First I should make it clear that I'm pretty amped up on coffee and Lady Gaga's new single. Sometimes I get a little worked up and start writing and interesting things happen. So let's go.
It's two-thousand freaking eleven. If you aren't utilizing social networking you are making a big time mistake. I'd guess the vast majority of people reading this are on facebook and that is a start but it's just a start. I'm not going to go into too much generic social networking advice although you should just listen to me and start using it as much as you can, rather I'll talk about Twitter and how I use it.
For the longest time I hated Twitter. I created an account in 2008 because I heard it was hot and I thought it would be an easy way to post status updates to my blog. I had one of our developers write a script to auto post my Tweets to my CR blog. I hardly ever used it for various reasons, mostly because I didn't really understand the value of it and was annoyed with what I knew about Twitter. What I knew about Twitter was that arrogant celebs and pseudo poker celebs were constantly posting inane shit that I had no interest in reading. I don't care if you think you are sweet because you are popping bottles in the club, every once in awhile it's fine but the people I followed on Twitter were mostly these types.
ANYWAY, I was "down on Twitter." A common misconception is that Twitter is all about telling people what you are doing. Basically like giving status updates on the reg. Many people do use Twitter this way but those people are usually not worth following unless they lead extraordinarily fascinating lives. What improved Twitter for me was realizing I didn't have to follow who I am "supposed to follow." I follow people that have common interests, seem cool, seem smart, or know more about some subject that I want to learn about. If I find someone who seems sharp I will look through their list and see who they are following and add some of those people. Yeah, there are a few people I follow because they are funny or I'm a fanboy or whatever, but mostly it's just interesting people who post things that help me learn stuff or that are entertaining.
It's interesting how you can really develop a respect for someone through Twitter. For example, there's a lot of poker industry people who through one person or another I have heard is smart or fun or whatever. It's hard to really feel too strongly about that without ever having interacted with someone. With Twitter, there are a handful of people who I would likely have never have really payed much attention to but I now realize they are "people to know." I have no doubt I'll eventually meet some friends and/or future business partners through Twitter.
I'll list a few here in hopes you guys might get some value from following them. Some of these people are poker industry related and some are just randoms that I think are worth following.
Jon Bischke This is my favorite Twitter guy right now, my proverbial flavor of the month. I don't know too much about him besides he is an entrepreneur who wrote one of the best posts I've ever read about advice for young entrepreneurs (and anyone, really). Click here for that post.. I retweet this guy like a maniac because I find myself nodding my head in approval with his thoughts and ideas. I even went as far as to send him an email and introduce myself because I just really like what he posts (no response but I am a persistent m'fer and I'm eventually going to talk with this guy). He posts a lot about education, social/reputation graph, and tech stuff. I'll probably be talking more about all of this stuff in future blog posts.
Bill Rini, who blogs at http://www.billrini.com/. I don't know him personally although I have seen his name in the industry over the years. He just seems like a knowledgeable and straight shooting dude. I particularly like that when he doesn't know something or is speculating he seems to be very clear about that. His post-black Friday thoughts have been consistent with my own in many cases. I went back and read a bunch of his insights and have found them helpful in learning more about the industry.
Brian Balsbaugh - This is the founder of the poker agency "Poker Royalty." Poker agents get a bad name in the industry because there are some that in my opinion are less than competent. Just from following this guy on Twitter and a short phone call I can tell that he is a smart and reputable guy. He is the reason I recommend Poker Royalty to any poker player who asks me what agency they should use.
Kate Upton This is another great part about Twitter, where else can I follow the daily exploits of a random 18 year old swimsuit model with a willingness to do the dougie on camera? She doesn't tweet that much (a good thing probably) but it's been pretty entertaining to get a look behind the scenes at the life of an up and coming model.
These are just four random people I enjoy following. It's interesting to note that pre-twitter I had never even heard of two of them and the other two I wouldn't have been able to say more than a sentence or two about what I knew about them. I'm trying to build a diverse group of people to follow and I hope I can build a similarly diverse network of people following me.
I feel strongly that social media is only going to become more important in our lives. There is too much great data available for it not to be utilized better for marketing, job recruiting, actual networking, etc. I'm not sure how it's going to evolve but I'm going to try to stay on top of that progression. This is one of those "I might be wrong but I doubt it" feelings, I think this is going to be important and as such I'll be prioritizing it in my life.
I am REALLY making a point to branch out more and find good resources on Twitter. Twitter will act as my personal RSS feed to news, information, humor, and maybe a little bit of voyeurism if Kate Upton's TwitPic account ever gets hacked. When I find someone is doing good stuff I try to tell them as much and I appreciate when people do the same for me. The hope is that I can develop a strong network of people and continue to branch out into "bigger and better" things. The current lack of poker in the USA sucks, but I'm not going to sit around and wait for something to happen. To that end, it's time to check my Twitter feed.
PS - If you DO like twitter then please join me in my quest to get all the interesting people that are not currently on Twitter to sign up for Twitter. Shameless plug, this is me on twitter.
PPS - A lot of people that are new to Twitter tell me how hard it is to understand what the heck is going on. Suck it up, it takes a few weeks of regular use and you'll get it.