Talking Twitter with Amandah Wood
We’re honored to welcome Amandah Wood, AKA @AmandaHWood to SocialNorth. Amanda is a new media culturist for the Charcoal Group. Lover of all things food, tech, design and media. This is her story…
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Getting personal AND doing business on Twitter
The title for this blog series could not be more spot on. To me, social media is about telling a story. Whether you’re using it for personal or professional reasons, you are literally writing your story for the world to see. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine or a blog — they all have a structure that presents a narrative with no defined beginning or end. It’s interactive. Others can add to it, edit it and change the outcome. They can make it richer or poorer, but it’s a story.
Social media has become an integral part of my life personally and professionally mostly in the last two years.
In my second year of the New Media program at Ryerson I had already been dabbling in Facebook and Twitter for a few years, but when we began studying the impact of digital technologies on society, social media really captured my attention. I started using it more frequently and watched how businesses, governments, charities and entire communities were using it to organize and communicate.
I landed a co-op position with Sony Pictures in Toronto, where I learned how to use social media to engage a larger audience. That position got me a job handling online and social initiatives for a local car dealership in Kitchener-Waterloo. It was there I began to discover KW’s incredible online network. Local businesses were connecting with the community online in new and exciting ways and so many people were doing it so well. I saw very quickly that it wasn’t just about promoting yourself or your brand but rather connecting with other human beings, engaging customers who might be looking for what you can offer. Everyone was sharing their stories in unique ways. That inspired me.
After leaving KW for Toronto for a couple years, I fell in love with the community again and had to come back.
Tweet to tweet, heart to heart
Social media affected me on a much more personal level as well. I’m naturally an introverted person, but I’m also an over- sharer. I have a lot to say, but don’t always have the confidence to say it. The Twitter community encouraged me to come to tweet ups and social media conferences, where I could meet people in person. Meeting them online first was like an ice-breaker and I slowly got better at talking to other people, both online and offline, without feeling major anxiety.
Last November, I decided to post my biggest over-share to date, where I wrote an in-depth post about my very personal and recent struggle with depression and anxiety disorder. I wondered if it was too much to be putting on the web, but I was amazed at the amount of support I received from people on Twitter — especially in the KW community. I realized just how important it was to share things like that and to be honest, because there are so many other people like me, who need someone to relate to.
There is nothing more powerful than connecting with other people openly and honestly.
So then I really started getting into it, sharing other people’s stories as well as my own. To my surprise, people began to develop an interest in me. I started sharing cool projects I was working on in school and blogging about technology and things I was learning and researching. Graduation started to creep up, and I began tweeting about needing a job and fearing the future.
A friend I’d met a few times and tweeted with occasionally knew about my education and professional experience. With one tweet and an email, he introduced me to the Charcoal Group. They were looking for someone to manage the digital culture of the restaurants via social media and web presence. The opportunity was perfect: it would combine my technical knowledge from university and my love for social media, with my growing love for the KW community. I grew up eating at Charcoal Steakhouse for special occasions, celebrated holiday dinners at the Bauer Kitchen when I’d come home from Toronto, and I was (of course) super excited about Beertown. Not only that, but the Charcoal Group represents all of the things I love about this community: a small group of amazing people who are truly passionate about what they do and who care about other people in their community. I saw no better way to start my career, and I was ecstatic when they also saw me as the right person for the job.
It’s only been a few weeks, but I’ve already met so many new people in the community, gotten to know some better and I get to represent a brand I truly believe in. Charcoal Group of Restaurants has incredible history and so many great stories to tell, I can’t wait to share them with the rest of my community.
Amanda’s Twitter Tips
- Tell a story. It’s the best way to avoid sounding robotic or too much like an advertisement. Every great company and person has stories to tell. Trust that people will connect to your stories.
- Be human. You wouldn’t shake someone’s hand and then turn around and leave. If someone follows you or you follow them, say hello and get engaged.
- Go local. The beauty of the web is you can interact with people from all over the world, but you’ll be amazed by the magic in your own community.
- Be honest. Sometimes I share too much and I’m quite expressive — but that’s who I am and that’s who you’ll get when you meet me. You can’t be phony; the Interwebs and real life are not as separate as you think.
- Be open. Don’t be afraid to share your story. I promise someone on Twitter understands whatever it is you’re going through, and it can only strengthen your online friendships.
- Get offline. Meet the people you connect with online in person as well and network!
Read more profiles on SocialNorth:
- Lisa Kahn
- Craig Silva
- Deb Lowther
- Barbara Viteri
- Pam Ross
- Trey Whitehead
- Robert Petril
- Sarah Robinson
- Greg Lehman
- Mara Shapiro
- Suzie Kummins-Poirier
About Amandah Wood
Amanda Wood is a recent graduate from Ryerson University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts where she studied Image Arts New Media with a focus on interaction and interface design. During her last year at Ryerson, she conceived and developed an interactive three-dimensional audio experience which won her the award of “Most-Innovative Artist” at the New Media thesis gallery show in Toronto.
Her main interest is developing creative and engaging experiences using new technologies in innovative ways. While she enjoyed her time in Toronto, Amanda is a major enthusiast of Kitchener-Waterloo and has returned to the area full-time where she is currently the New Media Culturalist for The Charcoal Group of Restaurants. She breathes social media and creative development for the web. You can learn more about Amanda by following her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and her website.