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Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read other user messages called tweets. These tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters that are displayed on the author's profile page. The growth of Twitter over the last few years has been very impressive as shown by these recently published graphics. I am a big believer that all SAP professionals should set up and start using twitter as there are many benefits which I will outline below.

When I first joined Twitter in February, 2009 it was more of a curiosity after hearing all the buzz about it. After "using" it for 15 minutes without any idea what I was doing I deemed it a waste of time and boy was I wrong. Luckily, I revisited it again later in the year with a goal to tweet one message a week mostly trying to promote my new HR Expert articles or SDN blogs. Slowly I came to realize what an incredible platform twitter could be for SAP professionals and enclosed are 5 ways that twitter can help you in your SAP career.

1. SAP Information – I realized early on in my career that there was a lot of SAP information available and half the battle was being able to find it. Twitter makes this process a lot easier and the amount of cutting edge and new information being shared daily is very impressive. Twitter can be overwhelming when you first start so I would recommend only following a handful of individuals until you get comfortable and expand from there. I am a big believer that information one of the most important aspects in a successful SAP career and Twitter will help provide that to you.

2. Networking –There is something unique about twitter and the method of communication that you have to experience for yourself before you will begin to understand its networking possibilities. I have met new individuals as well as strengthened existing friendships and industry connections by using twitter. The list of SAP individuals and companies using twitter is very impressive and the SAP Affinity Group has a great collection of SAP twitter accounts on their website. Twitter is a great tool for networking as well as communicating with SAP industry experts, mentors, management, user groups, industry contacts, colleagues and friends.

3. Knowledge Transfer– We all know individuals in the SAP industry that try to hoard their knowledge thinking it will make them more valuable. There used to be a lot more of these individuals before the SAP Community Network was formed and sharing became more fashionable. I consider twitter a further extension of that and a great way to share information with your "followers". I personally share information regarding SAP News, SAP Careers, SAP HCM, Payroll and CRM as well as anything I feel is relevant to SAP professionals. Likewise, I follow individuals who provide great information about SAP in their area of expertise. Twitter has a reputation for mindless posts about what people ate for breakfast etc, but it is important to note that you have the power to only follow individuals that provide information that you find useful. If you want to continually learn and become an expert in your area share all your knowledge and you will be rewarded.

4. Troubleshooting–Twitter can be used to help troubleshoot issues and get quick information about a SAP problem that you have come across. While I haven’t seen twitter used widespread for SAP troubleshooting it is a logical future extension of the product. Twitter can be used to help troubleshoot SAP Issues.

5. Promotion –Twitter is a great way to talk about your SAP career, company, project or general accomplishments. Are you speaking at an upcoming conference, did you publish a new blog or article, did you just read an interesting SAP article, did you just solve a SAP problem, read an interesting OSS note, go live on a complex implementation, if so people are interested and want to hear about it. You have invested time in your SAP career and twitter is a great medium where you can share that with the community.

I am a big believer that social networking for SAP professionals is only in its infancy and that twitter is only going to continue to grow in popularity and importance. You all have a unique opportunity to become active in an emerging technology that will help you in countless ways in your SAP career. If you enjoyed this article and want to give twitter a try please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SAP_Jarret