To tweet or not to tweet that is the question

Dr Mark Pegg

There was a gap in my life.  I witnessed Mark Zuckerberg’s rise and rise, how Facebook become one of the most valuable companies in the world, but it was not my forte. Although I had to admit when I left my mobile phone at home, I got withdrawal symptoms, and there was discord when my family fought over who got to use the iPad.

In social media networks I was definitely not an innovator or an early adopter.  I did not want to be one of the herd or have another pressure on my time – to add to the hundreds of emails, voicemails and text messages.  If I spent any more time communicating, would I get any actual work done?

One sneaking fear was I would be left behind. It was not as if I lacked inspiration around me. My 16 year old son for a start and fellow passengers tapping away on the early train to Marylebone.  I held out, I had no interest in what Stephen Fry had for breakfast and even less desire to be like Sally Bercow and find myself in court.

Then ‘learning by doing’ came to the rescue.  I am a governor of a secondary school and the headmaster started to tweet.  He is a huge cricket fan and was inspired by the sports teachers who used Twitter to communicate results from school teams.  He started his own Twitter account to tweet his views on school life in general.  I soon realised this was a great way to discover what was going on in school and keep in touch.  The school roof blew off in gale,  the headmaster took a picture on his phone and tweeted it to us within minutes of it happening.

I was hooked and soon realised you could choose your own network and build links and connections that matter.  LinkedIn was valuable when people did not have my contact details.  Tweets could help me communicate regularly with my team, my customers and with others working on their leadership research and particularly with younger colleagues who had often stopped emailing anyway.  Slowly at first I began to tweet and then blog – getting a WordPress account could not be simpler.

I am still feeling my way uncertainly. You have to have something interesting to say for a start.  Slowly but surely, it is becoming a great way to communicate useful things with my network and keep in regular touch with colleagues who, in this virtual age, I might not see for months at a time.

Dr Mark Pegg is the Chief Executive of the Leadership Foundation. His twitter handle is www.twitter.com/LFHE_CE