twitter1.jpgI spoke at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Conference for Women yesterday on cyber networking. Basically the theme was how you can use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others, to enhance your career

When I was doing the research for my speech, I figured I’d use comments made by the PA Governor himself on Twitter as an example of how to use the site.

Turns out, Ed Rendell, isn’t on Twitter.rendell.jpg (And his state is the only state without a budget. At least he was just named one of the “75 Best People” by Esquire Magazine.)

I was a bit surprised by Rendell’s Twitter aversion and checked out some other governors to see if any of them were. New York Gov. Paterson was one of only a handful on Twitter, and he’s legally blind.

I figured I should poke fun at Rendell about his aversion to cyberspace, so I tweeted about it:

are gov. rendell’s people monitoring twitter?/i hope so, cause at #pennwomen conf. i want to find out why tweets make him quiver.

The next day I got this email from Rendell’s People:

“First of all, thank you for joining us at the Governor’s Conference for Women! I’m sure the participants are looking forward to your insight and expertise. Just wanted to let you know that we caught your tweets, re: Governor Rendell on Twitter. The governor’s press office is hopeful that we might launch a Twitter site for Governor Rendell in the future.”

And, his people added:

“As you may know, First Lady Judge Marjorie O. Rendell recently launched a Twitter site (@CivicsFirst) to promote her civics education initiative.”

marjorie-rendell-midge-rendell-judge-marjorie-o-rendell-above-the-law-blog.jpg

It was nice to see that at least the women in the governor’s office were getting Twitter. Or so I thought.

I had the pleasure of meeting Judge Rendell at a reception the night before the conference, and I told her I was disappointed that her husband hadn’t gotten in on the social media act. But I was happy that she had.

As we chatted about the site, she didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about. So I blurted out, “do you even get Twitter?”

She honestly admitted, “I don’t.”

Her press person said the First Lady doesn’t actually write the tweets.

Hmm, I thought. That’s the whole point of Twitter. The person you’re following is supposed to be the person writing the tweets.

The next day, during my social media session, I talked about all the different sites but all the questions seemed to be about Twitter. Finally a woman stood up and said, “I just don’t understand Twitter. What is it?”

At that point I realized I needed to rush through my Power Point presentation and get online so I could show everyone how it actually worked. When I suggested this to the audience everyone cheered and applauded.

They all had heard about Twitter, some audience members had even been on it, but few really understood what the heck it was.

I logged on to Twitter, showed everyone my profile page, and there was a hush in the crowd. “So that’s Twitter,” I could sense people thinking in the room.

OK, my first suggestion to people who don’t get Twitter is to go check it out for yourself. That’s what I did.

Before you actually sign up, decide on what name you want to user name you want to use. I decided on CareerDiva because it’s easier to remember than Eve Tahmincioglu. Give this some thought though, you may be stuck with this name for a while.

If you want to use Twitter to help build your personal brand, then I would choose a name that reflects what you do. A friend of mine as a blog called Fridge Demons, so she chose fridgedemons as her user name.

After choosing a name I’d spend a lot of time following people that seem interesting. You can also follow news websites, or government sites. Just get a feel for Twitter by reading all the tweets you can.

A few women in the audience at the conference asked me it there were books about Twitter that might help them navigate the site. One writer, Sarah Milstein, has written a lot on the topic, including a great blog post on Twitter and she coauthored The Twitter Book. But I really think the best way to figure it out is reading it and seeing for yourself how it works.

Also, check out this funny “Twitter in Plain English” YouTube video:

I offered to give Gov. Rendell a private tutorial on Twitter when he was ready to take the tweeting plunge, and his people said:

“The governor’s press office would love any advice you can provide!”

Here’s one — Get On Twitter Now!

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