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Why and How You Should Use Twitter for Networking

ashleemboyer profile image Ashlee (she/her) Updated on ・3 min read

Disclaimer: This post isn't for bragging. I've had people ask me whether or not Twitter is worth it.

I joined Twitter less than 60 days ago. As of this writing, I have 358 followers, am following 460 other awesome people, and have written almost 1300 tweets. My tweets have also earned over 600k impressions. (I'm especially proud that my top two tweets hold roughly 20% of those impressions and they both have to do with web accessibility. 😊)

Screenshot of my current Twitter profile stats

Joining Twitter is also the biggest action I took in April that lead me to my new job I'm about to start.

Why should I even bother?

There are a lot of inspiring people doing big things on Twitter. For me, it has been so empowering to see successful women in tech. Here are a couple of lists if you're looking for more people to follow.

  1. fempire, by Tracy Lee
  2. dev.to, by Developer Avocado
  3. Tech Ladies Master List, by Emily A. Pixi

Twitter is also a great place to learn about what technology or frameworks are being used by people outside of your bubble. It's easy for us to get tunnel vision about the stacks we use, so seeing what others are learning and what they have to say about it is very enlightening. These are some great hashtags to pay attention to if you 're not sure where to start.

  1. #CodeNewbie
  2. #100DaysOfCode
  3. #freeCodeCamp

Finally, Twitter is great for job networking and/or meeting people in your area. As I said up top, Twitter is the reason I got my foot in the door at the company I'm about to start working for. About 1 month after creating my profile, I decided to message another woman in tech about any ideas she had on people hiring front end developers focused on accessibility. She introduced me to a developer in my city, and then he introduced me to my future boss. Seriously, social media is like magic. Not only did I end up finding a job from this exchange, but also found some really great friends who are supportive and full of wisdom.

Ok, so how do I get started?

My biggest is advice is this: just put yourself out there. Be unapologetically authentic. If people like you, great. If not, it's just the internet. You're (hopefully) not there just to impress strangers. If you're not hurting anyone, keep moving forward and being yourself.

My second piece of advice: go out of your comfort zone. Interact with "famous" people. Ask questions. Answer questions! We're all learning here. If people make you feel bad about yourself because you're new to the field or trying something new, that's not on you. There are plenty of supportive folx who will have your back and don't mind whatsoever where you're at in your career or skillset.

My final piece of advice: learn out loud. It may seem like no one is listening at first, but that's what handy hashtags are for! People do follow those. If you created a static site with Gatsby, @ them. They'll probably retweet it! This is just one good way to get some exposure and even feedback on what you're working on.


Did you know I have a newsletter? πŸ“¬

If you want to get notified when I publish new blog posts or make major project announcements, head over to https://ashleemboyer.com/newsletter.


Image by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Posted on by:

ashleemboyer profile

Ashlee (she/her)

@ashleemboyer

Disabled Web Developer ⌨️ | HOH 🀟 | Live Knitter 🧢 & Live Coder πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» | she/her

Discussion

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My career is mostly built on my Twitter use. I was rather addicted to it for quite some time. Two weeks ago, I blocked it and removed the apps and honest to god Im happier. Even my friends have noticed a change in my mood. Its a great tool, please don't get me wrong. My career wouldn't be where it is without it, but make sure you develop socializing and networking skills outside of it.

 

Balance is definitely important. I've found myself a little addicted to it, feeling like I might miss out on something, but I'm doing pretty good for the most part. I make sure to schedule times for unplugging where I keep my phone put away.

 

Great article. I joined Twitter earlier this year, but I'm not very active. It's not that I don't want to contribute, more like I feel like I have nothing original to say.

I like the idea of learning in public. There will always be people who are learning, and what I learn today may be helpful for a bunch of people trying to learn the same thing.

 

I've felt similar about originality when thinking about writing tutorials. When I see a tutorial already exists, I decide not to write it over again. I don't want anyone to think I'm "stealing" their ideas or piggybacking, but the truth is that we need many versions of the same thing. Everyone has a different learning style. That means we need a lot of the same things written in slightly different ways. Perhaps some of the things you want to say aren't "original", but the way you say them is!

You're right on point about that last part. I also wrote a post about learning out loud if you'd like to take a look at it. :)

 

Thanks Ahslee, that's great to hear. I should definitely try to put myself out there a little more :)

 

Sometimes I feel like I'm using social media all wrong. I'm very introverted and not the type that can just walk up to strangers and join a conversation until I get to know them more.

Even on the internet, I feel like I would be intruding on other people's conversations, especially when I don't even see the thread until a day or two later. Most other times I have ever replied in a forum, the thread dies or my reply is overlooked. I may just not be aggressive enough for the internet. O heck, this reply took at least 4 tries to write.

That said, I've been trying to at least write more and share things on Twitter & such. I'll keep on trying.

 

Here's the best part about the internet, and I briefly touched on this:

My biggest is advice is this: just put yourself out there. Be unapologetically authentic. If people like you, great. If not, it's just the internet.

