Tweets like "Just turned the computer on, man am I tired," left me wondering why the tweeter felt that the world was waiting for that update. Facebook people were poking me and taking quizzes that told everyone what kind of Simpson character they would be.
A sliver of lightMy first inkling that there could be something useful lurking here happened at the Atlanta STC Summit. As the host chapter, we arranged for the Atlanta Braves to have someone at our hospitality booth one morning to sell block tickets for a Braves game that night. The day he was to arrive, it occurred to me that we had not publicized this in any way. I asked Lisa Pappas, who is way cooler than I am when it comes to social networking, if she could tweet that the rep was coming on the #tag we were using for the Summit (I barely knew what a #tag was). She did. At one point I took a break from the board meeting to step out and apologize to the rep for the lack of advance publicity and found him packing up early. He had sold the allocated block!
Hmmm. That was useful.
More illuminationI then started to notice that I was using Twitter like a news aggregator because people I was following would recommend interesting Web articles they had just read. I recently noted the following pattern of tweets, going from great to lame:
- Great: There an interesting article on such and such at http:...
- Good: There comes a time in the lifecycle of a document you have to shoot the writer and publish the damn thing.
- Lame: I had oatmeal for breakfast.
Let there be full lightRecently, however, the major light bulb went on for me. I was starting to feel a lot more connected with contacts I usually saw once a year at a conference. The odds that I would pick up a phone or shoot an email to someone like Phylise Banner or Brenda Huettner if I needed help on something was now an order of magnitude higher than if I were not following them on Twitter or friends on Facebook.
It's as if I were linked into a social network! [a Mikey major Duh! moment]
I also found that I could link with folks I was having somewhat adversarial relationships with in STC. As an officer, I've taken quite a bit of heat over some unpopular decisions and problems lately from well-meaning and articulate critics. Twitter and Facebook have given me the opportunity to interface with some of these critics at the level of home-brewed beer and love of musical instruments. Their confrontations have been reduced from my total perception of them to being just part of a broader understanding of who they are. Hopefully that has gone the other way as well.
Suddenly the faceless and voiceless critics have become people who brew beer and play music. Does that make me now more willing to listen to them? You know, I think it does! At least it makes it easier.
I've said it before, "Oh brave new world..."