While some companies are blocking employee access to social media sites, mine has just made social media use a requirement. Awesome! The engineers and developers around me are taking the requirement very seriously. I get at least one quiet chuckle a day when I overhear a coworker ponder their posting strategy out loud. I have been there myself but got it sorted out. Here is how I handle it.
My favorite aspect of social media is sharing potentially useful information. When I have something to share I mentally match the content up with the followers, friends, or connections that I have in each social media outlet. For instance, Facebook is for posting family news and silly anecdotes, Path is where I post lomographic photos of sunsets, Pinterest is my “oh hey, cool!” repository, LinkedIn is where I keep it strictly professional, Google+ is where I shout into the void, Foursquare is pointless, and Twitter is where I thrive. Twitter is the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check at night
“So what do you tweet about?” I have been asked this question several times and my reply is usually along the lines of soccer, design, music, photography, and just about anything else. This list would also be a fitting answer to a question about my personal interests. My “content strategy” for Twitter is simple. I follow people with similar interests to my own and tweet about things that interest me.
When I first signed up for Twitter, I followed some friends and then thought “Hmm, now what?” Tweeting felt uncomfortable so I was content to read what others had tweeted. Following designers meant that my Twitter feed was a stream of links to good web design/development resources, LOLCATS, and short rants about people lacking good taste and proper understanding of white space. I was happy reading the tweets of others but the nagging desire to tweet kept building deep inside my mind. Eventually I overcame my introverted tendencies and I started tweeting. Design was the natural starting point since that is what I knew. Once I got over the initial fear of tweeting the self-expression came easy. In addition to design I tossed in a mix of iPhone photography, restaurant recommendations, family events, music, etc. After about a year I discovered a number of professional soccer players were using Twitter. I tweeted to them. Some responded. This was like throwing gasoline on a campfire.
Soccer has always been a love of mine but in the United States information on the sport is elusive at best. Before Twitter, I had nobody with whom I could “talk soccer.” I would watch games on the Spanish channel, not understanding the commentary but enjoying a fix of action. I felt weird. Connecting with soccer players and fans through Twitter opened my eyes to a world full of people just like me. I no longer felt weird. I felt more like a hipster. Emboldened by my new-found hipster powers I began to actively follow and tweet about soccer. I would still tweet about design, photography, and music but soccer was strong in the mix. I made no effort to separate topics. Followers were lost but even more were gained.
Overall, I still tweet about the same basic topics as I did four years ago. To my colleagues or to anyone pondering their first tweet, my advice to you is stay true to your interests and stay genuine. Consider any followers you have but don’t over-think things. Apply about 140 characters worth of consideration into each tweet. Then buckle up and hold on. This stuff can be addicting!