I am embarking on a difficult task today. I am going to try to explain why I love Twitter and why I think it is a vital tool for personal and professional branding, building a business and is the best networking tool ever!
The impetus for this post
At the end of my day yesterday, I saw a tweet that caught my eye from @KarlaPorter. Since I know and value her, I wanted to see what she was referring to so I checked out @Cream_HR to see what they were doing. They (he) had sent a stream of many tweets to many people saying the same thing. (I would love to show you, but they have deleted the tweets).
I was embarrassed for @Cream_HR but I also felt there was a bit of ignorance or lack of tw-etiquette going on too.
@Cream_HR’s account was being managed by @NeilMacG during this episode and after seeing Karla’s message, he sent an apology and then wrote this post: Today’s Epic Failure: Twitter. In it he admits he doesn’t understand Twitter. He is tech savvy and understands Facebook yet still can’t quite get his hands around Twitter. I know there are a lot of people who don’t get Twitter, so here goes!
Don’t Follow the Home Feed
The more people I started following on Twitter, the more difficult it became to see what people were saying. There was just too much going on. I began creating lists and put people I followed into category lists. You can do this now on Facebook too! “Close Friends”, “Family”, etc. allows you to see the updates/feeds from that particular group of people. I think the reason most people don’t like Twitter is because the home feed is chaotic. Use Tweetdeck or HootSuite. This is why. You can do this!
The updates don’t move as quickly so I can see who is saying what.
AND I can add my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to see everything in one place. That means there is less of a need to log into my other accounts. I still do, but not as often. You can specify what you want to pull into Tweetdeck from their menus.
Twitter is Public All the Time
Tweets are public which is both a good thing and a bad thing. But this isn’t unlike Facebook or LinkedIn or any other social networking site. Always be cognizant of what you post! The reason I have always loved Twitter is that I can share (like) anyone’s tweets, whether I know them or not. Imagine being able to “like” the status of an Olympic athlete after they win a medal? It shows your support of what they’ve accomplished. It is like sending a “Congratulations” card! And who knows, they may send you a thank you note (tweet!)
Information Sharing Not Self Promoting or Spam
When you update your status on Facebook or LinkedIn, who really cares, right? Especially if you are talking about what you had for breakfast. But look deeper. When you update your status, you could be educating people on healthy eating habits or routines that convey lifestyle preferences. Generally, though, I find people are sharing information they are proud about or want others to know about. That’s what’s happening on Twitter too. A great resource is the Twitter Chat Schedule! It lists hundreds of different Twitter chats on different topics! Find one and learn from others!
ReTweeting = Liking
Facebook and LinkedIn are more than just Rolodex of contacts (or they should be). You have discussions with people you know based on their status updates. You hit the “like” button on a Facebook or LinkedIn update why? Because you want them to know you read it, you care, you agree, whatever. It is a way of letting them know they’ve been heard. Sometimes you’ll even add a comment to an update you like.
Same thing with Twitter. When you read a status update from someone (a tweet), instead of “liking” it, you retweet it. If you want to add a comment to add your thoughts, then you can do that too in the tweet. It becomes your way of supporting someone else.
Creating a Community, Group, or Tribe
When you segment the people you are friends with or connected with on Facebook or LinkedIn, you realize you share interests. Those interests allow you to create a collection, group, community or tribe of like-minded individuals. You are segmenting conversations and interactions based on shared interests. You have certain “go to” people you would seek answers from. Twitter is no different; except for the fact that you may not have ever met those “go to” people before or they may not know you. But a funny thing happens on Twitter, just as it does in a tight-knit community. People help strangers. They provide answers, suggestions and offer a hand if they can. But you’ll have to trust me on this until you begin building your own community of “go to” tweeps. Here’s some guidance on how you can find smart people to follow on Twitter.
Give It Time
When you begin building a network of people in real life, it takes time to establish mutual trust. The same holds true on Twitter. If you are expecting miracles out of the gate, it isn’t going to happen. Be slow, purposeful and sincere in your communication with others on Twitter. Give to get. Help others selflessly and regularly. See what starts to happen. Here are some reasons other people love Twitter!
Tell me what confuses you about Twitter? What don’t you get?