what they have learnt with the rest of the company
This is IMHO a matter of properly structured internal documentation, not a matter of being a "networker" or not. I would even go as far as telling people to rather write a good internal article/documentation instead of twittering that to the world.
If you were 100 % right I'd have never been on the list to become a SAP Mentor, I share some of my knowledge on the forum for specific questions but I don't twitter that nor do I use other SNs to advertise what I'm doing here - PLUS the big advantage that once I want to stop I can "guestify" myself nicely without leaving too much traces. So is this really ambigous? 🙂
That made me laugh (in a good way!), should have checked my assumptions! Never assume anything!
It is clear that you do "Network" you use SCN and are active - we'd not be having this "debate" if not. Twitter is just a tool to aid this, and I think perhaps you've not got the whole story about the tool. I rarely tweet at all, but I do listen to what other people say, and what they are saying sometime is very valuable (in a work related sense). I think suggesting that unless someone is an active user on Twitter that they can't network is nonsensical - I wouldn't want to suggest that! And I hope you don't interpret my ramblings as such.
What I wanted to put forward is that if someone is a Twitter user then they probably have some of the skills of a networker, and those are skills I would look for. Likewise I'd ask them about SCN, how they transfer knowledge internally, how good they are at writing internal knowledge transfer docs etc. But what it would signal to me is that the person is not in the mindset that what makes them important to the company is their knowledge so they should guard it carefully. That's 20th century thinking - and something I have a really hard time trying to move people out of in my day to day work. What is important to the company is their knowledge, so they should share it - because then it it exponentially valuable.
I can do networking without using any SN at all, basically, that was being done all time before "Web 2.0" became popular using conventional communication methods. I'm on here with my real name and an email because I'm a SAP mentor, otherwise I'd use a different mail address and a different (fake) name.
I think that "my knowledge is my capital" and just because I don't use SNs and/or publicly tell "I know this person" or "I follow the blog/tweets of that one" doesn't make me a 'bad networker' nor does it imply automatically that I don't do networking at all.
It's a matter of public exposure and privacy and honestly, I don't feel the need to tell everyone who I know and what I'm following (or not); in contrary, I try to exactly AVOID that amount of transparency, in private as well as in the job and hence you wouldn't find a "twitter link" on my business card here if I had one.
I think that measuring a persons networking ability in the amount of accounts and usage you can find on the net is plain wrong. There are still people who don't like to be that exposed, you may think differently - but I factually do care a lot about privacy and staying "non-interlinked". Burnt child dreads the fire.
I see a lot of truth in your words especially when it comes to transparency and privacy vs visibility. To quote Craig Cmehil: "Twitter is a wste of time.... unless it works for you!"
I think social networks can add value to your career as outlined in the blog post. Being able to follow your colleagues, peers, customers, partners may provide you an easy way to tailor-fitted content. This is what I love and where Twitter jumps in for me. I spend less time looking for info - the pull has been converted to a push and I just have to flter out the content that matters to me.
At the same time, there may be people out there who work on similar topics as I do. So, I may be able to point them out to some sources or content that is beneficial to them.
Networking is extremly important (as I pointed out in my related blog (Web 2.0 - The potential of social networks) - yet, we turned the world into a global village and communication is more fast-pacd than ever. Consequently I feel that a tool (such as Twitter) which allows me to efficiently interact with my network is very helpful and a worthwile investment of time.
Especially nowawady, when I can access that data anywhere and anytime (due to smartphones) it's more convenient than ever to consume and contribute.
Concerning, the transparaceny and visibility... I think sooner or later everyone should ask themselve on what and how much to expose about oursleves.
I can only add my own reasoning, yet I felt that in my professional life I somewhat already exposed myself by writing a book and particpating in the community - consequently there's already a public profile. I just try to make it more accurate and ... it's a learning process for sure. All the main social networks are pushing the edge and it's a good time that the discussions are held (triggered by Facebook, etc.) So, it's a very personal decision on whether or not to use the these tools or to what extend. I know several colleagues who just consume tweets... fair enough.
