Tuesday, May 06, 2014

What my first tweet--and yours--can teach you about Twitter

Twitter now makes it easy to see your first tweet -- you just enter your @ handle and it takes you right back to day one. Aside from wincing, is there anything you can learn from it? I think so, and if you're still a regular Twitter user, looking back in this way might help you see the progress you're making in social media.
  • Did you plunge right in or put a toe in the water? I've lost count of the number of people who started with "Is this thing on?", a corny microphone joke. But plenty of others simply said things like, "I'm trying to figure this out," which is fair and sharing. Having read a lot about Twitter before jumping in, my first tweet gets right down to it. I wanted to jump in, not tiptoe, although either approach will do...and will tell you a lot about how you approach new things.
  • Was it personal, careful, goofy or super-professional? Or something else? I've written before about balancing personal and professional on Twitter--but that came two years after my first tweet. I'm glad to see my first effort was all personal, especially with the weekend ahead. I like the idea of starting informally, rather than with a polished professional pronouncement.
  • Would you tweet that first tweet today? If it was in the moment, talking about trying Twitter for the first time, perhaps not. But that's not really what I'm getting at. Is the tone, the voice, the content consistent with what you've come to establish as your tweeting today? If not, why not? What has changed, for good or ill?
  • Did you display your secret sauce? Were you authentic? I've said for some time that if you don't display your personality on social media, you'd better go to the store and buy one. That's the secret sauce. Did your first tweet tell us something about you? Was there a flash of humor or vulnerability--something to which we can relate? That's how connections are built.
  • Did you have difficulty with the character limits? If there was care taken with my first tweet, it was in the character count, since my first effort's half the allowable length. For me, then, getting comfortable with longer tweets was the next logical step. You might think about how you've changed your tweeting since day one to make the best use of the space allotted.
Enjoy checking out that first tweet. I won't tell anyone if you wince while you do it....

On May 15, I'll be convening another session of Be The Eloquent Woman in Washington, DC. It's a subversive new workshop that helps women executives and public officials learn how women speakers are perceived and how to turn those expectations on their heads with confidence, content and credibility. All registration closes May 8. Go here to read how the first workshop went and what participants had to say. 

On June 19, also in Washington, DC, I'll convene a session of Be an Expert on Working with Experts that's open to the public. Designed for communications pros who work with subject-matter experts, scientists and policy researchers, this is a popular workshop--and you get an early discount for registering by May 9. This is the workshop I wish I'd had earlier in my career, based on my own effort to understand why the smart folks I work with weren't always willing to cooperate with my communications efforts.