6 Months Twittering: Skeptic to Evangelist

laurenSix months ago, I was a complete tweet-novice. I heard people on the street saying, “Twitter is just a narcissistic portal in cyberspace where social butterflies on steroids and self-proclaimed web-celebrities can self-indulgently broadcast their personal agenda to the world (so long as it’s under 140 characters).”

For a while, I was one of these skeptics. I didn’t understand Twitter and doubted it had much to offer, something I regularly heard from friends, clients and family.

Still as a marketing professional, it was obvious that Twitter was required-reading, a channel any serious social media marketer should totally understand. As a young woman, I wondered if anyone as shy as me, could contribute to the micro-blogging dialog.

I’m here to tell you that Twitter offers staggering networking opportunities, to the benefit of friendships, careers and (yes even) sales. Case in point, AIMCLEAR‘s guest blogging invitation comes as a direct result of daily Twitter sharing.

Taking the Plunge

On December 29th, 2008, I stopped wondering about Twitter. I created @beebow: a real girl with a real avatar, a relevant yet relatable bio (turns out “SEO/SMO blogger” + “likes gummy worms”= smash hit), and an insatiable hunger to learn about, and meet people that love, social media.

The ultimate goal wasn’t to cruise around cyberspace, goofing off and wasting company time on this exploding social platform. It was to establish a substantial presence on the Web-to learn, connect, and share- to introduce new friends to the work we do here at Hudson Horizons, when the time and tone of the ongoing conversation was appropriate.

It took patience, attentiveness and some wacky social media stunts to help connect with about 1,750 followers. From them, I’ve learned so much about social media marketing. Plus, my agency-boss doesn’t think I’m making a weird waste of the workday every time he hears a TweetDeck alert go off. That’s a win-win, that’s what that is.

Grow Physical Networking on Twitter

At Search Engine Strategies NY, I did what people do and briefly chatted with top industry folks like Guy Kawasaki, Dave Evans, Hollis Thomases, Liana Evans, Matt McGowan and Marty Weintraub. Twitter has proven an invaluable resource, allowing me to continue conversations started in person.

Twitter is an equalizer; it’s like in cyberspace, we all weigh the same (not poundage… more like the ability to reach out and connect). Whether you have 50 or 500,000 followers, you’re human and available on Twitter. We’re all there – behind computer screens or typing away on smartphones – and we’re all accessible by choice because of our era’s marvelous technology and our shared interests.

It’s awesome to share on par with such an amazing community. You shouldn’t be afraid to connect with people- even the real Twitter “superstars.” All it takes is the right time, the right content, a little @ symbol, and, of course, confidence.

You Never Know

The saying’s true: “you never know.” You never know what may come of those 140 characters. You never know who will see your tweet, embrace it, and share it with the world (at least their world of followers). You never know whose interest will peak with that simple message-whether it’s a useful piece of advice, a link to an interesting article, or just a genuinely kind message to Twitterland.

“All it takes is a 140 character (or less) tweet to open priceless windows of opportunity, and establish truly rewarding connections.”

Six months ago, I didn’t even know what Twitter was… now, it’s an integral a part of my life every day. The power, potential and opportunity have completely vaporized the skepticism once felt. I’ve learned so much. That’s really more than I could have ever asked for.

If these months have taught anything it’s that, when Twitter is approached appropriately and enthusiastically, even the shyest of wannabe social butterflies (e.g.: yours truly) can soak up.

Follow Lauren on Twitter @beebow.

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