Next month at the PASS Summit in Seattle, Erik Darling and I are teaching a one-day pre-conference class on performance tuning.
We sold ~300 seats, which is awesome – but that comes with some challenges, one of which is handling Q&A. As classes get over 100 people, folks can be hesitant to raise their hands, and they rarely want to walk up to a microphone to address the entire room.
I’ve tried using Twitter for this in the past, but it can be hard to get people to:
- Fit the question in 140 characters (less the hash tag)
- Use the hash tag in the question
- Set up a column or search for the hash tag in their Twitter client (and don’t even get me started on the problems with various Twitter clients on different OS’s, phones, tablets)
- When people reply, have them remember to include the hash tag in every reply (which many Twitter clients don’t do by default)
- Follow discussion threads in a sea of tweets
The solution: Slack
Slack is a trendy group chat platform that’s kinda replaced Twitter for me. You can have private Slacks (like the Brent Ozar Unlimited one), and community Slacks like the SQL Server community one.
Slack works in the browser, plus has great standard apps. Channel discussions all stay in the same place, and they’re easy to follow. You can go way beyond 140 characters, even uploading pictures and files as part of your thread.
I first started using Slack for the GroupBy.org conference chats in the #GroupBy channel, and it’s been a huge hit with over 500 folks in the channel. It’s very lively during the conference. This month, I started using it for our training class Q&A in the #BrentOzarUnlimited channel, and that worked really well too.
For Summit, what room should we use?
This is where it gets tricky:
- #PASS-Summit channel – if we use this, the other attendees at Summit are likely to get pissed about how much noise our attendees make in the channel. With ~300 pre-con attendees, there’s gonna be a lot of questions.
- #BrentOzarUnlimited channel – this might get us in a little trouble with PASS, who gets kinda defensive when people use their company names as part of their presentations.
- #PerformanceTuning channel – this doesn’t exist right now, but it’d work – as long as there’s no other performance tuning things happening at the same time. The problem is that I’m also going to use a channel for my general PASS session on Friday, and for sure there will be other performance things at the same time.
I dunno – whaddya think?