Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Twitter About Twitter: Episode II

Yes, I was up late last night. I was reading, and I was tweeting. The only thing new about that is the tweeting. I have begun to answer the question, "How much work is this going to be?" The answer is, "Not as much as I thought."

Like anything else multidimensional, I could get deeper and deeper and deeper into Twitter. I could analyze the dynamics of "crowdsourcing." I could concentrate on building my personal brand, and fitting that into my work life. I suspect I will do some of each. Here's what I've learned after two whole days:

  • Pay attention - Notice how others are tweeting, both form and content
  • Watch out for the predators who are only following you so that they can sell you something you weren't looking for in the first place
  • Keep your guard up
  • Set some goals for yourself, and some limits, e.g., "I'll tweet at least 4 times today, but I won't stay up 2 hours late"
  • If you are using Twitter as an advertising tool, don't make it personal
  • If you are using Twitter—as many claim to be—as a writing improvement exercise, craft your tweets carefully. They will need to be more poetry than prose, and every word will count
  • Search for people and for content - Look around and absorb
There's plenty of advice out there about how to use Twitter effectively and Twitter 101. Once you decide that you are going to take this plunge, do a little research, and sign up for that account.

Give it some thought.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Twitter About Twitter

OK--You got me. I am doing social networking. I have been on LinkedIn for quite a while now, and I have now taken the Twitter plunge. If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. It's not that I'm resistant to change (I've seen and taken part in huge changes), but rather that I need to see how a change will make an impact for my life and my work, as well as on my life and my work. I need to know that a change has some benefit, because I know there is going to be work involved.

My primary reasons for becoming more visible and more active in the social networking sphere revolve around my work with a professional association, in my case, HDI, and specifically the Northern New England Chapter of HDI. I could not have foreseen 5 or 6 years ago that a challenging and rewarding career in technical support could spawn a challenging and rewarding volunteer career as well.

What pushed me over the edge, finally, was the content of a conference call yesterday with other HDI chapter presidents. The call was organized by my roommate for the HDI 2009 Conference, Phil Gerbyshak, and was an outstanding conversation among peers with common interests.

It took me a little while to get the hang of tweeting, but I found numerous sources of expertise, including Phil's own writing on the subject. I also came armed with my own perspicacity and awareness that, online, little is what it seems to be.

One of the things I noticed right away (it's hard not to) is that many of the tweets I see are about Twitter. "Business needs Twitter." "Twitter as an advertising tool." "How to Twitter Better." (Say that fast, just for fun!) I'm joining in on that score as well, because I'm blogging about Twitter, and then I will tweet about this blog. In then end, perhaps, the 21st century will be about the 21st century.

Don't get me wrong--I've already found new things and read things I might not have noticed otherwise. In searching for one person on Twitter, I found another by the same name, and decided to follow anyway, after looking at the profile.

I'm not sure how far this will intrude into my already sleep-deprived life. I'll let you know the answer to that. In fact, if you are considering taking the dive into social media, perhaps I can serve as your probe. I will update here often, and I will write about my blunders as well as my successes.

Give it some thought. But don't look for me on Facebook just yet.