I have recently realized that without meaning to do it, I have fallen in love with Twitter. I love it for my clients, who use it as a way to get closer to their customers and employees. I love it for me professionally because I can see what my smart clients and reporter friends are interested in/reading/looking at/looking for right now. I love it for me personally, because it gives me a good laugh and keeps me up to speed all day long without taking all my time; there’s nothing like 140 characters for efficiency and clarity.
I know I’m not alone, but sometimes being on Twitter – even though it’s my job to be current and even though it’s mostly in the background – feels a little like playing hooky from work. Like when I laugh out loud at something (@30_Rock_Quotes), or I spy (and buy) a great handbag on sale from @kspadesales (only two left! 50% off!), or I read some crazy article about a woman trying to get her husband out of jail in a suitcase. Sometimes, on good days, I feel like I’m at a really great cocktail or dinner party, listening to people who are belly-laugh funny, but who are also being really honest about the things that make them think, or wonder …or just say “huh.”
Now listen, please don’t email me now to tell me it’s FINE to be on Twitter, and tell me all the reasons why. People pay Matter to know all about Twitter, and to help be their voice on it. So, yes, I know I’m not REALLY doing anything wrong, but I can’t stop my 40-something, Irish Catholic conscience telling me that I probably just should not be having this much fun at work all day.
So just for fun, I decided to check around with my super smart Matter colleagues to see who they follow, and why…I did this partly to round out this blog, and partly to be sure that I’m not abusing my Twitter time (refer back to Irish Catholic guilt, which just keeps coming back at you even when you tell it it’s not necessary). I learned some fun things about who people follow, but more importantly why they follow that person. Here’s a top line rundown of why people follow who they do:
They are funny (we all need a good laugh, or 15, every day)
They give me something (leads on stories they’re writing) (oh, and see above bag anecdote – I am not alone on that one)
They give me information (school vote tonight, park committee meeting Saturday, etc.)
They’re famous (Cher, Shaq, Mia – the cobra who escaped the Bronx Zoo @BronxZoosCobra)
They have a genuine voice, it’s engaging to follow them
And here’s where my guilt is assuaged completely. See, the above list effectively captures the sentiment of me and my colleagues, but it also captures the essence of the best practices for strategy, planning and voice that we describe to our clients for their handles. Be genuine. Give your followers something interesting and tangible (if possible). Be engaging.
How do you feel about this confluence of personal and professional, fun and strategic? For me it’s moments like these, when personal preference and professional best practices come together, that the merging of our work and home lives – the different worlds colliding in a way that makes both better – seems real, and good.