Stay connected on your terms
With the ashes of the information explosion layered miles high, modernity rewards people who know the effective ways to search the soot for the surviving insights. Knowing a lot about something in demand secures you place in the machine (for now), there may be more leverage today in knowing how to know things. Supply and demand is the force of gravity in the non-physical world. If the supply of information is abundant the bottleneck is in the questions. Give thought to abstracting how you learn things. The direct questions are frontal attacks. Learn to flank.
- Twitter is a fantastic platform to explore niches if you learn to use it effectively. I have learned so much from “Fintwit” (financial twitter) despite being a finance professional. Start following people that you like and as you read conversations you discover who else you like and before long you can, without their permission, find a tribe to teach and challenge you.
- I have helped several people to discover and benefit from a thoughtful approach to Twitter. My 2 main techniques:
- Use curated lists related to topics. You can subscribe to any of my lists and think of them as customized feeds. Make your own or find the lists of other “Tweeps” you may like.
- On desktop use Tweetdeck. It uses your Twitter credentials and allows you to see column-based feeds filtered by a list, a hashtag, a user, or other dimensions. Here’s a snapshot of my Tweetdeck.
- Even better than my tips, you must check out Nikhil Krishnan’s slide deck on how to get the most out of Twitter. It’s the best guide I have seen on the topic. The honorable mention goes to Alexey Guzey’s Twitter guide How to Make Friends on the Internet.
- I don’t post much but I do engage conversations sometimes. Twitter is a very entertaining and clever ecosystem. If you want a field guide to the Twitter prairie, check out Alex Danco’s playful analysis. Learn what it means to “get ratio-ed”.
- If you are able to generate a following, one of the greatest tools afforded to you is the ability to crowdsource the answer to questions from a sharp community. Remember, you can follow anyone, unlike LinkedIn. You can always @ someone’s handle but to DM somebody they must follow you. I have seen people expertly crowdsource insightful business questions. I recommend following people who exploit this power so you can “draft in their lanes”.
- If you don’t have a following (I do not), remember that crowdsourcing skill can be best rewarded on Reddit. Why is Reddit better than most internet forums? The top entries on the page are not the most recent but the most “upvoted”. Unlike Twitter, you may not “know” the respondents so it can be difficult to calibrate the value of the replies. The trade-off is you don’t need a following, instead, you must ask the right question in the right way to get responses and upvotes. A game in itself.