It's sometimes hard to explain to busy people why I use Twitter. "Who has time for that?" is a common question. They want to see data that shows spending time on Twitter really adds value. While I don't have data, I have anecdotes that I've been saving up. I've used Twitter heavily for the last couple of years to build my network and keep a finger on the pulse of what's going on in the communities I care about.
I often keep a Twitter dashboard up and running on a second monitor in my office. During the last couple months I've used Twitter to:
- Learn. I'm relatively new to the BI software market. I've been an industry analyst for the past 14 years focusing on a wide variety of technology and strategy areas?but never focused closely on BI. So I use Twitter to listen and join in on conversations taking place among industry analysts, consultants, vendors, and users of BI software. Conversations are under way on lots of interesting topics including in-memory analytics, self-service BI, stack vs. portfolio approach, and BI in the bigger context of enterprise software.
- Drive conversation. Since early August I've been working on white papers and writing blog articles. In just a quick glance at a one-line post, Twitter helps me engage with people with others interested in the same topics I'm thinking about.
- Build my network. It's through professional networks that knowledge is shared, trust built, customers earned, and jobs found. (Speaking of: QlikTech is hiring!) When I have a few minutes, I see who my connections are following and add to the list of people I follow. This freshens my tweet stream?and helps round my perspectives. Twitter can also be helpful in leading me to more information about people I want to be connected to. Twitter can sometimes lead me to more information about people who comment on my blog posts, for example.
- Spark creative thoughts. In my role in product marketing at QlikTech, I blog on themes like the consumer enterprise, the BI software market, innovation at QlikTech, and the associative experience. Sometimes I look up to my Twitter dashboard and see something float by?a link to a blog article, an announcement, or simply an observation?that gets my creative juices flowing. This tweet by Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus is a case in point.