They say there’s a social network to suit every style and purpose, and I’ve certainly found that to be true. Not that you have to limit yourself just one network, of course. But these days, if you made me choose just one, I’d have to pick Twitter. Like many people, I used to wonder what the point of Twitter was. (See Stage 1 of the cute illustration below, which I borrowed from Sean Gardner).
It wasn’t until I started my own business, Verbaccino, that I decided to give Twitter a try. Surely there had to be a reason for its huge popularity (cf. Stage 2). So I created two profiles: one for myself as an individual and one for Verbaccino as a business. Because, you know, if it works for Richard Branson…
At first, my Twitter efforts were clumsy, haphazard and didn’t seem to be attracting any followers. But I stuck with it. Soon enough, I discovered the joys of following other people’s feeds, and that’s when a whole new world – literally – started to open up to me (cf. Stage 3). I realised I could search for and access all the latest news stories, expert commentaries, professional advice, arts reports, societal trends, the musings of cultural and political figures, and so much more. In a variety of languages to boot. Like being a fly on a planet-sized wall.
But I had a feeling this was just the tip of the Twitter iceberg, because I wasn’t really engaging with other users yet. I was just soaking everything in, a bit overwhelmed by it all. I started to take note of whose tweeting styles I particularly liked, which tweets I found less appealing, why, and how I could apply those conclusions to my own Twitter voice. All the while, I got better at curating and sharing content that I thought might be of interest to others, and I started tweeting some content of my own. I realized that Twitter is an amazingly effective tool for disseminating content from other platforms.
The day my @Verbaccino account hit 200 followers, I happened to be reading Mark Schaefer‘s “The Tao of Twitter” (highly recommended!). In it, Mark describes the 200-follower range as a sort of magic threshold, the point when things start to get truly interesting – even downright exciting. Well, in my experience, that’s exactly what happened. That’s when my @Verbaccino audience started to snowball. Suddenly, a steady stream of people started appearing in my list of followers. As I write this, I have 537 followers and counting. It took me about six months to get here, but the growth has been 100% “organic” and I intend to keep it that way.
One thing I’ve come to realize about Twitter is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with very real, very knowledgeable, very well-intentioned people all over the world. Sure, Twitter can turn into a networking event on steroids, if you choose. But I think a more rewarding approach is to seek out and engage with fellow human beings who seem truly sympatico, be they potential clients, potential colleagues or even, down the road, potential friends. I think Twitter is exactly what you make of it. At the end of the day, we want to interact with genuine, relatable, trustworthy people. People whose values and goals align with our own. Twitter gives us the tools to do that on a global scale. When I start to think about the possibilities, it absolutely blows my mind.
In case you haven’t guessed already, I’m now in the middle of Stage 4. Yeah, I tend to get a little obsessed whenever I discover something new that rocks my world. And no, it’s not sustainable. I need to make the transition to Stage 5. I’ll let you know how that goes. Meanwhile, connect with me on Twitter or in the comments section below, and let me know which stage you’re at!
Now back to the Twittersphere…
Update: as of November 27th, 2015, I have 2080 followers on my @Verbaccino account and 2334 followers on my @KathrinBussmann account.
All organically grown, of course!
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