Twitter 130: Listening with Twitter

In Twitter 107, I compared two desktop applications for improving your Twitter interactions: Tweetdeck and Twhirl.

In this course, I will take you through a case study of what can happen when you listen and engage through Twitter.

Several months ago, I set up a Twitter search for the term “mayo clinic” and subscribed to the RSS feed. And frankly, for quite a while the feed wasn’t all that interesting. Mayo Clinic wasn’t mentioned very often on Twitter, probably because Twitter’s earliest adopters skewed younger and male, at least as compared to the typical health care consumer or decision maker.

That’s recently changed quite a bit, though, especially as Twitter has reportedly grown by 33 percent in the last month. While the Tweet volume is still nowhere near what Comcast experiences, for example, we’re at least seeing a dozen or more Mayo Clinic tweets a day. 

So as I set up my Tweetdeck to be more intentional and regular in listening on Twitter, I created one pane to monitor the “Mayo Clinic” search. (I had previously used the Twilert service, which sends you a daily email with the tweets that match your search criteria, but wanted to be more responsive than a daily email digest would allow.)

I was somewhat surprised last Sunday night to see the following Tweet from a gentleman named Tom Vanderwell, who goes by @tvanderwell on Twitter:


I wasn’t sure what to make of this. Was that a negative comment or a positive one? So I replied to Tom’s Tweet with:


Much to my relief, Tom’s response was:


After clicking through to Tom’s Twitter profile, I found out he was from Grand Rapids, Michigan. As we exchanged replies and eventually direct messages, I mentioned that I was going to be at a conference in Grand Rapids this Wednesday. It turns out the convention was right across the street from his office, so we arranged for a real-life meeting Wednesday morning (a picture from which I posted, of course, using Twitpic).

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

In a future post I will profile Tom and how he’s using social media in his mortgage banker business, particularly with his Straight Talk about Mortgages and Real Estate blog. But for now, let me just say that we had a delightful conversation and were able to connect in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without Twitter. 

What’s your favorite example of a Tweetup? When have you been able to meet someone in real life, either a brand-new friend you made through social media, or someone you’ve known virtually for a while but only later got to meet face to face?

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

2 thoughts on “Twitter 130: Listening with Twitter”

  1. I’ve actually met a number of folks I’ve met on Twitter IRL including Ryan Mathre (@ryanmathre), Ryan Maus (@rpmaus), Dan Wolter (@djwolter) and a few others. I’ve also had many phone conversations with folks I’ve met on Twitter and hope to meet a slew of folks at SOBCon09 in Chicago in May.

    Kudos Lee for extending your network by taking your online relationships “offline.”

  2. Neat Tweetup story. I find Tweetdeck a super tool to keep tabs on social media accounts, Linkedin, Facebook and Twtter. The ability to set up special columns for hastags is really handy for backchat during webinars too!

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