April 9th will mark the 3rd anniversary of my first tweet.
Since April of 2012, I have accumulated 1,828 followers (almost all in AEC), I am following 2,000 people and I have tweeted (or retweeted) over 38,000 times.
I will be the first to admit that I thought Twitter was just about the stupidest thing anyone could do. I mean, really, who in their right mind cares where I am eating. It’s just a bunch of kids following the Kardashians and teen idols, right? Turns out, like most of the clueless people walking around this planet, I was making a lot of assumptions based on perception and not based on facts.
Then I attended a Social Media class taught by Joy Davis of CSI. CSI is the Construction Specifications Institute which happens to be my industry organization of choice. Joy has a knack for showing you the error of your ways when you stray off the path of making an intelligent decision. By the time I left her class, I was setting up accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose by checking it out.
So what was my first tweet?
- “Congrats to @Interface_Eng Marisa Cary & Sara Zwiefelhofer for passing their CDT Exam on Friday! Way to Go!” 3:24 pm, 9 April 2012
What was the message? That my Company supports continuing education for our staff and our staff takes advantage of it. Pretty good message!
While I am not a marketing professional, I jumped into the pool with a little guidance and decided to see where it would go. It has kind of taken off from there.
My Twitter account @cheriseschacter is pretty geared toward AEC. I am passionate about improving communication and collaboration among the professionals in our fields. I am also passionate about project delivery education. In addition to all that, I am a wee bit of a wild card. I am on a mission to live life unapologetically and to the fullest so my tweets will sometimes stray off the beaten path. At this very moment, that would be answering the question of what is proper stylish attire for skydiving.
So, was it worth it? Damn right it was. Do I have to eat crow for making a choice based on an assumption? Yep, I do!
So, now what do I know?
- I know that you can share a boatload of information in that 140 character limit.
- I know that you can connect to professionals all over the world that you would never have met otherwise.
- I know you can make amazing friends (sarcasm and wicked funny introverts seem to run deep in AEC).
- I know you can learn more in one day than you can in weeks.
- I know you can advance your career.
- I know that amazing opportunities can come your way.
- I know that new experiences with great people are possible.
- I know that you can build an unparalleled collective of professionals with whom you can share information.
- I know that it can help you step out of your box, if for no other reason than you are constantly exposed to new things.
- I know that you can create and build your personal brand (#CSIKraken).
- I know that you can help others grow and learn, far beyond the usual boundaries.
I could go on and on.
Like anything else, Twitter is what you make it. Everything really amazing in life takes effort. Twitter is all about building relationships and you get what you give. If you are just blasting your message and not truly collaborating with people, Twitter is probably not the place for you.
Common sense will also take you a long way. If you are looking to connect with like-minded professionals, you might not want to follow Justin Bieber or connect with his fans. You only see what you choose to see and you only interact with those you want to interact with. I have somehow managed to only stick my foot in it a couple of times in the last three years.
Your decision is whether you are content with only meeting the people you encounter in person (at work, industry events, etc.) or whether you want to really open up your world. Personally, I don’t want to be limited to a select few who may not have the information I need or want the information that I have.
There is something very satisfying about blasting a tweet out to your followers when you are trying to solve a problem at work or you need more information about something and receiving responses from all over the country in minutes helping you get on your way to the next step.
It is very important to note that you do not have to tweet over 38,000 times in three years to make this happen. You can tweet for five minutes a few times a week and build relationships that you will take with you for years. Your time commitment to this effort need only be what you can handle.
So today, in celebration of the pending 3rd anniversary of my social media experiment on Twitter, I raise a glass to all of the amazing people that I have come to know, the wonderful experiences that I have had and the incredible opportunities that have come my way.
Pretty excited to see where it all goes next.