While the answer is pretty obvious to me – seeing the added value I get every single day – I thought I’d check that I’m not missing something big that YOU think is important.
At least to you anyway.
So let me start.
WHY I DO IT
Better, filtered news. Twitter themselves like to pitch their service as a news network, rather than a social network. Spend a week in Twitter, or reading blogs, and you will see that what spreads the most is topical and news-worthy; not longer term, deep-thinking pieces. And that’s alright, I can turn to other sources for the latter, such as books and offline connections. But I’ll take Twitter and blogs for what they are – my portal to what’s most current and interesting today. My way of tapping that, is to trust my “social filter” – basically, YOU, who I follow and engage with. As you share and retweet only the most interesting pieces, you save me the trouble of reading newspapers or going through hundreds of RSS feeds.
Inspiration and thought starters. One of my main reasons for using Twitter is serendipity, how it leads to unexpected discoveries, new thoughts, and ideas. I once wrote a post to advocate the practice of keeping contrarians in one’s Twitter stream, only to be ‘corrected’ by my smart friend @lefreddie. He said that seeking ‘igniters’ is better. True. This is why I keep my Twitter list a bit loose, not too focused on my core area of interest, as thought starters might come from anywhere.
Business connections. I also seek networking of the business and ‘peer’ kind. To be fair, I once expected to connect with more people “like me”, i.e. brand people on the client side of large companies. But unless I’ve missed the big party happening in some other part of Twitterville, these appear to be a small minority compared with agency, social media and start-up types. But that’s OK – I have still made plenty of very useful business connections, and added huge value to my job agenda, since I started spending more time on Twitter.
Personal development. This one is a no brainer. And still, few people take the time to do it. Let me state it clearly – there is just no way a marketer can be great at marketing today, without an intimate understanding of social media. And this can only come from using it yourself, rather than relying on second-hand knowledge from agencies or pseudo-experts. Think about it: what would you have thought, 20 years ago, of a marketer who had never watched TV? Bad, right? That’s what you get a LOT these days. It does not mean I will run social media marketing of my brand myself – it’s a full time job. But I’ll be better at setting objectives, judging ideas and results.
Give back. Many people talk about personal branding being “the” thing on social network. Maybe. But I think the best way to achieve this is by paying it forward, and giving generously – your time, your thoughts and your ideas. Thought leadership starts with giving more than taking, and Blogging + Twitter are a great way to do just that. This is the kind of influence I am trying to build here.
Fun! Finally, there is no denying that it’s just plain fun. In my free time, tweeting and blogging have actually replaced gaming almost entirely; it’s actually easy to see Twitter as a game… and please do take this the wrong way, I mean it in a very positive way. I will actuall write a standalone post on this very topic very soon. The added value of twitter compared to (other) games being the engagement with real people and deeper sense of community – in particular within groups such as #usguys!
OVER TO YOU.
Why do you do it?
What matters most to you?
Please let me know!
Photo credit – Ben Terrett