Twitter as a Leadership Tool

I was talking to a good friend the other day about Twitter. He knows that I believe it is important. Really important. Some of his clients are also beginning to ask questions about it. But he just didn’t get it.

a speaker that is generating powerful soundwaves

He finally blurted out, “It just seems like a huge waste of time. I don’t need one more inbox to check. I can barely keep up with what I have now.”

I said, “Buddy, you’re completely missing it.”

“Missing what?” he said, defensively.

“The potential.”

“What potential?” he asked emphatically.

“It’s not about what you get out of it,” I said. “It’s about the opportunity it affords you to give to others and make an impact.”

“Excuse me,” he muttered.

“Twitter is an opportunity for you to lead in a way that was not possible until now.” I explained.

“As you and I both teach, when you boil it down, leadership is influence. Agreed?”

“Agreed,” he acknowledged.

“Leadership is not about position, a title, or status. It is about influence. Plain and simple. I know you believe that, too, right?”


I continued, “If that’s true, then Twitter provides an unprecedented opportunity for people like us to extend and amplify our influence. You don’t have to buy time on television or radio. You don’t have to write a book or magazine column. You don’t even have to blog,” I went on.

“All you have to do is write short 140 character micro-posts about what you are doing or—more importantly—what has your attention right now.”

I could almost hear his brain shift into a different gear. “You and I both know that people today crave leadership. They are dying for role models. They want to see what good leadership looks like—as it is lived out in the challenges of everyday life.”

I continued, “If you are living your life on-purpose, like I know you are, then by Twittering, you are modeling something worth emulating. This is unquestionably the most powerful way to lead.”

“Hmm.” I could hear the flicker of possibility in his voice. I knew this was resonating with him. But then he countered, “But you just can’t lead by Twittering.”

“I agree. I am not suggesting that you can. It is simply one tool in your leadership toolbox—but a very powerful one. Twitter is like an influence amplifier. It enables you to extend your influence in ways never before possible.”

We continued to chat about this for several more minutes. He finally said, “Wow! Maybe there’s more to Twitter than I thought. How do I get started.”

Question: Do you think Twitter is an effective leadership tool? How are you using it to lead?
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  • human3rror

    this is most excellent!

    • LynnRush

      Great post, indeed!

  • Joe Williams

    Wonderful description of Twitter as an influence amplifier.

  • Mike Ruel

    Great post thank you

  • Thomas Lee

    Leadership is indeed about more than position, status, or title. But it has to be about more than influence, too. Influence alone presupposes that leaders have all the answers. So leadership has to reach for real inspiration, for the excited and collaborative involvement of followers. Twitter can help on this, too, by both implicitly and explicitly encouraging people to be more of what they can be. Moreover, recognizing that leadership requires a connection between leader and follower–no connection, no leadership–Twitter does a marvelous job of bringing leader and follower together frequently during the day. It strengthens the essential connection, which increases the potential for inspiring followers. Just my two cents. Thanks for your wonderful blogs, Michael.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I'm not sure that influence presupposes that leaders have all the answers. Maybe we are just quibbling over words, but I certainly see my role as a leader to ask the right questions—and that is a sort of influence.

      Regardless, I totally agree that Twitter provides an opportunity to inspire people. I love that aspect of it, too.

  • Bryan Patrick

    This is an excellent perspective and, for me, helps to re-think the purpose and focus of my tweeting.

    – @pursuingyahweh

  • Eva Ulian

    Perhaps we know leadership depends on charisma, but it is only when someone spells it out as you have done, that we become aware of the power influence has. I've always enjoyed twittering as it has placed me in the middle of a community which I would not otherwise have had, but now it has an added significance.

  • Joe Tye

    The only way to influence people is to communicate with them and Twitter is just one more forum for doing that. Investing time in Twitter is like any other investment – there is no guarantee of a return. With Twitter, a Warren Buffet style of getting into it for the long-run is far more likely to be profitable than a quarterly results mindset ("I got ten thousand new followers yesterday and I can show you how to do it!"). And as Peter Lynch pointed out, when it comes to investing one home run makes up for a lot of strike-outs. So too with Twitter: if you make one real friend, it's worth having to skim over ten posts about what complete strangers had for breakfast.

    Joe Tye

    • Daniel Decker

      Haha. Great comments Joe Tye! Last line is classic.

      • Michael Hyatt

        I totally agree. Like most things, it takes persistence over time.

  • Daniel Decker

    Great post. Agree with Joe 100%. Title and key phrase in the post that pulled strong to me: "Twitter as a leadership tool… an influence amplifier!" Twitter is like a megaphone that enables each of us to expand our contribution into the lives of others but for those who use it right, it's also a tremendous resource to gain insight from others and engage in conversations that were never possible before (online and eventually offline).

    Side note on leadership… love this quote by Erwin McManus, "The world doesn't need more great leaders, the world needs more great people who lead." In its own way I think Twitter helps the voices of the good people who lead rise above. The people who are in it (Twitter) just for themselves or who try to leverage it only as a platform to hawk their products will fizzle out in the end.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love that McManus quote. That's exactly right!

