If Twitter should be known for anything, it's that the social networking site has made the world realize how much can be communicated, conveyed, or accomplished in 140 characters.
Sometimes, it's pure babble, like guesstimating the weight of the poop you just unloaded in your toilet. And that's a shame, because if you trim all the fat - and, my goodness, there's plenty of that - Twitter is an absolutely fantastic source for real-time information of any and all kinds.
But it's questioned professionally. Is it actually good for networking, for opportunities, for business? Yes, yes, and yes!
When I required some graphic design work beyond my expertise for an outsourced side project, I figured I would seek somebody the easy way to start. So I sent out a simple tweet, asking for any graphic designers within my budget to come forward. With only around 600 followers at the time, virtually none of them graphic designers, I reasonably expected one or two responses over the next couple of days. What I received was indeed one or two responses - every hour, for several days. Job-posting Twitter accounts retweeted my post thanks to my #jobs hashtag, and many designers crawled out from the woodwork (that is to say, not on my followers list) to pitch me their portfolios.
The story ended well, with me finding exactly what I needed in a local design studio, Luxury of Boredom.
My second call to arms on Twitter occurred just a couple of weeks ago, where I tweeted the following: "Any Canadian tech startups feel their endeavours are worth a story? @ reply or DM me; I'm all ears. | #tech #startup #canada."
I was looking for a good news story, but I was also experimenting with Twitter's effectiveness. I raised my expectations from before, anticipating a handful of respondents. I was, again, overwhelmed.
Thanks largely to nearly a dozen retweeters (retweeting was not something I had expected to happen either), many people came forward both in DMs and @Replies to make me aware of their startup. In the end, several fun posts were (and will be) published as a result of that simple tweet.
From finding contractors to seeking story ideas, I have found Twitter to be a simple, easy way to advance myself professionally. Give it a try - you might be pleasantly surprised.
Follow me on Twitter here, or comment below if your Canadian tech startup feels its endeavours are worth a story.