Erin Shaw Street is actually the reason See Jane Tweet ever came about. At See Jane Write’s inaugural event Street started chatting with a few of the ladies at the dinner about the many advantages of Twitter. Minds blown, they were eager to know more. Pretty soon they were all asking for a Twitter 101. Well, ladies, ask and you shall receive. 

Street, with the help of Kristen Record Heptinstall, will be leading Thursday’s See Jane Tweet seminar. (If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late. Just email me at Street is Associate Editor at Southern Living Magazine and board member of the Alabama Social Media Association (ALsocme). Read on to learn more about Street and why she’s crazy about Twitter. 

Tell us more about your duties as associate editor at Southern Living?
I work primarily with the Health & Beauty section, and am responsible for managing stories from start to finish. That includes pitching, story development, and managing the whole package — from writing the story to working with Art and Photo to deliver strong visuals. My focus is health and wellness, and I love telling stories about the way modern Southern women find balance in their lives. I’m also the liaison between our editorial and digital groups, working to develop our brand across platforms. 

Why and how are social media tools such as Twitter important to your job?
I am able to instantly connect with readers, which gives us an amazing opportunity for engagement and two-way communication.  I use Twitter to find story ideas, gauge reader interest in topics, and explore the South — all from my desk or iPhone. And, since my job involves a lot of travel, I use Twitter (and other tools) to find out what’s happening when I am visiting a city. Wherever I am, if I have a question about the best restaurant or gym to check out, I find an answer on Twitter. It’s where I find “The Next Big Thing.”  

Tell us more about your role as a board member with the Alabama Social Media Association (ALsocme) and how you got involved with this group?
I was approached by the founding members, and enthusiastic about getting involved. I am the Outreach Chair, which means that I work to create partnerships between ALsocme and community organizations. Our goal is to make social media accessible to everyone in our community, demystifying the notion that you need to be a tech wizard to use these tools. So, it’s important that we have partners across our community to help us broaden our reach. We are proud to have more than 15 partners so far, including the City of Birmingham, Alabama Association of Nonprofits, and many professional organizations.  

How did you get interested in social media?
Social media isn’t so different than what I’ve done my whole career; it’s just another way of connecting with people, telling stories, and building community. It’s all about relationships. Good writers are engaged with life, and social media is just another space to explore and learn. Also, on a personal note, it has helped me connect with so many people I would have never met otherwise. It’s not just about talking about what we had for lunch (though we do that!). In particular, I’ve met so many people who care deeply about Birmingham, and we rally via social media, which leads to meaningful, real-life connections.

Tell us a few of the important things about social media tools that you believe many writers don’t realize or don’t understand.
The biggest thing is that social media is accessible, and can open many doors. It does take a little effort to learn some of the tools, but there are so many people eager to help. Plus, social media isn’t just Twitter – it’s Facebook, YouTube, photo sharing tools like Instagram, and many others. Each tool serves a different purpose, but they are all about the same thing: telling stories.  So I encourage writers to stretch themselves and learn about the new way of storytelling and gathering. There’s inspiration and creation in these spaces. What could be better?