It’s over a year since I signed up on Twitter. Some of you may remember what a hopeless and reluctant Twitter debutante I was in my early days. I just didn’t get it – at all. Imagine I put my tweets through spell check ! My struggling process is well documented in my post Cynic to Convert in 10 weeks. I was an almost total disaster and suspect that in some areas I’m not much improved.
Twitter now has a place in my career transition coaching programme for job seekers and in most cases actually encounters huge resistance. A look of total blankness crosses coachees faces and truthfully, very few really seriously engage. The reasons they don’t see the potential are clear. They are where I was!
Working it out
Initially, I observed from the sidelines and saw what other people recommended and what they did. Then very slowly I found what worked for me. Despite all the bumpf that is written I’m still not that strategic. Many of the big playing , hard hitters tend not to engage and that’s what I enjoy. So although they might have a gazillion followers and a systematic, automatic information feed, that is very reminiscent of those ” too kool for skool” high school cliques. If you’re not interested , somewhat surprisingly that actually doesn’t interest me …..except for CNN, the Economist and President Obama, of course.
I eventually learned to let some of the more extreme positions and outrageous views slide by without even the slightest raising of a pulse or eyebrow. Particularly in my field in 2009 during the worst global recession in recent times, it seemed that every man, woman and dog had a view to share on how to write a CV or get a job. Some of it was excellent, but some was so far off the mark to be undistinguishable from Pythonesque fantasy. Now I no longer care. If they want to advise job seekers to write a 4 page CV… in pink, telling everyone what their career objectives are – go right ahead, My ” Bothered in Brussels ” days are over.
Eventually, I began to get the hang of it, so that it is now part of the fabric of my daily life. I read about people trying to detox. Are they kidding ? Really there is no 12 step programme that would interest me.
So what are the benefits for me? I’m not going to name names for fear of leaving someone out. You all know who you are! Well you should!
- Global connections : I have connected with people globally whose paths I would never have crossed – ever , in the normal course of my daily life – professional or personal. Their stories, skills, areas of expertise , energy and willingness to share have been humbling and informative.
- Community : These on-line connections have become actual connections and in a strange way, perhaps as early adopters/adapters I find they understand more about what I do , than my immediate circle of friends and family. I have a whole new range of mentors, sounding boards, muses, professional contacts and people who are just fun to be around.
- Embracing change: Early adapters don’t care about taking risks, they don’t need to understand everything they do or fully compute the consequences. They just do it. They write blogs, produce You Tube videos, create radio shows, host webinars. The energy is fantastic. Do people off Twitter do this? Of course , I’m sure they do – but I don’t know them.
- Information: I stand by what I originally said that it’s the sharing of distilled information that is hugely beneficial. I don’t want to be too effusive about the time they save me in case they send me a bill. How do I know they’re picking out the right stuff? I just do!
- Intellectual stimulation: there is something very stimulating about being part of group of people who feel comfortable with what they don’t know and are not intimdiated by it. It is a black hole learning experience and not only are we all in it – but we all enjoy it.
- It’s democratic: there are no barriers to entry and I might exchange communication with world renown biz gurus, philosophers, philanthropists, successful authors, olympic athletes, stay at home Mums, coaches, recruiters , surfer dudes, antiopodean gardeners or teenage insomniacs – plus any number of categories I haven’t mentioned.
- Content counts: what is good is recognised and shared. Credit is given where it’s due. Plagiarism is outlawed.
- There is a code of conduct: poor behaviour is unacceptable and dealt with pretty summarily.
- The speed: of the passage of information is phenomenal. I am frequently asked how I know about something so quickly or early and it quite often via Twitter. It is a powerful global communication tool not to be under estimated. News channels and their anchor people now refer regularly to their Twitter accounts.
- It is affirmative: feedback is always constructive and positive contributions are generously endorsed.
- Business – of course. Everyone’s visibility is raised.
So where will it all lead to? I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that the massive increase in the popularity of Twitter ( which has now stabilised) occurred during a major recession. Did people have more time? Did they feel the need to try something new? Did they feel the need to reach out? The answer is I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see as economic activities level out whether people will engage to the same extent and what the next 12 months hold! Will I still have to defend my Twitter presence at dinner parties in 2011?
Only one way to find out! See you next year!
But what about you?