  • David Mills

    Great points all Michael. Amazing when the mind shifts from 'what do I get' to 'how can I serve' and when we let go of judgements and get good at the questions. Thanks!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think this principle probably applies to all of life. It is a way of living, don't you think? So many people miss it.

  • Dennis

    Thanks for this post. It comes at a time when I am in the early stages of shaping my involvement with Twitter.

    Like so many other aspects of leadership I think using Twitter boils down to the size of the imagination. Think big and Twitter can be a powerful "influence amplifier." But if we limit imagination to nothing more than a daily routine Twitter becomes a chore instead of a tool.

  • ben schmitz

    Now, how do we get people who are not Twittering to believe there is value here? If we are to use Twitter as an influence amplifier, that presupposes the folks we intend to influence are signed up.

    • Paul Steinbrueck

      Your questions presupposes that leaders should be the ones selecting the people they want to influence. Perhaps it works better the other way around.

      Maybe instead of gathering a group of people and trying to lead them, we should simply lead and see who follows.

      • @BenSchmitz

        Thanks for your comment, Paul. You do have a point. Although, as a leader, I reserve the right to change course if I do not like the crowd behind me :).

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think Paul makes a valid point.

      However, I do encourage the people around me to Twitter. Obviously, they chose whether or not they want to follow. Regardless, I am not bashful about asking.

      One of the best things I did when I started Twittering was to get my family on-board. I didn't know how valuable it would be at first. However, it has really allowed us as a family to stay VERY connected to one another.

      • @BenSchmitz

        Good idea. Thanks Michael.

  • @carybrans

    In staff ministry, influence is key. Twitter helps me influence others in a unique way. Serving at a megachurch in a wide-ranging ministry means dozens of often quick interactions with people each day. At the same time, there are those who just want to know you better, your interests, habits, what you do outside ministry.This takes an investment of time. For those who are on twitter, and want to know you better, this is a way to do that, and for me to know them.

  • Kathryn Lang

    Thanks for the insight. I will definitely be looking at my tweets with a different attitude. In the end it all comes back around to where the heart is and if my heart is on purpose then my tweets will be as well.

  • DonRyan

    This is a fantastic blog post which lead to my own post (which I will not plug here). It reminds me of Maxwell's theory of "leading from the middle". Leadership is influence. Titles are about pay grade. They are not necessarily connect.

    If you think you're leading and no one is following you're just taking a walk.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Your last quote is awesome. I have heard Maxwell say that, too, but had forgotten about it. Excellent!

  • Paul Steinbrueck

    Great insight, Michael.

  • @JeffDenton

    Just explained to someone this week how intentional my random tweets are. They fall into three categories for my use:
    1. Personal posts about family stuff (things kids say, what the family is doing) directed toward grandparents who live several states away.
    2. Thoughtful or Insight posts directed toward church members for encouragement or to spur questions and growth.
    3. Off the Wall comments intended to reveal a different (fun, human) side of myself, typically directed toward people with whom I'm trying to build a more intimate relationship.

    Other audiences are obviously hit by posts intended for specific groups. However, that reality expands my spheres of influence in ways (relationship contexts) I wouldn't normally have with those individuals because they wouldn't interact with me in those arenas of my life.

    Thanks Michael for sharing this experience and asking the question on leadership viewpoint.

  • Cheryl Smith

    Absolutely well said, on multiple accounts, Mike. First, Twitter is not another inbox and to think so is decidedly short-sighted. The larger point you make is that people today are craving good leadership. In organizations large and small, people in the trenches want to be led. In the absence of good leaders in their own spaces, people are seeking out leadership role models in other spaces. Social networking sites makes this easier than ever before, which is just one of many reasons that make Twitter a great tool!

  • stephenbateman

    Thank you for coherently explaining Twitter. I've tried…with mixed results. Anyway I completely agree. Splendid.

    • Michael Hyatt

      For the benefit of anyone else reading, the best way to learn Twitter is to jump in. You can best learn by DOING.

  • Jim Connolly


    I can’t agree more that leadership is influence. I hadn’t considered how that applies to Twitter as the influence amplifier.

    In my work with clients I am constantly trumpeting that management is not alwasy leadership. In fact, I’m presenting on that topic Monday and Tuesday of next week at a conference.

    A further distinction I make is that leadership can be successful or it can be successful and effective.

    Successul leadership is achieved when the follower(s) complete the task because the boss is watching or is using position power to require compliance.

    Effective leadership is when followers are influenced to complete an assignment even when no one is looking.

    Thanks for the insights!

    P.S. I’ve written several blog posts on leadership if you’re interested at

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jim. These are good insights. I like your distinction between "successful" and "effective."

  • patriciazell

    Thanks to your influence, I am using both Facebook and Twitter now and I enjoy both of them. I've also been thinking about if and how I can use either or both with my colleagues and students. The one problem I see with getting my students involved is the inevitable impropriety of what they will write. I've clicked on some of the trending topics and a lot of what is posted is offensive. Although people have the right to post whatever they want, I have to be careful of what is connected to my classroom. However, Twitter and Facebook might be tools our staff can use to strengthen our communication. I'm going to talk it up this year.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Actually, I would let them express themselves and not shut it down. It can be a kind of listening station for them. Whether you hear them on Twitter or Facebook, they are still thinking it and saying it. This gives you the advantage of better speaking into their lives with the issues that are important to them.

