The sweepstakes for this campaign has closed but the mission is still active and is awarding 500 points upon completion.
First off, I'd like to personally welcome you to thwack. I'll start off with a brief introduction of who we are then we'll jump right in.
Maybe you've heard rumblings of thwack or perhaps this is your first time hearing of us. Whichever the case may be, I'm sure there is one question that stands out in your mind; What is thwack and why does it benefit me? Simply put, thwack connects you with more than 130,000 community members who have contributed to help us make superior products, provide educational IT content, and most importantly, help IT professionals do their jobs better. Here we put you in direct contact with the people who manage and develop our products, here is where you have a say in the direction of our products, and here is where you get support and answers on the fly without having to pick up the phone. Crazy, huh? A company that actually listens to their customers. And you're just now getting here! Without further ado, allow me to show you what you've been missing.
With almost 10 years of content, thwack can appear daunting to a first-comer. To ease the learning curve, we're going quickly to guide you through some of the most important pieces of the site. Along the way you'll earn points (I'll elaborate on this a bit more later) and if you complete all of the tasks by October 31st, you'll be entered to win 1 of 10 Chromebooks!* You do not need to complete these tasks in one sitting. Feel free to come back at your convenience.
Task 1 - How do you create an account?
No, we won't spam your inbox or add you to any marketing list. Having an account simply allows you to contribute and take advantage of all the features on the site. This should take less than a 5 minutes of your time. To create an account, find the "Register" link on the top right hand corner of your screen. You will need to be logged in in order to complete the rest of the tasks.
Task 2 - Where can you find content to extend your product's capabilities?
Here on thwack, you'll find thousands of downloadable templates, reports, scripts and more that allow you to customize and extend our products. Some content in this area is created by SW employees and the rest has been created and shared with the community by our members.
For this task, navigate to the Content Exchange. There is a shortcut to this area at the top of your screen, look for the button that appropriately reads "Content Exchange". Any of our products that have downloadable content will be listed in the drop-down menu. Feel free to choose a section of content that correlates to any product you're familiar with. From there, browse through the documents until you find something that sparks interest.
Next, download the template, report, script, etc. that you've chosen. You can then plug this item into the product which ultimately extends the functionality that is provided out-of-the-box (plugging the downloaded item into the product is not required to complete this task - however, we do recommend you check it out when time becomes available).
Task 3 - How can you influence the direction of a product?
As mentioned earlier, we greatly value customer input and will gladly review requests for new features. Here on thwack you can submit an idea or feature request for future implementation. Product Managers pay special attention to this concept of "ideation" and to gauge interest, we allow community members to vote on feature requests. Let me quickly explain how the process works before I give you the task at hand. There are 5 stages in which an idea can be slated for. When a user creates an idea, it is placed into the "Recent" stage. The Product Manager then reviews the request and will move the idea into 1 of 3 stages - Open for Voting, What We're Working On, or Closed. If an idea is placed in the "Closed" stage, it means the request is either unfeasible or doesn't fit with the direction of the product. The last stage is "Implemented" which means the feature has been added to the product. You can read more here about the recent features that were added to our products because of the crowd-sourcing feature on thwack.
For this task, navigate to a product feature request forum. There is a shortcut to this area at the top of your screen, look for the tab that reads "Feature Request". Choose a product you are familiar with in the drop-down menu. You'll then be dropped on a page which showcases the "top ideas" for that product (choose "show all" at the bottom of the list to see all ideas). Find a feature request that would bring value to your environment and vote for it.
Task 4 - Where can you get support while troubleshooting an issue?
The product forums are where you will get most of your support, from either other community members or a SolarWinds employee. There are developers, product managers, community staff, and others that are here to answer your questions and help resolve issues.
For this task, navigate to a product forum. There is a shortcut to this area at the top of your screen, look for the tab that reads "Product Forums". Choose a product you are familiar within the drop-down menu. You are now in that product's forum. There is an exceptional amount of content in most of our forums so please take a minute to click around. To narrow down the forum content to "discussions" or threads, click on the "Content" tab at the top of the forum.
Find a discussion thread that sparks your interest and "like" it.
Task 5 - Where can you find product road-maps?
You can find the "What We're Working On" guide on the left side of the home page. This post stands as a guide to what the teams are working on for each of our products. Once you've found the guide, bookmark it.
Bookmarking a piece of content will place it in your bookmarks.
Task 6 - Where can you read blogs about SolarWinds products and other general IT topics?
We have several blogging areas here on thwack, 6 to be exact. For this task, let's focus on 2 specific blogging areas: Product Blog and Geek Speak.
First, navigate to the Product Blog. You can get there by clicking on "Product Forums" at the top of the page > Blogs > Product Blog. Some of these blogs may look familiar because they're actually streamed into our products, but I'll bet you didn't know they came from thwack. Click on a blog that interests you and take a minute to read. Make sure you click on the blog subject line for the action to be recorded.
Second, navigate to Geek Speak. You can get there the same way you found the Product Blog: Product Forums > Blogs > Geek Speak. Click on a blog that interests you and take a minute to read. Make sure you click on the blog subject line for the action to be recorded.
That's it! You've completed your first mission and earned 1,000 points to be used in the thwack Store! Below are a few other good resources to check out. If you have questions on anything thwack, feel free to reach out to myself or MTorok.
- Library & Support - Documentation, video tutorials, and other helpful content divided by product.
- Groups - Participate in RC or beta builds and work directly with the PM to help us put out the next release of our products. Earn points and badges for your profile!
- Community Vibe - Stay up to date on happenings in the community.
- Announcements - Find community/product announcements. This blog is the home of the very popular MONTHLY MISSIONS! Earn points and prizes every month.
- What are the points good for? Credibility, of course, and...
Oh, and be sure to check out our FREE virtual event, thwackCamp 2013, which will be held October 8-11 right here on thwack. We'll have live Q&A from Product Managers during each session. Check out the schedule, join the group to RSVP, and earn earn some points and a badge along the way! We'll also being giving away some pretty sweet prizes daily (Xbox One anyone?).