A couple of months ago, I began to hear news stories regarding an online social media website called Twitter. I heard stories of twitter saving lives, and getting breaking news out to people faster than ever. Next thing I knew my friends were telling each other, “I saw your tweet this morning, sorry you were in traffic.” I was so out of the loop. I was apprehensive, too busy to care about finding out what Twitter is, and I thought of it as just another social media site that would waste my time. Upon trying to think of something to guest blog about I have done something I never thought I would do, I got a Twitter! Once a Twitter virgin, I am now on my way to becoming a Twitter expert. So, for those of you who have the same attitude I did towards Twitter, hopefully my experience will change your mind.
When it was time for me to start my Twitter journey, I had a great guide to follow from Jessica Lawlor ,who wrote one to hand out to PRowl Public Relations members, but I decided I wasn’t going to look at it unless I was stumped (which I did eventually become).
So I went to www.twitter.com and I signed up — it was easy — standard sort of sign up. When I picked my user name, I just simply used my first and last name — OliviaRagni — so that people could find me easily. Next, I tried to figure out how to “follow” people. I discovered that following people means that you will see things that they post so that you can respond to them or just simply “follow” their “tweets”(aka posts). It is so hard to find people on Twitter because a lot of people don’t use their first and last names as their user name, so I became frustrated with trying to find people until I went back to my twitter guide and discovered Twello. Here you type in anything, a name, or a subject and it will check all of Twitter for matches. I immediately utilized this source; I searched for “PR Philadelphia” and for names of those I have interned with before. Before I knew it I was following people and people were following me and I was chatting with a few Philadelphia area PR professionals and entrepreneurs.
All my friends were telling me how great twitter was for networking with professionals, my friend even got an internship through Twitter, but I was not convinced. I was “tweeting” with a few people here and there, but nothing spectacular. Shortly after signing up for Twitter, my laptop died on me and I have been without ever since, so I put it on my cell phone. While I was on spring break in Vero Beach Florida, I had been trying to figure out what to do or who to find so that I could start networking. So I thought, what is the one dream job that I would love to have that could be hard to break into? – Travel Journalism. I always wanted to work for the Travel channel or Travel and Leisure magazine, exploring the world and writing about my experiences. So, when I got back from spring break, I took out my Travel and Leisure magazine and looked for the names of the writers of each article in the magazine. I found most of these people, and complimented them on the article that they had written in the magazine to start conversation.
After finding these people I simply searched “travel writers” and found a ton of people who fit this bio — I found people who started their own online travel companies and who have been in the business for years, and they replied to me. I believe I found the trick to getting people to reply to you – compliment their work or find a common ground! Find something that they have worked on or find some common ground, like an article they have written. Maybe they used to work in the same city you live in, or went to the same college your mom attended. Most people will have a website link in their bio, look at it and use that as a conversation starter. Whatever the common ground may be, if you have done some research about a person, they are more likely to connect with you.
I can’t believe that I am a Twitter-er. I am networking like crazy and I am one step closer to breaking into the industry of travel writing, all because I am making connections with people through Twitter. I may not be an expert just yet, but I keep finding new ways to use Twitter efficiently. Don’t be shy to speak with people on Twitter; almost all of the professionals I contacted seemed more than happy to respond to me. So lose the apprehension and get a Twitter, I promise you will have a great experience!
Did you enjoy Twitter when you first signed up? How did you learn to use it effectively?
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations firm staff member, Olivia Ragni. Follow her on Twitter: @oliviaragni