Let me start by saying that I don’t know everything about Twitter. I think I understand it for the most part, but I use it in a very limited way. I’ve had an account for four or five years and I’ve only tweeted 38 times for heaven’s sake. What I love about it isn’t that I can say something to a brood audience, heck that I can say something to any audience at all!
What I love is that I can find out what other people are saying. Not only can I find out what they’re saying, but I can get incredibly specific about what I listen to.
Let me start at what I think of as the beginning.
Twitter is ubiquitous! It is on every OS and platform. You can log on from any smart phone or any tablet or any internet connected computer; via any browser. It has gotten to the point where people on TV shows are including Twitter stuff in their speech. For example: My family and I always watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day. It starts at nine and is just a nice tradition for us. This year Al Roker was interviewing various people in the parade and on route, etc. Same as every other year that NBC has hosted. What changed is that this year, Roker kept throwing the word “#WhatImThankfulFor” (pronounced, “hashtag What I’m Thankful for”) in when asking questions. What the heck is that? It’s a Twitter topic that the Today Show folks were pushing. You can still follow it on Twitter, it’s out there and it has a very large number of posts attached.
Twitter bills itself as a “mini-blogging site”. To understand that you need to understand what a “Blog” is, so according to Wikipedia it’s a web page that hosts discussions of various topics. My own definition is that a blog is a web site where one or more people hold forth, usually on a specific topic. You are reading this so you know at least one blog. The challenge I have with using Twitter in this context is conceptualizing a way to create useful posts that are less than 140 characters. I’m also in a situation that allows me to not need an additional outlet, so using Twitter as a part of my marketing simply isn’t going to happen.
The easy connection from there would be to write Twitter off as irrelevant to me and my clients, but that would also miss at least half of the value that it can provide.
These “mini-blogs” allow us to have distinct and unusual insights into people and companies activity and thinking. They have become something new, a way to understand others, and that understanding can transform your job search.
Technically, Twitter has more than a dozen search operators. What is a “search operator”, it’s simply something that modifies your search. We all know the “Boolean” operators, “AND”, “OR” & “NOT”. Twitter supports these. It adds a bunch more, of those two stand out: “@” and “#”. The # is called a “hashtag” and is used to signify a topic. The example above is a topic that was promoted by NBC and the Today Show. In truth, everyone gets to weigh in. The result is thousands of posts.
The “@” points to what I call an “entity”. Usually that’s a person, but it can be anything; companies have them, governments, non-profits etc. For the job seeker, these are your magic carpet. The reason is that entities double as topics. Amazon, for example, can be searched for three ways: Simply as a word, then as a topic and finally as an entity. Using the word will get you the largest number of results, then comes the # and finally the @. In the case of Amazon, it’s a fire hose with any of the three, but the @ has distinct advantages. To start with you can follow a specific company. If you are interested in something smaller than an Amazon, it works better. Amazon is a great place to start though. When you look at @amazon, you can choose to “follow” them. That means you’ll get all of their twitter posts.
If you focused on doing research the rest of the Twitter Search Operators come in to play. For example, if you want to know about what is going on at HQ, then your search becomes “@amazon near:98101” their zip code. When I ran this at 11:50 Monday Morning December 9th 2013, a guy I never met had posted that he worked there and he was hiring. When you see a post like that, you now have a real lead with a real person. You can ask him a direct question via Twitter. You can ask him to connect with you privately, you can ask for his email…. You can now engage directly.
If you want to know about company culture, add a “J” or a “L”. You will get results back intended as positive or negative. It won’t take long and you can find out almost anything about a corporate entity.
With a smaller target, you don’t need anything like the creativity to filter out the useless from the useful. Following a company will often give you first crack at opportunities they are working to fill. F5 Networks is one of the best local companies, so I have followed them for a while now. In one of my fits of Twitter activity, I saw them post an opportunity for a new lead tester. Well at that time I had an active client who was looking and qualified. I passed this on to her and she was able to get an application in before they had the job posted on their web site. She actually got that job.
Key to your success with this tool is playing with it. Just like every tool that has a unique “search” function, the more you look, the more you play with the parameters, the more you will like your results.esult is thousands of posts.
example above is a topic that was promoted by NBC and the Today Show. In truth, Everyone