Interview with Guy Tessler - Why is the American-Israel Chamber on Twitter?

08/11/2008

I've been skipping about Twitter for awhile now and meeting so many interesting people from small business owners to a CEO of a billion dollar corporation to renewing friendships and building stronger relationships. Just like other social media worlds there are micro communities with in Twitter that range from foodies to pet lovers to political junkies and on and on and on.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new follower - Guy Tessler. As I always do when someone new follows me, I clicked on his tweet profile and was surprised to find out that Guy was from the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Region. I was curious to find out why the American-Israel Chamber was twittering. The whale was no where to be seen .. so I dropped Guy a direct message (DM) tweet - in less than 140 characters - and asked if he would be up for a Diva interview. He kindly agreed.

American_israel_chamber_2 About the American-Israel Chamber
The American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Region was established in 1992 as a private, not-for profit (and non-governmental) business organization to boost the Israeli and Southeastern economies by helping their companies develop business relationships with each other and explore new market opportunities.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why is American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Twittering?

Guy Tessler: I am twittering as a tool to reach my goals and perform my objectives at AICC. I think this goes for many individuals in similar type organization. I would be very suspicious of interacting with a logo, however a human face is much easier to relate to.

Guy_tessler I think that the special effectiveness of this medium stems from it being first and foremost identified with the individual using it who is putting his “face” and reputation on the line behind his talk.

We have general goals within our software committee program of work to lead the organization in adopting new technologies so I guess it does give some legitimacy to use it on behalf of the organization. I see this as an experimental stage where I am trying to use Twitter as well as other tools such as Linkedin groups and Facebook  in a variety of ways to see what interactions work. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: Who are the people you hope to reach? Have you had any response from them?

Guy Tessler:

  • 1) People who are relevant to our general mission e.g. those at technology companies, economic development organizations, VCs or professional firms that may have an interest in Israel and meeting Israeli companies to form some sort of business relationship and be part of our programs.
  • 2)    People who are subject matter experts that can be consulted with to understand things that I currently don’t
  • 3)    Networkers, bloggers and other new media types that can help tell the Israel technology story and help us do what we do.
  • 4) Make myself an available resource who may help others to pursue their business and networking goals.

Toby/Diva Marketing: About how much time are you spending reading and writing tweets?

Guy Tessler: Most of the time when driving to and from work ;). I usually have the iPhone on twitter as I do other things and periodically glance at what is happening there.

I read a lot more than I write and when I write, I usually respond. I also do more “d” messages to interesting people as I identify them in the mix. I follow links to interesting posts and would sometimes post them on my Facebook or Linkedin pages or forward them to those who may be interested in this information.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Are you promoting Twitter and if so how?

Guy Tessler: I am promoting social networking in general. This is a very opportune time for us to be in this space since in September Israeli companies will be coming to Atlanta to showcase tools and technologies at the “Empowering the Connected Enterprise” business exchange hosted by IBM. Selectively, I add my twitter ID to my email signature.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How have you gone about identifying “followers?”

Guy Tessler: I look at who others are following and guess who may be an interesting person to follow.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Are any other American-Israel Chamber of Commerces twittering?

Guy Tessler: Haven’t bumped into them yet but again it is the individuals not the chambers that are probably out there. Same thing probably applies to other types of trade organizations, non-profits, industry groups, and chambers.

Those I have seen there from economic development organizations tell me they are in a similar situation doing this as part of their way to perform their jobs and not because of some “corporate policy”.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why do you think Twitter works on a local level?

Guy Tessler:

I think twitter (or any successors to come) is a tool that eventually will create a new kind of face to face business and social interaction.

Participants in a “first date” or “first business meeting” have much more interaction and exposure to each other under their belt prior to the face to face meeting saving a lot of chit-chat and embarrassing silences and making it a shorter way to the desired end result.

If you see it that way than the people you would most want to communicate with are locals and those who you have a chance in meeting through their or your travels. The concepts of” twit-ups” and” real time social tagging” can also happen only on a local level.

Toby/Diva Marketing: One more .. Guy Tessler’s view about Twitter.

Guy Tessler: I am not in love with any tool.  I am fascinated by the social evolution of human interaction that is facilitated by the technology available with Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, text and video blogging, UGC and iPhone being the face of this phenomenon. Q: and is this a good or bad thing? A: the answer is yes

More about the American-Israel Chamber

AICC has over 500 members and is headquartered in Atlanta serving companies from Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Israel. AICC has earned the reputation as one of the most successful and effective bi-national business organizations in the United States.

The strength of AICC is the expertise and networking connections of our large and active membership. AICC conducts educational programs, networking events, and business exchanges designed to stimulate interest in American companies to do business with Israel, offer helpful "how to" information, and provide opportunities for business to be explored between American and Israeli companies.

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Comments

Great interview, Toby. This is an exciting and very entrepreneurial use of Twitter.

Posted by: Geoff Livingston on Aug 11, 2008 12:36:43 PM

@Geoff - Thanks. I agree great innovation from the Chamber and Guy so 'gets' it.

Posted by: Toby on Aug 12, 2008 12:08:08 PM

So interesting Toby and reaffirms the value of social media for anyone wanting to proactively pursue goals.

Posted by: Ellen Marden on Aug 12, 2008 12:28:31 PM

Toby, great interview. I haven't gotten into twitter yet and I was not sure where to begin or if I wanted to. I had been thinking about it for awhile. This interview gave me more insight into twitter and its use.

It certainly seems innovative and Guy's use of it is much more in line with how I would like to use more internet tools.

Thanks for that and hopefully soon I'll start twittering away.

Posted by: Wendy on Aug 12, 2008 12:32:23 PM

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