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Why are You Here on Thwack?

Level 13

Another way of asking that question: What is Thwack?

An obvious answer: Thwack is the online IT community where you get information on and share your experience related to SolarWinds products that you value. Of course, if you’ve been visiting Thwack for awhile, you have your own specific answer; and if I don’t touch on yours in this post, I would look forward to reading your comments.

You go to the NPM forum , as a user of that product, to get help from others who work in their company’s network operations center (which might be just you in your cube and them in theirs), fielding the alerts NPM sends about network devices on a specific LAN. In the SAM forum other Sys Admins answer your questions and share their experience with templates they are using to keep track of issues with key applications across their respective businesses. If you manage network devices, and NCM fails to back-up a config for one of your devices, your forum’s MVPs confirm your problem or offer you a solution they found. In all cases, you’ll often hear from SolarWinds engineers, product managers, information developers and others with a stake in you getting the best information and as quickly as possible.

With an eye on the future, as part of revealing the kernel of why we’re on Thwack, I want to cover a little history.

The Future is Always Getting Ready

William Gibson famously observed that, when it comes to technology, the future is already here but it’s unevenly distributed.

As Facebook surpasses a billion users worldwide, let’s consider why; especially since we all complain about Facebook not offering a very satisfying social experience.

As someone who worked there at the time, I remember that in 2004 Yahoo! had the most registered users internationally of all internet sites. While Yahoo! was serving up a portal experience, Zuckerberg had just launched Facebook and had staff working out a small space in Palo Alto. Just 8 years later Facebook is synonymous with social networking and Yahoo! seems on the verge of being sold off as piecemeal services that someone might figure out how to grow as specific online communities. Even with the enormous leverage of users already participating daily within its dotcom footprint, and through a mutually reinforcing aglomeration of services, Yahoo! failed to remain a leader in the era of the social web.

Why is the social web so much more valuable than a place where you simply go to use a service or retrieve information?

While Yahoo! still offers an evolving set of services and experiences in which users rapidly publish and exchange an ongoing and cumulative stream of information—text, audio files, photographs, videos, links to other content—both asynchronously and in real-time, what it does not offer, or began to offer only belatedly, are exchanges within a community in which information comes with value already attached by the community itself.

Simply put, successful social web sites are those that use reputation and ratings systems to control access and value related to both interaction and information exchanged through interaction.

For example, think of the different editorial value implied in getting the same news story through digg.com and CNN.com. Crowdsourcing, in a word, makes the creation of value within the community accessible to everyone in the community.

If Facebook declines as the leader of the social web it will be because it fails to safeguard the integrity of the social experiences it makes available. My colleague today told me that she doesn’t use Facebook anymore because her parents are on there. Users who stop trusting the interactions and information that the community offers them will migrate to another where the value is higher.

Online, Trust is Almost Everything

Like SolarWinds products themselves,Thwack is only as valuable as the trust you create while here; and that trust depends on how you and others interact and especially on what information you share and how you share it.

If you think of ubiquitous computing as an evolving inevitability, then you are already attuned to technology-mediated relationships becoming increasingly pervasive, so that the computing infrastructure itself tends to disappear into the environment much as urban architecture does.

As IT professionals, we are the ones for whom computing technology will never become invisible, no matter how much out of sight. Even so, perhaps more so than everyone else, we will depend on our technically savvy community to vet issues of mutual importance in figuring out how to make technology better serve its users.

7 Comments
MVP
MVP

Thwack is a great source of information but I personally don't like the forum layouts. To get the most out of these forums, I actually watched the video clips on how to use the forum. I've not experienced any other forums where I've had to watch a video on how to use it.

Other than that, the source of information is great.

Level 14

Hi ,

I'm sorry you found the forums difficult to use. Can you tell me a little bit more about where you hit snags? I'm glad the videos helped, but I have to admit it bothers me that you had to use them (and suffer through my narrative ).

Thanks,

Michael

Level 13

Hi superfly99,

I'm very interested in what information you value most on the site. Thanks for the comments.

Doug

Level 8

1st time I've had to use the forums and layout is great as is the content.  After several years I've decided to get my SWI Certification and this was the most logical starting point.  Information is great and look forward to that next badge.

dg

MVP
MVP

Hi Michael, on the upshot, your videos were very helpful in me getting more out of using these forums

Most forums I use (car related forums) are either phpBB or similar and look like this

https://www.phpbb.com/community/?sid=23c91013ba78d52f0f94810de1af3638

If this style of forum was used here, I would say scroll down to Network Management and pick the subforum Network Performance Manager. I would then see all the new topics at the top and I could select the ones I want to read. When I click back, it goes back to where I was.

Currently on this forum, I do a similar thing but once I'm in Network Performance Manager, I then have to scroll down to Recent Content where I will see the newest 15 topics. I sometimes don't access this for a few days which means I then have to click on More to see more posts that I haven't read. If I select one of those topics and then click back, I have to once again click on More to go back to where I was. I'd rather just see the whole list of posts and then say have a page 2, 3 etc so when I click back, I don't have to keep clicking on More to get back to where I was.

I hope that makes sense.

Thanks for listening

Harald

MVP
MVP

Hi Doug

Things I have found helpful are scripts that members have done to download configs from certain devices. And reading solutions users have offered other users, I have found that some of these have actually helped me get more out of the product. As they've offered another way of doing things etc. An inside in 'what's coming' has also been helpful.

Harald

Level 15

After years of struggling to get just getting the minimum out of products, I was intrigued by the product community of Solarwinds.  I have found this to be an excellent resource of product knowledge and community. 

About the Author
If I were a HAL 9000 series computing machine I might be in an operational state on a space vessel somewhere in our little solar system, closer to Jupiter than Earth, with some probability of lethal malfunction; and to understate the obvious, I would not be helping anyone here on thwack.com. But I do or try to help people on thwack.com watch their bits better. Therefore, I am probably not a HAL 9000 series computing machine. I alternate between feeling ambiguously clear (state='0' if you like) and clearly ambiguous (state='1' as it were). I enjoy verbing nouns.