What’s Your Water Cooler? Mine is Twitter

Twitter is the water cooler. It continually amazes me when people ask if you can really get to know people on Twitter. Yes, you really can get to know people on Twitter.

Often non-users have a notion that the conversations on Twitter are senseless and meaningless. Do they think we have epic conversations about how to solve the universe’s problems in real life? No.

In every office around this country, we all talk about the small things around the water cooler every single day of our lives – the commute, the weather, last night’s American Idol episode.

We all snack, use the restrooms, walk out of the lobby, check the network printer. And in those moments we bump into each other and small talk ensues.

Twitter is just an extension of that basic human behavior. If, that is, you choose to participate.

In our recent interview by MyFixItUpLife.Com, Theresa from My Fix It Up Life asks,

“Is it a bonding experience being on Twitter?”

After Carol answers, I chimed in:

“It’s the water cooler without geography; this is how we bond as humans.”


“You’re a genius!”

Did he say that because I am? No. But it suddenly clicked in his brain. I love those lightbulb moments. Click play below (or here) to watch that moment.

Does that strike you as odd?

Maybe factory workers still have to work in silence, but gone are the days where creative employees are discouraged from taking with one another.

TDC Collaborative SpaceCorporate offices are now specifically designed to include collaboration. We’ve noticed this in a few of our recent projects as well where even tables will be set aside for impromptu meetings. Continue reading

Digital Influence Panel – Relationships are the ROI

Bridget Willard and Darrel Cole of Parsons Brinckerhoff

Bridget Willard and Darrel Cole of Parsons Brinckerhoff

I was honored to be invited again this year by Darrel Cole of Parsons Brinckerhoff join his “Digital Influence” panel at the ACEC California annual conference 4/8/14.

One of the organizers asked us,

“How long have you two worked together?”

Bridget replied,
“We don’t; we met on Twitter.”

The look of surprise on her face was a testiment to the fact that relationships built on social media are, in fact, real.

Building relationships should be the goal on social media. When it isn’t, people often blame social media for their own failure.


Tweet: “You’re the product; we’re selling you.” @RigginsConst http://ctt.ec/27wGt+


Tweet: “But if you don’t have a connection with them, all of your influence stops right there…” @RigginsConst http://ctt.ec/n0ba4+

I mention how I met Allen C. Buchanan, Principal, Lee and Associates. Complete commercial real estate location advice for owners and occupants of manufacturing, flex, and distribution buildings in Southern California.

You can read the story here.

Check out his blog: http://allencbuchanan.blogspot.com

Continue reading

Want to meet new people? Join a Twitter Chat

Meeting New People by ClemsonUnivLibary on Flikr

Meeting New People by ClemsonUnivLibary on Flikr

Updated 3/24/15

Twitter Chats are a great way to meet like-minded people who make your mind stretch. You can be as much or as little involved as you prefer, answering all of the questions, some, or none.

The basis of a twitter chat is a unified subject matter that uses a specific hashtag (clickable & searchable) which allows you keep track of chat-related tweets.

That’s too much work for me so I prefer to use a chat client that allows you to highlight the moderator and will automatically insert the hashtag. I use TweetChat. Other people use Twubs or just make a column in a Twitter client like TweetDeck or Hootsuite. It’s up to you.

Below are summaries of the four chats I attend when I can.


8 am Pacific – Power of Connection (#PoCchat)

This chat is held weekly on Mondays at 8:00 a.m. PST and, because of the time factor, is the hardest for me to attend. It’s hosted by Bobby Umar (@RaehanBobby) who is known for his Ted Talk “The Five Cs of Connection.

This chat focuses on leadership with the perspective of making lasting connections and, therefore, is relevant to anyone in business or social media. He generally makes a Storify summary after the fact. Here is an example. Continue reading

Take a chance! Invite a Twitter follower to lunch.


Tom, Bridget, and Allen at Zov’s Bistro 8/21/13

Even after all of these years, it puzzles me that the commercial real estate (#CRE) and architecture, engineering, and construction (#AEC) communities are still relatively small on social media. It should come as no surprise that whenever I happen upon someone from those fields, I practically do somersaults in my office.  To find someone that’s local to boot, is virtually miraculous.

This summer (I’m not even sure how at this point) I came upon the Twitter feed of Allen Buchanan and, like social people do, we tweeted back and forth, read each other’s blogs, etc. He is an active blogger and started a short video series called Tuesday Traffic Tips, too. Naturally, the we hit it off over the geeky stuff. Continue reading

My Think Tank (No, Twitter is not a waste of time.)

You get out of Twitter what you put into it. It’s that simple. One of the reasons why Twitter has been so valuable to me as a person and indirectly to this business, is because of the way I’ve chosen to use it.

Sure I learn from blogs, but when you have access to people, it’s totally different. I didn’t just join twitter to push out our content. I, like Gary Vaynerchuk, am collecting relationships.

