Tweet This!

At a recent speech, I was asked: “As a business person, a manager or supervisor within a company, do you really NEED Twitter?”  Of course not. Should you use it anyway?  I think so and here’s why:

Twitter and texting are preferable over e-mail or phone calls among recent college graduates and others in the “under 30” age group.  Companies are starting to post jobs via Twitter.  As more and more of these younger workers become your direct reports – and perhaps even your boss – being comfortable with their preferred medium is important.  Staying current with technology makes you seem younger and more critically,  relevant in our ever changing world.

120606094003-twitter-logo-change-story-topSo how do you “use Twitter” that isn’t a foolish waste of time for a busy professional?  

First, download the free app from your phone’s app store.  If you still are using a flip-phone or other “non-smart” phone, go back and read the sentence about staying current with technology.

I treat Twitter as the “crawl” on the bottom of the screen fox-news-logoof my favorite cable news channel.  Personally I “follow” a couple of general news sources, one local and one national.  Your favorite news television channels all have Twitter too; Fox News, CNN, NPR, ABC and all the rest.  Same for your local news channels.  Add one of those to stay on top of local news and events.

I live in West Seattle and the West Seattle Blog is the consummate source for everything happening in my neighborhood.  They post road closures due to both construction and accidents, crime, local events and even lost pets.  If you neighborhood or homeowners association has Twitter, you might want to add them to your list.

Next I’d add business publications.  Mine is the Wall Street Journal but also their All Things Digital.  I meant what I said about keeping current with technology.  I may not have use for it all right now, but I still want to know it exists and for what purpose.

Your industry may have a news source.  If they Tweet, you may find keeping up with the latest via these 140 character tidbits easier than the pile of trade journals on the corner of your desk.

alaska_logoDo you travel a lot either personally or on business?  Your favorite airline has Twitter.  So does the USA Today Travel section and many others.  Those can provide timely updates on airport delays as well as special deals.

Then, have some fun.  If that means following Kim Kardashian,Lit Lounge I won’t judge.  For me, it’s comedian Dennis Miller, OMG Facts, Snoqualmie Casino (their cigar Lit Lounge for my hubby), a local comedy club to see who is coming soon as well as a couple of other entertaining sources.

You can follow your favorite authors for updates on their newest books.  Brad Thor writes great thrillers and is a master at branding.  His “tweets” are as alarming in 140 characters as his books are in 300 pages!

If someone tweets more than you like or you don’t like the nature of their tweets, you can always delete them from who you “follow”.  By the same token, if you find your custom news feed (that’s what I use Twitter for) is missing something, ask yourself where you typically go to get that missing component and see if they have a Twitter account, then add it.

Once you have it all set up (less than 30 minutes) you can open the app anytime you have a few minutes and get caught up on the world and everything that’s important to you.  The 140 character limitations of Twitter give you just enough information without overloading you or taking too much time.

I check Twitter when I’m meeting someone and I arrive a few minutes ahead of them, when I’m waiting my turn in line for anything, when I’m having lunch alone – anytime I don’t have enough time to get into something more involved (like email or a book) but when I have a few minutes.

Then when your younger colleague apologizes for your wait you can just say “No worries, I was just checking Twitter”.  Sure, they may look at your graying temples or receeding hairline and be a little surprised but hey, you still have a few surprises left in you, don’t you? 

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