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Do you use Twitter? I do. Then I realized that some people don’t even know what that means. For example, my best friend and I were away this weekend to participate in a half-marathon. She said something very unique and in response I told her I had to "Tweet" it. I whipped out my phone and "Tweeted" that "Katy says we are like cows headed to slaughter" as we lined up with 31,000 other people at the start line.
 
Lots of people that follow my "Tweets" thought it was a funny line and shared their enthusiasm with me.
 
A "Tweet" is like a mini-blog or like sending a text message. It is posted on Twitter, a social network communication site. Even if you don’t participate, you have probably heard it mentioned on the news or on your favorite talk shows.
 
Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and other sites of this nature are taking over our communication networks. Just today, I have accessed my Facebook page twice to email someone through the site in lieu of sending an email from work. While I don’t currently have either of their personal emails, I knew that I could reach them through Facebook and that this method of contact would probably solicit a faster response time anyway.
 
The amount of information available on these sites is astounding. I learn so much more about friends, acquaintances and even contacts just by reading their online profiles. In all of my years as a premiere networker, I have never had the opportunity to gain the knowledge and insight on acquaintances that I can when I access these sites.
 
Some people claim this form of communication is a "fad". They tell me it won’t last. I remind them that I started working on computers with a program called WordStar and I used the DOS operating system. Today, I’m using different software and operating systems but I’m still using the computer.
 
The social network is here to stay. The brands may change but the communication path will only grow exponentially. It’s a good idea to realize the value of these tools and learn to use them effectively.
 
Our elected officials and political candidates are maximizing these tools to promote their campaigns and their positions as officeholders. Congressman John Culberson is one of the best examples of someone who leverages new technology to gain an advantage. He updates his profiles consistently and maximizes his friends on the networks in order to keep them informed on issues. He engages with those who comment and this keeps the conversation momentum moving.
 
County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia informs her readers daily of her schedule and her ongoing Precinct plans. She comments on other posts and engages her followers in conversations as well.
 
State Senator Dan Patrick uses his posts to spark discussion and to update readers on the multitude issues he is dealing with on behalf of the State of Texas. People will often times disagree with him, to which he responds promptly and attentively.
 
Mayoral candidates Gene Locke and Annise Parker have been engaged in a serious battle over Facebook fans and have encouraged their supporters to sport their logo on their postings. When I view my updates, I find a sea of Parker and Locke logos staring back at me.
 
Parker better utilizes Facebook and Twitter while Locke has mastered the use of You Tube, a video-posting site. Regardless of which avenue they choose, both are making the most of the new tools.
 
One of my favorite Facebook pages is the Houston Police Department. They post interesting and informative comments and they are personalizing law enforcement. At last check, they had nearly 10,000 fans.
 
What about you? Are you expanding your networks through the use of these new communications tools?
 
There truly is an information highway. Those who are most astute are driving in the fast lane and running over everyone else. There are also many people driving in the middle and, as people get older, they operate in the slow lane While it’s perfectly fine to be in the slow lane, make sure while you’re there you read, listen and learn. Some are even sitting on the shoulder considering moving into the traffic flow. However, the worst position to be in is "Park".
 
So get up to speed. Research the ever-changing social communication trends and start learning how to expand and utilize your network. Just remember, if the Houston Police Department can create a Facebook page, so can you.