By Stefanie Hahn
For a very long time I hated Twitter. Hated it. I hated that I felt like I was broadcasting my life to people I didn’t know. I hated the amount of DMs (direct messages) I received from porn stars, perverts and others trying to sell me SEO tricks and the like. I hated the cumbersome search to find people that I was interested in following, and I am not a fan of a “these people are cool so follow them” list. Most of all, I hated that actually using twitter.com to manage your Twitter account basically sucked.
But my part of my job is to get out there and try these tools and then advise my agents – so I gave Twitter a fair shake… I thought. By the time RE BarCamp Philadelphia rolled around last May, I had broken up with Twitter and moved back in with FriendFeed. If you ever attended a BarCamp you know – your Twitter handle is almost more important than the name on your badge. I attended a session with the TwitterQueens @LesleyLambert, @HeyAmaretto and @MayaREguru and learned more about Twitter in 45 minutes than I could have ever imagined. I felt left out afterward and I decided to give Twitter another chance. This time around, I broadcasted less and shared more. I learned the unwritten rules of the retweet, the hashtag and other Twitter tweaks and tricks.
Still, I found Twitter to be dull. A necessary evil at this point, but not something I enjoyed. I continued to teach our agents about Twitter and the various ways they could use it for their business, but I’m not sure too many of them bought it, because really, I didn’t buy it.
I can’t say exactly it happened, but something suddenly clicked into place for me and Twitter. In the last 6 months or so, I have learned to tolerate Twitter and even (shhh ….) enjoy it. Why? This part is easy – connection. I was craving connection but broadcasting instead. Once I started actually connecting with people on Twitter and building real relationships – I got it. Finally reaching out to others and putting myself out there allowed me to make real connections.
Initially, I would reach out via DM – a private “hello, how are you?” to someone, and then connect by way of the @username mention. There is nothing cooler than meeting someone in person that you have connected with online in a meaningful way. It’s like running into an old friend that you never met. Twitter has widened my business and my social circles – I have connected with agents on Twitter that I might never have met offline, real estate and technology trainers from all over the place and even made a few friends along the way. I teach my agents that want to use Twitter for their business to find and follow the locals, connect and build relationships and attend or host Tweet-ups to achieve that IRL (in real life) interaction with folks using Twitter.
And Twitter – the twitter.com, I mean – has improved along the way, too. Now I can create and follow lists, a feature I love as a list-person. I can search and even save my searches from right on the homepage. Even the Twitter spam reporting is easier now. That said, I still use TweetDeck to manage my Twitter account(s).
Twitter is not for everyone, I know that… and I’m still not in love with Twitter. But I get it now.
Stefanie Hahn is the education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Willow Grove, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.