“To Tweet or Not to Tweet…”

Posted by A. Smith on Dec-1-2010

I suppose Shakespeare would complete this line with, “…that is the question.” But, in my opinion, there is no question – only an obvious answer. TWEET.

I started tweeting about two years ago, and I’ll admit I was a skeptic. Heck, I didn’t even put any thought into my Twitter handle (@Asmithconsult) because I figured I’d never really use it. Boy, was I wrong. Twitter has become an integral part of my work – and my life. Seriously.

People who use Twitter effectively get this. But, they aren’t the people I need to reach. They’ve drunk the Kool-Aid.

I’m here to convince people who aren’t using Twitter, or who haven’t found its value, that they are missing out – and it’s time to get in the game. And, it’s okay to take it slow. Actually, I recommend it. When I joined Twitter, I set my account to private for the first nine months because I really wanted to understand how people were using it – and how I wanted to use it.

During this time, I realized I wanted to use it primarily to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones. I also wanted to garner and share knowledge. And, heck, have a laugh or two while I’m at it (thanks @ConanO’Brien).

Once I learned the ropes and “practiced” with family and friends, I opened my account to the world and started building a strong and relevant community.

I started to follow and interact with people in my local community, as well as with:

  • Innovative people/companies (@ZapposCEO, @Skap5, @FastCompany)
  • Storytellers/writers (@GetStoried, @BrianAndreas, @EllMcgirt)
  • Branding and public relations professionals (@McGrathComm, @BrandNarrative, @MeChristopher)
  • Social media difference makers (@JeffPulver, @ChrisBrogan, @DigitalRoyalty)
  • Happiness drivers (@Karl_Staib, @GretcenRubin, @HollyMac)
  • Nonprofits (@UlmanCancerFnd, @Livestrong, @TheTellingRoom)

This is, of course, just a short list (I also interact with the health care, organizational design, appreciative inquiry, and leadership arenas). My point is to give thoughtful consideration to the communities in which you want to play. Once you do, connect with them. Study them. Follow them. Learn from them. And, build authentic, meaningful relationships.

Thanks to Twitter, I have built lasting relationships, joined the Reinvention Summit design team, gotten new business, shared in conversation with an artist I’ve admired for 15 years, befriended a reporter and editor from Fast Company, volunteered for big ticket conferences, met Tony Hsieh on the Delivering Happiness bus, and more.

The best part…it’s all unfolded naturally. Twitter is not a “What’s in it for me” kind of platform. People who approach it this way are the ones that never realize its value. My experience is the more I share, the more I engage, and the more I listen… the more I gain.

Most people agree that Twitter is changing my industry (marketing and public relations). I’ll go a step further – a leap further. I believe Twitter is shaping lives and, in ways both big and small, changing the world.

  1. Laurent Marbacher Said,

    Great post Angela. Simple and genuine. I’m still a beginner in Twitter (@LaurentiusMag) and I totally share your slow learning approach. One question though : how much time do you really spend on Twitter and do you have tips for a good efficiency in it (without losing the serendipity effect) ?

  2. admin Said,

    Hello, Laurent! Thanks for your comment. It’s hard to say how much time I spend on Twitter, except that I do it pretty much every day. For me, the easiest way to manage my Twitter account is on my Blackberry using UberTwitter. It allows me to scroll through tweets quickly. And, even if I am behind, I can post a new Tweet. Often times, I find myself following a group of people or a trend more carefully. For example, when I went to the Business Innovation Factory in September, I followed the event closely by using its hashtag (#BIF6). Or, if I am meeting someone, I will check out his or her Twitter stream leading up to seeing them.

    I have also tried to grow my Twitter community slowly. I try to follow people who are truly relevant to my interests and/or who I have personally engaged with. And, I pay attention to who follows me. If someone follows me but has nothing to do with my professional life or personal interests, I sometimes block them – again, just to help ensure a meaningful community.

    Thanks again for reading my post and for commenting! I appreciate it! Happy tweeting!

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