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How to Give a Twitter Referral January 13, 2009

Image by DBareFoot via Flickr

Image by DBareFoot via Flickr

Last night on my way to volleyball (yes, we won) I jotted down a new Twitter Blog topic of how to give and receive a referral via,what else – TWITTER!

It was inspired by @bradyjfrey asking: 

Can anyone recommend a freelance PHP developer or company with solid skills? I have mucho work I need a hand on, starting immediately

I retweetd this out to my network hoping to help a fellow Tweeter out:  

RT @bradyjfrey anyone recommend a freelance PHP developer or company with solid skills? I have mucho work I need a hand on, starting immedi

I received two referrals, via a DM from @LGMI & @DaveRedford recomending @brianjcohen & @NathanCook.  On my way to volleyball (again, yea-we won) I noticed that @bradyjfrey & @NathanCook had spoke, but @brianjcohen. had not been contacted yet.  I wanted to make sure that both recommendations were notified, but how could that be possible unless I was the middleman, the broker, the go-to gal, the TwitterPimp, if you will.

Is there protocol for something like this? Twitter is developing so fast with so many people trying to take advantage of the unbelievable networking, communication and relationship possibilities that when it comes to @TweetEtiquitte – what is protocol?  Here is my .02:

After my RT went out, @LGM1 & @DaveRedford would have sent an @ message to @bradyjfrey, something like this:

@bradyjfrey -@jenharris09 RT that you are looking for PHP dvlpr. Try @brianjcohen & @nathanCook – they rock!

What just happened here? This is a mini-version of Tac’s tagging he spoke about today, and not only were ALL parties notified of the referral but there was a potential of at least 8 new connections that could have been made w/o me.  Ahhh, geek love.  😉

So let’s do this from now on & make it protocol for a referral – because we all know that is the way to true success.

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13 Responses to “How to Give a Twitter Referral”

  1. Good call, Jen. So did anyone get any work out of this?? That is the part I hope someone RTs.

  2. Chris Ott Says:

    I would certainly recommend Referral Key for this exact thing, as it specifically designed for small business professionals to exchange qualified and timely leads.

    http://www.referralkey.com/

    Furthermore, I am not sure how close you are with the people you broadcast your “Tweets” to but as rule, (I believe this is rather a universal rule amongst seasoned professionals) I would certainly not refer anyone to a professional unless I

    Knew them and had first hand experience with the quality and consistency of their work.

    To put it in perspective, I social network with over 200 other professionals I’ve met one time or another. Conversely, I only exchange referrals with about 25 of them.

    I could see where there may be a miniscule level of accountability amongst tweeters however, if I tell my accountant I may need legal help. I don’t expect him to say, “Hey, I know this guy, he’s a great attorney.”, disappear into a back room, find someone’s name in the Yellow Pages and return with a near stranger’s contact information.

    Reputation, Reputation, Reputation

    • jenharris Says:

      Thanks Chris for the referral! 🙂
      The huge difference between the two is that Twitter is fast, FREE, and for the most part very industry specific. Because of Twitter, I know certain people & their integrity -because of their Tweets. It’s like I have been to 10 different “conferences” where they are the guest speaker…every time.
      You are so right though about referring a stranger. That is just bad business practice and in today’s world, the rotten apples will be thrown out.
      Thanks again!
      -jen

  3. Chris Ott Says:

    No problem Jen. By the way, I’m not sure if you went to the site but Referral Key is free for almost all of its functionality. Which by the way, extends far beyond Twitter.

  4. Thank you for the referrals (and to http://www.google.com/alerts for finding this post!):)

    This was an experiment for us as well. I’m quite picky on my tech requirements, and I’ve been finding in the past just paying for a Craigslist post or hitting Linkedin (that site is not on my love list anymore) is not giving me the real, targeted referrals I need. So this time around, I trolled on things like 37 signals gig board, and posted on both Facebook and Twitter.

    Surprisingly, you and another person where the only people that recommended someone. The other tweeter did make reference that they didn’t know them personally, and would be interested in my feedback so he knows for future reference (which is a nice way to get around not knowing the individual).

    The end results are still up in the air: Brian’s traveling right now and wanted to talk on the phone – but I run the Advertising/Marketing/Design/Development/IT for 12 sub companies, and Tuesdays are almost exclusively meetings. I asked that when he’s settled or returned, we can talk.

    Nathan we chatted briefly online, and will most likely again soon. I am reviewing his portfolio now.

    Which leads to some of the problems with trying this on Twitter: 140 characters in multiple posts can leave out specifics. In my case, I need a developer with real world application development, most likely in a mvc modeled environment, with strong understanding of modern semantic/tableless/accessibility standards – and with a portfolio that shows this.

    Surprisingly, that’s another issue I’m finding – no portfolio. Maybe it’s more of an artist thing, but I think even developers should have a strong portfolio including specifics about their knowledge. Regardless of the economy, we’re a large company quite willing to pay premium for talent… if we can find that talent. For someone like me that can also code, it’s doubly important so I can separate the real talent (but I imagine, that’s an overall HR problem).

