The recent Xen.org community survey showed that 23.6% of you are aware of my Twitter feed on all things Xen. As I feel that Twitter is a valuable tool for the community, I thought I would present some more information on how I am using Twitter and what I have found from other Twitter users. NOTE – you don’t even have to join Twitter to take advantage of its information.
For Twitter newbies, twitter is a real-time system where anyone can post a message containing at most 140 characters. A basic overview of twitter is here or here. People can select users to follow, thereby creating a stream of messages on topics you are interested in. Twitter also contains a hashtag tool that allows people to mark a particular post as being associated with a given topic – for example, I add the hashtag #xen to all my twitter messages associated with the Xen hypervisor or Xen.org community.
So, what does this mean to me and how can I use Twitter?
A great way to leverage the continuous stream of information on Twitter is to use the real-time search engine at http://search.twitter.com/. You can add any topic or hashtag you like and obtain the latest set of messages on that topic. For example, searching on #xen gave me the following:
jarlostensen: @zack_perry responded to my question about #virtualization, I’d never heard of #xen before. Looks interesting
charltonb: VMware, Xen driving Rich Cloud Services http://bit.ly/KGmgo (expand) #cloudcomputing #vmware #xen
ddeighton: RT @xen_com_mgr: Xen DomU Images for Everyone! http://bit.ly/14bnQK (expand) #xen [Looks promising!]
cloudmeme: VMware, Xen Heat Up the Cloud –serverwatch.com Amy Newman– http://bit.ly/KGmgo (expand) #cloudcomputing #vmware #xen
This snapshot gives you the latest messages sent by anyone on Twitter who added the #xen hashtag to their message. As you can see, not only will you find myself posting information but other people from around the globe.
I have also been using Twitter to promote our upcoming Xen Directions event in Berlin at LinuxTAG. I have created a new hashtag for the event, #xendirect09 and have also added the #linuxtag hashtag to ensure that all people interested in the LinuxTAG event are also aware of the Xen Directions event. Here is an example of a post from me:
Another interesting way that Twitter expands your message reach is the use of Retweeting a message or RT for short. Many times, I will see a message from someone that I think the people following me will be interested in so I resend the message with a RT in front. For example, here is a message that I sent yesterday that smoeone else thought their followers would like to see so they RT:
This feature allows more people on the Twitter system to find me as well as ensure that more people are made aware of the content of my message. It is through this networking of people that I am able to expand my followers list and find new people to follow.
I have made the #xen twitter search available to the community directly on the blog.xen.org home page on the right side of the screen where you can also sign up for the RSS feed and get all #xen messages delivered directly to you via http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23xen.
If you decide to join Twitter and become an active participant, please let me know your user-id so I can follow you and learn from your postings. To follow me, go to http://twitter.com/xen_com_mgr.