Yet, and this is the key which communities... you need to participate and contribute to make a change and have your voice be heard. Sure it takes a lot of self esteem to talk in public, especially if you may also need to say "sorry, I was wrong" occasionaly. All I ca say to that is that the SCN Community is pretty easy to get involed in and people like SAP Mentors etc. sure do some safe-guarding etc. So, I can only encourage people to get started... it's a learning process, ups-and-downs... but addictive 🙂
I am a big user of google reader to get information pushed to me from SCN and SAP related blogs but twitter helps me find unique articles on SAP and the market that I wouldnt typically follow.
Several of the comments have talked about time "wasted" on social networking though if used properly it can actually save you time.
I can now neither 🙂 I find this discussion VERY interesting and what I especially like is the openness of it.
> Being able to follow your colleagues, peers,...
I agree 100 % - but why do I have to tell everybody? 🙂
> Networking is extremly important
Also agree 100 % - but I still don't get the fact why I need to tell everybody that I do - and with whom?
> ...I can access that data anywhere and anytime (due to smartphones) it's more convenient
Well - in that case we think totally different. I don't consider this fact "convenient", I got a Blackberry (all technical staff has one) and the necessity and the subliminal urge to check what the blinking LED wants to tell me, is already enough burden (for me). Don't get me wrong, I like my job, very much so, but there's something else in my life. If I have the choice of getting an information from development in the beer garden or while browsing my emails a few hours later I prefer the latter.
And about the "addiction" - you're right, it can become quickly addictive, I just don't know if I should consider that really a positive development. When I meet people (no matter who it is) who are constantly checking their phones (during dinner, lunch etc.) I ask them openly whether they want to continue to communicate with me/us or with their "network". And this is not an extreme one-time example, it's just a matter of fact I see pretty often with increasing tendency. A few days ago I just asked that question an external (SAP)-consultant who became pretty embarrassed, we all laughed and he switched off his phone.
And still, if one thinks it's useful, use it!
Just don't diminish the "networking ability" of people who are not using the tools in an obvious interlinked manner as you do.
Thank you all for the opinions, really refreshing and mind blowing.
Great conversation on this topic and you bring up some valid points and a different perspective which I think everyone can appreciate.
As far as "Also agree 100 % - but I still don't get the fact why I need to tell everybody that I do - and with whom" I just thought I would share my "tweets" for today so you could get a flavor as very few were about me and more about the SAP industry.
Three Key Reminders About ERP Software Customizations http://tinyurl.com/38fk587
Six Attributes Every Business Architect Should Display http://tinyurl.com/2dbrjj7 ->Agree with each of them.
SME - Fastest Growing Segment in the UK http://tinyurl.com/3axs44h
Consolidation in the Outsourcing and Consulting spaces http://tinyurl.com/3364927
SAP Educational Considerations in Cultural Change with SAP http://tinyurl.com/265zfz2
@sufw I believe you may be getting mixed up as EHP5 is available for general release in 6 month but for RU I have heard of no delays.
RT@lukemarson Some great debat about Twitter and SAP taking place on @SAP_Jarret's blog http://tinyurl.com/22opbq8 - worth a read for sure
@industrialist 3 reasons to kill your twitter account &start making $ in Real Life ->Lets just say real life always comes first for me 🙂
3 People-Centric Signs of IT Failure http://tinyurl.com/2uqt3rd ->Very good article and includes comments from Vishal Sikka (SAP CTO)
I come from a completly different background - bear with me for a few minutes 😉
See, as a development architect I get no blackberry (different topic). So, in order to check my mail at night and to hand-over to my colleagues in India (so that they can continue the next day when I'm still sleeping) I had to turn on my PC and waited ~ 20 minutes until I booted up my laptop and connected to SAP network. Wasted time... resulting in even worse work/life balance.
Furthermore, after a day sitting in fron of a PC and a headset on... that's the last thing I want to do in my (rare) free time. Consequently I did not and as the days are busy there's little room for networking with people all around the world. These days, with my smartphone and social networks I can do that on the go.. in the bus/subway... during a break... on the couch... etc.
