I confess I do not have a Twitter account and have never felt a burning desire to create one. I barely have time for Facebook and only for reading posts from friends and family. I am not one who has 300 Facebook friends because I literally do not have 300 friends. No judgment here if you are one of those lucky people who do have hundreds of online friends or connections, I am just a late-bloomer in the world of social networking. I never gave it much thought about how social networks can advance one’s career until I decided to change careers.
It is no longer a question of whether professionally to have a social network account, it is expected. Today to compete in the job market having a social media presence is just as important as having a polished resume and portfolio. It can be overwhelming getting started with building a social profile since there are several solid choices out there such as LinkedIn and Facebook. For me, LinkedIn was a logical choice but I felt I owed it to my professional self to see why Twitter is so popular in the business world.
Twitter makes it easy to find people where they are, and unlike Facebook and LinkedIn where conversations are between friends or connections, Twitter has an open nature mentality which means all posts are public. Invitations to join discussions are not required and it is expected that people jump right into a conversation. Want to see what others are talking about relative to your industry? No problem. Twitter’s reach is far and wide and users have opportunities to build relationships with a diverse audience of like-minded individuals in real-time (Badshah, 2017).
Twitter is also a great way for professionals to connect with industry influencers and maybe even become an influencer by sharing your thoughts on topics you care about. Twitter gets you in front of decision-makers and industry leaders who can help promote your career and help you build a following with just a retweet. But Twitter is not everyone’s cup of tea, and like other social media platforms, it requires a determined focus to grow and nurture one’s online brand and industry connections.
There are other social networks for professionals beyond Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn but are they worth consideration? A professional presence on the big three certainly can reach a huge audience and your exposure can be vast. But with a massive number of users, there is also a risk that you will be overlooked professionally. Maybe you are looking for a social network that is a bit more intimate but not sure if the social network is right for you. Look for a social network that can bring attention to your work, connect with users in meaningful ways, and be able to share and discover new ideas and trends (Sreenivasan). Based on those tips, I think it is worth a look at Slack.
Full disclosure I am a huge fan of Slack. As a communication tool, it has been a lifesaver in many different settings, from the work environment to the university, but I often wondered whether Slack had more to offer beyond workplace collaboration (Bishop, 2019). I was pleasantly surprised that Slack also offers public threads and communities from big data to finance with a wide variety of group sizes. There is a lot to choose from and something for everyone with over 1000 communities which continues to grow. Slack may be the social network that offers you that personal touch that you have been looking for and worth the time to explore what they have to offer.
Social media networks are the new normal to get noticed and advance a professional career. Your experience and success with social media will be different than the person standing next to you. Choose platforms that make the most sense for you and your career, and be willing to change if it is not producing the desired results. Keeping up with multiple platforms and coming up with new and creative posts regularly can be exhausting and time-consuming so be sure that it is a social network that provides the best value to you and your career.
Badshah, A. (2017, November 8). 14 Reasons Why Every Professional Should Have a Twitter Account. Retrieved from Socedo: https://blog.socedo.com/14-reasons-why-every-professional-should-have-a-twitter-account/
Bishop, A. (2019, March 14). 13 Awesome Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn. Retrieved from Search Engine Journal: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/linkedin-alternatives/297409/#close
Sreenivasan, S. (n.d.). How to Use Social Media in Your Career. Retrieved from The New York Times Business: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/business/social-media-for-career-and-business