      Just a thought …

      • patriciazell

        Actually, we have access to a virtual classroom called Moodle. I thought I'd try setting forums and chats there to see how they handle that. The advantage of Moodle is that I can take them to the computer lab and use class time to get them involved in social media (can't do that with Facebook and Twitter). Many of my students do need to understand online etiquette–they will be in the work world fairly soon, so they do need to learn the productive way to participate online.

        By the way, my students trust me and are not at all shy about expressing themselves. I handle inapproriate statements by covering my ears and talking about how my poor innocent ears are hurting. They laugh, but they get the message.

  • Josh Mann

    I’m working on a 3rd post in a series related to this topic. (Strangely, I made very similar statements regarding influence a few days ago). I must add, though, that I’m not completely convinced about twitter (I’m test-driving). If we have something worthwhile to share, influence is certainly important (as I wrote here previously.) But twitter is not pure gold. I cannot swallow it…yet. I’ll just keep chewing on it for a while.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That's what I said when I started. ;-)

      Seriously, you are doing the right thing—test-driving. If it works, great. If not, you'll at least be able to say you gave it a whirl.

  • Forrest Long

    Good insight Michael. From some people on twitter you just find out what they had for breakfast, but in a few words you can write someting significant and influential. I’m getting there, and I appreciate your insights, both here and on twitter.

  • ginamurrow

    My Twitter influence changed dramatically when I started interacting with those I following and those following me. As I respond to their tweets with thank you's, comments, or answers, they return that favor. I've found Twitter has gone from a rather distant activity and become an interactive part of my day. It's also causing people to see my website, which is wonderful.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely. Twitter is more of a conversational tool than a broadcast tool.

      I was meeting with a gentleman today who had quite a large point, but had obviously missed the dialogue component. He was only using Twitter to shout at his followers. It made me wonder how long he would retain them.

  • Kirk Weisler

    With regard to influence.. I can only influence those people who feel a connection to me, and if my boss is a disconnected management jerk.. twitter is only going to magnify his/her shortcomings. Some have already recieved twiiter “reminders” from their bosses that say influential things like “get back to work” and “remember the deadline”.

    Look at the number of people who have simply made twitter their next spam engine and obnoxious marketing tool.

    I twittter… I have hundreds of followers… and I follow lots of people. But I don’t suffer from the delusion that any of them read my postings anymore than I read theirs. There is so much effort being made to justify the hype of this amazing “Next BIG Thing”. Like facebook, Twitter seems mostly to help create the illustion of followers, connections, and listeners. In a world where people are dying to be heard, feel understood and not be lonely …it allows them to pretend that more people are listening, following, and caring than really do. The connections and ability to make more of them with things like Twitter, Facebook etc, continues to exacerbate the shallowness of existing relationships that do exist. Hence the surveys that continue to say that the average adult today has less meaningful relationships than any time before.(that we surveyed such things). Twitter is great…but it’s not “all that”
    Kirk Out

    • patriciazell

      Kirk, if we are looking at Facebook, Twittter, or any other social media for our validation, we are looking in the wrong places. There is One who listens, understands, and cares, but we often relegate Him as someone we visit with in our quiet times and as someone we worship in meetings with other believers. God is so much more that what we give Him credit for. He will come into our foxholes, hunker down next to us, put His arms around us, comfort us, and give us the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom we need to overcome everything that comes against us. Meanwhile, at most, Twitter and Facebook can only be springboards into meeting and interacting with other people. They are only tools–they are not our life.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Personally, I think that Twitter, like most technologies, can be used well or used poorly. As an amplifier, it serves to magnify are strongest traits. If we are generous and other-centered, that leads to one kind of Twittering. If we are self-absorbed and selfish, that leads to another outcome.

      But the choice is ours—as it is with most of life.

  • @ajelwind

    Great post. Thanks Mike.

    In addition to expanding my influence, I also love using twitter as tool for getting out of my comfort zone and learning about people and viewpoints quite different from my own. I shared my thoughts on this in recent post on my blog:

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  • Jennifer V.Miller

    I'm using it to influence leaders. My experience has been much the same as yours– the harried middle manager or executive barely has time to eat lunch let alone figure out how to tweet. Nearly all my conversations with director or c-level leaders in the past six months have invariably ended up some in form of discussion about social media. ____Ironically, even though I’m not a social media expert by any means, I’ve become an ad hoc social media mentor to my clients. Your conversation has given me some great words to use with my more cautious listeners.____Thanks!__

  • Wally Bock

    Great post, Michael. As with most "new" technology, people will try it when the witness people like them using it and when they think they'll get something out of it.