Social media takes out the face-to-face component of talking to people. This can be good or bad, that's a different conversation, but I think this is a good thing for people who don't feel 100% comfortable talking in person.

Most of Twitter is very public. People know they're having public conversations. I don't see replies to a thread you're not initially in as "intruding". Often times, you've just found a piece of the conversation relatable and are looking to connect more on that. People are on Twitter just for that! I'd say most people are fine with it.

Being more interactive on Twitter will definitely be good practice for finding ways to start conversations in person. You get to work on your confidence and you only have so many characters to efficiently say what you want to say. You've got this! Just keep practicing. :)

 

Great advice, I used to do this a lot a couple of years ago and it helped me build a fairly good following. I haven't done it so much recently but really should do as there's a wealth of knowledge on Twitter.

 

Twitter is also a great place to learn about
what technology or frameworks are being used by people outside of your bubble

This is the main reason why i keep using twitter, i always want to see different approach of the same topic, thats make me get a wide scope about it.

 

Awesome article! I started twitter ages ago but keep gaining and losing interest in it. One day I'll post 3/4 times and then suddenly I won't post for a week! I also don't really interact with others much which I presume is half the problem why I haven't got many followers!

 

I definitely think interaction is key! πŸ—οΈ To add a tiny bit of context, I joined Twitter with the intention to meet people and stay updated on what's going on in the tech world. These were goals I clearly set for myself before I did anything. Twitter can become a massive time suck or overwhelming to navigate, so maybe take some time to think about:

  • how Twitter can help you achieve other goals
  • what types of interactions will help you get there
 

I saw the title and the first thing I thought was "I'm gonna tweet at Developer advocates the same way people tweet at rappers" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

 

Uh oh, what* do people tweet at rappers??? 😬

 

Rapper: releases new album
Twitter: a bunch of fire emojis and gifs of people being hyped.
Also Twitter: "sorry bro i'm a fan but the last good album you did was five years ago". mandatory arguing between two categories

Rapper: has beef with another rapper
Twitter: another rapper's fanbase tweeting how he just got "murdered" by the latest diss track. two fanbases arguing who really "took an L"

Rapper: exists
Twitter: Come to wherever the person tweeting lives

 

Thank you for this! I've had my Twitter for a few months now too but I don't have nearly the amount of success that you have. I've never been much of a social media person but I've been putting a big push recently to try to use it not just more but more effectively. I'm gonna try these tips out in the near future

 

My main problem is the langage. As I'm not english native it's really hard to get on some conversations or threads or discussions. Even if I've beginner level, I have to translate some of what I'm reading and i'm sometimes so frustrated

 

No pain, no gain. Keep doing it and you'll improve rapidly.

Advice: understand every word. If you use linux, install dict. For windows, maybe try Lingoes?

 

I live in Venezuela and I'm in the process of moving out due to a lot of reasons beyond the scope of this article. However, Twitter has served me quite a lot to find new clients and even job opportunities in the country I'm going to!

Excellent article

 

LOVE THIS!!! Don't forget one of the most important hashtags to follow, #DEVCommunity πŸ˜ƒ

 

Of course!! One of my favorite hashtags. 😍

 

I have a really strong Twitter network in my native language, but I recently started an English one and I'm failing to interact with people there. I'm going to follow your advice and hopefully things will turn around!

 

Hey Ashlee! Nice to hear how you have managed to start off with Twitter and how it has helped you in many different ways. I myself have not been using social media for quite some time since the good old mIRC days and I still seem to have this weird relationship with social media in general. The thing is that I feel like I'm just not that kind of person who wants to say opinions in general. This is very Finnish of me I know but still I kind of feel like I would like to be more active. I do however like to read how and what other people are doing and feeling about tech and other stuff. I tried a few Tweets so far but it just feels very forced so far.

 

I really like your idea of using Twitter for networking, so without turning this into a rant, and this is not a rant, here are my two cents.

There are a very tiny percentage of people who, for reasons I'll explain below, cannot make a twitter account. As you probably know, twitter requires a phone number for account verification. There are many stories on the internet these days about people getting locked out of their accounts because they created a twitter account with an email but a phone number is required for them.

You see, Twitter has a listbox of countries to write your phone number in, but some countries are not on that list. Sudan is one of them unfortunately. This effectively makes it impossible for people like me who have a phone number belonging to Sudan to verify their accounts.

So in the absence of a twitter account, this is the strategy I use for networking that kind of gets the same effect as having one:

I use Facebook for all real world interactions because people there are more likely to be real, and it has the benefit of being able to bump shoulders (virtually) with people not in the tech industry (I never understood why developers consider a tech twitter account as a must have, if you could explain that would be great). This is the account I expect to get real life opportunities from other friends.

Then I have Mastodon as a twitter-like solution. Of course you won't find big names there but it's an awesome diverse community for the occasional tech-related thought. As lower Alexa-ranked website you don't network here because there aren't people to network with. It's just for sharing thoughts.

