I am attending the Middle Tennessee SHRM conference in Nashville this week as part of the Social Media Pit team. We are there to help people understand the use of social media and its value. Here is a story that demonstrates the value to me. Hopefully this will provide a lesson for the folks from Tennessee.
A couple of years ago I was invited to a networking event hosted by a contact of mine. as the networking began I was introduced several times as the person she had met through Twitter, so I spent some time explaining to people how that had occurred and of course fielded a number of questions on how and why I thought Twitter was valuable. Thinking back over what I told people I have developed an acronym that to me best describes the value of Twitter. RICE
- R stands for Resources. If I need a reference, a referral to someone, a tool, a place to meet, a restaurant, etc. there are people out there that will be able to give me that resource. I have discovered a number of great blogs to read as a result and have had a number of referrals made to me as well.
- I stands for Information. Search engines, mostly Google and Yahoo and now Bing, were where I usually went to find information on human resources topics. Today I include Twitter, and often that is the first place I go. If you ask for something you get answers from people who have already filtered the monumental amount of information that is on the Internet. So rather than having to sort through those things myself why not use what others have already filtered.
- C stands for Contacts. I have “met” so many great professionals in HR and employment law through the “follow” function on Twitter. Many of these people I feel I come to know well enough to call them “friend”, even though we have never met in person. I have contacts around the country. I have had the opportunity to meet some of them as they travel to Atlanta or as I travel to their locale. But I have also met a number of people here in the Atlanta area from fields that I would have not generally sought out. Tweet Ups get organized and you actually have an opportunity to go meet in person at a local restaurant and do some “old-time” networking. It is a great way to get out of the usual circle of contacts that you may have developed through the years. Business and friendships can, and do, develop.
- E stands for Energy. As you read tweets, or connect with people, there is a palpable energy that you pick up. People get excited about their topics, their lives, and the livelihoods and that ends up making you excited too. You can draw on that energy to renew yourself during the day. You can pick up this energy and transmit yours to others.
There are certainly some downsides to Twitter, but that depends on what you try to get out of it. Some people use it only to follow a celebrity with whom they are obsessed. Some use it solely as a display of their vanity and only transmit but don’t interact. Some people get so caught up in it that it becomes a black hole that sucks their time away. You do have to be careful about that. But the nice thing about Twitter is you can do as little or as much as you want to do. You only follow who you want and only allow people to follow you as you want. You control what you say and how often you say it and even to whom. Not everything has to be public and you can even be anonymous, though to me that lessons the value.
But I think it is great tool for HR professionals to use to broaden your horizons. So put a bit of RICE in your social media diet and become a Twitter user today.