Sure, netiquette and social behaviour should still be there. I do not like it either to be on-call 24/7. These days, I can decide when to network and how. #ilike 🙂
So, concerning with whom to share. Surely depends on the content. I share non-confidential stuff on Twitter. My connections and CV on LinkedIn. Yet, that is all business related and here visibility and transparency seems to be ok. See, as I tried to explain in my recent blog... social etworks do not replace the good ol' networking. You cannot foster a connection by pressing buttons... but you can (re-)connect to people and stay in touch 🙂
I do share very little content on Facebook... no need for the whole world to know every little detail.
So, there are a variety of channels which one can use to reach the best-suited audience, depending on the content. SAP internals I may discuss via SAPTalk or SAP Community... if it's even more confidential we collaborate in closed groups.
One last thing... why share with everybody? Why not? Why be exclusive? Only by talking in public you can reach out to people you would have missed by using different channels. Let the people decide for themselves whom to follow, what filters to apply...
PS: Oh, and yes... I opt for the beer garden as well. Esepcially on a day like this 🙂 And if the conversation is great and effective - my phone resides in my pocket for sure 🙂
Matthias just for clarity I am not a mentor though hope to be considered for the fall. That said I know many of the mentors and individuals within SAP and they do a great job of passing along information that they feel is interesting, relevant or helpful to the SAP community.
An interesting tidbit is that SAP reached out to me and asked me to write a few career articles as I had only ever done technical ones in the SAP HCM space. Both the "Five Ways Twitter will Help your SAP Career" and "Valuable Lessons to Make the Most of your SAP Career" seem to have struck a nerve and gotten lots of interesting comments which I am happy about.
then you either had a *really* slow machine or never heard of hibernation (in a non-Java context). 🙂
> why share with everybody? Why not? Why be exclusive?
Because I don't want to share that - it is that simple. It's "my data", I don't need to justify and/or argue. Nobody needs to know whom I follow on twitter or who I know on facebook - given that all the argumentation here is really about the pure information/link posted on there. You never asked yourself that question? 🙂
You must think I'm an mind-old misty-eyed guy when thinking like this, I'm not far beyond 30 and I've always been quite a nerd when it comes to computers but I (thankfully) never jumped on the Web 2.0 and/or iPhone hype, simply because it's out of my control what is being done with that "data", be it as small as the information that I read someone elses blog. Other people may care less about that, I seriously do, especially if those services are provided in countries where privacy is at best on the paper.
Neverless, I wish you all a good nice evening in the beer garden with a cool drink and without a vibrating iPhone 🙂
As I said, I see your reasons... yet personally for me, there are more pros than cons. To be honest - I truly feel that "it's my data" is one of the major issues in IT as it results in silos. Neither do I see the information on whom I follow on my professional twitter account as my data. It tells very little about why I follow someone or whether or not I even know that person in real life, nor what our connection is like. It also keeps changing over time...
On LinkedIn you won't see anything about whom I connected to unless you connect to me. I could tell you some stories on how it has helped me - yet, I won't do that in public - maybe in the beer garden 😉
FB - I'm pretty restrictive who I consider a friend. More so in the content I expose there and to whom. Usually, I just cross-post some stuff that I share with the world anyway.
So, no... I don't feel like I'm exposing any information I consider "my data". However, and on this I'm with you - data privacy - is an important topic, yet - and I have no illusions on this whatsoever - in the 21st century I'm no longer in control of it. Otherwise I would have to live without a cell phone, stop using credit cards - use an anonymizer proxy whenever I serve on the net, would need to use an anonymized search engine...
So, and that is just me - I dropped teh thought of being in control of my data completly... I just try to be sensitive about what I share willingly 😉
I think consultants need to use a number of tools, SCN, twitter, linkedin (groups) insider articles, conferences etc to get their message across.
Check out the following link that covers social media and the role of facebook, twitter etc
My Goodness, no, how lucky I am to not have to do that 🙂
> I think consultants need to use a number of tools, SCN, twitter, linkedin (groups) insider articles, conferences etc to get their message across.
