You don’t have to tweet every thought on Twitter to know how pervasive this platform has become in our world. The service has grown from zero nine years ago to over 500 million users, and has changed how the world communicates and interacts. They have been the vehicle for everything from political revolution to the taste of your morning coffee.
So, how can we harness their success for our own life? What lessons can we learn? I thought you’d never ask:
1. Make a Life Pivot - Twitter did not start as a way to post little bits of text for the world to see. In fact, they began as a company called Odeo that was a tool to help people make and use podcasts (internet radio/T.V. shows). However, with one keynote, Steve Jobs made Odeo obsolete and the company had to figure out whether to close their doors or do something different. After dreaming for a while, they came up with the idea for twitter and then used the resources (staff, funding, etc) within Odeo to build and launch it. They made a complete pivot and began moving in a totally different direction over the course of several months.
We need this kind of strategy in our life. There are moments when we look around and realize our life is not what we want it to be. We do not have to be stuck in a life we hate. Rather, we can use the resources tied up in the life we have now to create the life we want in the future. It begins by dreaming of what could be. Once we are captured by a dream of our future we begin to make small steps into that future using what we have on hand.
2. Make Your Dreams Invitation Only - When Twitter began, the service was not ready for prime time. It needed a good bit of work, but at some point no amount of tinkering behind the scenes would make the service any better. They needed some users. Rather than throw open the gates to the whole world, Twitter decided to make the service invitation only and control who could be part of it until it was ready to receive the full onslaught of the world wide web.
Our dreams are the same way. Before we share them with the world, there is a bit of tinkering we need to do. What is the first step? How long will this take? What is the plan if it fails? What resources (time, energy, financial, physical) can be dual-purposed to get this off the ground? Once you have a good idea of where you might head, whatever you do, DON’T POST IT ON TWITTER! Until your dreams are ready to bear the brunt of criticism and dismissal, have coffee with a couple friends, take your significant other on a date and make it invitation only as those you love help you refine your idea.
3. Crowd-Source Your Life - In the early days it was all Twitter could to to keep the service up and running. There were no resources available to add features. That meant it was up for the users to crowd-source solutions to their problems. In order to reference a person they began putting an “@“ before that person’s username in their post. In order to tag a post as being part of an event or a category of similar ideas people began to put a “#” before a keyword. By the time twitter got around to adding features, the work had been done by the users and they just incorporated them into the group.
I think that at least 10% of my life could benefit from this. There are many problems that I look at and get stumped knowing that there has to be someone I know that has the solution. If only I had a way to ask for help from all the random contacts I have throughout life. Wait… Facebooked!
Several years ago we were stumped as to how share the Bible with very young children. We had a couple of ideas but wanted more. We made one post on Facebook asking for how people did that with this children and unleashed ten or fifteen incredible ideas from the trial and error of our high school friends and former coworkers. Don’t forget. These social networks can be useful beyond locating the next funny cat video.
So, whether you tweet or not, take these lessons of success and maybe your life can be a bit more twitterrific. If you are a church leader, I wrote an article about how these lessons can help our churches, you should check that one out too!