Paul Boag had a great segment on his Boagworld podcast recently that presented some networking tips for geeks. Being the thorough perfectionist he is, he also published the bit as a separate blog post for easy linking. In the segment, he talked about Twitter as a way to keep in touch with people that you meet at conferences and meetups. Lemme let him do the talking for a bit…
Take a moment to think about the problem. You have met somebody for a couple of hours at a meet-up. You get on well and feel it is worth keeping in touch. You could swap telephone numbers but why would you call them? You certainly don’t know them well enough at this stage to call for a chat! You could exchange email addresses but what reason would you have to write? People get enough junk email as it is without you pestering them. What you need is a lightweight and informal way of keeping in touch so that the next time you meet you have something to talk about. Twitter is the answer.
I love it. This is quite similar to how I met a couple folks for the first or second time at SXSW but was able to talk about what’s going on in their lives because of their blogs or Flickr feeds. However, I wish this didn’t stop at just tech folks. I’ll say it now.
I wish everyone used Twitter.
Here’s my other problem. I switched jobs a few months ago. I loved the people at my old company. Quite honestly, there are probably about 40 of them I’d like to keep in touch with. But that’s just not realistic. I’m not going to just send an email every once in a while to 40 people saying “Hey, what’s up?” In real life? More like three people.
Like many, I mix personal and professional notes in my Twitter feed. For example, I’ll mix in:
Manny being Papi.
Playing in leaves with Ella.
Jason Fried is presenting in Providence today at BIF3. Going to a meetup later on this evening. Should be fun. Gotta go early… overbooked.
So, as you can see, following my feed gives you a good idea of what I’m up to. Nothing obtrusive, just quick little updates to keep you in the loop about my life.
One of the criticisms of Twitter is “who the heck cares about your life?” Maybe it is a bit pig-headed of me to think people might give one half a crap what I’m up to. But the way I look at it is… I give a whole crap what others are up to. Keeps me in the loop. Gives me some context when I talk to them next. None of this “so, what have you been up to” small talk.
I hate small talk. Twitter can help eliminate that.
Similarly, I have a couple of friends who I talk to every couple to few months or so. One of the first questions is “what are you listening to?” I’ve got it all out there in public. And I wish you did, too.
So, this is better than just losing touch with a bunch of people, no?