I agree - but if they are working on-site for a customer I'd make sure they'd not check their phone during lunch/dinner with me or when they work every some-minutes. IMHO bright people should shine with knowledge and expertise and social competence face-to-face, not with their iPhones. Not saying this excludes each other necessarily, it's a matter of commensurability.
I spend 30 mins a day looking at twitter, linkedin etc.
My main contacts are made face to face - but for knowledge share or new product awareness twitter can be a useful tool (one of many) not the only tool to use.
> I spend 30 mins a day looking at twitter, linkedin etc.
In sum that is 10 hours a month - and as someone paying you for your work it must be allowed to question whether this effectively increases a productive outcome or revenue for the company you work for, in the end it's all about key indicators, isn't it?. I'd just be prepared to answer that question 🙂
A fair few hours I guess....
I do not see my job as a 9 - 5 type of job - my job is to deliver and design good SAP soltions.
I do not sit at my desk and just work - I am not a robot - I might as I am now, have my lunch, and check twitter, linkedin and SCN.
I can also do that after work as people are updating all the time.
SCN is a great tool to "share" as well - however twitter is a good way to look at information from certain people.
don't know exactly, about 50 % of the time I use it "at home" or before/after work.
> I do not see my job as a 9 - 5 type of job, my job is to deliver and design good SAP soltions.
Well, some people have to do exactly that, even if (or because) they are "experts" in their area. I just think that this model is not really applicable to every job/position.
If I had to justify 30 minutes a day of "professional" networking, I would think I was working for the wrong company...
Certainly some companies do get it - and I would rather work for them.
But as you say there are still those job/positions where that would not be tolerated, and in those places it would be foolish to use such tools, instead use them at home to find yourself a contact to get a job somewhere which isn't as draconian 😉
PS - can you tell I'm enjoying this debate 🙂
I use twitter to keep in touch with and connect with SAP friends all around the world. While the site is blocked where I work (as is a lot of sites), I use my personal BB to keep up-to-date with my tweeps during the day. I think of Twitter as more of a technology focused social meida tool, while I use Facebook for my family and non-techie friends (of course, I do "friend" my SAP peeps on Facebook too).
So, "keep on tweeting".
My 2 cents worth.
I'd have to mirror Karin's response. Although I'm nowhere near as prolific on Twitter.
If I'm at a client site, and someone wants to add me to their list of social contacts, then I suggest twitter - Facebook is for my family/close friends - people who are interested in how my daughter is but don't care that EhP5 is in ramp-up. Twitter is for those who are also social contacts, but more professionally linked. I am "social" on twitter - it isn't polished media release style tweeting - I don't have a blog to promote or anything like that. The only thing I'm "promoting" is me 😉
I have twitter on my BB (personal not business - and yes I'll be getting Droid to replace it as soon as this contract runs out - telco is a bit behind in Australia) (although I turned off it notifying me each time I received a tweet (I follow Engadget amongst others and it has lots of tweets per day)), so am never blocked.
I don't think twitter will hugely help my SAP Career, but I do think that networking - which twitter helps with, has the potential to help.
A slightly related post was recently made in the coffee corner forum by Otto Gold about what we hope to gain from using SCN, I think it joins nicely with this blog, as both to my thoughts are all about networking. You might want to go and check it out.
Chris - chris__paine
It's been really interesting to see how Twitter has impacted our own Career Center on SCN. Since we started using Twitter to get the word out about new jobs, our traffic has grown substantially (www.twitter.com/scncareercenter ) Interestingly enough, we are also getting a huge response on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SAPSoftware#!/SAPSoftware?v=app_10531514314)
As for recruiters using Twitter, as far as I can tell, it’s already a pretty serious business. Anyone interested in learning how to use Twitter to find a job or a new hire, I would suggest following this guy for some tips http://twitter.com/shally He is a master networker and is on all social media sites. I guess he probably has an assistant who does his social media stuff all day long, because I don’t see how he could possibly keep up with it all. Cheers,
I agree with most of your points. I twitter all the time and I love it for the creativity and the exchange of ideas. But I don't agree on the busines aspect : None of the execs who will "sign the contract and sign the bill" are on Twitter. They think it is a waste of time. And until they start using it, there will be no business coming from the tweet stream (in terms of consulting contracts). And don't forget language and regions barrier: In the US, english is common. But try to start a conversation in German - the world outside U.S is different.
