By Elizabeth Kellogg
The first time I heard about Twitter was in the fall of 2008. I was taking a public relations course at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (after following my fiancé to the Big Apple just as the economy tanked). Jobs were scarce and I figured that if I couldn’t get hired, I might as well further my education. I was in the market for a career change anyway. I’d never been satisfied with law.
During class one day, we were discussing how to pitch writers and editors, and a classmate brought up Twitter. I’d heard the name, but never understood how it worked. As my professor enlightened the class, I recall thinking, “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard! What can you truly communicate in 140 characters? This trend will pass, and I’ll never participate.”
I was dead wrong on both counts.
Fast forward one year. Through additional courses at NYU, I became so fascinated with social media that I enrolled in their Digital Media Marketing graduate certificate program. During the program, I interned with a fashion photographer to update her web presence. To my surprise, I enjoyed my fashion duties just as much as my work on her blog, facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, but I remained skeptical of Twitter.
On a whim, I enrolled in a fashion writing course through mediabistro.com. The instructor was a Twitter fan, and encouraged her students to “join the conversation.” This time, I took her up on the offer, and my life was never quite the same!
Internship at Glamour Magazine
I began by following everyone I could find of importance in the fashion world. This included my instructor, who happened to also be the senior style writer at Glamour magazine. A few weeks later, she tweeted about her desire for an intern. I immediately replied, “Are you serious? I’d love to fill that role!” Before long I was hired, and I was hooked on Twitter.
At Glamour, Twitter became my best ally. I found fodder there for many a glamour.com blog post. My editors appreciated the timely and innovative suggestions culled by my conversations and observations from Twitter, and I received four bylines on slideshow features for the website during my internship.
Freelance Fashion Writer
From there, I parlayed those bylines into my current role as a fashion blogger for wetpaint.com’s network-authorized television show fan websites, where I discuss sartorial trends as seen on Glee, Gossip Girl, and The Vampire Diaries. I have secured other freelance fashion writing jobs through Twitter contacts, and occasionally still write for glamour.com. I defy you to find more enjoyable gigs!
Seat at Herve Leger
Beyond professional assistance, Twitter is an excellent source for contests. Last fall, I won a seat at the Herve Leger show during fashion week by retweeting the necessary content. On another occasion, I won a a package of clothes and shoes from Tobi.
Twitter also brings less tangible but no less powerful benefits. I keep in touch with countless colleagues, both those I’ve met online and in person, quickly and efficiently. My growing network results in invitations to industry events, including shows during fashion week. These relationships are invaluable.
Feeling motivated yet? Then what are you waiting for?!
My Tips for Maximizing Twitter:
Jump in Head First
- If you’re waiting to join Twitter, don’t let fear stop you. The twitterverse is kind to newbies, and as Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
Establish Yourself as an Expert
- Whether your passion is fashion or trucks, pick one or two subjects and follow everyone who seems relevant. Follow whomever those people follow. Comment on and retweet their best content. Share your own thoughts. Include relevant hashtags, so colleagues can find you. I’ve used “#fashion” more times than I can count!
Make Personal Connections
- Follow those who follow you, and reply to the musings of others whenever warranted. Go out of your way to build relationships. Assist, encourage, and sympathize with your fellow tweeters, and the results may surprise you.
Be Bold and Be Consistent
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek out opportunities. Check Twitter constantly, and follow up on leads. Remember: you can’t win if you’re not playing.
About Elizabeth Kellogg
Elizabeth Kellogg is currently a grad student in digital media marketing at NYU; contributor at Glamour.com; fashion blogger at Wetpaint TV fan sites for Glee, Gossip Girl, and Vampire Diaries. Follow her on Twitter @ekelloggny
Photo: Lindsey Garvey for Cake Plate Boutique