I thought I’d share her post here for three reasons: 1) it’s a timely topic that would make for a good conversation on the WIC blog (hint: please share your thoughts on and tips for using Twitter for business); 2) it’s an area that I’m interested in learning more about for both my business and WIC (I’m responsible for getting the word out about WIC); and 3) it’s a great way to show the value of the WIC Community list as an information resource and how open affiliates and members are to helping one another.
Suzanne’s Original Twitter Post
“In case some of you have time this Sunday, these two articles give a great intro to why it’s worth spending time on Twitter for professional reasons and how you can get started.
- Twitter: The How-To Get Started Guide For Business People by C.G. Lynch
- Socially Benefitting >From My Twitter Habits by Michael Gass
The key advice for new people comes from Jeremiah Owyang, a Forrester analyst and a great person to follow on Twitter:
‘The best way to make the most use of it is not just answer what are you doing now,” says Owyang. “Instead, answer: ‘What’s important to me?’ That changes the conversation and makes value. It takes away some of the minutia and shows you want to talk about something that’s more useful and interesting.’
I promise I’m not the PR person for Twitter! I just enjoy using it and think it provides value in a business context.”
Another Key Twitter Nugget: The Web Has Big Ears So Be Mindful
I agree with Suzanne that the above is a key piece of advice. There are a couple of other nuggets that I found equally compelling. The first is found in Lynch’s article, and I gravitate towards it because how people communicate and communicating effectively are near and dear to my heart:
“‘What you say can affect your blog or business. Your boss, competitors, wife or future wife,’ Owyang says. ‘You need to remember, it’s publishing.’
Another caution: Because a Tweet is so short, it’s even harder than with say e-mail for people to pick up context or tell when you’re being sarcastic versus serious, [Laura] Fitton says.
‘You need to think carefully about how you put it and how it sounds,’ she says. ‘Think about not only your immediate followers but your potential audience, which is the whole Web. Tweets get googled pretty prominently.’”
I found this sage advice, because people often forget that social media is a very public conversation, one that search engines tend to follow closely. However, I recommend that we follow the advice Fitton offers in all of our electronic communication: email, blogging, twittering, etc.
As someone who has studied communication extensively, I’m intrigued by how the lack of nonverbal cues impacts how messages are received. People appear to interpret messages negatively in the absence of anything to the contrary. This makes character-limited conversations like Twitter all the more challenging, hence Fitton’s recommendation. But given our tendency to be brief whenever typing and the lack of context around e-messages, we need to imagine how audiences will receive our messages no matter the vehicle we’re using.
Conversely, I’m always amazed at what people will say electronically that they wouldn’t dream of saying in a more personal communication situation. You only need read one or two flame wars to understand what I mean. For some reason people seem to think it’s acceptable. However, the Web has big ears, and as Owyang states, what we say in the social media realm can have great impact on our reputation.
Another Key Twitter Nugget: Effective Twitter Habits
The last key piece of advice I’d like to highlight is the section in Gass’s post called “The Twitter habits that I have developed save me time,” which highlights several tools/programs/ideas that he uses to manage his tweets (found at the end of the article).