Jul 27, 2014

Here's why you should become active on Twitter

Among Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter the three big "social networks" I spend the most amount of time on Twitter.
And I think you should too.
Many people who have tried Twitter can't carry on and abandon it. It's not easy and intuitive to understand as Facebook and LinkedIn. Both of these networks have language we can understand - friends and connections. Both parties must agree before they are friends or connections. However Twitter has "followers" and "following" (I follow 500+ people while 15,300+ follow me) which don't make sense to many people. We are not used to non-reciprocal relationships in real life usually.
But if you persist Twitter can be an enormously useful tool for networking and learning. Here is how:

1. You can interact with Thought Leaders

I don't mean the garden variety of thought leaders. I mean the real deal. People like Tom Peters. Yes, I've had conversations with Tom Peters on Twitter. 10 years ago I would have had to pay a hefty fee to just listen to Tom Peters if he was visiting my country to listen to him. Where else can you do that, eh? There's Ken Blanchard, Clayton Christensen, Robin Sharma all active on Twitter.

2. You can follow experts in your industry

You know that picky guy who won't accept your LinkedIn connection request. Well, if he's active on Twitter you can follow his updates without waiting for his "permission" (unless he's kept his account protected - in which case he doesn't get the point of Twitter anyway) It's a great tool specially if you are exploring business partnerships or pitching to him to be a client.

3. Participate in Tweetchats for Learning

A tweetchat is a series of tweets - in which many people post about a pre-decided topic and moderated by a moderator using a "hashtag" - which is like an anchor text to find tweets about that topic. For example I participate in HR oriented Tweetchats like #IndiaHRchat #HRtrends and #chrdx. There are chats about customer service, PR and every industry. Participating in tweetchats can be an incredible learning opportunity as well as networking.

4. Get to know what's happening around you

The real-time nature of Twitter makes is a fertile ground for breaking news. It helps that many journalists and editors are active on Twitter and you get to know things before the mainstream media does. The most useful accounts in that respect for me are the Traffline accounts that share which roads in which city are jammed due to traffic and which roads to avoid.

5. Utilize non-productive time in Tweeting

Many people who join Twitter say they don't find time to tweet. However using Twitter apps on the phone can make many non-productive/frustrating time (like being stuck in traffic or waiting in a queue) very productive.

6. Whom you follow defines what your twitter experience is like

You might follow someone because they tweet interesting stuff but after sometime you can look and see that that they are no longer very interesting. Don't feel shy about unfollowing people who tweet a lot or tweet stuff that is no longer interesting for you. Also stay away from people who are regularly whining and negative.

7. Share interesting content

After a period of time you will find people following you. Understand their interests and interact with them. Share content that you come across on the internet that they might find useful. Use browser extensions from Buffer and Klout to easily schedule content at specific times.

8. Use Twitter lists to find people to follow

Many people have curated lists of people on twitter. For example I have a list of 525 Indian HR professionals on Twitter and 60 Social Media professionals. In fact you can find every kind of list on Twitter. Use them to find relevant people to follow.
So what are you waiting for, join us on twitter! Happy tweeting :)