    Now, I’ve actually opened it up to Ruby on Rails or Python/Django developers, and I’m starting to note that we’re willing to pay $100 an hour for their time, as well as above for someone with the experience and talent. I’ll post up the results for you if they come about:)

  5. …and someone else recommended http://www.referralkey.com, but that seems to lie between linkedin and twitter to me. Twitter I at least get character, linkedin is the business professional pitch.

    I specifically wouldn’t use it for Development or Design referrals; the site runs on a table based layout, doesn’t have a doctype, and has more validation errors. It looks like a Microsoft 2000 website, and if I’m already turned away by those things, I don’t think I’d find an experienced developer or designer that would use it.

    I’m going to be even more specific and try http://www.krop.com next if I need too…

  6. jenharris Says:

    Thanks Brady – glad this sparked some conversation between people.

  7. Boris Klompus Says:

    Brady,

    I am a colleague of Chris’s, and good friends with the Referral Key group. He showed me your critique of the site. Although your harsh feedback is appreciated and you do sound like a sharp guy; I’m not quite sure you understand Referral Key.

    Krop looks like a great site yet, it serves a completely different purpose than Referral Key. (That’s like suggesting Amazon to someone looking for an alternative to Wikipedia)

    After going through Krop, it’s clear that its purpose is to connect programmers with positions at mid- to large sized businesses. I can think of several other sites that are at least relatively similar. (http://www.getafreelancer.com/), (http://www.craigslist.com/, http://www.monster.com/)

    That couldn’t be further from what Referral Key does.

    “Business to business” referrals are the life line for the majority of small business owners (including many programmers like me).

    You can actually build an extremely successful practice based on your reputation alone. For instance, my longtime accountant Diane does very good work and I trust her. When I had mentioned that I was looking to have some legal work done for my son’s charity group, she suggested her trusted attorney, Joshua.

    Now everyone’s reputation is strengthened and as a group, we have competitive advantage over someone who just posts and answer job ads in a newspaper, phone book or even online. Do quality work and exchange referrals with 30 people who trust you and you could imagine you’re reputation will spread very fast.

    If anything, http://www.bni.com/ would be the non-digital version of what we do.

    Referral Key is a robust tool with many unique and powerful features such as the ability to run a promotion campaign within your current client base.

    A referral from Craigslist, no matter how “targeted”, is not a qualified referral.

    We appreciate your harsh criticism of the schematics of the site. Fortunately, our members and the community are very pleased with the site thus far. To name just a few:

    http://www.referralkey.com/files/MIT-ES_news_item.pdf

    http://mashable.com/2008/10/12/referralkey/

    I suggest you take a look at the site someday. =)

    best,
    Boris

  8. Brady: I have worked with both of the people I referred you to, in case there was any doubt. I can personally vouch for them both.

  9. Boris, I wasn’t suggesting Krop was a comparison to your site, when I wrote:
    “I’m going to be even more specific and try http://www.krop.com next if I need too…”

    I was out of the discussion about referral key, and back to my previous discussion on a search for an employee – apologies for the juggling conversation there, twitter will train you to do that.

    The only comparison of your site I was making was:
    “…seems to lie between linkedin and twitter to me…”

    …and I stand by that idea & my criticism of the quality of the development. I agree very much about the power of the referral and networking in our community (it’s done quite well and landed me large names) – but the means of doing it is just as important to me, and I wouldn’t put my name on a site that I don’t think bares the same quality that I hold my reputation to. How can I trust you can do complicated relationships properly, if basic html can’t be managed:
    http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.referralkey.com%2F&charset=%28detect+automatically%29&doctype=Inline&group=0

    I do home you make me eat my words over time:) – and my criticism is simply to be honest on a business perspective, not meant to be personal. You have a good idea to me, It just wouldn’t have passed my desk and launched without the polish, and polish shows me the attention to the details.

  10. Apologies for the typos, I’m going to avoid blog posting on the iPhone from now on:)

  11. Alright, so end result was social networking DID work, but not from Twitter – actually facebook coupled with a Craigslist.org job posting. What was a great success is, indeed, the personal quality of the recommendations.

    …that may have also been some of the low points. I know one of the recommendations insisted on calling me, not emailing me, because it was inconvenient for him. I’m a big believer in taking basic directions is a sign for larger issues, and especially since I’m the person looking to pay for service, thought it to be a bit unusual. That developer, although qualified, never emailed me back though tried calling yet another time (I didn’t answer, again, basic directions). If you have the attitude that I’m working for you, you’ll lose a lot of opportunities with professionals who have their experience on hand.

    The overall big factor for me was, even for a developer, a portfolio. Most of the candidates lacked a portfolio with depth or treated their portfolio as a toy showcase (which is fine, so long as you’re not using it for services). Many overstated their qualifications, and some, even though I was clear that I expected custom development (not an open source or off the shelf CMS rigged), still try to push rather than listen. Some impressive developers even had videos of how they ‘coded’ the site, which I almost went for just for that!

    In the end, I opted for a python/django environment since no PHP developer could match their skill (including the RoR developers who pitched me).

  12. …and I never heard back from Boris again;)


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