  • Martin Richardson

    I think I can use it as a leadership tool to spark awareness. Earlier today you tweeted about United Airlines breaking guitars and had a link to a youtube video about a band's experience in the form of song. Your 140 characters or less was shared this information with me and I could read the actual incident from the band's website. Information and opinions are shared rather quickly and Twitter helps the spread of influence.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think that video really shows the importance of being online as a corporation. If you aren't listening to your customers and responding quickly, you could have a media disaster on your hands before you know what hit you.

      • Martin Richardson

        Yes, pertaining to your post it allows customers(satisfied or otherwise) to lead other potential customers accordingly when considering products or services.

  • wisdomcalls

    Totally agree. To see more ways that Twittering is PRICELESS check out my blog (june 9th)

  • Michelle Brown

    I confess, I am a huge Twitter fan.

    It provides the opportunity to empower people from far and wide. It also creates an avenue through which the playing field is leveled a bit, and the low person on the totem pole might feel as though he or she actually has a voice. That is so key – the sense of believing that leaders actually hear what the rest of us are saying. Additionally, it can create some unlikely connections. The little, invisible secretary in Nowhereville, USA might get a chance to encourage the bigwig of a multi-gazillion dollar corporation who offices on the opposite side of the country. Where else but Twitter could something like that happen?

    There's amazing potential here. It will be interesting to see how its use evolves over time.


    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree. I have met so many people via Twitter that have become real-life friends and business associates. Sometime I want to blog about this, but it is really amazing when you stop and think about it. Where else, indeed?!

  • Michael Hyatt

    Jeff, I really appreciate how intentional you are about this. I think it will serve you well in the months to come.

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  • dfoster7597

    Great post MIchael. I've just started using Twitter, primarily because of reading your blog posts. I manage a sales team and I am using it to share my thoughts after coaching sessions, training workshops, and to keep people up to speed on where I am at during the day. I don't have a ton of followers yet but hopefully that will change as Twitter bridges the generation gap in the world of Real Estate. Thanks for all you do.

  • @timelesslisa

    Excellent point, many of my friends & colleagues don't get Twitter but they do see my tweets linked over to Facebook. From that they see how I've made myself a resource plus I'm creating awareness of our brands by finding interesting news to share, so they are learning by my example while gaining insight into my life.

  • @KathyLoh

    Appreciate your insight. Leadership, especially visionary leadership points the way into the unknown and makes visible that which has not been commonly visible before. Twitter offers the opportunity to pose inquiries and questions that, if one takes the time to notice (and that's the big issue) give one pause. I prefer not to see it as competitive, but as an opportunity for as many people as possible to get the message out…that message for me is basically visionary and soulful.

  • Tre(MuzicMan92)

    Good information! I like the post, it really is a great leadership tool, and also, a way of informing people of important events/or decisions in one's life.


  • Dave Hess

    “I am not suggesting that you can. It is simply one tool in your leadership toolbox—but a very powerful one. Twitter is like an influence amplifier. It enables extend your influence in ways never before possible” …

    Powerful description. I have never been able to formulate Twitters specific usefulness as clearly as you did here. Thanks!

  • Mac Lake

    Thanks Michael, this gives me a even deeper perpsective on Twitter. Thanks for adding value to my life.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome!

  • Elwin Witzke

    Excellent post!

    You highlight the powerful value that a mass narrow-casting tool such as Twitter can have for those that subscribe to your stream. Employees crave for leaders to step out and talk about what is on their minds. Too often leaders are insulated from large portions of the organization and then wonder why there is a disconnect.

    And as you say, it isn't just Twitter, its about adding Twitter to your toolbox.

    BTW – If your focus is on staff only, then some of the private, enterprise microblogging tools may be more palatable.

  • Tyler_Braun

    There is no question your definition of leadership is spot on. I do think that Twitter is more than simply having influence though because if it is only about influence then there are millions of people fighting to have more influence. If that all Twitter is then I think it really just a self feeding service. It has to be more than just that, though there is a part of it that is that.

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  • Sandi

    Isn't today Sunday? Aren't we all supposed to be in church? I don't know about the others, but I couldn't sleep, so I crawled out of bed early this morning. So there you have it. That's my excuse. :-)

    Very interesting post, Mike. I'm new to your blog, but from what I've read so far, you put up some very informative, thought-provoking, helpful information. Thank you so much for being willing to take the time.

    The thought of Twitter, however, gives me the twitters. Thinking about it makes me tired. It's deadened my desire to write. I think I'll go back to bed. Oh, but wait. It's almost time to leave for church. I can sleep there.

    • patriciazell

      Actually, I'm finding Twitter to be a help in writing concisely. It's a challenge to put a thought into 140 characters. I also am finding the trending topics to be a place where I can jump in with statements about God's absolute love and provide a link to my blog. (Hey, that's free advertising!) With so many people involved in Twitter, who knows who will read my tweets and click on the link. As long as we remember Twitter is a tool and God is our life, we'll be fine.

