UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Twitter? It’s An Interactive Business Card

Posted by Brian Kelly on 17 Apr 2008

The Background

I was talking to Gwen van der Velden, head of the Director of Learning and Teaching Enhancement at the University of Bath recently. We spoke about the evaluation of Twitter that Andy Ramsden is currently engaged in with his colleagues in the e-learning unit. Gwen asked me for my views of how Twitter could be used and, in light of my recent trips to conferences, I described it as an ‘interactive business card’.  When you go to a conference you’ll often exchange business cards with people you meet. But when you get back to work you’ll probably find (well I do anyway!) that you can’t remember whose card it was or what you have intended to get back to them about – and if this has happened to you before, you might have decided to scribble a note on the card; so now you have the additional task of deciphering the scrawl written late at night in the bar after the conference reception!

Exploring The Analogy

Exchanging Twitter IDs enables you to receive an informal stream of information which can help you to develop a better context for any follow-up activities.  And if you decide you are not interested, you can remove the Twitter address from the people you follow – the equivalent, perhaps, of tearing up a business card.

I noticed a good example of this when I returned home after my chat with Gwen and read a tweet from ‘homebrewer’ which said:

@briankelly It’s free for reuse, but I haven’t put a license on it yet:

This was in response to a tweet from me after I spotted this tweet from homebrewer:

Dusting off my Google Analytics talk for this afternoon – should have kept my presentation notes from last time…

I had asked:

@homebrewer is your Google ANl;ytics talk avilable online? And is there a CC licence for reuse :-)

This to me provided a good example of the benefits of swapping Twitter IDs at conferences and the benefits of micro-blogging your work activities. Now the business card analogy is meant to refer to just one use case for twittering which works for me. Does it for you? And how might you apply this use case?

Applying The Analogy

How about creating a Twitter account before you go to a conference which you pass on to people you connect with? Then use the account during the conference to summarise your thoughts on the talks and provide some brief reflections when you return to work. This can then provide an ‘in’ for the contacts you’ve made – and there’s no need to sustain the micro-blogging or to worry about micro-blogging the minutae of your daily activities.

Why not give it a try – what’s there to lose?


6 Responses to “Twitter? It’s An Interactive Business Card”

  1. Nate Solas said

    I actually very much agree – a great deal of my post-conference insight has come from watching the new twitter feeds I picked up at the conference.

  2. David Sloan said

    An additional benefit of this suggestion – I think I’d struggle to do with twitter what I frequently used to do with business cards – inadvertently give someone a card I previously received from someone else, rather than one of my own :)

  3. […] Twitter? It’s An Interactive Business Card (source: UK Web Focus, […]

  4. […] ability to follow an insanely large number of people, while remaining fairly interactive.  Some use Twitter as an interactive business card.  Others use Twitter as a graffiti board to send random thoughts or notices of new blog posts.  […]

  5. […] I am now back home after spending a hugely enjoyable and stimulating three days at the ILI 2013 conference. This was the fifteenth in the annual Internet Librarian International conference series, As I have attended fourteen of the conferences (I had been invited to speak at a conference in the National Library of Singapore for the ILI conference I missed) it’s clear that I am a great fan of the event. This is for a number of reasons; in particular the international flavour of the event provides an opportunity to hear about developments in the library and online information world from a wide sector. It is also a very friendly event, which provides a valuable opportunity to develop and cultivate one’s professional network – as ever, the numbers of people I follow on Twitter has grown over the past few days; who needs business cards when swapping Twitter IDs can provide an ‘interactive business card’ – a suggestion I made back in 2008 which now seems to have become a mainstream approach. […]

  6. […] Back in April 2008, in the early day’s of Twitter usage I wrote a post explaining one of the benefits of Twitter for academics, especially when travelling to conferences: Twitter? It’s An Interactive Business Card. […]

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