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.
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!