How Best to Use the #SPHelp Twitter Hashtag

There’s a conversation going on in Twitter right now about how best to use the #SPHelp hashtag. So many people are weighing in that "Reply All" is filling up the 140 characters! I thought I’d create a quick post where everyone can weigh in. Have at it!

17 Comments

  1. I would suggest that we aggregate authentic RSS feeds such as MSDN, ESUP, etc and then tweet the “new” questions on to Twitter with #SPHelp tag. A similar approach and probably tool can be used for other products too. At present, we have #SQLHelp and #PSHelp. Thoughts are welcome

    Reply
    • The point I wanted to make was, even if we create a bot, we won’t be generally retweeting everything. We will just retweet the feeds “we” are monitoring. If someone wants their feed to be retweeted, they will have to probably request us through some channel.

      Reply
  2. I suggest we observe how the SQL guys are managing it, they are using their #SQLHelp tag a few months already. Check out Brent Ozar’s post at http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2009/12/i-need-sqlhelp.

    I propose not to use a bot to not pollute the Twitter stream. Tweeting the essence of a problem, followed by a link to a forum of blog post looks the most appealing to me. Should the conversation about a topic be conducted on Twitter itself or do we offload this to the forum or blog?

    In any case, be sure to update the Twitter stream if you found a solution and don’t forget to say thank you :-)

    Reply
    • Sounds OK to me, except the fact that it is still up to the person who is looking for help. Ideally, this is the way it should happen. But, my thought process was to tweet all new questions with #SPHelp to help these people proactively.

      Reply
  3. In general, #SPHelp is a great way to draw attention and visibility to your topic, but rarely can the right level of detail be offered in 140 characters. As an alternative, consider posting on SharePointOverflow.com, endusersharepoint.com/STP/, or other popular SharePoint forums, and simply use the #SPHelp hash tag in a tweet with a quick summary and shortened URL to your forum post. This allows people to easily ask for additional information on your issue and provide the necessary level of detail for a reply.

    Reply
    • Mike:

      On the flip side, both SharePoint Overflow and Stump the Panel provide subscription mechanisms, just like any other good platform. I’ve subscribed to tweets from @SPOverflowFeed and I get emails on activity in the STP forums I want to follow. So to a large degree, this stuff is happening outside of Twitter. It also lets each of us subscribe to the streams that fit our interests and expertise. To me, #SPHelp ought to be used for those real-time emergency requests like: “My server is on fire and I need to put it out!”

      M.

      Reply
      • That’s certainly a valid point, though I still argue that the vast majority of times 140 characters simply isn’t enough. How many times have we (you and I even), started a question on Twitter and had to revert to email to get the right information and resolution into the mix.

        Personally, I find @SPOverflowFeed one of the biggest drivers for me. Admittedly, I’m not very good at going out to the forum and monitoring the activity, but I do monitor Twitter and when I see a tweet I’m interested in or have some feedback on, I will click the link and offer some feedback. Realistically, sometimes it’s difficult to just get the topic to fit in 140 characters.

        You’ll still run into multiple people replying and thus the Reply All problem of using half the tweet to mention everyone. If I tweeted “My server is on fire and I need to pull it out!”, most likely I’ll get 5 replies asking different questions, why is it on fire, what type of bolts hold it into the rack, have you unplugged it, etc. Exaggeration yes, but my point still stands. If my tweet was “My server is on fire and I need to pull it out! #SPHelp http://bit.ly/nnnn” I’d draw attention to my issue and provide a forum or blog post where everyone can see everyone else’s feedback and offer their own.

        Reply
  4. As I started this conversation on Twitter, let me explain my point. The benefit of an answer should not be restricted to the person who asked, or the few who were lucky enough to capture the thread on Twitter. The interest of a forum is that the answer will still be available 6 months or one year later, and possibly improved with updates. It’s not just about how deep we can go, it’s also about persistence.

    Reply
  5. How about 2 tags – one as per #sqlhelp, offering a 911 service, and one as a feed of proactive forum posts or is that just complicating it? is there an RSS feed that achieves this already?

    Reply

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