It occured to me the other day that October 1, 2009 marked a year since I began using Twitter. I went back to my very first tweet, which was of course hopeful and abstract. A lot has changed since that first tweet, both my perception on the concept of social media and its value and my preconceived notion that 140 characters was simply a useless amount of information.
I remember the first staff meeting when I brought up the idea of making our blog more dynamic, switching platforms (we were using a terrible self-hosted platform through our web server company) and setting up some additional accounts on social media networks….like, you know, Twitter or something.
The reaction, needless to say, was less than enthusiastic. My boss seemed somewhat convinced but a week later after she began tweeting, she came back to the table uncertain of its value.
I didn’t know much, I will admit, about social media at that point. But I had a gut feeling it was going to be important, more important than we were treating it at that time. I knew it was foolish of us as an agency to present ourselves as cutting edge if we didn’t understand the current influencers in the new media space. There was still a good 3-4 months of complaining and general cynicism around the table and I say this not to pat myself on the back for being right (though, I was…ahem) but more to point out that there are still people who don’t believe in the value or power of Twitter and social media in general.
Going through my Twitter feed last night, I was able to view my life, mostly professional but some personal milestones, connections I made and general growth I experienced.
For me, Twitter has:
- Greatly expanded my contacts in the green and sustainable industry
- Connected me to some influential editors, writers and analysts in my clients’ markets
- Showed me some really fantastic stories I might have otherwise overlooked
- Taught me brevity can be powerful and at times completely enough
- Given me an outlet
- Helped to gain expanded readership on both our blogs (here and Green Life Smart Life)
The list could go on and on. I can look back on Twitter and see the first time I successfully pitched an NBC producer, the connection I made with a green editor at the New York Times, my acceptance to a PhD program, my first solo press event at Microsoft, the 3 (or 4) trade shows I attended in the past year, my triumphs and failures, the points where I had to make a big decision (and subsequently drink a lot of wine) – it’s all there. 140 characters or less, my work and life laid out in a nice little timeline. 1,590 tweets and 831 followers later – it turns out it’s not the numbers necessarily or the popularity.
Social media creates real connections. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Posted by: Ashley – who can be found on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ashleydano