Building Your Social Network

No, I am not going to talk about the movie Social Network.  Uh-uh.  I never even got past the first 15 minutes of watching that movie. I just couldn’t do it.  So I don’t think I am the right person to talk about it; positively or not.  I digress (which happens often, if you have met me in person at least once 😉 ).

If you have been following on twitter, or if we met in person because we’ve been connected on twitter for a while now, you already know how passionate my opinions about Twitter are.  I take my Twitter seriously (now I tweet occasional rants and ramblings, but hey, it is in disclaimer already).  Twitter, as any other social media platform, is a tool; a tool that can help or hurt your social identity.

Thanks to my friend, Cindy, I learned that Twitter exists and people have conversations on the same topic with something called a hashtag.  It was one of our first Santa Clara University Business Alumni events and Cindy mandated we all tweet during the event.  This was back in 2009.  After that day, I went quiet on twitter because, well, I thought it was boring! <gasp> I know…I know…there was a time when I thought Twitter was a complete waste of time.

So what changed?

Picture it.  May 2011.  Citrix Synergy.  (a la Sophia style)

I was with Citrix back then and I couldn’t attend the signature event, then held in San Francisco.  However, I didn’t let that stop me from keeping myself in tune with the event and the happenings at the venue.  I sought the help of Twitter.  That’s when I started to have conversations with SO many people (Steve, Shawn, Geert, Anton, Rob, Doug, Henrik and of course, my own teammate/mentor Mayank).

And when I moved to my current role at Symantec, I knew nothing about Enterprise Mobility.  However, by following the tweets from my mobile elitists, I learned a lot faster and got a lot smarter.  I not only learned about the technology, but also got a good understanding of the industry and how the businesses are changing.  Brian, Benjamin, Bob, Philippe, James, Colin, Phil, and Nick, among others, have been very kind in sharing their opinions, blogs, comments and thoughts with people like myself on twitter.

So how do you use Twitter?  Similar to any technology, do not use it because everyone else does.  Use the right tool for the right reasons.  Are you trying to build a twitter network for yourself in professional world?  Search for experts/analysts/journalists in the space you’re interested in and start following their tweets.  You do not have to participate; just follow the conversation.  Try to participate in that conversation, even if it is just a simple response or a retweet.  And if you can continue the conversation, well, you are like me 🙂

As with any other skill, start slow.  Take baby steps.  Remember…you are an expert in what you do.  Twitter cannot possibly be harder than that 😉

Tweet on!

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7 thoughts on “Building Your Social Network”

  1. I don’t even get a mention or a link? Sheesh! jk. Love the insights and now, I know just a little more about Swarna.

  2. You know you’re doing it right when it becomes a status symbol to be featured on your blog 🙂 And I get the “…and” billing which is quite coveted in Hollywood, so I’m on cloud nine (some pun intended). Thank you!!

    One tip for part 2: from my own experience, the hardest part of using Twitter is the UI. The website could have been created by someone at SAP (yes, that bad!). Therefore, getting hold of the right 3rd party app and then understanding how a conversation “looks” on Twitter was a major part of my learning curve. Will say I am still not very comfortable….

    This is a great article. I see it becoming almost a series. There’s just so much to say about using it well. And no one better than you to educate us on how Social Media can help make friends and influence people….

    1. Mayank, I will definitely address that. But you might also want to consider using a twitter client (tweetbot, tweetdeck, metrotwit — to name a few) instead of twitter.com 🙂

  3. Swarna,

    Thanks for the mention. I remember ‘meeting’ you on twitter during that Synergy keynote, that was a high speed feed of many funny and interesting things. The coolest part was getting meet, for real, my Twitter buddy at this years Synergy. See you on Twitter!

    1. Steve,
      Absolutely! It was great meeting you in person this year. Looking forward to meeting more often…not just on Twitter, but in person too 🙂
      –Swarna.

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