I’ve been on Twitter in various guises since Jan 8th 2009 (or so I’m reliably informed by twittercount!) Admittedly, in the beginning I wasn’t sure exactly what the point was and even when I had that light bulb moment when I realised the power of it and how it can be leveraged, I was still uncertain as to what value I would see from it, especially in the long term. And of course, in the beginning, being informed by my followee’s that they were currently in Pizza Express picking holes in a Fiorentina or that their 3 year old had just tried to cram the cat in the washing machine wasn’t helping.
9 months down the line however and I’m beginning to wonder how I would ever manage without it. Twitter manages to do one thing for me I that have struggled to achieve using other sources – it keeps me informed. It’s become my own personal ‘Super Aggregator’ of interesting, compelling and timely information. It also has the benefit of connecting me with people who would otherwise be completely off my radar.
Anyone in a client facing service industry (especially recruiters) should be using twitter in my view. A little exploration of the twittersphere can yield a significant amount of information on a business or even an individual. Invaluable information when you are managing relationships particularly where your expertise and knowledge are key elements of your personal proposition.
To those that say ‘I don’t have time for twittering’ and ‘I can’t see the point in scrolling through loads of inane comments’, well they have a point, but it’s not a good enough excuse. I have a busy job too, and I don’t have time to spend all day tweeting and responding, so I find that I’m now managing who I’m following to ensure that what I’m receiving (and hopefully, what I’m saying) is relevant. I have also separated my personal and professional persona’s. I realise this is hotly debated subject and as my learned friend Mr Saunders pointed out, it can leave you with multiple personality fatigue but I find it suits me best.
Its early days for sure, but I expect to get more value from the whole twitter experience over time.
If you are new to twitter, id say:
- Get on it and give it a chance
- If you can, put aside and evening with a glass of wine/beer/coffee and take an hour or two to explore whats going on and how people are using it. Its a much better way to see first hand where the value is.
- Grow the list of people you follow slowly to give you a chance to get used to it
- Don’t be afraid to unfollow people. I have no idea if this is good ‘twitiquette’ (apologies if it’s not) but sometimes its better to ‘catch up’ with what people are saying using searches rather than follow all the time as the volume of tweets can be overwhelming and irrelevant
- Once you are comfortable with the basics, try some of the third party tools which help you manage your twitterings and explore the searching capabilities. Its amazing what you can come up with. I’m no expert, but I find tweetdeck a great tool for managing my twitter accounts and I also use twitterrific on my iPod touch. Both are very good and the best of the small bunch I have tried.
Go on, take the plunge!
Gareth; I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been on Twitter since before Jonathan Ross & Stephen Fry made it ‘fashionable’, so have had the benefit of watching this medium grow, develop and mature. Without a doubt, the easiest way to get started is to set up a personal account, find a few mates and get used to the format. Once you’re comfortable with this however, you can really start getting value from Twitter.
You’re right; people do worry that they will be inundated with information overload, but with so many great aggregators and Twitter account managers (TweetDeck), it’s simple to manage multiple accounts and personas, whilst getting to the information *you* want quickly.
RSS feeds provide instant information in the age of Web 2.0. Twitter’s ‘real-time’ instant information heralds the brave new dawn of Web 3.0. If you’re not using Twitter professionally, you need to ask yourself why.
Scary? No. Essential? Unequivocally.