Eight lessons I’ve learned from Twitter

Twitter visualization

I’m writing this blog as a way of accepting a challenge from my friend Venessa Miemis.  Always glad to be pushed in new ways!

I’ve been a devoted Twitter-er for nearly a year.  In that period I’ve moved from reluctant skeptic to poster-child advocate.  Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned.

1) Respect the person behind the icon.  Early on I “blocked” a young lady because her icon was a little provocative. My assumption was that she was spamming me or worse.  Later that day she wrote a comment on my blog – she was a student trying to learn from me and she was disappointed that I turned out to be a smug elitist. Wow, talk about being humbled. I apologized profusely and now we’re friends.  This was a great lesson and I’m glad it happened early in my Twitter career. Think about the real people behind the icon.  You should be honored they are interested in you. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

2) This is best kind of networking.  About a year ago I was attending a live, weekly meeting with a networking group that had the initials “TNT.”  Every time an attendee reported something positive, everybody would suddenly yell “BOOM!”   TNT … get it?  Scared the crap out of me every time. The long meetings, the referrals, the score-keeping and gimmicks – not for me, especially after I discovered the power of Twitter.  Nearly every customer, partner and supplier I currently work with came through Twitter. This is the NEW networking. No limits. No scary noises.

3) It’s not for kids. This is a business tool.  Get in the game.

4) It’s not for everyone.  I have not quite placed my finger on it, but there is a certain subset of the human race who will not, can not tweet.  I think it has something to do with being an engineer, but I need more data on this. : )  Accept them. Love them. Move on.

5) Go to the party.  One of the most over-used descriptions of how to succeed on Twitter is adopting the “cocktail party” persona:  Be nice, entertain, be helpful, don’t sell.  It might be trite, but it’s also about the best advice you can give anybody.  It’s a metaphor that’s easy to understand and it’s accurate. If people will pay attention to you at a party, they’ll pay attention to you on Twitter.

6) Adapt and adopt.   If you spend too much time trying to “find your audience,” you will completely miss the amazing audience who has found YOU.

7) Twitter is an appetizer. But to get to the main course, you need to write your new friends, call them and, if possible, meet them.  That’s when the real magic happens!

8) Don’t tweet drunk.  ‘Nuff said.

Please tell me the lessons you’ve learned from Twitter.

Illustration: This visualization came from a place calledMentionMap. I have no idea what it means but it looks very high-tech and cool, don’t you think?  I have always wanted to be a node. 

Christmas gone awry

red nose

I’m Merry. I’m Jolly.  I’m in the Holiday Spirit. But this is just dumb.

Illustration: http://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/unconventional-warmers

Twitter in the trenches: An interview with Lance the repairman


I recently moved into an older home that needs a lot of repair work.  As luck would have it, I had a new Twitter follower this week, @knoxhandyman. Sounded like just the trick.  Called him up.  Met him. Hired him.

And he did a great job so I thought I would provide this interview with this hard-working social media entrepreneur:

Mark: How long have you been a repairman, Lance?

Lance:  Well I’m 49 and I’ve been doing this about all my life, so let’s just say a long time.

Mark:  And how long have you been on Twitter?

Lance:  About 5-6 months.

Mark:  How much time do you spend on Twitter?

Lance:  None. My wife handles all that.  She asks me what I’m doing and where I’m going and what customers are saying and then she puts it out there.  I don’t have time for it.  I’m out here working.

Mark:  And do you use anything else beside Twitter?

Lance: Yeah, I get a tremendous amount of work from Craig’s List and she also puts it on Facebook.

Mark: So is Twitter working for you?

Lance: Seems to be. I’ve had a whole let better success there than newspaper advertising, I know that much. Took out a couple of newspaper ads. Zip.

Mark:  And how much of your business is coming from the social media channels?

Lance: I don’t really know.  I don’t keep track of it very well, which drives my wife crazy.  To me, it’s all pretty much word of mouth. It’s a call to my cell phone, that’s all that matters!

And so I let Lance get back to re-wiring my new outdoor lights, another successful Twitter job completed!

I wanted to share this with you because it represents the REAL world of social media and working people. It’s not necessarily about the corporate world of “Trust Agents” or community managers or sponsored posts.  It’s about hard-working families and small businesses trying to figure out how to make a buck.  Go Lance.

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