Stimulating. The "ah-Haaa" moment reached. All from The Tao of Twitter by Mark Schaefer as it has helped me see so many things about the 'social' in social media with a different lens for both my work, academic and personal life. Micro-blogging, or more like micro-sharing.
People in different work situations around me have been talking about Twitter more recently here in Tokyo, where Twitter has become very popular, but no one made any sense to me when they espoused things like tweeting dozens of sales messages a day or just yapping about oneself. Even to this newbie-yet-to-start, the value of Twitter wasn't coming across clearly.
So after reading reviews of this book I ordered it from Amazon, burned through it in 3 days taking copious notes and then the other day in a marketing meeting I was able to lay out some of the book's basic points with examples that I tailored to the Japanese market. My presentation went over really well as I focused on three of Mark's main points;
Targeted Connections - From my perspective this means to select good people to follow, and then when people follow me it will matter. At that point this particular company wasn't really following anyone as they were just sending out sales news. Following followers also got me thinking.
Meaningful Content - Create it and share. Actually interesting. This also got the heads nodding more, and it wasn't sleep nodding.
Authentic Helpfulness - Help others by interacting, not just selling. Interact with Twitter and sell from the blog. It's a dinner conversation. Don't yap about yourself. More nodding in agreement.
And there is so much more to this little book like the 5 basics, the 22 ways to attract followers, how to retweet properly and beyond.
The only thing missing in the book was what to do in terms of tweeting in multiple languages, but the author Mark responded right away to my direct inquiry, confirming my suspicion that separate accounts for different languages was the way to go.
The examples in the book about how competent people connect and make something of their connections via Twitter, and how Twitter interactions lead to off-line opportunities, was also really helpful to see Twitter actually in action.
In the entire book there was only one sentence that didn't sit right with me, but I'll keep that to myself as in no way did it detract from its worthwhile value. If you've read this blog and also read the book, you'd spot the sentence I'm thinking of. But it's like that with anything one reads, especially with all the academic articles I've had to devour over the last few years, not everything has to be agreed with and searching for commonalities with others is more important than just seeing differences.
So, now I'm tweeting and after a few weeks I'm really enjoying it. Finding and following interesting people who are active in sharing good content has been quite rewarding. Here's my Twitter plan A for my first two months, following Mark's advice.
English account @MosdellRichard
While I might follow anything that spikes my interest, Twitter accounts related to human rights, peace & conflict studies, international education, fitness and global karate are my main following themes.
Japanese account @RichardMosdellJ
Same themes, but focusing on Japanese tweeters.
And for work's Online Skype English Lessons @SeiritsuOnline
This account will tweet interesting content related to 'Global English' learning.
After two months, I'll step it up to plan B. More then.
Well, I'm not expecting Mark to read this post on my little blog, but 'thanks Mark, your book was really helpful.' I've ordered his other book, Return on Influence, both the English and Japanese versions, so I'm sure there will be some nuggets of usefulness in there too.
To wrap-up, here's a Twitter story I saw happen just before I started my accounts about Prince breaking another guitar player's guitar, and how the Twitterverse responded...
"Prince borrowed another guitar player's guitar during a performance on the Fallon show, but he threw it in the air and broke the neck after his song was done. The guitar's owner tweeted ''Purple Pain'' with a picture of the neck broken. Hence many of his 22,000 followers tweeted disgust, but a rep for Fender who follows the guitar player said he'd fix it, all within hours.
For sure that rep will get some new business just from being helpful..."