When I joined Twitter in December of 2008 I was in the process of creating a new website that curated content from RSS feeds. The concept was to build a site around people sharing there thoughts on news events. In order to have a constant flow of topics I collected RSS feeds from dozens of sites, everything from women’s fashion to world politics.
During the design phase of the project I ran into a lot of technical issues. To make matters worse, once my developer finally got the site up and running, it crashed repeatedly. Eventually I got so frustrated that I cancelled the project.
Meanwhile I had also joined Twitter and was beginning to use the service sporadically at best. Back then no one had a million followers, the site was still small enough to strike up a conversation will almost anyone. Like most people using the service I began posting links to news stories I found interesting.
Around this time I discovered Twitterfeed, a service that allows you to post RSS feeds straight to Twitter. Seeing that I had all these feeds sitting idle, I figured why not post them to Twitter. At least my original intent for them would live on that way.
When the automated posts first appeared in my Twitter stream they generated a lot of interaction from my followers. Even though the response was positive, I was till quite frustrated with my failed website so I payed little attention to the actual success that was occurring. At one point I even abandoned my Twitter account for a couple months, I just didn’t see the point of it.
In mid 2009 I returned to Twitter in earnest, to my surprise I found that my account had become quite popular. The news feeds intended for my site had attracted a strong following, people loved the content. My follower count grew rapidly, and I decided to double my efforts and make the best of my time on Twitter. Everyday I set out to connect and converse with my followers, to visit their blogs and retweet their content.
Along with my new outlook I needed a new avatar, my original one was loud and garish as were most in the early days of Twitter. Back then the goal was to stand out as much as possible. My new goal was to establish a face and personality people could connect with.
Once I changed my avatar the positive response was instantaneous. The @ mentions went through the roof, people kept telling me how warm and inviting my photo was. Their feedback drove home the power of consistent branding on social networks. (The photo was taken on my wedding day Sept 5, 2009, I had a lot to smile about).
Today I have over 15,000 followers all from what seemed like a failed endeavor in the beginning. I’ve made many strong friendships on Twitter several of which have since blossomed into real life acquaintances.
Sometimes challenges in life are our greatest teachers. Without that first setback I would have never created this blog and discovered my aptitude for writing.
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. -Napoleon Hill
You can follow me here: @KevinMinott