Are you being followed?

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I’ve been actively using Twitter now for about five months, and it took me quite awhile to really “get it.” Compared to some of the most popular Twitter users, I’m still relatively green to the technology and am always learning new ways to be active and understand what all it has to offer in the way of marketing, networking, and sharing of information.

There are plenty of articles out there that can educate someone on Twitter: how to use it, what to post, what not to post, how to search, how to communicate, how to find people. And when these articles are combined with your own trial and error and small investment of time, Twitter becomes a successful marketing and social networking tool. While I still have plenty of work to do to really benefit from the full value of Twitter, I definitely understand its capabilities.

At first I thought Twitter was just an instant messaging resource or a place that social media professionals hang out, which is why I resisted joining right away; I wasn’t sure what it would offer me. Others have avoided it because they think it’s like Facebook, which it’s not, or because they aren’t sure if it will have any value as a marketing and networking tool.

Part of my own hesitation with Twitter was that I didn’t know who I would be able to connect with. As it turns out, there are people on Twitter that match everything I’m interested in or want to learn more about, and the best part is that they are all over the world. They are not just social media experts or people posting what they had for breakfast; they are legitimate professionals communicating and sharing their experiences and knowledge.

One of the things I am interested in, of course, is the marine industry. When I first joined Twitter and did a search for the marine industry, I was severely disappointed. With the exception of some recreational boaters, a handful of folks with boating-related Web sites, and a couple of industry news Tweeps, there is a huge void of anyone from the marine industry harnessing the power of Twitter.

One of the first marine industry professionals I followed is Rich Lazzara of Lazzara Yachts (@richlazzara), and it was refreshing to see how he was using Twitter to promote his brand and communicate with boaters. Like any new technology, it takes time to catch on and for others to determine how to make it best work for their business.

In the last few months the presence of the marine industry on Twitter has certainly grown, and there are more businesses, as well as boaters, that can be found in the Twitterverse, as it’s sometimes called. However, I continue to be amazed at the opportunity that boatbuilders, product manufacturers, boat show managers, sailing instructors, editors and the general boating public are missing by not joining Twitter. It truly has something for everyone, and at the very least, it’s worth trying.

As a Twitter user and a professional in the marine industry, some of the things I’d love to see pop up on Twitter are new boats being launched, advancements in electronics, how companies are handling the economy, what boat shows you’re going to, interesting things your clients have done, where you’re traveling, articles that have been done about you, articles you’re working on, requests for feedback on new launches — these are all good things to post or link to on Twitter. I implore you, marine industry, to join Twitter.

Tell us what you’re doing.

To get you started, here are some of your colleagues already online:

@petermello
@Allmarine
@ybw
@megayachtnews
@Canvasman
@discoverboating
@madmariner
@TradeOnlyToday
@KadeyKrogen
@sailkarma
@FirstBoat
@asktheboater
@oceanmedia

Natalie Friton
Public Relations Consultant
Chesapeake ProCon
Annapolis, Md.
@Natalie Friton

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