I am pretty good at remembering dates so it seems logical that I would remember my three-year Twitterversary. I can’t remember how I first found Twitter, although I am pretty sure that I was on the popular social-networking site before Oprah was. When I first joined on July 9, 2008, there was little direction and few experts. I spent the first six months having very random conversations that didn’t mean a lot. I spent a lot of time on Twitter, not knowing was I was doing, but sensing that there was more to it.
I wrote about my first year on Twitter and how it really started to add value to my world on the Experient E4 blog.
There is no doubt that Twitter has changed my life. I have met people who I never would have met before. I have strengthened relationships with professional contacts that have resulted in real business for my company. I use Twitter as a regular source for new information and news.
Over the last few months, I have begun participating in a larger range of chats than ever before. I really enjoy #Speakchat (for professional speakers); #blogchat (for bloggers); #leadershipchat (for anyone who wants to be a better leader); and #cmchat (a chat dedicated to all things country music). These chats have expanded my network and allow me to have real, fast-paced conversations with people who have similar interests. These chats are mostly for my own personal and professional development.
I spend less time on Twitter than I used to because I have built it into my day. I generally check in three times a day or during a scheduled chat time. I make sure to spend some time posting articles of interest, retweeting valuable information and engaging with others. I make it a point to help celebrate others accomplishments and content. Sometimes I vent about technology or customer service. And sometimes I simply use it for watercooler chat.
I spend a lot of time explaining the value of Twitter and what it can do for business. I explain what it can’t do. Twitter is not a mass marketing channel. It’s not a place to post press release after press release with no other value. It’s not a set it and forget it sales tool. What it is varies for everyone. For me it’s a personal branding and business development tool. It’s not for everyone, but with the right person, it’s powerful.
Do I think that Twitter is the ultimate social networking tool? Probably not. Do I think it serves a great purpose today? Absolutely.
Three years later, Twitter is a part of my life. It has led me to friendships that I wouldn’t trade for anything (this where Midori and I met for the first time). It has enriched my life in ways that can’t be explained. So as I celebrate the last three years, I am thankful for Twitter and what it has done for me both personally and professionally.
And as I celebrate all occasions, tonight I shall drink pink champagne and have a cupcake. Will you join me?