Why Twitter Is Worth It

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You should be on Twitter if you're not already. Despite the fact that it has become one of the largest and most ubiquitous social media websites (with half a billion members, by one count), I'm surprised at the number of people I encounter who don't use Twitter. These are often smart people whom I would think would jump at the chance to engage in what is fast becoming a powerful tool for business and networking. In many cases, they express doubts about the seriousness of Twitter, considering it a medium for celebrity gossip and teen angst. Unfortunately, there is a lot of both those things. But there's also a lot of potential value for anyone serious about their careers, including administrative professionals.

Set aside the personal posts by your favorite celebrities and instead think of Twitter as an ultra-efficient news feed. It's a chance for you to quickly scan dozens of articles, blog posts and materials for products and services that are most relevant for your professional needs. Let's say your manager recently added "meeting planner" to your job description. There's a convention-center-load of insightful bloggers and journalists out there with great information about planning meetings (hereand here, for instance). Now, with your new Twitter account, you can "follow" them and get easy access to the best posts. 

You may want some suggestions about which feeds to follow once you've taken the plunge into Twitter. Here's the most obvious: IAAP. The association's feed is a great way to keep up on the latest IAAP news and career advice. All Things Admin founder Julie Perrine and Robert Half International also have great feeds. Here are a half-dozen additional feeds to give your Twitter account a jump start:

  • The Juggle - Produced by The Wall Street Journal to help people balance work and family.
  • Harvard Business Review - Articles, tips and stats from one of the world's most prominent business publications.
  • 12 Most - A compendium of business-oriented lists.
  • One Thing New - "Creative intelligence" for life and work.
  • Forbes Woman - Business news for career-minded women.
  • The Energy Project - Advice for working smarter and decreasing stress.

You can tailor your feed to fit your exact needs. It only requires a little effort to explore who's out there and what they have to offer. Then take a few minutes a day to scan the 140-character posts. Use a clipping application like Evernote to save and read the full article at your leisure.  If you subscribe and find the feed lacking, simply unfollow and no harm done. Welcome to the Twitterverse!