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Using social-media platforms: A guide to the VMware community

New to social-media platforms? Blogs, Twitter and more can help you get involved with the VMware community. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered.

There is a wealth of great, free VMware information out there. But if you don't use social-media platforms, you...

are missing out on a good chunk of this information.

A key to VMware's success is the community built around its products. One of the best ways to get involved is through the many social-media platforms that VMware executives, consultants and customers use.

Social-media platforms: Forums and blogs and podcasts, oh my!

When ESX Server began to gain respect among enterprises, VMware opened the doors to its own Web-based forum, the VMware Technology Network (VMTN). It developed a community and grew quickly.

If you have run into problems or challenges in your VMware infrastructure, VMTN and VMware Knowledge Base are useful forums to find answers. Odds are, someone has already raised the same issue and found a solution. And if not, you can be the first to post about it.

Blogs are also great places to find virtualization conversation and highly technical information. Hundreds of VMware experts and observers have their own blogs, and the best place to start is Eric Siebert's vLaunchPad site, which lists most of them. Pay particular attention to the Top 25 Blogs list, which is based on readers' votes.

Podcasts are another great social-media platform. The VMware Communities Roundtable, one of the more popular virtualization podcasts, was started by VMware's John Troyer in 2008. At first, VMTN moderators discussed news-related topics on the podcast, but now the live, weekly show often features conversations with experts from VMware and other vendors.

For more, check out Aaron Delp's list of the most popular virtualization podcasts.

What do you mean you're not on Twitter?

For more immediate and informal VMware conversations, Twitter is the social-media platform of choice. Around the time between VMworld 2008 (in August) VMware Partner Exchange 2009 (in February), I noticed more virtualization experts signing up for Twitter.

There are plenty of guides for Twitter newcomers on the Internet, but my recommendation is simply to sign up and follow a list of users. (The hardest part is picking a username.) For a good, concise list to start with, I recommend Sean Clark's vGurus list. From there, you can add and remove users as you see fit.

On Twitterfind virtualization enthusiasts in your geographic area to follow. (A VMware User Group is a great opportunity to find new people to follow.) Most corporations also have a presence on Twitter, including VMware, so search for them as well.

Social-media platforms have an overwhelming amount of information. Take it slow, but try to make social media a part of your daily routine. RSS, Twitter and podcast clients can help you manage it all efficiently.

Simply scouting the various social-media platforms will help you a lot, but feel free to participate. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how much you get out of it and how welcoming the community can be.

About the author:
Brian Knudtson is a system engineer for a large Midwestern enterprise technology provider with more than a decade of IT experience. He is a VMware Certified Professional, vExpert and co-founder and former leader of the Omaha-area VMware User Group, and he maintains a VMware-related blog called knudt blog. Follow him on Twitter @bknudtson.

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