So I’ll admit that I was one of “those people” who just didn’t get Twitter when I first made an account.  What’s up with 140 characters?  Why is everyone creating ridiculous lists of #ff?  I didn’t see the point, and even though I love aquatic animals, I saw that damned “fail whale” way too often for my tastes.

In the immortal words of Phil Collins, take a look at me now – 1,290 tweets as of this writing, and I’m sure I’ll have more by the time you read this.   It’s not because I suddenly mastered the zen-like art of cramming philosophical whimsies into a fortune cookie-sized space.  Two things happened that made Twitter more relevant for me:

  1. I needed to branch out from my circle of acquaintances. When I initially tried Twitter, I didn’t have a compelling reason to strike up conversations online.  It was more rewarding to talk to my friends and business associates via Facebook and LinkedIn respectively, since these were people I wanted to keep in touch with.  Launching a business, though, forced me not only to network for my business needs, but find customers.  Twitter helped me with both.
  2. I found something to talk about. Founding Fellowstream finally gave me a reason to start a blog in the first place, something which I had failed at previously because I had no focus.  However, writing about teamwork and project management are things I enjoy, and fit nicely within the context of drawing relevant traffic to this site.  It killed two birds with one stone, and through Twitter, I could identify people interested in what I had to say.

Given that Fellowstream is the reason I use Twitter, it’s no wonder that my tweets tend to be Fellowstream-oriented.  I read lots of project management blogs every day, and I post the most relevant ones to my stream.  I respond to people using hash tags like #teamwork, #pmot, or #collaboration.  I also find a handful of people every day asking “What tool would you recommend for small teams?” and tell them to try out Fellowstream.  (NOTE: I do not however just randomly spam people.  I only plug Fellowstream where I feel people are asking the question first.  To do otherwise would be spammy, and I find that tacky.)  Using Twitter this way got us reviewed on Web Worker Daily, giving us a huge application spike.

But even more than promoting Fellowstream, which I love doing, I’ve got to be me.  Working in previous jobs as a marketer, I was not allowed to show any of my personality.  But Twitter wants me to be personal.  It encourages me in exchanging a joke or sharing a funny article.  And in being me, I feel I get to show the world what kind of real people are behind this great brand I’m helping to build.

So for anyone else out there trying to figure out how to promote an idea or business, I say, go Twitter.  Have real conversations, meet people online, and just have fun.  You’ll be surprised at how much time you’ll spend writing 140 characters at a time.

-Deborah Fike

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