Twitter 101 for the Young Folk

Today was a good day. At least for those of you who live in the United Kingdom. Well, those of you who live in the UK and are in grade school. OK, so those of you that are living in the UK, are in grade school, and have a computer that has Internet access and parental permission to access and use the hit trend Twitter. (I call it a hit trend because I am not sure a website has gotten more usage and media attention at the same time as this site. I saw today that they have gained over four million new users already this year.) Back to the children.

A certain town in the UK today announced that they are going to be teaching courses to grade school kids on the importance of not only Twitter itself, but also social media and the importance that it has in the workplace. And I could not be happier. A good friend of mine, Michael Coffey, actually works in social media and the importance to adults. He is a sales man for my firm and lives out in San Fransisco, but works part time as a social media expert. And he has been talking to me about the importance, like it was not already smacking me right in the face, and I have jumped right on that band wagon.

I am currently doing a corporate identity for a lawn care company. I have been able to chose the name, the logo, the colors, the business card design, the list just goes on and on and on. But one of the pieces of this puzzle, and included in the package, was an account on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and Gmail. This is what I have coined, when I handle corporate identities, as my Social Media Bundle. I will set up all these account to be cohesive, similar user names, passwords, etc. and then I will train the individual(s) to use the services to their advantage.

I can go on and on about this but I will save you. But one cool thing, while I am on the topic of social media, is This is a site that my buddy Ian turned me onto and is really interesting. It allows you to send one message (similar to all of your status updates, etc.) in once place and it be forwarded to all, and I do mean all, of your locations. It goes to your Flickr, your Facebook, your MySpace, your WordPress, your Blogger, your Yahoo, your MSN, your AIM; you get the picture.

Again, saving the hundreds of lines of code (characters, just been a long day in front of Terminal) I will save my thoughts on the genius behind these medias. But there are doubters out there. I was just speaking with (his name will remain hidden to protect the innocent) and he was saying that it is a waste of time, a waste of resources, and a waste of energy, in not so many words. To each his own he says. And I have to admit, I was anti-social media not six months ago. But now I am hooked. Why? Maybe I see the importance in the future I have as a web designer. Maybe it is the importance of being connected at the drop of a text. (You thought I was going to say the drop of a hat didn’t you?) Maybe it is the potential that I see for income, to expand business, to reach a whole new set of clients. Maybe I see something that most don’t. I mean, every great invention starts with an idea. Someone has a vision, they take the proper technology and raw material they need to make it happen, and they create a product for the better of man. This is not to that point. It has been invented but it is up to us to produce the power and the words behind it to get it to the top.

I am creating a following, a direct relationship with my online presence to who I am as an individual. And it is spotless (I think) and something I pride myself on. I know another good friend of mine spent his spring break creating a new branding for himself. It is good. His logo is simple, but good. His direction is simple, but good. His entire process is just that; good. He will succeed with it and I hope that he is one of those that understands the importance of social media.

I heard a quote once that kind of relates to this. (If you can tell me who said this you win a prize.) This has a little bit more to do with being a designer, but the overall message behind social media and networking just the same. The quote goes, “I am a designer. I work countless hours for sometimes nothing more than a thank you, and for what? For communication. I am a designer. I communicate. I tell stories with pictures, fonts, colors, kerning, leading. I communicate. And at the end of those sleepless nights, if my message is clear to at least one person, then I have succeeded. I communicate. I am a designer.”