Thursday, August 21, 2008

Five Days to Twitter Literacy (Twiteracy) - Part II

At the last CareerXroads Colloquium, I found myself trying to explain the magic of Twitter. The roomful of senior recruiting leaders regarded me warily. Why would you want to get all that e-mail, one recruiting director asked? You don’t get e-mail, I replied. Well why do you want to know that someone in Topeka had Shredded Wheat for breakfast? Well…um…because…you develop a sort of personal relationship with the people you follow. Personal relationship? Perhaps you better step away from the keyboard. Stop texting. Now.

They didn’t get it. That’s why I decided to write this series of posts. I wish I had thought of it at the time, but I finally thought of a great metaphor for Twitter. It’s like a very cool cocktail party where you may know a few friends, but most folks are strangers. There are some celebrities at the party, some very interesting types and some duds. You get to decide with whom you want to converse, or you can just listen. For example, I follow Robert Scoble, a very famous internet blogger (he works for Fast Company):

So I could use the direct message tweet to send a suggestion to the Scoblelizer, or I could just send a regular, public tweet. Pretty cool. I also follow Barack Obama, who tweets every day (more likely, someone on his staff tweets every day). The senator also follows me. Like at a party, the interesting people get swarmed by hangers on. Senator Obama has over 64,000 followers. So it’s not likely I will have a 1:1 conversation with him, but through his tweets I am up to date on his campaign schedule. (Note, as this blog is politically agnostic, I would follow Senator McCain, except that he isn’t as cool as Senator Obama because he doesn’t Twitter.)

More interesting Twitterers: The CEO of is a prolific Twitterer. He leads a very interesting life in Vegas. And he is very accessible. In fact, his entire team, including his recruiting team are creatively leveraging Twitter, blogs and other social networking tools to reach customers and candidates. Craig of Craigslist twitters. Lots of recruiters twitter. Shoutouts to Jim Stroud, Suzy Tonini and William Uranga. There is a funny guy, Scott Simpson, who cracks me up. Not sure what his deal is, but I love his tweets.

So how do you build your Twitter network? Think about it like party invitations. Follow some of the folks I mention in this post by clicking on the hyperlinks, then clicking on the "follow" button. Some will follow you back. Explore their list of followers by clicking on the icons, avatars and photos; find some profiles, photos, or bios that seem interesting to you and follow them. Every day, I proactively follow a couple of new Twitterers and, pick up a few new followers. It’s quite thrilling to find that someone you don’t know is following you. Perhaps I’ve said something interesting. I like to grow social networks organically, meaning I don’t search for groups of people to network with – I try to build relationships one person at a time. If you want to find more folks to follow, there are some cool tools to do that. We will explore these tools in the next post. You can take the direct approach and ask folks to follow you by using the "invite more feature" I have a follow me on Twitter link in my e-mail signature, and of course, on my blog.

More Twitter Rules

  • Remember it’s a party – you want to look good and seem interesting. Make sure you upload a photo or avatar, and put some thought into your bio
  • Put some thought into what you want to achieve through Twitter, but stay flexible. You can’t predict what’s going to happen at a party.

Like a party, the conversation can remain at the professional level (boring) or veer off into a wide range of topics. Keep it balanced. If you’re involved in something interesting at work, tweet about it. If you’re excited about your most recent hire, and want to send a w00t-w00t -- do it; the Twitterati will celebrate with you. It’s weird, but I like knowing what other folks are having for dinner, or knowing that Punkrock HR has hotel phobias and a peculiar cat. Conversely, if you come upon an interesting resource or a bit of compelling news, share the link on Twitter.

In short, be your bad, sharky, online self. That is the power and joy of Twitter!

Today’s homework: Post at least three tweets throughout the day. Follow a few folks. See what happens.

Next post: Cool tools to make your Twitter life easy; more networking tips.


  1. Mr. Scrubby is both quirky and peculiar! ;)

  2. Question: Are you following Biden now too?!!? You, Laurie and I would make a better veep recruiting team. Thanks for the shout.

  3. Anonymous10:21 PM

    Carmen check out the FREEEEEEEEEEEEE AT&T Hotspots... doesn't look like your cupcake place is on the list. I've been know to sit outside one place to get the free wifi from the same stripmall... I'm just saying!!! FREE. don't need to cards...