I would like to introduce you to (most of) my think tank.


We all met on Twitter. Actually Wendy (not pictured) and Cyndi started Facebook Liking Tuesdays  (#FBLT). Tweets became friendly, Twitter relationships migrated to Facebook, and those friendships deepened. We have become a group that supports one another’s careers and pursuits. If anyone has a question, there’s surely someone in this group that knows the answer.

This is what I call the Human ROI (Return on Investment) of Twitter.  I know that my life has been indelibly altered because of these women. I may even dare to say that much of the fruit of my labor here at Riggins is because of the education, support, and brainstorming I’ve done with them. Continue reading

Twitter Challenge: Engage Friday

conversation hearts in silver dishI am the first to admit that it’s very easy to get into a Twitter Rut. Sometimes Follow Friday on Twitter can just add to that stuck feeling.

Thousands, maybe tens or hundreds of thousands, of group shoutouts are tweeted every week. What began as a recommendation tool (read Carol Stephen’s Best Practices) has become an automated, rewteeted nightmare to some and waste of time for others. Follow Friday is almost as pointless as throwing a bowl of conversation hearts at people in a party and expecting them to talk to you. Continue reading

How to Pick My Brain – Six Business and Marketing Blogs I Actually Read

Six blogs I actually read - a screenshot from Safari.

Six blogs I actually read – a screenshot from Safari.

Social Media Junkie?
Self-Improvement Nut?
I’ve certainly been accused as much.

Well, if you want to pick my brain, you can read this blog; even better, go to the source.

So what kind of material do I read? I read quite a lot of blogs. As for paper books, I have a few marketing and productivity books both on my shelf and in my reading queue.

On the list of reading material also includes trade magazines that come in the mail, yes, that are made of actual paper. Sometimes, you just have to give your poor eyes a break from the blue screen. Perhaps I’ll feature some of those periodicals in a future post.

Information comes at us, especially Twitter users, at break-neck speeds. There are two primary ways that I cut through the clutter to get to the good stuff.

Disclaimer: I read a lot of different blogs. These are the ones that I consistently read related to marketing, business, productivity, and time management. Continue reading

Digital Influence Panel – You Are What You Tweet

our business cardsHere is the recording of my talk “You Are What You Tweet” from the ACEC California‘s Digital Influence Panel at their annual conference 4/10/13.

I mention iFLOOR.com and Burgin Construction Inc. as my first AEC connections as well as SafetyTeddi and WindowWorks.  Another shout-out was given for CustomerSpecs‘ clever use of tea in #MarkeTea.


“When you have a relationship with a person, the logo has meaning.”  Tweet This

I also reference the customer service experience we had with one of the employees of Earth Island Natural Foods discussed in this blog post.

Continue reading

Branding: A Lasting Impression

Untitled by Felipe Lordello

I’m sitting at lunch with friends just the other day and I was asked the question,

“What is branding?”

Branding is listening to a thirty-year old Michael Jackson song on the radio and recognizing the Eddie Van Halen guitar solo.

Branding is making a decision between using a restroom at a gas station or the restroom at a Starbucks.

Branding is being reminded of your beloved uncle when you smell pipe tobacco with a hint of cherry.

Is Branding A Logo?

Yes and no.

In many ways, branding is the connection of your sensual experiences.  When I see a Diet Coke can, I become thirsty. Why?  I remember the feel of a cold can in my hands, the sound the can makes when it pops open, the tickle down my throat, and the taste afterward.  All of those memories are tied into the Diet Coke logo.

Human history is full of seals, rings, flags, coats of arms, and crests used to distinguish families, tribes, and nations.  The human condition is curious; as much as we long for group acceptance, we still desire to be distinct and recognized. But I digress.

Although the etymology of branding is varied, we can all imagine a rancher using a hot iron to brand his livestock.  Each ranch had a distinct logo that made a permanent impression. Though originally intended to distinguish ownership, the logo reflected on the rancher, whether good or bad.

Your behavior as a company will be associated with your logo.  In this regard, the branding is the logo and the logo is the brand.

In my presentation, “You Are What You Tweet,” I gave the example that the Caltrop logo had no meaning to me until I met one of their employees, Mark DeSio.

“When you have a relationship with a person, the logo has meaning.” (Tweet This)

Continue reading

What 7-Eleven and A Billboard Say About ROI

711-500sEveryone and their mom has written about social media and ROI.

For some reason, the social media skeptic tends to be fixated on this factor. Not surprisingly, I’m often asked what my return is for tweeting. After years of answering this question, I’ve settled on this analogy.

I tell them about a billboard and 7-Eleven.

On the major corner by our office, there is a billboard. The freeway and two major streets can see this billboard.

Coca-Cola is always advertising one of their many product lines on said billboard. This billboard does not interact with you, it does not smile at you, it does not ask you questions. It’s simply a large rectangle, in a vehicle’s direct line of sight, wallpapered with a visual advertisement. Continue reading