So the past week I have taken a break from social media, and includes all of the following, and perhaps a couple more :
- Google Hangouts
I needed a break from all the noise of the world around me, a chance to recharge my batteries and concentrate a bit more on myself and just getting my job done. Now as a software developer, working as a contractor/consultant, this provded to be a very difficult task indeed!
Part of my job involves me working with new technologies, or at least working with technology that other people may be uncertain on how to best use. I have three things which make me excel in this type of work.
I am good at reading documentation
Whenever I am faced with a new system, if I am not already familiar with the system, I am very good at finding the information I need from the documentation, along with exploring the code to find out the best way to use the system in question.
I have a lot of development experience
Many years of writing code in a number of different languages, for different companies, in different industries has trained me indirectly to know when something is good, something is bad, and often how things should really be done.
I have a large social network
If there is something I do not know, often, I know somebody who does and I can just drop them a message with a brief of what I need help understanding and they will help me out.
So what’s the problem?
Well this past week I have had a personal project which is nearing completion which makes use of NancyFX, but unfortunately the feature I was working on this week was making use of Metadata and unfortunately that is one feature that is not very well documented, simply because not many people make use of it (a future blog post will cover what I did). Now normally this is no problem, because my co-worker Andreas Håkansson is the creator of this system and I can just ping him a message on Skype, and he will help me out. Unfortunately though, if I were to do that, I would be breaking my social media restriction I imposed upon myself, so instead I spent a lot more time trying to workout exactly how to use this feature of his system. I failed. So to get around this, I created a simple gist on GitHub, and then sent him a small email with a link, explaining my plight and of course he replied a couple days later when he had time to sit down and write me an email. Now this worked fine for a personal project, as there is no concrete deadline that I need to meet, but what about my dayjob?
Unfortunately, in my day job I ran into the exact same issue with a different system which again had slightly confusing documentation around what I wanted to do. After spending a few hours trying to understand the system, I ended up having to make a small exception on my social media ban by commenting on a blog post, asking for clarification on a certain part of a system, followed by a tweet to the blog owner Karoline Klever. I received the answered I needed to complete my work, however in this instance failed at my avoidance of social media, simply because I had to just to do my job.
As a normal human being, avoiding social media is extremely easy to do, and I feel better for doing so. I am an introvert by nature and being around people for too long drives me insane, even though I am very good in social situations, I need time to charge my batteries.
As a contractor, unless I am in the rare situation where I am working on a technology that I have 100% knowledge of, it is almost impossible for me to completely avoid social media and do my job at the high speed that I do it. My social network is part of my toolset, just like my laptop and all the software I installed upon it.