We are far away from twitter as revenue stream. I still rely on the RL-network-concept - real life, that is.
I know of a few CIO's that follow and tweet on twitter.
Further to this there is a SAP CFO twitter account, that is followed by a number of CFO's.
Decision makers will not base a decision solely on a tweet, but could be swayed to go with a consultant or consultancy that is seen to have good mindshare in the SAP space.
Another great post. I have been using Twitter for SAP a lot recently and I definitely see its benefits. I have found out about a lot of great articles and information using Twitter that I otherwise would not have been exposed to.
In STVN it has definitely helped with my career exposure as well as helping me to spread information on the products.
I guess not all people find it useful, but I think it has use when used thoughtfully. I think those that dismiss it are losing out on something usseful and important. And I used to be one of those people!
Your blog ticks all the boxes. I can confirm that using twitter and other social media tools has enhanced by network and I am aware of much more in the ecosystem.
I like having a mixture of people posting what they had for their breakfast as well as some excellent links to articles and blogs.
Keep up good work.
Matthias- I must have missed your blog and it is very good and goes well with this topic.
Mark-Thanks for the comments and great to see you so active on both SCN and Twitter. As far as your comment "I think consultants need to use a number of tools, SCN, twitter, linkedin (groups) insider articles, conferences etc to get their message across" I couldnt agree more. On a side I follow you on twitter and enjoy your tweets.
Luke-I like you find some SAP articles and information that I would not be exposed to if I didnt use twitter. Great to see you so active in sharing your knowledge in the SCN Nakisa forum. On a side I follow you on twitter and enjoy your tweets.
Holger-You bring up a great point about "None of the execs who will sign the contract and sign the bill are on Twitter". This seems to currently be the case but I have won several peices of work from other forms of social networking (Linkedin) and the long term potential for twitter is there as well. It is important to note that several VP's from SAP are active twitter users.
Claudine-Thanks for the kind words and you share a great real life example of how twitter can drive traffic. Everyone should keep an eye on the SAP career center as it is just in its infancy and is growing rapidly with content and job postings.
RajKishore-You bring an interesting perspective which I dont agree with. It is against your work ethic to learn? Have you tried twitter? Do you use SDN...or is that also against your work ethic?. When it comes to SAP I try not to waste any time and everything I do is for the so purpose of trying to become a better consultant for my clients. If I find an interesting tidbit I pass on to the client, if there is a complex issue I occasionaly reach out to network (which is engaged via SDN, Linkedin, Twitter etc). The time committment is minimal in the whole scheme of things and it does not have to be done on work hours if that is against company policy.
Chris-I do the exact same thing....twitter is for SAP and work, facebook is for friends/family although there is some occasional overlap. I am more of a "lurker" on facebook just reading about what is going on while on twitter I am more of a contributor given the SAP and work aspect of it. I do try to provide some occasional personal tweets to show my human side 🙂
Karin-Great point about twitter being blocked as I have not experienced that and didnt consider it. One of my major clients recently released a guide on what is acceptable as far as posts accross all social media. On a side I follow you on twitter and enjoy your tweets.
