social networking on typewriter
I am not a child of the PC generation. I grew up when photographs came from a roll and aspirations of being a writer meant words literally bashed out on a typewriter – usually portable! Searching through someone else’s “desktop” strikes me as a huge invasion of their personal privacy – rather like looking through their closet and it’s about the only time I pull rank and get someone else to do it for me. Surprising you may think for someone in “communications” but don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this business – being able to do what we didn’t even dare to dream when we started – all courtesy of the Internet.

So, while I’m not the first off the mark, and that’s a cautious response to whether or not anyone actually wants to hear my thoughts, it was with great joy that I received a number of emails recently saying that various people were following me on Twitter. Not absolute strangers, but people I’ve done business with and with whom I doubtless correspond on a regular basis, even if it’s usually to catch up for a drink in the old-fashioned way.

How exciting that was – to know that there are people out there who do want to listen to the musings that I have to share. I would have said “ramblings” but the advantage of Twitter is that is restricts any self-indulgent or “vanity” publishing to a very concise number of characters thereby keeping ego in check.

So, I’m “into” the new communications tools. Our company philosophy is based on the power of relationships and I remind everyone that the very word “relationship” had far more exciting, exotic or even intimate implications than just a mutual exchange of business cards. So, if we cannot actually get to hold hands with the person we’re targeting, then the power at our keyboard really does offer hope for building and maintaining relationships over time and distance.

So, here I am – an advocate of relationships, a practitioner of communications and I actually have an audience, albeit a rather small one, following my tweets. “Good stuff!” I’m sure you’re all saying – she’s making it happen out there in the cyber world – and indeed I should be, but the stark reality is that I am not a “tweeter”. I don’t even remember signing up for a Twitter account and now that I’m apparently established – with a small band of followers awaiting my pearls of wisdom – cannot even get into the account to either tweet or at least add some defining feature about myself so that people aren’t following the wrong Jane Prior.

The plot thickens and today pushing my trolley around the supermarket, who should I spy but one of my followers whom I greet with more enthusiasm than usual. “How’s things”, I say, “and thank you so much for following me on Twitter – it’s all very exciting isn’t it?” I hoped that he may tell me what I’m tweeting about – at least that’d give me a starting point, but no such luck and with apparent bewilderment he responded, “Am I? I didn’t know!” certainly putting vanity publishing and my ego temporarily at least, in its rightful place.

So as we exchanged stories he admitted that he couldn’t remember and had I actually sent out any messages anyway? >From my side admitting the terrible truth, we both agreed to watch this space so I guess it’s my wakeup call to get out and about on my own Twitter account, and claim it.

Social media is fabulous – at the stroke of a keyboard I can discover more about the social, work and questionable lives of my children than any parent should even want to know. Too much information here, they tell me if ever I start to share stories of my misspent youth… and yet it’s OK if all their hangovers are out there for the world to share. I still find Facebook tottering on the unthinkable, rather like reading a diary on the bedside table yet, it’s all quite de rigueur and no-body seems to mind. As Facebook and now Twitter take their places in the corporate world of social media, then I guess rather like my phantom followers, it’s stark reminder to keep it all in perspective. Claiming the audience is definitely one thing, and while I’m excited that we’re going to play more and more in these areas, the jury is still out and like any new toy, we’ll push it to the limits and then a new reality may or may not step in.

So, back to my supermarket buddy – I guess we may find each other on Twitter in the future – but I’ll be sure to call his mobile when I need a drink – at least for a while longer!