I first joined twitter on 12th February 2009. I set up an account with a username I’d picked based on a personal joke we had going in the office (it’s a long story, and one I suspect is not actually that funny in the retelling, so I will spare you here). I probably picked the colour egg that I thought best reflected my personality and left it at that.
I followed a couple of friends, a couple of celebrities and a few brands. I thought about tweeting, but I wondered – ‘what the hell am I supposed to say?’. I drafted a witty tweet about chocolate and thought about posting it – but a good friend warned me off. “Victoria, you’ve only got 140 characters, you’ve got to make them worthwhile”. Chastened, I deleted the tweet… I don’t think I looked at it again for about 6 months.
Early the next year I changed jobs. I’d moved from a global organisation, where I was connected to people in offices around the world, to a smaller boutique agency, with about 10 researchers in one Sydney office. I started to feel a little cut off from the world – from being continuously exposed to new thinking and case studies from around the globe.
At the same time, linkedin started to show me that some of my contacts were tweeting – and saying some really interesting things. So I retrieved my password and logged on. I observed for a few weeks, and started to understand the language. Why do some tweets start with RT? Why do they put #’s in front of words?
Once I discovered hashtags things became more interesting. With the discovery of the then #MR hashtag – a whole new world opened up to me. There are all these smart, smart people out there, sharing really interesting information, for free and all I need to do is follow them. All of a sudden the purpose of twitter became clear.
Almost a year on from when I first joined, I decided to enter the conversation. I can’t say it was the most witty or most informative entry into the world of twitter, but I still do find this clip really funny!
And then I was off! Here was a great society of people sharing information. The opportunities for learning, connecting and sharing were endless. Honestly, I’m amazed more people, researchers or otherwise aren’t using twitter – it is the one tool that has enriched my learning and my connection within the industry above all others.
I’ve posted links to Tanvi Gupta’s blog on ‘The Day ‘God’ Retweeted Me’ a couple of times – but I think this really sums up to opportunities Twitter has to offer all researchers. Twitter is an equal playing field, where you can meet, learn from and interact with the leaders in this industry. These people are out there, sharing their thoughts – all you have to do is look and listen.
But again and again I hear people say “I don’t ‘get’ Twitter” or “I just don’t understand how it works”. So here are my beginners tips for those market researchers out there who are thinking of dabbling in twitter.