Early this month, I spoke about PMI-GLC’s Social Media Initiatives at PMI Leadership Institute Meeting @ Region 4 (at Orlando, Florida). I found out that majority of project managers and leaders are aware of the social media in some way but not utilizing that much. LinkedIn for networking and Facebook were two tools that most of the PMs knew and had profiles active. I am using Twitter for some time now and finding it very useful and informative. Here is my Twitter page or follow me @kulveervirk.
In this post I would like to give my readers quick info on Twitter and how it can be used by project/program managers and leaders effectively to advance the profession, help the stakeholders and grow their personal network while learning new stuff. Next you develop strategy to use Twitter effectively.
It is evident that more and more professionals are interacting through social media tools and technologies to share the ideas and spread the word. Social media includes blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, and many more. There are millions of people using Twitter all across the globe.
Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say but keep on saying it. – Robert Frost
Twitter is very innovative way of communicating with people you choose to communicate with. It is inexpensive and effective way to distribute information on the Internet. Twitter allows you to communicate in 140 characters. These 140 character messages you send or choose to read are called tweets. In this message (aka tweet) you can include a link to any article, post, or blog. Once you are on Twitter you will choose to follow some of the folks tweeting and you will also have some followers who are interested to read your tweets. You can choose whom to follow or if you want to block someone from following you. You can create lists (similar to groups).
First step after setting up your account for a professional is to search for fellow professionals in similar profession and start following them. There is minimal lingo involved that you can find it here to get started. Once you start following people and communicating, you are already on your way create, share and discover ideas on project management and leadership.
For Managers and Leaders:
Twitter is excellent tool to connect to your stakeholders (provided your stakeholders are on Twitter and following you). You can provide quick info or update about your project, product, service or initiative to your stakeholders.
For example, you have a product that tracks helpdesk tickets and you have new exciting feature that you have incorporated into the beta release, you can keep updating your followers about the progress and also provide the link to your blog when you provide some update.
If you have a flagship software or hardware product and you may have loyal following (as in case of Apple and Microsoft), you can provide info and also read what others are talking about your product and support/service.
One practical use of Twitter is by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to spread the word on health and safety; now a days on H1N1
Other best use is when you are following other professionals in your field, you can find out industry trends, what are they working on, what new things have they discovered. If can respond to the questions that are being asked or you may have some ask for advice.
You will find and follow many industry leaders and experts are constantly tweeting and you can learn a lot from them. For example, I follow @kenblanchard, @jack_welch, @tom_peters, @tom_peters, @Padmasree and many more whom I admire. You may find that your boss or your CEO/CIO is also tweeting, follow him and find out what he says and asks. Twitter also gives you opportunity to ask direct questions or share ideas.
You can use Twitter to promote your brand. People from different walk of life might be interested in what you are sharing via tweets and learn from your experience; its nice way to give back to community as well.
There are some drawbacks as well that come with any tool or technologies. You must be very clear about your objective while tweeting. Always stay professional and tweet only when you have something useful to share or ask. A nice motivational or inspiring quote is always better than saying “I am baselining my project plan 7th time in a month.”
Whatever you say (or tweet), represents you and builds your image. You are building your network and you will get some loyal followers on the way. If you are tweeting about your organization or corporate product, make sure you are authorized to say something.
You can receive and communicate on Twitter using your smartphone. If you have Twitter account, you can follow me using @kulveervirk and find out whom am I following.
Thank you for reading and hope that this info will help you in some way. Let me know what other creative ways you are using Twitter as a professional or project manager.
Why Project Managers Should Twitter
Twitter 101 for Business
Shorten and track your URLs
Even though I think Twitter is about 24 months before it becomes terminally uncool, I favor getting managers and leaders involve. If nothing else, that experience will make whatever comes next that much easier for them to use.
Jason, Thanks for the visit and comment. I agree that Twitter has to evolve otherwise it will become un-cool.
Take an example of lists, these are meant to help big shots who have thousands of followers, but if someone is not following up that list…..?
Sometime people are caught up in producing tweets at the speed of thought, and can soon become noise. Leaders and Managers have to understand that we should tweet only when we have to, and with quality content that helps the audience.
I’ve only just by sheer frustration with working in an organization which offers little possibility of networking with professional peers for sheer lack of a critical mass that I decided to explore networking on cyber space. I have only just opened an account with LinkedIn and discovering what possibilities it offers to exchanged ideas particularly on leadeship and management with those whose business is just that.
I’ve actually published an elaborate article on that very same issue: Twitter and Project Management. Apparently this topic is becoming of increasing interest every day.