Sep 7, 2011

Twitter as a Reconnaissance Tool

It’s a fact:  Twitter has become mainstream, joining Facebook and YouTube as primary social media portals for sharing information.  And, while we know that each social media platform has unique benefits and attributes, I have to admit that I find Twitter is one of the best reconnaissance tools I have ever enjoyed.  Let me explain.

While the world is busy pushing out information by the boat load, I have found Twitter to be an excellent way to consume the essential headlines from various industries.  Due to the brevity of the tweet (by design), I can at least get a quick read on what is happening across various industries in just a short minute or less.  Our Twitter account at ISA (@symmonds) follows just over 1000 organizations and people.  And, to be honest, we have been very strategic about who we choose to follow.  The composition of this list is primarily independent colleges, schools, and thought leaders from the education industry.  And, about four times a day, I scroll through the posts from all of these organizations to get a quick read on the industry.  It is an excellent way to read the tea leaves of an industry or culture in a short amount of time.  

What about the actual act of tweeting?  Sure, we do it, but we try to achieve some balance with our tweets.  While the rest of the world is preoccupied getting followers, we are a bit more interested in achieving the right composition of those we follow.  And, when we do post something, we don’t just post anything.  We try to make it insightful and to the point.  Most of our tweets are links to our blog entries or a quick activity update on a project that we are working on, or perhaps a quick pic or vid from a campus visit to a client.  Short, to the point, and perhaps only once or twice per day.

Try using Twitter as a recon tool.  It is an exceptional way to get your head around the mass of information from an industry.  And, while it may not give you the depth of the information you seek, at least it helps you decide what to read.