I’m conducting a completely non-scientific experiment in my professional life right now. About a year ago, I attended a series of seminars given by marketing gurus on the use of Web 2.0 tools — social networking sites, blogs, video, etc — within a professional context. At that time, the phenomena was still relatively new. Twitter had not quite taken off and Facebook had yet to replace MySpace as the all-around social networking site of choice. In real estate (historically the largest client base we serve) sites like Zillow, ActiveRain and Inman News were beginning to host large communities of likeminded real estate, banking and marketing professionals. It was only a few months earlier when I had started to write this blog, along with some help periodically, from some of the best people I’ve ever worked with. In the intervening year, a lot has changed. For one thing, the recession changed our business completely. For a period of several months, we “hunkered down” internally and focused on our core competencies, while attempting to direct the business in directions which seemed to respond to industry trends. Our sites became more web savvy — we began designing with search in mind, we included widget links to sites like Facebook and realized that our role had changed from a real estate centric design firm that did web site design, video and animation to that of an internet strategy and design firm with other specialized skill sets. One effect the recession had on me is that I became rather irregular posting to this blog. Doing so, of course, represented a violation of a Cardinal rule of blogging. By not offering topical content, not only was I not going to be generating much cross traffic to our site, but I was also losing credibility. For me, the blog was usually a “vision” thing, ie, it offered the opportunity for me to share great new ideas or trends with likeminded people and clients. The problem for me, personally, was that I’ve been feeling decidedly less than visionary these last few months. Essentially, the industry we’ve been tied to historically (new construction) almost disappeared there for a couple of years. I let a touch of professional despondency affect the self-discipline blogging requires. However, I think I’m back. And, the good news is, we’ve actually broadened our scope and expertise as web strategists so I can actually write with greater authority on these matters. Now here’s my ongoing experiment. Twitter interests me. It interests me in so much as I don’t think I understand what it’s about. And there are all these guys out there telling me my clients can make money using it as a marketing tool. I got a Twitter account a year ago. I must confess: I used it for about a week and then let it languish. A couple of weeks ago, though, I reinvigorated my account. And, since I noticed that all these marketing-types keep putting their twitter addresses on their business cards, I’ve decided to start following every person whose Twitter address is on their card. And, my Twitter window is open all the time on my desktop. Why am I doing this now? Two reasons. The first is that I really want to see if I can understand a paradigm which, quite frankly, has eluded me thus far. I think I’m a reasonably smart guy and, frankly, my pride is wounded over not getting this whole Twitter thing. Plus, if I’m going to recommend it to our clients as a business tool, I actually think I should be a master — or at least skilled — in its use. The second reason, frankly, is to see if all those guys who pitch themselves as Twitterphiles really walk the walk. I’m following them and waiting for the snippets of inspiration they promise. (One guy out there incidentally, who really DOES seem to walk the walk is this fellow we met a few weeks back, Glenn Gabe. Glenn is this amazingly smart SEO/SEM fellow we’ve been working with. He tweets interesting stuff all the time. And he writes a blog. You can read it here…) That’s all for now, folks. I’ll keep you updated on all my adventures in Twitterland, LinkedIn, ActiveRain, Zillow, YouTube, MySpace and everyplace else my promiscuous little mouse happens to find itself in. Oh, and did I mention? We’re web designers, strategists and content creators, too. We’ll design a new web site for you (or create 3D animation or design/plan an interactive ad campaign) if that’s what you need. You can reach us here. When we’re not tweeting, we actually get a little work done.