Twitter: Three Months In, And Loving It

There’s been a lot of press in the last few months about ‘Twitter Quitters’ and the 60% of users that stop tweeting after about a month. And now, there appears to be some indication that Twitter usage has flatlined, although time spent on Twitter in the last year has grown a whopping 3712%.

A lot of people have tried Twitter and a lot still don’t get it. Many perceive it still as way to broadcast what you had for lunch or simply to brag about your latest achievement — but those of us who’ve stuck with it are probably in there for the long term. As this wise blogger posted, it takes time to get it. (Be sure to read the comments in that blog post too; you’ll get a good sense of the various reactions to Twitter.)

Me? I’m sticking with it, definitely. I had a few ‘hmmm…’ moments when starting out, but I think this is to be expected with any new communication medium. Perhaps in our ‘more now’ society, and the ease of so many Internet-related applications and tools, we are expecting it to be easier. But as with many endeavors, sticking with it can have some real advantages.

Like any networking, Twitter is not an immediate pay-off. Just as you wouldn’t walk into any networking meeting and expect to get business (although it can happen), you shouldn’t tweet expecting to garner any immediate ROI, either. Like any good networking, you’ll need to spend time (and definitely more than a month) growing and cultivating your following/follower list to start to see the real value.

As Hutch Carpenter points out in his post, it’s about finding your stride on Twitter. Some get it immediately, for others it takes more time. If you’re going to try tweeting, I recommend committing for at least 3 months. Even if you think you have no idea what to say, at least start following others and read along until you feel comfortable enough to start tweeting. It really does take time and I think chances are high that as a business user, you’re going to see benefit within that 3 month period.

Following is what I’m getting out of Twitter already, in the short time that I’ve been tweeting. And by the way, I don’t tweet everyday, and I don’t tweet a lot. A good day for me is probably somewhere between 5-10 tweets, sometimes a lot less. And sometimes, nothing at all. I think it will increase in the future, but for now, I’ve taken the pressure off of myself to be a ‘power tweeter’ and am enjoying what I’m getting from Twitter for now — which is definitely enough to keep me coming back.

An amazing number of high-level and accomplished people are on Twitter already. And most likely, at least a few of them are in your field of work. To have access to their daily thoughts, interests, rants and raves is exciting, informative and instructive all at once. Also good: the potential to connect very genuinely with these people, and the possibilities that lie therein. You can tweet them directly, and they just might answer back. Probably more so than if you sent them an email.

Staying ahead of the curve is a challenge no matter what your field of expertise. And key to staying ahead is information. In the three months I’ve been on Twitter and started following people whose tweets I like and work I respect, I have gained access to a plethora of sites, articles and general information (both business and personal) that I may not ever have stumbled across before. It can be overwhelming, but once you get used to picking and choosing what to pay attention to, it’s actually wonderful to have so much information coming effortlessly to your desktop every day. And if you’re an info/news junkie, you’ll love it.

I can’t think of a faster way to disseminate or have access to information these days. The immediacy of Twitter is key to its success and there have been numerous instances of Twitter users coming to the rescue in one way or another for fellow tweeters.

Tweeting is a great way to get some insight and perspective into the personalities of the people you’re following. Some tweeters keep it strictly business, but many do not. And while it’s not the same as working together (virtually or otherwise), it can definitely give you information to consider as you’re deciding who you’d like to join you on a project — or not (!)

Antidote to Isolation
As a consultant, you may already be far too familiar with this one: isolation. After 11 years of running my own business, it’s what I dislike the most about being self-employed. Networking is nice, but sometimes hard to get because of distance, time or both. Twitter is no replacement for human interaction, but it’s not bad. I already feel a good deal less isolated and know that with a small amount of effort on my part, I can immediately reach out to a large community of fellow designers (and interesting non-designers as well) with my questions, comments and general instinct to share info and neat things I run across. It’s as fun as it is informative.

I orginally thought tweeting would only work for certain personality types. But now I see it as an indispensable business tool that any consultant would be wise to seriously consider and include in their arsenal of brand-building and self-promotion. You may not love Twitter, and you may not end up being a heavy user. But chances are that if you understand the power of networking and viral marketing, you’re going to ‘get it’ immediately. For the small amount of effort it takes to be on Twitter, the rewards are pretty significant.

Happy tweeting! And be sure to leave a comment about your Twitter experiences — both good and bad.' About Rachel Cary

Rachel Cary is the Founder and Creative Director of Elevata Incorporated, a full-service print and web design firm in Oakland, CA. She has worked in the advertising & design industries since 1990 and her firm has won numerous awards for its work in both print and web design. Elevata specializes in corporate identity, print collateral, web design and custom web applications, including iPhone design and development.


  1. Great post Rachel! I couldn’t agree with you more. Twitter really is a great information resource, and while it can seem like information overload, it’s been the best tool for keeping up to date. Tools like TweetDeck make it a lot easier to filter the info coming in as well. As for the pressure to Tweet, it can be high sometimes, but I think your approach is great–taking the pressure off of yourself to be a power Tweeter. It is okay. Twitter can deliver value without having to be a power user.

  2. Jen Berkley says

    Ditto! I have ‘met’ some people I never would have been acquainted with around the GLOBE who share my interest in customer satisfaction/customer loyalty. I have also learned about some really great productivity tools through people I follow. And oddly, I have embraced a new fitness routine via a tweet referral from someone else that I follow. It’s a whole community out there…I’m establishing myself as a credible resource in my area of focus (customer research/satisfaction/loyalty) and am expanding my world enormously by learning from others!

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