Using Twitter on Day One

ctodx
01 April 2009

Unless you're lucky and have a real life, you'll know by now that we released v2009 vol 1 in the last 24 hours. Twice.

Twitter bird I won't go into the details of why we took down 9.1.1 after only a couple of hours and then released 9.1.2 after a couple more (needless to say my car is going to be detailed using a toothbrush every week for the next few months), but instead reflect on the use of Twitter during this time.

Yesterday afternoon, my time (Mountain), we evangelists were twittering in real time about the preparations for the release. @RoryBecker created a hash tag, #AreWeThereYet, so that we could easily aggregate the news about the release. Slowly the level of excitement grew until I announced that it was ready. Almost immediately, people started downloading.

Once the showstopper bug was found, the install was pulled, and Twitter came into its own again. I was awakened this morning by a DM from a customer (I've set it up so that DMs auto-send a text to my cell phone, and it was on the nightstand). @garyshort and @olivers were already twittering, reassuring everyone who was asking that a new install would soon be ready. I joined in (@jmbucknall) and soon enough the new install was uploaded.

The point here is that, providing you were following any one of us (or @devexpress) on Twitter, you would have learned immediately that the new install was ready and could be downloaded. To me, this new way of learning about what's happening in real time is exciting. It's not like posting messages to the forums or publishing posts here: it's much more immediate. You're not left in the dark ("What the heck are DevExpress doing?"), but instead can see through our tweets that we're working hard on fulfilling our side of the bargain. It's two-way communication between you and us.

Incredibly, also, the level of discourse stayed high and people were cracking jokes (the #AreWeThereYet tag grew from a joke I made that customers waiting for the install were like the kids in the back seat: "dad, are we there yet?"). I think that if customers couldn't see what was going on and not getting reassurances in real time from real people, there would have been a great deal more frustration shown than there was. (And, believe me, I can see why people would be frustrated. I can only add "Me too!")

So, if you're not already a Twitter user, try it out. To encourage you to follow us, we're giving away gift cards and other swag periodically, so see you online!

(While I'm at it: don’t forget to vote for your favorite DevExpress tool or component.)

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