How To Be A Nimble Dinosaur On Twitter
I think there are a lot of people like me at Cisco. I’m 49 years old, and the house I grew up in didn’t even have a computer. Now I’m a Technical Writer for the dCloud Data Center & Virtualization team, which means that I write about complex Cisco technologies. I use my smartphone for everything and keep up with friends on Facebook, but until recently the more social spectrum of social media always ran together for me in a TwitterSnapChatInstagramPodcastYouTube blur.
In a recent speech at the Women of Influence conference, Silvia Spiva called me a Tech Icon. Of course, she spelled it #TechIcon, but the point is, she should know. She means that I’m active on social media, developing a personal brand, amassing followers, and generally “getting known” out there – who would have seen that coming?
I started using Twitter to talk about my dCloud demos because my boss’s boss said it was a good idea. I was unenthusiastic, because I already have a day job and because I wasn’t looking to add another form of social media to my life. It was hard at first, because I worried a lot about saying the wrong thing and getting fired. But I learned a few things along the way:
It’s Not Stupid
You don’t have to say it, I thought so too. Why bother? Two big reasons – this is where the people are, and this is where you can be heard. The biggest companies monitor their Twitter accounts. I tagged a company account at Cisco Live, and five minutes later a VP was at the dCloud booth. I engage with my upper management daily. I think “Why not?” is becoming a bigger question every day. Don’t get left behind.
You Don’t Have To Be All-In
You can choose your level of engagement. And once you do, it’s empowering, not frightening. When I started following people who were tweeting about APIC, UCS, Cisco Live and other topics I wanted to tweet about, my tweets got more engagement and I found myself having real conversations with people about my work. It doesn’t “interfere” with my day job – I tweet less on busy days, more on light ones. Now I consider it a necessary part of my job, and I make time for it.
Twitter is a Great Equalizer
I think it’s fair to say that my colleagues, my boss, HER boss, and even HIS boss know a lot more about me than they would if I wasn’t on Twitter. (Hi Ron!) I love my job, and I’m very proud of my work, and it’s nice to tweet about something I wrote and get a ‘❤️’ from two levels up. It’s a fun, easy style of communication that keeps me feeling validated and motivated, as well as visible.
You Be You
I express myself freely on my Twitter account. It’s like any other conversation. Sometimes you talk more, sometimes you listen more. Sometimes you’re funny, sometimes you’re serious. There’s room for every style and personality out there, and when you get used to having your voice heard, it’s addictive.
For me, social media has become one more reason to #LoveWhereYouWork.
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