A couple weeks ago, I attended a meetup with some other IT professionals that wouldn't have happened without Twitter. Basically, several of us were tweeting about whiskey bars, which turned into "hey, we should meet up sometime!", which turned into actually setting a date and time for a happy hour, which turned into an evening of great conversation at Barrel 44
It got me thinking about why Twitter is easily my favorite form of social media. It's awesome because it's an easy way to access tons of knowledge quickly and it helps you meet some really cool people.
To me, Twitter is the best form of social media for connecting with new people. Facebook is locked down, LinkedIn isn't personal, Instagram is for pictures rather than conversations, and the other networks aren't that heavily used. Twitter is great because it's so open. You could just as easily be tweeting with a C-Level executive as you could the bartender at your local bar, a coworker, or an entry-level developer.
Twitter also makes it easy to combine offline and online worlds. It's common to be at an event and hear or say something like, "Hey! You're @username! It's great to meet you in real life." This can get fun when it's followed up by a question about a recently tweeted recipe, run, trip, pet picture, etc. The reverse is to meet someone offline, then stay in touch via Twitter. Instead of exchanging business cards, just pull up the Twitter app on your phone and follow one another.
I rarely advertise job openings on my personal account. That's what my work account is for. When people tweet at me asking about jobs for themselves or their friends, I follow up with a direct message asking for a resume and a convenient time to talk. Sometimes I hire these people. Sometimes I don't. And sometimes I can't hire them immediately, but know what they're looking for when the right opportunity does come along.
Aside from recruiting, I often use Twitter to introduce people who can help one another. For example, a developer tweeted me saying he was looking for some part-time side work. I knew of a small company who could use his help, and offered to introduce them. The developer got his side work and the company got the help they needed.
When I first started tweeting, I had no intention of doing so professionally. My first account didn't even use my real name or picture. When I moved to Columbus, I made an account using my name because I thought it might be a good way to meet people and find out what there was to do. I followed friends and local businesses, and eventually found people I didn't know who were into food and running. Some worked in tech and tweeted with others in tech who had interesting things to say. So I followed those people as well, started tweeting with them, and the whole thing kind of snowballed. Here's what I've learned about how to use Twitter.
- Be yourself - Use a picture of yourself & fill out your bio. Tweet about what you're doing and your hobbies. You'll likely find someone else shares these interests.
- Engage with others - Whether you use Twitter professionally or personally, don't be that person who only broadcasts information. Talk to people. Ask questions. Answer questions. Share interesting things you read or cute pictures of your dog/cat/kid.
- Don't be afraid to @ mention a stranger, celebrity, business, or person you want to meet. - Twitter is an equalizer and people are generally willing to engage.
How has Twitter benefited you? What tips do you have for using it?