Markus-Thanks for all the comments and it is great to see a different perspective especially from an SAP Mentor. It is important to note that many of the mentor are very active on the twitter platform but it is by no means the only way network. My goal has always been to use all the tools in order to become more knowledge in SAP and twitter is just another one. If I only had limited time I would focus on SCN as it is by far has the best information. On a side note I think you should give twitter a 2 week try and follow 8-10 individuals and I would be curious if your opinion changes at all (I know it did for me)
Ajay-Thanks for your comment and link. I think in a perfect world it is what you know and if you are a true expert you will also know a lot of people. I have helped many great consultants find opportunity and they in return have helped me. The best consultants want to work together and have a mutal respect for each other. So in that regards it is "who you know" but also that relationship is build on "what you know"
Martin- Thanks for your comments and it is great to hear from an SAP mentor and active twitter user. A great example is that both Martin Gillet and Jon Reed were very active in discussing their certification 5 white paper (which I would highly recommend) on twitter. I would have read it without twitter as I follow and read all the new SDN blogs but that might not be the case for everyone.On a side I follow you on twitter and enjoy your tweets.
Gretchen-Great point about twitter being blocked as I have not experienced that and didnt consider it. I would expect that it will open up for most companies in the coming year if they can see that it brings value to the organization (could be hard sell). On a side I follow you on twitter and enjoy your tweets.
So here is my next dilemma: on this post, do i say that i want to be notified about new comments? For now, i am going to leave it unchecked (same concern about overload) but will definitely come back and check the comments here!)
Information overload is something that is a challenge for SAP professionals. I have always thought information was a crucial peice of being a good consultant so I did everything possible to consume as much as possible using tools to make it easier (google reader, twitter etc).
I would recommend starting slow and quickly you will realize that you can handle more (and you know more) and that is a combination that will help you in your day to day job.
I think the important lesson is to find a way to be involved in a professional community - using whichever technology suits your style and preferences.
Excellent discussion you have fostered here. I'm chiming in late, I don't tend to get too involved in the pros and cons of Twitter beyond whatever videos I've already done, because even though I use it heavily and it has many important benefits for me, I do believe that each individual has to sort out the value proposition for themselves.
But, a few comments.
1. Additional point on networking: I think the biggest value of Twitter is that it adds a powerful dimension to networking. I can say that the bursts of conversation I have had on Twitter have deepened relationships beyond what you would expect. I recently met up with a consultant I met on Twitter who was in my neighborhood (@openczun) and having known each other on Twitter for a year, it was as if we already had the groundwork for a friendship. It made our in-person time more valuable because we already knew a lot of context on each other. I see this happen at trade shows also, where you can pick up from Twitter and have a more powerful discussion because the formalities ("What do you do?") are out of the way
2. Decision-makers on Twitter: As for the point on decision makers on Twitter (""None of the execs who will sign the contract and sign the bill are on Twitter") I have obtained client work directly from Twitter. No, decision makers don't hang out that much on Twitter, yet - but they don't really hang out on other social media platforms either. It may appear they hang out on LinkedIn, but my research on decision makers and social media has shown me most aren't directly active on LinkedIn on a day to day basis. What we do see is that "bottom up" influence from those who do actively participate in these social networks is having an impact on spending and hiring decisions.
3. Twitter best for conversation: as you point out, I like Twitter best for conversation in those short bursts on various topics. For news tracking I believe Twitter is overrated. You and I have discussed, on Twitter, how we both value Google Reader - RSS readers are far more powerful for tracking key content because you don't miss things. Many of the best blog posts I read in a given week I never see on Twitter.
4. Twitter getting polluted by broadcasters. I find that more and more people are on Twitter to market BS crud and not to have authentic conversations. This is a trend to watch out for and the best way to deal with it is to only follow those who put thought and personal attention into what they Tweet. Those who mindlessly pimp their company's agenda, especially with links to content sitting behind firewalls, are not on my follower list. This kind of discretion - do it your way - helps to get the most out of Twitter. Along those lines, some feel they are obligated to follow anyone who follows them. I don't agree. It shouldn't be personal. I follow people who don't follow me and vice versa. I don't take it personal when some don't follow me.
5. Twitter doesn't reward casual involvement. One thing I find is that checking in on Twitter a few times a week has no value. You're either in or out. If you only have time to check a few times a week it probably won't do anything for you. This is a distinction between say, Twitter and LinkedIn. I'm only on LinkedIn a few times a week but do get value. No so with Twitter.
