I have a confession to make. I’ve recently become a twitterer. It’s true. I never thought it would happen to me — but it has … and I’m loving it! Even more amazingly, I’ve found that I’ve become somewhat of a Twitter “evangelist” — spreading the good word about Twitter to professional friends and colleagues far and wide. (Life has a way of surprising you sometimes, doesn’t it?!?).
It turns out that preconceived notions are, well, preconceived notions. When I first heard about this thing called “Twitter,” I thought it was just about the shallowest, most useless thing I could imagine. I mean, really, who could possibly be interested in getting minute-by-minute updates on the doings of their favorite celebrities — where they had lunched, if they just took the dog for a walk, etc.? It’s true: Twitter does have a huge number of fans who use it for this purpose (which I still think is one of the silliest things going).
However, one day not long ago, I decided to follow the lead of a long-ago teacher who advised, “When in doubt, check it out.” So, I did. (Side note: This was actually spurred by a desire to find more readers for this blog. I’m not sure if that part has come to fruition yet, but I’m thrilled by my discovery nevertheless).
Twitter: A Brief Tutorial
For those not familiar, Twitter is a “social media” website where people can set up free accounts, send messages about topics that interest, and sign up to “follow” others’ “tweets” (messages). In this way, it’s not much different than other social media sites (such as Facebook, MySpace, etc.). The key differentiator with Twitter, though, is that messages are limited to 140 characters. Therefore, posts tend to fall into two categories: 1) Brief statements/opinions/quotations; or 2) References to other websites/posts/articles. Followers can view your tweets when they log into the site — or, they can have them delivered to their cell phones (truly up-to-the-minute communcations).
Wading into the “twitterverse” hesitantly, I searched for a few twitterers who seemed to focus on HR issues and I signed up to “follow” them. Starting to get the hang of things, I sent a few “tweets” of my own (e.g., such as when I posted a new article on this blog). Then, something truly amazing happened: Someone signed up to follow me! Apparently, someone got the impression that reading my tweets would be interesting to them. The fact that this person was from Viet Nam, of all places, made it all the more intriguing. So, I was off and running!
A few months later, I find myself following about 250 people — with 175 or so folks following me. It’s not about numbers, of course (some people “follow” or are followed by thousands or tens of thousands of people). It is about sharing information, which is the part that has been such a wonderful (and unexpected) benefit for me.
BTW (or, “by the way,” as they say in the twittering and texting worlds), you can check out my Twitter feed at: @MBrisciana_HR
Why I Love Twitter
Much to my amazement, I’ve found Twitter to be an amazing resource for keeping up with the latest and greatest ideas, news, and developments in the world of human resources. (Side note: Twitter can be used to follow any and all subjects. I’ve chosen to use it primarily for professional purposes … with a small smattering of personal subjects, such as baseball and food, just for fun). It’s all about finding great people to follow. I use it to stay current in the “nuts and bolts” of HR, as well as gaining from perspectives on leadership, company culture, and motivation and inspiration. Listed below are a few of my favorite “tweeps” (I know, the lingo does get a little silly, doesn’t it?!?). Feel free to check them out, follow them, engage in conversation, etc.
Sidenote: As even a casual reader of this blog knows, I struggle to say anything without disclaimers, modifiers, parentheticals, etc. (an occupational hazard of being in HR, not wanting to offend anyone, striving to be accurate in conveying nuances, and spending too much time with attorneys!). That said, it is a HUGE challenge for me to say anything in the limits of 140 characters. They say that brevity is the soul of wit; something that I’ve struggled with greatly in my writing (and probably why I have so much admiration for cartoonists who can tell a funny story in just three panels). In any case, it may take a while to get used to this limitation — though, anyone who is a serial “texter” has probably mastered this art form long ago.
Some Favorite Twitterers
Thought Leaders / Heavy Hitters
A Final Story: Coming Full Circle (connecting HR and food)
As I wrap up this post encouraging everyone to explore Twitter to see if it holds any interest or value for them, I can’t resist telling one small story to bring things full circle to the “life surprises you sometimes” idea with which we began. A few nights ago as I was scanning my Twitter “feed” before turning in, I noticed a post from an HR person who had been on the road, talking about a terrific “chicken parm” she had just had. Being: 1) Italian; and 2) a chicken parmigiana afficianado from way back, I couldn’t go to sleep without exploring this further. I sent her a direct message, inquiring where she found this unexpected treasure. She answered right back, with the name of the restaurant in New York (where I travel to frequently). You can bet the next time I’m in New York, that chicken parm will be high on my “to do” list!
Postscript: It turns out that the restaurant is on Twitter, too!
- Laurel Papworth: A Twittonary of Twitter Terms (activerain.com)
- Scott Meis: Friday Five: Things You Should Look for in Next Generation Twitter | Edelman Digital (edelmandigital.com)
- Tweet this: Twitter gets new chief executive (topinews.com)