We’re about to celebrate our third anniversary. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I wondered how anyone could be seduced by 140 characters. But when I realised that it wasn’t all Kardashians, inanity and idle gossip, I tippy-toed my way into the conversation, one tweet at a time.
As someone who stared at a LinkedIn invitation for a year, I could never be accused of being an ‘early adopter’ of social media. Decision made, I took the plunge and created a Twitter account, searched for people to follow, then watched silently from the sidelines.
When I worked out that I couldn’t do too much damage, I ‘retweeted’ someone’s tweet to my ‘followers’, who were gathering momentum out of nowhere. Once I got over those sinister stubby links, my world was transformed by articles and blog posts around the globe. The news updates and current thinking not only kept me informed, it inspired me personally and professionally.
Three years on, Twitter is my bespoke news engine, and takes me on a voyage of discovery in an instant. It allows me to spread the word of others, and gives life to my passions and expertise. Aside from the tweeps who make me smile, I tune in to thought leaders, journalists, politicians, and the musings of ordinary people across the globe. It’s armchair education on steroids.
These days I recommend Twitter for professionals to:
- Keep abreast of the latest thinking in your industry or area of expertise – whatever your job status
- Learn what’s happening in organisations you’d like to join, work with or admire
- Gain insights about the attitudes and priorities of key decision makers and leaders
- Access information that may not be available elsewhere, and be the first to know about new opportunities
- Share expertise, offer opinions and connect with new people
- Find new energy when other channels of communication seem exhausted.
All of which may give you an edge, when you most need it. They’re just some of my reasons for listening to the tweetie birds. If you’re wary, why not sign-up incognito, and follow a few people, companies or associations for a while. And when you do, please follow me @careerstylenote!