I wrote a blog post in March of 2012 claiming that Twitter is the most important learning resource on the planet. I still believe that. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t spend 1-2 hours per day perusing my personal Twitter feed in addition to the hours I spend there daily for my work. For nearly three years, I’ve been deadly serious about using Twitter to connect to people I admire across several disciplines as well as with numerous friends and colleagues.
I thought I would write this post to give you a little taste of what my Twitter life is like in a typical week. To that end, copied below are a number of posts I’ve made or posts others made that I deemed worthy of retweeting, along with a little commentary. These don’t represent nearly all of my tweets in a week, but they are at least representative of the categories I give the most time to on Twitter. I hope it sparks some interest on your part to dive in to the platform if you are not active there yet, and I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter @JeffKRoss if you’re so inclined. I’ll gladly return the favor if I like what you post.
In looking over my tweets and retweets for the past week, they fall into several recurring categories: general business practices, social media, social learning, community management, Christian faith, and occasional odds and ends including mostly news and private conversations with others I follow. Let’s take a look at some sample tweets in these categories from the past few days.
General Business Practices
I like the wisdom of Seth Godin and the humor of @MeetingBoy, so a few general business comments from the past week include the ones below. The longer anyone works in a very large corporation, the more he/she appreciates office humor, whether in the form of a Dilbert cartoon or @MeetingBoy. Here are a few retweets I passed on from others yesterday:
Occasionally, I’ll add a short comment to a retweet it if there’s room to do so in the 140-character limit while still including all of the original:
As someone whose work is all about social media, I especially like any report of the creative ways people get around restrictive IT and company policies that attempt to keep people from accessing and using social media at work. Such policies and practices are born of fear and ignorance, are doomed to die, and the sooner they do, the better off we’ll all be. I loved the recent report of one of my heroines in the subject – Jane Bozarth – who shared a friend’s report of his/her first day at work, along with a photo of it:
Go get ’em, unknown kindred soul!
Of course, when a colleague like my coworker Chuck Stephens is doing something noteworthy like being interviewed regarding the work of our Enterprise Social Media team, you know I’ll retweet the daylights out of that kind of positive press. Well done, @SoChuckified!
I always love reading reports of studies that document the value of using social media in business. Too many so-called experts claim that it’s hard to prove the ROI of social media. I disagree.
Studies like the ones above are plentiful if you look for them.
I was in professional learning roles for most of my adult life prior to making the switch to online community management a few years ago. Learning will always be a huge passion of mine. The focus now just happens to be on social learning which may or may not have anything to do with social media. They are not the same.
A handy feature of Twitter is the ability to create lists of people that you choose to group in some way. I keep a Twitter list of people I follow in the area of social learning and on each Wednesday afternoon I use the automated tool at Paper.li to produce a newspaper-style summary of those people’s tweets that contained links to various relevant articles on the subject over the past week. You can always find the latest weekly from me here and a Wednesday afternoon tweet like the following to announce its availability:
I can always count on my social learning gurus to have some good content weekly, like this tweet and photo again from Jane Bozarth:
Since my career is as a community manager, I have colleagues and gurus I follow in this field, with Rich Millington from Feverbee.com an important influence on me. Sometimes he tweets under his name and other times under his business name as in the post below where the linked blog post challenges community managers to prod community members past the griping stage on issues and to the point of actually doing something about problems:
It’s nice to see insightful blog posts from people I have worked with and whose work I greatly respect, such as this one from Carrie Young, a person instrumental in the existence of the Socialcast product my company uses for our internal social platform:
Other opportunities exist weekly to interact with fellow community managers not only through random tweets, but also through scheduled chats that happen on a regular basis. Search for the hashtags #cmgr, #cmgrchat and #CMGRHangout and you’ll find a wealth of content on the subject of community management, as well as the dates and times for weekly scheduled chats that last typically for an hour. Also, #lrnchat is the tag for a weekly chat on learning-related topics that you should check out if interested. (Summer schedules of chats may vary.) Such chats are great ways to immerse yourself in a fast-paced discussion with kindred spirits, and an effective way to find new people to follow and who will likely follow you back.
Until December of 2012, I maintained two separate Twitter accounts – one for professional content and one for personal content. In that scenario, the faith-related content fell to the personal account. However, after experimenting with that separation for a year, I decided it was an unnecessary separation of selves because there is really only one me. I am who I am and people can follow me or not as they please, knowing the bigger picture of what makes me tick – both personal and professional. So I have a number of Christian leaders and friends I follow and I tweet some things out that I find meaningful, such as these from the past few days:
Odds and Ends
Lastly, any given week will include a variety of other kinds of content in varying quantities. For example, I’ll promote the posts that I write for this blog. I’ll also pass on any particularly interesting news, such as info about new and interesting technology:
Twitter is filled to the gills with tweets hot off the press from those in the middle of the events they discuss, as referenced in this commentary on tweets coming from passengers of the recently crashed Asiana Airlines flight in San Francisco, compared to the stale reporting of professional journalists talking to others not involved:
Other tweets that fall in the odds and ends category for me are those private or semi-private conversations I strike up with others, many of whom I have never met in person and who may not even live in this country. Still, something connects us – whether it’s a common occupation or faith or sense of humor or passion for some special interest.
Such is my typical week on Twitter. The above examples are but a few of the many opportunities I have daily to learn, grow, connect, share, laugh, encourage, rant, and experience life far beyond the borders of my limited geography. The myth that Twitter is just a bunch of people talking about what they had for lunch is, well, a myth. Yes, you’ll find that there, too, but if that’s all you’re finding, then you aren’t following the right people.
If you haven’t yet given Twitter a chance, or if you just briefly took a glance and walked away saying, “I don’t get it,” then it’s time you took another look. Search out people who are experts in subjects you care about. Follow the countless links to additional resources they will point you to. Strike up a conversation. Reply to the tweet of someone famous who you would never likely meet in person. You may just be surprised when they tweet you back.
And like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’d love for you to follow me on Twitter. You’ll find me @JeffKRoss. Say hello to me there. I promise I’ll reply.