I first discovered Twitter shortly after it launched. Back in 2006, Evan Williams (the original person behind Blogger before Google bought it out) had a little box on his blog with his latest tweets, sharing with the world in a micro format what he was doing. I immediately went and signed up. Evan is an innovator, and I knew if he was involved it was going to be something cool.
Twitter didn't really start to grow into what it is today until the spring of 2007. There is a large Film/Music/Interactive festival in Austin, Texas every spring called SXSW. At SXSWi, enough of us were on Twitter that we found it really useful to coordinate meeting up with people, making dinner plans, and everything else you can think of. From there, Twitter took off. (You can read a lot more about Twitter over on Wikipedia.)
But what is Twitter?
Twitter is basically microblogging. In 140 characters or less, you share what you are doing at that time. You can use it for any number of things - post where you are at, the funny joke you just heard, ask for help with something, talk about what you had for lunch.
There are no rules.
The best way to start with Twitter is to just sign up. Find people to follow that you might have similar interests with - other photographers (I'm there and so is Anne), people in your city, people you know on Facebook. Follow people who those people follow. Join in the conversation. If you just sit on the sidelines, it won't make any sense. It will make a lot more sense if you talk with people through Twitter.
Yes, Twitter can even help your business grow, in a lot of different ways. I've often heard people say that Twitter sure seems fun, but really? They will never get business from it. That isn't true. Back on November 10, 2007 I helped rescue a wedding thanks to Twitter. I had done shoots for a local magazine, along with my friend Mark. He is an amazing concert photographer - and for months, we had chatted back and forth via Twitter. The owner of the magazine was in a wedding where the hired photographer did not show up. He only had the other photographer's phone number in his cell phone. Being a concert photographer, he knew he wasn't up for a 300+ guest wedding - but he immediately thought of me & my second shooter, Elaine. He messaged us both, and within 15 minutes we had talked with the groomsman and we were on our way to save the wedding. We booked at least 3 weddings in 2009 that were a direct result of that wedding (1 of the bridesmaids, 1 friend of the bride's brother, and 1 who just thought it was awesome that we would do that) -- and it is something that would have never happened without Twitter, and networking with people in my city. The whole thing was a Defining Moment for me and my business.
Do you Twitter? Has it helped your business? Has it helped you grow a stronger community of photographers around you?
Christine Tremoulet is a Houston, Texas Hot Mama Boudoir photographer and wants you to have a Business of Awesome. She also runs Wholly Matrimony, a destination wedding blog. She is a creative geek, having blogged since 2000 at BigPinkCookie. When she isn't taking photos or knitting, she is busy devouring all the info related to Marketing & Social Media and its powers that she can find online. Follow her on Twitter.