September 24, 2009

Extra, Extra, Tweet All About It

Recently, someone asked me: “would you recommend to a current CEO that he or she join Twitter?”  At the time, my jury was still out.  Now, six weeks in, I have an opinion. 

I would strongly recommend a sitting CEO utilize Twitter. 

Twitter makes you the spoke of a (potentially) very, very large wheel.  The caveat?  You must keep spinning, or the wheel goes flat.  Twitter has been a great communication tool for me, but I’ve come to realize that it requires as much output as I receive input.  And that output needs to be original, opinionated, and reflective of a unique personality and viewpoint; otherwise it’s just fluff.

Across the past six weeks, in 140-character bursts I’ve heard pundits, politicians, renowned bloggers, and steeped authorities weigh in with answers to questions I had never even considered (and those I’ve pored over many times).  As is the expectation, I’ve joined that dialogue, adding my expertise where I can and jumpstarting new conversations where possible.

All told, I’m 267 Tweets and 510 Followers in.  I’ve done the requisite article linking (thank you “” URL) and my fair share of retweeting.  I’ve live-tweeted a Presidential address to Congress, held Q & A’s, and even promoted my new book

I’ve also learned several lessons – a few must-dos – that I would recommend any green-tweeter consider:

First, always respond to comments and messages.  It ensures the genuineness of the process, and is the best way to establish lasting relationships.  Plus, for those more high-profile of CEOs, to gain a reputation as an engaging, personal character on Twitter can earn you a loyal following.

Second, learn the lingo.  The shorthand and abbreviations took some getting used to, but it has made my Tweets far more effective at reaching people in a way they can understand.

Third, as Twitter is really free-flowing conversation pit, to be effective you must pose and respond to questions.  Bring fodder to the conversation.  I’ve tried to do this, so far (and thankfully have been told where I’ve succeeded, and where I’ve fallen short, by me fellow tweeters).

In reality, I would never need to recommend Twitter to an active CEO, as many of them are tweeting already.  But should one be new to the experience, I’d tell them to just ask @stevecase, @jack_welch, or @mark_cuban

They’ll tweet you all about it.