Twitter For Business & Pleasure

March 12, 2009 / 10:16 am • By Dr. Melissa Clouthier

What’s the point of Twitter?

I’ve been asked that more times than I can count. When I signed up in August, I thought it was a waste. However, around Thanksgiving, I decided that in order to doom the product, a more honest interaction with it was in order. Over that weekend, I followed multiple interesting people, immersed myself…and was hooked.

But what have I gained? Besides making good friends who have translated into real life–phone calls, in-person meetings, etc., I’ve had more business help than I have ever received using Facebook, MySpace or even the business social network LinkedIn.

Here are some examples:

I needed someone to do a logo design tweak for me. The value of the work was around $50. Not bad for probably less than an hour of time. I put it on Twitter and within five minutes had three offers from great people. The winner ended up being the wife of Robbie Cooper a blog-friend in Austin.

I needed business cards and fast. I also needed design advice. CPAC was three days away–should I get patriotic cards or hip cards? Republicans can seem kinda traditional, right? So, everyone said “hip! go hip!” My intention was to go to the local shop. Instead, a Twitter friend @AliAkbar recommended that I use a printer Faulkner Strategies (contact Sarah Romero) in Indiana. They gave the best service!

I hated my Tweetback. A new friend on Twitter @JasonTryfon had an awesome Twitterback and I told him so. He generously had his gifted graphic artist modify Jason’s to suit me and it’s awesome. More than that, now, I have a great connection in the customer service industry. He’s phenomenal and I can highly recommend his services.

I made a friend of a friend named @museumcurator on Twitter. Sometimes I pick people who seem interesting in industries totally unrelated to mine because I like learning new things. Turns out, he DM’d [direct rather than public message] me saying that he was having a contest and that each month, he’d pick out the best <140 character story about why I should get a Free Angel (he does angel art reproductions). Should I do this? Well, I did. He immediately responded and said, forget the contest, I'm sending you an angel. We then connected through email and yesterday, talked on the phone. This was a human, real connection. Jeff Cane (that's his name) is a ex-pat Brit artist living in Los Angeles who owns a company doing beautiful reproductions. I have two friends who collect angels and will buy something from him for them. He ships everywhere. What could be easier?

Perhaps the most concrete way Twitter has helped me has been through story ideas. Not only do I connect to great writing–I’m connecting to the writers. Some of my favorites have become friends–Steve Green aka @VodkaPundit and James Lileks aka @Lileks and Fausta Wertz aka @Fausta come to mind. I suspected through their writing that I would like them. It’s turned out to be true. They are wonderful writers and interesting people.

Don’t you like doing business with people you like? Through Twitter, I have done just that. And really, it’s only the beginning. Join me on Twitter at @MelissaTweets

  • http://www.mydismalswamp.wordpress.com Big Al

    MY biggest problem with Twitter is that I find myself on it and not writing on my blog or checking the others on my blogroll as much as I’d like.

    The biggest asset I’ve found with it is the connection with people that I’d probably never have made without it. Like yourself I’m made a large amount of connections and “friends” via Twitter.

  • Ralph Gizzip

    Sometimes I wonder if all this interconnectivity takes away time we could be doing actual things. I mean, how much time do you spend following “Tweets” you could be using to do other things? Internet addiction is a real condition.

  • RogerCfromSD

    A friend recommended I join Twitter to boost readership of my political blog (http://patrioticamerican.wordpress.com/).

    It’s been a few weeks and I STILL don’t get Twitter. Though, like you Melissa, I haven’t explored it enough to utilize it to its potential.

    I guess I’ll do what you did and make a concerted effort to learn its tools, etc.

  • Knott Buyinit

    I think you could have done the same things with simple Google searches and without Twitter, the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ of internet phenomenons. Just sayin’…