Twitter can be incredibly useful in business communication, or completely inane.
Twitter can be a very powerful communication tool, when used judiciously and with care.
On Twitter, I follow a group of colleagues who also belong to the International Association of Business Communicators. We all post problems, ideas and issues we are working on, as well as information we think will help each other. This keeps my skills current and keeps me connected professionally. It’s much like meeting them for lunch and chatting, if I had the time and could fly to London where many of them work. Instead of seeing them once a year at a major conference, we stay in touch regularly, as needed.
I also use Twitter to track comments made about business writing, so I can learn which issues are warranting discussion. It helps me know where to focus my research.
I don’t post personal chatter. (Who cares what I ate for lunch?) In the five months I’ve used Twitter, my circle of followers has naturally expanded to include people interested in similar work issues, and we’ve shared very valuable information, not irrelevant tidbits on our personal lives.
There are many incoming links from Twitter to this blog, proving Twitters’ value in information sharing.
It would be very easy to get sucked into the black hole of chatter occurring on Twitter, so plan your use:
- Follow smart people doing work that is relevant to yours.
- Post relevant, valuable content, of interest to your followers.
- Watch your time on Twitter. Set up programs like TweetDeck that allow you to group information and respond easily. At most, I spend 10-15 minutes a day on Twitter, and it would take me far more time offline to gain and share the same information.
Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development, a very smart communicator, wrote about a crazy Twitter experience he encountered. True story: he attended a live conference where the audience could only ask questions via Twitter. The presenter was on the stage, reading questions from his laptop, with the audience sending in their questions from their laptops or phones. Why didn’t they just talk? Crazy!
Michael Katz’s comment about this inanity was perfect:
Communication is about information flowing between people. Technologies that enhance this are great, but they are just tools. They are never the main focus.