I know what you’re thinking….”gee, I wish I had that much time to waste!”
Hear me out.
At first, Twitter seemed to be this scary, worthless time sink. ?I signed up and then my account stood dormant for months before I got enough motivation to check it out out again.
Now, I’ve found out that it can really be a useful way to connect with people…if you know how to use it.
Here’s How I Use Twitter
- Connect with people I already know –
I don’t use chat clients at all, so Twitter has served as a pseudo chat ?platform for me to connect with other project managers I already know in little snippets. ?Several Twitter conversations have led to “I’ll send you an email” or “Give me a call and let’s chat about this some more.”
- Connect with new people – There are many people ?I never ?would have met otherwise. ?There is a “find people” feature on Twitter where you can find people who are interested in the same things as you are. ?I found people this way, and they have found me.
- Sharing links ?to helpful articles and resources – One of my favorite things do to on twitter is to share and get links to interesting things. ?There are URL shortener services that are free and allow you to put really short hyperlinks in your tweets. ?This allows you to add something interesting or give a good summary for your links. ?I follow a few project management bloggers that I think are really great, and when these folks publish new posts, I tell my followers about them. ?I use a site called TweetLater to automate this process, but I set it up to only post every so often, and again I only post links for reputable sources. ?I’ve actually started using my own Twitter stream as a feed reader….since these blogs are the ones I want to read anyway, I just check what I’ve tweeted and use that as my daily reading list.
- Re-Tweet – When I see a tweet that is particularly good, I’ll re-tweet it. ?It’s just adding a “RT” to the front of the tweet and copy/pasting it. ?Then you re-send the tweet to your followers. ?Sort of a way for things to go viral (if they are good).
- Follow Friday – this is a little ritual that someone started somewhere and it became viral. ?Every Friday I take a look at the people who have made helpful contributions to the Twitterverse, or people I know outside of Twitter and who are good people with interesting things to say, and I just use the #followfriday tag with their usernames. ?This tells everyone who follows me that I think these people are worth following. ?It’s like an organic referral system.
- Clients – Sometimes I use twitter.com, but most of the time I use a desktop client called Seesmic Desktop. ?TweetDeck is another popular desktop client. ?The desktop clients make it easier to block people who are spamming you, filter and search, etc.
- Direct Messages and Replies – I read ALL of my direct messages and replies.? Sometimes that can take a little time, but I always reply to the ones that are asking a question or need a response.? Like I said before, I’ve met a lot of great people this way and been able to help a lot of people this way too.
Here are some things I’ve figured out myself to not do, or have seen other people do and it makes me upset. ?I’ll give people a shot, but beware if you are doing these things, it’s likely that I will block you. ?That means I’m marking you as spam and slamming the door in your face. ?Sorry but you deserve it!
- Spam – if I see another “Make thousands of dollars automatically with Twitter!” message I’ll scream. ?Oh, there’s one now. ?AHHHHHHHHHHHH!
- Links without descriptions – if you are going to put a link out there, give an honest and useful description of what it is you want people to click on. ?Just common sense.
- Posting too much – most of the time these are companies who are doing some kind of automated posting to Twitter for new jobs, etc. ?If you post 10 tweets within a few seconds of each other, it’s really annoying. ?If I see you so much in my twitter stream that it makes me look closer, usually I find you aren’t really saying anything of value. ?(unfollow)
- Posting too little – I unfollow people who are not active on Twitter. ?No offense, but I wouldn’t keep calling you if you never answer your phone either. ?Maybe Twitter is not for you, that’s just fine. ?I essentially only follow people who are somewhat active though…why ?would I follow you if you haven’t said a word in over a month?
Use These Tools For Good, Not Evil
I think I do a decent job of using Twitter like one of the good guys, but of course I can’t please everyone. ?If you like project management though, you may want to consider following me on Twitter. ?To me, Twitter is for the things I described above, and for a deeper conversation, I have this blog.
I’m @pmstudent on Twitter.
See you in the Twitterverse!