The Twitter Bug

Recently, BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy wrote about using Facebook to "fire up" your career and employing social networking tools as a means to build out your professional network. She mentions Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn as ripe resources to unearth potentially untapped contacts and network your way to gainful employment.

Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn may make you visible and vulnerable to search engines, but Twitter is your face in bright lights with all its glaring blemishes.

I created a Twitter account over a year and a half ago when Twitter went beta and after a whole 24 hours was so disengaged I didn't update it till just short of 2 weeks ago. So now I'm back on Twitter and starting to rethink its appeal - for professional purposes.

As long as active Twitterers are conscious of the fact that any of the 25 comments they update in the course of the day may show up in a search, there's no real harm done and more to be gained from using Twitter. In fact, Twitter is all about encouraging constructive conversation, if used the right way.

  • For one, I love that potential clients can "follow" me and keep abreast of all my professional endeavors. It's the easiest way to insure that I'm in front of them at all times and that visibility could lead to potential gigs.
  • It's free advertising and effective self-promotion for the brand of you! I can post links to my work and showcase my current work-related pursuits without resorting to an email blast which equates to more fun for everyone...
  • You can choose to be a "follower" and pick the right contacts for you depending on your professional goals and who you should be mingling with. Responding to the right peoples' comments will then allow you a more direct line to engage in a conversation with people you might otherwise have never yielded a response from.
  • You can switch up the conversation on a more personal and accessible level. It's not simply that you can reply to a comment left by someone you want to get in touch and exist solely on a professional plane with that individual. It's the fact that you can set the tone of the conversation, its subject, and choose to much less formal in your discourse.
  • Call me a voyeur, but keeping an eye on what other people in my field are up to is the most efficient way for me to research what's out there and keep competitive with peers in my industry. Not to mention learn more about opportunities I might be interested in and what events I should be attending and most likely, am not.

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