Why Tweet?

Where are we going?

A while ago I wrote a post for the Sephone blog that discussed goals and various social media platforms that are free to use.  There is no right or wrong goal but of course some are better than others and they have to be yours.

When I first set up my Twitter account, it was February of 2008.  My goal at that time was to learn what this “thing” did because as we all know NOW it was part of the revolution in marketing that changed how people pass information around and keep in touch with one another.

Since then, how people behaved on Twitter, how they said things, (shortened URL’s, for example) became the norm of the Twitterverse.  Also how you can stuff the most info into 140 characters and how many external applications that can help those of us that work in this business can use and how we mixed and matched other platforms and used Twitter to spread the word.

Having a Goal is Important

It is easy to get lost in all the nitty gritty details and lose site of what you are trying to accomplish.  When I hear someone say, “I don’t need to know what you had for breakfast.”  I want to scream.  Since everything is so automated these days, scheduling tweets/posts, etc. it is easy to think that there is a live person on the other end of that message and there may not be.  Or there isn’t one right now when you read it or is there?

Examples of my Twitter Goals:

  • My Front Page News: Learn about things that I need to know that I wouldn’t be able to find by myself.
  • Share information that I find interesting or helpful.
  • Keep myself and my company “Top of Mind” with people I know personally and those I may have never met.
  • Get smiles – as a virtual worker my face to face dialogue is somewhat limited, Twitter makes me feel like I am actually talking to people instead of myself (or my dogs!)

Twitter Works for Me

I am not known for my patience.  Short bursts of information with a link to  “More”  is perfect.  I have my phone handy I can see it there easily, or on my ipad or laptop.  If I have a friend or client that has asked me a question about something I can easily pass it on. Also my clients and the media can too, if they tweet.

“Knickers in a Knot”

One of my favorite Canadian friends said once, “Don’t get your knickers in a knot” about some lofty goal that reminds you of your last nightmare strategic planning session.  Just write it down for yourself, perhaps put it in your profile to let followers know how they can help you or for them to know how you can help them.

And TWEET – have fun with it.  Find people to follow and give them something to look at when they decide if they want to follow you!

Me?  I am @ladyotrout or @sephone.  See you in the Twittersphere!




“Everybody” is an expert, yeah right!

I read a lot of things on line.  If you read my posts very often,  you probably know that all ready.  But something interesting happened to me yesterday and I felt the urge to share it.

I was in a meeting with a person that expressed frustration and confusion with social media and feels overwhelmed.  She starts off with the list, “I know I am supposed to twitter, blog, facebook and I don’t know where to begin and I am embarrassed to admit it to anybody! Everything I read out there online makes me feel really intimidated.  I am so far behind the 8-ball, I don’t even know – what I don’t know.”

She reads lots of blogs and we both agreed how often we’re shocked by blogs and blog comments that are arrogant and hurtful. Almost as if there isn’t a person on the end of that keyboard.

If a person from the “40+ something” generation reads stuff like that, it is intimidating and often discourages them from engaging in a wonderful sharing process that 95% of this whole Social Media “thing” is.

In the Social Media world, I personally believe there ARE NO REAL experts – in fact it is really SO NEW for us NON-TECHIE types, it is okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes.  In fact if you are over 40, my guess is you come from a culture where asking for help isn’t easy.  ESPECIALLY from a complete stranger.  You feel as though you are exposing your inefficiencies and in our day, you could get terminated for that – especially if you are female.  I think half of the jobs I had in the 80’s were kept because I knew how to use a telex, was polite on the phone and could type!

How I got started.  I have had a Twitter Account for a long time now – (longtime in Twitter years is like “dog years” on steriods-2 years in Twitter time is like 20 years because of how fast this Social Media thing is moving!)

I am lucky.  A man that works with us here (@justinrussell) at Sephone, suggested I give Twitter a shot.  The second best suggestion from him was that I follow a guy named @chrisbrogan.  So I did.  Chris Brogan is a thoughtful, information seeker and social media philanthropist in the Social Media world. (My definition, not his – in fact I haven’t even asked him if I can mention him in this post- oops!) Chris is a helper.  His blog is written in a helpful, non boastful way.  I have NEVER met the man and yet I suggest people follow him whether they are in PR, Marketing or anything else.

Chris gets out there-speaks, blogs, does webinars, podcasts and is available.  As far as I am concerned, he is the center of my Social Media – but I think that may embarrass him. He always asks for feedback when he posts something and you know he is listening and reading it all.

A little tip: When you read a blog you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave it and don’t go back.  “We” are not their target audience anyway. But keep trying.  Eventually,  you will find the people that are “your experts,” in the meantime, your skin will become thicker and those “other people” wont make you feel so bad, because you are finding your own way, at your own pace, for your own reasons. It is about you, and after all it is what you want to accomplish.

So, “Come on in, the water is fine!” Get your feet wet, find some people like Chris to follow or read if you choose not to have a Twitter Account and know that most of us are finding our way as all this changes at a rapid pace. Social Media does not take a summer vacation!

Blogging ABC’s

Sometimes people just think this BLOG thing is a fad and I really cannot blame them for wishing it to be so in some ways. Maybe if you wait long enough it will fade away like that avocado refrigerator you had in your kitchen growing up.

In some areas of the country blogging is a way of life when it comes to stuff going on in your kids school, scout troop, or things that a person might be interested in. My sister-in-law knits. Like REALLY knits. She reads several blogs that she finds are very helpful to her and brings her into this tight community of people that have same interests that she has. Her online “Stitch and Bitch” session.

That really is what blogging is. There is no mystery to it.

I also have a friend with cancer. She blogs with people around the world for support and suggestions on things she is going through and strangers help each other deal with the daily trials of a fight for life.

But how do you start? I wrote something in the Sephone blog about this very thing and there is a demo if you are interested in starting your own and these tools are all free and out there for the world to use. I also read a blog from one of the social media guru Chris Brogan that also had some very interesting perspective.

Personally, I started with the basics. Somebody told me about TWITTER. Here is a very easy way to learn about what is happening in an interest you may have. Twitter is about individual entries or “tweets” (see very non-techie cute) about what’s happening. The question at the top of the screen is “What are you doing? “ People fill it in and it posts to all the people that are following that individual automatically. If you click on the above link, you can go to mine and look at who I follow and see if there is someone on that list that you may want to follow or search for a topic. It is like a bulletin board with lots of links on it from people you choose to follow and if you see something tweeted, that takes you into directions onto other sites that you never heard about or never even thought about searching for.

iVillage is popular and mentioned on the Today Show a lot. It is a lifestyle blog that seems to be clued into young professionals, stay at home moms, families etc. I read it occasionally, but since I have no children and that seems to be central, it isn’t one that I check often.

One of the frustrating things I must say with some of these “social network types .” They are so busy cross-selling you on their latest book, seminar or whatever, it can be a bit much. Also the social networking “gurus” can be a bit intimidating because of the jargon they use. The first thing I say to myself is, “Well obviously they aren’t talking to me!”

But I am talking to you. And if you are a beginner, this advice is for you. Get a twitter account (again free) and try it. You’ll be surprised at what you may learn from complete strangers or the connections you can make around the world.