I got a tweet today that got me thinking and reminiscing. I’ve had a Twitter account for 4 years today.

 

My first tweet was: “Can anyone see this?”. The answer was yes, but just the first person I followed. When I started tweeting, I didn’t really have any expectation. I had heard Radio One DJ Chris Moyles talking about Twitter, and figured that it was worth giving it a go. I had around 100 LinkedIn connections and a LinkedIn group. That was the extent of my social media activity. I was an old school recruiter. What could get out of Twitter with just 140 characters to use? At first it just looked like a lot of noise, and I was making most of it. People talking about Sandwiches, Matt Alder complaining about things, motivational quotes from dead people, motivational quotes from alive people. What would ever come from “wasting” my time taking part?

For a newcomer it was pretty confusing. Lots of advice, rules and twitter etiquette from people who had a whole 6 months experience, about how many tweets a day I should post, how often I should retweet, who to follow, to be transparent (but not say what I really thought because that would be bad for brand) etc etc. Before that day I had never thought of myself as a brand, I still don’t really. I decided to listen to all this sage advice, and do the exact opposite. I don’t really like convention. If you read my blog, you might know that.

I was in a bad place back then. I’d just closed my training business and had no work. I had time on my hands, and too much of it, and so I started. I could pretend to everyone (including myself) that I was busy, and so I just started tweeting. 100+ tweets a day, retweeting incessantly, in 4 years I have sent out 56,825 tweets to date, 30,000 in the first 18 months, and I connected with everyone. No real strategy or objective, no targets or anything else. I loved this new medium and the conversations I was having and I made lots of friends and got noticed and connected quickly.

What I klike best about Twitter is that I can find the conversations I want or have an interest in and I can join in. I can connect and speak to whoever I want. I don’t need an invitation or to ask permission. That is what was different about Twitter, and I’ve just kept connecting, talking, listening and identifying what I might be able to offer my network commercially, and the places I might be able to contribute.

I don’t know where I would be now or what I would be doing if I hadn’t sent that first tweet. I’ve learnt more from links I’ve seen and connections I’ve made over the last 4 years than I have in the other 42 years of my life. I’ve made many good friends, some of whom I’ve met. I no longer believe you need to meet people in person to be friends, that is an old way of looking at the world. I’ve built a global event business on a hashtag with #tru. I’ve spoken at, hosted or attended over 100 events on 4 continents. I know being social in approach and thinking works. I’m living proof of R.O.I. I’ve worked with companies like the BBC, Oracle and Hard Rock Cafe integrating social recruiting. I work with great recruitment product companies like RolePoint, Joberate and Colleague. I get paid to write content, whitepapers and even a book. I hope I give back some value when people need it. I could never give back as much as I’ve taken out, and it all started with one tweet:

Can anyone see this?

Bill