As someone not particularly concerned with my friends’ sandwich preferences, I was a late-adopter of Twitter technology. A born skeptic, I didn’t know what value could be derived from 140 characters of Joe Schmo’s stream of consciousness.
Despite my reservations, I opened an account because, as with most social media, it seemed like I had to have it, even if I didn’t know what to do with it. (Ironically, this is exactly what I would advise my clients against.) I dipped my toe into the Twitter water casually, choosing to be a voyeur of other people’s posts. I don’t remember my first tweet, but I imagine it was something benign like, “First tweet posted!” I’m certain it didn’t earn me a single follower.
I am fortunate to work for a firm that embraces and encourages social media, especially coming from the political world, where the thought of “polluting” carefully crafted talking points is sacrilegious. I started spending my downtime reading about how to leverage social media and how harnessing its power could lead to important (if not accurately measurable) benefits for my clients and for my professional development.
The most difficult thing about Twitter for me was figuring out how to really get started. Generally, I followed three steps:
- I followed the people I found interesting and informative (okay, and also celebrity gossip – nobody’s perfect). I also made the conscious decision that I would use Twitter for news and information, not to have conversations with friends and family; for me, that’s what Facebook is for.
- I retweeted the things I found helpful and worthwhile and found that good retweet was just as beneficial as a brilliant original tweet.
- I joined the conversation, sharing articles of interest, social commentary, and occasionally the things that amused me during the day.
Attending the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Bold Fusion conference, participants were encouraged to tweet the proceedings. As a new owner of a Droid (this is not to invite commentary about the iPhone, only to indicate I am newly capable of twittering on the move), I thought I’d give this “live tweeting” a shot.
Over the course of the four-hour conference, @katiefoxdenis shared 16 tweets with #cincyhype hashtag. I hadn’t really used hashtags before, but I fully understand the importance of them now. By looking at all the other tweets under that hashtag, I got to see what other people were reacting to, interpreting, and taking away from the presentations. I was able to get insights that applause and laughter just can’t reveal. And I found new, interesting people to follow.
In a few hours, I realized the demonstrated power of this communication medium and how much value could be derived from it. As it turns out, it’s not all about sandwiches.
Post by Katie Denis, Account Executive - 4.30.10