I came back from my lunch yesterday to find a red tote hanging from my office door filled with contact material for the local cable company rep. It’s not uncommon for a rep to stop by once a year. My office closet has a few mugs from throughout the years. So I didn’t think anything of it. I brought the tote inside, grudgingly acknowledged it as an obvious advertising tactic and put it to the side so I could finish some other tasks.

But the afternoon rolled around. I put my book down (Ravenmarked by Amy Rose Davis in case you’re wondering, it’s amazing), and I gave it some thought. The old rep had contacted me last year and helped me get a “deal” on my cable. Actually, it was a deal they were offering new customers, but since we were already existing customers we were sure we wouldn’t qualify. And the rep cut through that problem easily.

Could we have gotten the same deal from online? No, the system wouldn’t have helped us out. It’s all about rules. Would we have gotten that deal from a regular call center? Maybe, if someone were willing to step up and take a slight leadership/decision making position. But probably only after being hung up on, mis-directed, put on hold. By calling the rep directly, he was happy to help me and answer all my questions at any hour of the day. And his service was so good, I passed it on, putting the materials he had given me to great use.

So today, I saw the new materials. It’s obviously a new rep. And I decide to do something I would have never done before.

I called him.

You must understand. I don’t even call my good friends. I can call people on the phone as part of my job, but that’s it. Rarely do I do more than that unless we’re talking sales/job related.

So why in the world did I do that? And the answer came to me was a surprise. Twitter. Twitter, when done right, is just like this. He put out his materials on my door step, and I called him back and made a connection. I let him know I got them and that I’d direct any of my new tenants to him. He was very kind and enthusiastic and promised to stop by some time next week to properly introduce himself.

You know, I actually believe him too. When he asked about my lunch hour, I think he was honestly taking notes. And this is exactly how you have to work Twitter. This is the weird beast that many people (including me) have issues wielding.

It’s not just about shouting out into cyberspace about your book or blog. What I enjoy is the actual connections. I look for people who share useful information (their blog updates, other interesting articles) and share little slices of personal information. I like to try and say something when I can. What I want is to know the people I actually follow. Not like BFFs, but I do want each person to stand out to me in some way.

And I do think I’ve managed that. Will they listen when I suggest or share something? Maybe. I don’t know. Either gathering a large following or having a small following of people you feel connected with, both have their plus sides and their down sides. You have to find the fit that’s best for you, and after a bit of experimentation, this is it for me. I’m not going to gain a lot of followers quickly, but that’s just going to be the way I am.


This post was also inspired by this discussion here on Andrew Mocete’s blog. Seriously, if you want to see how someone can network and gain a thousand followers, watch this guy!