Speaking of sharing thoughts: People have been wondering what Twitter should do with its business model to make it profitable. I propose breaking the twitter app into a tech twitter app, a lifestyle twitter app, an everyday twitter app, etc. you get the idea. Each topic gets it's own app. This will make discussions more relevant and increases the chances that the users you follow there are also developer-minded. This also releases a large amount of energy in the form of data which would enable Twitter to process it like Facebook does which it could then sell, which would generate revenue. Though I'm not sure they would turn to me for advice πŸ˜‰

EDIT: By the way, it's always useful to have LinkedIn handy as a resume.

Just thought I would share that with you πŸ™‚ Of course I lurk on twitter anonymously because it's always useful to get someone's website as a kind of business card.

 

Nice article. I'll try to interact with people more so m starting from here :)

 

Thank you and good luck!! :)

 

Couldn't agree more Ashlee! I've been networking on Twitter since before 2010 under various handles and hashtags for business purposes only of course. Lucky enough to have discovered many an opportunity in tech through collaborative efforts with likeminded people who I have almost always never actually met in real life before. My goal is to engage successfully with a verified user on Twitter. Have any of your tweets trended before? Oh and thanks again for sharing this, great post.

 

WOW!
I joined twitter over 10 years ago an I don't have 200 followers :D
Clearly, I am doing everything wrong :D
Thank you for the tips.
I will apply them right now.

 

Hmmm, I think I've just been more active! I have about 1/3 the number of tweets as you and almost 4x the number of likes. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad reflection of me and the time I spend on Twitter. πŸ˜‚

 

Clearly I am going about twitter wrong. Been 2 years since I got my twitter account but just 20 followers :/

 

Hi, Lohit. I can't actually find your Twitter page! The link from your DEV profile seems to be broken. If you can get that fixed, I'll try to take a look and see if I have any suggestions for you!

 

shoot I actually updated it wrong after reading this article ;) I just updated it!

 

How many hours a day do you spend on Twitter?

 

I'm not very active on Twitter but I do follow a lot of developers. What drives me crazy about Twitter, and social media in general, is that even the most innocent and non-political topics eventually turn political and then it gets nasty. Or people you follow decide to start going on political rants. Everyone should be able to express themselves but unfortunately it's a turn off for me. But when I do go on there (like once a week) it's like a treasure trove of blogs, new libraries, etc.

 

I see what you're saying, but I also have a hard time relating. There's a lot going on in the world that many people like to compartmentalize as "political" when in reality, these things happening are very real and apparent in others' lives.

For example, there are a lot of people talking about women's health and abortion laws right now. From my perspective as a woman, this is not at all a political topic. These conversations and laws directly affect my life. I think when you look at it from this perspective, it's hard to consider much of anything "political".

 

To someone else who doesn't share your view its strictly political. I guess it depends on your views, but in the end I am on there for developer stuff with a touch of sports. Anything else is just stuff I can do without. I haven't found a way to properly filter it out. On Facebook it's easy, I just unfollow all my friends LOL.

I would suggest muting common buzzwords. You may have to add to your list every few weeks, but I've seen people have good success with muted words and phrases.

Ah ok, good advice. See, I don't use the platform enough to even know you could do that. Thank you very much. I will try that.

I agree with the shape of this conversation from both ends and think about it this way: Twitter doesn't need to change necessarily (in this way) because it is a place where real world issues get discussed and debated, but we could all stand to do fewer overall things on Twitter.

I don't think it's necessarily conducive for good discussions or is a safe space as far as the web goes.

Feeling like Twitter was over-used for too many situations helped lead me to create the DEV platform in the first place. The metaphor I have settled on is that DEV is the conference and Twitter is the after party. There's a value to the after party, but if we were all partying 24/7 we'd all end up burnt out and angry.

 
Sloan, the sloth mascot Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community View code of conduct

About an entirely different matter - Ashlee, Your official website's initial pageload seems like countably infinite. :D

 
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I'm sure the two of you are trying to be helpful, but this advice is unsolicited and irrelevant to the post.

Oh. Thats quite unfortunate. May I know which part of the Code Of Conduct says that i cant talk about the author? I was not talking about world war 1 or how plague afftected the entire europe to mark it as irrelevant. I am a developer and the page load issue was quite annoying. Kudos!

Your comment wasn’t constructive to this conversation. We’re talking about Twitter for networking. Next time, send a DM. Better yet: don’t give unsolicited advice in a condescending manner. Learn how to behave appropriately on the internet.

Sure. why not? Apparently someone got hurt i presume.If my behaviour hurt somebody i beg their pardon and ofcourse as always interesting post.

No one coincidentally got hurt. You were hurtful and rude. Just own up to it and do better moving forward.

I think there is a misunderstanding. I wasnt rude or being hurtful . I only had a doubt that if someone gonna get it in a different way.Maybe my humour most likely messed up along the way. Anyway I understood your point. Lets make everything clear and have a great weekend.