My Twitter Birthday

So, exactly 6 years go, I started using Twitter and I had no idea how addicted I would be to it. I got on it pretty early as I’m an early adopter on many services that I got a three letter twitter handle (@ksc). Most of the time it’s great, except when there’s something happening at the Kennedy Space Center (@KSC), and then my mentions on twitter goes crazy. 🙁

As I reflect on how I’ve used Twitter in the past 6 years, it has not only kept me connected with friends and met new ones, but really been a place where I’ve been challenged, encouraged and learned so much from the people I follow. The best way I can explain Twitter is that it’s all about influence. I have been influenced by those I follow and I am able to influence those who follow me. Through this medium, I’m able to learn from people who I would never had access to and I’m able to influence people who I’ve never even met. That’s amazing.

As I celebrate my Twitter birthday today, another interesting fact is that Twitter was actually born on the day I was born. We share the same birthday. I knew I felt a connection to Twitter. 🙂

Michael Hyatt wrote a blog post about a conversation he had with a friend about Twitter, who was skeptical about it.

He finally blurted out, “It just seems like a huge waste of time. I don’t need one more inbox to check. I can barely keep up with what I have now.”

I said, “Buddy, you’re completely missing it.”

“Missing what?” he said, defensively.

“The potential.”

“What potential?” he asked emphatically.

“It’s not about what you get out of it,” I said. “It’s about the opportunity it affords you to give to others and make an impact.”

“Excuse me,” he muttered.

“Twitter is an opportunity for you to lead in a way that was not possible until now.” I explained.

“As you and I both teach, when you boil it down, leadership is influence. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” he acknowledged.

“Leadership is not about position, a title, or status. It is about influence. Plain and simple. I know you believe that, too, right?”

“Right.”

I continued, “If that’s true, then Twitter provides an unprecedented opportunity for people like us to extend and amplify our influence. You don’t have to buy time on television or radio. You don’t have to write a book or magazine column. You don’t even have to blog,” I went on.

“All you have to do is write short 140 character micro-posts about what you are doing or—more importantly—what has your attention right now.”

I could almost hear his brain shift into a different gear. “You and I both know that people today crave leadership. They are dying for role models. They want to see what good leadership looks like—as it is lived out in the challenges of everyday life.”

I continued, “If you are living your life on-purpose, like I know you are, then by Twittering, you are modeling something worth emulating. This is unquestionably the most powerful way to lead.”

“Hmm.” I could hear the flicker of possibility in his voice. I knew this was resonating with him. But then he countered, “But you just can’t lead by Twittering.”

“I agree. I am not suggesting that you can. It is simply one tool in your leadership toolbox—but a very powerful one. Twitter is like an influence amplifier. It enables you to extend your influence in ways never before possible.”

We continued to chat about this for several more minutes. He finally said, “Wow! Maybe there’s more to Twitter than I thought. How do I get started.”

How do you use Twitter?

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