Twitter: The Power of a Question

Guest blogger Galen Rodgers muses on the power of questions, whether in the normal forms of discourse or in newer forms of communication.

Recently, I had an experience on Twitter that changed my perspective of not only the power of asking one simple question through a social media platform, but also how one’s question can lead to an unexpected path of promise.

The Tale of the Tape

Approximately 2 weeks ago, I was in building mode on Twitter. We’re talking deep in the trenches of actively pursuing Tweeps seeking knowledge that I had to offer. For those who aren’t intimately involved with Twitter, generally, one must follow others in order to attract followers. Because my business is online marketing, blogging, start-up strategy, personal branding and the like, it necessitates actively seeking an audience. If I can’t garner an audience on Twitter, FaceBook and other social media platforms, what do I have to offer?

The Question

So there I was, following folks to gain an audience. On this particular day, to shake things up, I decided to try something new. Instead of playful banter between my current followers or spreading the good word of social media from the usual outlets, I started asking questions of my followers.

I specifically remember that actual event of the question. I ran an errand to Safeway and while I was sitting in the parking lot, I decided to use my iPhone to ask a random question. “How do you build your personal brand?” That was the question. Nothing poignant. Not earth shattering. Just a simple question. I’d asked questions in the past with no response so I wasn’t expecting much.

This time I received an immediate response, and only one. The follower replied, “Carefully.” Huh, that was it? Interesting…
I didn’t know the follower as by this time I’d accumulated over 1,000 Tweeps. I replied telling him indeed that was interesting and provided a link to my blog. My blog post for that week was “5 Reasons to Build your Personal Brand” and I truly wanted input.

The Result

This follower then proceeded to visit my blog, comment, and retweeted my post to his 4,000+ followers stating “up and coming blogger”… I was ecstatic! Not only did someone I didn’t know respond to my question, he visited my blog and actually became an advocate for my content. Holy %$#&!! But wait, there’s more…

Not only did he become an advocate for my content, a week later I was invited to join Triberr. Triberr is a blog reach multiplier. Meaning, if you’re invited to join a Tribe on Triberr, everything you blog is then retweeted by all tribe members thus extending your reach beyond what you normally could accomplish with your own efforts. Currently, my tribe has a reach of nearly 27,000 people. Some Tribes have a reach of over 1 million!


What does this mean? Because of one question, I’ve extended my reach to a growing community looking for information regarding my specialty and that is great for my business. What if I hadn’t asked the question? What if I played it safe and decided to continue broadcasting the same content on Twitter I had been? Would I have missed this opportunity?

What did I learn from this? Simply, one can never tell when opportunity will strike. Gird up your loins, ask the questions to gain an audience and reap the benefits.

We love to know your thoughts. Share your successes and your concerns with building your personal brand or about social media. All comments are accepted!

Galen Rodgers is a self described Internet Media Evangelist. He is a father of three, serial entrepreneur, marketing professional, avid cyclist, wine lover and film geek. He believes everyone deserves the chance to brand oneself, work hard at their passion and be successful at living the dream.

Social Networking…..OR…the Cyrillic Alphabet

 A couple of evenings ago, my cell phone jangled me out of my concentration. I don’t get a lot of calls—peopled generally text or e-mail me—so it jarred me away from reading a story someone asked me to critique. The call was from my daughter telling me a gentleman had left a message on her answering machine (in San Francisco) for me (who lives in Idaho) to call him. “Something about Marines and movies,” she said, “and I wonder how he got my phone number.”

I called him (he lives outside of Austin, Texas) and left a message and he soon called back and wanted to talk about a young Marine we both knew who was killed on March 28, 1968, during the siege of Khe Sanh. One of the most interesting aspects of this moment was that he was the second previously-unknown-to-me individual with whom I have talked about the death of Greg Kent. The first one occurred last August when Betty and I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to take some pictures and videos. It was an early Sunday morning, before the late August heat and humidity stewed enough to sweat us dry-skinned Boise folk back into air conditioning, when we ran into a man looking for Greg Kent’s name on The Wall. Unlike the gentleman who called me, Greg and he had not been friends in the Marines, but had run high school track together in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Both men loved him much, but for different reasons, and that’s a subject for another blog. What interests me here is that this all came about because of social networking.

I must confess that unless I was in a bar, tuned up with Coors, Rumplemint and Johnny Walker, I was never much of a networker, choosing to spend my time in a corner not talking to people. So I have little experience as a networker and for most of my life have felt that the social networking realm was best left to bullshitters and sales folks.

Yet, my definition of social networking is getting wider by the moment and includes meeting people through centuries’ old methods such as being pleasant to someone you meet out in the world (which is how I generated the Greg Kent conversation at The Wall), to YouTube videos posted on the Internet.  The latter is where the other guy who called the other night got wind of me and what I am up to….or what Betty and I are up to. Making movies, writing blogs, making YouTube videos of poets, video book reviews.  I teach writing classes on-line, have a webpage (more than one if I think about it), and a Twitter account that I am still not sure how to best use. I use FaceBook and have found it a reliable way to generate interest in most things.

So, what’s my point?

I’m not sure and maybe I’ll figure it out on the way to sizing up the importance of blogs and Twitter at which I am toiling today. And in that vein, I also cleaned up my website spam accounts, one of the more bizarre head-busting aspects of the social networking world. Spam messages from people seeking to get me to link to their websites. How dumb am I? I guess pretty damned dumb considering the list of e-mail monikers and messages that showed up in the last few days in the comments section of my web pages. Some examples of this type of social networking follow:

Bolt Path


Porno Online

Smoking Side Effects

“As if!”


Something written in Cyrillic script (stuff that looks like….њЩЦѲд) and I have no clue what it means, or whether it is Serbian, Russian, ancient Bulgarian or something sent to me in Greek.

Levitra cheap

1 Shopping Cart

“When I saw the title of this post, I found it silly.”


Chevy Camaro

Tattoos on Wrists


“I will re-use.”

and finally, Horny Bitches says, “I like this blog, is a master peace.”

Peace or piece? You’d think that someone intent on enticing me to allow them to link with my sites would have the good sense to make it look like they can spell better than I can.

Anyway, it’s social networking. I think it works. I know it works in some cases. For instance, the Internet is one of the great democratizers of the 21st Century. Witness Twitter, YouTube and FaceBook in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya. People can communicate, show video horrors, mass demonstrations. And like all forms of the new mixed with the old, delivers a variety of results, truth and lies, good and bad.

I’m pretty satisfied with my dive into the social networking arena; it earned me conversations with men who knew Greg Kent in different contexts than I did. Twitter and YouTube seem to deliver results even though I get cryptic messages in some form of Cyrillic, or misspelled messages from Horny Bitches.

Now that one might get me out of the proverbial corner.