Note: This post was originally published on my old blog site, hansql.wordpress.com.

Business Cat is watching you work! (Click picture for more Business Cat!)

Today’s Meme Monday theme is the warm-and-fuzzy topic of #SQLFamily, and I’ve already read some wonderful posts chock full of happiness.  There’s a good reason for this: The SQL Server community has earned the title #SQLFamily by being the most open, inviting, and encouraging technical community anywhere.

When I started in IT 9 years ago, I moved into a technical role but was still managed by a non-IT manager.  I was a lone wolf – I had no support system, no one I could ask for help when a crisis occurred.  In many ways this was very good for me, since it taught me how to find answers by myself and put me on a path to training myself every day.  But don’t let me fool you – it was far from easy.  What I really needed was a mentor.

Fast forward a few years, and I was still running as a lone wolf.  By this time, I’d moved onto a proper IT team, but since I was the only SQL Server DBA on my team, I was expected to be the expert.  I still needed a mentor, and eventually I found it. It’s name was Twitter.

You see, in 2009 some genius members of our #SQLFamily started the #SQLHelp hashtag on Twitter to help community members get answers to SQL questions.  The #SQLHelp hashtag became an instant hit; everyday joes were able to start asking questions and were getting replies within minutes from the top minds in SQL Server.  Having #SQLHelp around to ask questions was great, but the real power of #SQLHelp is in watching other people ask and answer questions.  Let’s face it, people are doing things with SQL Server you never even dreamed of; watching #SQLHelp is a way to learn about a very diverse set of challenges and solutions.

At the PASS Summit this year, I asked every new person I met if they were on Twitter yet. Surprisingly, the majority said they weren’t, and that’s when they got my 2 minute speech about why they HAD to get on Twitter.  I gave that speech at least 70 times over the course of the Summit, and it was heartfelt every time I gave it.

There’s one more thing I want to point out about this #SQLFamily of ours.  I recently made the very difficult decision to move from my long-time home in Phoenix, Arizona, up to Bellevue, Washington.  I’m near the Microsoft campus now, and I’ve already had the chance to participate in some spectacular training events I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attend.  But here’s why our #SQLFamily is so awesome: from the moment I mentioned on Twitter that I planned on moving to Washington, the SQL Server community here welcomed me.  From Mike Decuir (b / t) recommending what neighborhood to live in, to Robert Davis (b / t) inviting me to #SQLNomz, to discussing all things comic-book related with Nic Cain (b / t), these guys made moving here so much easier.

I can’t even imagine my work (or life) without my #SQLFamily.  Why would anyone want to be an Oracle DBA when SQL Server offers so much more than what comes on the installation disk?  Our #SQLFamily is something truly unique in the IT world, and if you haven’t joined us yet, get on Twitter, chat us up and get involved in the SQL Server community.  We want to know you, and we want you to succeed!