A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Are you being followed?

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:


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


5 comments on “Are you being followed?

  1. Carlm

    From the number of responses to this and the previous posts regarding facebook (none) speak to the obvious that this may not be an industry but a colection of small niche interest groups with the one common thread of floating on or spending time working or recreating on or near water. I could be wrong but in this stalled business climate we all are in, where a majority of recreational manufactures have been closed since December and the stronger (for lack of a better word) ones only have a few key people in place to answer phones, it is understandable that no employee who is working for one of these companies would dare be blogging, facebooking, or tweeting or even have the time to spare in these times of basic survival. Natalie I see alot of PR, Mag types, etc on your starter list but who you do not see is the true story of where this group of niches companies (industry ) is at regarding Survivor mode in the midst of a huge economic hurricane. Absent from your list are builders such as Brunswick, Genmar, Yamaha, on down to the canoe & Kayak builders.
    Besides most folks got into the business they are in because of a strong interst in it as a liesure time activity and something they enjoy. So most I hope are out on a boat without a computer or hand held device tweetering their life away.
    As for me I just came back from an early morning Kayak fishing outing with our remaining employees and plan to go out with the wife & pets this afternoon on the company demo boat to meet up with boaters of like minds on a sandbar in St. Joesphs sound. No crackberrys allowed just fun in the Sun……we do not need to let the world know what we are doing or responding to them. Go out side – turn off the technologies that are inslaving the population and smell the sea air, mountian air, listen to the relaxing nature around you. It is what true dreams & memories are made of.

  2. Natalie Friton


    I can absolutely appreciate that the act of boating itself, be it kayaking, sailing, fishing, crossing oceans, etc can be one of escape. I know when I’m in my kayak I do not have a cell phone in my pocket and the less tied I can be to technology when on the water, the better. But when I’m working, and when I’m trying to make ends meet, and when I’m trying to connect with every possible person who might even be remotely interested in boating and therefore a potential client, I surround myself with all possible resources.

    These are tough times, absolutely. People are losing jobs and many of those that still have them are overworked and underpaid. We are burning the candle at both ends. The things we are doing to keep our businesses alive absolutely challenge “life balance.” I work more than I play right now, there is no question about it. But that’s what I have to do. I applaud you and others for being able to reward your employees with time on the water and for sharing your appreciation with them for the hard work they’ve done.

    And you’re right, there are a significant number of major manufacturers missing from the list and from Twitter in general, but that is the whole point of the original post; to invite them to join. Twitter, blogs, Facebook, the Internet–it’s all opportunity. It is something new to try. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. It’s also FREE, it’s a free chance to see if you can connect with new potential customers, to promote yourself to a new audience.

    Carl, thank you for your comments. I hope the spring season is successful for you. And if you do decide to join Twitter, it’d be great to see where you’re paddling next.

  3. Carlm

    Maybe Natalie the internet and these other things are the true competitors for leisure time activity. The narcisistic go fast boaters (poker runners) will be your best bet to be your twitts. Don’t get me wrong I like those types and apreciate their enthusiasm for getting out there.

  4. Natalie Friton

    For what it’s worth, here is a recent article by one of the top social media experts and bloggers about how to think through having an online presence: http://bit.ly/presencemgt. Everyone recognizes it’s a lot of work and that not all options of social media are relevant for all companies.

    I’ve actually connected with a number of sailors, circumnavigators, powerboaters, dreamers, etc on Twitter who are all there to learn from others and share experiences. I also recently connected with Guy Hoffman (http://twitter.com/GuyThaLizard, @GuyTheLizard) who happens to be a kayak enthusiast.

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