Recession School: How to Tweet Your Way to Success

July 8 2009, 11:15 AM
Welcome back to Recession School, where we learn from a range of experts how to negotiate a tough economy using unique tactics. Today's lesson is on Twitter, and our Cheap Thrills professor is Ron Doyle. Doyle started Twittercize, a "microexercize" program that sends out hourly tweets with under-a-minute exercises to do at work. Twittercize has over 3,000 followers, and Doyle, a 5280 contributor, has just passed over 2,000 followers on his personal account, which has earned him contacts in the journalism world and helped his freelance career. Personally, I have been skeptical of Twitter. I used it as a blogger during the DNC as a way to alert my fellow bloggers about the events I was scoping out. I was so uneducated in Twitter that I didn't effectively use my privacy settings, and everyone who followed me got updates like "Sunburned as all hell trying to get into The Daily Show." Doyle didn't start out Twitter-savvy, either. He sent out three tweets last June, thinking Twitter was like a chatroom. "I felt like I was standing in the middle of nowhere shouting, ‘Hey, look at me!'" he says. Doyle stopped tweeting for six months, but when he returned, he came back big. He joins us today at Cheap Thrills to help teach how Twitter can help us both network and look for jobs. The difference between Facebook and Twitter: I couldn't understand why I had to tweet as well as update my Facebook profile, so I started by asking Doyle about the differences between them. "Facebook feels like a high school reunion," he says. "And Twitter feels like you're at a pub. You know some people, but you don't know everybody. You ask a question of someone sitting next to you, and it might become this big conversation." Which I definitely agree with looking at my Facebook comments--"Remember when Mrs. Joy made us learn cursive?"--and my Twitter followers, who tend to be dissecting current events in a more conversational way. Why start?: Doyle re-joined Twitter when the freelance-writing marketplace dried up. He saw it as a way to market himself, meet other writers, and find volunteer work. He also wanted to start Twittercize to help establish himself as a fitness writer. Etiquette: When I joined Twitter last year, I was flooded with people who, rather than telling me that they were wiping their noses, posted link after link to their latest blog post. Doyle cautions that you shouldn't use Twitter to shamelessly self-promote. Instead, look at it as a balance between Facebook and LinkedIn. "People want to converse," he says. "Because I do humor writing, I'll definitely push the limit and tweet when my daughter poops on the floor." (Doyle is a stay-at-home dad with a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old.) How to network: Doyle says he not only started by seeking out people he knew; he also searched for other freelance writers and editors: "I now feel like I have friends on the East Coast and the West Coast." He scored his first feature for a magazine due to tips from one of his Twitter followers. Hear about the job first: "For someone who is trying to find opportunities for their business or their life, Twitter is the place where things are happening the fastest," Doyle says. Doyle, like many others, heard the news about Michael Jackson's death hours before it was reported on television; people on a tour bus in Hollywood tweeted that they saw an ambulance outside of Jackson's house. Doyle recommends looking for jobbots (or job bots), Twitter accounts that tweet job opportunities in your area: "The world is moving so fast, it's good to be in a place where you get opportunities early."