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Jessica Carroll, USGA: Society for Information Management (SIM) is a worthwhile outlet for networking among IT peers. Each monthly meeting facilitates face-to-face conversations and relevant presentations from industry leaders. There is not a meeting I walk out of without at least three new valuable contacts - individuals with whom there is an open and professional knowledge flow.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn is my daily "go-to" for networking across the industry. Through this social media outlet I have met some of my closest colleagues, been introduced to terrific groups and organizations (such as SIM), and been able to grow my network of contacts in ways that simply would not have occurred without social media. To keep this tool meaningful, I predominantly connect with individuals in similar roles. I am not looking for volume of contacts; rather I am looking for professionals who sincerely have connected business interests and are open to sharing insight and ideas.
Thom Jonnson, senior systems administrator, AT&T Services, Northern California: I like to view Webinars on concepts I'm going to need to be familiar with. They're not good for in-depth training, but you can get your feet wet and see what an application does and how it works in different environments.
Doug Ross, Western Southern: One of the best resources I've ever read is the "Joel on Software" blog, by Joel Spolsky. I also follow hundreds of folks on Twitter, including all the major tech publications and thought leaders, like Bruce Schneier, Sophos and Symantec. Some of the best business writing is being done on blogs as opposed to the periodicals.
As for video, I find the TED Talks and Google's Tech Talk is really intriguing, and there have been some really good instructional videos we've used from Stanford and MIT. We had all our developers look at a recent Tech Talk on Web application security - it's a really successful way to share insights with developers that they otherwise wouldn't have encountered.
Brandel is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.