5/20/11 Twitter Love and Philanthropic Follow-Me Friday

Twitter, I accept you.
It’s taken a long time to say that. I started a Twitter account years ago, at the insistence of my talented, foresight-filled friend @Alyssa_LV, aka Alyssa Anderson. Alyssa was one of the first people I met who truly got Twitter. She was its No. 1 proponent, back in the day, when most of us were happier to make “tweet,” “twit,” “twat” jokes rather than figuring out the real uses for Twitter. Alyssa is a natural PR person, so whatever she loves, she lives, and for years, one of those loves has been Twitter.
It’s served her well, starting back when she was working at The Firm and through the time she was running her own PR business and explaining to clients (many of whom were as stubborn and anti-Twitter as I) why Twitter was important to get their message out. And it’s still serving her well, now that she is the PR manager at the Cosmopolitan, undoubtedly the hottest and most talked about resort in Las Vegas. Reading her Twitter feed, you never think “Alyssa is talking about work for work,” like you think with many PR people who are tweeting about their accounts and events. Instead, you read about her about dinner at @CommeCaLV or at @STKLasVegas, and can just feel through the tweets that this girl is having fun. That’s clearly what’s helped her to get more than 1,800 followers.
Finally, late to the game, I’m finally embracing Twitter. I’ve done it sporadically for years. Often, I’ll hop on when I’ve started a new blog or written a story I want to share. I’ve always made sure to pepper it with re-tweets and musings so I didn’t look entirely self-serving. But it wasn’t until I went to the American Society of Journalists 2011 conference (@ASJAinfo) that I really started to delve into Twitter. To be honest, Twitter came up so frequently that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. People were referring to Twitter as an ongoing conversation, and a place to gather all the information you want, quickly, in one place.
So I started to look at Twitter differently. I started collecting people who fit my interests. I started weeding through “Follow” lists of those very people who caught my interest to see what their interests are. I started following all of the news, travel and food outlets that grabbed my interest. Before, I knew it, I had a collection of more than 300 people to follow, some of whom I knew, many of whom I didn’t, who were, for the most part, saying interesting things and sharing interesting thoughts and perspectives. Then there were the news, travel and food tweets, which delivered up-to-the-minute headlines to my Twitter page. I was officially impressed.
When I started using Twitter differently, it also changed the way I use Facebook. Before, I posted a lot of updates, musings and articles on Facebook. Now, I still do that occasionally. But for the most part, I’ve switched to Twitter. I like the unbound access to so many people outside my normal realm, whether it’s Joan Rivers and Steve Martin or Curt Jones, the founder of Dippin’ Dots. Plus, it’s a great place to take a mental break when I’m writing. You can peruse the news and gossip and almost feel like you’re standing around the ol’ water cooler.
So today, as an experiment, I’m conducting my first “Follow Me!” plea. I hadn’t really thought about this until the conference, when speakers would ask the audience to tweet that we’d met them. One speaker told us that every time she meets someone new, she asks her or him to tweet about it. Admittedly, that seems a bit of a stretch to me. But I don’t mind asking people to follow me for a larger purpose. So I’m declaring today Philanthropic Follow Me Friday. For every new follower I get, I will donate $1 to the American Lung Association. This way, I get followers, they get money, we get an experiment. Everybody wins.


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