A few weeks ago, after a long run, my aching feet reminded me it’s time to find some new dress shoes that accommodate feet that have been running for 30 years. Trouble is, I live in southern NH, not exactly a shoe mecca.
So I put a question out on Twitter. A couple of tweets later (yes, that’s what they’re called…corny, I know), Tony, the CEO of Zappos, the terrific online shoe store, had invited me to send him my specs for shoes and he’d make sure I got some good brand suggestions from his office. Wow!
Such is the power of Twitter. Once a playground for goofing off, it’s fast become a way to make relevant connections that serve both business and pleasure.
What’s Twitter? The tech-inclined call it a micro-blogging platform. I think it’s more useful to think of it as an online water cooler, where you can chat with folks you know, meet new folks, get questions answered, and offer your thoughts to others. In 140 characters max. That’s all you get for each “tweet.”
Here’s an entertaining 2-minute video explanation of Twitter [hint: if you can't see the video in your email or RSS feed, click here]:
Learn More About Twitter
Frankly, the best way to learn about Twitter and see if it’s useful to you is to create an account and jump in, play around, have fun and ignore the business angle for now (but keep in mind: your tweets are in the public domain!) Not sure it’s worth you time? Try these to help you decide:
- Tweeting for Companies 101 (includes a great list of ideas for topics business owners might tweet about)
- But Is Twitter Useful? (be sure to read through the comments for additional reactions and ideas)
- Online Promotion Tips: Use Twitter
- Small Business Owners Need Twitter and LinkedIn
Getting Started with Twitter
Here’s how to set up a Twitter account and begin connecting with people:
- Sign up for an account – Twitter’s free.
- Video Tutorial: Basics of How to Use Twitter – Take 9 minutes and watch Michael Martine’s video overview.
- “Follow” me on Twitter and I’ll follow you back (be sure to tell me you’re a fellow mediator, as I don’t automatically follow everyone who follows me). Following is Twitter-speak for automatically receiving the tweets of people you’ve befriended.
- Get a copy of the free Twitter Handbook and check the “newbies” section of the accompanying blog.
- Don’t feel like you have to spend tons of time on Twitter. But, as with blogging, the more you participate, the more you’re likely to get out of it. I run it in the background on days I’m in my office pushing paper, and jump in when something of interest catches my eye.
Have questions about Twitter, either in terms of business use or tech/set up? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help it get answered. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll put your question out to my Twitter friends and get the answer for you that way.