I'll start off with why I use Twitter and write a follow up post on my strategies for managing it.
Why do I Twit?
- It seemed cool and cutting edge. One of the best practice consultants at my company, Jennifer Horton, introduced me to Twitter as the next big thing in social media. I thought at first she was crazy but after jumping into it and being able to converse with social media experts, bloggers, customers, competitors, colleagues and friends in a friendly and cooperative format that would otherwise be impossible, I was hooked. I guess being already exposed to the social media world made twittering a logical step. Twitter is quite similar to blogging but you are limited to how much you can write (140 characters) and there is much more of a chit chat going on.
- I'm in the loop. Ever feel like people are talking about you behind your back? Well you can do what Michael Scott on The Office did and get everyone to tell you how they feel about you or you can listen in on Twitter. Twitter allows me to better understand the landscape that I work in. I hear what challenges customers and fellow colleagues are experiencing as well as the latest trends in marketing. I feel like I can get into the head of some of the most forward thinking thought leaders as well as students that are struggling to understand difficult concepts. I hear about news before it becomes news and when it does become news I hear it from the direct sources. Now that's what I call being in the loop.
- I can respond. With my central role in driving customer success, I'm always looking for ways to make customers better. With Twitter, I can learn how to create better experiences for customers by arming myself with knowledge. I see Twitter as a huge knowledge share where people continuously pass around information. I specifically look for those people that can help me and I will promote those Twitters that provide me with valuable insights. The fact that I can easily thank someone for helping me is amazing.
Not only do I listen to my fellow tweeters, I also look for people that may need assistance in my field and try to contribute to the Twitter information library. Again, it's my nature to help people and I try and do this as much as possible. This may mean answering a question, providing tips and tricks I find or responding to a customer concern. I like that I can correspond via Twitter and I can typically do it when I want it and how I want it (via Twitter or direct message). The fact that Twitter encourages you to respond and that communication is restricted to 140 characters and is informal makes it so appealing.
In addition, one of the most important responses I give to people in Twitter is a "follow" which means I've chosen to receive to listen to their Tweets. If you get an "unfollow" from me (which is extremely rare), it means you've said something that's really offended me.
- People respond to me. I think one of the most satisfying reasons for driving my Twitter usage is to generate new followers that listen to my tweets as well as to have people reply to my tweets, directly message me via Twitter or retweet (forward) my tweets. Everyday I meet new and exciting people as well as learn view points that I would not be exposed to otherwise. Heck, I even announced that my wife is pregnant on Twitter and had people I barely know congratulate me. The interaction that is achieved on Twitter is the engine the drives it.
PS - stay tuned next time for a post on how I manage my use of Twitter.