I guess the real question is "Is social networking good for developers?".
I can only offer my personal observation that indeed, it is - when used properly.
Many companies have corporate firewall policies that block social networking sites
like Twitter and Facebook. I guess the rationale is that we must prevent clear
- thinking, responsible adult employees from exercising free will and educating
themselves, which can of course be of direct benefit to the company that employs
them. They assume, largely incorrectly, that employees will abuse this freedom
and spend hours online with their friends to the exclusion of the work they're
being paid to do for the company.
While there are certainly a few deadbeat employees in any organization that will
inevitably do this, if you take Twitter away then the deadbeats will simply do
something else - like playing Solitaire instead of working. The lesson here is
that if you are a company that wants its employees to grow and contribute more
value, blocking all of them from social networking sites because of a small number
of losers is simply shooting yourself in the foot. Essentially, the "Nanny
When I first signed up for Twitter in November of 2007, I determined almost immediately
that I would use it primarily to follow other .NET developers, which is what I still do today, and of course most of my followers are other developers.
Corporate firewalls have never stopped me from using Twitter. I just switch to a
desktop third party client such as Seesmic, which they usually are not smart
enough to block. And if they blocked that, then I'd just go ahead and write
my own online Twitter client using Twitterizer, TweetSharp, Linq to Twitter,
or any one of a number of quality Twitter API client libraries.
Because I primarily follow other developers, this has shaped my Twitter stream over
time to almost always contains information and links that are useful to me. Here
is an example.
David Penton, a .NET and SQL Server dev from Dallas, tweeted:
"I'm looking through a method right now where someone had used DateTime.Now
15 times. In one method."
Interested, I tweeted back:
"DateTime.now -- what's wrong with that?"
"if you only need to call it once, why call it many times? Plus, lots of times
you can use UtcNow which is about 30x faster."
I agreed, tweeting:
"if you store it in a variable it will be the same value throughout. Agreed.
Though calling DateTime.Now incurs little overhead."
Then Keyvan Nayyeri chimed in:
"DateTime.Now is basically expensive in its internal working. There is a discussion
about it in CLR via C#."
I asked Keyvan to provide a link, and he did. So here is what I learned from this
short interchange on Twitter:
Contrary to my original assumption, DateTime.Now is indeed expensive, especially
when called repeatedly in a loop. Take a look at what it disassembles to from
public static DateTime Now
DateTime utcNow = UtcNow;
bool isAmbiguousLocalDst = false;
long ticks = TimeZoneInfo.GetDateTimeNowUtcOffsetFromUtc(utcNow, out isAmbiguousLocalDst).Ticks;
long num2 = utcNow.Ticks + ticks;
if (num2 > 0x2bca2875f4373fffL)
return new DateTime(0x2bca2875f4373fffL, DateTimeKind.Local);
if (num2 < 0L)
return new DateTime(0L, DateTimeKind.Local);
return new DateTime(num2, DateTimeKind.Local, isAmbiguousLocalDst);
You can see above that there is a lot of stuff going on there just to return local
time. By contrast, let's have a look at DateTime.UtcNow:
// This is about 117 times faster than DateTime.Now above
public static DateTime UtcNow
[TargetedPatchingOptOut("Performance critical to inline across NGen image boundaries"), SecuritySafeCritical]
return new DateTime((ulong) ((GetSystemTimeAsFileTime() + 0x701ce1722770000L) | 0x4000000000000000L));
On my machine, running 1 million iterations of each of the above, DateTime.UtcNow
is about 117 times faster: 12 ms vs 1,412 ms. And the fact of the matter is,
the only situation where you would really need local time is for display to the
user, which almost never happens in "a loop".
Another example: I was having difficulty getting XDebug working with JetBrains PHPStorm.
I tweeted asking for help. Both Nikolay Matveev of Jetbrains and Brad Bell responded with help. Brad even emailed me his php.ini file and a couple of configuration
screenshots. His settings worked perfectly the first time, saving me hours of
toil and frustration. Twitter has come to the rescue dozens of times.
Over the last nearly four years on Twitter, I have learned much. Whether it was something
like the above, or a valuable link to an article or blog post, or just some quick
information, Twitter has earned the right to be my useful companion during working
hours. It's also a good tool for sharing information with like-minded folks.
Facebook is also a useful tool, but, like Twitter, it requires that you carefully
build a cadre of friends who are meaningful to what you do.