Friday, April 17, 2009

FollowFriday Rockstars

One of the things I love most about Twitter is how it can bring out the best in so many people. In my tweets I use "rockstar" quite a bit. I also blip a few songs about rockstars going out to my tweeps. To me a rockstar is someone who simply shines. Something beautiful and wonderful comes out from them. It is not about follower count. It's not about how often they tweet. It's not even really what they tweet about. It's about people that really help make Twitter what it is by simply being who they are.

Last week, I introduced you to a dozen amazing women. This week I want to share with you an assortment of men from around the globe & with different interests and tweeting styles. Each of these men is truly unique. Hopefully after you read what I have to say about each of them, you'll find yourself wanting to follow some or all of them yourself.

Minervity - For the ladies reading this, the first thing you'll notice is Richard's avatar is simply hot. ;) For many of you, that many not be enough reason to follow him. Richard is simply one extremely cool guy & one of the nicest people you can come across on Twitter. He's one of a handful of people I check their tweets daily. Richard tweets on a variety of subjects. One of my favorite recent ones was a nice article on how to work through exhaustion - something many of us could use help with from time to time. Richard has a varied creative background. He started out a songwriter/producer when he was 12 & signed to Sony Music (he still writes & produces music for artists such as American Idol, Swedish, German Idol & Lutricia McNeal). To date, Richard has sold about 10 million albums. Over the past decade, Richard has been working as a graphic/logo/icon designer. He also programs & works with 3D, flash and database development.

IAmKhayyam - Khayyam is one interesting dude. The tweeting side of him is just one aspect of this really super guy I am proud to call my friend. This guy is truly a renaissance man. His wisdom spans across pretty much everything and he's quite phenomenal at all of them. There's something about him that just makes you want to connect with him. He has an amazing energy that you want to be a part of and witness. You know - the old soul in a young body feel? That's him. A connoisseur of all things fine, it trickles nicely over to his design work. He's a print and identity designer that will get you noticed. But to call him just a designer is limiting. The side projects that he's working on will be definitely something to watch out for. He's an idea man. A thinker. Someone who will challenge you in ways you never thought of.

BuySellDomains - John is an incredible sweetie. Someone I had come across before Twitter but has gradually becoming a friend. He really makes an effort to support his friends - which is an admirable quality in anyone. John does web site design and is gradually making his mark in the domain industry. He's interested in health issues & natural stuff. He also is an animal lover and proudly owned by one little kitty.

Arodomus - Arod may seem like a strange choice to include if you look at his stream. (If you are easily offended you may want to avoid his stream.) He's one of the early people I connected with on Twitter. He's a normal guy with a heart of gold that shares his day to day life in his tweets as opposed to someone that interacts. He's just someone I find myself wanting to cheer on as he gets himself back in shape & celebrates life every day. If you follow him, you can't help but start to find yourself cheering him on.

AndySowards - Andy is a doting dad to 3 beautiful kids, a loving husband to his wife, a great friend that you can rely on and a simply mahvelous tweeter. He’s a freelance web designer and the selfless provider of the Web Development Nerdy Daily Links; a huge collection of links, tips, resources, tutorials and inspiration that he collects and shares with web designers the world over, every day. Andy produces extremely high quality custom Web 2.0 sites, Web Applications, e-Commerce Solutions & Wordpress blogs. He's done work for my businesses & clients - top notch job. One client was so thrilled, he even wrote a birthday song when Andy finished up a job on his birthday :)

BrianCray - Brian is a super dooper all around nice guy. Someone I'm just starting to get to know. Brian is a web ninja with a mix of marketing and web development knowledge that will karate chop straight through 5 thick cardboard boxes. He uses his knowledge to help businesses with everything web 2.0. He is the guy behind and Brian is working on a book that is due out later this year - something I can't wait to read & tweet about myself!

TonyBlakeLive - Tony's tweets can be a little out there at times. He has a wicked sense of humor. Tony was a friend well before Twitter. We reconnected after I found him on Twitter. What can I say about Tony? He is one of the original Internet gurus while avoiding the guru type mentality. He combines his expertise with mentalism with some kick-ass marketing expertise to be top notch. Beneath the tough outer shell, Tony is a real sweet, stand-up guy who is loyal to his friends and always willing to go the extra distance.

There are many other people I wanted to include on this list. But there's always next #FollowFriday for that :)

Of course, you're more than welcome to follow me too :) I tweet a lot. I try to interact with followers to the extent I can. I spin tunes at I share links I think are interesting. I'm a news junkie, voracious consumer of information - much of it useless but that which amuses me in some way.

For information on what #followfriday is, you can read here.
For information on why I do this weekly list, you can read here

Thursday, April 16, 2009

10 Things I Love About Twitter

Haven't you noticed how the media & bloggers simply love Twitter? Even if many (most?) haven't figured out how to use Twitter effectively, they have discovered that any article or post about Twitter will result in traffic. Until recently most of the coverage surrounding Twitter has been positive. However lately it seems that about 1 in 3 are now harping on the negatives of Twitter without a true understanding of the awesome potential it offers people & organizations. I wanted to take some time to share some of the "good" stuff.

10 Things I Love About Twitter

1. The friendships. I have been able to make some amazing friends who I know I'd want to keep in my life even if Twitter disappeared tomorrow. For all that many say about friendships forged through social media being shallow & superficial, I have to strongly disagree.

