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How I've Used Twitter to Grow My Community

Twitter is my favorite social media platform. Hands down.

When I lived in rural Indiana, I used Twitter to connect to like-minded professors and to other professional women of color who didn’t live in my local community. At the time, I didn’t have satellite radio and many of the premium cable channels that would keep me abreast of cultural occurrences that were important to me.

I joined Twitter in 2010 without knowing how to use it. I “listened” to Twitter chats for a while, then I became bold enough to start chatting with people who interested me. Over time, I initiated conversations and realized that people wanted to hear what I had to say.

Eleven years later, I am using my Twitter platform to engage with targeted communities that matter to me. Because of my ability to connect communities, one of my former students began calling me a “people connector.”

Within the platform, I create private lists of people who represent communities of interest to me, including networkers, academics, and women of color (WoC). In this way, I can listen easily to the people to whom I want to listen when I am in the mood to hear from them. Creating a structure to organize my contacts and maintaining control of my virtual community helps me engage with them efficiently and effectively. I then introduce people who share similar interests and roles to new voices in a common community from my list. In this way, I am expanding and strengthening their communities too.

Using Twitter to Amplify Voices

My mission is to help people find their purpose and to live life authentically in my roles as a professor, entrepreneur, and scholar-activist. I share resources and thoughts via Twitter to stay abreast of what is happening in real-time. Internet searches, websites, and sometimes news outlets often are too slow in providing sources of information when life is happening. I need to know what people are thinking and talking about in the moment for me to achieve my mission.

Twitter gives me raw feedback and emotions so I can identify people’s true thoughts and can add new members to my virtual community. I look for people who are not afraid to share their real views. They are people with whom I want to collaborate and do business. Twitter has the potential to bring out that authenticity in people. Those glimpses of realness matter to me and let me know with whom I want and need to connect. Twitter is more than a social media space. It is my people vetter.