Finding expertise through Twitter

I was going to write about my experience with Twitter after a couple of weeks of use and some tips on getting started for beginners, but then I ran across this entry from Bert Decker’s blog. This pretty much summarizes what I was going to write about. So now I will cut to the chase and give you an idea of some exciting things I have found within the world of Twitter. 

 Keeping up with Social Media (SM) news and SM people

Luc Legay

One of the reasons I joined Twitter was to find more information on how Twitter and other social media tools are being used by businesses. There is a very simple search capability built into Twitter that I found useful to find out who was talking about social media. I added an rss feed based on the search of “social media” within Twitter and minutes later I was overwhelmed by the number of tweets on the topic. I then got rid of the feed and started looking for specific people that had some experience in social media and chose to follow them. I am sure I will follow more of them over time.

I can see that a by-product of building up this team of experts, or at least people with experience, is that you get a constant stream of web articles and blog posts about social media recommended from people you trust. If you think of the Web as this vast database of information, you wonder how people are able to navigate it to find information from trusted sources. Often times it is difficult to know if a website has an ulterior motive, like trying to sell you something, so you have to take their information with a grain of salt. Having personal referrals as an additional filter on the information available on the Web can prove to be extremly useful. But this only puts more emphasis on choosing to follow knowledgable and trustworthy people, which can be a challenge in and of itself.

Another aspect of Twitter that I have found to be valuable is being able to pose questions out to the field. Again, you get the advantage of hearing answers from people who have real expereiences and intelligent perspectives. I have asked a couple of questions (which companies are using social media and how are their results) and gotten a couple answers. Not every question gets answered, but I suppose the response rate picks up the more well known you are within the community. 

There are a couple people I have been fortunate enough to share a few tweets with re: their use of social media (thx rachelakay and Breaking Point). I also saw a tweet with a link to a wiki consisting of companies in various industries that have deployed social media. This list opened my eyes to the number of businesses that have deployed or are experimenting with social media.

So if you are looking at a new market, new product or technology, Twitter seems like a good place to start your research. The information is almost real-time and you can search for any topic to see what people are saying. In addition to these benefits of using Twitter, there are some situations when NOT monitoring Twitter can be harmful to your business. I’ll pick that up in a future post, unless I find someone who has already written about it.

Photo Credit: Luc Legay

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