6. Twitter's RSS capabilities are powerful. Even if you are not active on Twitter, you can set RSS based keyword functions in your Reader to track key topics you want to monitor. I have set up similar things for many of my clients, and you can get pretty sophisticated tracking out of this without paying anyone tons of money for a "sentiment analysis" tool.
7. Twitter takes time. It takes time to find the right voice and approach on Twitter. I've seen some folks condemn Twitter and eventually grow to like it as they practiced with it more and found their stride. But, it's surely not for everyone. The more you can just let your personality shine, and find like-minded individuals, the more you will get out of it.
-Great point on networking and I see a lot people start networking when they want something. The time to strengthen business relationships is when you dont need them and you need to look at it from a perspective as how I can help the other person as opposed to how they can help me. Twitter helps in this process.
-If you are a hockey fan you will remember Gretzky saying he skated to where the puck "would be". Although twitter is not populated with decision makers today...there is nothing saying they wont be in 3 years and if that is the case you wont be able to build your presence or identity over night.
-Huge fan of google reader as it makes my life easier. Although it takes awhile to get up and running following the right content it pays big dividends.
-Great point about the fact that you control who you follow and at first if you follow to many it is easy to get turned off twitter as it moves pretty fast. When someone follows me I look at their last 15 posts....if they seem interesting I follow and if not I dont. I also review my list of who I am following every month and make adjustments.
The "twitter doesnt reward causal involvement" was a great point and one that I missed in the article as it didnt occur to me but it is very true.
-The comment about Twitter RSS capabilities was a great example of learning by sharing. I use google reader, I use twitter, I use search....it never occured to me to set up an RSS feed which I have done this evening for several of my searches. I shared the article and out of it I learned something that will help me. Thanks Jon
If you only want to follow a few people on Twitter I would highly recommend @jonerp as he was one of the first people I started following (not sure why it wasnt jonsap though) 🙂
Sounds crazy, but may be value-add for some. Note to myself: check Twitter API and prototpye!
(But when?!? #lackoftime)
good stuff, again, glad you provoked such a good discussion and shared these tips- a couple of quick things:
1. I agree with your Gretzy analogy about anticipating where the puck is going to be. I'm not sure there will ever be a ton of decision makers on Twitter but I'm sure more and more of them will source information from social sources during decision making. And I can tell you from my research to date that some of this is already happening now, often in the guise of a trusted hands-on expert or SAP Mentor or person like yourself being asked for input on subject matter expertise - Twitter becomes a factor in such processes - for example checking on reputations and hiring options.
2. My Twitter handle is @jonerp because my web site is JonERP.com. But as for why I chose that name, well that will have to wait for an in-person discussion over a couple of cold ones, maybe Sapphire Orlando 2011. 🙂
very valid insights. Thank you! Especially on the "in or out"...
Oh, and while I'm very positive I'll be able to find your video blogs... it'd been easier/more convenient on the reader if you would have left a pointer/reference 😉
I didn't link to my material because I'm always conscious of not wanting to push links on someone else's blog post, rather than just participate in the conversation here.
But since you specifically asked here's some links to my takes on getting the most out of SAP on Twitter that include embedded videos.
Request you to guide me in getting the informattion accordingly..
If you find someone that you like see who they are following as typically good "tweeters" follow good people.
I have spent quite a bit of time on who I follow and constantly modify it so that could be another way. I follow about 150 of the best SAP "tweeters" in the ecosystem
Hope this helps
I tend to keep the number of people I follow down to 100-150 as well. The list keeps evolving and most people I know are pretty cool with that rule. It's nothing personal, yet just as people change interest/focus in real life. Of course there are still people you are connected with from your last episode (company, department, etc.) that you are staying in touch in... same is reflected in Twitter.
Yet, there's no such thing as a one size fits all in social media. You'll find your own way to benefit from it if you give it a little time and patience.
I think it was Thorsten Franz (felllow SAP Mentor) who once put it perfectly by saying "I follow the 3xx most brightest minds on the web!" 😀
I really like the line from Thorsten.