Twitter: It’s About Real Relationships

 

Jessica Levin

Jessica Levin

By Jessica Levin, CMP – Seven Degrees Communications

On July 9th I will celebrate my one year “Twitterversary” – one year since I first created a Twitter account. Like many people, my first thoughts when I learned about Twitter were “I don’t get it” and “why would anyone care what I was doing.” I quickly learned that tweets, as posts on Twitter are called, are not just about what you are doing. Tweets are about sharing information, learning from others and meeting quality people.

While it has been a year since I joined the popular social networking site, my level of involvement and affection for the tool exploded in February when I attended MPI’s conference, Meet Different, in Atlanta, GA. Just prior to the conference, I began engaging with a number of meeting professionals on Twitter.  After chatting with Julie Hewett (@Jkhewett on Twitter) about association management systems and other related topics, we made plans to meet up in person at the MPI trade show. We called this meeting a “tweet-up.” Julie and I hit it off right away and began looking for other tweeters that might be attending the conference.

I knew from reading information provided by MPI and through Twitter there was a hash tag created for the event. A hash tag is simply a key word that ties a topic together. In the case of Meet Different, the hash tag was #MD09.  Using my Blackberry, I tweeted status updates of the conference while referencing the hash tag.

Soon I received a “DM” which is a direct message or private message from Mike McAllen (@mmcallen), someone that I had corresponded with on a casual basis on Twitter, but never knew what type of work he did.  It turned out that Mike was following my tweets and was also attending the conference. After planning a time to meet, I discovered Mike was covering the conference for Meetings Podcast, a podcast providing information and interviews to the meetings community.

I introduced Julie and Mike and we spent the evening together at various networking events. Late in the evening, I was introduced to Midori Connelly (@GreenA_V).  After casual introductions, Midori said to me “Oh, you are @Jessicalevin, I have been following your tweets.  Thanks for sharing great information.” Blushing, I promised to attend her session the following day on the topic of Green AV.

Mike, Julie and Jessica

Mike, Julie and Jessica

At this point, I could feel the momentum building. I knew Twitter had the potential to be a powerful networking tool, but during Meet Different I was witnessing and participating in the power, first hand. I had already met a nice group of helpful people online, but this was different. I was using Twitter to share information and develop relationships…and it was working.

During the rest of the conference, I was cognizant of the fact my tweets were being followed, I carefully took notes during sessions and posted them using the hash tag #MD09. Not only did I post information, but was able to read tweets from other session going on at the same time.

I soon noticed that many of the tweets were being “retweeted” (RT) by Jeff Hurt (@jeffhurt). Jeff was sitting in his office in Dallas and a virtual attendee – learning and engaging from a distance.

Since this event, I actively communicate with Julie, Mike, Midori and Jeff. We share ideas. We share resources. We are friends.

Twitter does not replace face-to-face contact – it enhances it. Twitter, with the little help of a hash tag, has introduced me to some amazing people and opportunities.  This is just one of many stories that I have about the power of Twitter. Join my e4 session To Tweet or Not to Tweet – Using Twitter for Events. And in the meantime – Happy Twitterversary to me!

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16 Responses to Twitter: It’s About Real Relationships

  1. Jeff Hurt says:

    Jessica:

    Thanks for the shout-out and yes, I so remmeber my first Twitter encounter with you. As a friend of mine says, Twitter and social media is all about “Encouraging Randomness and Accelerating Serendipity.”

    Thanks for sharing your experience too.

    • James Parker says:

      Jeff
      You are so right. It’s the randomness of the intial contact that allows for the continued opportunity to open dialogue. These same attributes are how I explain to potential users why our 3D virtual environments are better than the 2D experience, when they ask “what’s the difference between 2D and 3D”. The randomness of the 3D avatar based environments lends itself to the random networking opportunities that our brains are programmed to act on.

  2. mike says:

    Wow – What a great article. I didnt think you noticed me. 🙂 It was my first MPI type event and what I really remember is the Tweeties I met at the MeetDifferent conference. It really was like Jeff was there also. I had a running dialogue with him the whole time.

    Thanks for the flashback to a great time!

    Mike

  3. thanks Jessica for a great article higlighting one of the really valuable things about twitter- I’ve had similar experiences too.

    Is it just me- that I can’t see it for looking, or don’t you have your twitter username on this article anywhere?

    Would love to follow you! You can find me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/ClaireBoyles 😀

  4. Jessica, this is a great synopsis of how friendships and professional networking ensue when social media is used at events.