2. So many interests, so little time. I have a voracious appetite for new information on a variety of different areas. I'm also a news junkie. I've been able to share information I come across with others. I've been able to connect with experts in areas which I'd never have otherwise had access to. The older I get, the more I realize how little I know, how precious time is and how much more I want to discover. Twitter helps fill a void in this respect.

3. It's there when I need it. When I have time between work & real life stuff, I can go to Twitter. Some days I have very little time to tweet. But it is there when I want it.

4. Getting answers & input fast. I've had at least a dozen cases where I've needed to get input on something or find out how to do something. Within minutes someone on Twitter has been able to come to the rescue.

5. Making an impact on others. I'm a firm believer that we are what we put out there. I try to live my life by doing "something" each day to brighten up other people's day. Twitter makes this very easy to do. Let's face it - there's a lot of negativity in the world. Every one of us has a rough day from time to time. Reaching out somehow to others to do something nice not only helps them feel better but also can make us feel better too. It's helped make me happier on a day to day basis because I really don't waste time now on the small stuff. Twitter flows with positivity.

6. Connecting with personal heroes. I've been followed first on Twitter by a number of people I consider to be personal heroes in business. One is a bit of a funny story. A few years back, I was at a dinner with friends. The dinner game of - if you could have dinner with anyone living or dead started. Someone before me mentioned Richard Branson. My next choice was Michael Tchong (he was a tremendous influence for me during my early years doing business on the Internet). I was excited to see he had followed me on Twitter and in my overabundance of enthusiasm, I tweeted about the dinner story. Michael responded, we've stayed connected & hopefully soon I'll be actually meeting him. Another personal hero of mine is Scott McKain. Scott is a business strategist with a unique take on what drives true customer service excellence in organizations. His best-selling books have had tremendous impact on the way I create and manage my businesses. I now regularly communicate with him because of Twitter.

7. Actual business. If you are one of my followers, you'll likely have noticed that I rarely tweet about my businesses. The only times I do are when someone asks me a question. Even then I try and have the courtesy to bring it to DM or an alternate communication method. In spite of this, Twitter generates a substantial amount of business for me. For one of my sites listed in my bio, I am getting anywhere from 5-14 new clients a day - just from Twitter. The lifetime value of clients gained from Twitter per day is averaging $3-4,000 right now. I've had over a dozen domain name sales as a result of Twitter. I've had several very nice size deals for various businesses I operate. The most recent of these is a $20,000 per month 1 year contract. I'm also working with a VC firm on domain valuations & acquisitions for companies they invest in.

8. Money connections. To date five venture capitalist firms have contacted me about investing in businesses I own. All of these contacts stemmed from Twitter. I'm not looking for investors right now, but to have these contacts for the future is invaluable. I've also made numerous contacts who are interested in passively investing in domain names.

9. New doors are opening. Some extremely exciting things have been happening that I could never have foreseen. I've been in talks with a large company to do a daily podcast. A radio station contacted me because of the music I tweet. They asked if I'd be interested in doing a regular show with them once a week. I've been invited to be a guest on many webinars/teleseminars. I have several interviews and guest posts for blogs lined up. I'm also working on a coaching program+workshop series to be held in a dozen different cities.

10. Deals get closed faster. When dealing with contacts made outside of Twitter, I'm finding that my Twitter reputation is enhancing my credibility - thus helping me close deals much faster. This goes both for prospective clients as well as partnerships/joint ventures. They know if I am "out there," I'm not going to risk my reputation over a single deal.

None of the above were benefits I had expected to get from using Twitter. They have all been pleasant surprises and definite reasons why I consider Twitter to be of high value for me. At the same time there are 3 reasons why I had wanted to become active on Twitter - all of which have materialized. I thought it may be worthwhile sharing these too:

1. Networking. I've been able to meet a lot of like-minded people, have traded business leads and have had some private "shop talk" which has been beneficial.

2. Recruiting. Finding talent is difficult. For both full-time and occasional staff, Twitter has proven to be invaluable. Like non-Twitter recruiting, not everything has worked out. But the ability to get an insight into the people I am considering hiring has been invaluable in pre-filtering candidates so that the relationship has a better chance of working.

3. Chronicling some of my life. Although I really don't micro-blog per se, I do share tidbits of what is going on in my life. I doubt I'll ever go back and read it all, but it's still "there" if I ever want to someday.

I'm not implying that anyone using Twitter will be able to benefit from these same 13 things as I have. That's the nice thing about Twitter - we each use it for our own reasons. How we use it helps define our own success. I just wanted to pull up the blind so you may have some idea of the potential that may be waiting for you.

One of the issues many people have about Twitter is that they feel it is too time-consuming. I spend a lot of time on Twitter. In under 4 months, I've accumulated well over 10,000 tweets. I probably average 15-21 hours a week on public tweets. I can appreciate for many small business owners that it is hard enough to find the time to do what needs to get done - never mind indulging in something as seemingly frivolous as tweeting. The key here is - to be able to leverage the power of Twitter, you need to have your business and life organized in such a way that taking advantage of an opportunity like this is possible. Personally, I have no doubt that the ROI on my time has been well worth it. This is part of the reason I will be conducting my upcoming coaching program & workshops - to help share with entrepreneurs & professionals how to strategize and systematize their businesses so that they can focus on what they do best in their business. Info on these programs will be coming up soon :)

Please feel free to share your own successes with Twitter in the comments.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter too :)

P.S. I'll be posting a follow-up to this next week on the "bad" to provide some balance.