To tweet or not to tweet…

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Last night at a function I happened to bump into one of the guys behind Thing’s Bogans Like, which is one of the twitter feeds I follow. We had a brief chat and that was that. This morning I woke up to find that I had been invited to join yet another social media application, Oocal, and the whole thing got me thinking. Three years ago I had a Gmail account, a blog, and that was pretty well it; today I’m not just on Facebook, I’m a member of  myriad social applications, and must be one of the better connected people going around.

I remember a little while ago reading a post on my Twitter feed wondering what sort of people felt compelled to tweet. The general answer seemed to be extroverts, but my take at the time was a little different – I thought show-offs (and not in a negative sense – I was one, after all). Though that was only a couple of months ago my answer might be different now. I still think that early adopters may still be thought of as the showier edge of society, but social media has become so pervasive, and now been taken up so strongly by business, that Twitter and the like are just another form of everyday communication.

I’ve always been curious about pretty well everything, and at the same time working in industries and in areas heavily IT I’ve always been exposed to new technologies. I’ve made a lot of money in that area, and continue to work in that space, but there is also a genuine fascination. I love how things work. I love to wonder where things are heading: what comes next? More than anything I like applying that technology to worthwhile purposes, as if it is a competition to wring the most out of these things. That’s why I do what I do.

Social media is really just an extension of all that. While there are legitimate concerns about the spread and misuse of social media, at its base level it’s really just another enabler – in this case it enables communication, sharing, and collaboration.

I joined initially because everyone else was. I curious too, but I had a genuine interest in the possibilities it created. As we’ve seen since social media has revolutionised social interaction. It is one of the great stories of the last 50 years, and we’re not near the end of it. I do have some concerns about what it means for society, but at the same time I’m drawn to it – like just about everybody else.

What social media has done is given everyone a voice. I wrote a white paper on this earlier in the year for the business trying to explain the scale and significance of social media, and what it means. It means basically that some kid in Upper Combucta West can tweet something and have it picked up and spread across the world in the space of a few hours. Quite aside from the ability to exchange and share information, the media can leverage that information and those voices like never before. That’s why so many corporations have now joined the throng.

In time I got a Twitter account out of curiosity and because, yes, I was a show-off. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I was going to say it anyway. Ultimately I found a voice for my tweets very different to the voice you read here on my blog. As Pisstaker – my Twitter name – I post wry observations and sardonic asides. I’m rarely too serious, and try to live up to my moniker.

In tune with the times I now have a second twitter account for my business – EnManSolMan (I’m the E~nigmatic Management Solutions Man) – which is much more serious than my personal account.

I have Facebook, and I have a Facebook page for my business. Naturally I’m on LinkedIn, but I’m also an early adopter of Google+, am on FourSquare, and now on Oocal (just for the hell of it). I’m even on Klout.

I’m not an expert at these things, but I’m becoming one. For me social media has moved beyond the personal (though I maintain a strong presence), and become much more about the business. As a small business owner and entrepreneur I’m looking for every advantage I can get. Ultimately it’s about exposure, and building a brand presence. To do that I need to put a distinct voice out there that is heard consistently across different mediums. As I continue to do this I build content for others to reference and hopefully drag them to me and my business.

During the week I attended a short seminar on social media, concentrating largely on Twitter. I learned a lot from that, but the key thing really was that you must maintain a presence – and that you should give more than you take (which accords to my observations and general principles anyway).

It’s a lot of work, but I’m now a small social media cottage industry. I post 4-5 times a day on Twitter for my business using Buffer. I use HootSuite, and am checking out Tweet Adder and Postling (having also checked out Sendible). I post a couple of times a day as Pisstaker, I write this blog, I write, occasionally, for the business blog, I update and comment on Facebook, and contribute to groups on LinkedIn. Phew! It’s a lot, but these are the days we live in, and if I don’t , well, who knows what that will mean…