Twitter has become one of the most dominant social networking platforms. For many people it is the primary way that they interact with the online, and increasingly offline, worlds. No organization or individual can afford not to have a Twitter presence, especially if they care about their reputation or brand. In fact, the whole notion of personal branding has become possible in large part thanks to Twitter and other online social tools that make it possible to easily and effectively promote yourself. In "Follow Me" Sarah-Jane Gratton (@grattongirl) explores the nature of Twitter personal branding, and provides you with many useful tips and insights for getting ahead and becoming noticed and valued on Twitter.
This book is not an introduction to Twitter for complete novices. It is meant for those who have already had some experience with this platform and who want to take it to a new level. The early chapters are fairly general and deal with the nature of online engagement and interaction. Some of the "theories" of what Gratton thinks works seem to be homespun, while others are grounded in some established research and best Twitter practices. The book promotes the well-known SITE formula for the four kinds of twitter posts that make for a good Twitter presence - Share, Inform, Thank, Engage. This is a very simple approach to twitting, and it's amazing how many people (including myself) have not been practicing it to the fullest. Gratton gives her own suggestion on what the best mix of those posts ought to be like, but you may want to experiment yourself in order to find out what works the best for you. For me the most important tip in this book is the message of the importance of curation and timing of your tweets. It turns out that for a very good and successful Twitter presence a little bit of planning and forethought goes a long way.
The latter parts of the book deal with some real-life Twitter success stories and the list of useful Twitter tools. Twitter is a very open platform, and there is a whole little industry of apps and online sites that try to help you make the most out of the use of Twitter. Some of these tools are well known to even the casual Twitter user, but others are a bit more powerful.
My only issue with this book is that, while still useful and informative, it feels like yet another way for the author to be promoting herself. There are literally dozens, if not over a hundred, screen shots throughout the book featuring the author's profile picture. After a while this becomes too much. It smacks of the promotion for the sake of promotion approach, which in my opinion is what a lot of this "personal branding" is all about. You get the impression that Twitter is used by a lot of people as a tool for some kind of self-promotion pyramid scheme. They are far more benign than the usual pyramid scams, but in the end they operate on similar principles. Undoubtedly a lot of it has been used for very positive purposes, but a fari amount of it is just an extension of our vanities.