How I’ve Discovered Twitter Can Be a Resource, Not a Waste of Time

11/1/10

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you never meet, they become valuable connections nevertheless.

One thing I’ve learned from building a company is the critical importance of the network. This is the rich ecosystem in which we work – all the folks out there with skills and experience you lack, who can act as sounding boards, help you solve a problem or refer you to someone who can, whose insights can spark new perspectives in your own brain. It’s equally important to nourish the network, to provide the same help and support to others. Twitter is a wonderful way to give to and receive from the network, a platform for exchanging information and insight with the community.

How do I use Twitter? I maintain three Twitter accounts – at least that’s all I’m willing to own up to here. I’ve got two personal accounts: One (http://twitter.com/Michael_Gilman) is largely professional in focus, whereas the other (http://twitter.com/wristshot) is for the concerns that occupy me when I’m not thinking about fibrosis or raising money. I figure that people who are interested in the business of biotech are not necessarily as obsessed as I am with hockey or heavy weather nor are they likely to be interested in my political leanings, so why inflict those things on them? On the other hand, they’re welcome to follow both accounts. I’ve also segregated the folks I follow, so that the incoming streams are mostly distinct.

I also maintain an account for my company (http://twitter.com/Stromedix). I’ve found that useful for disseminating information that is important to share but not press-release-worthy: mentions of the company in the media, conference presentations by team members, relevant scientific publications. It has also helped us develop relationships with patients and advocacy groups. More trivially, I’ll occasionally share photos from road trips and other grist from the startup mill.

Lastly, let me say how much I relish the intellectual challenge of composing a fully-contained cogent thought in 140 characters, a goal I achieve unreliably. Nevertheless, it’s a valuable discipline that forces you to consider with care each word in a tweet and how it contributes to meaning. It actually sharpens your ability to converse the old-fashioned way and may even prove useful for those Mars-Venus conversations at home.

Michael Gilman is the founder and chief executive officer of Stromedix, a venture-backed company focused on developing novel therapies for fibrosis and organ failure. Follow @

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  • http://www.gtreilly.com Dana Bottorff

    Wow! Thanks for such a cogent, meaningful explanation of how Twitter not only “fits in” to your life, but expands your opportunities. I will convey your thoughts to some of our people who are reluctant to jump into the tweetisphere.

  • http://www.research2zero.com Steve Waite

    Good post. I discovered the same thing.

  • Jules Pieri

    I don’t often think “I wish I wrote this,” but I just had that reaction to your piece.” I’m going off to Tweet exactly that reaction, with the link, natch.

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