Perspectives on Connected Innovation and Collaboration

Don Smith’s Sabbatical Insights

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Don Smith’s Twitter 101 – Twitter as the Daily Read

with 5 comments

I’ve had a few colleagues and friends start or try to start using Twitter in the last few months. Since the first few weeks can be tough for Twitter newcomers, they asked me for tips on how I started using Twitter. So here’s my approach:

1. Twitter is not easy at first

a. It takes time, patience, and routine to integrate the news flow into your personal flow

b. Start by using Twitter as a daily read. Don’t worry about posting until you have a habit of returning to Twitter

c. You have to post a picture or avatar. Otherwise Tweeters won’t take you seriously.

2. Find a hook outside of work

a. For me, it was the stock market. I found people I knew from old blogs and communities and followed them. Then I followed who they followed. The nature of the market kept me coming back daily, if not hourly. The discussion during the crash last fall was epic.

b. What are your hobbies? Cooking? Wine? Running? Chances are, you can find a like-minded person or brand on twitter.

3. Use

a. Going to a conference? Search it to find attendees.

b. Search brand names, places. Twitter only allows 140 characters, so nouns dominate.

4. Probably most important to early adoption – Follow lots of people right away

a. You need 50 at least to keep you coming back

b. At 100 you’ll start to see your follower bucket grow

c. Make sure you follow people who post often. Otherwise you won’t get a good news flow

5. Use power users as editors of Twitter traffic

a. Not sure who to follow? Find someone you like/trust and cherry pick who they follow

b. Rinse and repeat

6. Finally, don’t worry about “missing a day’s worth of news”

a. I pick up the stream whenever I can

b. If I miss something, that’s ok. It sometimes gets recycled and kicked back via ReTweet by someone else

c. Search fills the holes.

At the end of the day, Twitter is a news stream. Read Twitter just like you would read a newspaper. The twist is that you can eventually publish yourself. I’ll save publishing for Twitter 201.

The following Fast Foward Blog post has the most in depth review of Twitter that I have come across. It’s extremely helpful, especially when getting off the ground. FF Blog Twitter Basics


Written by Donald Smith

March 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Blogwell Chicago Recap

leave a comment »


In action at Blogwell

I had the opportunity to attend Blogwell in my home town of Chicago on January 22.  Hosted by Blog Council, Blogwell is a forum for industry practitioners of social media to share insights and stories. The audience was diverse and energetic. Actually, the crowd was downright passionate about social media.

Stan Joosten, Holistic Communications Manager at Proctor and Gamble, offered a succinct perspective defining why social media is an important growth strategy at P&G:

Social media allows P&G to reach more people, more intimately, at lower cost.

I enjoyed more stories from Home Depot, Allstate, and Molson with one main thread – “Try something, but make sure you have a specific objective.” Each presenter told a story about starting small with social media, maybe a corporate Twitter account or blog, demonstrating worthwhile interactions with consumers, and then scaling to reach broader audiences.

  • Home Depot (@thehomedepot)  uses Twitter as a communication channel to customers during significant weather events, like hurricanes. How else do you inform a hurricane threatened community that their local Home Depot will be open through the storm? Amazing idea.
  • Allstate employs an on-line community that allows their customers to interact, ask questions, and learn about insurance related life events.
  • Molson (@molsonmoffat) capitalized on the inherent social aspect of beer drinking by engaging with the consumers on-line.  Molson used social channels to engage with their consumers, ultimately inviting them to private events at their breweries.  This model smacks of consumer co-creation and is one I’ll be watching.

The best product placement of the day went to Molson, who kindly threw some Canadian on ice for the finale. It was my first Molson in years – they won me over. Kudos to Sharpie for the Barack Obama signed pens, but I didn’t make that presentation.


Written by Donald Smith

January 28, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Twitter ROI

leave a comment »

I recently quipped to close colleagues that my sabbatical would not have materialized if it wasn’t for the new networks I was able to build through Twitter.  During the last six months, Twitter connected me to leading interactive marketers, strategists, users, practitioners, and vendors in the New Media (Web 2.0) space for nothing but a little time invested. Recently, I stumbled upon a great Tweet that summarized, by comparison, the value of Twitter.

“Facebook is all about reconciling past relations, whereas Twitter is designed to make new ones. Quickly.” -@smashadv

Twitter opened new markets for my research and continues to turbo charge my thinking each day. For the most part, Twitter is a feeding ground for those who like to communicate, debate, connect and collaborate. It’s my broadcast channel, crowd-sourcing mechanism, and newspaper all-in-one.

Cisco Systems talks about leveraging the “network as platform” as a growth strategy for their business. I built a high value Twitter network in little time. Now it’s time to leverage my network for personal and organizational growth.

I leave you with a final thought from Matthew Christian, a friend of mine from the Arete Initiative at University of Chicago:

Collaboration should create synergies and change the way both collaborators think–creating innovation. That’s the power and potential.

Written by Donald Smith

January 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,