    • patriciazell

      Actually, I'm finding Twitter to be a help in writing concisely. It's a challenge to put a thought into 140 characters. I also am finding the trending topics to be a place where I can jump in with statements about God's absolute love and provide a link to my blog. (Hey, that's free advertising!) With so many people involved in Twitter, who knows who will read my tweets and click on the links. As long as we remember Twitter is a tool and God is our life, we'll be fine.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree with Patricia. I think that Twitter has actually helped my writing. By forcing me to be concise, I am more careful with each word.

  • Sandi

    As for Twittering, I'm afraid I'm with your friend (before he was so easily converted). I'm assuming several folks here are authors. I'm coming from the perspective of an author. I realize the importance of establishing platform these days, and after joining Facebook, Linkedin, learning to blog, setting up a website, joining countless writing groups, don't you think that's enough measures taken in establishing "leadership?" Honestly, I'm hardly interested in setting a goal to "establish leadership." I mean, who am I? Who cares what I ate for breakfast that morning, or what I might happen to be facing that day? What makes my experiences any more important than the next guy's? Besides all that, I'm first and foremost a writer. After plugging into all these social networks, when in the heck am I supposed to write?

    • patriciazell

      I guess the answer to your question goes into our motives for writing. Since I took my first writing course around 1990, I have had the goal of writing a bestseller–you know, fame and fortune–and until this summer I periodically made the effort to put together book proposals and send them out with no success. But, there's been a change. After attending a writer's conference and participating in this blog, I have laid aside trying to write the bestseller (oh, what a relief!) and decided to take full advantage of social media to help people find out that God loves them and that His love is absolute. The door that social media provides is wide open and the audience is vast. I believe the key to being successful in this venue is to use it in a mode centered on others rather than centered on ourselves.

      • Sandi

        Excellent thoughts. Thank you, Patricia.

        My motive? I have a story to tell. If that means only my kids get to read it, I'll be happy. But my ultimate goal is to reach the unsaved with my writing, and one of the ways to do that is to get published. I pray for God's will to be done, and so far He's opened doors. It's all in His hands. In the meantime, I just want to write, to dive into my characters, to tell their story. But networking and creating a huge platform, takes me away from that.

        I see the benefits of getting some "free advertising" out of it. But . . . ugh. When will it ever be enough?

        • patriciazell

          Just one more suggestion, Sandi. I'm sure all huge platforms began with baby steps. Maybe you should put most of your time in writing your story and just wade into the networking a little at a time. Nothing has to be done right now because the social media isn't going away–it'll there after you get your story down on paper. I have found that when I feel overwhelmed, if I ask God for help and take one step at a time, amazing things happen. And I also try to follow the wisdom God gave me many years ago when I was confused with all the advice I was receiving after our first child was born–Pray and then follow your heart.

    • Sandi

      Okay, okay! You all have convinced me. LOL I also went back and read some of the other comments on it. They were helpful. So, now I'm on Twitter. :-)

  • Jeff Goins

    I like it. This is going to change HOW I twitter. Good word, Michael. Thanks for sharing.

  • Melissa/Mel's World

    I LOVE this post and completely agree…Twitter is an incredible tool if used correctly. It's not just about where you are and what you are doing, it's about making an impact on those in your twitter stream. Sometimes that is just simply being real and talking about your day, other times it about sharing resources, caring for others, and even being a light in a dark world. Thanks for your insight on this…I can't wait to share it with my pastoral team!

    Melissa in Mel's World

  • Sandi

    Okay, okay. I'm convinced! I'm officially on Twitter! LOL Now, if I can just figure out how to post. Hmm….

  • Paul Wallis

    I said somewhere on my blog that I believe “leadership is about how you share the being and doing that God has called you to.” And Twtitter is all about continually sharing bits of yourself and allowing another degree of interaction. I think the commenters who have hinted that the model you have outlined is too “impartational” may have missed how dialoguic and interactive Twitter really is. I agree that today’s readers don’t want simply to sit at the feet of the expert and take notes. The beauty of Twitter is that it puts that relationship onto a more reciprocal footing than ever before. So, I’m with you Mike! Here’s to Twitter!

  • Mary

    Here's an interesting Twitter link from a tech standpoint (stunning and useful stats)

    • patriciazell

      Cool–since I'm a geek, those stats were interesting!

  • Joseph Cole

    Transparency is so critical to enhancing one's leadership. I've found Twitter to be a quick, simple and cheap way of increasing my transparency to the people in the church I serve in as well as the people of the community.

  • Marc Millan

    No doubt leadership tool number #1 and growing is Twitter, well for the leaders out there who care and are aware of course. Amazing what 140 can do these days..

  • tim milburn

    This is awesome! I am fully invested in Twitter. Now I am on the lookout for creative and quality ways to be an evangelist for this excellent and evolving communication tool. This is another way that I will sound the horn for Twitter.

    Thanks for your transparency and willingness to live in the cutting edge. Your role as a CEO of a highly recognized publishing company only heightens the way leaders can integrate social media into their lives and companies.

