It all started with Twitter. Beginning of 2011, I would have told you that I cannot see any reason why you would possibly have a Twitter account. I just couldn't see the value of such short messages.
Well, little did I know. Mid of 2011 my company at that time was in a severe crisis and desperately tried to acquire new customers to survive. One our our marketing attempts included creating personal Twitter accounts, so I started reading a lot about Twitter. Something which got stuck: One blogger compared reading and commenting blogs to having sophisticated discussions in a café where you spend time with a few people; and in contrast Twitter to having quick, nonbinding chats in a bar where you can quickly turn to the next one or simply leave. Unfortunately I cannot remember the source, but this comparison helped me a lot to better understanding.
During my first steps with Twitter I discovered that you can find a whole bunch of valuable information and insights on this platform. That you can directly follow subject matter experts. That it's a real gold mine if you follow interesting people. So I started following authors of books or blogs which had helped me learn more about agile development and software testing. And enjoyed their sharing of wisdom, experience and interesting resources.
And suddenly I realized the value of Twitter for me: I use it for learning. Just to get me right: I am not a regular Twitter user. I stop by when I got time and mood. Some months I don't even check my Twitter client once. Then there are weeks when I regularly follow the streams. From time to time I tweet my own thoughts or re-share the most inspiring pieces. But when I visit the Twitter bar, it's always about learning.
As one key learning, Twitter showed me that there is a very active agile testing community. That a lot more people are out there having the same questions, facing similar challenges, sharing the joy to learn, caring for each other. That the experts of this community are readily supporting with whatever problem you might have. That we are all humans trying to grow.
Last week I attended the Agile Testing Days for the second time. I learned about this conference on Twitter and knew I had to take any opportunity to get there. During my first short visit in 2015, I learned that the community I encountered on Twitter is not only a virtual one but also exists in the real world, with everybody welcoming newcomers and openly sharing their experience. It was simply awesome. This year I could stay for the full week which was even more awesome. I could fill pages about all the new insights, ideas and people I took with me, but let me just share one thing. I still hear the words of Abby Fichtner in her most inspiring opening keynote when she cited Eleanor Roosevelt: "Do one thing everyday that scares you."
So what scares me? I'm thinking about starting a blog for quite some time now, always hesitating, always fearing that I could not meet my expectation; that if I start a blog, it should provide value to the rest of the world. Asking other conference attendees for advice, I learned the following from Llewellyn Falco: If you blog, then blog for yourself to learn. If nobody cares, you have nothing to fear. If somebody cares, great. So don't overthink it. And by the way, if you give a talk, give the talk to you, one year ago.
On that note, to myself, one year ago: This is the story of how I finally started to blog. Be brave. Just do it.