How to make twitter a tool for personal growth (yes, really!)

1. Be an expert

The difference between an expert and everyone else is the expert is willing to be wrong about what they say publicly. Twitter is a great place to access experts, learn quick or refine your thinking. If you act like an expert on Twitter then you open yourself up to opportunities and connections from other experts  – but you do have to be prepared to make mistakes publicly and deal with the fall out.

2. Post things as statements not questions

I used to ask questions like ‘Is GitOps just infrastructure-as-code for Kubernetes?’ and get one or two answers. The reality is that people are more motivated to give you feedback if you are wrong so posing questions as statements elicits a better response: “GitOps is just infrastructure-as-code for Kubernetes”.

3. Jump into conversations to share your opinions

Even though I am relatively new to the continuous delivery space I have specific theories and strong opinions, and here’s a time I engaged with someone I didn’t know to share those:

4. Address one topic at a time

The next day I woke up to a whole bunch of heated responses. Some were from offended pattern authors & fans, some from continuous delivery experts and yet others from open source folks. The first thing I learnt from doing that is that I shouldn’t mix separate thoughts in one tweet. It makes conversations confusing, there’s more chance of being misunderstood and once you’ve posted on Twitter you almost always miss the tiny window to retract, re-frame or explain what you mean.

5. Listen to your critics – at least some of them

With a couple of tweets I had managed to tap into a whole range of political views about technology, and the criticisms came in thick and fast. I sifted the feedback and figured out who & what to listen to, by figuring out what was constructive and also who was listening to me. Here is an example of a thread with someone that I learnt from, who shared the perspective of what end-users really care about:

6. Learn fast

Learning in the open can feel painful at times and not everyone will understand what you are doing. Keep doing it anyway – it is far more important to learn, to test the theories you hold to see which are true and which are not, to see who you are reaching and who you are not and to ultimately shape the thinking that will help you break new ground.


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