Tweeting with value.

28Mar09

I know I’ve been writing about Twitter a lot lately and if this topic bores you, please let me know by commenting!

I was talking with my mom (who also happens to work in associations) and she was saying how some people she works with tell her that Twitter is worthless. It’s a bunch of white noise, nothing but chatter, etc. Pretty much all the normal responses I hear from people who either 1. aren’t on Twitter or 2. are on there, but don’t understand it. So what I’m going to try and do today is explain the value of Twitter. If you have anything additional, please comment & let me know! 🙂

1. Sharing of resources – I have a lot of colleagues on Twitter. It gives me a chance to share links to articles or blog posts that I find useful & hope that they might find the same value in it. I also receive links to blog posts that other people find value as well. On top of that, let’s say I have a quick question about something, or need a colleagues opinion, well I just tweet it out and wait for the responses! My colleagues are a great resource that help me do my job better and more efficiently. They are my field of experts that I can defer to at a moments notice. One thing though: they provide value to me b/c I provide value to them.

2. It’s all about who you follow – I’m not going to lie, when I first signed up for Twitter I was like WTF? Didn’t get it at all. Couldn’t understand how all this was relevant to me. Well I started noticing that a lot of people whose blogs I followed were also on Twitter, so I gave it a second chance. I started by following those people whose blogs I read, I mean obviously they had something interesting to say otherwise I wouldn’t read their blog. Then I started to get it. It’s about who you follow, it’s about who you care to listen to. YOU create your experience.

3. Maintaining connections – So ASAE Tech ’09 is probably the biggest ASAE event I’ve been to so far. I met a lot of great people who I had followed on Twitter but have never met IRL (in real life). Well now I have a face with a name because of our “tweet-up” (meaning a message was sent out over Twitter saying we’re meeting here at this time and people repeated it) and can continue that connection on a more frequent basis than just an occasional email. Think of it like the ASAE list-serv, but in hyper-speed and people can’t go on and on and on and on…

4. Monitoring conversations – So I have a personal Twitter account and a work Twitter account. My personal one is reflective of the work that I do with this blog & the work I do in the Baltimore theatre community. My work account focuses on the Healthcare association I work for, our members, potential members & industry stakeholders, specifically Healthcare IT. I utilize a service called TweetBeep that sends me a little email every time someone mentions one of the keywords I have an alert for. Think of it as Google Alerts for Twitter. I mean what communications or marketing professional doesn’t have Google Alerts set-up yet? (If not, don’t worry, they are easy to set-up) I’m able to find people who mention PAs, who are PAs and people who talk about my association. This also allows me to engage them directly and let them know I’m interested in what they say by the simple act of following.

Thos are probably my top 4 reasons for using Twitter. Anyone else out there have another reason?

~Lynn

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5 Responses to “Tweeting with value.”

  1. One of the things I think is coolest/most useful about Twitter is that it allows people who can’t attend face-to-face events still participate. And if you think that doesn’t matter, you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on the in the travel and meetings industries!

    Need proof? Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and type in #ideas09.

  2. I think your point #2 is really an important one for the folks who are talking negatively about Twitter. YOU have the ability to make the experience what you want to by following the people you want to.

    You create the value that you get from the tool since you create the list of people you find to be SMEs (subject matter experts). Some people might want to use Twitter to “stalk” their favorite celebrities… Others might want to use it to find the latest and greatest blog posts in their specific sector. It’s up to the user.

    The fact remains that Twitter is a tool that you can tailor to what you want it to be. When I first started using Twitter with my personal account (@brucehammond for anyone who wants to follow me), I followed everyone! I have since decided that I want something different from my experience using the tool, and have stopped following some folks, thus tailoring my experience to align more with what I now want.

    Twitter can be a bunch of “white noise” or “chatter” as you mention people saying in your first paragraph, but the beauty is that it doesn’t have to be! You decide how you want to use it, which I believe makes it one of the really powerful tools out there in social media today.

  3. I also admit to originally being in the “WTF?” camp about Twitter–and now I’m an addict. 😉

    I use Twitter for all the reasons already given here plus two more that I can think of off the top of my head:

    1) As a news feed–in addition to the blogs I follow via their authors being on Twitter and tweeting new posts, I follow the Washington Post, the New York Times, msnbc.com–and even the Today Show. I consider it to be my own personal AP wire and I know way more about what’s going on in the world than I would if Twitter didn’t exist.

    2) For entertainment–I personally don’t mind what many people call “chatter” or “what I had for lunch”–I like it. I follow Margaret Cho–hilarious–Diablo Cody–also hilarious–and my favorite author of all time, Augusten Burroughs. It doesn’t matter to me whether they’re talking about what flavor slurpee they got or, in the case of Margaret Cho, what, um, personal products she’s using–I find it entertaining and a welcome break from super-serious, all-business tweets. I think it’s too easy–in the world of social media–to take yourself too seriously and that’s what a LOT of social media “experts” do on Twitter. Always with the deep thoughts or profound comments, or only links to new blog posts or requests to friend them on Facebook or download their new e-book. I couldn’t stay as engaged or interested in Twitter if it weren’t for the more personal “stupid” stuff.

  4. A few months ago I was working with a group of volunteer leaders who didn’t totally buy into a concept I was presenting – and I could tell.

    Over break, I reframed my approach to the issue -it was something they needed to get to the ah-ha with.

    I also decided to ask my Twitterverse what advice they would give on this issue. (I have an eclectic group of Twitter folks which gives me a broad spectrum of opinion.) Within a matter of minutes I had a variety of answers and was able to create a very funny top 10 list – with credit to those who responded.

    After break, I picked up the pace with my new approach and challenged the leaders to think like the rest of the world. We did a fun activity – and I wove in the Twitter’s top ten responses.

    Everyone was laughing – some comments were off the wall. And the leaders finally got the need for buy-in. It was a great success.

    Before Twitter, I still would have changed up how I approached the issue. Tapping Twitter allowed me to bring more flavor to the table – and pull in different perspectives.

    I think we are in the infancy of learning how we will be able to use a tool like Twitter. Making and keeping connections is just the first step.

  5. What I notice about Twitter is that its annoyingness is equally as high as its gratification. Like most people, I’m constantly trying to push up the gratification and keep the annoyingness down, w/mixed success. Like real life, a lot of good conversations you can’t quite catch the meaning of, the pleasure of having good friends like Elizabeth in your Twitter stream, people who hog space & airtime, the joy of new insights and people. And so on.


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