By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O'Donnell For those of you that don't 'tweet' - let me tell you the #1 thing you are missing out on: generosity. Twitter is the most giving community I've ever experienced. Yes, there are spammers and unsavory folks who are trying to make a quick buck, but get past that, do your homework on the right way to use Twitter and you can enter a world that, until now, has only been dreamed of. Let me explain.... Twitter is the great equalizer. You don't need extensive credentials, lots of money or a secret password to become a player in the Twittersphere. Anyone can sign up and tweet. Aside from internet access, there's no barrier to entry. Your success on Twitter will be determined by your ability to convey your message in a mere 140 characters. All it takes is some thoughtful consideration of what to say and how to say it. In other words, those using Twitter effectively have mastered how to say more with less. (A trait we can all work on, don't you think?) You'll connect with the greatest folks you'll NEVER meet! In the last 7 months I've used Twitter, I've made more professional contacts, and even have a whole new set of folks I call friends, that started via simple Twitter exchanges. Like minds show no discrimination on Twitter. You can connect and befriend people on Twitter that I GUARANTEE you may not have otherwise. Where else can you get access to someone clear across the country (the world, for that matter) who lives in a small town that you most likely never intend to visit in your lifetime? The Twitter community is rooted in kindness and good professional etiquette. If you want people to follow you, listen to you, and most importantly, respect you on Twitter - you need to create interesting, non self-serving tweets that make people say, "That was worth reading." Honestly, Twitter's power to do good makes me giddy. Why? Because it helped me make a dream come true... Twitter Makes 'FREE' Worth Something. Years ago, when I became a career strategist, I took a course on how to promote my services. The advice given was, "Charge as much as you can. The higher the fees, the more satisfied the customer will be because they won't want to feel they made a bad buying decision, and thus, will embrace your ideas and rave about your services." The old, you-get-what-you-pay-for theory. As you can imagine, that didn't sit well with me. I already knew thousands of people were unhappy in their careers and couldn't afford working with a professional strategist (and that was in a good economy!). Fast forward to today, and Twitter's enabling me help those who need it most! We started the Twitter Advice Project (a.k.a. T.A.P. into CAREEREALISM) less than 2 months ago. The idea was to have professional experts (I was lucky enough to convince a few charitable colleagues using Twitter to help me) donate their time and expertise to those in need by tweeting answers to career questions sent in by followers of the CAREEREALISM Twitter feed. As of today, we have 19 AMAZING experts tweeting to OVER 5,000 followers in need of advice. The program has exceeded every expectation I had for it. I get tweets daily from job seekers, thanking us for donating our time to help them get the advice they need. I've received dozens of requests to join the program from fellow experts as well. The best part everyone can participate. Experts who want to share their advice can tweet their own answers that will show up in the search results on Twitter, or they can post their advice directly on the original blog post of the question. And job seekers can easily go back and look at all the questions we've already answeredto immediately see the advice shared by the experts. Or, if they have a new question, they can submit it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and get it answered directly. So, if you are one of those folks who's been saying, "Twitter?! What do I need to do that for?" - I hope I just convinced you to get on board. There is a lot of wonderful giving and receiving going on via Twitter. The kind of stuff that makes you feel really happy. Don't miss out on your chance to experience the generosity of Twitter. Whether you choose to give or receive - it's all good!
April 28, 2009