  • @finkelde

    As a leader I see Twitter accomplishing a few things

    … 'welcome to my world'
    … value adding
    … connection

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  • Blask


  • Susan Mazza


    One of the things I love about twitter is that it levels the playing field. If you want to know someone's "position" or "status" you have to look for it – it is not right in front of you like the name plate on a big office door. Everyone's tweet has equal space on the page. Your influence grows based on the quality of what you have to say and the way in which you interact with people.

    I think of people in leadership positions could learn a lot about themselves and their leadership by using twitter. It can be both humbling and very enlightening to build your identity from scratch when you have spent your career building your identity within organizations. Interacting with people who don't know who you are or who don't ascribe importance based on your level is a unique opportunity to look into a mirror of sorts and see who you have actually become.

  • Heidi Kraft

    Yes – it is a leadership tool AND that’s why it’s so important to be intentional about what you say and make sure it aligns with who you are. When I see people retweeting information that clearly doesn’t fit with how I see them as a leader, it disappoints me. Twitter is one more communication tool. We need to remember to be authentic as leaders wherever we are.

  • Matt Maiberger

    Great article!

    As John Maxwell says, "Leadership is influence. Nothing more… nothing less."

    Utilizing twitter to share nuggets of leadership gold is a great idea.

  • Anna Moyle

    Would it be all right to add this blog post to and link back to your blog? Please email me at to let me know. Thanks!

  • Michael Hyatt

    I have emailed you separately. However, my policy is detailed here. Thanks for your interest.

  • Michael Hyatt

    I have emailed you separately. However, my policy is detailed here. Thanks for your interest.

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  • Joy Eggerichs

    This is great! Will forward it to the pops.

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  • @bonnieblue031

    I think twitter is an educational tool. I am using it to post my blog in my field. I will have to think of how to use more leadership opportunities on twitter.

  • ~ Patricia

    If used wisely – absolutely – and you are an excellent example and role model, Michael. The truth is that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" or the "fingers tweet."

  • Bruce Munnings

    Thanks for another great blog post. I was wondering if Jesus would use Twitter today. He is the greatest leader of all time and if Twitter is still around when He comes back, for real, I wonder if He will send out a Tweet and what the Tweet will be. Just imagine!

  • S2N Design

    Great insight. Never thought about it in those terms.

  • Stephanie

    Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Michael. I agree. It is easy to misunderstand Twitter at first glance/use, but it really is a wonderful tool for leadership…and for promoting good people + good causes worldwide.

  • Greg Waddell

    Great post! I've been using Twitter for a couple months now and I feel like I'm just starting to understand its potential. I learn new ways to leverage it every day.

  • Brian Nicholson

    Good explanation, Michael.

    One of the challenges of reaching ‘doubters’ like this is overcoming their preconceived notions of what Twitter is for. And that’s largely because of how it’s misused by some. (Of course, I use the term ‘misused’ loosely; it’s a platform anybody can use how they see fit.)

    Tweeting about your life that’s being lived on-purpose, as you put it, works great–if one knows where to draw the line. Telling me that you’re taking a break to spend time with your family = good and helpful. It challenges me to think about my priorities. Telling me you’re at the gas station = a waste of my time.

    It’s the difference between a leadership account (where the person intentionally provides value in each tweet) or a vanity account (where the person assumes that every aspect of his life is inherently valuable to readers). That’s not to say that a leadership account can’t have some personality to it, of course.

    The nice thing about Twitter lists is that it’s pretty easy to show someone a collection of good examples. That’s one place I start when I’m trying to teach people how Twitter can be useful.

    • Krissi

      Great reply. I like your thoughts on “leadership account” & “vanity account”. I’ve seen both & clearly prefer to hear from a person who takes their thoughts seriously as they tweet (adds value).

  • Michelle Nicholson

    This is so true Michael. I didn’t even know who you were. I don’t even remember how I initially found you, but you have had a great deal of influence on me without even knowing it all because of your tweets. Yours and one other are the two that I read every day because I always learn something new. Thanks for leading.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Michelle. I appreciate the encouragement.

  • Karl Mealor

    Great article. I’ve always viewed Twitter as more of an educational tool for myself. I follow people I respect and “pick their brains”.

  • Dan

    Great thoughts on using Twitter to grow your influence. Its a powerful tool. Thank you for sharing your conversation.

  • Beverly Rogers

    I agree with the potential, but think that until Twitter can find some hook for mainstream attention, you will just be influencing a small circle (globally thinking) of like-minded people.
    I personally found your much appreciated blog because of a tweet, but again think that I am one of those like-minded people. Keep using your influence for good, but just maybe we need Britney to be more active on Twitter to widen the audience.

  • Yvonne Green

    Great post as always.   Good point about influence. 

  • Christykennard

    Up until a few weeks ago I would have agreed with your friend. I am a new “twitterer” so my influence is nominal. I will say that the influence of other leaders has been impressive to me on twitter. It is a great way to connect and be inspired with people you would never meet. Much different than facebook!

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  • Giselle Aguiar

    Absolutely! I use it to evangelize and promote my novel!

