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How I use Twitter to Get My Job Done

September 19, 2012

You’ve probably heard people talk about the various reasons to be on Twitter, and no doubt have your own thoughts on using this social platform to share or consume information.  I’m going to share today how I use Twitter professionally, because it has become an efficient tool I use in my job on a regular basis.  I think it’s important to note that I don’t keep a monitor open with Twitter feeds running constantly-  I have found I’m able to scan Twitter a few times a day, for minutes at a time and stay generally abreast of the information I want to consume.

So, how exactly have I found Twitter to be useful?

  1. Following companies, organizations and experts who tweet about my industry.  I am a web analyst- and I have discovered that web analysts’ really like Twitter!  People within the industry are constantly posting great articles, blog posts, and conversing with one another about web analytics topics and it’s a great place to pop in over lunch and find something interesting to read.
  2. Following other web analysts and industry consultants:  Sometimes these are people I have met in person at conferences, but just as often they are people I’ve not met- but we manage to find one another via shared contacts.  Other analytics practitioners are great resources for asking questions, or bouncing ideas off of because they have likely faced a similar challenge.  Analytics consultants are wonderfully generous with their time, and because they have worked with a variety of practitioners, they often are able to answer questions quickly as well.
  3. Following people who work for the vendors whose tools I use in my day-to-day job.  They often share tips, best practices, or are engaging in Q&A with other clients.  Following these interactions when I have time allows me to learn and pick up tips to better leverage the tools I use on a daily basis.
  4. Actively using Twitter as a Q&A forum to solve problems.  This is where the true power of the platform comes in to play once you have built up a decent network and are familiar with the types of questions that people can answer.  You can pose questions to your followers, or find the hashtags that are relevant for your topic or industry and pose questions to anyone who follows those hashtags.  In the past few weeks, I have posed questions to followers of a few key hashtags and received answers within a few minutes.  This is far more efficient than picking up the phone or even engaging in a web chat session with my vendor’s support desk.  Answers might come from the vendor’s employees, but just as often they come from other practitioners or consultants who are happy to chime in and answer a question.

Whether you simply want to consume information and learn, or actively participate in Q&A or conversations, finding and connecting with industry peers is a powerful way to stay abreast of best practices and develop professionally on your own timeline, from the comfort of your computer.

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