    Not only can great friendships like ours happen, but @JeffHurt kept us in tune to the many virtual attendees following the event from afar. It expanded my vision of the potential reach of a live event.

    What’s also remarkable is how Twitter has also extended the life and message of an event community. While I normally experience what almost feels like sorrow at the end of an event, Twitter has helped eclipse that feeling by continuing conversations long after the event has ended!

    Thanks Jessica for this wonderful piece. I have truly enjoyed the many months of learning more about you and your business through our varied Twitter topics 🙂

    Midori
    @GreenA_V

  5. Julie Hewett says:

    I’ve learned so much from Twitter and from the great folks I have meet along the way. Thank you for sharing how great “Twitter” friends can be! You are one of the best 🙂

  6. James Parker says:

    Jessica
    Great article and very exciting. I am new to Twittering and just in the first couple of weeks I have been ecstatic with the opportunities. I wanted to share an experience I had last month that was very similar to your MPI Meet Different experience, of which I was at that meeting but didn’t tweet at the time.
    Last month my company was asked to stream the Live “Virtual Edge” conference into one of our 3D virtual environments and create a Hybrid Event. The results were simply amazing. Virtual and live speakers, all being engaged in real time with live and virtual attendees, creating an engagement frenzy that was like nothing I had ever seen. I really see live events adding social media components, like twitter and Hybrid(Live and Virtual combined) and it looks like the results will change the way we think of a conference.
    Thanks again.
    Jim

  7. Jim, you are right on the money! I’m working on a Hybrid Meetings White Paper and one of the fundamental components is social media integration.

    There is an excellent free webinar from Jordan @Pathable on this topic – great case studies in a blended meetings model.
    bit.ly/uDZgW
    @GreenA_V

  8. jessicalevin says:

    Jim – I will be tweeting from the MPI WEC conference this week and will write a follow-up piece discussing the evolution of the use of Twitter at events and the continued integration of social media in the events arena. Thanks for your comments.

    Midori – I can’t wait to read your write paper. The world is truly changing faster than it ever has. Perhaps we are in the second renaissance.

  9. stepnold says:

    Jessica,
    Great post.

    I would be curious to hear how you create ‘Real Relationships’ with your 4,335 followers. I signed up to be number 4,336. Isn’t it a little artificial to define these as relationships, rather than a dialogue thread? Honestly, how much time do you have for developing, or even reading content from these connections. Additionally, isn’t the current metrics on Twitter that 50% of users are not active.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a supporter of Twitter and I do think it has a purpose. However, I am also careful about some of the hype that is sometimes proposed and find myself questioning what is the true value of new media.

    I look forward to hearing your presentation in Washington, DC.

  10. Michael M McCurry, CMP says:

    @stepnold

    Hi Stephen, in response to the question you raised above with Jessica I am adding my perspective. Regarding “real relationships” with 4,000 plus followers, your point is well taken. It is pretty much impossible for anyone to develop relationships or read the content of that number of people. Applications such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or Seesmic offer tools to filter through tweets helping users find interesting content using relevant keywords. I regularly leverage those tools for that purpose.

    Very important, though, is the reach of your own Twitter messaging. Theoretically, the more followers I have, the greater potential reach I may have with my messaging. For example, If I send out a tweet my goal is somewhere along the way someone or hopefully many of my followers will see enough value in that information to forward it on to their followers. (and so on and so forth) That is the viral nature of Twitter and incredibly powerful.

    By seeking to connect with people having similar interests (which I do) leads to an opportunity for collaboration, shared learning, and development of “real relationships.” I have experienced firsthand business opportunities and friendships evolve as a result of communications initiated or supported by Twitter.

    The potential uses for Twitter are many, including to support events, and reputation management. Many people do choose to use it as merely a casual social platform. Needless to say not everyone chooses to utilize Twitter the same way.

    I have not seen recent statistics for “inactive Twitter users” but I would guess the number is high. At the end of the day I don’t care about the 50% or so people classified as “inactive” … I care about the other 50% that do engage themselves with this amazing social media tool.

    I look forward to Jessica’s presentation in DC as well!

  11. […] using Twitter for your business or for personal use? This is a really great article by my friend Jessica Levin CMP from Seven Degrees Communications. She spoke at the E4 conference recently and I wanted to point you over to the article because […]

  12. Cedric Gross says:

    Dear Jessica,

    you composed a very fine article.

    Happy Twitterversary 2 U!

    Thank you very much

    Cedric

  13. […] I wrote about my first year on Twitter  and how it really started to add value to my world on the Experient E4 blog. […]

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