  • Christian SingleMom

    I created this account to minister. I am a leader. I joined Twitter because my favorite local morning DJ’s said they were going to try it a while back. I stayed because I tried to help a new business get off the ground. As I followed smart professional people I saw how they were utilizing it. I saw news organizations utilizing Twitter. I see authors and speakers building plat forms. Blogger has nothing on this impromptu medium and yet of course blogs are still big. As I stayed and listened I began to see a need. Rolled up my sleeves a couple of months ago and got to work.

  • Scott Haywood

    I also think that leaders need to use twitter as a listening tool.  It can be both an amplifier and a great set of head phones.

    • Jon Dale

       Scott, you’re absolutely right.  It’s a conversation tool.

  • Dan Brennan

    You’ve just re-energized my approach to twitter, Michael.

  • Jackie Anderson

    I have a few tweets on my phone that I have left there just to remind myself.  My personal easy access “quote holder” that inspires me.

  • Susan Bailey

    Twitter has many uses but it takes imagination to find them. I find that Twitter forces you to write good headlines, ones anyone can understand, punchy enough to make you click on that link, and short enough to fit within the confines of 140 characters! A tall order, but a great way to build on that skill in real time.

    I also have recently figured out that Twitter is a great way to get down a few thoughts in rapid succession (in 3 or 4 tweets) when I don’t have to time to blog. Both of my blogs have Twitter embedded in them so anyone can read them. It keeps the blog looking active until I can find the time to post again. Often I will put links in back to my sites and publicize them on Facebook as well.

    Michael, your tweets coupled with the ease of reading Twitter on my iTouch vs on the computer opened up Twitter for me. Thanks!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Susan.

  • Robert W

    Michael – thank you for this post. Just discovered it yesterday.

    If you had to answer the question, “Why tweet?” in a concise package… let’s say 140 characters or less… what would you say? :)

    Enjoy your blog immensely! God bless.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That totally depends on who I am talking to. For a person in leadership, I would say, “Tweet in order to leverage your influence.”

  • John Gallagher

    Mike,  I do think it is a leadership tool.  Personally, I try to use it to share.  Share blog posts like this one, interesting articles, etc.  BTW, I shared this post with top leaders in my organization who have just signed up to tweet.

  • Anonymous

    great post… i call it stepping up to the plate.. at a certain time when people feel they are ready, Twitter allows anyone to take on a position of leadership. There is a great saying that to lead the orchestra you have to turn your back on the crowd… So.. become visibile, become credible and then yes.. start assuming the role of a leader…

    Twitter allow you to do all that… so go on demonstrate your knowledge, your epxertise, show up on a regular basis and in time you will become known as the go to person.. there are 2 ways to catch butterflies in your garden…. go out with a huge net or grow really nice flowers and become a very attractive person…. Twitter allows you to do all of that…

    Mark Shaw

  • W. Mark Thompson

    Yes. I believe twitter can be a great leadership tool. Also think it can be distracting. It’s a matter of intention. The tagline of your blog says it all. “Intentional Leadership”

    If we’re not intentional about it, it’s just a big time suck. But people ARE looking for role models and leadership. Twitter is an effective tool when used with intention. No doubt. Thanks for the post!!

  • Nathan W. Bingham

    Good insights Michael. I especially like how you’re actively sharing the benefits of Twitter to those who still don’t “get it”. Funny enough, I think there are a lot of people using Twitter who still don’t “get it”. :-)

    Now for an odd question: is it “Twittering” or is it “tweeting”?

    Reading or hearing someone say “Twittering” is like hearing nails down a chalkboard to me. Am I being overly sensitive, or do people tweet on Twitter?

  • Lara Schiffbauer

    This post was extremely helpful.  I just started a Twitter account and have been trying to figure out what to say.  I have been feeling stage fright everytime I tweet.  Thinking of tweets as sharing what captures my attention in this moment and is an extension of the message I am trying to share with the world took some mystery out of it, and makes it more manageable.  Thank you so much!

  • Fr. Charles Erlandson

    Maybe someone can explain this in more detail. I use Twitter occasionally, but it still seems more like a constant stream of noise that doesn’t offer much of value.

    • Michael Hyatt

      They is to follow people you can about. This is why I started by getting my family on Twitter, then my colleagues.

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  • Daren Sirbough

    Currently my influence is mainly young adults in my church. I’d like it to involve musicians that I play with and other communities that I am part of. I believe it will increase as I increase in my own leadership.

    • Daren Sirbough

      so far it’s christians who follow me. it will be interesting once a lot of my atheist lecturers and friends start following me on there too.

  • Ktcol77

    Mr. Hyatt You are spot on with this one. I started following you a year or so ago. I have learned so much just by listening. My responsibilities are not as vast as yours but management is management. The chances that our paths would have crossed any other way were slim. God has used twitter to greatly expand your territory! Thank you for the free education.

  • Patrick Allmond

    I’ll have to disagree on this one. People give Twitter (and several other online channels) too much credibility. In addition to what you have said I’ve heard people laud the benefits of 140 character communication. “It makes people better writers”. “If Jesus were alive today he would use Twitter to communicate with the world”. Phrases like these just make me shake my head. Why in the world do people think that a tool where you can barely get out a single thought is a great leadership tool? And why do people think that Twitter (or FB) was invented for anything. It was a geeky programmers accident. It was not this glorious tool that was developed to change the world. It is a barely functional chat room from a company that is barely making any money. 

