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The marketing director of my architectural firm set up a Twitter account for me. She explained how social media connections fit into the firm’s marketing strategy and described how to employ hashtags and at signs. I tweeted whenever I spoke at a conference or published an article; I created automatic tweets whenever I posted a blog essay, but I never checked my Twitter feed. After two years, I’d posted 88 tweets, I followed 19 others and 21 followed me. Considering over 100 million people check Twitter every day, I was irrelevant.
“You’re doing this all wrong,” a friend told me. “Don’t just tweet when you’re selling something, and never just tweet a link.” Elizabeth embraced the power of 140 characters. She explained how Twitter exposed the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, announced the capture of the Boston Marathon bomber, and that President Obama tweeted his reelection victory. She advised me to capitalize on the medium: post unique tweets; expand my Twitter universe; promote less; tweet more; and for goodness sake, be funny. I decided to test her advice; I posted a fresh tweet every day for 30 days. With a month of regular tweeting behind me; what did I learn?
1. Twitter is not Facebook.
Raves about my 6-year-old nephew and pictures of snowmen may be the essence of Facebook, but they don’t cut it on Twitter. Forget that Katy Perry has more followers (50+ million) than the president (41+ million); an imprimatur of gravity prevails. When I tweeted this:
Just ate a bowl of #kale chips. Maybe I'm doing too much #yoga.
— Paul E. Fallon (@paulefallon) February 2, 2014
At #MassINCBigData conference - 200 people, 190 smart phones, 64 laptops, 8 pens + 1 reporter @paul_mcmorrow with pencil in his ear.
— Paul E. Fallon (@paulefallon) February 12, 2014
Shootings at #MallinColumbia put a bullet through a 50 year old #americandream. http://t.co/XDktbkZUIx
— Paul E. Fallon (@paulefallon) February 3, 2014
The most eloquent melding of life and death I've ever read. http://t.co/t5Uw50HKWq
— Paul E. Fallon (@paulefallon) February 4, 2014
I’ll probably never have a big following; I’m neither a celebrity nor an expert. My tweets are as broad as my interests, and therefore too diffuse for a medium that celebrates focus. The value of them comes from the exploration they stimulate before I hit the send button. After that, they’re out of my control.
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