Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Experience as a Thwack Ambassador

I just wrapped up my time as a Thwack Ambassador, and wanted to share some observations from the experience.

Thwack is Fun!

I've been a Thwack user for about a year now, and I've learned that Thwack is a funny, borderline goofy community of tech enthusiasts. I've been familiar with the Ambassador program for nearly as long, and have always enjoyed the discussions that follow from thought-provoking posts. I'm happy that my four posts at Thwack this month (Whose Fault Is It Anyway?, Rise of the Hybrid Engineer, Too Many Tools, and Root Cause Paralysis) initiated great discussions. And only a few comments were obvious point-chasing. So don't let the goofiness fool you: many users at Thwack are wicked smart, and not just on the topics of SolarWinds and monitoring.

Active Participation

I've seen many Ambassadors who post an article and then disappear until next week. And I've seen what happens to the comments section as a result. I took a different approach, in part due to the great interaction I observed while Gideon Tam was an Ambassador in January of this year. Plus, the good people at Foskett Services LLC (who manage the Ambassador program for SolarWinds) encourage bloggers to interact with commenters. It makes for a more lively, dynamic discussion. The articles may be interesting, but it's the discussion that really brings them to life. Contrast that to the postings on a site like.... this one. :)

People Just Want to be Heard

Who doesn't want someone to listen to their experience and advice? I learned that if you give people a platform, they'll use it to share stories of success and failure, primarily for the purpose of helping others avoid the same mistakes. Though to be fair, the point system rewards us all for our contributions. I think I've got one of everything in the Thwack store (except the backpack... just no use for it). 

A Note of Thanks

Many thanks to Stephen Foskett for getting me involved in this program! (I have to be honest, that was the best DM I've ever received.) Thanks also to Danielle Higgins and Claire Chaplais for all of the work they put into Thwack and the Ambassador program.

I'll now return to my regular Thwack user activity.

Disclosure stuff: The Thwack Ambassador role is a paid position. Read my posts there for yourself and determine if that introduced bias into my articles.