    I do love using it to interact and share with people. But I don’t think it is a revolutionary piece of software that can be used to guide people and nations. It cannot teach better or worse leadership any more than a pen and a piece of parchment. 

    Twitter is good for communicating. What you do with it determines how useful it is. If someone is a good communicator then any tool they used could be considered a “great leadership tool”. Be it a blog, a hammer, or a knife. Remember that there is just as much porn and spam being pushed out on Twitter as there is good leadership. 

    We spend too much time focusing on the tool. And this is scary because there are people that will believe this and start believing that if they use Twitter more they will be great leaders (this is evident by several of the previous comments). Don’t focus on the tool people. The tool is not a great leadership tool. The people you follow and interact with are great leaders. Put in the time to sharpen your leadership and writing skills. And then find the tools to share those with the world. 

  • Rick McDaniel

    Twitter is positively a powerful leadership tool. I am one who was not an early adopter but have come to believe in Twitter usage as a significant way to impact people. Thanks to your earlier post I have connected it to my 30K FB fans and now it is helping me to reach more people with inspirational and motivational messages.

  • Rick McDaniel

    Twitter is positively a powerful leadership tool. I am one who was not an early adopter but have come to believe in Twitter usage as a significant way to impact people. Thanks to your earlier post I have connected it to my 30K FB fans and now it is helping me to reach more people with inspirational and motivational messages.

  • Dr. Jason Cabler

    I use Twitter to announce each of my blog posts and to help promote the work of others.  I am a serial retweeter.  In fact, when people retweet me I like to retweet them twice as a thank you.

    I don’t use it to talk about my daily life very often, although I do try to engage people with something other than a blog post at times.  I at least try to make it more interesting than what I’m eating for lunch that day.  

    How many times per day do you think a person should tweet for max effectiveness?  I read that Mari Smith recommends no more than once per hour.  What’s your thought on this?

  • ParsonBoots

    Are we confusing “followers” with “people I influence”?  I would recommend you do a survey of those following you on twitter and ask them, “How many leaders do you follow on Twitter?”  I would guess the number is fairly high.  I find that in my own life I get inspiration overload numbness when it’s just one tweet after another, no matter how great the tweets are.  When that’s the case Twitter becomes an end in itself and I’m not really leading anyone in particular to do something specific, but am inspiring the vague masses to do something in general.  That just doesn’t sound like disciple-making to me.

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  • Dawn Herring

    As host of #JournalChat Live on Twitter (which is every Thursday, 5 EST/2 PST for all things journaling), I have experienced the potential of sharing the benefits of journal writing and sharing information from that field of self-care. When used in a purposeful manner, you can use Twitter to create a positive place to share information that’s relevant and meaningful.

  • Matt Ham

    I think Twitter provides an exceptional opportunity for folks to engage another’s platform and it gives me unique accessibility to NYT Best Selling authors like yourself. Like you said above, it is an amazing tool for influence in BOTH directions. However, for the new guy, it seems to be an uphill climb. The occasional retweet along with conversations here and there energize, but when I track my site referrals, Twitter is seemingly non-existent. I feel like tweets get lost in the endless feed machine.
    My question is, it is a function of time? I just ‘really’ joined Twitter about 3 months ago after reading ‘Start’ and ‘Platform’ once I began writing. I wouldn’t certainly expect 4 figure or 5 figure followers immediately, but just curious. My gut (spirit) tells me to just keep plugging along, my brain (flesh) tells me to quit wasting my time. Thanks!

  • John Meese

    This is great. This and your other posts about Twitter were what made me decide to start using the platform regularly a few months ago. I’d had one for a long time, but never used it. I’m loving the experience now! Thanks again.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, John. I’m glad it got you going.

  • DawnHerring

    I think Twitter is an awesome tool to be in touch with those who are in your area of influence or who can benefit from your life experience in some way. I think one of the ways Twitter is a great tool for influence is through public chats. That’s where I connected with many friends there when I first got onto Twitter in 2009. I’ve hosted a live chat, #JournalChat Live, for almost 3 years, now on Sundays, 4 EST/1 PST. We have a wonderful group of folks who have a journaling practice and it’s a great way to connect!

    I appreciate what you shared here and I agree.
    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring

  • Vonnie Hudson

    I never consider Twitter as a leadership tool, always thought about it in terms of what I could get out of it (i.e. More followers), not what I could give. Thanks for the paradigm shift

  • Darlene Pawlik

    Changing the world, one small ripple at a time.

  • Don

    Twitter feels to me like a room full of people randomly blurting out what they hope to be pithy soundbites and hoping someone is listening. For me, it’s an ADD nightmare. Apparently, it works for some.

  • Don

    Ha! I just noticed the date of the last comment. I appear to be a bit late to the game. ;)

  • Ryan Biddulph

    It’s a fab tool Michael, tremendous for reaching so many people, connecting and listening to them.