10 June 2009

Entrepreneurs on twitter

This is a response to a tweet from Furqan Nazeeri (@altgate) listing 67 entrepreneurs on twitter. I am afraid I am not very good at limiting myself in 140 characters, so I decided to write him an email and share it with my readers. I responded to his post as there were no women on his list. Naturally he responded asking for suggestions. In an effort to respond, I realised, yet again, that their presence is greatly lacking. I referred @ariannahuff, @maggiefox, @charleneli, @adrianne and @connectedwomen based on their quality of interactions.

Two things stood out to me. I am curious if others have seen these trends as well. Note: these are observations, not judgements, and very generalised. The first is that women entrepreneurs often focus on coaching and soft skills, leading to small businesses that don't dare to think big. If they are on twitter they use it as a social update tool only or references to their own services only (which doesn't encourage others to follow them). If this is the type of interaction, I can see why they might consider it a time drain without much ROI. I guess there is a lot of work to be done.

The other trend I observe here is that twitter is still perceived very much an American toy to the rest of the world. I looked through my list of who I follow (keep in mind I only follow based on context of social media optimisation and social entrepreneurship) and the vast majority were US west coast based. Some of the women entrepreneurs that I thought would be an obvious hit in terms of twitter, didn't have a presence at all (ie. Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital and Stina Honkamaa of Google Sweden, link in Swedish) or they only had a social one.

Entrepreneurs need to capture, listen and interact with their audience. If done effectively, participating on twitter with a strategy as part of overall strategy, will have a positive ROI. Twitter etiquette by Julie Niesen is a good place to start. The playing field is level, let's keep it that way. Thanks Furqan for sparking the question. I will continue my quest to support and share the stories of those who are succeeding as well as to encourage best practice for those who've just begun. Please feel free to send me ideas.

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