What I’ve Discovered About Twitter


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This is a post to contribute to an experiment initiated by Esteban Kolsky & Venessa Miemis wherein we all write about what we discovered about Twitter and tag the post with #MonTwit.

I have been on Twitter since April 2008. As with most new things that I try out on the web I created my “scorpfromhell” profile out there. Thats kind of my perpetual beta account. 🙂 I had known it for a year by then but took me a lot convincing to get onto that since I was busy exploring other stuff, especially for building a social technologies framework. So I had built some presence on Twitter pretty soon in the Indian users segment. I connected to various people from various walks of life. Very few were known to me from before, not even 10 in all. It was like settling in a new city and getting to know new folks & taking your time to settling down, helped by a couple of old acquaintances.

The 2008 Bangalore bomb blasts incident was my first brush with Twitter’s usefulness in real life. I was in a restaurant with my team, out for a project lunch and I get an SMS from @BangaloreMirror, the twitter account of the local Tabloid. Bomb blast in a place we had crossed not more than 10 minutes back to reach the restaurant! That was close! Very close! It was me who informed my wife about the bombings even before it aired on the local news channels. Twitter helped me & my team mates to reach home safely, bypassing all the areas that had become sensitive or crowded for the traffic to pass through. Our families wanted us safe at home, soon. Twitter told me the areas that were not bombed & thus prone to be relatively less problematic. Some of my tweets were picked up & I got a big jump in followers. I was mentioned in some journalism blog too. November saw me tweeting the Mumbai carnage. This time it was all second hand, since I was tweeting from what I saw on the TV. This time it was about spreading the news & getting involved, time to time, in the “common room” discussions around the stuff being shown on TV.

However, most importantly, I connected with some CRM gurus whom I had been reading for most part of the decade. Paul Greenberg, Jill Dyche, Graham Hill, Brent Leary. Wow! And what do you know, they were now talking to me too. Like one-to-one! And I was like the star struck wide eyed kid! 😀 I started RTing them & responding to them and finally got their attention and then they gave me treats & patted my head. 😉 That was before I bent berserk with the #scrm hashtag around Feb/March ’09. I brought in so many folks into the discussions around CRM 2.0 / Social CRM. I was using search columns in TweetDeck and was constantly discovering new people. Mitch, Esteban, Mark, Wim, John, Jesus, etc. etc. It helped that #scrm was started by Brent Leary & had Paul Greenberg contributing to it too. And before I knew those very two people (my superstars – Rajnikanth & Amitabh Bachhan of CRM … ok Tom Cruise & Brad Pitt of CRM) jumped a surprise on me & made a mention of my perpetual beta handle of scorpfromhell. You don’t get recommendations better than that – “Social CRM Maven” indeed!

This new found recognition propelled me to get a bit more bold with my thoughts around Social CRM and make more deeper contributions to the discussions with some of my original thoughts. Also, since I was now getting recognized for what I do to earn my bread & butter, it meant I had to now graduate to a handle that was more “professional” & voila, I now live a double life on Twitter as prem_k too. 😉 I got to know a lot of people from the vendor & analysts side of the CRM industry too. I also found two new ways of going through research literature – from Graham & Esteban. Graham taught me how to “use” Google Scholar, not merely know about its existence. Esteban made me look deeper into research literature from the Gartners & Forresters of the world. It helped that I had access to these reports thanks to my employer. So together these allowed me to think deeper than mere technology and go into business side of the stuff too. Over these months I have learnt a lot about the business side of the SCRM story and having experienced them all without really realizing why such things happened in an enterprise, I picked them soon too. 🙂

My post is more about what I discovered via twitter but the meme is about what we have discovered about twitter. I didn’t know when I started to write this post, but by the time I came to this point, I had a rough idea. Twitter is a very simple tool, one that allows people to use it to communicate very succinctly & thus convey thoughts much better. Because of the nature of the conversations & the tool (and the esoteric syntax used by the tweeple, like RT & via or h/t, short for hat tip) it is easier to propagate the ideas. Because of the nature of the tool it is a great platform to build communities. Its the best for ephemeral ones, but you could build lasting ones like the #scrm accidental community too. So, in a tweet – twitter is a place to learn about stuff & connect with people.

And thats that. Whats your twitter story? Lets us know in the comments or in your own blog. Just let us know about it by tweeting a link to it & including the hashtag #MonTwit. 🙂

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Prem Kumar Aparanji
SCRM Evangelist @ Cognizant. Additional knowledge in BPM, QA, Innovations, Solutions, Offshoring from previous roles as developer, tester, consultant, manager. Interested in FLOSS, Social Media, Social Networks & Rice Writing. Love SF&F books. Blessed with a loving wife & a curious kid. :)


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