It’s the holiday season, a time for cheer and goodwill towards men. That got me thinking about the whole “most wonderful time of the year” tune playing in the background and how that has some special implications for the SQL Server world. Here’s a bit of context: I'm writing this article for you in the midst of the biggest gathering of SQL Server professions in any given year, the PASS Summit. One of the most visible activities when attendees get together for the very first time at the registration desk or the assembly hall for the first keynote address is the huge number of hugs, backslapping, fist bumps, high fives, and a variety of other happy and genuine reunions.
Without #SQLFamily we wouldn’t have #sqlhugs, #sqlrun, #sqlhelp, and more importantly #sqlpass. @tradney (Tim Radney on Twitter)
#SQLFamily is like zombies, it's all about hearts and brains. (Cindy Gross on Facebook)
And here’s a crazy detail about these reunions – these people are meeting for the very first time. But they have known each other and interacted with each other all year long. You see, there’s an interesting characteristic of the SQL Server community that is rarely replicated in other niches of the IT world. It’s called SQLFamily, and it refers to the strong sense of belonging and community goodwill shared by many members in this community. It’s such a popular aspect of the community that it’s a heavily used Twitter hashtag in its own right.
What is SQLFamily?
In our modernizing world, many people drive home from a day at work, click the garage door opener as they approach their house, pull in, and never go outside until their next trip to the office. We don’t know our neighbors. In fact, for many of us, we feel very little sense of community at our homes. We don’t expect it from our neighbors, nor do we invest in that way ourselves.
#sqlfamily has helped me take pride in who I am and inspired me to be a better person in every way. @sqlmal (Malathi Mahadevan on Twitter)
#sqlfamily is more than just the technical side. When some tough times and personal tragedy came my family's way, folks … were there. (K.Brian Kelly on Facebook)
But that doesn’t mean that we don’t desire a strong sense of connectedness and community. We just get it online, through our virtual community. (As an aside, in my long years of IT experience, only a few open source projects such as the Linux community circa 2001 have built up a similar sense of community and connectedness as what we now see in the SQL Server community.)
Where Does This Community Meet?
When people begin to engage with SQLFamily, it’s often through the many available social media channels or one of a couple real-world options. Twitter is extremely active for the SQL Server community, especially under the hashtags of #sqlpass, #sqlfamily, and #sqlhelp. There are active Facebook and LinkedIn channels. And, at least for training content, there’s a very nice YouTube channel.
#SQLFamily is being in a room of 2500 people & finding friends wherever you look (and that's what #SQLFamily is all about Charlie Brown). @dba_andy (Andy Galbraith on Twitter)
#SQLFamily is just that. A family. We live all over the world, but we always like getting together a few times a year to learn from each other, help each other, have a good time with each other, and laugh with each other. (Gill Rowley on Facebook)
There’s also a big aggregation of all of the SQL Server blogs available online. Many of the SQLFamily first get connected to the bigger community by finding a blogger they like and posting comments. The blogger responds and, from there, they are introduced to the friends of the blogger, making their world gets bigger and more inclusive.
And in the physical world, there are a vast number of local user groups, as well as “virtual chapters” which broadcast a special-interest webinar every month. And a new way that SQL Server professionals are meeting each other in the real world is spreading like wildfire, the SQLSaturday events. These are free, local mini-conferences with 30 or more sessions, occurring hundreds of times per year all over the world.
So, have I inspired you to get active with you’re SQLFamily? We’re ready and waiting to welcome you!
Kevin Kline, a longtime Microsoft SQL Server MVP, is a founder and former president of PASS and the author of SQL in a Nutshell. Kline tweets at @kekline and blogs at http://kevinekline.com.
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