Twitter: How Has It Made You Better at Your Job?

Nov 29, 2010   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Social Networking  //  4 Comments

One of the issues I struggle with in getting people to understand why I tweet is demonstrating the value of engaging with others to people who haven’t engaged on Twitter.  Yes, it’s a Catch-22

I have read that the majority of the people who sign up for Twitter (and other social networks) create an account, post something like “I have an account”, the sit back and wait for all the magic to come their way.  But these networks don’t work that way.  The benefits I’ve realized  don’t happen because I broadcast a message but because I’ve had very brief conversations with smart people like you from all over the world. 

Yes, I do tend to post some personal items like the pictures of odd or funny things I’ve seen in my day, but for the most part I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for professional reasons.  Sure, I appreciate the parking space that Noel and Tamara donated to me, the collection of postal packages that Yanni and John provided and a nice spot to sleep this week at Erin’s place, but those came because I had already engaged with these people prior to asking for help.

Located between snippets of fun are my DB2, SQL Server, WordPress and a myriad of other technical questions and answers I received from the Twitterverse.  Sometimes from existing contacts and sometimes from strangers.

Before the network of networks I could have done my best to interpret vague documentation, called the tool vendor, called one person who I think worked with these technologies, or found a forum and posted my question.  I still do those, but 9 times out of 10 an answer comes back from a social network long before these other resources had time to respond.

My ability to reach out to ask if anyone is using feature X of product Z, to ask for opinions of the best way to accomplish Y or if anyone knows the best place to get a dead car fixed(Chicago, 2010) has helped my clients and me respond faster, with better answers than ever before.

What have you told not-yet-ready-for-prime-time people about why they should be blogging, Tweeting, posting to Facebook, etc. for their professional lives?  What would be the best way to demonstrate the resources available to them?

4 Comments

  • First, just want to say I have found your posts thoughtful and helpful. Second, to respond to your inquiry, I work for an engineering consulting company (read: not a pure play IT shop) and have to account for every hour of my time, so it is difficult to rationalize the value of tweeting/blogging during work days. If I may interpret your post, the value proposition would be that I can through exchange of knowledge be able to solve problems faster even though I spend some time tweeting/blogging. Is that accurate? So, while my comment doesn’t add to the the “list” of ways tweeting would make me better at my job, I think it is fair to mention not everyone feels able to find time to tweet. Thus, I am interested in other people’s responses.

    • Yes, my working from home makes it easier to tweet throughout the day. But I’m guessing I spend the most time reading Tweets and other social networking posts in the evening, via various mobile devices. I also have a work habit of spending time at the beginning of the day and the end of day checking the various streams.

      But it depends on what value one is trying to get out of participating. I have a marketing goal (for me), so it is work-related. But my primary goal is for understanding and being able to effectively use the technologies I support. That’s one of the reasons why I’d love to see more social networking from other data architects and database designers.

  • I do social media for work, but most of my happy Twitter stories have come from my personal use. I found the home I bought this year via Twitter (a good friend’s ex was the agent). I found a great hairstylist in my new city. I’ve made some good friends. Twitter peeps tend to be funny, smart, opinionated, and not afraid to share. Twitter has become my news feed. And that’s saying something, coming from a former newspaper reporter.

    Twitter is a real-time worldwide stream of consciousness. How is that not powerful? There’s a ton of drivel on Twitter, but that’s why you filter through hashtags or key words. I listen in on and participate in conversations with #yogadorks all over the world. And for work, I pay attention to what people are saying about my company and our competitors. I don’t need to wait weeks to find out if someone is having a problem… I can find someone to help them right away. Twitter is an amazing tool for customer service. And for networking and making connections and learning. It personalizes business. I could go on and on…

    • Great comments, Jodi. I feel the same way. It’s funny how the drivel from twitter friends, much like in real life, is easily tolerable as long as all those really great snippets of information/motivation/empathy are there to add value. Now I need to see what’s hiding under the #yogadorks hashtag….

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