I had been toying with the idea of starting up a Twitter account for a while, but was a little apprehensive about getting sucked into the whole social networking side of things. I’m no luddite when it comes to technology, it’s what I have built my career on, but I was definitely hesitant to get into something I new little about. I dabbled with Facebook a few years back but bailed on it and shut my account down after a couple of months. Although it did enable me to reconnect with a couple of friends that I had lost touch with over the years, I couldn’t see myself using it all that often and got scared off by the privacy issue. I had similar reservations about Twitter, but decided to spend a little time investigating the platform to see if it could really add value to this endeavor. As it turns out, there are quite a few (a slight underestimation) members of the running community active on Twitter these days. And so, with typical zeal but little thought to how I would use it, I jumped right in and setup my own Twitter account: @merunfast.
Like the majority of new converts, my first few tweets were embarrassingly lame but because I had no followers there was nobody around to share in my shame except for myself. My initial thought was to use the account as a way to post regular updates regarding my marathon training, but I was not happy with the style and didn’t feel like counting down to the race date every time I posted. After some poking around the web and observing how other accounts communicated, I settled on a style that I like and plan to stick to. I am also now using the account to reach out to other runners (Bart Yasso & Hal Higdon) and organizations (Philly Marathon & Runner’s World), although obviously have to be careful not to be too eager and get blocked for spamming them.
To get myself started I have identified some active accounts to follow, including some publications and well known marathon runners. I’ll expand this list as I encounter and engage with more interesting parties. As yet I don’t have any followers, but that’s inevitable and will hopefully change over time as I raise my profile by tweeting useful information to the community. The other aspect of Twitter that I quickly learned about is hash tags. Hash tags are essentially keywords that enable grouping of tweets about the same topic. I discovered the #runchat hash tag, which is very active amongst the running community. I have already caught some informative tweets about training and nutrition and will continue to monitor the hash tag and chats on a regular basis.
If you’re active on Twitter and interested in getting regular updates, feel free to follow @merunfast.