We all have to determine what works for us. We have to find ways of communicating and connecting that fit our style. We're all user experience designers. And the user we neglect most often is the typically the only one we ever get to directly influence - ourselves.
As any company grows one of its primary tasks is to determine what channels of communication make sense. We need to stay alert to new alternatives and try them out to see if they help us accomplish our business objectives. I'm no different. And what works has changed enormously over the years, not only because of the ever-morphing technology landscape but also because my goals have grown up right along with me.
It's quite simple really. You can use all the fancy terminology about broadcasting, push technologies, etc. but basically it comes down to this: I love using Twitter because it lets me wander around and discover new people to listen and interact with in and out of my field. It allows me, a much quieter person than I was when I started my career, to dip into the informational stream and come away with relevant information and connections. And it's fun.
Twitter has an interface that gets out of my way. Its simplicity is appealing. Once you learn a few easy rules, you're on your way. And it being in its "awkward teenage years" as an interface is deeply appealing. There's nothing quite as fun as the cowboy quality of learning the new cultures and technologies that you discover. And much to this introvert's surprise, it's a great way to begin conversations with all flavors of people on a deeply satisfying variety of topics.
I made the leap earlier this summer to creating and beginning to tweet regularly through a Twitter account (@quietaction) because I was looking for good ways to promote my new blog. While I was researching a post I discovered a great interview with Zoe Keating (@zoecello) about the connection between her successful music career and her Twittering activities. That was all the proof I needed that this was indeed a warm and connective technology and I was off in the great unknown.
At first I only followed a few people so I wouldn't get overwhelmed. I followed @zoecello, my friend and Internet Marketing specialist Susan Barnes (@susby), a DIY diva friend (@willotoons), my crazy prolific clients from Techdirt/Floor64 (@techdirt), and David Armano (@armano) whose blog Logic + Emotion helped me form my quietAction blogging strategy. Amazing how much you can learn about how to go about wrangling Twitter by simply listening to a few frequent tweeters.
Now, as I grow more proficient with Twitter, I'm moving out in ever expanding circles. I added folks that I met at the UX Intensives in June (@nerdstalker, @danpoyner, @adaptivepath, @andrewcrow, @katerutter, @paulawellings). I discovered @whitneyhess and now regularly get to interact and learn about living a high follower Twitter lifestyle from her example. And from those amazing people to other new colleagues in and out of the UX world (@twliterary, @emilychang, @ctomlin, @teresaBrazen, @halverson, @janepyle, @leenjones, @zoetica).
You can link to any of the people I follow by going to my Twitter page and clicking the Following link on the right hand side. I've also adopted a habit of favoriting any tweets that I want to come back to later. You can find those under the Favorite link.
And it's not all work. I have fun sharing my daily walks via pictures. Since they don't have to sign-up for anything my non-Twittering family and friends check in at my Twitter page to see what's going on. A neighbor here in Emeryville popped up late one night. Someone you would never imagine using Twitter. My non-techy cousin Maureen Nolan has become a Twitter star (@nwwineandre). The only member of my "rent-a-family" on Twitter regularly catches my not so subtle hints to invite me over. And often within minutes I have an official invite. Excellent social latency!
The change is noticeable. Tonight one of my oldest friend's said to me, "It seems like you're networking more all of the sudden." But it isn't really that I'm "getting out there" more, it's that I'm able to use Twitter to discover the events I'd like to attend and the people that I'd like to meet. And as one of my new friends (@Keidson) recently tweeted about meeting all these new folks in person:
And why is this important to my clients? At least now when we have this conversation about business and communication strategy, you'll know that I'm right in there with you, learning and making it up - better.
You can view my Twitter page (no need to join) at http://www.twitter.com/quietaction/. Or if you have a Twitter account then be sure to @ me and say, "Hi." Some days it's the only way in to this UX hermit's cave.
How are you being thoughtful about your personal or company communication strategy? What connectivity channels are your favorites?