For those of you new to the SharePoint community you may wonder why some of us who have been around for awhile are so passionate about it. Having been in the technology industry for some time I want to share with you a few points about this community and why I think its both unique and important.
Social Networking as a Technical Support Tool: I have often said that my Twitter community in the SharePoint world is the most valuable part of this community. Imagine an entire community of people filtering for you what is important to review and understand about this deep subject we call SharePoint. That's exactly what the community does. The new Global360 project detailing the top 50 influencers in this community will give you a good place to start but what's important is that rather than Google'ing something and pouring through articles you can review the #SharePoint thread on Twitter and find that same valuable information much faster. Being an ITPro, Developer or Administrator in SharePoint means that you will often be searching for answers to your issues. owHowHow How much better is it when others are also out there searching for those same answers and are happily willing to share the fruits of their labor!
Community Events for Career Advancement and Sheer Fun: SharePoint Saturday's are a great example of this principle. You wouldn't think that people would be willing to take time away from their personal lives on a Saturday for a subject like SharePoint but they are. These free community events are chock full of technical information to allow you to deepen your skillset in SharePoint. You can find one near you at http://sharepointsaturday.org and I highly recommend you go. Also this is your first free chance to meet in person many of the people who so regularly contribute to the social networking feeds. Even though the events are free to all attendees you are getting the same or similar speakers as you might find at a paid conference. Plus, it really is fun to meet other people who are wrangling the same gorillas as you!
Community Spirit: Our community is always ready to step up and lend a hand. I've coined the phrase "Sharing is the Point" to highlight our collective desire to help out where needed. From tweet-ups for local charities, online fundraising drives for major disasters and on the spot assistance as the SharePoint Saturday speaker dinner organizers recently did for the victims of the gas explosion in the east bay of San Francisco this community has a desire to give back from our well of good fortune to those dealing with more serious life issues than how to configure their SQL server.
Those are just a few of the things that I've noticed in participating in this community. Get out and become a part of something great. Your community needs your experience, perspective and helping hands! See you at some of these events soon!