One of the most common questions people have asked me about Twitter (besides of course “why do I care what you’re doing?”) is how on earth I follow so many people. The question is a valid one since at a following count of over 4,000 people and counting, it is not humanly possible to read every tweet, every thought, or every link that those people share. The basic premise of following people on Twitter is that you are at least somewhat interested in what they have to say, so the question of how I follow them all is a good one.
While the buzz surrounding social media is growing, so is the number of people who just don’t get it. In fact, I come across tens of people daily that use Twitter and have a significant following but are totally clueless about maximizing it. They make mistake after mistake and see none of the results social media can bring. Let me emphasize that there is no one way to use social media “properly”, everyone uses it differently, that is part of the very essence of social tools. However, if these people are annoying their audience with spam-like tweets and causing people to unfollow, it is safe to say they are doing it “wrong”.
Ever since Web 2.0 was introduced, or at least since “social” became the big buzz word, everyone talks about the three big social networks: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (then there is the occasional MySpace fan, I never even made an account). Now, I always enjoyed myself a little Facebook, but was never a huge believer in its value as a business networking tool. I am pretty sure you know my stance on Twitter and its ability to help you achieve your goals, no matter what they might be. However, for the longest time, I did not get LinkedIn. I found its interface to be annoying and not user-friendly. I never really got any added value out of my LinkedIn network. To me, it was just another network I was on, that would send me annoying emails once a day.
After a long three months of job searching using every available tool, looks like I have landed myself a position as a Content Manager at a Forex startup. At the risk of giving myself a huge jinx before I even start the job, I wanted to share with you my experience over the last three months, and how I reached the indisputable conclusion that social media is the way to go.
Over this extremely trying period of looking for my next job, I used pretty much every tool available to me. That includes the traditional job websites, as well as outsourcing companies, and placement agencies. I must have sent out a 100 CVs a week, each with a really impressive cover letter as well as a CV customized for the type of position for which I am applying. I will not say that was a total failure. I did get a handful of interviews from them, but nothing came of any of them. What seems to count more than a nice cover letter or CV is people’s opinion and recommendation of you as an individual. In addition to those tools, I used Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, emails to all my contacts as well as community lists, and let’s not forget a whole lot of IMing.
So in the hope that one or more of my readers will benefit from this information, I decided to share with you some of the tools that I found to be useful. Let’s start with the one that ended up closing the deal, Facebook (with a little IM help on the side). I know people today seem to think of Facebook as a waste of time and one of those things “I just do not need”, but my experience proved otherwise. Yes, it is true, Facebook can be a huge distraction and occupy a lot of your time, but the exposure that one can get using Facebook is unprecedented. At a simple click of a button, you can let hundreds if not thousands of people know you are looking for a job, and that is what I did.
What ended up happening with me is that, the fact that I was looking became known to pretty much everyone I ever knew, and an old friend of mine, who, the truth be told, would probably have found out via IM anyway, heard I was unemployed. Now, remember, I was working in the technology and cellular industry in my last job.
This particular friend works in the Forex industry, and has built various sites, one of them being a Digg style website for Forex news , as well as others for the Forex community. Well, he made a connection through one of his sites with an individual who has recently started a company and was looking for a content manager. He then made the match.
This story could never have happened five years ago, when there was no social media and all these tools were unavailable to us. Now, it is important to emphasize that this particular opportunity worked out for the best, but for every interview I got through the job sites, I got five from networking. Wherever I was, whoever I was talking to, I put aside the embarrassment of being laid off from my last company (although, in today’s economy, it is not so bad, who doesn’t know someone that lost their job recently? Check out this list.), and pretty much let anyone and everyone know I am looking.
Just to sum up, if you or someone you know are looking for a job in almost any field, I would recommend making use of the old fashion tools as well, but spending much more time developing your profile and networks on the various social media tools.
If you want to know more details about the exact manner in which I did this networking, or alternatively, if you want more information on the traditional side of things, the sites I used etc., you can message me on Facebook here, DM on Twitter here, write me on LinkedIn here, email me here. Or, you can also call me if you have my number, I have not stopped using that means of communication, YET.