Why procurement professionals should Tweet

I’ve been Tweeting for a few months now, and I’m a Twitter fan, although not an obsessive. So here is a user - and procurement professional’s - view on why you should consider doing the same.

Fast access to information including of business relevance
Twitter reported Bin Laden’s killing before conventional media. Learn about global events – or, more directly usefully, what your key suppliers are up to before anyone else.

Useful info for day to day life
When we had the snow earlier this year, we were due to go into London and the train websites were suggesting that trains into London were only being delayed slightly. I searched on “southwest trains” on Twitter and found about a dozen Tweets from people saying “I’ve been stuck on this train outside Clapham for an hour...” We decided not to bother.

Point you towards latest thinking
If you follow the right people, you’ll get told about lots of new reports, thinking, articles and other intellectual property. Check out the links, and decide whether it’s worth reading. Twitter gives you good signposting.

Be part of the community
This is more nebulous but there is a community – or rather a huge number of communities – on Twitter. They gossip, swap information, exchange views. It would be good to build a stronger procurement community. You can also indulge your guilty pleasures – want to swap views with like-minded fanatics about American Idol? Aston Villa football club? The Wine Society? John Prescott? You can. Tell people about Reading Festival highlights as they happen?

Get me more followers and more procurement folk to follow...
More procurement people needed! @gpetersmith is my address...

And while the good outweighs the bad, there’s one particular negative with Twitter as well.

It can take over your life.

I follow 130 people, probably too many, and I could spend all day reading the latest news and thoughts about business, sport, music and arts, food, friends, sponsors, etc. It’s easy to get obsessed, so while I do recommend it, you need to discipline yourself in terms of –

  • How much time you spend generally on Twitter
  • How many people you follow – if you’re new, I would start with about 20, a mix of friends, business contacts (like me), entertainers or sports people, journalists or other “thinkers”...
  • How many Tweets you want sent direct to your phone – not too many or you will be constantly interrupted!

But overall – yes, I recommend it as a useful tool, and not just with the selfish interest of point 5 above...

And I’d love to hear your views, or any useful tips, particularly from procurement Twitter users.

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Voices (4)

  1. Michael Kirby:

    Fully agree with this Peter.

    If someone was new to twitter, who would be your top 5 people to follow on procurement matters.

  2. Pete Loughlin:

    Great piece Peter. Too many professionals remain unconvinced about twitter. They see it as another channel for celebrity culture – which it is – but that is just one use.

    There are several types of twitter users and the type that you describe is what I would call the listener – the person that uses twitter as a source of useful and current information. But there are others.

    And it’s not just twitter. Social media is like an ecosystem of information. Blogs, twitter, facebook, linkedin, google, yahoo, bing etc they are all linked and mutually dependent on one another directly or indirectly. Anyone with a message, whether it’s a product, a political belief a good cause – whatever – needs to understand how to embrace the complexities of social media if you want your message to be heard.

  3. Christine Morton:

    I read other people’s tweets, but don’t write them myself.

    I don’t like that every tweet is being archived by the US Library of Congress. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/richard-adams-blog/2010/apr/14/twitter-library-of-congress

    It also seems a bit narcissistic, doesn’t it?

    That being said, it was helpful when the word needed to get out about a recent event a family member was involved with. It led to 60K views of a video on YouTube, newspaper articles in 1 local and 2 national papers, and a TV segment on the BBC. The communities on Twitter spread the word an made the whole thing “go viral” so to speak.

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